TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: KINGDOM (HASBRO)
Hey, did you guys know that there’s, like, Transformers that’s not G1 or G1 inspired? I know, I thought it was a weird concept myself. Like, are they allowed to do that? In checking it out, apparently the answer is “Yes.” Typical “Ethan’s being sarcastic, isn’t he oh so clever” opening aside, Beast Wars, which launched in 1996 was the third major incarnation of the franchise, and was also my first real introduction to Transformers, by virtue of me, you know, not really having been around for the prior two. It’s actually the first Transformers for a good number of people, and has, over the years, picked up quite a following, even as the franchise keeps shifting its focus back to G1. But, Beast Wars fans are getting thrown a deceased animal’s bone this year, as Hasbro celebrates its 25th Anniversary with Kingdom, the third part of the War For Cybertron Trilogy, which is heavily centered around the Beast Wars cast. Heading off the charge is one of the show’s most prominent characters, Cheetor, who I’m taking a look at today.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Cheetor is part of the first Deluxe Class assortment for Kingdom, and alongside Blackarachnia, makes it half-Beast Wars, which is the set-up for all of the starting line-ups. At least this assortment doesn’t have anyone being repackaged from Earthrise, I guess. Cheetor had a few different appearances over the course of the original Beast Wars, but this one is based on his original appearance. In his robot mode, Cheetor stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 24 workable points of articulation. In contrast to some more recent efforts, the articulation on Cheetor is rather on the restricted side of things. His movement just generally feels pretty stiff, and a lot of the joints get okay movement one direction, but not another. Additionally, the movement on his elbows and knees in particular is rather restricted, making him just generally harder to pose than a lot of compatriots. The figure’s sculpt does an alright job of capturing the animation model for the character, but there are definitely some compromises made for the sake of transformation. He also winds up with a bit more kibble than he should in a few spots, notably the backs of his hands and the tops of his lower legs. This ultimately makes him feel a little bit less refined, I think, then he maybe should. He just generally feels a little bit more slapdash. Cheetor is accessorized with one weapon, a whip made from his alt-mode’s tail. It’s an okay looking piece, but notably not a weapon that was used by this incarnation of his design; the whip came with his Transmetals release. This one should technically get the “gut gun”, but it isn’t present.
With a name like Cheetor, his alt-mode probably isn’t too hard to figure out. He turns into, that’s right, a Cheetah. The transformation sequence is a little stubborn in a few spots, and there’s a tab on the back of the cheetah head’s neck that is pretty much guaranteed to break. It’s fortunately not super necessary for either mode, and I was able to avoid breaking mine (the stress marks are certainly there, though), but breaking during the first transformation’s not the kind of recurring issue you want to run into with a Transformers figure. At the very least, the cheetah mode does end up looking pretty good. It’s certainly an improvement over most of his older toys, I can say that much.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Beast Wars was my first interaction with Transformers, and if I’m being entirely honest, it’s probably a contributing factor as to why it took my so long to get into Transformers. There are parts of it I enjoyed as a kid, and am still nostalgic about, though, and I do like Cheetor alright as a character. So, I’m sort of trying some stuff out with Kingdom, and Cheetor was the first one of them I had the chance to pick up. Honestly, I don’t know that he’s a great place to start with the line. He’s not terrible, but he’s also not super great, at least by my metrics. I’m hoping that others prove to be a little bit better, especially considering the prior two entries in the trilogy had little trouble getting me to care about other characters in the franchise I previously had little attachment to.
Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy for review. If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.