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Deluxe Smokescreen - Beast Hunters - Figure

Height: 12cm.

Articulation: 18 points overall - ball-joint neck; 4 points per arm: double joint shoulder, upper arm swivel; hinged elbow; swivel waist; 4 points per leg: ball-joint hips, thigh swivel, hinged knee, hinged ankle.

Colors: Molded bluish gray, gunmetal, blue, black, clear dark blue, and clear yellow. Painted blue, red, and yellow.

Accessories: Shadow Quill Armor, Electronet Launcher.

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

Author: RAC

The Autobot trickster strikes quickly, then disappears behind a black puff of magnetic smoke!

And here we come to the end of the assortment, and one of the most anticipate figures alongside Ripclaw. Smokescreen was introduced in the middle of Transformers Prime's second season as the Rookie With An Overconfidence Problem. But as a relatively new character in a show that was, at that point, just getting around to mass-market releases of first season characters, it seemed doubtful Smokescreen would get a toy in the US, or an accurate Deluxe figure at all. Up until now, Smokescreen had only received a Deluxe-class figure in Japan, and that was a not-entirely-accurate recolor of the Knock Out mold. Beast Hunters has given Hasbro the opportunity to correct this.


Robot Mode

First off, my compliments to Hasbro for anticipating fan reaction to a specific subject: while all the other returning Beast Hunters characters have their fancy armor molded on, the two that have never been released in the US as toys before- Smokescreen and Shockwave - have optional armor. Whatever else I think of the figure, that was a very smart and much appreciated move. Bravo, Hasbro!

Smokescreen is a decent likeness of his character model. Definitely better than a Knock Out in his colors, anyway. Smokescreen's torso is flatter than it should be to make the transformation work- I want to say I've seen a Transformer with that problem before, probably in Prime, but I can't think of which one it was. Other than that he's a pretty good likeness, with some issues of kibble and paint working against him. Firstly, he's got half of the top of a sportscar wadded up under each forearm. It's one of the more severe cases of kibble I've seen in recent memory. He also has rear fenders on the outside of his legs that should vanish magically for robot mode, but since we're allegedly in the real world and not a computer simulation of same, that's not possible here. Besides, calf-wheels are practically a Transformers tradition by now. The paint's the other thing working against him, as he has paint where there shouldn't be paint, and no paint where there should be paint. The most major changes are that he now has red stipes on his arms where they should be the off-white color, and his red knee armor should be gray. Also and most detrimental of all, his head is painted oddly. He should have red accents instead of blue, and they're painted practically a negative of what they should be. That is, the space between the blue stripes should be red, and the red "muttonchop" fins surrounding his face should be red. Painting that central crest on his head really throws the whole likeness off more than you'd think it would. Lastly, the blue part of his chest shouldn't be a stripe but should cover to the edges of its shape. I'm also not sure quite how well off-white represents his silver color. It's a bunch of little things but they do add up. On the bright side, he does have his trademark back-wings, so his silhouette is basically right, arm kibble notwithstanding.

Articulation is okay, but it's hampered by the transformation mechanisms. The head is a ball-joint, but functionally works as a swivel. The shoulders are on a complex set of armatures designed to turn the arms into the front end of the vehicle mode, and they lock down by sticking a peg through the wheels. Wheels- you may have heard this about them -move. They swivel fine though you have to angle around the shoulder armor, and swing straight out to the sides. You can also use part of the armature to position the shoulders a bit. There's a swivel directly above the elbows that works fine, and the elbows themselves flex to 90 degrees like every other elbow in this wave. But they're super-stiff ratcheting joints, and this is where they argue with the tenuous shoulder assembly. They especially like to pop his wings loose.

The waist swivel works just fine. The hips have a great range, moving straight forward, straight back, and straight out to the sides. The thigh swivels are incredibly stiff, and turning them pops the legs off the hip joints frequently. The knees flex to 90 degrees, which is decent. The ankles are hinges, and he can lean into a step just a bit.




Transformation

Oh man, it's one of these. Smokescreen's transformation, especially his arms, is one of those deals where you have 20,000 little armatures that all have to be turned just so, and in a certain order, and nothing locks down except the very final step of getting the car panels in place. And you won't know for certain whether you've got it right or not until you try it. Read the instructions carefully; they seem to help some. But transforming Smokescreen the first time took me half an hour.




Vehicle Mode

If you're lucky, Smokescreen turns into an off-white rally car with red and silver trim. For the most part the deco is accurate to the CGI model, though as often happens he's lost some paint on his back end, namely the vents on the back end of the car and the blue of his spoiler. And of course he's still off-white instead of silver. But I like the dark, vaguely smoky blue tint of his windshield. Also, while his rims go unpainted, he does have molded brakes visible behind the wheels. Always a nice touch!

There's a 5mm socket on the roof to allow you to attach his weapon, and also one on each side of his spoiler. And there are a pair of small slots on his doors to attach the Shadow Quill armor. The vehicle mode has got a fair number of seams, but otherwise it doesn't look bad. Well, the arms visible clearly through his windows may bug you, and I wouldn't blame you if they did. Despite being extremely low to the ground, he rolls very well.


Accessories

Shadow Quill Armor

The Shadow Quill Armor is a spiky, armor-plated front-end mask for Smokescreen's vehicle mode. It tabs into the doors of the car and snaps pretty snugly over the hood. There are a pair of clips on either side to hold the extra missiles that Smokescreen doesn't come with. In Robot Mode the Armor attaches to two tabs on his flanks (and supposedly on two tabs on his shoulders, but the material isn't flexible enough to make it work properly) and looks very much like a front-end mask for a car being worn like a very silly vest. Since a fair amount of his chest is supposed to be the vehicle hood, it reinforces the impression that he's wearing this upside-down. And it leaves the hood-shaped bits hanging over his head. Which makes him a good match for Bulkhead, I suppose, but there's no denying it looks dumb. It at least fits securely in both modes and, most importantly, is optional.

Electronet Launcher

The Electronet Launcher is a small missile-launching pistol, except the missile is threaded through a blue plastic waffle. It doesn't look a lot like a net, and it still doesn't look like a very functional net once you realize that there's a place where it tabs together that is not mentioned anywhere on the package or in the instructions. You can get it around a limb or a head, I guess, but it'll have to be planned- there's no way it's going to stick to anything in flight, being as small as it is. The pistol looks pretty decent without the missile in it, at least.


Closing Remarks

Smokescreen feels like a toy out of a different line. He's a fair likeness to the character in sculpt but not in paint, and his articulation is okay at least. And his vehicle mode is okay. It's just getting from one to the other. While the rest of the wave isn't exactly simplistic, he's a nightmare of transformation of Alternators proportions. His accessories aren't worth much either, but that was pretty much expected. While he's my least favorite figure of this wave, he rates Good on the Figurereviews.com Non-Numeric Rating Scale because I could make a case for owning the figure. But in my opinion you better like complicated transformations and Smokescreen a lot before you put down fifteen or more dollars for this guy.



ReviewerRAC  
DateMarch 4th 2013  
Score 6 stars (6 out of 10)  
Reads9092
LinkBeast Hunters Smokescreen Gallery  


Beast Hunters Smokescreen Gallery Image Gallery


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