"Beast Machines" Strika Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: 2001
Price Point: $9.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Kay Bee, Toys 'R' Us etc.)
Accessories: Missiles x 2

Strika is one of the Beast Machines toys that caused a lot of confusion long before she was actually released. First, many people (including some folks at Mainframe Entertainment and Hasbro) had to debate over what spelling to use on the name: "Strika" or "Stryka". Ultimately, "Strika" won out. The other debate was due to the release of another six wheeled vehicle: Blast Charge. Many thought that Strika was going to be nothing more than a repaint of Blast Charge. Much to the delight of fans however, it turns out Strika is a brand new toy and the best treat: she's the only female Vehicon. In a line that is dominated by male characters, female characters are often welcome and Strika is no exception.

Vehicle Mode:
Strika's vehicle mode is a six wheeled assault vehicle. Her color scheme is different than the one seen in the CGI animated Beast Machines series. The forward section of the vehicle is probably the most accurate part, being a stained purple color looking like the surface was purple but worn over time. The mid section is light grey and the rear section is a darker grey. Dark blue is used for the piece which connects the head of the vehicle to the rest of the body and the cannons on the back of the vehicle. A nice touch is the use of gold which appears in metallic and solid shades on the wheels, cannons and around the Spark Crystal.

Strika rolls freely on her wheels but if you roll her over a smooth surface, the forward wheels and rear wheels roll, but the middle ones seem to stay in place. This may seem odd but if you roll the vehicle over a more uneven or rough surface, the middle wheels roll along with the others. The front section of the vehicle (which seems like a cockpit/driver area) can move up and down, making it look almost like a robot head.

Being part of the "Battle for the Spark" line, Strika has a "Spark Activated" feature. Press the Spark Crystal towards the rear of the vehicle and the cannons move back and forth in a reciprocating motion. These weapons serve a dual purpose. Push the golden cannon barrels from the back and they will launch as missiles.

Transformation to Robot Mode:
Turn the vehicle over and swing down the golden struts. Separate the front wheels from the purple parts of the vehicle. Swing the rear wheels towards the center of the vehicle body. Swing down the front wheels. Swing out the sides of the vehicle to reveal the robot arms. Rotate the arms and then slide down the lower robot arms. Fold up the middle wheels and slide them into the slots where the arms were. Swing down the blue U shaped suspension piece and connect its pegs to the holes on the piece connected to legs. Now fold back the cockpit of the vehicle and swing the purple cockpit piece back to reveal the robot head. Slide the robot head down. Rotate the chest piece and then snap it into place. Strika's transformation is complete.

Robot Mode:
Again, it is worthwhile to mention that Strika's colors do not match her CGI animated counterpart. Whereas the CGI model is mostly purple and black, this toy is mostly grey, silver and blue. Among the nicest details on this toy are the intricate patterns on Strika's upper arm. These golden strips are fairly unnecessary, but give the toy a more detailed appearance. Among the details matching the television show model are the legs (where she stands/floats on wheels that look like hover engines) and face. Another less obvious piece of sculpting is the chest piece, which looks like a spine with rib cages protruding to the sides. Underneath this rather organic looking detail on the chest are more mechanical details that resemble mechanical tubing.

In robot mode, Strika has thirteen points of articulation. Side to side articulation on the head is lost due to the neck mechanism used for the vehicle mode. However, the head can look up and down. In a very nice touch, Strika's reciprocating cannons can be used in this mode as well. This feature may not be show accurate, but it adds a layer of play value to the toy.

Strika offers up another great toy from the "Battle for the Spark" line. Aside from the color issue, the toy is show accurate and fun to play with. Highly recommended. A

Updated Thoughts (September 7, 2022):
I had not looked at this figure up close in probably five plus years when I took these updated photos.  After so many years of G1 oriented figures in the Generations line, it struck me just how alien this figure looks.  Sure we're often told Transformers are from Cybertron or its affiliated colonies but they almost always fit into the same general mold of blocky (or sleek) bots.  Rarely do they have the odd proportions and design elements used on Strika.  Everything from the head design to the design of her arms is very unusual for a Transformer and it looks amazing.  I loved this figure back in the day and I still do!

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