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Series: Beast Machines
Allegiance: Vehicon
Categories: Basic
Year: 2000

Walking is for suckers.
Obsidian was created to be a mindless aerial-attack automaton by Megatron, master of the Vehicons. Armed with several heat-seeking missiles capable of penetrating 800 meters underground to reach their Maximal targets. While airborne, plays symphonic scores for enhanced drama and psychological intimidation. Often supports tank drone battalions for supreme land/aerial assaults. Displays unmatched aggression while in battle, but becomes docile outside of combat. Will hover serenely for hours.

Robot Mode: Just to get one thing out of the way first: In the pictures above Obsidian is somewhat intentionally mistransformed. His head is supposed to be at about the same height as his shoulders, not set above them, giving him a sort of hunchback look. I didn't like that look, so I left the head in a more humanoid position above the shoulders. This leaves Obsidian with a bit of a gap between his head and his 'chest' (the cockpit of the vehicle mode), but in my opinion it looks better this way. Make up your own mind about that.

Now for the rest. Like most Vehicon drones and generals in Beast Machines (and some Maximals, too) Obsidian didn't have proper legs in the cartoon, instead he got around exclusively by hovering and flying. The toy accomplishes this by leaving his rotors on his shoulders while his lower body is pretty much the vehicle mode's rear assembly. Unlike other Vehicons he can stand in this mode without any problems, thanks to the fins. But if you want legs, you can do that, too, and simply split the rear assembly apart and voila, two legs. Bending knees and everything. Obsidian is actually one of the best BM-toys when it comes to solving the whole legs/no-legs thing.

The rest of Obsidian is a pretty decent robot. He's got a nicely sculpted head, missile launchers for arms (where the lack of proper hands doesn't bother me that much) and a nice paint job, too. His arms are fully posable, the head is on a multi-jointed extension and... well, he's got a big cannon hanging between his legs. A somewhat unfortunate location, but whatever. His paint job doesn't exactly match up with how he looked in the Beast Machines TV series (he was more blue/grey there), but apart from that the resemblance is pretty good. Okay, he's very small, while the series showed him being much taller, but scale certainly wasn't Beast Machines' strong suit. So all in all a very nice robot mode.

Alternate Mode: Obsidian transforms into what is basically the Cybertronian version of a V-22 Osprey, a hybrid between a helicopter and a jet. Movie fans might recognize it from Incinerator. This vehicle here's a very compact, heavily armed flying machine. It has missile launchers under its wings, a minigun under the cockpit, and the rotors themselves can flip forward and even be launched as missiles.

Like with most Vehicon vehicle modes, the 'head' of the vehicle (the cockpit) is given face-like features and can move sideways a bit, simulating the articulate, living nature of the Vehicon vehicle modes we've seen in the TV series. So all in all this vehicle here looks armed, dangerous, and pretty good, too. Nothing to complain about expect maybe a lack of aerodynamics in this form, but given that this is an alien vehicle, one can easily overlook that.

Remarks: When Megatron realized that recycling Beast Wars characters for his Vehicon generals wasn't cutting it, he used the sparks of "the greatest generals in Cybertronian history", Strika and Obsidian. Now it was never quite clear how they earned that title and in what "thousands wars" they fought and won together (seeing as the last Cybertronian war covered more than 9 million years), but whatever. Strika and Obsidian fought hard against the Maximals before being shot into space, never to be seen again on TV.

They made a brief cameo appearance in the "Wreckers: Finale" text story, which was set directly after the Beast Machines season finale. Here they helped save Cybertron by reactivating the planetary defense net just in time to shred the retreating Quintesson armada before it could bombard the planet from orbit. Obsidian was also recolored for the Universe toy line and played one of Unicron's generals in the Universe comic book from 3H Productions. A fun side note: Obsidian's toy profile describes him as being intended as a mindless automaton, which couldn't be farther from the truth. Seeing as Obsidian and Strika played the part of dumb drones in their first TV appearance in order to lure the Maximals into a trap, maybe Hasbro didn't want to spoil the surprise and adjusted the profile text accordingly. Or maybe there was just a lack of communication between the toy designers and the authors of the series. Who knows?

As a toy there is very little to complain about. Okay, he could be bigger, but he's a very nice Basic-sized figure with no real flaws and a very good, dangerous look. So there is really nothing I can do but give this excellent little Vehicon a...

Rating: A


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