"The Last Knight" Premier Edition Steelbane Toy Review
Release Date: July 2017
Price Point: $19.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Official images and text in italics below are from Amazon.com:
The Transformers: The Last Knight Premier Edition Deluxe lineup features articulated figures with detail inspired by the movie. This Premier Edition features some fan-favorite characters from Transformers: The Last Knight. In the explosive Transformers: The Last Knight movie, new heroes must rise in an epic struggle to forge a future for all. One of the legendary Knights of Cybertron, Steelbane upholds an ancient oath to vanquish threats no other bot can combat. Unleashing the power of his dragon mode, he soars into action, even when the impending battle threatens to be his last. Figure Specs: Premier Edition Deluxe Steelbane figure Modes: knight, dragon 17-step conversion 2016 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved. 2016 Paramount Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
"The Last Knight" introduced the concept of Cybertronians being part of the Knights of the Round Table. One of these Knights was Steelbane. For the most part, the Knights were not named in the movie, and for a time there was a lot of speculation that the Transformer Cade finds in the beginning of the film is Steelbane. However based on the official description above, it seems that Steelbane was one of the Cybertronians that served with King Arthur. Regardless, his background offers up a very atypical design for a Transformer. Steelbane was released as part of Wave two of "The Last Knight" Premier Edition.
Steelbane is packaged in a window box. The design feels like an evolution of the "Age of Extinction" packaging design. If you are facing the package the right hand side has a vertical "Transformers" logo against a light grey background with some metallic looking finish on it and the "Premier Edition" logo above it. Under the "Premier Edition" logo is a Cybertronian glyph which some fans online have figured out is the letter "V", which makes sense since "The Last Knight" is the fifth movie in the series. The figure sits in a plastic tray inside the packaging against a background printed on cardboard. The background has an Autobot symbol and some ancient looking designs (alluding to some of the iconography of the movie itself). Set in front of the figure is artwork of Slash in beast mode from the movie. In a nice touch, this artwork actually wraps around to the side of the packaging where there is another vertical "Transformers" logo. The top of the box features art of Optimus Prime flanked by Bumblebee and Drift.
The back of the box has photos of the figure in both modes with the 17 step transformation called out between them. To the side are the cosells of the wave: Drift and Sqweeks. Sadly there is zero bio information on the back, which is a shame. If you are going to call a figure "Premium" you may as well go all out on the packaging and provide some type of write up as well. Overall the packaging looks great, but this was a disappointment.
Steelbane includes a sword cast in a light grey soft plastic. There are no paint applications on the sword. The sword has a very rough looking blade, with all sorts of indentations along the edges and patterns running along the blade. The handle fits a 5mm port and there is a tab on the side which allows you to attach the sword to one of Steelbane's hips.
Steelbane's design is based on Medieval armor. His head resembles a Great Helm style helmet with a "mouthplate" and top section that comes to an angled point in the middle. His shoulder armor is ornate and round in shape. The same can be said for his chest and legs. In many respects this character looks like a human wearing armor given all the curved parts on the body such as the arms and legs. There are tons of smaller details all over this figure. Some of my favorites are the layered patterns on the shoulder armor and the intricate patterns on the chest. From a sculpting standpoint this figure is top notch.
Steelbane is cast in some really gorgeous colors. Some parts are silver while others are a pearlescent silver color which really shines brilliantly in bright light. Still other parts are more of a metallic grey. While these seem like rather plain colors, they actually work well together since they all have a metallic look to them. The wings are cast a silver colored soft plastic. The primary paint color used on this figure is a light, cream color. You'll find this on almost every part from the shoulder armor to the chest to the lower legs. The way this color is applied, it helps bring out a lot of the sculpted detail on the figure and it looks amazing. Additional colors include metallic blue, which you'll find on the face, shoulders and chest. Silver is used on the torso. The wings have a significant amount of brown paint on them, matching up very nicely with the brown on the front of the figure. Overall the deco is one of the strongest aspects of this figure. It is detailed and a significant amount of paint was used earning it the "Premier" title at least in terms of deco.
There are seventeen points of articulation on this figure in robot mode. If you want to count the wings, that adds another eight. While the figure wins in terms of aesthetics, functionality is where the figure falters. In what is a fairly universal complaint among fans, almost all of Steelbane's ball joints are loose. The worst offenders are the hip ball joints, but the shoulders are also fairly floppy right out of the box. The same can be said for the ball joints at the base of the wings. If this figure was say, the third redeco or something of this tooling I could understand but for this to be the first release of this sculpt with such bad quality control I am very disappointed. Now, that said, this is a fairly easy fix. Some people like to use furniture polish to tighten up the joints. My preferred method is using clear nail polish. Of course, disassemble your figures and customize at your own risk, but I chose do to do so in order for this figure to be more stable. Once I added a layer of nail polish to the ball joints, the figure held together a lot better and I could get some good poses out of it.
There is one other functional issue that may or may not be a problem for you depending on what you do with the figure. The chest piece connects to the back piece with the wings via a coule of notches that connect to prongs on the back piece. Unfortunately there is nothing to lock these two pieces together, so if you jostle the figure around a bit, the back piece can flop back and the chest can slide upward. If you're just toying with the figure and posing it for display, this is not a huge issue. However if you are playing with this in some type of battle fantasy, I can easily see the two parts disconnecting regularly. Your mileage will vary on this point.
Transformation to Beast Mode:
- Detach the weapon if attached and set them aside.
- On the right leg, swing the foot up, then swing up the dragon tail.
- On the left leg, swing the foot up, then swing up the beast mode head and rotate it around.
- On each arm, swing the forearm armor out to form the rear dragon feet and rotate the forearm so the palms face forward.
- Swing the back piece with the wings back.
- Pull the torso armor section up over the head.
- Swing the outer halves of the chest armor/shoulder section out.
- Swing the leg with the tail up, then rotate it around.
- Rotate the other leg around, then rotate the lower leg to form the neck and head of the dragon.
- Swing the back piece forward.
- The sword attaches to a slot on the piece connected to the tail section, the end of the handle fits into a slot on the back section with the wings.
Note: you have to be careful with connecting the front and back halves of the chest together. The tabs do not really lock well since they hold together with friction rather than tabs or clips.
Assuming Steelbane is one of the Knights shown in "The Last Knight", we never actually get to see his alt mode. The only transformation we see are several Knights combining into Dragonstorm, so what Steelbane transformed into alone is up for interpretation. I'm good with him being a dragon. It fits the theme of the figure and really, I think the Transformers line as a whole could use some more "creature" alt modes nowadays.
There is a lot to like about this mode, but there are also issues. First let's get into the bad. Due to the transformation scheme, the robot feet wind up being very obvious on the tail and neck of the beast mode. Now, the tail you can kind of ignore since it's at the back. However, the foot piece set right behind the robot head looks odd to say the least. I wish there was an extra swivel joint so the foot could be turned so it sits under the neck instead of on top. Alternatively it would have been nice if the foot piece had a couple hinges so it could collapse better on top of the neck. The other issue largely revolves around the design of the dragon feet. The front feet have no hinge joint on them, forcing you to position the entire arm to stand up the dragon (which is difficult given the loose joints). The other issue are the rear feet, which look oddly inverted since the are formed from the forearm armor. The top of each foot is hollow (though there is sculpted detail inside) and you have to position them just so to stand the figure. Some of these problems go away if you tighten up the ball joints as mentioned above, but the feet definitely could have been designed better.
Okay, I don't want to make it sound like this mode is all bad. In fact, I like a lot of aspects of it. I like the long neck and tail on the dragon, giving it a very distinct appearance. I also like the look of the head sculpt which includes a tongue inside! I also really like the way the curved design of the armor pieces give the dragon a semi-organic appearance. I also appreciate that this mode brings emphasis to details like the cross hatch patterns on the wings and the details on the dragon head.
This mode reveals some new colors via the middle section and head. There you'll find some blue panels with mechanical details on them. This same color is used for the blue horns on the dragon head. Metallic blue is used to paint part of the dragon head while red is used on the eyes and tongue. Add the robot mode paint details on top of that and this mode looks great.
There are twenty six points of articulation in this mode. A lot of this is focused on the head, neck and tail sections. While Steelbane's "default" mode has him standing on the ground, his dragon arms are articulated so you can spread them out along with the wings to put him in a "flight" position.
Steelbane is a figure with problems. Almost across the board the joints are loose right out of the box and the issue with the back section connecting to the chest is annoying. For me however I really love the aesthetics in robot mode. The sculpt and paint look great. The dragon mode is cool once you have tightened up the joints. All that said, I do not recommend spending the $19.99 USD retail price on this figure. I purchased it on sale at about $16.00 USD which is about right.
- Very detailed sculpt.
- Gorgeous deco.
- Fits the Medieval theme very well.
- Very loose joints right out of the box.
- The dragon mode is a bit thin in the middle, which may turn off some fans.
- Tabs on chest halves do not lock well.