Release Date: October 2012
Price Point: $9.99
Retailer: Asia & Toys R Us Exclusive
Accessories: Axe weapons x 2
With an ever expanding market in Asia, Hasbro China announced last year the release of several Transformers redec os for the "Generations" line that (at the time) were intended for a purely Asian release. However, fans got one whiff of this and they wanted these toys on the spot! Many of these redecos were rather inspired, while others were head scratchers. Either way, Hasbro US saw fit to find a channel to bring these toys to the US, in new packaging to boot! In an ironic move, while the Chinese versions of these characters were released on purely English packaging, the US releases have Chinese characters on them, representing their "exclusive" origin. You may sometimes hear these figures referred to as "GDO" Transformers. For those curious, this is not a Transformers term, it is an economic one, standing for "Global Development Organization".
Among the four Scout Class figures released as part of this set is a redeco of the basic sculpt used for "Revenge of the Fallen" Skystalker, then later Sunspot and as an exclusive in Japan named Smokescreen (modeled after the G2 character of the same name). Check out Skystalker's review for my rather lengthy look at the figure (I was quite enthusiastic about it). This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
Based on the G1 character of the same name, Laserbeak uses the same base colors as his G1 namesake. This includes black plastic (with a gorgeous matte style finish), metallic grey, silver and red plastic. The black makes up most of the armor including the chest armor, head, forearm panels and his wings. Red is used on smaller sections such as the upper arms, shoulder joints, chest hinge and hip joints. Grey plastic is used for the forearms and feet. The silver color comes into play at the waist area. If you haven't noticed already, this is a lot of different plastic colors to use on one figure, especially with two of the colors (the grey and silver) so close in tone, I'm actually pleasantly surprised at the diversity of colors in this figure. I'm truly imjpressed and I have to say even before looking at the paint decos, this is already an impressive looking set of colors.
Color-wise, anyone who's familiar with G1 Laserbeak won't be surprised. Silver, red, black and gold all come into play as paint colors. What's awesome is just how much of these colors are used. The silver is used in enormous amounts on the lower legs, painting almost the entire section! There's also a bit of silver on his face while red and black details are found on the sides. His chest has angled red details on it and a spot of gold is found on the top of his head, a homage to the color of Laserbeak's eyes in the G1 toy. I've often said the red/silver/black color pattern is one of my favorites among Transformer decos and this just renews that affection. Even though this is a robot form instead of a "beast" form like he had in G1, it's still instantly recognizable as the G1 bird we all know and love (or love to hate). I'm very impressed by this deco and really appreciate how liberally paint deco was used on this figure.
Laserbeak has not been retooled in any way. He still includes the two axe weapons that came with Skystalker and the head sculpt is the same. However, in this case the head sculpt really does have a very "bird like" appearance, making it perfect for this figure. All the joints are still nice and tight and his weapons snap on without a problem. Functionally Laserbeak is fun and in great shape for a mold that's been used three times already!
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Attach each axe to the corresponding wing on his back.
- Swing the robot legs forward (this gets them out of the way for the next few steps)
- Push each robot arm down.
- Swing up the chest piece and the head to fold them back.
- Rotate the arms, then swing them back to connect the armor panels on each forearm together - forming the middle of the vehicle.
- Swing the wings in and slide the grooves on each wing to the tabs near the fron the of the plane.
- Push each robot foot back.
- Swing the robot legs up to fill the gap between the wings and the main body.
In the Generation One cartoon, audiences were given a look at some of the alternate forms of the Autobots and Decepticons before they came to Earth. Laserbeak in particular transformed from what appeared to be a cassette to a bird-like form that seemed more like a vehicle than an animal. You can see a screen capture of it on the TFWiki Page. This vehicle mode in many ways seems to evoke that form though a happy accident of design since this figure was not originally designed to be the G1 cassette bird. The slightly oval shape, the golden "head/cockpit" piece at the front all evoke that early appearance. Clearly someone was doing their homework when they thought of this sculpt as Laserbeak!
Sure the robot mode had some awesome deco, but the designers really laid it all out in this form! Most of the exposed plastic in this form is black, but there is a ton of paint detail keeping him from looking like a retread of Skystalker. His wings have a lot
Laserbeak is a brilliant redeco. It takes a sculpt you wouldn't expect to work as a character and totally makes the association in both modes. Add to that the sheer huge number of decos and I have to really give high marks to the designers for this one. Excellent work and highly recommended!