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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Warcry's review of: Scorponok

Name: Scorponok
Allegiance: Predacon
Function: Desert Attack Commander
Sub-Group: NA

The searing summer heat of the Mojave desert turns it into a dry, barren wasteland. A place where only the strong survive. A place the vicious Scorponok calls home. With hidden robotic technology incorporated into its scorpion body structure, this desert attack specialist surprises enemies 3 different ways: by launching its robotic bee; firing a 2-shot missile blast; and by using its terrifying tail for poisonous cyber-strikes!

In the Beast Wars line, it was very rare to find a figure that qualified as a clear-cut homage to an earlier character. Out of those, Scorponok was probably the most obvious. Scorpy's design is very heavily influenced by the original Scorponok figure's appearance, something I will expand upon later. That design similarity probably drew a great number of G1 fans into buying him; it certainly did for me. It probably didn't hurt either that Scorponok was one of the few characters to get a role in the Beast Wars cartoon. He was part of Megatron's original crew and appeared frequently in season one of Beast Wars. However, he received next to no characterization before being written out of the show at the end of the season.

Alternate Mode:
Shockingly, Scorponok's alternate mode is a scorpion. It's a far more sleek scorpion than either the G1 or Energon incarnations, though. Scorpy is very organic-looking in this mode, though he's not a particularly realistic representation of any specific type of scorpion from what I've heard. I'm not particularly bothered by that, what with not being an entomologist. People with an interest in bugs might find it annoying, though.

Scorponok's carapice is mostly black, but his legs and quite a few of his joints are bright red. His claws are blueish-grey, and each conceals a different weapon. He features five points of articulation in his tail and four on each arm. Only his right claw opens, due to the gimmick installed in the left one. There's really not much in the way of poseability here, though; the claws are too heavy to do anything but rest on the ground, and the tail's gimmick constrains it to only moving forwards.

As you probably pieced together by now, Scorponok has three seperate gimmick attacks; one in each claw and one in his tail.Unfortunately, the gimmicks really don't do anything to make him a better toy. As I said above, the tail gimmick (a lever on the base of the tail that you can press to make the tail strike at something) significantly diminishes the posability of the tail. To make things worse, the tail is too short to actually be able to hit anything, anyway. To make things worse, the tail itself is succeptable to snapping off right where it connects to Scorponok's main body (this happened to mine, and I frequently see others on eBay with the same problem).

The claw gimmicks, meanwhile, also fall flat on their face. Scorpy's right claw contains a spring-loaded double-barrelled missile launcher. The launcher manages to fire its projectiles a good distance, but it's really poorly-built (the plastic used to make the claws is really soft, too, which doesn't halp matters any). I've had to take Scorponok apart at least three times to repair the launcher when one or the other of the springs slipped out of allignment and the missiles wouldn't lock in place. His left claw contains a ridiculous 'cyber bee'. Actually, that's not entirely accurate. The top half of his left claw transforms into a ridiculous 'cyber bee'. Like the missile launcher, the launching mechanism for the bee tends to malfunction from time to time. Eventually I just disabled it completely. To be perfectly honest, Scorponok would have been a better toy if the designers had sidestepped the desire to put gimmicks in his claws and designed them for gripping stuff instead.

Scorponok's beast mode is rather mediocre. It's nice-looking, but really doesn't have much else going for it.

Robot Mode:
Scorponok's robot mode carries over much of the colour scheme from his beast configuration. His torso and upper arms and thighs are black, while his lower legs and claws are mainly grey-blue. Red highlights occasionally break up the otherwise-dark scheme, making it striking and distinctive.

Scorponok has useful articulation at the hips, knees, shoulders, elbows, left claw and tail, for a grand total of fourteen points (I refuse to count the seperate hinges on the tail as seperate points because they can only move in tandem). That's a bit below-average, especially when you consider that only Scorpy's hips feature ball joints. It doesn't make too much difference, though, because about 80% of Scorponok's weight falls above his waist. He'll collapse under his own weight in most of the poses you can put him in, a problem that increased articulation could only have made worse.

Scorpy's a Mega-sized figure, but he's surprisingly small for something in that size range. Measured to the shoulder (and thus ignoring the scorpion's tail that projects up over his head), he's only a hair taller than your average BW Deluxe figure. He's quite a bit more massive than a Deluxe, though; his broad chest and huge claws give him the appearence of a bulky warrior, and the tail makes up for the short stature a little bit. He's still quite a bit smaller than a modern Mega, but modern Megas are the same size (and the same relative price) as an Ultra from the Beast Wars era so that's not really a fair comparison. Actually, reviewing this guy reminded me of how much I miss being able to easily get figures of this size...that's niether here nor there, though.

His tail and claw gimmicks all work in this mode, although the tail is, if anything, less useful as a weapon now. He's got another gimmick in this mode, too; like many other early Beast Wars figures, Scorponok has a 'battle mask' that can cover up his face and give him a more fierce, animalistic appearance. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Scorponok's mask is actually really nice. In fact, he's probably the only figure that I actually think looks better with his mask on than with his bare robot face showing. His un-masked face is the cartoon-accurate one, though, so most people probably won't put too much stock in that feature.

Scorponok's robot mode is quite a lot like his beast mode: stylish and appealing, but lacking in play value.

Transformation: 7 - The engineering is nice, though the execution could have used a bit more work.
Durability: 3 - His tail snaps off easily, the firing mechanisms for his missiles and cyber-bee are weak, and his claws are made from plastic that is far too soft.
Fun: 5 - Too many gimmicks jammed into too little real estate makes Scorpy an exercise in frustration more often than not.
Price: 7 - Beast Wars figures, even figures of show characters, aren't too expensive these days. I can't give an exact price quote here, though, because I got my Scorpy back when the BW line was just kicking off.
Summary: 5.5 - I wish I could justify a higher mark, but top-heavy construction, over-reliance on gimmicks and low durability seriously detract from what would otherwise be a top-shelf figure. He's obviously a must-have if you're trying to collect all of the characters that appeared on the BW show, but otherwise I'd recommend you steer clear of him.

 
 
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