"Transformers Universe" Razorclaw Toy Review

General Information:
Price Point/Size: Ultra (Approximately $19.99, depending on retailer)
Retailers: General (K-Mart, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Kay Bee)
Release Date: July 2003
Transformation Difficulty Level: 3 (Advanced)
Accessories: Missiles x 2, Wing missiles x 2, Missile launchers x 2

Tigerhawk was brought into the Beast Wars at the tail end of the show's run. The character was a mix of two Sparks, those of Tigatron and Airazor. Brought together by the Vok and given new life, Tigerhawk was a powerful warrior who was brought down by the powerful starship Nemesis. Whereas Tigerhawk was a bright, white and metallic shining light, his alternate universe counterpart Razorclaw appears to be a dark and evil presence. Since it's been a while since I've reviewed this toy, I'll just do a brand new write up instead of the typical "read the old review" stuff. Here goes.

Beast Mode:
Part tiger, part hawk, part Fuzor, part Transmetal. Tigerhawk was all these things, and since Razorclaw is a redeco of that toy, he fits a lot of those categories except for perhaps a Transmetal (no more vacuum metallized parts for this sculpt). No matter how you categorize him, there's no doubt that Razorclaw is one impressive looking combination of the techno and the organic.

Razorclaw is mostly black and purple, quintessential Decepticon colors which go back to the very first Decepticon symbol as seen in the Generation One television show. Silver is tossed in for detailing and silver and red make up the "Energon" patterns on the wings. Translucent red plastic is used generously on this toy in both forms, most visible on the wings and cockpit on the underside of the beast.

There are many people in the action figure collecting fandom who often disparage Transformers as a line that has nothing to offer a collector who is looking for detail and visual complexity in a toy. Razorclaw's mold (among many others) belies that thinking. Almost every major section of Razorclaw is designed to be a nicely sculpted mix of the oganic and technological sides of the character. The beast mode head looks like an all organic tiger head from a distance, but look closely and you'll near his ears some of the fur/skin is "torn" away to reveal mechanical parts underneath. Look at the left side of his face and you'll see most of it is actually rectangular and mechanical with some nice lines etched in for additional detail. This reflects the asymmetrical design aesthetic used for the "Transmetal 2" Beast Wars toys, of which Tigerhawk was a member. What this allows is for more complex detail since each side doesn't necesarily match the other exactly. For instance you'll note that his left front paw is organic looking with rounded, organic looking claws. Meanwhile, the right claws are more angled, and the parts attaching them to the paw are distinctily mechanical looking.

You'll find more coolness with Razorclaw's wings. The parts which connect them to the main body look very mechanical, with lots of right angles and designs in boxy shapes. However, the ends of the wings themselves bridge the gap between mechanical and organic as his feathers are all sculpted to look like they have a fine organic texture to them. The cannons mounted on the underside of the wings are also nicely done. While it would have been easy just to make a solid tube and maybe put a sticker or paint app on it, the designers chose to sculpt tiny details into the weapons as well.

Okay, enough ranting about the sculpt, what can this toy offer in terms of play? Well, there are quite a few gimmicks here, one of which has changed a bit since this toy was known as Tigerhawk:

  • The purple section at the back of the beast mode head can pull back and slide over the face to form a bird like armor over the tiger head.
  • Razorclaw's rear bird feet are made so they can "grab" at things. Just press the button in the middle of the foot and the two claws snap together.
  • Press the trigger on the circular part of the wing and the outer part of the wings will slide forward. Press the triggers on the wings themselves and the wing missiles launch.
  • If you have the wings angled up, pushing the dark red trigger on his back forward to have the wings drop down and deploy the two cannons attached to Razorclaw's wings. This feature has been altered slightly. With Tigerhawk, the half section where the missile launchers would swing into place were designed so that the
    triggers on the missile launchers automatically hit them and launched the missiles. Indeed the instructions show this (since they're just reprints of Tigerhawk's). However in this version the area above the missile launchers has been redesigned so that the triggers do not automatically press up against anything.
    Because of this, the missiles now need to be launched manually. A piece of paper included with
    the instructions explains this.

Razorclaw has twenty one points of articulation in beast mode. This includes his lower jaw which can open (and reveal a purple tongue, probably one of the few Transformers with tongues). This also includes his wing articulation.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the section with the cockpit from the main body (it's held there by two pegs).
  2. Lift up the robot arm attached to the back of the beast mode head (it's attached by one peg).
  3. Both the beast mode head and the cockpit/arm are attached to a central column. Rotate that column around so the Decepticon symbol faces forward.
  4. Under the red column with the Decepticon symbol, flip the robot head down.
  5. Swing the front beast mode legs out to the side (they are both on a red hinge).
  6. Fold in the rear beast mode "bird" legs into the upper thigh piece (the purple round piece) and position the claws so that they align with the Maximal symbol on the robot chest.
  7. Swing the piece with the robot head attached to it up.
  8. On the red hinge of each robot arm there is a peg, attach that to the hole in the purple "bird leg" section.
  9. Swing the front beast mode legs on the red hinges so you can connect the two hinges together.
  10. Attach the "loincloth" piece to the black waist piece (you'll see two pegs there).
  11. On the robot legs, swing back the purple piece on the lower leg section and swing back the beast mode feet to reveal the robot feet and heels. Then swing the purple piece back to lick them into place.
  12. Detach the missile launchers from the wings and place thim in Razorclaw's left hand on the top and bottom.

Robot Mode:
Tigerhawk looked like one tough customer, and he was the white, almost angelic Maximal version of this toy! In this case, with his dark colors, Razorclaw looks absolutely badass. He's proof that a beast based Transformer can have an incredible looking robot mode. The first thing to always jump out at me with this mold is the head. It's quite intricate in design, and its expression is very well done. The asymmetry mentioned before carries over to this form as well. The left side of the head is clearly the "organic" side, complete with fur like detailing near the crest. The right side is the "techno" side, made up of straight lines and smooth curves. The face has two silver eyes which glare at you from behind a translucent red visor. The mouth is set with gritted teeth, looking like Razorclaw is ready for a fight anytime, anywhere.

The upper body design is a great mixture of beast and bot. The center is all mechanical and painted purple, with a green Maximal symbol at the center. On either side of the chest are the "bird feet" from the beast mode folded up, which look fantastic spray painted in silver. Each arm has a different design from the other. The left arm has the beast mode head on the shoulder, looking almost like a skinned animal hanging off the arm of a savage. The lower arm has mechanical details in the form of a tube leading to a rectangular box. The right arm is black with silver fingers/claws. At the end of the arm are two blasters mounted on top of the hand. For those wondering why there's a cockpit on his shoulder, the original Tigerhawk toy, along with Optimal Optimus and Transmetal 2 Megatron were intended to have small figures inside their cockpits representing the "inner essence" of the robot, but this idea was scrapped (although the mini pilot figures did make the prototype stage). Razorclaw has just inherited this feature. I am glad that it was kept intact and not scrapped in favor of a plain orb on his shoulder. It's sort of a link to the history of not only the Tigerhawk figure, but the Beast Wars line that spawned it.

The "loincloth" detail is interesting as it gives the figure a rather regal appearance. Harkening back to ancient Earth times, the detail still uses its own unique reference point, being a combination of mechanical and "feather like" parts. The loincloth piece is purple, with the parts at its base painted black.

The robot legs are mostly black, with some purple on the lower legs and silver for the claws on the feet. It's interesting to note that despite being a different set of feet from the beast mode feet, the asymmetrical design scheme is still used here. The right foot is a purely blocky, angled mechanical foot while the right is a smooth, fur covered "organic" foot.

As noted above, Razorclaw has a Decepticon symbol in the central column. On Tigerhawk, there was a Maximal Spark Crystal. There is a Spark Crystal there, and it is a Maximal one, but from Beast Machines, not Wars. While many have criticized Hasbro for not taking the extra step to remold the chest piece so there is a Decepticon symbol instead of a Maximal one, I don't have much of a problem with it. In fact, it adds a level of intrigue to the character. He was originally a tool of the Vok and a Maximal, so what happened? Maybe that's one of the mysteries we'll learn in the future. As a side note, I love the look of the translucent center column. It looks like some mysterious Transformers power core, and having the symbol embedded in it is a bonus.

In this form, Razorclaw has thirteen points of articulation. This includes six points of articulation on each arm and leg.

Unfortunately not everything is perfect in Razorclaw-land. Although minor, there seems to have been either mold degradation or a deliberate change in the mold. The left fist hole has been altered. Whereas on Tigerhawk there was a hex design to the hole to give it extra grip on the weapons, Razorclaw's hand holes are just regular circular holes, and thus the missile launchers are rather loose when you place them in his hand. For display it's not a problem, but for play the missile launchers kind of flop all over the place if you move the figure around enough. However, they don't fall out easily, which is a silver lining of sorts.

Razorclaw is by no means a vastly superior release of the Tigerhawk mold. However, he's not significantly inferior either. Except for the holes in the hand problem, he is every bit as well made as Tigerhawk. Whether or not you get this toy will depend on how much you like redecos, or how much of a completist you are. I recommend it since they've kept it at a reasonable $19.99 price point. Any more than that and I'd say wait for the price to drop. Recommended with minor reservations.

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