|Skyblast Review Capsule|
|Skyblast is one of the highlights from Energon because it isn't a typical vehicle mode, and it's a reference to a classic character. It's posable, a little clunky, and a lot of fun and as such is worth snagging. $6.99 at most stores.|
With the retro-love for TransFormers at an all-time high, it's no surprise that Hasbro is looking to cash in on the fandom with as many references to older characters as possible. Skyblast is modeled after Skyfire, the cartoon version of the G1 toy Jetfire. The character was an ex-partner to Starscream and pretty much disappeared from the show after a few episodes early on. Still, there's enough here to make fans squeal with glee, plus it comes with a really big spear you can give to your larger toys for whatever gladitorial robot battles your sick mind comes up with.
In Japan, he's called Air Glide under the Super Link banner. Also notable, the Japanese name for Energon Jetfire is Sky Fire.
This is the second toy to hold the name Skyblast. The first was a Minicon called Sky Blast, and that was the space shuttle in the original Space Team of Minicons from TransFormers Armada. This toy is much bigger, much more sturdy, and significantly nicer to look at.
Some bits are bulky, and his head is a little small. Still, the sculpting all over the place
The face is what will sell most older fans on this toy. In terms of color and basic appearance, this guy looks very, very similar to the G1 cartoon character Skyfire and that alone is enough to raise the excitement levels a few notches. He has a fairly grim expression, and on our sample, the nose seemed a little squished, but it might be like that on all of them. The blue eyes seem very dark against the dark grey face with the white helmet surrounding it, and odds are this figure could have been helped by a slightly lighter shade of grey on the face. As it stands, it still looks excellent and there's a lot of detail to see on the head alone.
Like most early Energon toys, the pose is fairly straightforward, and doesn't lend itself to a lot of action. It looks like a newly built robot, and is colored to match the layout of our site as of its review, which is a plus as far as we're concerned.
A variety of new elements have been introduced in this new toy line, including the return of some older ones like the spark crystals introduced for Beast Wars Neo and TransMetals 2. It doesn't seem to hold much in the way of an action feature, but there's an Energon Chip included with the toy that slides over it for some reason and, as far as the toy goes, serves no real purpose other than to make it look like the toy is wearing a piece red hard candy or perhaps a cough drop. It's not necessarily a bad addition to the toy, but it looks like it should serve some greater purpose than just being a second, smaller, and hard to see faction symbol on the toy.
On the front of the wings, the Autobot logo is painted, but on the back, they're left untouched. It's possible this detail will be painted on the Japanese release, but as we currently have no plans to buy one and find out, this will just have to remain a mystery for the ages.
The robot mode has a lot to offer, the only real negative points are his head can't really turn and his arms weren't a little more posable. Still, it's a nice toy, on par with later Beast Wars basics, and the robot mode doesn't disappoint.
Skyblast has no Minicon hardpoints in robot mode.
In vehicle mode, Skyblast takes the form of a spacefaring vehicle of some description.
Transforming him from one mode to another is both simple enough to be enjoyable and complicated enough to make it feel like you actually accomplished something. There's a lot of twists and turns, plus an automated part of the process that doesn't make it feel like the toy did all the work on its own. This is, of course, a big plus.
A capture claw is available in this mode which we'll go into more detail below. Other than that, it's fairly solid, sturdy, and free of action features.
Skyblast has no Minicon hardpoints in vehicle mode.
Accessories & Gimmicks
He includes four red energon pieces that can take the form of a firearm, a spear, or armor.
The two wedge-shaped pieces can act as armor, or can combine with the long red piece to form a sort of Energon Spear. Hasbro managed to sculpt these to fit together very nicely, and snap right on to Skyblast's forearms. All in all, it's fairly well done.
The long piece is actually two pieces which can come apart, but it doesn't look like they were meant to do so. When separated, they don't look especially good, and as such we'd advise you to leave it as is.
Attaching the accessories to the vehicle mode results in an odd sort of mishmash, a vehicle that looks fairly well armed but at the same time covered in delicious candy. As such, odds are this particular configuration won't be the most appealing.
Packaging, Tech Specs, & Co-Sells
This toy came packaged in regular TransFormers Energon packaging with the usual compliment of twist-ties which is more limited than previous toy lines.
The packaging itself is typical trilingual fare, but it has a really neat feature in that the bubble features character art on the side so if you look down a row of Energon basic-sized toys, you can quickly see which ones are available without having to flip through them. This was a really slick move on Hasbro's part, but unfortunately the art on the side of the bubble is only on the smaller toys. The larger deluxe toys have their trading card tech specs on the side of the bubble instead, which serves a similar purpose.
Skyblast shipped as part of the very first wave of Energon toys in December of 2003 alongside the Energon Saber, Strongarm, and Battle Ravage.
Fans young and old will probably dig this one because it's a spaceship, it recalls a classic character, it's a decent new toy in its own right, and it has a big honking weapon for use by your other toys. For the money, it's a nice cheap toy and will provide a decent amount of entertainment to those who would be interested in such a thing.
Reviewed and photographed by Adam Pawlus
Sample purchased at a Phoenix Toys "R" Us on December 5, 2003 for $6.99
Reviewed on December 10, 2003.