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Deluxe Ripclaw - Beast Hunters - Figure

Height: 13cm head height, 15cm to top of wings.

Articulation: 20 points overall - ball-joint neck; 5 points per arm: double joint shoulder, hinged elbow, post-elbow swivel, hinged wrist; swivel waist; 4 points per leg: ball-joint hips, thigh swivel, hinged knee, ball-joint ankle. Articulated tail.

Colors: Molded metallic teal, maroon, and gold. Painted gray, gold, metallic teal, and yellow.

Accessories: Siphon Claw.

Release Data: Released February 2013 at an MSRP of $14.99.

Author: RAC

Unquestioningly loyal to the Predacon cause, Ripclaw crushes her enemies and leaves their circuits burning with their mech-venom!

Ripclaw caused a good amount of commotion among fans when she first became known. "She" being a considerable part of that equation. (Prime's got more female characters than most TF lines with four or five: Arcee, Flamewar, Airachnid, and Miko if you count non-robots.) It also didn't hurt that she was an all new character and a Beast Transformer that looked pretty nice in both modes. Add to this the fact that her design then made an appearance in Transformers Prime: Rage of the Dinobots as Ser-Ket, leader of the "Forged" faction of Shockwave's modified Transformers, and she was pretty highly anticipated. And as it turns out, she was largely worth the wait.


Dragon Mode

Hasbro has done a pretty smart thing here: while the non-Predacon Transformers are packaged in their robot modes to emphasize the characters, Predacons Deluxes are packed in Beast Mode. Ripclaw's card, like Lazerback's in wave 1, has the deepest blister of the wave- nearly twice as deep as Starscream or Bulkhead's. And while she's not exactly bulky, she is long enough to fill it out thanks to the tail. Ripclaw is a dragon, as many Predacons seem to be, and specifically a fairly traditional European dragon. She's winged, long-necked and -tailed, and designed to be quadrupedal but able to sit on her hind legs without much trouble. Primarily she's teal in this mode, with red wings, gold claws, and the occasional gold fin. The head's really nice-looking, with the only incongruous part being her lower jaw- the metallic teal paint is a little too metallic compared to the rest of her body. It also has the traditional paint "wrap" problem where it should really overlap the top edges of the jaw, but doesn't.

Unlike, say, Thundertron, there's enough articulation in this mode that it deserves its own breakdown. The head is ball-jointed and swivels and tilts very well. The jaw is hinged. Actually that's not entirely accurate- the top of the head connects to the rest of the head by a hinge, so you're going to do better trying to move the upper jaw than the lower if you want a nice roar. The forelegs are double-jointed at the shoulder, and you can use the hinge to drop them down a bit. The ball-joint gives you plenty of swivel and what will become Ripclaw's robot elbow is hinged, and flexes to about 90 degrees. The claws are articulated as well, though primarily that's for transformation. Not entirely useless in this mode, though. The rear legs have a bit more articulation here than they will as robot legs, with an extra joint in the lower leg that allow you to pose the rear legs in a variety of stances or even a seated position. I wish the joints were a bit stronger, since that tail isn't exactly light. It does affect posing. The rear ankles are ball-jointed and allow you to get the feet well apart for balance's sake. And of course the wings are hinged for arranging at different angles.

Then there's the tail, which is really nice. Made of a series of segments looped over a rubbery center, the tail snaps into a gold base which puts enough tension on the rubber to have it hold its position. In this configuration, you can swing it forward over Ripclaw's head to attack whatever's in front of her with the Siphon Claw, which pegs onto the tip of the tail and is very well integrated into the design. Or if you prefer, you can pull it down off the gold block so it can be posed somewhat or laid on the ground. It's a great system and adds a good deal more character to the mold. And again it makes the gimmick weapon central to the figure without crippling it should it become lost, so there's a great balance there.




Transformation

As with a great many quadrupedal Transformers, a fair part of converting from beast to robot modes is standing her up on her hind legs. But the limbs undergo some interesting and distinguishing contortions to get there. The green and gray armor plates on Ripclaw's rear legs pull loose and snap down against the shins to reshape the legs for more humanoid appearance. I really like that, and wish more Transformers did it. (Digitigrade legs on bipedal Transformers kind of bug me, especially since the movie line.) The larger part of the front claws swing back against the foreleg to become what looks like gold frame parts sticking out from under the forearm's armor. The teal underbelly parts swing back (taking care to evade the arms), the upper torso then rocks forward and locks into the lower body for a more upright posture, and the dragon neck slides down to become shoulder armor and reveal Ripclaw's robot head. Be careful as you do so, though, as I've had one piece slip off its hinge frequently. It's easy to replace though. From there, you just pull back the dragon head to rest on Ripclaw's back, mostly hidden by her wings.




Robot Mode

Ripclaw is a humanoid robot with wings, a tail, and a minimum of beast-mode kibble on her back- just the dragon head and two body pieces that could be counted as secondary wings if you like. Well, and the tail. Her open mouthed toothy expression is neat, and the head seems as though light-piping would work beautifully here- I guess it just didn't cost out. She really reminds me very strongly of Marvel villain Annihilus. From the colors to the shoulder armor to the shape of the jaw to the collar to the wings... There's just too much here to be entirely coincidence. But whatever the inspiration, she looks good. I'm rather reminded of Strika from Beast Machines in that there's not much, if any, about her form that "reads" as necessarily (stereotypically) female. She's not as broad-shouldered as most male Prime designs, but neither is she as slightly built as Arcee. Or even Starscream, for that matter. Her armor design is neither as layered as pre-Beast Hunters Prime designs nor as segmented as the newer figures, but looks a lot smoother and more streamlined, which I assume to be the Predacon aesthetic. Unlike Predaking she doesn't seem to have any Cybertronian hieroglyphics on her body, but she also doesn't have as many undetailed armor plates screaming out for something, anything, to add detail. She has a good level of detail, neither too "busy" nor too sparse.

The head is sunk pretty low into the collar, which is narrow enough that swivel is practically impossible. But you can tilt her head upwards a bit, at least. The shoulders swivel as much as the pauldrons and kibble will allow, and swing straight out to the sides if you pull the armor up out of the way. The elbow flexes to a solid right angle, but due to the swivel being below the elbow, you can't really swing the arms outwards very far. The wrist is hinged and flexes a bit. It's very difficult to see and tough to move for how tight the joint is, but Ripclaw does have a waist, which turns in a full circle as long as you get the tail out of the wings' way. It's one of those waists that has a natural "stop" when centered- always good to see. The hips are not impeded in any way for front-to-back swing, so she can kick straight up or kneel without any issue. The flared shape of the thighs does prevent a lot of side-to-side movement she'd otherwise have, however. Their shape also prevents the thigh swivels from turning very far, but they do enough to allow for decent posing. The knees are odd: they're designed to be at rest when the kneecaps are aligned with the thighs, but there are no stops, sadly. So they have a 180-degree range, and they're not quite strong enough to provide much natural braking. It can become an issue when the tail's not resting on the ground. The ankles have great front-to-back tilt, and enough side-to-side tilt to be useful. And the tail is still fully functional in this mode, as are the wings. I'd say Ripclaw offers a good range of useful articulation while not being super-poseable by my standards. That seems to be about the norm for Beast Hunters as it was for Robots in Disguise, and I'm happy with what we're getting.


Accessories

Siphon Claw

Though her card bio and her mention in Bulkhead's instructions both imply this to be a poison stinger, the name "Siphon Claw" puts me more in mind of an energy-draining apparatus. (Between this and Beast Hunters Optimus Prime's weapons having two different names, I suspect many cooks are working on this soup.) Like Bulkhead's Dragon Grinder, clenching claw action features aren't exactly new, or new to Transformers. But it's all in the execution, and this one's done very well. A long 5mm peg allows you to mount the Siphon Claw firmly on Ripclaw's tail or in her hand. In both positions it does a fair job of blending in with the extremity and looking like it belongs there. To use the weapon, you pull the claws back and then pressing the gold spike in the middle (a stinger, I'd assume) closes it. This is a great idea, and seems to me to be a great play feature. It almost makes me wish it were a little bigger and more able to grab figures, but this is in good proportion to the toy and is still pretty neat, so I'm not going to pick nits excessively.




Closing Remarks

I should note here that my copy of Ripclaw features a lot of paint splotches that I assume to be unique to my figure, and not something I expect to be common. As is customary, no deductions are made from the final score based on that, but you may want to take a good look at the figure's before you buy.

But I do recommend buying. Ripclaw is one of the best Beast Transformers I've gotten in a very long time (since Cybertron Optimus Primal and Megatron, maybe? Nah, there had to have been something better made since then... I think...). Just having a great Beast Mode would make it a worthy purchase, and in some circles just being female would make it a lock for some people. On top of which she looks neat and has a fun weapon, and I like her transformation. Really not a lot of downsides here; a bit more articulation in the neck and arms on robot mode would be groovy, and some stronger joints in general. But overall, Ripclaw is Very Good on the Figurereviews.com Non-Numeric Rating Scale. So far, she's the standout figure of the wave.



ReviewerRAC  
DateMarch 1st 2013  
Score 8 stars (8 out of 10)  
Reads9203
LinkDeluxe Ripclaw Gallery  


Deluxe Ripclaw Gallery Image Gallery


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