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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Numbat's Review: Prime RID Skyquake

Name: Skyquake
Allegiance: Decepticon
Size Class: Robots in Disguise (RID) Prime Voyager / Powerizer Class

While most of the Prime RID characters have their roots solidly in G1, Skyquake is an exception: a character available only in Europe between the G1 and G2 lines. Effectively, Skyquake is the Decepticon leader from G1.5. As an awesome and huge green fighter-bomber, Skyquake was a distinctive Transformer. The G1.5 mould later saw wider release as Machine Wars Starscream and the original Universe line’s King Atlas. Despite being an awesome name, Skyquake saw little reuse, other than an obscure Botcon redeco of Energon Starscream, which hardly seemed appropriate.

When I learned that Skyquake was to return in Prime, I kept my eye out for the figure. After the photos began to appear online, I was impressed – the robot mode looked awesome, and the colourscheme was a lovely homage to the G1.5 figure. I waited for the release, only to be disappointed when his mould-brother (and actual brother) Dreadwing appeared in his place. Still, I thought, with the propensity for repaints, Skyquake was a nobrainer for a release in the near future, surely? We’d already seen the deco after all. Alas, no – Skyquake did not see release until the very end of the Prime RID line, meaning he was not carried by many stores at all as they were still getting rid of previous PRID figures in anticipation of restocking with the new Beast Hunters line. Frankly, there was no place in mass retail for Skyquake. Certainly not in the UK. Inevitably, this resulted in scalpers and specialist online stores charging a small fortune for Voyager Skyquake, and so I did the only sensible thing I could – I bought Dreadwing.

Then, one day, long after the end of PRID and its replacement by Beast Hunters, I walked into a B&M bargain store at lunchtime, to be met by a Skyquake staring off the shelf at me. And priced at only £11.99 GBP he was a bargain.

Was he worth the wait? Well, he was certainly worth £11.99!

Alternate Mode:

As with his G1.5 namesake, PRID Skyquake transformers into a fighter jet. However, although it is certainly bulkier than PRID Starscream’s jet mode, I would struggle to call it a fighter-bomber. But, then, perhaps the lines are more blurred nowadays anyway.

Measuring 7 ¾” (19.5cm) in length, nose to fingers (yes, we’ll get to that shortly...), with a wingspan of 6 ¾” (17cm), Skyquake is a compact but chunky fighter jet. Although the design is purely fictional, it does bear some resemblance to an F-22 Raptor in general shape/proportions. Sleek yet angular, Skyquake’s jet mode has trailing points on his dorsal tail fins, wings and funnly little spikes just behind the cockpit.

Most of the plane mode is a rich forest green, similar to the G1.5 toy. Black rubberised plastic is used for the nosecone, spikes behind the cockpit, and dorsal tail fins. This rubberised plastic is very flimsy – most obviously on the thin rear tail fins, which are apt to come out of the box deformed (as they did on my Dreadwing, which shares this defect). This is certainly something to be careful of when storing the figure. Some grey panels are also visible in jet mode, and really should have been painted green – the exact same panels are also grey and unpainted on Dreadwing. The cockpit is a gorgeous transparent amber plastic.

Red paint has been used on the leading and trailing edge of the wings, as well as the trainling edge of the horizontal tail fins. Dreadwing has gold paint picking out the trailing edges of both the horizontal tail fins and the wings, and with silver picking out the leading edge of the wings. I personally prefer the use of a single colour for these details on Skyquake – it seems more consistent, and less busy. Silver paint is used on Skyquake still, though – picking out the rear afterburner, Decepticon airforce symbol, and cockpit frame. The cockpit frame is a real deviation from Dreadwing, as this piece remained entirely unpainted transparent yellow, reaching back to the panels behind, and looked pretty shoddy. The added attention to detail on Skyquake is certainly welcome. Similarly, Dreadwing had random silver paint running on panels on the sides underneath the cockpit, leading to the nose cone. Skyquake leaves these areas green. All in all, Skyquake’s colourscheme and paint applications result in a far more cohesive jet mode than his brother and mould-twin, Dreadwing.

However, Skyquake shares the same major fundamental design flaws that are present in Dreadwing, and no amount of well-thought-out paint applications will ever hide these. As with so many plane Transformers, Skyquake is lumbered with loads of robot kibble on the underside. The legs are simply folded back alongside the arms – and those hands protrude beyond the afterburner and tail fins, which is totally unforgivable. Also, the waist pieces split in half and create a wide random angular block behind the cockpit which totally destroys the jet’s outline.

All-in-all the Dreadwing/Skyquake mould gives one of the worst jet modes in terms of kibble of any contemporary Transformer with the exception of Revenge of the Fallen Leader Class Jetfire. However, Skyquake’s paint applications result in a more coherent alternate mode than his brother, Dreadwing, despite these shared flaws.

That said, you don’t buy Skyquake or Dreadwing for the jet mode...

Robot Mode:

I love Skyquake / Dreadwing’s transformation. It’s so much fun to do. It’s as if all the parts of the plane explode outwards, then pull themselves back in to the robot configuration. One of the best transformations ever.

That said, it may be a little fiddly the first couple of times – so take care. Also, the transformation reveals issues you may have noticed straight out of the box, but will certainly note now if you overlooked them before: the plastic stresses extremely easily. This issue was present in Dreadwing, and has not been rectified for Skyquake.

The robot mode itself is definitely the main event where Skyquake excels. If Skyquake’s paint job gives a better jet, the improvement in robot mode compared with Dreadwing is even greater.

Standing 6 ¾” (17cm) tall, Skyquake is not the tallest Voyager Class robot in history, but he is very bulky and imposing regardless. The main colour remains that rich forest green, but more grey is now on show – and not just as a lazy accident. Grey for the hips, upper arms, upper legs, neck, hands and feet help break up the green. Silver becomes more obvious on the sides of Skyquake’s torso, just as it did on Dreadwing, while black picks out details on the feet and deep red is evident on the inside of the lower legs. More clear amber plastic is revealed on the arms, and the transformation design allows light piping straight through to the cockpit in robot mode – genius! The silver paint around the cockpit frame and rear panel is an immeasurable improvement over Dreadwing’s plain transparent yellow plastic piece here, even more obviously so than in the jet mode.

The robot mode is sleek but angular, evoking a samurai image.

The head sculpt is identical to Dreadwing’s, and perhaps the most obvious departure from the G1.5 namesake. The G1.5 Skyquake possessed an angular mechanical biomechanoid type head akin to their contemporary G2 figures (such as Clench – available at the same time in Europe). Prime Skyquake possesses a more stylised samurai type head – equally cool, and more in line with the Prime aesthetic. Skyquake’s head has been given more paint than Dreadwing’s – largely green, the face and part of the head crest is a dark gunmetal not used anywhere else, while the eyes are a piercing red and gold picks out the tips of the head crests.

Simply put, Skyquake looks absolutely awesome in robot mode.

Articulation does not disappoint – fully 19 meaningful points allow for a huge range of dynamic poses. Also, just to really spoil you, the jet wings can also be positioned to your preference, with two points of articulation each! The only negatives are the lack of waist joint (due to the transformation design) and limited angle articulation.

There is one real niggle in robot mode though – one shared with Dreadwing: the rear panels of the jet wings do not lock in place in robot mode, and so are apt to fall down and interfere with the robot mode silhouette. But, yeah, that’s it for serious niggles.

Well, unless you count the gun... It looks like an industrial hair drier (and not much better when it unfolds and lights up), and was consigned to storage immediately. On the plus side, Skyquake comes with a sword (identical to Dreadwing in every way including colour), which is far more fitting a samurai-styled warrior. (And I forgot to mention this sword can be stored on the fighter jet – it just looks really stupid!)

All in all, I really love the Skyquake / Dreadwing mould. The jet mode leaves a lot to be desired, but the transformation is so innovative and such great fun I can’t stop playing with them. The robot modes are also really awesome. Between the two, Skyquake is undoubtedly the better figure – the regardless of your preference between green and blue, the paint applications are far better giving more coherent jet and robot modes, leaving Dreadwing feeling unfinished by comparison.

Is this mould worth paying over the odds for as either Dreadwing or Skyquake? Certainly not: it’s not a phenomenal mode, as the jet mode is rather poor. Is this mould worth full retail price? Yes, I’d say so. I’d recommend picking this mould up for display alongside other Prime figures – if you have a choice go for Skyquake, but Dreadwing is a perfectly fun alternative.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 7 – PRID Voyager Skyquake has one of the most fun and innovative transformations out there. All the pieces explode outwards, and pull back in to the other mode in a really exciting way. However, while the robot mode is awesome the jet mode is rather poor, and the rear wing panels really should be secured in place somehow (even by a slightly angular joint). So he gets a high mark because of how interesting he is to convert, but there are shortcomings here too which you need to be aware of.
Durability: 5 – The rubberized plastic is very flimsy and may even come out of the box deformed (as it did on my Dreadwing, which has identical rubberized pieces). The figure comes out of the box with stress marks on the green plastic, which get worse the more your transform him (as is the case with the blue plastic on Dreadwing), and I worry the plastic may be brittle. These are serious issues which make me question the likelihood of Skyquake’s (and Dreadwing’s) longterm survival.
Fun: 10 – Skyquake is amazingly good fun – that transformation is just so awesome, and the robot mode is gorgeous and highly articulated.
Aesthetics: 6 – PRID Skyquake looks absolutely lovely in robot mode, while the mould simply fails as a jet. Skyquake is definitely better looking in either mode than his mould-brother Dreadwing due to the superior paint job.
Articulation: 9 – Skyquake is very well articulated for a Voyager Class figure, and is capable of many dynamic poses. However, due to his transformation design, he lacks waist articulation and has limited ankle articulation.
Value/Price: 10 / 6 / 2 – Skyquake is undoubtedly a ‘10’ if you can get him at knock-down price like I did (£11.99 GBP [$19 USD]). At full retail, he’d be a ‘7’. At the insane scalper prices, he’d be pushing a ‘2’. This is not the most phenomenal mould in history, as some people would try and have you believe, but he’s good fun for a normal figure.
Overall: 6 – PRID Voyager Skyquake is a fun figure, which a great robot mode and rather poor alternate mode. He is undoubtedly the better version of the mould, compared with his mould-brother Dreadwing. However, as already noted, this is not the phenomenal mould some people would try and have you believe so it’s certainly not worth scalper prices. If you can pick up a version of this mould at retail price, or better yet reduced, I’d highly recommend it. If you have a choice, Skyquake is the better release, but Dreadwing is a perfectly fun alternative.
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