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Series: Legacy Evolution
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Voyager
Year: 2023

Prelude: Back in 1988, the Pretenders were all the rage. And while the Western cartoon was already over, the Japanese-exclusive Masterforce series heavily featured them, including a Takara-exclusive Pretender called Metalhawk. Now Metalhawk returns in the Legacy Evolution series, having shed his Pretender suit, and ready to lead the Cybertrons into battle… well, at least until someone looking kind of like Optimus Prime comes along, then he can safely retire to the rear echelons. Anyway, today we are looking at Legacy Evolution Metalhawk. Let’s say go!

Robot Mode: Metalhawk is a Voyager class figure and also an extensive retool of Kingdom Cyclonus. The basic layout is the same and he’s got Cyclonus’ thighs and shoulders, but the rest is pretty much all new parts. Unlike other Legacy figures based on old G1 Pretenders, Metalhawk has basically no elements from his old Pretender shell to his design. Instead he is entirely based on Metalhawk’s robot mode anime appearance from the old Masterforce series. Well, not quite. He does carry the sword that only the Pretender could wield on the old figure, but that’s it. Metalhawk is all inner robot.

I am not entirely sure what it is, to be honest, but Metalhawk really has that old 1980s mecha anime vibe going and going pretty strong. As a huge fan of that decade of Japanese animation, that is just fine with me, of course. He has a near-humanoid face inside a helmet, big chunky boots, wings on his back, guns and a sword, the whole nine yards. Fabulous. The fact that the figure itself is retooled from one that I consider one of the best Voyager figures of the last decade helps, too, of course. Metalhawk comes in bright primary colors (yellow, red, blue), which only underscores his look. Very nicely done.

I already mentioned the weapons, but for completeness’ sake: there is the sword, a spitting image of the one the old 1988 toy carried, which Metalhawk can also stash on his back. His two guns are really the rear fins of his jet mode and can also combine into a single one. Again, a near-perfect call-back to the weapons he carried in 1988. Is this toy here full of nostalgia? Maybe just a smidgen.

The articulation is excellent, of course, such as it was on Cyclonus, and overall this figure just makes for a really, really good robot. Oh, and if you should happen to own Prime Master Vector Prime with his Metalhawk Decoy Armor, then you can almost perfectly replicate the power-up sequence from the Masterforce cartoon (see 18th picture in the gallery). The small Prime Master yells “Suit on!” and puts on his Decoy Armor, then shouts “Pretennndaaaaa!” and (somehow) becomes a much, much larger robot. Have I mentioned the nostalgia is strong with this one?

So bottom line: an excellent robot mode. Apart from the same somewhat funky knee joints Cyclonus had, there is nothing worth complaining about here.

Alternate Mode: The original Metalhawk was an outlier among Pretenders, because he had a vehicle mode that actually managed to look somewhat like a realistic vehicle instead of just being a robot folded in half. Unsurprisingly Legacy Evolution Metalhawk does a much better job of transforming into a jet, but it is still recognizable as the same aircraft. It’s a Cybertronian jet that maybe slightly resembles an F-15, is mostly its own thing. The transformation is more or less the same one Cyclonus had, only without the arms folding towards the rear of the jet, so that the wings sit more towards the jet’s middle.

Nothing much I can really say about this jet mode, though. It looks like a jet, it looks like Metalhawk’s 1988 jet mode (close enough), his guns attach to the rear to become the smaller tail wings and the sword can go on top inf you want. No landing gear, but that seems to be a general trend among jet Transformers these days, sadly. So bottom line: a decent jet mode, but somewhat boring, especially when compared to Metalhawk’s excellent robot mode.

Remarks: Metalhawk was the initial leader of the Cybertrons (Autobots) on Earth during the Masterforce series, hiding in the guise of a Japanese businessman called Hawk (typical Japanese name, right?). He led the Cybertron Pretenders into battle against their Destron counterparts and did a pretty good job until the arrival of the Destron Godmasters, who simply outmatched the Pretenders. Metalhawk surrendered the title of Cybertron Commander to Ginrai (a human with a Godmaster transector that coincidentally looked just like Optimus Prime) and was basically relegated to the background for the rest of the series. Metalhawk also featured heavily in the first continuity of the IDW comics, but was an entirely different character there.

I am a bit of two minds about Legacy Evolution Metalhawk here. The robot mode is brilliant, I love it. The jet mode, though, I find rather boring. Which kind of fits with the old Pretenders, of course, where the vehicle mode was basically just an afterthought and added only because, hey, they were called Transformers, so they needed to transform into something. It’s a decent jet mode, but… yeah, really boring. Still, I personally put more weight on the robot mode and I love how they recreated the anime character from 1988 in toy form. A better alternate mode would have pushed this guy into A-territory for me, but even so, he is still a good toy and well worth getting for all fans of old-school robots and the 1980s anime look.

Rating: B+

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