Dark of the Moon Skyhammer Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Dark of the Moon, MechTech, Voyager

Dark of the Moon

General Information:
Release Date: May 2011
Price Point: $20.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Rifle/Energon Sword weapon

Images:

*Images and text in italics from The Official Transformers web site
Back on CYBERTRON, SKYHAMMER was a highly decorated AUTOBOT aerial assault commander. He was tasked with personally advising OPTIMUS PRIME in countless skirmishes with the DECEPTICONS. SKYHAMMER is surprisingly nimble given his size and weapon payload. He is an expert with projectile weapons, but also excels in hand-to-hand combat. He carries an Energon blade bestowed on him by OPTIMUS PRIME as recognition of extraordinary courage and heroism in battle.

Soar into battle with this chopper-to-robot hero! Switch your mighty SKYAHMMER figure from attack chopper vehicle mode to battle-ready robot mode. His MECHTECH rifle even converts to an Engergon sword in robot mode. Then convert him back to chopper mode so he can chase down his enemies. As the battle rages on, keep converting him back and forth, so he’s ready to face whatever his enemies throw at him! Weapons work with any MECHTECH TRANSFORMERS figure! (Each sold separately.) Ages 5 and up.

While the Cyberverse makes up a smaller scale of figures in the "Dark of the Moon" toy line, the size class most fans are used to returns with "Mech Tech" technology. The generaly concept behind "Mech Tech" are weapons that transform from one type of weapon to another. These have standard peg sizes that allow the weapons to be swapped between figures.

Skyhammer is an old name being applied to a new character. The original Skyhammer was a Generation One character who belonged to the group known as "The Pretenders", Transformers that had "outer shells" that could join them in battle. Over the years, the name has been reused many times, even fore Mini-Cons! Now the name belongs to an Autobot aerial commander from the movie universe.

Mech Tech Weapon:
Since the Mech Tech weapons are critical parts of this toy line, I will review the weapons separately if they have some type of functionality. How they work with each figure will be discussed in the review of the various modes. I will make one general statement that will probably be replicated throughout several of the first (and possibly second) wave of deluxe figure releases regarding the Mech Tech weapons: they cannot stay in their "transformed" state without being held in place. Most Mech Tech weapons are spring activated, and when you release the switch that transforms them, the weapons automatically revert back to their previous form. This is important to note as the packaging clearly shows the weapons can maintain their alternative forms with no mention of requiring support (this could change).

Skyhammer's weapon is described on the official description as a "rifle" in its default mode. However, unlike the long, slim weapons that most people may picture when they think of the word "rifle", this weapon is a very bulky one. The center looks like a lot of machinery piled on top of each other in at least three layers with several armor plates and tubes over a weapon in the middle. What does look like a rifle are the barrels at the end of the weapon, which are tubes with wider tubes at the end with smaller tubes connected on top. These longer barrels definitely look like the ends of a dual barreled rifle, so I'll give this a pass. The sculpting is done nicely, and despite its somewhat distracting bulk, I do like the look of this weapon.

Push the end of the weapon in and the middle section of the weapon swings up and over along with an "Energon" blade. Unfortunately if you want to lock the Energon blade mode in place, you have to really risk breaking the weapon, which is a total bummer because I really like the look of the Energon blade. Basically you have to push the gold button in the back all the way in, and then turn it clockwise. However, the part feels like it's almost going to break when you do so so be careful. It's not hard at all to break it! This may be why it's not mentioned in the instructions or Hasbro's own instructional video.

The blade has an angled hook at the end and towards the bottom it is serrated, making it look like one mean weapon. The weapon attaches to figures via a peg at the base of the weapon. There are holes on the side that allow you to attach additional weapons to it, making this one potentially powerful blaster. When you add weapons, the bulk looks considerably cooler and more dangerous!

The weapon is cast in gold and grey plastic. Most of it is grey, with hold used for the parts that you push to activate the transformation. The front barrels are painted metallic blue, a color also found on Skyhammer himself. My only wish is that the actual blade itself was also painted, but that's a minor quibble, especially when you consider it can't stay extended on its own.

Robot Mode:
Skyhammer is one of the "off screen" characters in "Dark of the Moon" who is part of the movie universe, but not one who appears in the movie (to my knowledge). When it comes to characters like t his with original sculpts, it generally seems that the toy designers try to create a hybrid design of movie and non-movie Transformers aesthetics in one figure. This applies to Skyhammer who integrates design elements inspired by both Transformers lines such as "Cybertron" as well as the Michael Bay movies.

First what's "non-movie" about this figure? Well, it has many sections where the panels are rather flat and angular and thick instead of being sharp looking and lanky. This includes his shoulder armor, forearms and legs Each of these parts is rather thick and has flat detailing on it rather than layers upon layers of machinery that looks like it's jammed up against each other. Even his head design is largely inspired by Generation One, with a high crest, antennae like protrusions sticking out at angles from his head and a "visor eye"/mouthplate design for the face. One of my favorite details can be found on his forearms, which each have two thruster ends on them pointing forward, looking like he has built in weaponry. These details will definitely give the figure appeal to fans who are not into the look of many of the "Bay-former" styled Transformers. Skyhammer could easily stand shoulder to shoulder with figures from the Unicron Trilogy and blend in, which is a compliment to the design.

However, being a character in the movie universe, Skyhammer does have some of the requisite movie inspired details. Part of this is the torso, where the helicopter blades basically "wrap" around his chest be swinging back across his shoulders and by his waist. The torso is also relatively thin compared to the rest of the figure and it has several angular looking armor panels with machinery underneath. His head has a distinctive bird-like design, with his mouthplate being reminscent of a bird's beak, similar in style to Jolt. His legs also have some machinery showing on his thighs complete with pistons, vents and armor plates over them. Another very telling "Bay-verse" design element can be seen on his hands, which only have three fingers and a thumb on each instead of the normal five.

Skyhammer is cast in dark grey, light grey, black and translucent yellow plastic. Having two primary colors both being shades of grey may sound a bit dull, but in fact Skyhammer looks pretty darn good. The light and the dark grey colors are at extremes of the spectrum, so they contrast very well, though the dark grey does make up more of the figure on the top and bottom of the body. Most of th elight grey is focused on smaller limbs and the middle of the torso. The black plastic is found on his chest, where it makes up the rotor. His eyes and the windows of the cockpit are translucent yellow, offering a bright color to set against the greys.

There are twenty eight points of articulation on this figure, with seven in each arm and five in each leg. He also has waist articulation, which is something not all Transformers nowadays seem to have. This articulation is also meaningful, for instance his arms can swivel out to the sides and bend at the elbows as well as swivel up and down at the elbows.

Now let's get down to the real fun of this figure: his ability to hold weaponry! Being part of the Mech Tech line of figures, Skyhammer has several connection points for additional weapons on top of his main blaster. He also includes two missile pods, each with four tubes. These can be connected to the sides of his forearms, which have holes that can also accomodate other Mech Tech weapons as well. His hands can hold Mech Tech weapons too, and on his back are holes on his helicopter stabilizers that allow you to connect "over the shoulder" weaponry. On top of the standard "peg in hole" weapons, Skyhammer can also accomodate C-Clip weapons such as those included with some Cyberverse figures. Two clips are found on his forearms and you can also attach C-clip weapons to his aforementioned missile pods. Overall, this gives Skyhammer the ability to carry enough weapons to truly live up to his name in robot mode as well as vehicle mode!

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the missile pods if attached.
  2. Detach the rifle weapon if attached.
  3. Swing out each of the helicopter rotor blades and pull the rotor up in the middle.
  4. Swing each forearm piece out to the sides and swing the robot hands in.
  5. On each leg, swing the heel piece back and up.
  6. Swing out the horizontal stabilizer fins near the heels.
  7. Swing the front of the robot feet down.
  8. Swing the panel with the stabilizer fin and heel out.
  9. On the right leg, swing the vertical stabilizer up.
  10. Rotate both lower legs so the horizontal stabilizers face outward.
  11. Swing each leg up at the hinge joint above the knee, then bend them at the knee, bringing the lower leg pieces together so you can connect them.
  12. Rotate each arm so it is pointing back.
  13. Move the panels on ether side of the head up.
  14. Swing the arms together to begin forming the cockpit.
  15. Swing the arms back and swing the forearm pieces up.
  16. Swing the wings out to the sides, then swing them forward on the central hinge.
  17. Swing the white waist piece down, connecting it to the wing piece.
  18. Swing the robot legs up to complete the formation of the rear of the vehicle.
  19. Rotate the base of the rotor piece around.
  20. Attach the rifle to the hole on the underside of the cockpit.
  21. Attach the missile pods to the undersides of the wings.

Vehicle Mode:
It is common for Transformers to have semi-realistic vehicle modes that are "mash ups" of real life vehicles. By taking chunks of one vehicle and combining them with another, the designers avoide trademark issues with the makers of those vehicles while creating something that echoes a real life vehicle at the same time. In this case, Skyhammer appears to be a combination of the body of a Mil Mi 24 and the Eurocopter Tiger.

The overall shape of the vehicle is similar to the Mil Mi 24, especially the area around the cockpit window which has rotors right above the base of the window. It also has wings on the sides with weapons mounted on them. From the Eurocopter, the rear section has a single vertical stabilizer on the tail with horizontal stabilizers that end with more vertical fins. The windows on the cockpit are also similar to those on the Eurocopter, with an angled design that starts low and angles upward to the base of the cockpit section.

Despite its real life influences, there are some definite fantasy elements to the vehicle. The cockpit is very wide for instance, while most real life attack helicopters have rather thin cockpits. The sides of the vehicle have large thrusters in the back on either side with air intakes in the front. His wings are also rather wide and angle in a way that is distinctive to Skyhammer. I also like a lot of the smaller details including lines that indicate where armor panels meet, wires on the top of the rotors and fans sculpted into the front end of the vehicle above the cockpit windows. I also really dig the sculpting inside the cockpit, where you'll see a seat and control panel. Overall, it looks like a futuristic version of a military helicopter that exists today.

This mode heavily features Skyammer's dark grey color, which makes up most of the area around the cockpit, the wings, the sides and the tail. Light grey plastic is found on the sides of the vehicle towards the middle with white on the tail. Translucent yellow plastic is used for the cockpit window. Black plastic is used for the rotor blades. Overall this is a dark color scheme that fits with a military vehicle. You can imagine Skyhammer moving in on the enemy in the dark unseen.

Paint applications are done in grey, white, gold, metallic blue and red. The colors are not used heavily however. The grey is used for the "cage" sections of the cockpit, red is used for the Autobot symbols on either side of the cockpit while the white is used on the top of the rotor base. The metallic blue paint is found on the edge of the wings and on the wire details on the rotors. It's also found on the light grey sections on the side of the tail section.

In this form you can manually move the helicopter rotor. Like any good "Mech Tech" figure, Skyhammer has several points where you can connect extra weaponry. There is of course the port under his cockpit, but you can also pile on more weapons under his wings and on the sides of the vehicle, totaling seven extra weapons you can attach to this vehicle! It's a very impressive sight when you have all the weapon slots filled.

Final Thoughts:
Skyhammer is one awesome Voyager Class Transformer. It shows that you can merge the G1 and movie aesthetics to come up with a cool looking and fun toy. I love the ability of the figure to hold so many extra weapons in both modes. Whether or not you're a fan of the movies, this is one toy you will want in your collection. Highly recommended!