Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Voyager Class Predaking Toy Review

in 2013, Action Figure Review, Beast Hunters, Predacon, Predacons, Prime, Voyager

Beast Hunters

General Information:
Release Date: January 2013
Price Point: $19.99
Retailer: General release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: "Hydrafire" missile launchers x 2, Missiles x 2, Sword/tail

General Images:

*Images with asterisks* and text below in italics from The Official Transformers web site:
The terrifying Predacon tyrant Predaking is a mighty evil from the ancient past with the power to burn entire worlds to cinders!

Take your Transformers adventures to the next level with this incredible Predaking figure and his twin Hydrafire blasters! Whether he’s in robot mode or dragon mode, he’s a scary enemy for any Autobot, and his twin Hydrafire blasters give him huge firepower against his Autobot enemies. Attach his hydra heads in dragon mode, where his tail becomes a sword! Keep converting him back and forth so he can handle whatever you throw at him!

Figure comes with accessories. Voyager Class Series 2 002 Predaking. Ages 5 and up. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

PredakingShockwave's experiments have brought a long extinct branch of the Transformers race back to life: the Predacons! Instead of serving the Decepticons, they have struck out on their own with their leader Predaking! This new central character to the "Transformers Prime" universe has been released in early 2013 as a Voyager Class figure.

Robot Mode Images:

Robot Mode:
When Hasbro looked to create a new "beast" based faction, they wanted to use dragons as their primary inspiration. As such, the leader of this faction had to be an exemplar of the Predacons as a group. That meant that in both his beast and robot forms, Predaking had to feature beast-like qualities. His entire profile looks like a beast, even in this form. His wings fan out on his back with a width almost as long as the figure itself. At almost every point, he has sharp looking details like spikes, blades and claws sticking out. This is especially pronounced on his head and shoulder armor. It's even reflected on his knee armor and feet. However, don't mistake this Predacon with the more techno-organic kinds of Transformers seen in "Beast Wars", all his panels and details are smooth and mechanical looking. He is a pure machine, even if he is modeled after a beast.

Predaking isn't just about an impressive outline. He has quite a bit of detailing sculpted into the figure. The aforementioned spikes and blades on his upper body are layered, looking like if you took one layer out, another section of armor would be waiting for you underneath. His head has thin, evil looking eyes with a face that includes an extended chin (which was interpreted on the Cyberverse version of the figure as more of a "beak" like design). His torso armor is really sleek looking, and it looks like a layer of armor is "wrapping" across his body horizontally to protect the machinery underneath. Another interesting detail on the figure are Cybertronian glyphs etched into his body on parts such as the chest, wings and left shoulder. These visual design elements support the in-story idea of Predaking being an "ancient" breed of Transformer reborn and they look great.

A note about the plastic on the figure: since so many pieces have to be spikes and sharp looking, several parts on Predaking are cast in "soft" plastic. This is out of necesity, and I prefer this over making those pieces look rounded in hard plastic. However, this means you have to be cautious with storing the figure and even where you leave it (near heat sources etc.) as these pieces can easily warp. The most notable parts in this form are his hands and the head, so be warned. With the hands in particular, there have been reports of people having trouble keeping the sword attached to the hand. I haven't had that issue but I can see it happening given the ability of such soft plastic to warp.

The three main colors of plastic on this figure all take their inspiration from the Generation One Predacon team, namely orange, black and silver (serving as a visual analogy to the grey plastic on the G1 Predacons). Black and orange are the dominant colors, with black making jup the torso, forearms, legs and parts of the shoulders. Orange makes up his shoulder armor, knee armor and his wings. The silver is used for the smaller parts like his hands, feet, thighs, neck and parts of the upper arms. The color distribution is done well. With the possible exception of his wings, no color really overwhelms the other. The wings come close since they are uniformly orange, but since they're in the back, they don't detract from the overall look of the figure.

Orange, silver and gold paint are used to provide detailing in this form. His face is painted silver. Parts of his torso and forearms are painted orange while gold is found on his waist armor and lower legs. The gold is another G1 Predcon inspired color and it works very nicely in concert with the black, silver and orange plastic. unfortunately, this is pretty much where the decos end. If you look at the photography on the box, the early prototype of this figure had the edges of the wings painted black, which really would have done a lot to enhance the appearance of the figure. I wish that had been left in, and this is clearly a case of the unfortunate need for cost cutting in today's toy lines.

Predaking has twenty nine points of articulation in robot mode. This includes seven in each arm and six in each leg (counting his foot and heel pieces) and those on the wings (at the base and mid-wing). Technically his waist can turn, but this requires swinging down his back armor, so I'm not including it. His weapons are two "Hydrafire Blasters", which are missile launchers styled as dragon heads. The dragon heads have a similar aesthetic to his own, spikes sweeping back with a beak and small rows of teeth where the mouth opens to accomodate a missile. The missiles are sculpted like flames, though unfortunately they are cast in grey and unpainted (whereas the packaging shows them as orange). Each launcher can be attached to the side of his forearm. The heads are angled up, then you press the tab on the launcher and the heads swing forward and fire! You can also move his arms up and together to connect the two launchers so they can fire simultaneously, which looks pretty darn cool. His other weapon is his sword, which is cast in black with a gold blade on top. This can fit into the rectangular slots on his hands. Since his hands are soft plastic and not conventional fists, you'll have to push it in and tightly "wrap" his claw hands around the sword for it to hold in place.

Transformation to Beast Mode:

  1. Detach all weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Swing the chest panel open.
  3. On the back, pull down the back armor (revealing the dragon head underneath).
  4. Push the dragon neck/head so the robot head goes into the chest.
  5. Push the cheset panel back in place.
  6. Swing the dragon head up and rotate it around.
  7. Swing the spikes on each robot shoulder down.
  8. Swing the wings up.
  9. Position the robot arms so they are angled at the elbow, becoming the front legs of the dragon mode.
  10. On each robot arm, swing each half of the hands out and rotate them so the three claws are facing front.
  11. On the back, rotate the lower body of the robot around.
  12. Rotate the panel that was covering the dragon head in robot mode around.
  13. On each leg, swing out the dragon legs from the inside of the lower legs.
  14. Swing the legs out a bit at an angle to give you clearance to swing the lower legs up against the thighs. The two pieces should connect in the center.
  15. Rotate the rear of the dragon around so the legs angle back the twin claws face forward.
  16. Push the foot pieces on the top and bottom down.
  17. Swing the knee armor from the robot mode over the base of the tail on the top and bottom.
  18. Swing the wings back.
  19. Attach the sword to form the second half of the tail.

Beast Mode Images:

Beast Mode:
Predaking's beast like qualities from the robot mode come to full fruition in this mode. Based on the classic European Dragon complete with wings, four arms and a tail, he cuts a very impressive figure (no pun intended). The wingspan really gets to shine here and the unusual transformation scheme really makes him look different than the robot mode. he's not just the robot mode standing on all fours. The way his forward body is wide and then narrows down to the tail looks fantastic. Add to this all the minute details such as the very regal looking series of horns and spikes on his head and the layered look of the armor on his tail look fantastic. I also really dig the "blades on the top of each rear leg and his claws look absolutely fierce. This mode also reveals new glyphs on the rear dragon legs and draws emphasis to those on the robot leg pieces (now on the back) and front dragon legs. He truly does look like a Transformer from another time and not like the more "modern" designs of Megatron's forces.

The colors from the robot mode of course all carry over here. The newly revealed parts include the dragon head/neck section cast mostly in black with a silver jaw piece. His rear legs are mostly black with silver claws in the front. The top of each of these legs is painted orange, staying consistent with the rest of the colors on this figure. Like the robot mode, the distribution of these colors works well, using the black color as their base but providing splashes of color here and there. Bits of orange and silver paint are used on the dragon head, which looks great but I do confess I wish there are some more paint applications, especially on the edges of the wings.

There are twenty five points of articulation on this mode. This includes six on each front leg and three on each rear leg. His dragon head can swing up and down and his jaw can open and close. Even better, the neck can turn at the base, allowing the dragon to look side to side, which adds a lot of personality to the figure. The missile launchers can be attached to the 5mm holes on either side of the dragon head to give him a three headed appearance, like that of a Hydra. This makes him look even scarier and adds missile launching capability to this form.

Final Thoughts:
I didn't really think much of Predaking when I first saw him in package. However I have to say I'm really impressed by this figure. The sculpt is fantastic with it's spike and organic styled detailing and Cybertronian glyphs. The judicious use of soft plastic allowed the figure to have a level of detail that may not have been possible (read: pass safety tests) otherwise. The transformation is also really cool and I really appreciate how different it is than most "beast" based dragons we've gotten in the past. All that said, the figure's biggest weakness is the deco, which doesn't ehnance the figure's visual appeal nearly as much as it could. The figure deserved a better deco for sure (and will no doubt serve as great fodder for customizers). Recommended, with reservations based on the need for more paint detail.