"Generations" War for Cybertron: Kingdom Cheetor Toy Review

11/25/20

General Information:
Release Date: Q4 2020/Q1 2021 (Estimated)
Price Point: $19.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Amazon, Target, Walmart etc.)
Accessories: Tail/Whip Weapon

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:

  • DISCOVER KINGDOM: Worlds collide when the Maximals and Predacons join the fight, coming together with the Autobots and Decepticons in an epic battle that will alter their destiny forever
  • BEASTIFY THE BATTLEFIELD: Unleash the primal power of the beasts with this Cheetor collectible figure, featuring a detailed beast mode with intricate cheetah-inspired molded fur texture
  • UNLEASH THE BEAST MODE: Cheetor toy converts into a Beast Wars-inspired cheetah mode in 20 steps. Lower jaw articulation in cheetah mode for classic look of Cheetor enthusiasm
  • TAIL BECOMES TAIL WHIP: Tail detaches from cheetah mode during conversion and becomes tail whip that can be held by figure in robot mode
  • GOLDEN DISK CARDS REVEAL POSSIBLE DESTINIES: Includes a Golden Disk card that reveals a possible destiny of a key character. Collect other Kingdom figures to reveal all 3 alternate destiny variants for each character! (Each sold separately. Subject to availability)

Beastify the battlefield! Worlds collide when the Maximals and Predacons join the fight, coming together with the Autobots and Decepticons in an epic battle that will alter their destiny forever. Primal power floods the battlefield as the fierce beast modes of the Maximals and Predacons are unleashed!Unleash the primal power of the beasts with this Cheetor collectible figure, featuring a detailed beast mode with intricate molded cheetah fur. Toy converts to Beast Wars-inspired cheetah mode in 20 steps and features lower jaw articulation in cheetah mode for classic look of Cheetor enthusiasm. Tail detaches from cheetah mode during conversion and becomes tail whip that can be held by figure in robot mode.Includes a Golden Disk card that reveals a possible destiny of a key character. Collect other Kingdom figures to reveal all 3 alternate destiny variants for each character! (Each sold separately. Subject to availability.)

Disclosure: This action figure was provided by Hasbro as part of a Kingdom unboxing event. BWTF thanks Hasbro for its generosity.

If you are going to do a series with Beast Wars characters in it, you would be remiss if you left out Cheetor. He was one of the most popular characters to come out of the series. So popular was the character that the follow up series Beast Machines made him the focus of its packaging and the early episodes. Now Cheetor appears again in the main Transformers toy line. The last Deluxe Class Cheetor came out years ago and he was...not great. Now fans have a chance to get another Deluxe Class Cheetor figure in Kingdom.

Packaging:
A new style of packaging has been introduced with Kingdom. The shape is very similar to what has been seen with Siege and Earthrise, with a rectangular box that has an angled panel on the left. This time however the box does not have a window in front that shows off the entire figure. Instead, the window is much smaller and basically shows the figure from the mid-body up. This small window has plastic over it, but what this allows for is artwork featuring the character in both modes, something that is extremely uncommon for the Transformers line. Like previous Generations packaging the Transformers logo is set vertically on the right side with the Generations and Takara Tomy logos above it. On the lower part (under the window) is the Kingdom logo. On this box, Cheetor is shown in running in beast mode and in a fighting pose in robot mode. Behind him is a volcano with the Ark on top. The artwork is absolutely gorgeous and there were many fans on the Unboxing Event call who asked for a coffee table book of the artwork from the Generations line.

The back of the box shows Cheetor in both modes calling out a twenty step transformation. Above him is a modified Maximal symbol which appears to incorporate elements of the Autobot symbol. In the corner is a nice, classic callback featuring the Transformers logo with the "More than Meets the Eye" tag line under it. Overall this packaging is beautiful and I think it is really going to pop on store shelves.

Cheetor himself is attached to a cardboard insert inside the box.  The insert itself is covered in patterns based on the Golden Disk, which played a large part in the cartoon.  On the back is a small slot where the accessory is stowed away, so always be sure to check the entire insert before tossing it out!  Also included is a collector card/sticker.  My copy of Cheetor included a card/sticker featuring The Ark.

Robot Mode:
Cheetor's Beast Wars season one cartoon design was largely based on the action figure released in 1996. However, the designers took what was a fairly bulky toy and created a CG model that was lithe and thin in both robot and beast modes. This time out, the designers sought to make the figure look as much like its animated counterpart as they could, and for the most part they succeeded. In terms of the sculpt, the designers did a fantastic job. He has a thin sillouette with lots of rounded parts such as the shoulders and arms. His head sculpt is heavily based on the CG model, featuring a long, thin crest in the middle of the helmet section, two triangular panels on either side and a face with parts of the helmet wrapping around the cheeks. Also, two of his beast mode legs can cross on his back, something seen in the TV show. Other "classic" Cheetor design elements include the cheetah head on his chest and a waist plate that has fang like designs on it. The sculpt is instantly recognizable as Cheetor, and unlike his Universe 2.0 counterpart, he has regular robot legs that he can actually stand on!

While I really dig this sculpt, it is not perfect. The first issue is a really minor one which I consider a nitpick, but I think some fans may not like, and that is the lower legs. The front of the lower legs are formed in part by the rear beast mode legs. While the sculpted details look fantastic, the beast mode legs wind up sticking out in front a bit more than I think some fans will like. For me it's not a deal breaker at all, so your mileage will vary.

The other issue his Cheetor's weapon. The weapon is formed from the tail, forming a whip with a blade at the end. This is inspired by the weapon that came with Transmetal Cheetor. First, some fans (such as myself) would have much preferred Cheetor coming with his famous "gut gun" (so called because it featured intenstine details in the original toy and TV show). Now, even if you accept this Transmetal Cheetor homage as a weapon, there is a problem. The way the weapon is sculpted, it curves back towards his shoulder when he holds it. Cheetor can hold the weapon on the other end, but then it looks like he's holding a whip with...a bladed hilt? The instructions say to have him hold it with the blade pointing back, which makes no sense. Part of the reason this worked out this way is the curve the tail has in beast mode. I wish the designers had found a different shape for the tail so the blade was set more forward.

For those curious, Cheetor is about 5.5 inches (about 13.97 cm) tall in this mode. He weighs about 2.2 ounces. In comparison, Titans Return Perceptor is about 3 ounces. That said, Cheetor as a character shouldn't weigh a lot or be bulky, so I am okay with this but I can understand fans having concerns about paying $20 USD for less plastic than they used to get.

Cheetor is cast in yellow and light blue plastic. Black paint is used for lines and spots carried over from the beast mode. His eyes are orange (inspired by the TV show) and several parts are painted light blue (such as the waist plate and the front of the lower legs). Unfortunately these colors do not quite match up to how the character looked in animation, where the yellow leaned towards being a darker, almost golden yellow color. The blue parts were metallic blue in the show. I really think the contrast between a golden color and metallic blue would have popped more and given the character a more "mechanical" appearance. By no means do I think this is a bad deco, I just think it could have been much better.

There are twenty six points of articulation in this mode, which is a really impressive number even by today's standards. This includes six in each arm and leg. He also has wrist articulation and ankle tilts, something I am happy to see continuing in Kingdom after being introduced as a line wide feature in Siege. From an articulation standpoint Cheetor is very impressive. After the last few years of having figures with attachment points everywhere Cheetor is a surprise. He has two points on the bottom of his feet and that's it. Nothing on the back or arms. Honestly, I'm glad they're not there. Big holes on the sides of chonky robots is one thing, but on a more organic and thinner form like Cheetor's they would stick out like a sore thumb.

Transformation to Beast Mode:

  1. Detach the tail weapon and set it aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Rotate the beast mode arms on the back out to the sides.
  4. Swing the panels on the sides of the mid-body out.
  5. Angle the robot head up, then rotate it around.
  6. Pull the beast mode head up from the chest, swing it up and over the robot head and then swing the lower jaw up.
  7. Move the robot arms down, then swing them against the armor behind the shoulders. Adjust the beast mode "fur" panels so they line up.
  8. Swing each of the front halves of the beast mode in and connect them in the middle.
  9. Swing the mid-body side panels in. They may "snap", but they should be okay.
  10. Straighten out the front legs and point the paws forward.
  11. Swing the robot feet up into the back of the thighs.
  12. Swing the rear beast mode legs down.
  13. Attach the tail to the back.

Note:  In my robot mode photos you'll notice the mid-body flaps folded in on some photos but back in others.  They should be folded in forming the sides, but I moved them out of the way in other shots.

Beast Mode:
One of the most difficult parts of making a beast mode for Cheetor is hiding all the robot bits, especially given the rather thin body structure of a cheetah. Somehow this figure manages to pull that off very well. Like a real life cheetah the head is round with rounded ears. The front section has a rounded chest section that narrows towards the mid-body. The back is perhaps the bit that gives away the robot mode the most. There, the robot leg pieces and the ends of the feet stick out so you can't miss them. This is not as bad as you may think, since the robot mode details are not obvious from the front, side or at most angles.

Beast Wars Cheetor's toy having had several eye colors in the 90's did come up during the Unboxing Event and I think it would be funny to have another eye color variant in the future!

There are fifteen points of articulation in this form. This includes each paw being on a ball joint and the jaw being able to open and close. The only problem is, the head is locked in a forward facing position, so you can pose the legs in various ways, but he'll always be looking forward. That said, this is a huge leap above previous Cheetor toys and you can achieve some fun, dynamic poses.

Final Thoughts:
Cheetor is kind of frustrating because he has some awesome qualities. I love the sculpt for the most part (weapon issues aside). I think his articulation is outstanding and he is fun to transform. However, the deco could have been stronger and some articulation on the beast mode head would have been nice. Still, I can't say I dislike this figure. Recommended, but if you have the chance to say, pick up Warpath or Blackarachnia first I would go with those before this guy.

Pros:

  • Excellent robot mode and beast mode sculpts (weapon issue aside).
  • Fantastic articulation.
  • Fun transformation that is intuitive to boot.

Cons:

  • The weapon this is just odd.
  • The deco could have been much stronger.
  • Lack of beast mode head articulation restricts one taking full advantage of the articulation points in beast mode.