Transformers Beast Machines Deluxe Dinobots
Item No.: Asst. 80465 No. 80514 Manufacturer:Hasbro Includes:2 feather bombs, energy destabilizer pistol Action Feature:Transforms from Archaeopteryx to robot Retail:$9.99 Availability: ca. Fall 2000 Other: Only US release of Beast Wars Neo Archadis Mold
Hasbro was frequently caught unawares of its success in the early 2000s. It was not uncommon to see things like repaint waves to meet demand for new product - Airraptor came as part of the Deluxe Dinobots, a subset of Beast Machines deluxe toys featuring - you guessed it - Dinobots. This was the first one I got, and I remember being happy to score a Japanese mold like this one quite cheaply but got the other one later anyway. What's particularly fascinating about this one is that there's a different faction symbol - a Dinobot faction with a Triceratops skull was used and there are only 8 of them on this special team of Vehicon fighters.
Most of the names walked the fine line between original, descriptive, and impossibly obvious. The T-Rex is named T-Wrecks. The bird-like feathered one? Airraptor. Triceradon is a Triceratops... you get the idea. Dinotron really drew the short straw, or perhaps Hasbro decided "Pachecephalotron" might not have been as easy to spell.
Anyway, Airraptor is amazingly unique for several reasons - this is the only toy with that name so far, and this is the only time this mold was ever used. That doesn't happen much. The coloration is significantly different from the Japanese original but it's not obvious at first glance - the color layouts are quite similar, and are fantastic. Green and orange paint are applied like candy to blue plastic, giving it an even and vibrant look. Red eyes, white teeth, and a black mouth were all painted on the bird head. No shortcuts were taken here, it's about as great as you could hope for in 2000 or even 2014. His 8 3/4-inch wingspan ain't bad, plus he's 7 3/4-inches long. It is, again, nice. There are buttons on the wing which cause the clawed hands on the wing to pop out and drop the feather bombs. After you activate them you can easily flip out hidden cannons in the arms. Between the skin and feather textures, there aren't a heck of robotic bits but you will see hints of the robot arms and legs while in bird mode. It's imperfect. The neck has 2 meaningful points of articulation, the wings can be posed to "flap" or "walk," and each leg has 3 joints each.
Even for its time, this was a pretty impressive specimen. I would say the most striking and surprising detail on this toy are a bunch of green markings under the tail feathers - you never really see them except during transformation, so seeing things like this and all of the claws and fingers painted really makes you wonder just how much money they had to cut on these things over the years.
While not simple, transformation isn't a pain in the neck. Fold down some legs, turn the big wings into a poncho, and so on and so forth - you can only see his Dinobot Spark Crystal during this process, otherwise the faction symbol is completely hidden in both modes. My absolute favorite bit in here is that the tail feathers can rotate around, causing a geared weapon to land smoothly in the figure's clawed hand. It's just so perfect - it's a simple, lively piece of engineering and you can choose to not have the gun in his hand, or remove it completely. It pegs into place and can be lost if you aren't careful.
The robot itself is about on par with other toys of his time in terms of articulation - I count about 14 meaningful joints, including the bird jaw and everything else. Ball-jointed ankles do wonders to stabilize this figure in almost any pose you so choose, and it's a shame more figures don't have rock solid ankles like this guy. The figure looks sort of like he's wearing a brightly-colored death macaw, and the bird head as a hand is certainly a clever (but totally precedented) use of beast kibble. The bird feet hang off the buttock region, and there are feather kibble bits everywhere. The red robot mask is a nice touch, plus there are metallic silvery blue bits to add even more personality. It's a colorful, beautiful 5-inch tall mess.
This version of the toy can be had for $15 or less, as can his Japanese sibling. I remember getting the Archadis vs. Mach Kick 2-pack for about $20, because let me tell you imported Beast Wars toys were a worthless glut by the end of the 1990s with few exceptions. Despite getting this figure being an incredibly vivid memory - I was in college and took my bicycle several miles to get him at Toys R Us in Tucson (jealous, ladies?) but didn't futz with him a lot. I think it was because I was afraid of losing the feather bombs, which did get separated a few times over the years - but he's all here, he's bright, and I think I'm going to keep him on display now. It's too pretty to put away.
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