Armada Toy Reviews: Cheetor

in 2003, Action Figure Review, Armada, Autobot, Beast Wars

Armada

General Information:
Release Year: August 2003
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price Point: Supercon (Approximately $9.99 depending on retailer)
Accessories: Cliffjumper Mini-Con figure, Tail/Weapon

Cheetor is one of the Beast Wars toys chosen to be reborn as a member of the Armada toy line. The specific toy chosen is Transmetal Cheetor, arguably the coolest version of Cheetor to come out of the Beast Wars line. Cheetor has been paired with a redeco of Ransack from the
Adventure Team named Cliffjumper.

Cliffjumper

Vehicle Mode:
Cliffjumper is a redeco of Ransack from the Adventure Team. The name is appropriate for the vehicle mode, an off road jeep. The name is a blast from the past, being one of the original crew that Optimus Prime had with him on the Ark. This Cliffjumper is a Mini-Con however, with no relation to the original. The jeep is primarily purple now, with some green, orange and
silver details. The windows are all painted silver. His winch hook and headlights are bright orange. The lights mounted on the top of the vehicle are colored green. Nicely enough, the rear spare tire (where the Powerlinx point is) is painted black. The purple is a dark shade,
so the bright green and orange colors contrast well against it.

Robot Mode:
In robot mode, Cliffjumper shows a bit more orange on his chest, winch mechanism and upper legs. His eyes are painted bright green. The string on the winch is now silver. The contrast of colors is even more evident in this form. The mold doesn't seem to have suffered any bit from its reuse. The joints are all still tight and fully functional.

Cliffjumper is a neat little redeco. His color scheme may seem odd at first, but when we get to Cheetor you'll see why it makes sense.

Beast Mode:
Cheetor is a mechanical cheetah in this form. The original Beast Wars Transmetals were actually part organic and part mechanical. However, the deco really blocks out a lot of the more organic looking parts (most of which are revealed in the robot mode). His sculpt is full of mechanical detailing. The beast mode head is streamlined and metallic looking. On his back are panels and indentations looking like mechanical parts as well. The sides of his rear legs look like they have pistons on the sides while the front beast mode legs have tubes and gear like details.

As with the other reissued Transmetals (Rhinox, Terrorsaur, Predacon and Airazor, Hasbro decided to not use vaccum metallized parts. Instead, he has a regular deco of paint apps. the plastic used consists of purple, black and dark blue parts. Bright orange paint is used for detail work focused on the back. The back panel was originally vaccum metallized, so it had no additional detail. In this version, many of the mechanical looking indents and parts are painted orange to bring out the details and provide a great splash of color on an otherwise
dark colored toy.

These colors make Cheetor look a lot more like some type of Decepticon panther rather than a cheetah. While the packaging labels Cheetor as an Autobot, his colors scream Decepticon, an interesting mixture.

To change Cheetor into his Flight Mode, you just flip out each black panel on his sides. Then flip out the engines underneath. Here we have the mold change. Inside the thrusters are additional ports. On the original Transmetal Cheetor you have to push a tab on the inner side of the engine thruster to push out the additional ports. This was to give the engine additional length and detail.

On Armada Cheetor however, the ports that extend out have been altered to act as Powerlinx points. Also, an additional tab has been added which allows you to push the piece out on the outer side of the engine. It is possible that on the original Cheetor this was avoided for aesthetic reasons. On their own, these new pieces look like bright orange gun ports now. Since these Powerlinx points are pointing straight ahead, certain Mini-Cons are more geared towards being attached here than others. Cliffjumper (and of course, Ransack) are ideal choices because their Powerlinx points are at the back of their vehicle modes instead of the usual underside. Other choices that can work as well are Wreckage and Sky-Blast.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the tail from the main body.
  2. Straighten out the rear legs and fold down the halves of the feet.
  3. Fold the lower part of the front feet and rotate the legs so the joint at the middle of the leg is facing the same direction as the beast mode head.
  4. Move the back piece (attached to the two front legs) up and down to form the robot mode's "back pack".
  5. Swing the beast mode head section down part way, and then flip up the robot head.
  6. Swing the beast mode head all the way down, and split it at the middle to form the robot arms. Swing them out to the sides.
  7. Place the tail/weapon in Cheetor's hand/claw.

Robot Mode:
In robot mode, Cheetor shows a lot more of his "organic" nature, though whether that is meant to be part of the official Armada storyline will probably never be known. His head, chest, arms, waist and upper legs all have sculpted details that look like lines of skin or fur. Among the nicer parts are the upper arms, which are orange here, but if you look closely enough, you'll see fur in the middle of the piece. On the head you'll find fur on his back and the outer edges of the "helmet". The chest piece is probably the one that stands out most with it's "wrinkled" appearance. On the same piece however, there are mechanical looking tubes
connected to the middle.

As for mechanical detail, there's plenty of that too. The lower body looks mostly mechanical, with line and joint designs clearly meant to represent machinery. But mechanical details rarely sit alone on this toy. For the most part they usually wind up leading to organic detailing, which has always made one impressive looking toy.

If you use the correct, by-the-book transformation, you really can't use the Powerlinx points in this form. However, if you want to, you can lift the back pack up, then lift the chest piece and swing out the engines. This will make Cheetor rather back heavy, so you'll probably need to hold him up manually.

Cheetor has twelve points of articulation in this form. Four of these points (the arms and upper legs) are on ball joints, allowing for a wide range of motion. This also includes waist articulation, which is nice to see since it is not part of his transformation scheme, but a joint added in for extra poseability.

The deco on the robot mode follows the beast mode. Orange, black, purple and blue being the primary colors. His eyes are bright green while his teeth are silver. His chest has a really nice orange spray op on top of black. Small details such as vents on his legs are colored in orange. For the most part, this color scheme differs to the extreme from any previous Cheetor. However, it does blend well with fellow "Armada beast" Airazor who also has black and purple.

There is only one minor flaw in this release of Cheetor. The robot mode feet are split up between the front feet and the smaller, rear heel piece. The rear heel piece is not as tight as it should be, so every now and then, the heel piece gives away and the toy falls back. If you angle the feet slightly forward, you can avoid this. But this was never necessary on previous versions of this toy.

Cheetor is a very cool toy with a great sculpt, articulation and play value. The new color scheme is interstingly dark and differentiates it from the other versions of this toy. The only problem is the heel problem I mentioned earlier. For some, that's enough of a deal breaker. Add to that fact that this is the third release of this toy, so this is recommended to only a certain crowd. Namely completists or those who love redecos.