Yeah, it’s March and I’m still going on with my Cybertron marathon for Transformers Thursdays. At some point this month I’ll have something new to look at… I promise! In the meantime, we’re heading back to 2006 to check out what is oddly one of my favorites of the line… Sky Shadow! It’s worth noting that this mold was first released as the Cybertron version of Jetfire. Up until now, I’ve been featuring repainted releases together, but I sold off my Jetfire long ago, so he won’t make an appearance. And that’s just as well. The mold never worked for me as Jetfire, but I think it’s perfectly suited as a Decepticon. Let’s start with the alt mode…
Yup, Sky Shadow is a giant airplane. I don’t think it’s an exact copy of any real world design, but to me it looks like a military cargo plane. Whatever it is I really dig it. Sky Shadow has a huge wingspan with four engines on the main wings and two more on the rear. He also sports a pair of missile launchers on the outside of the main wings. He looks as ungainly and ungraceful an aircraft as I can imagine, and again it’s just an inspired design for a Decepticon transport.
The deco on this toy really suits it. You get some gold, maroon, and gray all of which looks good on a Decepticon jet. It’s amazing that you can mix this many colors and still get a such a drab and industrial result. It’s also a great example of how much more time and money Hasbro used to spend on paint operations back then. The skin of the craft is also covered with sculpted panel lines, vents, and all sorts of little details, and while there’s no open compartment in there, you can lift up the back of the tail to simulate loading the cargo bay.
The flip up back is actually part of the the CyberKey gimmick and it’s pretty crazy. It causes the entire tail end of the plane to coil up like a scorpion tail, mount on the top and reveal a twin gun accompanied by a cacophony of electronics. Actually, it’s not much of a reveal, since the translucent yellow guns are always sticking out the back. Still, it makes for a damn cool attack mode. The transformation is pretty simple and straightforward and the result is pretty majestic.
This is a powerhouse of a robot with a massive and stocky build. His broad wing shoulders just go to show that Sky Shadow cares nothing for your personal space. The way each set of engine pods become the arms is pretty cool and the deco transfers really well to his robot mode.
Of course, he’s got a whole lot of something going on in the back. The back half of the aircraft makes for a really bulky backpack, so it’s lucky he has those little heel spurs, because even with those massive lower legs, he’d topple over without them. He’s also hollow in the middle of his torso, but hey no bot is perfect. Surprisingly, his CyberKey gimmick isn’t readily accessible in his robot mode. It seems like a no brainer to have those guns angle up over his head, but it’s all tabbed together to make up his torso, so all he can do is shoot straight up. I think there is actually a robot attack mode, but I remember it being balls out crazy and I’ve conveniently forgotten how to do it.
I’m pretty sure this is the exact same head that was used for Jetfire, which I’ll concede is a little disappointing. When you’re ponying up for an Ultra Class repaint that’s meant to be another character the least Hasbro can do is give him a new noggin. I like the head well enough and I think it works as a Decepticon, but it’s also a tad on the small size.
Sky Shadow’s missile launchers come off his wings and serve as hand guns. He looks really good wielding them akimbo, but these babies have super sensitive hair triggers. I’m sure I’ve said that about a lot of Transformers from this era, but in this case it’s ridiculous how many times these fired while I was shooting the photos.
While I do love this guy, he’s not without his share of issues. In fact, if he had an old fashioned bio card it would read “Function: To Stand There and Look Intimidating.” It’s not that he doesn’t have decent articulation, but the wings are unfortunately tied to his shoulder movement, so if you want to pose him his arms in any extreme fashion, it involves changing the look of those sexy up-swept wings. That’s a bummer. Also, there’s got to have been something better they could have done with the ends of the engines that dangle off his elbows. Yes, you can fold them up to get them out of the way, but then they just interfere with his elbows.
Even as I spent this morning boxing up another Ebay Lot of Transformers from this series, Sky Shadow stands as one of the few Cybertron figures on my “Never Sell” list. And wouldn’t you know it, he’s one of the few that actually held on to his value over the years. That’s the story of my life. The ones I want to keep are always the ones that are actually worth selling. I’m no economist, but I suspect that has something to do with supply and demand. Even still, I’m pretty sure he’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but his distinctive design really does something for me. It’s nice to have a Decepticon aircraft that isn’t a sleek combat jet and his robot mode… well, it sure looks awesome standing on the shelf.