Hasbro Transformers The Last Knight Premier Edition Steelbane Hasbro, 2017
Day #1,748: July 17, 2017
Steelbane St. George and the Dragoknight
Transformers The Last Knight Premier Edition Deluxe
Item No.: Asst. C0887 No. C2401 Manufacturer:Hasbro Includes:Nifty sword Action Feature:Transforms from Robot to Dragon Retail:$19.99 Availability:May June 2017 Other: Ancient Steampunky Dragon?
With The Last Knight we get characters with new names! Steelbane is sort of like Cybertron's Vector Prime - an ancient-looking knight robot - cast in grey with metallic blue. It's neat! The head looks like armor, and so does the body. The sword and the designs look a lot like the sci-fantasy stuff we're seeing more in video games lately, with cool designs and hints of energy from within. Out of the box, it was more than a little floppy - once you transform it from dragon to robot again, it feels a little bit better. As first impressions go, Steelbane had some issues.
Roughly 19 points of articulation give this unique (presumably) Autobot a wide range of movement, and just enough to get both hands on the sword. It make look a little wonky, but it works! The figure has ball-jointed ankles and slightly floppy hip joints, so you're going to want to be careful as you pose the aging, almost rusty, vaguely steampunky looking robot on your shelves. Everything more or less snaps in place, as there are various grooves and tabs that must be aligned perfectly otherwise it falls apart in a floppy mess - like those old German wooden push-puppet figures. Be careful with this one, transforming it correctly matters.
The deco is good, a radical departure from other figures in Transformers. Some nifty swirly plastic was introduced in Beast Hunters, but this time it looks like there was a decision to use paint to replicate the look of an aging, dusty suit of old armor. The deco actually seems to help a lot - the grey plastic underneath looks a little ghosty, so the pigment gives it a look of added value. The toy isn't expensive, but the paint gives it the illusion of costing more. With the price increase, that helps.
I like the sword, but it doesn't quite match the box art. This one has a lot more going on, seemingly forged out of some jagged space rock. If the grooves had blue energy flowing through them, it'd seem like it came out of Breath of the Wild. The grey is good, but I can't help but think casting it in clear plastic with a wipe of some sort would have given it incredible visual power. Oh, and a higher cost. A much higher cost. It's a perfectly nice little sword, and distinctive enough for the series to stand apart from the many other more mechanical or traditional swords.
Transformation is weird - you basically have to explode it all over the place and swing things around to get a weird dragon-like creature made out of armored limbs. I would suggest looking at the instructions, but you can probably do without it. The robot feet just hang off the head and tail, so knowing that the kibble should be there is important to getting it together correctly. It's a little irritating, but not one of the worse toys.
The dragon mode is both nifty and weird. There's no getting around the fact that the dragon is made up of armor chunks - but the head is really cool, and the tail isn't bad. I love the opening mouth and articulated horns, particularly the red tongue. This is a toy with personality. It's a strange personality, but at least it looks like it's trying to convey some sense of scale, or chaos, or dragon-ness. There isn't much detail that screams "robot dragon" here - there aren't many scales outside the wings, the arms and legs need to be positioned just-so to stand, and once he's in dragon form there's not a lot you can do to pose him. The neck moves a bit, the tail moves a bit, but the legs more or less need to be left where they are. I'd lean toward leaving it in robot mode.
While the movie toys represented a departure from the "classic" look, this one goes ever further away with something wildly different. It doesn't look much like a traditional Transformers toy, with a new style of head, distinctive new deco, and a weapon unlike what you usually see. It definitely feels like it's from another era, and it seems like it could also work as another "lost colony" not too far removed from the classic toys. The lack of overwhelming kibble or the "shards" seen on many of the movie designs makes this one seem exciting. If you're looking for something different, this is it - just be prepared to experience some minor frustration with the slightly loose joints and not-great-out-of-the-box robot mode.
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