"Beast Wars Transformers" Panther Toy Review

02/13/22

General Information
Release Date: 1996
Price Point: $1 USD
Retailer: McDonalds US
Accessories: None

Panther adds yet another cat to the Maximals! Rotate his beast mode legs around and then fold back the panther head to form the robot mode. Panther is a bit unstable when standing due to his feet being the beast mode feet just turned around.

Once upon a time, fast food restaurants such as McDonalds and Burger King sometimes offered small, simple action figures as part of their kid's meals. Transformers had been part of such bundles in the 80's, and in 1996 Transformers toys returned to McDonalds in the form of five Beast Wars figures.

Back when these figures were first released, I barely wrote anything about them. My original review was literally just this:

Panther adds yet another cat to the Maximals! Rotate his beast mode legs around and then fold back the panther head to form the robot mode. Panther is a bit unstable when standing due to his feet being the beast mode feet just turned around.

Hardly sufficient by my current standards, so this review will be a more traditional review.

The McDonalds Beast Wars figures did not have terribly creative names. They were basically just named after the animals they transformed into. That said, Panther is actually based on the original concept art for what would become the Deluxe Class Cheetor figure. You can see this original design concept art on Tformers.com. Originally this feline to robot would have been Prowl, a new incarnation of the G1 Autobot. For the release of this figure, the designers simplified the design several notches to make it fit into the $1 price point for these toys (someting near unimaginable by today's standards).

Beast Mode:
Panther's beast mode is a fairly generic looking feline, complete with a snout and triangular ears. The length of the body has several areas with "fur" detail sculpted into the figure. The tail does not extend out the back. Instead, it us curled and sculpted into the back of the panther mode. For a McDonalds toy I really do admire the amount of sculpted detail in this figure. He even has the small holes in his face for the whiskers and teeth being bared.

As you'd expect, much of Panther's designs are black plastic. Red, blue and white plastic do however peek through from the robot mode. The eyes are painted yellow.

Thanks mostly to his transformation, Panther has twelve points of articulation in this mode - all focused on his legs. You can pose each leg independently.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the rear legs down.
  2. Swing the legs out, rotate them around, then swing them down.
  3. Swing the robot arms out.
  4. Rotate the arms around, then swing them down.
  5. Swing the beast mode head back to reveal the robot head.

Robot Mode:
Most of Panther's robot mode design is very much his own including the robot parts on the arms and legs (including hinge details). His torso has triangles on the chest and a large tube running down the middle. My favorite part is the head sculpt, which is based on the original Prowl head sculpt that would eventually become Cheetor's head. The details differ a bit, with the crest and the panels attached to them condensed down and a face sculpt that oddly reminds me of the G1 Rodimus Prime toy's face (read: kind of weird and old looking). Sadly, there are no fist or feet details, so while he has well defined robot details on his arms and legs they don't end in fists and feet.

This mode shows off a lot of white plastic. A nice contrast against the black plastic. His arms have red plastic on the upper arms while the legs have blue on the thighs. A bit of paint deco is used to paint the face silver.

This mode has the same articulation as the beast mode. Standing this figure is awkward because he has no robot foot parts, just beast mode paws that essentially act like heels. For a $1 figure I will not complain too much. Indeed, by today's standards (where $1 would be about $1.79 in 2022) having this much plastic, this many joints in this many colors with a paint application is kind of amazing.

Final Thoughts:
Panther may not be the most sophisticated Beast Wars toy ever, but for the time he was quite a prize for a Happy Meal Toy. If you can get him cheap it's a nice way to add to your Maximal forces.