Monday, February 22, 2010

Transformers Beast Wars: Icebird


QUICK INFO:
Name: Icebird
Line: Transformers Beast Wars (Hasbro)
Year: 2000

Price: $9.99


Sage-like leader of the mutants. Very wise and powerful. Possesses colossal size and strength in bear mode - silent aerial abilities in owl mode. Resentful of his lost ability to convert to robot mode. Believes mission is to nullify technology completely and evolve into a purely organic existence. Does not fight with the Maximals, but believes they are a necessary component of the organic evolution. Can communicate telepathically, become invisible, read minds and shut down machinery at will. Views Optimus Primal’s heroics with forgiving tolerance. Greatly feared by Megatron.

Strength:8 Intelligence:8
Speed:7 Endurance:7
Rank:10 Courage:9
Firepower:8 Skill:9

The story behind the Mutants:
Megatron developed an anti-conversion virus, intended to prevent the infected host converting into robot mode, resulting in eventual shutdown. The Mutants were previously Fuzors, and the virus reacted in an unanticipated way with their physiognomy; it caused their conversion abilities to change, trapping their robot modes between two different beast modes. The virus also bestowed 'potent extrasensory powers' upon the former Fuzors, with each member having several unique abilities, such as invisibility, teleportation, or technokinesis. Unsurprisingly, the foursome managed to escape Megatron's clutches and then went renegade, calling themselves the Mutants.

A few years into the Beast Wars run of Transformers Hasbro decided to try something a little different and introduced the Mutants subline if you will in Beast Wars. These were robots that were essentially trapped in their organic beast modes by Megatron. We'll take a look at the leader of the Mutants today, Icebird.

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I'll start off with Icebird in his snow owl mode since that is what is depicted on the packaging. Of the 2 modes it is my least favorite, but I can live with the design. Let's start with the positives. The owl face is done really well. The feathers that are sculpted into the plastic give it a nice touch. The beak is spot on and is ever so slightly articulated. The wings are the other highlight of this beast mode. While the feathers on the face are very lightly molded, these are large feathers that really stand out. Because of the transformation each wing has 3 points of articulation. Tip of the wing, middle of the wing and where the wing attaches to the body. This does allow some different poses for the wings which is a nice touch. Now to the negatives. In my opinion the most blaring obvious down side to this mode is the bright red claws. I'm guess they are supposed to represent blood, but it's just too bright and really detracts from the overall look. The paint deco on the lower half of the chest again is too bright. I'm not sure what kind of owl they were trying to imitate here, but I can't find any kind of specimen that has colors or patterns like this. Closet thing I can find is the Snowy Owl...at least the wings on Icebird are a match. The tail features are nicely molded, but they are on a spring mechanism and they don't like to stay in once place very well.

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Icebird's other beast mode is that of a polar bear. I really like this mode and how they pulled it off. As you can see from the photo he's got big feet that allows for some good poses. I've got Icebird displayed @ home like this...makes him look more intimidating (and takes up less space on the shelf!). The figure has more heft in this mode and feels more solid. There are 9 points of articulation in bear mode. Ankles, shoulders, elbows, wrists and jaw. The front paws split into halves to form the owl's claws, but you can rotate the entire claw. The shoulder joints are ball & socket, but mine are incredibly tight. More so than I've seen on other toys with similar construction. You can open and close the mouth too so you can have a more subdue or growling facial expression. Like feathers were molded into the plastic for the owl, this mode has molded fur. The things I don't care for in this mode again are the red claws. If it is meant to be blood then it makes a little more sense for a bear to have bloody claws than a snow owl, but they are just too bright. The other distraction carries over from the owl mode too, the colors on the chest. It didn't work for the owl and it definitely doesn't work for the bear.

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Here is a side view of the bear mode. Where did you think the owl's wings would go once folded up?! If the wings had been molded in the same white plastic it would blend in much better, but at the same time I don't think it looks too bad. You can also get an idea just how much larger the front legs and paws are compared to the back legs.

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All of the mutants have their own faction symbol molded on the toy. Icebird's is on his right shoulder. If you flip up the panel you'll notice some robotic circuitry of sorts underneath. This was a nice little touch and gave the character a more robotic feel.

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The other robotic feature of the mold is the inclusion of a robot head. Yes, while the toy cannot transform into an actual robot it does have a robot head. Sorry for the blurry picture, it was hard to get a good close up. The head still has a beastly look to it in my opinion, but so do most of the robots in Beast Wars. This head is on a spring mechanism behind the polar bear's head. You simply lift you the panel on the back of the bear and you can fold in the bear's head and flip out the robot's head. I've seen some people pose the bear standing up with the robot head exposed for a pseudo-robot mode. The head is very tiny so it looks weird on such a large body, but it's still a nice added touch.

There were only 4 Mutant toys produced and Icebird is hands down my favorite with Soundwave a close 2nd. Where Icebird's owl form is light and almost hollow feeling, the polar bear is heavy and solid. If you can forgot about the mass difference between the two modes the owl and the bear forms work hand in hand. While the toy may not have the same feel as a regular Beast Wars toy since it lacks a true robot form the toy makes up for that with the inclusion of a 2nd beast mode and it's on unique charm. If you're looking to expand your Beast Wars collection Icebird is a good place to start.

2 comments:

  1. Nice review, Icebird is my favorite of the four as well. Do you still have one sealed? Man, this blog really is all over the place. Talk about random. Baseball cards don't count!

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  2. I don't have any sealed BW toys minus the Botcon BW Arcee. What can I say about my taste in toys other than it's random!

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