Now roughly 20 years old, the toy for Cybershark holds up well. His head has unusually good paint, the design just plain works, and he walks the fine line of cute and creepy. What's more, you can tell that he's a not-so-distant ancestor of Sky-Byte thanks to that shark's being a redeco of the evolved form of Cybershark - 1998's Transmetals 2 Cybershark. If anything, it seems the Generations Sky-Byte owes a few design cues to this little fellow.
Beast Wars' fame and fortune largely comes from the universal approval of its television program - of which Cybershark was largely absent. The toy really stood out on the shelves and was sadly gone by the time I started buying these toys around 1998 and 1999, but it made a big enough impression that I had to have one. I don't have a lot of hammerhead shark toys, let alone rocket-firing robot ones.
The figure is, for all intents and purposes, a shellformer. The shark's face rockets off - it's a rocket launcher - and you split the body down at the belly. Pop off the tail, and fold out the body - it's pretty simple. You get a robot with about 15 points of articulation, and some of the sharpest deco I've seen from the era. Not only are the eyes and teeth painted, but they have black outlines to bring them to life. The helmet even has metallic blue paint which matches the shark mode. There really aren't any special colors here that you won't find elsewhere on the toy, but it's still impressive.
The tail has a flip-out jagged blade to use as a handheld weapon, and the hammerhead also becomes a handheld weapon of some sort. The rocket launcher now appears as the robot chest, and can flip forward to launch the shark head or one of two exquisitely sculpted rockets. Each rocket is unpainted, but sculpted with tiny details that make it amazing. The fishy fireblast has eyes and gills, in addition to the usual tabs to fit in the launcher to ensure a straight launch. One of the nice things about Beast Wars toys is that on the whole, they were still toys. "Robot changes to creature!" wasn't sufficient - you had automatic transformations, spring-loaded gimmicks, pinching actions, and other forms of play to keep things interesting. Hasbro seems to let those come and go these days, but seeing a toy that works as a toy always makes me happy.
As a shark he's pretty big and solid - but there's not a lot for him to do. Granted, he can do things - he's got ball-jointed fins! Why? I don't know! But he does! The head is spring-loaded and can launch to attack Predacons, just like a real shark. For whatever reason, in the USA the Maximals basically rule the seas - there aren't many aquatic Predacons, even in Japan. (There are, of course, some.) The creature itself isn't an exact replica of the hammerhead shark, but it looks and feels a lot like a 1990s CG recreation of one thanks to the metallic blue spots and sparkly skin. It's worth noting there's a generous application of a cream-colored paint to the belly too. Kenner didn't skimp on this one - and for only ten bucks, it's a good toy even for back then.
Cybershark (and his remolds, Sharp Edge and Hellscream/Overbite) aren't terribly expensive on eBay but it is worth noting that the price range is pretty severe. Patience is rewarded when you look to buy one. I can't say it's a must-buy toy that will change your life, but it's fun and it does things and 20 years on, I still like it. Every Transformers toy should be at least this good.
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