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Series: TransArt
Allegiance: Maximal
Year: 2021

Prelude: Beast Wars is currently experiencing a resurgence and we are getting new figures of beloved Beast Wars characters all over the place. Sadly, though, most of those figures are season 1 characters, which I love and adore, but there were so many great figures in the latter seasons, too. Case in point, the Transmetals, who remain personal favorites of mine to this day. So far, though, only third party company TransArts is actually giving us figures portraying the Season 2 Transmetal Beast Warriors. I’ve already reviewed Skateboard Gorilla aka Transmetal Optimus Primal, and here is their second outing: Metal Panther, aka Transmetal Cheetor. Let’s say go!

Robot Mode: Much like Skateboard Gorilla, Metal Panther is basically an upscaled version of a Transmetal Beast Wars figure, in this case Transmetal Cheetor. I’d say the figure is roughly 50 percent or so bigger, making it a bit bigger than Masterpiece Cheetus, which fits very nicely. Apart from the increased size, a few design changes have also been made.

Cheetor now has articulated wrists and feet, giving him a greater range of motion. His stomach extends a bit during transformation, making the robot a bit leaner than it would otherwise be. Also, Cheetor’s tail weapon is not a solid piece like it was in Beast Wars, but rather fully articulated. And if you are wondering about that heart shape on his belly, that’s on the original figure, too.

Unlike Skateboard Gorilla, Metal Panther doesn’t come with any light effects or anything, probably due to the smaller size. One thing that does bug me a bit about this figure, though: in the TV series we often see Cheetor bring his hands – aka the halves of his beast mode head - together to fire his energy blaster. The original Beast Wars toys could do that, but only by unhinging the shoulders, which looked good from the front, but a bit ridiculous from the side. Metal Panther could and should have improved on that, but if you want the figure to do that pose, you still need to unhinge his shoulders. They don’t have to move forward as much as they did on the original figure, but it’s still not exactly ideal. Plus, there is really just a very tiny piece of plastic connecting the arms to the torso (see tenth picture), which makes me worry a bit about the long-term stability.

Apart from that, though, Metal Panther is the same excellent robot that TM Cheetor was back in the day, just bigger, broader, shinier, and slightly better articulated.

Alternate Mode: Metal Panther transforms into a robotic feline. Never really saw it as a cheetah, to be honest, so I guess panther works. The beast mode is once again basically identical to that of the original Beast Wars figure, just bigger, and with a few additional design changes. The cat’s front legs are a good deal more poseable, allowing for a number of different stances. The head and neck are also articulated now. The range of motion isn’t great, but it’s more than the original figure could do. The mouth of the cat can open and close, too. And, of course, you have the actually articulated tail, too.

Like TM Cheetor, Metal Panther can extend flight jets from the middle of his torso. The jets are smaller, relatively speaking, than those of the original figure, meaning the panther isn’t left with an entirely empty torso once the jets flip out. The jets don’t light up or anything, but you can attach the effect parts that come with the figure (see below). And that’s pretty much it, really. So bottom line: a scaled-up, somewhat better articulated version of the beast mode (and flight mode) of the original figure. Which is all that we need, really.

Accessories: Much like Skateboard Gorilla, Metal Panther comes with a flight stand that includes a multi-jointed arm. It’s mostly meant for his flying beast mode, but he can attach in robot mode, too. He also has two three-piece effect parts along to attach to his jets. Sadly they don’t fit into the panther’s mouth for a shooting effect. Finally, the most important accessory of them all, there is a polishing cloth included for Metal Panther’s chrome parts. Never leave home without it!

Remarks: The explosion of the Voks’ moon weapon in the finale of Beast Wars’ first season caused a devastating energy wave to sweep across the planet, transforming a number of Beast Warriors into Transmetals. Not only did their previously organic-looking beast modes turn robotic, they also gained a semi-third mode, allowing them greater mobility. In Cheetor’s case he gained jet thrusters, giving the previously land-bound Maximal the ability to fly. Cheetor retained this form well into season 3, before he got another upgrade into his Transmetal 2 form.

Much like Skateboard Gorilla, Metal Panther is basically the old Beast Wars Transmetals figure scaled up to Masterpiece size. There are some minor changes, such as the tilting feet and the articulated tail, but overall it’s basically just that: Transmetal Cheetor at MP-scale. For some reason, though, I am not quite feeling this toy as much as I did Skateboard Gorilla. I can’t really tell you why, to be honest. It’s one of my favorite figures, just larger, so there is really no objective reason. So bottom line: a great-looking upscale of a fabulous Beast Wars figure (and hopefully the chrome will last longer, too). Recommended to all Cheetor, Beast Wars, and Transmetal fans.

Rating: B+

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