"Transformers Universe" Skydive Toy Review

General Information:
Release Year: February 2004
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $9.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Transformation Difficulty Level: 2
Accessories: None

One of the nicest, and most unexpected toys to come out of Beast Machines was Skydive. While he could have been easily grafted into the Beast Machines "Dinobots" line, he wasn't. Instead, he was released as a stand alone deluxe. Now, an alternate universe version of this Maximal (now an Autobot) has appeared in Transformers: Universe. Since it's been years since I reviewed this toy, I'll do a regular review, but reading the original review wouldn't be a bad idea either.

Beast Mode:
In beast mode, Skydive is a pterosaur (what specific one, I'm not sure). However, instead of being a purely organic critter like those we saw in Beast Wars, Skydive is a techno-organic Transformer. The beast mode illustrates this well as there is a combination of mechanical and organic looking detail all wrapped up into one toy. The head of the beast mode definitely evokes the look of a skull rather than a flesh covered head, especially around the eyes where we have three holes instead of just one. Also, the legs and lower arms all look organic with claws and line detail emulating those you'd find on a bird. But techno-organic also implies a blending, and you find evidence of that on both the wings and neck where muscle like detail is surrounded by mechanical parts. A really nice combination.

Skydive has always been one of my favorite Maximals from Beast Machines thanks to the fine detail in the sculpt, and none of it has been lost. His wings have fantastic details ranging from mechanical to rough lines implying organic aspects. The tail has the shape of an organic creature's tail, but looks like it's made out of mechanical bits shaped like a thruster on a jet. It's this wonderful level of detail that helps elevate this beast mode above the ordinary.

Of course, the main goal of Unverse is to provide new color schemes for toys, and it does that nicely here. It is tempting to say that Skydive is meant as a homage to the classic Dinobot Swoop, but in reality, they really don't share a color scheme, thus it's more accurate to say that Skydive is a homage to all the classic Dinobots, whose color schemes generally involved some combination of gold, silver and red. Skydive has all these, but in an arrangement that makes it a unique scheme for him.

The primary color on Skydive is a dark shade of gray, which can be found on his neck, wings, main body and upper legs. The dullness of this color is contrasted by the bright colors used elsewhere. His lower arms and legs are red, with the same dark shade of red used on the head. Parts of his wings are gold while the parts with Autobot symbols on them are translucent orange, a bright color that adds a splash to the toy. The beast mode head also has a nice spray op from gray to a light gold color on the beak, meanwhile the rest of the head (the bottom) is translucent orange with the inside of the mouth painted red.

The action feature for this mode involves the head. Push down on the tab on the underside of the neck and the head snaps forward, as if he's attacking or grabbing prey. It's a neat feature, but it is a bit disappointing that you can't keep his neck extended.

Including points of articulation on the wings, Skydive has twelve points of articulation in this mode, though some of them are really meant for the robot mode. This includes four joints on each leg and the ability for the neck to snap forward.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Straighten the legs back and rotate the lower legs around.
  2. Raise the back panel and swing the arms/wings out.
  3. Rotate the arms around on the hinges.
  4. Swing out the robot head.
  5. Fold the arm pieces back up.
  6. Swivel the section with the head around.
  7. Swing the waist/leg panel into place.
  8. Position the shoulder and hand blades as desired.

Robot Mode:
Skydive has a fantastic robot mode. Like the beast mode, we get to see more elements of his techno-organic nature while seeing a striking figure.
What makes this form really dynamic are all the thin, sharp angles coming out of the central body (don't worry parents, this toy won't cut your kids). His shoulders have blades sticking out of them in a nice, curved angle. The wrists have blades for weapons and the translucent parts of the wings add another anglular piece coming out of the body. Indeed, even the head and the waist pieces are roughly triangular, which gives the eye a lot of directions to look at at one time.

Sculpt-wise, the robot mode rocks. Aside from the "angular" look discussed above, I also love how there are so many small details worked into relatively little body real estate. The chest and upper body pieces are rather small, but there's a lot of tech detail with vent lines and lines defining shapes like the chest. The legs also demonstrate this, with deep cut sections containing lines themselves. Look carefully and you'll find another cool detail - battle damage. On the chest is the biggest indicator of this. A huge gash goes from the upper right to the lower left with the Spark Crystal in the middle. This really looks awesome, looking almost like his armor was ripped out exposing his Spark. On the sides are smaller, finer cracks in his armor. Wonderfully done.

The color scheme remains consistant in robot mode, with translucent orange used for the eyes (and part of the crest) on the head as well as the Spark Crystal. Silver is used nicely on the legs and arms, giving just the right amount of detail. Light gray is used in the same fashion. Unfortunately, because of the dull colors used where the battle damage details are, they are kind of drowned out, and ones' eyes really don't lock on them unless you really stare, which is a shame.

Skydive has nineteen (yes, nineteen) points of articulation in this form. He's a...um...Prime example of how a beast Transformer can be done well. What also makes a lot of these points great is that a majority are ball joints, giving a good range of movement.

Final Thoughts:
I totally dug the Beast Machines version of this toy, and I'm glad to see the Universe version is nicely done as well. Highly recommended.

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