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Skyquake87's Review: Prime Beast Hunters Darksteel

Name : Darksteel
Allegiance: Predacon
Function: None Specified. Probably a bad ass space ninja or something

Bio: Darksteel is ready to annihilate the Autobots in glorious combat

Darksteel lumbered into view during Transformers : Prime : Beast Hunters : Predacons Rising, the TV Movie capstone to the longest running Transformers TV show since the original 1980s cartoon. He palled around with Skylynx and was first glimpsed in the shadows for a dramatic reveal. Along with Skylynx, he didn't do a whole lot more and was last seen making friends with Predaking before disappearing off into the sunset. Unusually for a Prime TV show character, he got a decent and appropriately beefy Voyager toy, rather than a piddly Cyberverse toy or er, nothing at all. The figure was released as an exclusive to all markets as part of the Predacons Rising imprint.

The toy was beaten to market by mould-mate Grimwing, whose mixtures of white and green I didn't particularly care for. The Predacons as a sub line in Prime are a pretty unimpressive bunch, but Darksteel here makes a better go of the concept than most.

I bought him because he looked cool. That's pretty much all there is to it. I like the blue colours and the rather more appealing design work on the packaging for the Predacons Rising toys. Shame there's no individual character art and all the boxes are promoting Predaking - the biggest and most expensive toy in the range. This sort of cost cutting on the packaging for Transformers always seems to signpost a line that's in trouble, treading water or on a hiding to nothing (c.f. Beast Machines) whilst the next big thing is put into motion. Somehow doesn't mean some quality control is exercised and we still get a mountain of crap. Thankfully, Darksteel is very much a diamond in the rough of the Beast Hunters imprint.

Robot Mode: The robot mode is a nice burly set of muscular curves with a nice round marble of a head. He has a nice stoic yet slightly angry expression. The serrated jiggery-pokery that has spoilt a lot of the Beast Hunters toys is kept to a minimum, with just some nice sharp shapes for the hands, feet and would you just look at those handsome wings? Posability is decent with ball and swivel joints, plus he has a neck. It's spoilt as ever by the ever so slightly sloppy design work that's hobbled a lot of recent Transformers. As is commonplace these days, the shoulders and torso are a bit of a mess as these parts don't lock together at all, which means he's a proper pain if you just move anything, as suddenly a ton of other parts start to slop about. The legs are these hefty things which have decent sized feet that should support him just fine. So its a bit of a shame he has these ugly great stabilisers clumping up the slick design. He does have some fun accessories. In addition to his mad looking bird faced grappling gun, he has two U-shaped daggers that are housed in his shoulders. The colours are simple, just dark blue and grey with a couple of dollops of bright orange, but it looks pretty good. 8/10

Alternate Mode: I think the designers were reaching for a sort of griffin styled thing here, but they've given him a beak, so Darksteel just looks like a four legged chicken. It's rather nice looking all the same and can actually strike some decent poses. The wings can do as you please and you can clamp on the grappling bird headed thing for an attack mode, although it doesn't sit comfortably due to the contours of the beast mode, which rather hobbles the thing. Still, he's a pretty fearsome chicken-dragon and again the simple colour palette works well. 7/10

Transformation Design: Its the same as all the other Predacons. Take beast mode, stand beast mode up, job done. There's a couple of extra steps of fiddly nonsense around the head and lower legs, but honestly these feel like they've just been jammed in to justify the Voyager price point. The weakest area is the whole shoulders / torso area. I don't know what the thinking is at Hasbro HQ at the moment, but this constant steam of Transformers across everything from mainline retail releases to high end collector pieces that are all undone by rubbish shoulders is unacceptable. Sort it out. 4/10

Durability: Unusually for a modern figure, there's little honeycombing on this figure. His plastics feel tough and resilient and he should be able to withstand a fair amount of playtime abuse. 9/10

Articulation: Ball joints, swivel joints, bending, pouncing, punching, looking pretty frickin' righteous, yeah Darksteel has a fantastic level of articulation that befits this brutal looking bruiser. There's nothing that feels missing or skimped on. Lack of a waist joint isn't a deal breaker for me when you've all this other stuff going on. 9/10

Fun: Yeah, Darksteel is lots of fun. He's a good looking toy with a fun accessories. Sure, he has his flaws, but c'mon he looks hardcore. Easily the best of the entire bunch of Predacon toys Beast Hunters has given us, although it's not like he's had stiff competition. 8/10

Price/Value: The Predacons Rising imprint has been a store exclusive in pretty much all territories which means you're looking at the full RRP for the guy. In terms of what the Prime line has been serving up at this price point, he's one of the better pick ups. 8/10

Overall: Darksteel is probably the one Transformers : Prime : Beast Hunters toy that's actually worth the bother. Whilst the rest of the line has served up dismal retools with horrible colours and imagination-free beasts, Darksteel transcends the limitations of his aesthetic by jettisoning a lot of the things that made the other toys rubbish. He's just a good, solid toy with some cool design work and nice features. Bit of a shame the same thinking wasn't applied to the rest of the Beast Hunters imprint. 8/10
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