"Transformers Universe" Nemesis Strika Toy Review

General Information:
Price Point/Size: Deluxe
Retailers: General (K-Mart, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Kay Bee)
Release Date: August 2003
Transformation Difficulty Level: 3
Accessories: Missiles/cannons x 2

Nemesis Strika is one of the minority of Transformers Universe stickers that seems intended to be the same character (albeit possibly from a different universe) as the toy it is a redeco of. In this case, Nemesis Strika is a redeco of Beast Machines Strika, one of Megatron's Vehicon Generals. Here however, Strika is a Decepticon. The addition of the word "Nemesis" in front of the name suggests either a loss of trademark over the original "Strika" name or an effort to make the name cool and distinctive.

Vehicle Mode:
Strika is a six wheeled assault vehicle in this mode. In every way, the design of this vehicle is meant to reflect how rough and tough the Decepticon warrior is. Each of her six wheels are large, off road type wheels. The height of the vehicle is above average, not being a sports car or other such vehicle. On the sides towards the front are guns (one on each side). At the back are two cannons, which contain the action feature for the figure. Originally part of the "Battle for the Spark" line in Beast Machines, each toy would have a gimmick based around the Spark Crystal. In this case, the Spark Crystal is in between the two cannons, and by pushing it, you cause the cannon barrels to move back and forth. It's a really neat feature as it makes the toy look like the vehicle is firing away at an enemy. In a bit of a double feature, if you push the back of the cannon barrels they pop out as missiles too!

What I've always liked about the design of this vehicle, both visually and conceptually is that this is one of the few Transformers (post G1 at the very least) that is a purely Cybertronian vehicle design. That fact and its rather interesting details really give the impression of an alien vehicle, not a take off from an Earth vehicle. Perhaps one of the most distinctive features of this figure is the front "cockpit" portion which resembles a robot head. Back during the Beast Machines era, each Vehicon was designed with the idea in mind of giving the vehicle mode a bit of a visual personality. Part of this was creating cockpits or "heads" on the vehicles. In this case, it's both. The front grill really looks like a mouth, and the windows look like visor eyes. Other nice sculpted details include cut lines on the sides and the wheel design, which has a nice curved look to it.

Strika has a Spark Crystal molded in purple. It's tough to tell just which one it is, it looks like a swirl only, so there's a chance they've stopped recycling old crystals. On top is a tampographed Decepticon symbol, which really looks neat since its laid on a dark purple crystal.

The original Strika had a good deco, and her successor does as well, but a very different one. The primary colors used here are metallic copper, mustard yellow, dark metallic silver and purple. Now, this sounds like a very odd combination of colors, but somehow it works. I think the reason for this is that every one of these colors is a very dark shade. Even the mustard yellow is not bright at all, it is very muted. The metallic copper and silver colors really help the toy look like a machine. The purple is used sparingly, keeping it from distracting your eye too much.

I'm a big fan of paint details, and Nemesis Strika has them in spades compared to the average Transformer. The "head" of the vehicle has silver details and a beautifully done black wash which looks like scorch marks all over it (logical since if this thing attacks head on, that's where it would get hit first).
On the sides, silver and black work together again to create a wonderful looking scuffed up look on the side weapons. The rear of the vehicle has caution stripes in black and yellow. The beauty of it is, they're all broken up somehow, like the paint has been scratched or worn off. Add to that some black dry brushing on the sides, and the net effect is one war machine that looks like it has survived its fair share of battles. Fantastic.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the two front wheels from the front of the vehicle.
  2. Swing the front wheels so they face forward.
  3. Swing down the purple strut pieces.
  4. Swing the middle wheels out.
  5. Move the robot legs (the pieces attached to the front wheels) down, then forward, attaching the waist section to the curved grey piece in the middle.
  6. Fold in the rear wheels.
  7. Swing the cockpit piece back on its hinges, then flip the piece back to reveal the robot head.
  8. Swing the sides of the vehicle out.
  9. Slide the middle wheels up, and then into the space you just made by swinging the arms out.
  10. Swivel the chest plate around and flip it down.
  11. Rotate the lower arms around and extend them.

Robot Mode:
Nemesis Strika's robot mode is not the most "feminine" figure, and that is what I really dig about it. Unlike Energon Arcee, she has a large, imposing figure that looks like it was built to do damage. Strika is very top heavy since she is basically carrying an artillery piece on her back. The reciprocating gun gimmick still works here, so she's well armed. The head design is fantastic, looking very different than your typical "helmet over face/crest/visor eyes etc." design. The face looks creepy and somewhat like she has a gasmask on with small cylinders sticking out the side. The nicest sculpted details are among the smallest. The upper arm armor has cool little details in triangular patterns that look like Cybertronian tech lines. Then the lower arms have cool tubes that end up forming her hands. These are really nicely detailed, each individual tube having lines etched into them.

The mustard yellow color gains prominance in this mode, making up the head, the top of the upper body, most of the upper arms and the legs. The copper color is reserved for armor parts like the shoulder armor and chest armor. A bit of red is actually used on the head, around the face, and the eyes are neon green. Some light grey appears with the ankles and lower arms (on the inside). Overall, not a bad color scheme, but it really would have been nice to see some of the black wash and dry brush effects used in this form.

Nemesis Strika has twelve points of articulation, which is on par with the toys of hrr time. Some of these are nicer than others. For instance, her head can only look up and down. But the shoulders swivel and have ball joints connecting to the rest of the arm, so those work out nicely. The knee joints are very stiff, which is good because if they weren't, the top-heaviness of this figure could easily cause it to flop around and not stand.

Interestingly enough, Strika's mold has been given slight retool. The chest piece has been given a flat portion in the middle to accomodate a Decepticon symbol sticker. Quite unusual that there would 1) Be a retool at all and 2) That a sticker would be used. Most interesting choice. It looks good, and is unexpected.

Final Thoughts:
Nemesis Strika is a cool, rough and tough looking toy - a look which is made more interesting by the character being female. I'm really happy with this redeco and recommend it even if you already own Beast Machines Strika.

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