Transformers Timelines Sky-Byte Toy Review

in 2010, Action Figure Review, Botcon, Predacon, Robots in Disguise, Timelines

General Information:
Release Date: June 2010
Price Point: Boxed set $305 for TFCC members, $375 for non-members
Retailer: Botcon Exclusive
Accessories: Missiles x 2

Images:

When choosing to do a "Generation 2" themed set, there was one piece we had been wanting to do for a while now, but never had a place to put: Sky-Byte. This fun character originally debuted in the "Robots in Disguise" television series, not G2 so we called him our "wildcard", a character that we knew fans would like, but would find to be a surprise. While the original Sky-Byte was a true "beast", having been a redeco of Beast Wars Cybershark, this version would be based on the Energon Sharkticon sculpt, a natural fit. Check out that review for a detailed look at the sculpt. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

Vehicle Mode:
While this mode is a vehicle, there are some very "shark-like" stylings on it. This includes the pointed front end, the curved "fins" on the bottom and the back as well as the tower in the center (which looks almost like a fin of another kind). Many of the vehicular stylings were borrowed from some of the design lines from the Decepticon starship Nemesis. The aforementioned tower came from that ship as well as some of the curved lines that layer over each other in the front. The result is a very unique vehicle mode that does not have beast mode parts on it, but rather evokes the look of a beast while being a vehicle.


The Energon Sharkticon figure already had many "Sky-Byte colors" as I noted in my Sharkticon review but this time out we decided to take it one step further and make him true Sky-Byte colors. Sky-Byte is cast in five plastic colors (quite a bit for a deluxe scale figure): translucent red, blue, silver, off-white, yellow and black. The most dominant colors in this mode are the silver and yellow. The silver plastic makes up a bulk of the middle and front section of the vehicle while yellow is found on each of the "fins" as well as the eight cannons mounted onto the middle and front sections. Black is used for smaller parts such as the central tower and connecting joints on the side. The translucent red plastic is used for the windows on the central tower of this mode. These are solid colors and all harken back to colors found on the animation model of Sky-byte from "Robots in Disguise". The blue plastic is really meant for parts seen in the robotmode, but they peek out in this form including the robot legs and upper arms as well as the cannon pods on the sides of the vehicle.

Sure the base colors evoke Sky-Byte, but it's the paint details that really evoke the "Robots in Disguise" character. The paint applications for this vehicle mode are done in a variety of colors including: metallic blue, pink, silver, yellow, gold, green and red. While a bulk of the front section is cast in silver plastic, the top portion is largely painted metallic dark blue, similar to the paint scheme of RiD Sky-Byte. Small details in the nooks and crannies of the vehicles top end have all been meticulously painted in. This includes cross hatches, circles and vent lines that are all part of the sculpt, but were not painted to this degree of detail in the toy's original release. Look carefully and you'll find silver on the background of many of these sections, and then colors like red, yellow and green filling in the smaller details such as the circles. This looks absolutely brilliant and shows an amazing attention to detail. Silver is also found on the front end of the vehicle as well as the back.

Three tampographed details really help make the figure and cement the "shark" look. The first are two eyes printed onto the front end of the vehicle, making it look more like a creature. The back of these eyes are white and the eyeballs themselves are red. In between the two eyes is a tampographed Predacon symbol, a reminder of Sky-Byte's origins as a Predacon in "Robots in Disguise". In concert with the details formed by his robot feet on the underside of the vehicle, it almost looks like he has a mouth there when it didn't seem that way on Sharkticon. In concert with the paint applications, there is no doubt which character this figure is meant to evoke, and with the tampographs, the more "beast" based side of the vehicle comes shining through.

All four of the cannon pods can be manipulated, and the cannons themselves are still made of soft plastic. The same is true for the fins as they would be quite dangerous if they were hard, brittle plastic. Pull out the sides on the front end of the vehicle and you'll reveal two missile launchers. These can be positioned up or down. Pressing the buttons on the launchers fires the missiles, and they shoot just about as far as those on my Energon Shartkicon figure.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the rear sections to the sides and straighten them out.
  2. Swivel the rear sections around.
  3. Flip the ship over and detach the robot feet from the front and swing that entire section down to form the robot hips and legs.
  4. Flip the feet up.
  5. Swing the entire front portion of the ship onto the back to reveal the robot head.
  6. Swing each arm up and lock it into place.

Robot Mode:
For a character as iconic as Sky-Byte, we felt that a new head sculpt was not just "nice to have" but absolutely necessary. Basing the design on the original Sky-Byte, the challenge was evoking the shark fin on the head of the "Robots in Disguise" Sky-Byte while having it fit into the small slot in the front portion of the vehicle. There's very little clearance where the front of the vehicle swings over the head to form the vehicle mode, so we had to be sure the head sculpt fit. This meant a significant downsizing of the central crest/fin, but its stylings still evoke the original and rise up from the top of the helmet piece. The center of the crest also has horizontal lines running across it, just like the "Robots in Disguise" Sky-Byte. The sides of the head have details resembling shark gills and some raised lines that evoke the fins on a shark. His face has the angled eyes of the animated version along with a big toothy grimmace that the character is well known for. Some have complained the central crest simply isn't big enough, and I totally agree that it pales in size compared to the original Sky-Byte's, but in the context of making this a functional figure, I think the sculpt looks fantastic. Just from the sculpt alone, there is simply no doubt what character this is meant to represent.

All the aforementioned plastic colors appear in this mode, but in different proportions. The white plastic is featured a lot more here, found on the weapons on his forearms, his shoulders and lower legs. The dark blue plastic is found on his torso, upper arms and upper legs. Yellow is still quite prominent, showing on his arms and legs. His forearms are silver, but in terms of plastic colors that one is downplayed here with most of the silver plastic winding up on his back.

Color-wise, many of the colors from the other mode carry into this one. Yellow, red, white, silver, pink and blue all combine to make a worthy homage to "Robots in Disguise" Sky-Byte. It helps that the torso for Energon Shartkicon was designed with Sky-Byte in mind. Look at the chest and it looks like there are big "eyes" on either side of it with a circle in the center. Taking advantage of this, most of the torso is painted silver, except for the top portion of the chest (painted white instead) and the interior layers. On the "eyes" they're pink, as well as the left side. The other side is white. This asymmetrical paint scheme comes directly from "Robots in Disguise" Sky-Byte who had similar styings. The waist and crest on the head are painted silver while blue makes up details on the head and shoulders. The face is painted yellow, slightly stronger in color than the fins while his eyes are red, again a match to his "Robots in Disguise" counterpart. The circle around the orb in his chest is painted gold. I'm not sure why, but the Decepticon symbol "marble" in his chest has been painted over with silver (possibly due to there not being an available Predacon symbol to put in there). Overall Sky-Byte looks fantastic in this form. He's instantly recognizable as a "Robots in Disguise" Sky-Byte homage and he looks great in his own right.

Amazingly, Sharkticon is one of those sculpts that has not been done over and over again until it was driven into the ground. Thanks to that, the joints on this figure are nice and tight, as if it were a first release figure. Of his eighteen points of articulation, the feet are some of the most crucial since he has a lot of "back weight" on him. In this form you can also deploy his missile launchers, raising them up on his back to fire at enemies!

Final Thoughts:
with a cool head sculpt and a spot on deco, Sky-Byte is perhaps unusual but absolutely faithful to the character he is based on. As part of the boxed set, he adds an element of fun that would not be there otherwise. After all, a shark-spaceship thing is definitely more unique than say, another jet or car. Highly recommended, but keep in mind this guy is going to cost you a premium since he was part of the boxed set at Botcon 2010.