The Phantomstrike Squadron Skywarp, Shrute, Fracas, and Terror-Daxtyl is labeled as a "Battle Pack," a Hasbro gift set that usually gives you a bunch of toys at a slight discount over individual ones. Amazon opted to go the other way - this set gives you about $48 of toys for $50. If you have been buying all the Seekers, you'll want this Skywarp because it's a gorgeous one and it has three little buddies to go with it. I got pretty tired of the Crisis of Infinite Seeker Trios as of Combiner Wars because the group rarely got fleshed out - what's the point of buying one or two guys? I want a new definitive group, or bust. Hasbro seems to be coming through with Siege - and I hope it keeps going.
This feels like the Ghost of BotCons Past has returned, giving us a nifty box of repaints with nice artwork. You get Skywarp (Starscream), Shrute (Aimless, an update of Hairsplitter), Fracas (Firedrive), and Terror-Daxtyl (Pteraxodon) with newly colored accessories. It's a mixed bag as far as actually updating the original Targetmaster buddies go, but they're nifty in and of themselves.
Skywarp is why you'll buy this set - Hasbro and Takara-Tomy had a good eye for detail here, giving the starfighter mode a lot of extra silver paint. This matches the tetrajet decoration in "More Than Meets The Eye," the debut of the character on The Transformers cartoon. It's not quite black either, but rather a dark grey charcoal color. There is a bit more going on here than most of the other Siege Seekers molds, but most of the paint is placed in the same exact place as the other toys. The scrapes, the stripes, the sigils, most of it is identical. I'm amazed that the various scrapes and damage do look different enough when rendered in a new color, but the same color in the same place across multiple molds does start to look like someone was asleep at the deco wheel. The black glitter vents painted on the dark grey charcoal plastic was also dubious, but it looks cool. The quality is there in this single figure, but across the line some elements look less than thrilling.
The Skywarp robot is great. He's got tons of articulation so he can push you down the stairs, along with purple fists and forearms with matching feet. The figure's color layout looks close enough to the idealized G1 artwork we've seen on and off for decades that it will scratch the itch of classic-ness, but those who need true rich black plastic won't find it here. Maybe next time! I appreciate that it deviates from the norm as Skywarp goes, but that means we don't have a traditional black repaint here and that seems odd. Maybe that's coming later. (Probably not.) Skywarp's chest doesn't pop off as easily as Starscream [FOTD #2,081], so it seems they improved parts tolerances as the mold aged. Good on them.
Shrute is a hoot. The redeco of Aimless comes with those weird little blue energy blasts, grey limbs, and a purple torso. He's an updated of Hairsplitter, making his newly-trademarked name of "Shrute" (as in "Dwight") a bit of a perfect fit. The assistant to the regional commander will also go well with your Spinister, due late 2019 or early 2020. The articulation is the typical fare for the Battle Masters, meaning it's perfectly fine but nothing amazing with its articulated arms and legs with removable gun backpack.
Similarly constructed is Fracas, a redeco of Firedrive and essentially inverted colors from the G1 original Targetmaster partner of Scourge. It looks fine, but swapping the colors would've made it better. As it is, there's a slightly metallic flavor to the plastic that the higher-contrast Autobot Battle Master lacked. His blast effects are now orange, and look great - I wish it were cheaper to procure more of them.
Rounding out the set is Terror-Daxtyl, an ax pterosaur. This take on him is purple and grey, as opposed to the green and black Pteraxodon. There's an impact blast in orange, and mine came a little bent out of shape in the tray. It fits nicely, and it's a perfectly acceptable axe - but the form isn't as strong as a blaster Mercifully, it's easy to contort the mold into a makeshift blaster that looks perfectly nice. It's wildly different in color, and that's a big plus - the articulated wings and feet help the prehistoric robot creature mode stand or look like it's "flying." It's versatile, Hasbro and Takara-Tomy did a good job with the original mold and the redeco, too.
It's a decent set of weirdness, although I'd probably have preferred an update of Siege/Cog/Brunt instead of three little guns, considering Skywarp has but two hands. The overall set is gorgeous, with bright color blasts and wonderfully bright purples to bring the otherwise dark toy package to life. The clear red eyes on Skywarp light up nicely, and the transformation seems to be smooth on all four molds. I can recommend this set, but I'd recommend it even more if it went on sale. It's worth your while if you're so inclined, particularly if you're all-in on Siege seekers.
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