"Vintage Beast Wars" Scorponok Toy Review

02/16/22

General Information:
Release Date: February 2022
Price Point: $41.97 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: Walmart US Exclusive (with limited amounts sold via Hasbro Pulse)
Accessories: Missiles x 2, Cyberbee

In 2021 it had been over two decades since Beast Wars Transformers reshaped the Transformers world forever. In conjunction with the release of several new Beast Wars themed toys in Kingdom, Hasbro also reissued a set of Beast Wars toys from the 90's as Walmart exclusives in the United States (the figures would go to various other retailers outside the U.S.). One of these figures was the Mega Class Scorponok.

Class and Cost:
The "Mega Class" has not been used regularly for decades now, and even in this Vintage Beast Wars toy line, the figures marked as "Mega" (namely Cheetor and Rattrap) are really a Deluxe and Basic Class respectively. At the time of its original release, this figure was about $14.99 USD (about $27.30 in 2022 taking inflation into account). That is why the price of this figure at a whopping $41.97 will no doubt take some fans by surprise.

So why is it so high? Well, I can only speculate but I believe it is a variety of factors. First, the cost of materials and labor in 2020-21 (when this was likely planned and put into manufacture) are very different than they were in the 90's. Frankly, everything is more expensive now than it used to be. Also, given the age of the tooling I would not be surprised if Hasbro had to invest in getting the tooling back into shape for this production run. On top of all that, this toy features many more gimmicks than your average release nowadays. This figure features three spring loaded action features while most releases (even at Commander Class) do not have any such action features. The exclusive nature of the figure also adds to the price due to having a lower production run. Finally, inflation has skyrocketed in 2022, leading to higher prices on everything. That said, I can totally see how this price may keep this from being an automatic purchase to one some fans may have to think long and hard about.

I reviewed the original release of this figure decades ago so check that out for my original thoughts on the figure. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

Packaging:
Similar in theme to the Vintage G1 releases at Walmart, Hasbro attempted to replicate the original Beast Wars Transformers packaging as much as they could for Scorponok. Like the original packaging it features a "scale" background in red and black colors. The opening of the box features a large window featuring Scorponok in beast mode inside. The opening of the box has a yellow border around it. The "Beast Wars Transformers" logo is featured across the bottom of the box. To the left is Scorponok's name and to the right is the old "Kenner" logo, a wonderfully retro touch. The left side features a callout that says "Launches Secret Robotic Bee!". This phrase is translated into four other languages. Due to the need for multiple languages, the phrase "Scorpion Turns Into Desert Attack Robot!" from the original packaging has been omitted. In a vey interesting choice, the dsigners reused the original Scorponok box art, colors and all despite the figure itself having a new deco.

The back of the box is where the limitations of modern day packaging really come into play, though I give Hasbro lots of credit for trying to replicate the original box as much as they could. Unlike most modern day Transformers toys, Scorponok has tech specs! However, they are translated into several languages, making the text fairly tiny. On the right is the "story" of Beast Wars (at the time) focusing on the Transformers using "bio-genetic engineering" to create new forms. Another change is the company logo box on the lower right hand corner. The Kenner logo is there, but so is the modern day Hasbro logo. I appreciate the spirit of this packaging and understand recreating the original box 100% is simply not possible given today's realities.

Accessories:
Like many Beast Wars figures of the past, Scorponok has action features that tie into his accessories.

  • Missiles: Scorponok includes two red missiles which fit into the left claw (in robot mode). Pull the top half of the claw up and the missiles launch. The springs in them are quite strong and they shoot a good distance!
  • Cyberbee: The Cyberbee is formed from the top half of the right claw (in robot mode). Press the curved button on top and the claw flies out and transforms into the Cyberbee. The spring on this feature was always very sensitive in the original Scorponok figure, but this time out it does not launch on its own as easily as it did on the original. The bee is made up of a beautiful metallic blue and gunmetal grey plastic with yellow, silver and black paint applications.

Beast Mode:
There have been no sculpt changes made to the design of this figure. Instead, the big changes are in the plastic colors used for this figure. The biggest, and most surprising change is the main body, tail and parts of the arms which are now a light gunmetal grey color versus the black plastic used on the original. The red on the beast mode legs (and joints on the tail) is a lighter shade of red than the original. Finally, the metallic blue plastic that forms the claws is almost the same as the original but under some lighting it looks a shade lighter (but that may just be me). Like the original, the stinger/blade on the tail has a gorgeous blue to red spray op on it. Such paint applications are rarely done nowadays, so it is a pleasure to see them used on any modern day figure release. The color changes were made to bring the figure more in line with the look of the character in the television show. To that end it does a good job but it is not perfect (for example the shoulder armor should be painted metallic blue to match the claws). However, saying "inspired by" the show works for me!

All the joints on my copy of this figure are every bit as tight as my 1996 Scorponok figure. All his gimmicks still work including the missile firing, the Cyberbee launcher and the tail's action feature. Push the tab on the middle of the tail and the spring loaded tail strikes forward quickly and snaps back. Such play patterns are almost non-existent in modern day Transformers figures and it is a wonderful reminder of a time when play patterns went beyond just the mechanical motions of transformation.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. I generally recommend launching the missiles and Cyberbee and setting them aside before transforming this figure.
  2. Push the beast mode head down and separate the halves, revealing the robot legs.
  3. Swing out the halves of the robot feet.
  4. At the base of the tail, swing the robot head out.
  5. Swing the lower body and tail section up and rotate the robot legs down.
  6. Press the peg under the robot head to the matching port on the robot chest.
  7. Swing the scorpion legs in.
  8. Rotate the tail around, then swing it up so it rises up behind the robot head.
  9. Swing the robot arms down and rotate the forearms around.
  10. Reconnect the missiles and Cyberbee if you detached them earlier.

Robot Mode:
Since much of the beast mode parts translate directly into robot mode parts it's no surprise that the new grey color dominates this mode. However, we do also get some more metallic blue color on the lower legs and robot head. Like the original figure there are no paint applications on the legs and the eyes are painted gold with a white mouth section. Scorponok's distinctive "screaming mouth" sculpt remains intact as well. The "Mutant Head" is still there and has red paint on it, offering nice contrast with the grey plastic. When you have this figure side by side with the original the striking difference between the two is really apparent and I am glad about that. One concern some collectors have is the potential for sellers trying to pass reissues as true vintage figures from the 90's so deco differences like these help distinguish them from the originals. Also, this incentivizes fans to pick up the figure even if they still have their original ones.

As with the beast mode, all the joints in this mode are just as tight as the original. Unfortunately that means the hip joints, which are ball joints are not quite as tight as I would prefer, making certain poses a bit more difficult for the figure than they would be otherwise. All his action features still work just fine in this mode. This toy does not just look great, but it's fun too!

Final Thoughts:
The Vintage Beast Wars Scorponok reissue is fantastic. I've always enjoyed this figure and looking at it again with fresh eyes I really appreciate the intricate sculpt and action featurs. The new deco looks great. All that said, the price is quite high for what it is. I do not blame any fans who may want to wait to see if this goes on discount (as other Vintage releases have over the past few years). Recommended!

Pros:

  • Excellent and creepy sculpt.
  • Excellent new deco.
  • Fun action features.

Cons:

  • A significantly higher price than many fans expected.
  • The hip/leg joints could stand to be tighter.