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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Kremzeek75's review of: Shadow Panther

Name: Shadow Panther
Allegiance: Destron
Function: Disguise Soldier
Sub-Group: NA

Outer appearance looks like a Cybertron but in fact he is a Predacon soldier. Shadow Panther specializes in performing surprise attacks from the darkness. He doesn't stop his hunts until he has preyed upon countless Maximals.

One of the more curious purchases out of my recent Takara Beast Wars II/Neo has to be Shadow Panther, a rather sleek re-coloring of the the Cheetor mold- Shadow Panther was a Takara Exclusive, but was actually assigned to the American Beast Wars line. Since he fit in with my "Takara BW only" buying kick lately, I decided to pick him up, and was subsequently quite impressed. Honestly, I was never particularly fond of the Cheetor character (at least not until he matured robot-designwise in the Beast Machines era). There was just something about the coloring that always bugged me- he was too bright and looked too "kiddy"- even for a kid's toy. After purchasing Shadow Panther, I was in the mindset that "well, it's a Takara exclusive, so I will buy it for that reason, even though I don't really care for Cheetor." Well, I guess coloring was the key factor because I grew to admire Shadow Panther greatly after taking him out of the package.

Alternate Mode:
If you are familiar with the Cheetor character and toy, then you pretty much know what you are dealing with here- Shadow Panther just happens to be in a color scheme all his own, and that was the basic thing that sold me on this particular re-coloring of the panther. As an equal admirer of nature, I have always liked the black panther for it's sleekness, scarcity, and overall beauty. Likewise, Shadow Panther possesses those qualities; I mean, thinking of all the Transformers incarnations of black panthers in the past, they were usually pretty cool characters- G1 Ravage, BW Ravage, and the future Transmetal Tripredacus Agent. In my opinion, Shadow Panther fits right up there in that particular group. There seems to be this natural relationship between the Decepticon/Predacon Faction and the Black Panther- cunning, sleek, and deadly. Unfortunately, there are a few detractors to the mold itself- the front legs are basically stationary, and the head lacks any articulation other than some creepy red eyes. Usually, the Beast Wars characters had the ability to open their jaws, but not here. The rear legs are totally maneuverable, but it is kind of useless since they depend on the front set of legs. I also tend to think that the tail could have been a little more articulate, but since it actually becomes one of two weapons for the robot mode, I can see past that.

Robot Mode:
Of the two modes, I am more impressed with the robot mode of Shadow Panther. The transformation sequence wasn't terribly hard, and basically you have a very well built robot here with an added distinction of a sweet color scheme, which is primarily black with metallic and yellow highlights. The arms and legs are extremely articulate, and you also get not one but two weapons to let Shadow Panther battle the Maximals with- as previously stated, the tail/rear hind quarters become a laser gun, and the chest piece becomes a water-squirting laser. However, I'm not really fond of the whole "water pistol" aspect of some of the Beast Wars figures, Shadow Panther included. Rest assured, I won't be soaking my other transformers in water any time soon. Another cool feature is that Panther's head, which is an exact replica of Cheetor's, can flip over to reveal an almost insect-like face, and I like having the choice of "which head do I want to see today?" I think that the biggest detractor of the robot mode is the fact that the panther head sticks out way too far, which makes it hard to see the robot head- it's too bad that the panther head could not have fit farther into the chest cavity to reveal more details of the robot head, but alas, I can live with it. Other sharp details include a metallic cod piece, metallic legs that have black "rippers" as a call them- they remind me of tiny shark-like caudal fins, and there are 3 per leg.

Transformation: 5 - not too hard, but manipulation of the chest cavity and how the robotic arms fit into that can be a little tricky.
Durability: 9 - we have a solid bot here- all the joints are tight, both in robot and alternate mode.
Fun: 7 - In alt mode, there's not too much you can do due to the stationary legs, but once you get him into robot mode, articulation and pose-ability is endless.
Price: 8 - Since Shadow Panther was a Takara Exclusive, he cost me between 15 and 20 dollars at a specialty store I frequent. I think he was worth it just for being a Japanese Exclusive and a much better recoloring of the Cheetor mold.
Summary: 9 - Looking for all the things Cheetor could have been, but wasn't? This is your bot. Shadow Panther was a definite asset to my collection, not just for the collectable aspect, but for the killer black panther aspect as well.

 
 
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