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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
Robot Mode:
Alternate Mode:
Box Art:

Warcry's review of: Night Slash Cheetor

Name: Cheetor
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Warrior
Sub-Group: NA

I actually had a hell of a time finding this guy. Everywhere I went, Longhorns and Frostbites abounded. Cheetor, on the other hand, was nowhere to be seen. I'm not sure if that's just my incredibly bad luck, or if he's become a target for scalpers. Either way, I hope anyone who's out to get one has an easier time of it than I did.

One of the few Beast Machines Maximal designs that I find appealing, this version of Cheetor is one that I'm very happy to see getting revived. I was less than impressed with the Mega and Supreme versions of Cheetor released in the Beast Machines line, since both of them were out of scale and horridly ugly. The Night Slash mould was different, though; he had nice proportions while still maintaining the BM-style techno-organic look, and he had an insanely cool gimmick. The problem was that the original was mostly black and other dark colours, with translucent orange highlights. So, while he was a good figure, he wasn't a very accurate representation of BM Cheetor. The later CatSCAN repaint (a BotCon-exclusive figure) was equally neat, but he featured very non-Cheetor-ish colours (understandable, since he wasn't supposed to be Cheetor).

The Universe version is a different story. He's actually Cheetor, in proper Cheetor colours (which really makes me wonder why they left the Night Slash label on the guy at all...), in proper scale with the other Beast Machines moulds I've got. And that means that I've actually got a Cheetor to stand alongside my sparse BM collection. And that's a good thing.

Alternate Mode:
Cheetor's alternate mode is...well, a cheetah. But then, you probably knew that; even if you don't know the character, the name should be a dead giveaway. He's not anything resembling a realistic cheetah this time around, though. Instead, he's a surreal techno-organic cheetah that's virtually oozing feral viciousness.

As one might expect, Cheetor is mostly yellow in this mode. He has quite a few brown and gold parts as well, and translucent red is used on his paws, chest, head and spark crystal. His 'spots' are actually dark blue markings [the original preview pictures made them look like carbon scoring, which would have been awesome; in the finished version, however, they look like geometrically-applied crosshatches), lending him a little bit more oddness.

One of the main points that made the Beast Machines line unique was the blurring of robot and alternate modes. Cheetor is no exception, and robotic bits are highly visible here. First and foremost are the twin scimitars that stick out of his shoulders. His legs look highly artificial, especially the grey parts between his upper and lower knees (yes, you read that right!). A jet pack is mounted on his back, presumably a reference to his Transmetal II self. All of this serves to lend him a 'stripped-down' feel, as if he's had all of his outer layers ripped away until there was nothing left but his core (which, if you're a fan of the TV show, should seem particularly apt).

As a figure that was originally produced in the 'Battle for the Spark' sub-line, he's got to have a pointless spark-related gimmick. Thankfully it's mostly unobtrusive; pressing down on his spark crystal [a Beast Wars Maximal crystal, with the Autobot logo stamped over top] will cause his right arm to swing downwards while his left arm swings upwards.

Cheetor features an awesome seventeen points of articulation in this mode, giving him one of the most poseable alternate modes that I can think of. This mode alone is enough to make him an amazing figure, and it was reason enough for me to seek him out.

Robot Mode:
After a typical Beast Machines Maximal transformation (stand figure up then swap heads) we get a robot who seems every bit as stripped-down as his beast form did. He's mostly yellow, with the same grey, brown and gold highlights as he featured in beast mode. Same blue 'spots', too, and he shows even more translucent red.

An odd thing about this form; by extending his legs out to full (using the grey pieces that make up the center of his legs) as his instructions specify you get a gawky, rather unimpressive figure. Sure, he's quite tall (about eight inches, which is insane for a Deluxe figure), but he's misproportioned and ugly. I prefer to configure him a bit differently; since the extra bits in his legs feature quite a few joints, I simply fold them up a bit. It gives him a bit more reasonable proportions, as well as making it look like he's preparing to pounce on an unwary foe.

Now that we've got his legs posed reasonably, lets take a look at Cheetor's weapons. Like most (if not all) BM Maximals, he doesn't carry any sort of gun. He does have two scimitars built into his shoulders, though. Pressing the switches on the outside of each shoulder will make his swords automatically spring into his hands. That is without a doubt the slickest, most fundamentally cool gimmick I've ever seen on a Transformer toy. I'm not a fan of silly light-and-sound displays when it comes to my gimmicks. I like stuff that would actually be useful to the Transformer if he were real, and the automatic swords definitely are. Not only does it spare him the trouble of having to dig around for his weapons, it also means that if his enemies wanted to disarm him, they'd have to literally disarm him. Neato.

Cheetor features fifteen 'conventional' points of articulation. Add in his articulated-but-useless thumbs and the joints that his swords swing on, and you've got a grand total of nineteen. His shoulders are restricted somewhat by the mechanisms that work his spark crystal gimmick (it works in robot mode too, by the way, but it's still pointless), but they can still rotate freely in a circle.

There's only one thing that really bugs me about Cheetor's robot mode: his head. First off, it's way too small. Secondly, he's got some sort of scary malevolent grin plastered on his face that really doesn't go too well with his heroic good guy personality. And thirdly...well, I guess this is more of a personal taste thing, but he just doesn't look like Cheetor to me. I suppose it's a pretty good likeness of Beast Machines Cheetor's head, but it still doesn't seem right to me; I'd like it better if it had the same general shape that the three Beast Wars versions of Cheetor had shared, but then no one asked for my opinion when they were designing the Beast Machines Maximals...

Still, that's a pretty minor concern overall. Once you figure out how to arrange his ridiculously long legs into an aesthetically pleasing configuration, Night Slash Cheetor is a cool robot.

Transformation: 2 - The downfall of many a Beast Machines Maximal. Just because you want to blur the lines between beast and robot doesn't mean you should have so little difference between the two...
Durability: 8 - They built him pretty solid, considering his stripped-down appearance.
Fun: 10 - He's got automatic swords! What else does he need?
Price: 9 - A currently-available deluxe figure is hardly going to break the bank...
Summary: 8.5 - He's not without problems, but Night Slash Cheetor is a fun figure with the potential to be aesthetically pleasing if posed properly. This is probably the best of the Beast Machines Maximal moulds and it would be a shame if a beast-era fan didn't have at least one version of it in his collection. Highly recommended.

 
 
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