Folks, I am not going to be big into Beast Hunters. No, really. I’m not. I know I’ve said that before about TF: Animated and TF: Prime and in the end I bought a lot of them. I really don’t see that happening here. There are a few figures that may tempt me just because it’s such a rare treat to go to a store and actually buy a toy off the pegs these days, but I’m going to be mighty picky about any of the figures in this line that I buy. That having been said, Smokescreen was a no-brainer. He’s one of a pair of figures (the other being Shockwave) that seemed like they were planned for Prime release and so their spikey Beast Hunters rubbish are just extra bits that can be taken off and thrown away in order to give you a regular old Prime figure.
I’m not going to get into my thoughts about the direction Beast Hunters is taking the show. I haven’t watched it regularly anyway, so I don’t really feel entitled to discuss it. With the exception of Transformers comics, I’m only about the toys these days. I’ll just say that I’m sure Hasbro is trying to come up with fresh new ideas to sell the figures and, to be honest, if I were a kid I’d probably be all over this concept. Anyway, I’m not a big fan of the new packaging. TRANSFORMERS PRIME BEAST HUNTERS is quite a mouthful and the new deco just doesn’t do anything for me. Smokescreen is carded in his robot mode and there’s a sticker on the bubble advertising The Hub, which I’m frankly surprised still exists.
The back of the card shows pictures of both modes and it looks like Hasbro has really cut down their bio-writing staff because Smokescreen just gets a single line. Ok, I’m done with the packaging. As usual, I’m going to start out with Smokescreen’s alt mode.
As expected, that alt mode is a sports car and overall I think it’s pretty good. He’s got a sexy, curvy look to him. The bulk of the toy is cast in an off-white plastic with some nice red and blue paint apps and “38” on the doors to provide me with a cool little G1 fanwank. I like the tinted clear windshield and the tinted yellow headlamps. Yes, it feels like it’s missing some paint apps on the bumper and tail lights, but all in all, this is a pretty solid little car mode. I’ve got no complaints.
There are peg holes on the roof and sides of the spoiler to plug in Smokescreen’s weapon, which is a net launcher. Blah! Fortunately, you can remove the rubbery net and turn it into a perfectly serviceable little gun-slash-missile launcher.
Smokescreen also comes with his “Shadow Quill Armor.” It’s a rubbery piece of armor that fits over the front of the car kind of like an automotive bra. I gotta say, I’m not hating the way it looks on the car mode. It feels a tad out of place on a car with this kind of sporty paint job, but it gives him some nice ramming spikes, and I’m certainly down with that.
Transforming Smokescreen is a wee bit fidgety, but it’s also rather fresh and clever, and the end result is a robot with a lot of interesting stuff going on. You’ve got some really cool shoulder armor, doors that hang off his sides and kind of remind me of the holster/scabbards on Generations Drift and Blurr. The chest plate is kind of a fake out, as it’s obviously intended to be a crunched down version of the front of the car. I know some people don’t dig the whole fake out thing on Transformers, but it doesn’t bother me so much here. About the only downside to this guy is that he’s best viewed from the front because from the back he looks rather hollow and unfinished. Oh, and yes, you can put his “Shadow Quill Armor” on when he’s in robot mode, but it looks like ass, so I won’t be doing that.
Smokescreen’s coloring in bot form is pretty close to his alt mode deco. He’s still mostly off-white, although he does feature some nice red and blue paintwork on his arms and legs, a blue stripe down the front of his chest, and yellow paint to simulate his headlights in his chest. I don’t know if it’s the design of his robot mode or the deco or a little of both, but I do get a little bit of a Gundam vibe off of him. I think the only gripe I have is the paint apps on the head could have been executed a little better. It’s not bad, just a little bland. It might not just be the paint. To be honest, a lot of the Prime styled head sculpts look a little too much alike to me.
Articulation has not been a problem with the TF: Prime figures, and it isn’t here either. Smokescreen’s got a lot of poseability, making for a very fun figure. His shoulder armor can angle up so as not to inhibit his arm movement. His shoulders are hinged on a little post and then ball jointed, and his arms have swivels in the biceps and hinges in the elbows. His legs are ball jointed at the hips and then hinged at the knees and ankles. He can swivel at the waist and his head can turn side to side.
I haven’t been paying much attention to the Beast Hunter pegs, so I’m really glad I happened to spot Smokescreen on my last trip through the toy aisle. Whether or not I choose to get any more Beast Hunters figures, he makes a nice addition to my TF: Prime Autobot lineup. And that’s pretty cool, because I was all but certain I was done adding to that collection. To sweeten the deal he was only about $13, which is a couple bucks less than most of the Deluxe TFs have been as of late. I was rather tempted to pick up Ripclaw as well, but I decided to save him for another time. Now if only I could stumble across Shockwave, I’ll be a very happy camper.