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Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Ultra Pretender
Year: 1989

There is no disgrace in not succeeding, only in not trying.
A valiant, vigilant warrior. Dedicated to defending the innocent. Automated high-tech sky cruiser ideal for defending against enemy attack. Thermal blasters in wings liquefy metal on impact. Front-mounted high-frequency modulators provide long-range audio and visual surveillance and tracking capabilities. Coolant vents in nose emit black clouds of sleep gas, and top-mounted turbo-fans can produce cyclonic wind funnels. Also armed with twin lightning bolt cannons and programmable, steel-shattering sonic overloader. Outer shell armed with photon pistol and converts to super-sonic hoverjet.

Prelude: I originally reviewed this guy, along with fellow Ultra Pretender Roadblock, nearly a decade ago and haven’t really thought about them much since. Recently I took them back out of the box because I was updating old picture galleries and as I put them through their paces, I found that I no longer agreed with that old review (you can still read it here if you want), so I’m doing a new one.

Vehicle Shell: Skyhammer’s outer vehicle shell is a ‘high-tech sky cruiser’, meaning a really chunky box with wings and a swiveling double cannon out front. The wings have turbines and part of the roof flips up, extending another gun and a place where Skyhammer’s inner robot can be plugged in to serve as a gunner. The vehicle shell can also be equipped with Skyhammer’s twin golden guns, which go under the wings… provided you can still find them in one piece, given that they are made completely from golden plastic.

As a matter of fact, the entire underside of Skyhammer’s vehicle shell is also made from golden plastic. Thankfully there is no real transforming here or much in the way of moving parts, otherwise I’d really fear for the stability of the whole thing. The sky cruiser opens up, revealing the Pretender inside. So bottom line here: a nice looking science fiction vehicle, the best part of Skyhammer in my opinion.

Pretender Shell: Like most Autobot Pretenders, Skyhammer’s Pretender shell depicts a humanoid in heavy battle armor. The Pretender can swivel his arms at the shoulders, that’s it in terms of articulation, and features a flip-up visor (which I’m missing, sadly). He can, theoretically, hold Skyhammer’s two golden guns for weapons, but I advise against it, seeing as the fist holes are very, very tight and the golden guns are far from stable.

The Pretender can transform into a hoverjet, which is basically just the shell lying on its belly and pushing in the legs a bit. The front portion of the hoverjet is formed from the shell’s toes… which are pure golden plastic. One has already broken off on mine and the others don’t look that stable, either. The inner robot can sit inside the hoverjet and the guns can be mounted on it… again, if they are still there and whole. Bottom line: not bad, but Roadblock’s transforming Pretender shell beats it hands down.

Inner Robot: Pretty much your typical Pretender robot and with a gold plastic torso to boot. Skyhammer’s inner robot transforms by folding in half and becoming a sort of tracked vehicle. There is an extra weapon for use in this mode, which I’m missing, and… yeah, little else to write here. The only good thing about this part of Skyhammer is in how he interacts with the other two parts of this toy, either as a gunner for the vehicle shell or a pilot for the glider. By himself, he’s pretty much worthless.

Missing Parts: I’m missing most of Skyhammer’s weapons and the visor for the Pretender shell. The only accessory part I have is one of his two golden guns… minus the handle, which broke off and is stuck in the Pretender shell’s fist. Gold plastic, gotta love it.

Remarks: The dreaded ‘gimmick’ years of the original Transformers toyline had one rule that was almost never broken: if you have a bad guy with a certain gimmick, you need at least one good guy with the same gimmick (with the good guys usually outnumbering the bad). So having a Decepticon Ultra Pretender, naturally we also need an Autobot Ultra Pretender. I must say, though, that in this case the good guy is the bad choice, as Roadblock is the superior toy by a decent margin. I like Skyhammer’s vehicle shell and his inner robot is neither better nor worse than Roadblock’s, but the transforming Pretender of Roadblock both looks better in my opinion and has a better vehicle mode to boot. Also: less golden plastic than Skyhammer, who carries that vulnerability in all three of his forms.

So the bottom line here: the Ultra Pretender gimmick is kind of fun if you can get into the insanity of it (a transforming dude inside a transforming dude inside a chunky jet) and Skyhammer does offer a good amount of play value… or he did, rather, before the gold plastic that comprises quite a bit of him started to really deteriorate. If I had played with him back in the late 80s, I probably would have had quite a bit of fun. These days, though, the fact that he is so brittle takes quite a bit away from him. So if you just want one Ultra Pretender as a shining example of excess gimmickry, take Roadblock. Skyhammer is not that bad, either, but good luck finding one in decent condition.

Rating: D
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