One of the most controversial characters to appear in the Beast Machines Transformers series was Savage/Noble. As the first completely organic Transformer, many fans felt this was not a "true" Transformer as even the techno-organic Maximals had technological parts. Despite this controversy however, many fans were eager to see how a toy of this character would turn out since hsi two forms were so different in the television show.
Enter: Beast Changer. Originally, this toy was named Savage/Noble, but there were copyright problems with using the name. In an effort to keep some of this original identity, Beast Changer's packaging lists him as transforming from a "Savage Beast" to a "Noble Wolf". This play on words was a clever way around the legal problem
Beast Changer's wolf mode is the standing mammalian mode used in the television show. Although the television show version showed Noble as being primarily light blue and shades of purple, here the main color of the toy is red. However, a good amount of blue is used for the Noble mode. The wolf head is primarily translucent blue plastic with purple around the nose and red on the cheeks. The chest is translucent blue plastic as well. The upper arms and the upper legs all show fur patterns with blue coloring fading into the red. The waist also shows fur like patterns mixing the colors of purple and dark blue.
In this form, the wings from the Savage mode are attached to Noble's back. In an effort to make the colors work with the blues and purples used in this form, the underside of the wings (which are visible in this mode) are translucent blue plastic. However, you can detach the wings to make the toy look more show accurate. The rest of the toy in this mode is red except for the claws which are painted gold.
In terms of appearance, the Noble Wolf mode manages to pull off a reasonably nice depiction of the CGI character. A nice touch can be found by examining the upper arms where the purple/dark blue parts are painted. The arms look like there are two layers of fur, one "ripping through" the other. This effect is very dramatic and also serves to remind us of this character's unique nature. The only part which throws this off is the very visible Savage beast mode's head which is folded back and above the wolf head. If there was a better way to have concealed this, the toy would have looked much better.
In a nice touch that emphasizes Beast Changer's strange origins, the Spark Crystal located on his right arm is a twisted combination of a Vehicon and Maximal symbol. This symbol also serves another purpose. Push the Spark Crystal up towards the shoulder. Now lift the panel on the back (with the wings attached), and then pull up the panel under that. You will feel some resistance, this is the gear mechanism locking into place. Now push the Spark Crystal down and his lower arm rotates as if he is slashing away at Vehicon enemies!
Beast Changer has twenty four points of articulation in this form. Much to the toy's credit, despite his legs which arch back and relatively small feet, he stands very well. Also surprising is the right arm's ability to pose well as long as the action feature is locked. The toy's arm does not flop around at all.
The Noble Wolf mode is quite impressive in its execution. Cool details and a fun action feature make for a fun mode.
Transformation to Savage Beast Mode:
Move the ears on the wolf head back, and fold the head down so it is against the chest. Fold down the Savage Beast's head and lock it into place. Push the wrist panels down on the arms, and rotate the lower arms around, and straighten out the claws. Fold up the heels on the feet and then lift the panels on the upper legs. Move the lower legs up so they fit into the hollow parts of the upper legs and then close the panels. Rotate the lower part of the body around. Swing up the back section with the wings attached to it. Rotate that entire piece around so you can fit the wings piece over the Noble Wolf head. Rotate the small, triangular, spiked piece at the center of the lower body to cover up the Noble Wolf head completely. Noble is now Savage!
"Savage" Beast Mode:
This is the mode which matches the CGI model almost exactly. The primary color used for this mode is red, but gold is used for detailing. The claws, teeth and wing edges are all gold. Some of the blue from the Noble Wolf mode peeks through, but is not overwhelming at all.
Beast Changer's details in this mode are very nice. The body is covered with scaly details on the tails, back and head. Spikes protrude on the wrists, back and head. The teeth pattern on the head is appropriately gnarled as portrayed on the show. As with the CGI model, Beast Changer does not appear to have eyes in this mode. Flip the beast over to see more gory detailing. The underside of the head shows a piece of skin ripped away revealing bone and muscles. Below that is the piece which activates the arm slashing feature. This piece seems to show exposed muscles as well.
In this form, Beast Changer rests on the two upper arms of the "Noble" Wolf mode. This may seem unstable, but he actually stands very well since the claws reach out so widely. The nice little action feature in this form is activated by pressing the button on the left side near the Savage Beast head. Press this button and the mouth opens and closes. The Savage Beast mode has seventeen points of articulation.
Beast Changer delivers a toy that was at one point thought to be near impossible to create. This also helps bring collectors one step closer to assembling a show accurate cast of Beast Machines characters, and the care given to the details such as the Spark Crystal are very cool. If you can get past the "organic Transformer" concept, this toy is highly recommended. A
Updated Thoughts (December 17, 2021)
Beast Changer as a toy is a really unusual piece and about twenty years after the figure's release there has never been another figure quite like it. I still like it very much to this day. It has very unusual aesthetics and the colors are beautiful and bright. I'm still very fond of this figure and it was a joy taking photos of it again. The text above is my original review and there is some terminology that is off, especially use of the word "copyright" instead of "trademark".
That said, I do have to recognize that the "Savage/Noble Trope" has its own history that needs to be acknowledged. I was not conscious of this when I wrote my original review, but I did have at least one friend bring it up to me when discussing this review. To some folks it is just a literary mechanism, to others it can be problematic. You can read this Wiki article about it to learn more and decide for yourself.