Icebird - Beast Wars Mutant - Figure

Icebird should be a cool toy. After all, he's a polar bear and a snowy owl, two apex predators that also happen to be Canadian. Unfortunately, various problems drag down this toy.

Bear Mode
A polar bear, the largest living land carnivore, and one of the most dangerous at that. In this mode, Icebird measures about 13 cm(5.1") long. Main colours are white, with silver flanks, red eyes and claws(?), some orange with black flecks on his chest, a black nose, and metallic blue-gray teeth. Also, the silver owl head is partly visible at his rump, the beak sticking out in a very disturbing location.

The colours are a problem for me. The white is nice, but those silver flanks just look wrong. His four limbs are undersized for a bear, making him look obese. The worst though are his claws. It's bad enough that someone at Hasbro made them grossly oversized, but red?? C'mon, polar bears have black claws! As it stands, Icebird looks as though he's wearing nail polish, not a good look for the leader of the Beast Mutants. And finally, his bear head is rather ugly and unbecoming. A polar bear has a long snout and a streamlined profile. Icebird looks like a bear out of a comic book.

That having been said, this bear does have some positive points. His fur is well-sculpted. The articulation is pretty good, with joints at the mouth, neck, shoulders, elbows (swivel and hinge), wrists, hips, and ankles (ball and hinge). I find that he looks best when standing on his hind legs, with his claws reaching out to slash at his enemies. His faction symbol is emblazoned on his right shoulder, and by flipping up the panel, you expose some blue-gray techno bits. Opening up the panel on his back causes the robot head to pop up, and by flipping the bear head back in, it's possible to substitute the robot head in its place. Icebird's robot head is also much nicer than Poison Bite's or Razor Claw's. It's blue-gray with silver fangs and green eyes, and it's even articulated at the neck.

Not as difficult as Razor Claw's was. The flanks unfold to become the wings, the bear's underbelly opens up for you to flip out the tail feathers and fold down the rear bear legs. So basically, you open him up as though you were dissecting him, cram a lot of stuff in, then seal him up again.

Owl Mode
The snowy owl is one of the largest and most beautiful owls in the world. The same cannot be said for Icebird however. In this mode, he's still 13 cm tall, with a 22 cm (8.7") wingspan. And he's the most ungainly owl you've ever seen. His upper torso is alright, but the lower part and legs are huge in comparison. His body's shaped like a pear. I highly doubt that such a creature would be able to even glide down from a cliff, let alone fly. His talons are still too long, BTW.

The colours remain a problem in this mode. Snowy owls are white all over, with black flecks. But Icebird's face and wings are silver, with dark gray flecks. At least the feather detailing is nice. In addition, there's that splash of orange on his belly. It was no doubt put there to look neat, but it's still inaccurate. His eyes, which are the wrong shape, are pink, and he has a metallic dark gray beak.

Icebird's gimmick is not only lame, but hard to work properly. You're supposed to line up the bear's tail with the spring-loaded tab on his head, but darned if I can't get it to stay. And even on the rare occasion that I do get it working, it's just plain lame. The owl's beak moves up and down, yay. If you saw me working the gimmick from a distance of ten feet, chances are you'd wonder just what I'm supposed to be doing. If all that wasn't enough, Icebird's bear legs are clearly visible from the sides. Heck, I can stick my little finger in the hole through his body. And since his tail feathers are spring-loaded, they keep flipping forwards. Fortunately, you can use his talons to prevent this. Icebird's feet retain all the articulation they had in bear mode. His wings have three joints apiece, but can't fold up against his body like the ones on TM2 Prowl.

Suspsy Sez: While I'll give Hasbro credit for making a bear that turns into a bird, Icebird simply isn't that great a toy. His bear mode is okay, but the proportions and colours ruin it for me. His owl mode is even more problem-laden, with a defective gimmick and a serious bulk problem. This becomes painfully apparent when you place him next to TM2 Prowl.


DateJanuary 30th 2002  
Score 7 stars (7 out of 10)  

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