Accessories: Missiles x2.
“Flash of metal fins. Sharkticons tear foes to shreds. Die quick, Autobots.”
SKY-BYTE is a Predacon by design, but, like his Quintesson creator, works with the Decepticons from time to time when it's profitable to do so. He leads the new-generation Sharkticons into battle, ruthlessly shredding all cars an robots in his way. He sees himself as a sophisticated warrior poet, the self-proclaimed “greatest shark around”, composing haiku about the robots in disguise he's about to deactivate. Exposure to forestonite has given Sky-Byte a devastating new ability: he can unleash a “Tsunami Blaster” freeze attack from his chest, paralyzing his foes. Combined with an already impressive arsenal, air speed and his Sharkticon hordes, he's a menace to everything in the air, land and sea. Where he more competent and less given to overblown theatrics that leave him vulnerable, he'd be on of the Autobots' greatest threats.
Alright as the BotCon 2010 reviews keep rolling on; I've save what is probably going to be one of the most popular figures from the set for last, which in retrospect makes absolutely no sense at all. So without further a due, lets take a look at Sky-Byte!
A recolor of the Energon Sharkticon figure, I was pleasantly surprised when they announced this figure as one of the this year's convention exclusives because I've always thought that the Beast Wars Sky-Byte mold would have made a perfect repaint as a Classics Sharkticon and could never understand how Hasbro never saw the connection. Hopefully this figure will open Hasbro's eyes and we'll see an updated version of Gnaw (the Sharkticon from the Generation 1 movie) in the new Generations line.
In vehicle mode this figure has a surprising amount of articulation. Each of the four gun-turrets have the ability to raise and lower their cannons as well as swivel around to allow them to take aim. The top turrets can rotate about 90° each way for a total of 180° of rotation while the side turrets can rotate a full 360°. In addition, each side of the front end can open up to reveal two huge missile launchers.
The articulation in robot mode, as with any figure from the “Energon Era”, is sparse. The feet are hinged and can move roughly 180°, from standing to the “toes pointed” position. In the knees you'll find a single hinge that allows for 90° of movement, from fully extended to the kneeling position. In the hips you'll find a ball-joint and swivel-point for each leg. The ball-joint allows for roughly 90° of movement from fully extended to sitting or fully extended to the side, while the swivel allows for a full 360° or rotation.
In the upper-body, the elbows are articulated with a single hinge that provides about 90° of movement from fully extended to half raised. In the shoulders there is a hinge as well as swivel-point; the hinge allows for about 90° of side-to-side movement while the swivel-point provides a full 360° of rotation.
The head sits on a simple ball-joint that allows for a full 360° of rotation as well as a slight up-and-down motion to give him more realistic poseability. Also in the waist you'll find swivel-point that provides a full 360° of rotations, allowing you to turn the upper half of the body from side-to-side. In addition to all the standard points of articulation, if you raise the arms a bit, you also have the ability to deploy those massive missile launchers a greater range of motion than in vehicle mode. The missile launchers have a swivel-point as well as a hinged articulation in robot-mode, the swivel point allows you to move the missile launchers roughly 180° from the forward facing position to pointing backwards, while the hinge provides about 45° of side-to-side motion.
As a whole I would have to rate this figure as average; given that this mold is from the Energon series does buy this figure a bit of leeway in my book considering the level of engineering that was available at the time of this lines “hay day”. The new head is a definite plus, and the paint applications are impeccable when compared to the original Energon Sharkticon figure. The metallic blue paint does wonders for dressing up a rather simplistic mold.
The biggest draw for this figure is that, according to the bio provided by Fun Pub, Sky-Byte is the leader of this year's “troop-builder” set The Sharkticon Clones. It's hard to troop-build without a clear and obvious commander of the unit, and Sky-Byte is that character.
Again, I give this figure a little bit more leeway because the age of the mold that was use for it, but in all honesty there are quite a few things that could be improved if it were to have been designed today. It would have been nice to have a swivel-point in the wrists and ankles, and even another swivel point in the knees, but given the relative budget that figures were alloted during this time of production it's not a bad figure. Since the success of the movies, and subsequent increased profitability for Hasbro in the Transformers brand the engineering and budget involved in designing these figures has increased by leaps and bounds, resulting in figures that are infinitely more intricate and detailed than their Armada, Energon, and Cybertron predecessors.
Overall I don't think I could recommend this figure to everybody. Cost is definitely a factor to consider, if you're a more “casual collector” looking to take “the plunge” on your first convention exclusive you may want to consider how important poseability is to you and the relative simplicity of this figure compared to the rest of the figures from this set. For the more “high end” collector who's used to paying the premium prices that convention exclusives command in the secondary market, I would give you the same advice; make sure you consider how important poseability is to you and keep the relative simplicity in mind when deciding on your purchase. There is another factor to consider also... how important is it for you to complete your 2010 Box Set or have a captain for your Sharkticon troops? I would say wait it out and try to find a good price on it if you're on the fence about it, but considering the recent success of the troop-builder set from 2009 and their captain the price is likely to just keep going up... but only time will tell.
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