Energon Toy Reviews: Sky Blast

in 2003, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Energon, Omnicon, Superlink

Energon

General Information:
Release Year: November 2003
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $6.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Transformation Difficulty Level: 2
Accessories: Rifle/Staff weapon, Energon Chip, Blades x 2

Images:

The past two years have seen homages to a classic Transformers toy/character: Jetfire. Originally a redeco of the famous Robotech Valkyrie, the toy never appeared on the original television show. Rather, a similar character was created and named Skyfire. Years later, Beast Machines Jetstorm would be given a new deco as a homage to the Jetfire/Skyfire character as Storm Jet. Then of course, 2002/2003's Armada line had its own href="/toyreviews/unicrontrilogy/armada/">Jetfire, who's color scheme was partially a homage to the original. Now with Energon, we have a new homage character to Jetfire/Skyfire: Sky Blast. In fact, Skyblast was originally meant to be called Skyfire, but trademark issues prevented it.

Vehicle Mode:
Skyblast's vehicle mode is a futuristic (or presumably Cybertronian) jet. While sleek, he's not the typical F-15 fighter jet type design. Rather, his vehicle form is almost triangular, with a cockpit in front, but lots of stuff in the back. By stuff, I don't mean horrid looking junk. Quite theopposite. A lot of the sculpted detail on the main body of the jet is nicely done. On top, fins sweep up while there are generous amounts of vent and line details. Skyblast is well armed too. On either side of the area behind the cockpit, you'll find dual barrelled cannons. Each wing has a blaster at the end of it too. For additional/stronger firepower, you can add on his rifle/staff weapon by connecting it to the underside of the cockpit. The blade pieces each attach to the wings. While I personally think the staff weapon looks kind of silly being so long and far from the cockpit, it is undeniable that this adds some firepower to the toy. Each of these pieces are molded in dark, translucent, red plastic, which looks good on its own and looks good connected to the toy.

The color mix for a nice Jetfire homage usually entails two primary colors: red and white. Black is good to throw in too. Hasbro does all this and more with Skyblast. His primary color is white, and he has red prominantly shown on the sides, wings and top of the vehicle mode. Indeed, the cockpit section itself is actually translucent red plastic painted white, black and gold. Gray is used for details such as the double barrelled cannons and the thrusters at the rear. An interesting color choice is a bit spot of blue on the top of the jet, which really contrasts sharply with everything around it. Skyblast has an Autobot symbol sculpted on either wing, and both are painted red without washing over the entire symbol. The "eyes" and other parts of the symbol are white, which looks fantastic.

Aside from the aforementioned weapons, Skyblast also has another play feature. On the underside of the jet are two claws, one on each side. These lower down and look like they're meant to help Skyblast transport something or attach to something.

The strength of Skyblast's vehicle mode is that it is a homage to a classic character, but it does not rely on looking like a Robotech Valkyrie or one of the Decepticon Seeker Jets to do so. It looks great on its own and has enough details and extra bits to fuel any fans' imagination.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach any of the translucent red pieces you may have hooked up.
  2. Swing out the wings and move them forward, revealing the robot arms.
  3. Rotate the wings around.
  4. Swing the sides of the vehicle (where the double barrelled guns are) back to cover the thrusters.
  5. Flip the weapon barrels and the gray piece opposite the barrels up to form the robot feet and heels.
  6. Swing the red claw pieces against the sides of the legs.
  7. Rotate the section with the Autobot Spark Crystal up so it forms the robot chest. At the same time, the cockpit will rotate around to reveal the robot head.
  8. Move the cockpit piece back.
  9. Place the Energon Chip over the Spark Crystal if desired.
  10. Skyblast's weapons can be deployed in all sorts of ways. You can attach the blades to his wings or combine them together and mount them on the rifle to form a staff weapon.

Robot Mode:
Skyblast's "Jetfire/Skyfire" homage becomes very clear in this form. The head sculpt is very much based on the animation head design of Generation One Skyfire. The difference is that one side has an antannae as opposed to the angled design. But the crest and the face are instantly recognizable and a welcome homage. In fact, the homage is so detailed Hasbro even added in a circle within the blue part of the crest, which is similar to a rectangular detail Skyfire had on his head in the original show. The reason for the distinct blue piece mentioned in the vehicle becomes more obvious here. Basically the design of the main body from the section with the blue piece down to his waist is a visual homage to the area where Skyfire's nosecone/cockpit section once was. The blue piece would have been the cockpit window. On either side of the blue detail are angled vents, another detail which Skyfire had on his upper body.

The rest of the sculpt is original, but looks great. The wings on his arms help to visually evoke thoughts of his other mode, but also make him look aerodynamic as a robot. His legs have thrusters on them that look like they could help him fly in robot mode. The chest design is nicely done, with the fins from the vehicle mode creating a nice, layered look. Dead center on his chest is the Autobot Spark Crystal, which is perfect placement. Even with the Energon Chip attached to it he looks great. For those curious, the Energon chip represents the point on his body where Skyblast creates Energon weapons for the Autobots.

Skyblast has eleven points of articulation, which is quite a bit for a basic sized toy. However, one of those points requires a slight modification. In order for you to turn his head, you cave to put the cockpit of the jet mode back into its original position. Not too much of a sacrifice really. It's also nice to see ball jointed parts again, specifically his upper legs.

As mentioned in the transformation scheme, Skyblast's weapons can be used in a number of ways. He can hold the rifle piece as a cannon, he can hold all the pieces connected as a staff with a blade at the end or you can attach the blade halves to his wings to act as arm weapons. This is a great touch as it adds a good chunk of play value. On an interesting note, the staff/rifle piece actually has a Powerlinx point near the handle. This is not to connect a Mini-Con, but rather, it is the type of Powerlinx point you usually find on a Mini-Con. What this allows you to do is use Skyblasts' weapon to activate Powerlinx gimmicks on Armada toys, or simply hook the weapon up to Mini-Con Powerlinx points on either Energon or Armada toy. It's really cool to see one small touch like this adding so much to a toy.

Skyblast is an awesome toy. His weapons add a lot of play value, and the design homages to Jetfire/Skyfire are both appreciated and well done. Highly recommended. Go get him now!