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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Kamen's review: Night Slash Cheetor

Name: Night-Slash Cheetor
Fuction: Nocturnal Warrior
Subgroup: Beast Machines Deluxe Beasts


"What canít be seen, cannot be defeated"

Night Slash Cheetor's prowess in battle grows as rapidly as he moves over the surface of Cybertron. Boasts incredible speed and maneuverability. When used with highly advanced stealth armor, he's virtually invisible to every known Vehicon radar or tracking system. Hits before Vehicons even know it. Will eliminate entire battalion of drones single-handedly. New armor includes vicious dual blade sword attack that makes all Vehicons keep their distance in battle. His abilities have negative psychological effect on Vehicon generals, whose drones seem to be useless in combat.


Night Slash Cheetor is part of the later half of the Beast Machines line, called "Battle for the Spark". This wave of figures incorporated an action feature related to the figureís spark crystal. Most of the figures that appeared in this line also had the distinction of being far more accurate to their CGI models than the original figures were.

Alternate Mode:

One thing youíll notice right off when looking at the figure is that the normal cheetah colors have been reversed. Instead of being yellow with black spots, Cheetor is midnight blue with yellow spots Appropriate for a character sporting the title "Night-Slash", I suppose. Midnight blue and yellow arenít his only colors, of course. A splash of metallic green appears near the ends of his paws, which are themselves cast in translucent orange plastic. The same orange plastic also appears around his neck and in his eyes, for a pretty light-piping effect. Black is used as a stop point, and appears on his lower forepaws, rear paws, and the tips of his knees. Itís also used for the thruster on his back. For filler, grey and silver are used to break up the darker colors, the former appearing on his back legs and tail, and the latter appearing near his mid-section and around his spark crystal. His spark crystal is located on his back.

In terms of general structure, the figure is composed entirely of sweeping triangles, making for a very lithe and dynamic looking beast. His head is squared off, with ears swept back and a mouth full of teeth. I donít think it looks particularly like a cheetah head myself, but it has nice mechanical grooves, including "whisker" grooves, and what appear to be air intakes below his ears. The front and rear limbs have a similar pattern of detail, chips and grooves giving the figure a layer appearance, while keeping many areas smooth. Cheetorís level of detailing is nice because its enough to make him look mechanical, without making him look too busy with wires and tubing. He does, however, have a few wires or tubes running down his mid-section, but this is the only place they appear, and donít look bad at all.

Even the jetpack on his back is detailed by only a few hills and valleys. The thruster heads are tucked inside the block, and can be view only from the rear. Cheetorís previous forms (Transmetal and Transmetal II) both had thrusters on their backs, and the inclusion of the jet-pack here is a homage to his roots. However, considering he does not have a jet back in the show, I think they could have done without it. If you havenít seen the show, on the other hand, the jet-pack actually does work with the sweeping angles, and it makes a kind of sense for a mechanical cheetah to have an extra boost I guess. Along that same line, the detailing on Cheetor is entirely mechanical, even though the Maximals in Beast Machines are supposed to be a fluid mix of technology and biology.

Cheetor has seven points of articulation, all contained in his legs, though getting him into natural looking poses can be a bit of a bother for reasons Iíll get to later. His head also has an interesting snarling feature that activates when you move his head back and forth. Itís simple but adds a spot of realism to the figure.

Robot Mode:

Like a lot of Beast Machineís figures, Cheetorís robot mode is essentially the same as his beast mode, with three main differences: his rear paws are backward, and he has his robot feet revealed, his robot head has replaced his beast head, and heís standing erect on his hind legs. Thatís it.

Of the two new pieces, his head has the most detail. Itís very long, but that works with the other angles on the toy, otherwise, it seems to have been sculpted with a bicycle helmet in mind, by the way it frames his face. He even has a chin strap! The face itself is sculpted to be very feral and catlike, and is one of the few places the figure appears to have any organic element whatsoever. His toes are fairly bland, but they are constructed out of several triangular components, which is in keeping with the rest of the aesthetic.

Some more detail is now obvious on his chest, which I donít count as new detail, because his robot chest is the same as the beast modeís belly. The detail is just more obvious by courtesy of Cheetorís erect stance. On the pectoral region of his chest, Cheetor has a nice set of mechanical ornaments. Iím not really sure what the design is supposed to be (this does not appear on his animation model), but it looks like a circuit board to me. On his abdominal region and four ovular indentions mirror the same design that appears in the cartoon.

Of the new visible parts, his toes are cast in solid black plastic, while his head is a bit more colorful. His face is sculpted in dark grey, with white applied to his teeth. The chinstrap and sides of his head are cast in metallic green plastic. Midnight blue fills out the rest. His eyes and the top of his head are made from translucent orange plastic-a trait shared with his robot chest-to allow for light piping, which works very well on this figure.

The robot head rests on a ball joint, but there is no new articulation otherwise.

Gimicks:

Like the other figures in the "Battle for the Spark" line, Cheetor has an action feature built into his spark crystal. Simply press the spark on his back and his arms will move up and down. In beast mode, this looks a tad daft, since his claws are stubby--real cheetahs have blunt claws anyway--but its in robot mode where this feature really shines.

With the figure in robot mode, press the little black tabs on each of his shoulders and his swords will snap down and into his hands if you arrange them properly. The swords are cast in light grey plastic and donít have a lot of detail themselves, but his weapons on the show didnít either.

Once youíve flipped his swords down and press the button, he performs a slashing action. It looks neat and certainly brings to mind images of Cheetor slashing Vehicons limb from limb on the television show. As a bonus, open his chest before pressing the button, and youíll see what looks like a spark spinning with energy.

I do like this gimmick; however, it can be a chore to find a place to hold him without one of his arms whacking you in the finger. And, the Achilles heel of these features, the springs and gears that move his arms and flip his swords down severely limit the articulation of his arms. As much as I enjoy this gimmick, I would have enjoyed the poseability gained from ball joints in his elbows and shoulders more. He can still strike some nice poses, however

Transformation: 3/10 Beastformers are notorious for simple legs to limb transformations, which works I suppose. The only reason I give this a 3 is because you have to rotate his robot and beast head a certain way or they tend to get stuck.

Durability: 6/10 Iíve never had him fall, but if he did, Iíd be worried about his arms, since theyíre not on ball joints and the mechanics probably wonít survive being snapped off. Otherwise, his beast tail is removable to make his robot mode look more show accurate, and is therefore easily loose-able. Iím sure the sliders on his lower legs will eventually give way to gravity as well, but I suppose shrinking is just a part of growing old...

Fun: 8/10 He looks great in both modes, and his action feature is enjoyable. The lack of arm articulation really hurts him though.

Price: 5/10 He runs anywhere from 10 to 30 USD on ebay, and its about the same for the Universe repaint.

Overall: 8/10 Night-Slash Cheetor is a really good figure. He is extremely anime accurate, and has a fun action feature. Recommended for any fans of Beastformers or Beast Machines

 
 
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