Hammerstrike is the first Maximal released as part of the Beast Machines Transformers: Battle for the Spark line, signalling Beast Machines' second year on toy store shelves. For much of the toys in this line, the new "gimmick" is some action feature activated by the toy's Spark Crystal.
Hammerstrike's beast mode is a techno-organic hammerhead shark. His color scheme is mostly beige with blue detailing. Translucent orange plastic is used for many parts including the fins and beast mode head. Some red is used as well on what appear to be thrusters above his fins. The blue detailing is spray painted on nicely in some parts such as the tail.
In this form, Hammerstrike has four points of articulation. Although this sounds bad, it is actually pretty good for a creature that does not have a lot of articulation to begin with (at least none that would translate well into a toy). This articulation includes the lower beast mode jaw and the two side fins.
Hammerstrike's action feature works beast in this mode. Push the dark blue Spark Crystal on the top of his beast mode head and the translucent orange weapon on the front section of the beast mode head will strike out. It does not launch, which may have to do with the concept of having the Maximals shy away from having "ballistic" weapons.
This is a nice looking beast mode, and looks much more technological than organic. The addition of the thrusters on the side is a good idea, allowing for Hammerstrike to be both a sea and airbourne warrior in the imaginations of kids (and collectors).
Transformation to Robot Mode:
Begin Hammerstrike's transformation by splitting up the lower jaw of the beast mode head and moving the sides of the shark out a bit. This will give you enough room to remove the front of the beast mode head (which will become his weapon in robot mode). Set aside the weapon for now. Split the tail in half and twist it around to form the robot legs. This works best when the longer sides of the tail are pointing forward. Now swing the sides of the shark out competely and then fold down the upper body section and fold the vacume metallized bronze section down to form the robot chest. The robot head is right under the Spark Crystal. Fold back the lower jaw piece of either arm to reveal the peg which the weapon can attach to. You will note the weapon has a groove on it. This fits together with the hooked translucent orange piece above the peg on the arm to lock the weapon into place.
In robot mode, Hammerstrike's color scheme carries over from the beast mode, but his robot head is revealed to be dark blue, and his arms show a lot more translucent orange than can be seen in the beast mode.
Hammerstrike's robot mode is very odd, and many say it does not look like much of anything. At first glance, I agreed with this. However, a careful look (at least to me) likens the style of robot Hammerstrike forms to the EVA units from Evangelion. The primary reasons I say this are the very dark looking, angular robot heads and the thin, lithe shape of his body. Beast Machines has offered up many atypical designs and this one is no exception.
Hammerstrike's weapon will work in this mode too. Simply press the button below the three pegs (in a triangle pattern) on the weapon. As a robot, Hammerstrike has twelve points of articulation. This includes his legs which have at least three points of articulation each.
Hammerstrike is a cool toy, and for a basic size, worth the purchase. I wish he had more functional robot arms and hands, but that alone does not make him a bad toy. B+
Updated thoughts (December 23, 2021):
Hammerstrike represents one of the strangest designs to come out of any Transformers toy line and I really found myself liking this figure more when retaking photos of it for this review. The audacity of the design is fantastic. In a fun side note, decades later Hasbro would release Hammerbyte, another hammerhead shark Transformers figure that is less weird but also fun!