Icebird is the leader of the group of "Mutant" Beast Wars toys to be released in the 2000 line. This concept is explained above, but adds a nice link between the Beast Wars and Beast Machines toy universes. Beast Machines involves Megatron beginning his new assault on the Transformers by using a anti-transformation virus, and the virus that affects the Mutant Beast Wars appears to be a predecessor to that virus.
Polar Bear Mode:
In polar bear mode, Icebird is mostly an off white color. His sides are a dull metallic grey, which is a bit of a disadvantage since it stands out so much against the white. It would have been better to make this side of the side panels white and leave the metallic grey on the other side for the owl mode. The upper part of his chest has some yellow and dark green patterns on them which are parts that will carry over to the owl mode. His claws and bear eyes are bright red and his teeth are a metallic blue grey. If you open up the mouth, he has a tongue in there painted pink, a nice touch of detail.
Icebird is much more accurate to a genuine polar bear than his predecessor, Polar Claw. However, a good deal of license was taken with the design. First, the proportions are a off for his legs. Polar bear front paws and legs are not generally that much larger than the rear ones, but here the difference is enormous. Also, polar bears do have claws, but now huge bright red ones. Keeping in mind that this is a "Mutant" however helps explain the discrepancies.
In polar bear mode, Icebird has thirteen points of articulation. This includes his head, mouth and tail. On his upper right forearm you will see the Mutator symbol in silver chrome. You can lift that section to reveal mechanical detailing on the inside. Fold down the bear head and lift up his back panel to reveal a robot head representing the "trapped soul" of the robot inside. Note: Both the robot head and the mechanical detailing under the arm panel are dull metallic grey here, but the prototype at Toy Fair had red coloring for these parts instead. However, I believe that was only for the prototype.
Transformation to Owl mode:
Begin Icebird's transformation by folding out the sides of the bear to reveal the owl wings. Fold the panels out to completely expand the wings. Next, straighten out the bear forearms and rotate half of the claws around to form the owl feet. Now fold out the halves of the bear body. Open up the panel on the back of the bear and fold out the rear owl feathers while folding in the bear head. Flip out the rear side feathers. Rotate the rear bear feet around and straighten out the rear legs so the feet point down. Close up the halves of the main body. Fold down the polar bear tail on top of the owl head and Icebird is now in owl mode.
In owl mode, Icebird retains the color scheme from the polar bear mode. Now however, more dull metallic grey shows via his wings and owl face. Dark metallic green details are used on the wings to make the feathers more distinctive. In this mode, Icebird has fifteen points of articulation. A mechanism is built into his owl head which allows one to make his beak move by pressing down on the polar bear tail on the top of his head. The transformation instructions were not well detailed for this section, but it does function.
Overall, Icebird is a very cool toy and combines two great animals. A
Updated Thoughts (January 30, 2022):
It was not too long after I wrote the original review above that I would learn that this figure was originally developed as an Animorphs toy and later adapted as a Transformers toy when that line ended. To me that adds to the appeal of the figure as it is not common for abandoned figures from one toy line to actually make their way to another. I still love the concept of the Mutants sub-group and the idea that they had special powers makes them extra cool in my book. If you can get this at a reasonable price, I think it is well worth adding to one's collection!