Energon Toy Reviews: Sharkticon

in 2004, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Energon, Superlink

Energon

General Information:
Release Year: August 2004
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $9.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Transformation Difficulty Level: 3
Accessories: Missiles x 2

Images:

Well over a year ago, I received a call from a contact at Hasbro asking for pictures of the Decepticon ship Nemesis. Originally shown in G1 "More than meets the Eye" and later in the Beast Wars episodes "The Agenda" Part 3 and later "Nemesis" Part Two, this was the ship Megatron used to follow Optimus Prime when the Autobots left Cybertron on the Ark. I wondered why I was asked for pictures of the ship since I doubted they would make a Nemesis playset or something. Well, the answer is finally here. Sharkticon is fairly unique in Energon. He is a homage, but not to a character but rather a ship! Of course, his name itself is from G1, where Sharkticons were an army of mindless drones controlled by the Quintessons.

Packaging:
Sharkticon was initially released on a traditional black background Energon package. However, this was a rather limited run from July to September of 2004. After that, a majority of Energon Strongarms have appeared on "Powerlinx Battles" packaging, which features a red to black gradient. The toy inside remains the same.

Vehicle Mode:
One of the most interesting things that the recent "Transformers War Within" storylines have shown are G1 characters that fans know and love as beasts in their alternate forms long before they had those forms. Often, such as the case with the Dynobots, we see that these Transformers were some type of vehicle with a passing resemblance to their beast forms in their alt modes. In a nutshell, that's what Sharkticon is, a vehicle with styling that evokes a beast.

Sharkticon also draws design inspiration from the past. As mentioned above, he is a design homage to the Decepticon ship, Nemesis. See the pics above of the Nemesis for reference, but you can see the pointed, smooth triangular front, the tower in the center, fins out to the sides and in the rear, fins with two ends sticking out on either side. Of course, the shape is much more streamlined and smooth. It has a definite shark-like shape to it, but there really aren't any teeth or eyes etc. Thus it looks like a Transformer who would one day obtain the alternate form of a shark, just not yet.

There is no denying it, Sharkticon is one well armed Decepticon. In this mode, he has eight barrels of firepower. Pull the front sides out for his "Hyper Mode" and he gets two more in the form of two missile launchers. But wait, there's more! Sharkticon also has five holes for Energon weapons and two for Mini-Cons! Three of the holes are in the front, two on top, one under the front section. On the back are two more, along with the Mini-Con pegs. This is really awesome. I'm a big fan of heavily armed Transformers, and Sharkticon certainly has the potential for that!

It's a safe bet to say that Sharkticon's color scheme wsa somewhat influenced by that of Sky-Byte, the unforgettable shark character from Robots in Disguise. He was a combination of dark blue, silver, off-white and yellow. Sharkticon also has these colors plus re, gold and purple. The primary color here is black however. The entire front half of the ship is basically black with color added on by parts and silver deco in a tech pattern. The parts are gun turrets and the central tower, all some combination of off-white, purple and yellow. A really nice big Decepticon symbol is tempographed onto the front nose of the ship. The back is a bit different, utilizing silver, gold and red paint on yellow, purple and black parts. The dark blue (more of a blue-green really) comes into play on the fins, which are dark blue with silver edges. Overall, a really nice and simple deco that is effective at the same time.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the rear sections to the sides and straighten them out.
  2. Swivel the rear sections around.
  3. Flip the ship over and detach the robot feet from the front and swing that entire section down to form the robot hips and legs.
  4. Flip the feet up.
  5. Swing the entire front portion of the ship onto the back to reveal the robot head.
  6. Swing each arm up and lock it into place.

Robot Mode:
Sharkticon is one sleek looking robot. That's not too surprising considering his alternate form, but there have been many "shark based" Transformers in the past who did not look quite as elegant in robot mode. From the head down, everything is designed to evoke the alternate mode, while providing a cool robot mode at the same time. The head has a curved, oval shape to the helmet portion leading to a mouthplate/eyes face design. The shoulders and upper chest are wide compared to the rest of the figure, but then the curve moves inward as you approach the middle of the body, then the legs splay out a bit thanks to the fins on the legs and the pointed shape of the feet. The result is an awesome looking robot form.

Little details count as well. Right in the middle of the chest is a Decepticon Spark Crystal. The center of the body has sections that look like they house missiles or rockets. The wait piece has some really nice indentation patterns adding to the level of detail on the toy. A very cool sculpt.

Sharkticon has a whopping sixteen points of articulation in this mode. One point which really surprised me was his waist articulation. Generally once you make a Transformer with a "back pack", waist articulation is removed or restricted to the point where you can't really use it. Here it works just fine. Other notable points of articulation are in the upper legs, which each allow you to turn the leg out to the sides. Another thing worth nothing is that Sharkticon's joints are really, really tight. This allows you to pose him in different ways with little fear of him tipping over. Excellent.

While Sharkticon himself does not come with any hand held weapons, he's obviously designed to be able to take advantage of any standardized Energon/Armada peg sized gun or melee weapon. Also, he has Mini-Con pegs on either arm which you can attach Mini-Cons or Energon weapons to. But say you just wanted to use his own weapons, you can. The turrets on the sides of the back piece can swivel forward, and if you raise his arms, instant armpit guns! Seriously, you can also use his missile launchers in the robot's "Hyper Mode". Just pull them out to the sides, swivel them so the missiles face forward, and Sharkticon is ready to battle.

One interesting note is that the double fin pieces on Sharkticon's arms looked like they were meant to be removable at one time. You can see clearly inside the hole and it looks like that end is a Mini-Con peg. I'm guessing safety reasons caused these to be glued in, a shame.

There are no real deco surprises here since most of these parts are visible in vehicle mode. A bit more purple shows here thanks to the upper arms, head and upper legs. Yellow is more prominant too thanks to the shoulders and lower legs. The best colors the designers added in were red and silver, both bringing a much needed break in the blue-green/purple/black combination. The only bad design decision was the use of a dark, blue-green translucent plastic for the eyes. The intention was probably to have the light piping plastic color somewhat blend in with everything else, but it really doesn't work. Yellow or red would have been much better since they glow much brighter, and would have offered good contrast against the black face. I believe that Sharkticon could have used some spray ops or black wash on his legs to bring out the nicely sculpted details there. Oh well, there's always Transformers Universe (crosses fingers).

Final Thoughts:
This one's a no brainer. It has an awesome vehicle mode, great detail, a sleek robot mode and articulation up the wazoo. Add to that the ability to plug on an arsenal to this guy and you have a must-have toy. Highly recommended.