Ultra-class Decepticon Skyfall (Walmart exclusive)
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
The distant planet of Cybertron was the home to a race of intelligent, feeling alien robots who could change shape at will- the Transformers. For reasons no longer remembered by anyone living, a war broke out between the two factions of robots- the Autobots and the Decepticons- which eventually drained Cybertron of all its power sources, including all-important Energon. In the quest to get more Energon to sustain their fight, the Autobots created the Ark and some of them left Cybertron. But the power-hungry Decepticons were waiting for them in their great flagship, the Nemesis, and boarded the Ark to stop them. A battle between the two ships eventually brought them both crashing down onto Earth. With their leaders and greatest warriors lost, the war on Cybertron continued on to a stalemate. For over four million years, the Ark rested hidden inside a volcano located in what would eventually become Oregon, its occupants unconscious and helpless in stasis lock. Then in 1984, the volcano harboring the Ark erupted, reawakening the on-board computer system Teletraan-1. The computer, realizing that the ship and its crew were in danger, awoke the Transformers aboard the Ark, and reformatted them to change into disguises matching those of modern day Earth vehicles so that the giant robots could move among the population in secret. The surviving Decepticons, having lost their great ship millions of years earlier, also gained new disguise forms and hid themselves on Earth until they could rebuild their forces and gather enough Energon to destroy the Autobots, subvert the intrusive and annoying humans, and renew the war on Cybertron in their quest for total galactic domination.
There is little information about Skyfall, since he is basically a one-shot character. He is a Decepticon spy who frequently intermingles with Autobots, leading some to think he is a double-agent. But this rumor holds little ground as he likes to blow up cars in his spare time, and prefers a secretive, mysterious, and back-stabbing reputation… mostly because it’s true. Skyfall is also one of the very few Decepticons who is allowed to meet with Megatron face-to-face alone.
This Transformers Universe/Classics 2.0 figure is a repaint of the original 2008 Ultra-class Autobot Silverbolt set- itself based on a character that appeared in the classic Generation 1 cartoon series in 1984. The first version of Skyfall was an Action Master- a poseable figure that could not transform, but had a weapon that could- during the debuting Generation 1 era (1984-86). He was not a part of the original cartoon- re-colored or otherwise- as the first toy was an original design made after the series ended in 1986. But this first version of Skyfall was an Autobot. Later, when Generation 2 (1990-93) was formed, a new Decepticon Cyberjet called Skyfall was released, which resembled an F-117A Nighthawk first-generation stealth fighter. The color scheme of the Cyberjet Skyfall is the one upon which this repaint is based: black with red & gold highlights, and a pained red flame pattern along the back of his wings.
This new Universe figure is based roughly on the United States’ prototype XB-70 Valkyrie from the early 1950s. Originally designed as a long-range supersonic bomber against fixed Soviet Union emplacements, it was conceived around the idea that a fast, high-altitude bomber could avoid enemy defense guns. However, with the rapid maturity of lock-on missile systems, the Valkyrie’s purpose was soon rendered obsolete. And a fatal accident during an aerial demonstration of one of the only two planes built effectively cut-off the funding for the project. However, the lessons of achieving efficient subsonic speeds with a supersonic aircraft (which actually aren’t very fuel efficient or environmentally- & financially-sound) were integrated into larger-sized supersonic aircraft in the future (few as there were/are).
Unlike earlier toys from the Transformers Classics line in 2007, Skyfall lacks the temperature-sensitive decal which shows his allegiance- two silver Decepticon logos have been printed on the top engine intake cowlings, and one on his right shoulder.
Though I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the Silverbolt design, I still wanted one. Months after his release, the Toys-R-Us-exclusive Decepticon Darkwind repaint appeared, and the change in color was just what I needed to motivate me to get one. Unfortunately, my time was limited that day, and I didn’t get Darkwind. Then I found this Walmart-exclusive set, and it looked sufficiently bad-ass to serve my needs for a repaint. Like pretty much all Transformers jets, he’s far from aerodynamic underneath (read: robot-kibble), and doesn’t really resemble the XB-70 supersonic bomber that inspired it all that much. (It had wider wings with tips that drooped down for higher speeds, larger tailfins, and no engines on top- the bulk underneath were its six engines!) The transformation is overly-simplified for an "Ultra-class" figure, and the electronics- while nice to have- aren’t sorted out very well: his eyes glow in vehicle mode when you can’t see them, and he only has gunfire sounds in robot mode. (For that matter, the only time you see his eyes glow is when he’s transforming, and when in vehicle mode; never when he’s in robot mode, which is kinda the whole dammed point of having them do that to begin with!) But, the robot mode poses very well, and I like the flame pattern along the trailing edge of his wings. (I have to smile every time I see his legs- the black repainting makes them look like knee-high high-heel boots!)
Aside from a kinda goofy electronic gimmick and oversimplified transformation (which leaves a lot to be desired), the Walmart-exclusive Ultra-class Decepticon Skyfall set is still solid and a good homage to classic futuristic-jet Transformer designs.
(You may want to view this directly on YouTube, as I've inserted notes that do not appear here!)
|Posted 11 December, 2009 - 03:16 by EVA_Unit_4A|