Initially named Skyfire until legal issues forced the name change, Skyblast is the second basic Energon homage to a beloved G1 character. Ironically, G1 Skyfire was himself the result of legal issues forcing a change to G1 Jetfire, who has since been homaged up the wazoo. While this Omnicon has a diminutive stature and a minicon’s name, there is no doubt about his true origin.
Like all Omnicons, Skyblast (all one word if the catalog is correct) comes with an energon chip and an energon weapon that breaks down into 3 smaller parts . All of Skyblast’s energon is molded from translucent maroon plastic, It’s a nice color, but a little too dark to get that “energon glow.”
The energon chip shares the same design as Strongarm’s, so I imagine it will be common to all Omnicons. It is a 5 pointed shield or star, its “upper” two points being slightly longer than the bottom 3 (6-7mm as opposed to 5mm). The points radiate from a 1.1 cm disk etched with a targeting crosshair. It looks like the central disk should be able to magnify the spark crystal it covers, but if that was the intent, it doesn’t work.
Skyblast’s energon weapon is a spear that breaks down into three basic parts. The spear head is formed from a pair of two 5.3cm long “pods” which can be mounted on Skyblast’s wings, perhaps as weapons or thrusters. The shaft forms a long barreled gun. A standard sized peg serves as the weapon’s handle, and a second is cleverly disguised as a targeting scope. A minicon hole sits atop the gun, adding further versatility.
While the energon spear is a beautiful weapon, it falls a little short in practical execution. First many collectors have reported that the spearhead/weapon pods fall off Skyblast’s wings easily. Mine are snug and have never fallen, so there is some production inconsistency at work.
Secondly the energon spear’s shaft is too thick to slip through standard fist holes, which would look more natural than using the pegs. I can only assume this is because the transparent plastic is brittle, and a thinner shaft would be prone to breaking. As understandable as this is, the problem becomes compounded by the awkward positioning of the hand pegs. They are too short and positioned too close to the mass of the spear for many larger toys to use, undercutting the entire premise of the gimmick. A longer peg further down the shaft would have hurt the weapon’s streamlined appearance but made it much more useful.
length: 10.3 cm, 17.5 with energon
Width: 11.2 cm, 13.5 with energon
Skyblast’s vehicle mode is a futuristic fighter craft that manages the odd trick of looking sleek and powerful at the same time. A wide, triangular design compensate for short, stubby wings. In the center of the body is Skyblast’s spark crystal.
Heavy twin cannons are mounted on each side of the body above the red air intakes, and may be pivoted upwards. A smaller pair of weapons are also sculpted on the nosecone.
Underneath is a capture claw, though what it is meant to capture I haven’t a clue. This design element is also present on Energon Jetfire, so I have to wonder if it is going to tie into an important story element.
Two odd features are also found beneath the jet. A pair of non-retractable wheels are sculpted under the body, but there is no third, stabilizing point to make them useful. Since the capture claw can serve as the jet’s landing gear, I have to wonder why they bothered. The real distraction though is Skyblast’s robot face, which is clearly visible underneath the nosecone. Due to the manner of Skyblast’s transformation, the face cannot be hidden by turning it around.
The dominant colors in this mode are brick red, white and gray. Black and gold outlines the cockpit, with some additional gold over the engines and on the wings. Molded Autobot symbols on each wing are painted bright red above, and unpainted white below. Finally there is a bold blue square in the center of the ship’s body, which does a nice job of breaking up what could be a bland color scheme. Finally the cockpit is molded from the same translucent plastic as Skyblast’s energon weapons.
All Skyblast’s energon bits may be attached to his jet mode. As mentioned already, the energon chip covers his spark crystal, and the spear head parts can slip onto his wing tips (again, some won’t stay on, some will). The spear shaft/rifle can be pegged under the nose cone to ramp up Skyblast’s already formidable firepower, though the 9.5 cm barrel looks a bit odd on the small plane. Unfortunately the weapon isn’t quite long enough to hide Skyblast’s face.
Height: 11.7 cm
Width: 5.5 cm (shoulder – shoulder)
Before discussing the bot mode itself, there is a neat point to the transformation which deserves mentioning. Rotating Skyblast’s body/chest into the correct position will also rotate the nosecone to bring the face into view. It’s nice to see the designers go the extra mile here as this feature is entirely unnecessary. And unlike Battle Ravage’s similar gimmick, this doesn’t hamper the figure in any noticeable way.
His sculpt may not be the most original or detailed we’ve seen, but it is nonetheless highly effective. Well balanced and proportioned, Skyblast looks every bit the warrior ready for battle. There are at least two features that remind me of his G1 predecessors - his head bears a strong resemblance to Skyfire, and his red shoulder pylons are recall Jetfire’s backpack thrusters.
Skyblast has average articulation, overall a little better than Ravage’s (without the annoying gear interference). Shoulders are double jointed so the arms can swing back and forth and to the side. There are hinge joints on the elbow and ball joints at the hips. The transformation prevents bending knees, but this is somewhat offset by a mid-leg pivot. Technically his head can rotate right and left, but this is prevented while the nose cone is on his back. If he wants to look side to side, he has to join the Loyal Fraternity of Coneheads.
Colors are almost identical to the jet mode, though red and gray may be a little more dominant. The colors mix well, and the use of red emphasized the chest and shoulders so he appears a bit bigger and stronger that he probably should. An annoying oversight is that the Autobot symbols visible in this mode are unpainted. This unfortunate example of cost cutting really hurts the final design.
He looks great and can be a lot of fun, but more than a few annoying shortcomings keep this toy from being an A. The problems with the energon spear can be especially frustrating, and there is no excuse for the unpainted faction symbols.
|Reviewer||Michael T. Dunleavy|
|Date||December 22nd 2003|
|Score||(8 out of 10)|
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