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

After the darkness I take wing again!
Formerly a warrior with the Maximals, Silverbolt became the victim of the worst kind of crime. His spark stolen and reprogrammed by Megatron, Silverbolt was remade into the evil Vehicon aerial general Jetstorm. With no memory of his Maximal past, it took Blackarachnia to finally bring him back to his former Maximal self. Reformatted into a techno-organic condor, his wings create violent turbulence that topples Vehicons. In robot mode, eyes can fire static pulse lasers that paralyze Vehicons instantly. Silverbolt struggles to shake his Vehicon past and rediscover his noble Maximal ways.

Robot Mode: In the TV series Silverbolt was the tallest of the Maximals (though not as massive as Optimus Primal). He was also cast in dark grey and purple colours to underscore his brooding ‘Dark Knight’ shtick. So naturally the toy representing this character is not only the smallest of the good guys (a Basic figure, comparable to today’s Scout/Commander class), it also comes in bright primary colours, mostly red and yellow with light blue feathers and wings. Somewhat like bringing out a toy for the “Batman: The Dark Knight” movie by Nolan and modelling it after Adam West.

Size and colours aside, though, the robot mode does manage to look very close to the character we saw on TV, which is far from a given in Beast Machines. It’s a very slim robot with the kind of chicken legs that would become en vogue nearly a decade later in the Revenge of the Fallen line. It’s nicely detailed and manages to mostly disguise the fact that it’s got a big beast mode head as a belly. The robot head looks very screen-accurate, too, though the whole look is a bit too Samurai-Jack for my taste. Don’t get me wrong, I like Samurai Jack, but not as a Transformer. Articulation is pretty good, though the robot really would benefit from heel spurs, as he’s prone to toppling over backwards.

All in all a decent robot mode if you disregard colour and size, except for the weapon. Basically it’s the wings of his beast mode, folded together into a giant fan or something. Unfolding the wings reveals a kind of sword, but now the whole thing’s far too unwieldy to use. The weapon can be stored on Silverbolt’s lower back. If you put it there, you should unfold the wings, though, because leaving them folded forces the figure’s legs forward, threatening its balance quite severely. So bottom line: an okay robot, which could be better if not for some shortcomings.

Beast Mode: According to his profile Silverbolt transforms into a techno-organic condor. In reality the toy transforms into a primary-coloured robotic chicken with robot legs haphazardly positioned along the wings in a futile effort to disguise them. There is a way to fold the legs behind the chicken’s back, hiding them a tiny bit better, but still: it’s a chicken with robot legs hanging off its body. There’s no getting around that.

And... yeah, that’s pretty much it. The chicken is moderately articulated; it can move its legs a bit. And those pesky robot legs can move as well, of course, but no matter where you put them... you get the picture. So, a strong candidate for worst beast mode of all time. Probably not the winner (there is still Optimus Minor, after all), but definitely a runner-up.

Remarks: After being one of the most fun characters in Beast Wars with his penchant for over-the-top heroics, Silverbolt became the tragic figure of Beast Machines when it was revealed that he had been reformatted into the evil Jetstorm. Inevitably the Maximals managed to bring him back in the series’ second season, once again giving him a new body, though his personality was now more of a brooding Batman-type rather than the joyous hero he had once been.

While I consider the story of Silverbolt one of the better aspects of Beast Machines, the body he ended up in, both on TV and as a toy, is by far the worst incarnation of Silverbolt we’ve seen so far. The robot mode manages to be okay for the most part, but the beast mode is just ridiculous, the design in general is far from great, and the colour scheme doesn’t resemble the TV character in the slightest (the Japanese version was far more TV accurate in colour, but that didn’t change the other problems of the figure). So at the end of the day, I can recommend this figure only to Silverbolt fanatics or Beast Machines completists. Everyone else should much rather look at the Beast Wars version if you want a Silverbolt.

Rating: C-


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