Release Date: October 2023
Price Point: $24.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Amazon, BigBadToyStore, Entertainment Earth, Target, Walmart etc.)
Accessories: Shield/Car Cabin Cover, Blaster/Blade Weapon, Rear Car Section/Blaster End
A character named Shadow Striker first appeared in 2003 as a Botcon exclusive figure. Years later, the name would be attributed to a new character in the Cyberverse series. Shadow Striker was a ruthless killer who would fall in battle at the hands of Bumblebee. When she was repaired, it was with a patchwork body created by Shockwave. The character had a fun arc where she went from Decepticon killer to part of the joint Autobot/Decepticon alliance protecting Cybertron. It seems somewhere in her history she wound up in the Legacy “universe” and her body changed at the same time. This is also the first time a character from the Cyberverse series has been recognized in the Legacy line.
Shadow Striker is part of the second phase of the Legacy line: Legacy Evolution so the packaging has been refreshed. The shape of the box is still the same, and for the most part the logos and other parts are in the same place. Sticking to the principle of plastic-free packaging, the window on the box is open but this year there is an extra layer of cardboard that sits on top of the figure to prevent theft. This covers most of the figure, leaving only the chest and head peeking out. Under the figure is an illustration of Shadow Striker in vehicle mode with her weapon attached on top. To the side is a close up of her in robot mode. The QR Code to scan for the tech specs has been moved to the top of the box instead of being on the back.
The back of the box shows Shadow Striker in both forms calling out an 18 step transformation. It also has a huge logo for the "Evo Fusion" gimmick which appears to be a new term to describe the gimmick that began with Siege where toys across multiple classes can be combined to form different types of weapons.
For long time fans of the Transformers brand, Shadow Striker’s design may look familiar. While her head sculpt is clearly based on the Cyberverse character, the body of this figure is clearly intended to be a new version of Robots in Disguise Sideburn. That means all her accessories are based on design elements from that character. These include:
- Car Cabin Cover/Shield: One of Sideburn’s most distinct features was the top of his car mode winding up on his arm looking like a shield. Unlike that figure, this car cabin cover/shield is not permanently attached to the arm. It is a separate accessory made up of translucent red plastic with a purple hinge/connector piece. Purple paint is used on the top of this shield to blend it in with the reset of the car mode. This can be held in one of her hands or attached to either arm to simulate how Sideburn looked in Robots in Disguise.
- Blaster/Blade Weapon: Sideburn included a blaster that had a blade on one side. That weapon could be held as a blaster or vertically as a blade weapon. The weapon included with Shadow Striker is heavily based on this weapon. However, the blade aspect has been de-emphasized and it looks more like a blaster with a wide, round barrel that can fit a Blast Effect. The bottom has a 5mm peg and the back has a peg with a small tab, allowing Shadow Striker to hold it in either hand. This weapon is black plastic with no paint applications.
- Rear Car Section/Blaster End: Robots in Disguise Sideburn had a missile launcher weapon which was made up, in part, by the rear of the vehicle mode. To simulate this the rear panel of the car is a separate piece that can be attached to the Blaster/Blade weapon, creating a weapon that simulates Sideburn’s missile launcher. However, since this does not launch anything, it has a port allowing you to attach a Blast Effect. This piece is purple plastic with red paint on the rear lights.
As mentioned above, Shadow Striker is a “pretool” for what I assume to be an eventual Generations Sideburn figure. There’s more to this than just amortizing the cost of tooling. This goes back to the original Shadow Striker figure which was a Botcon exclusive that used the Robots in Disguise Sideburn body as its foundation, so this is a nice tip of the hat to the past. With that in mind, this sculpt has many of the design elements from the Sideburn figure. These include:
- Torso: The torso features a huge engine detail showing off an engine block and several tubes, similar to the original Sideburn figure.
- Arms: The forearms have piston-like designs on the forearms and a panel on the left arm for her faction symbol. This is a direct callback to Sideburn’s arm designs.
- Legs: The leg designs are curved and feature what look like layers of armor overlapping each other. Two of the vehicle mode wheels wind up on her hips. These are also heavily based on Sideburn’s design.
- Car Doors: The car doors wind up on the back of the figure. This is similar to the original Sideburn figure but here they panels with the doors sit flush against the back instead of just dangling like they did on the Sideburn figure.
Of course, Shadow Striker features details all her own. The most distinctive is her head design which features asymmetrical eyes. One is a “regular” eye while the other looks like a telescopic eye (a nod to her sniper abilities), calling back to how she looked after Shockwave rebuilt her. Given how symmetrical the rest of her body is, it is nice to have that nod to the original Cyberverse version of the character. The other detail inspired directly by the original Shadow Striker is a pentagon shaped design on her waist area. The same design appeared on Shadow Striker in the cartoon.
Shadow Striker is mostly made up of purple and black plastic. Paint details include red, silver and metallic purple. These colors work beautifully with the purple on the figure. I confess the purple does not come through well in my photos, which give her a much more blue tint. In person, her colors look great.
There are twenty four points of articulation on this figure. That includes five in each arm and six in each leg. The shoulder arituclation is the most unusual because the arms are attached to the “back pack” section, so they can swivel outward and in as well as up and down. There are eight 5mm ports in this mode. Two are on the forearms and of course you have the fists. The heels also have 5mm ports. There is one on the back for accessory storage and there is one right behind the robot head. This is the one has limited use but I can imagine fans coming up with creative ways to utilize it especially with Weaponizer or Fossilizer parts.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode
- Detach the accessories and set them aside for now.
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Swing the robot feet up against the lower legs.
- Extend the back panel out and swing it up so it is over the head.
- Swing each arm section with the wheels and doors inward. Swing the doors out for now.
- Swing the legs back.
- On the back there are two sections that are on hinges. Swing those forward to begin forming the front of the car mode.
- Push the chest section down, with the waist section (with the pentagon on it) forming the middle of the car’s front end.
- Push the front wheel wells against the sections with the headlights.
- Swing the doors in and tab them into place.
- Attach the back panel to the rear of the vehicle.
- Attach the cabin cover to the top of the car using the peg on the shield to the 5mm port on one of the arms. Push it into place.
- The blaster weapon can be attached to the top of the vehicle.
Robots in Disguise Sideburn was a Dodge Viper in his alt mode, but since the odds of a main line Legacy figure having a licensed alt-mode is low, this vehicle mode is a “made up” one based on Shadow Striker’s alt-mode in the Cyberverse cartoon. Perhaps the most distinctive design element is the front of the vehicle which has several angles that converge in the middle. Her headlights are shaped in a very aggressive way, looking like two large narrowed eyes. Like Sideburn, she has a large engine sticking out of the car hood, but her pentagon shaped design shows in the front here in the same area as the Cyberverse animation model. The vehicle gets wider in the back with a spoiler set over the rear of the vehicle. There is something very futuristic or Cybertronian looking about this vehicle and it totally works for the character.
The only part of the vehicle I’m not crazy about is the rear section. Because of the way the back panel and cabin cover panels are attached to the rear section, there is a gap between them that looks a bit odd. It’s not a dealbreaker but it is not ideal.
The vehicle mode mostly shows off purple and translucent red plastic. Purple paint makes up most of the cabin cover. The headlights are metallic blue. The pentagon design and engine are silver and red. The dsides of the wheels are also painted red, another callback to Cyberverse Shadow Striker’s animation model. I was also very happy to see the rear lights painted red as often that is a detail left out to save on costs.
There is one 5mm port on the top of the vehicle and one in the back. The one on top allows you to attach extra weapons while the one in the back seems more suited to Blast Effects.
Shadow Striker is a fun figure that pays homage to both the Botcon Shadow Striker and the Cyberverse version of the character nicely. It also gives us a fun “preview” of a potential Sideburn figure in the future. Recommended!
- A fun preview of the cool sculpt to be used for Sideburn.
- Cool interpretation of a Cyberverse character.
- Intuitive and fun transformation.
- The arm articulation is a bit awkward at the shoulders.
- I would have liked a bit more of an asymmetrical design to reflect the character’s animated origins.