The best thing about Transformers as the original generation went on was its descent into weirdness. Cars and planes were gone, by the late 1980s we were getting fantastic toy monsters like Flamefeather as our token Decepticon toys. Everybody remembers Soundwave, Starscream, and Astrotrain, but what about Flamefeather, Sparkstalker, and Cindersaur? These little guys were tons of fun but the fact they can transform into a robot is not the most interesting thing about them.
The creature mode is the real selling point of this trio of Decepticon warriors. Flamefeather is some sort of birdlike monster which you probably feel like you fought at the end of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link somewhere. He can walk around on two legs with articulated hips and shoulders, or you can push his head forward and move his limbs back to lay him on his belly. Why do you want to do this? Because he can shoot out sparks, that's why. There's a wheel on his belly which activates a little mechanism which causes sparks to fly from his head, and my sample actually still works. (The same cannot be said for my Cindersaur.) It's a great fun little cheapo-style toy from the old days, and exactly the sort of thing you won't be selling kids in 2011. It's a crying shame that this kind of mechanism and toy is basically gone from the world.
The monster mode has all sorts of detail, although it's not impressive by modern standards. Or standards of 1988. There are little feathers sculpted here and there, plus some claws and the odd robot part. The toy feels like it may have been a first draft, but I'm OK with that. He's quite charming.
While I love the monster mode most, you'll want to turn him into his chunky, craptacular robot form eventually. To see it, just rotate down the legs, rotate up the tail, and split the wings along the back. Presto-- there's your brick robot that is Flamefeather. In robot mode he's almost no fun. I barely transformed these as a kid just because the monsters were so neat, and the robots just didn't do a damn thing. I guess if you get one, you can wait 23 years and then take a picture of it. That's what I did.
As a robot, it's OK-- not great, but I don't see why you wouldn't want to keep him as a monster. The robot mode has little articulation and is a little... uh... strangely shaped. The legs become the legs, arms fold out, and the head is under the creature head. There's not a lot of articulation here-- this is common with Transformers of the era-- and as was common with movie and post-movie toys, the alt modes were often as cool as the robot. Or cooler, really. This one's cooler.
A fairly uncommon translucent neon rerelease of this figure happened as part of Generation 2 in 1994, and given the option I'd say the original is way cooler to look at. The original G1 toy, as reviewed here, can be had for $15 or less out of the packaging. Take care to note the condition of the tire-- these may be crumbling with age-- and the spark mechanism. It's very likely both will be in bad shape due to time and heavy play. Oh, and Flamefeather's Japanese toy was named "Sizzle." Thanks, TFWiki!
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