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Series: Armada
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Role-Play Toy
Year: 2002

I will protect you.
Laserbeak is a protective companion for the Earth kids who become involved in the battle between the Transformers. Given to the children by Optimus Prime, Laserbeak records information in his spy bird mode and can launch fireblasts in his stun weapon mode. He is always alert to his surroundings, scanning for threats. What will Laserbeak discover during his spy missions that will help the Autobots defeat the evil plans of the Decepticons?

Beast Mode: Laserbeak doesn’t have a robot mode as such, the closest he comes is his bird mode. No one will confuse him with a real bird, naturally, as he’s basically a big orange box that unfolds wings with a blue underside and unfolds blue bird legs. The head isn’t very bird-like, either, as it’s little more than the two camcorder lenses. Still, you can easily tell it’s supposed to be a bird and this mode isn’t about camouflage. Laserbeak is also one of very few Transformers toys who is issued in 1:1 scale, as the Armada cartoon showed him as a human-sized camcorder and he didn’t mass-shift when transforming into his bird mode.

What else to tell? Articulation is pretty basic. The bird legs can move a bit and the head can nod, that’s about it. The wings are spring-powered, meaning they always flip back into their standard position. Oh, and you can leave the camcorder’s hand strap in place as a tail or remove it, whatever suits you best. I took it off for the pics, but that’s just personal choice. So bottom line: a fun bird mode, but little more than that.

Alternate Mode:Laserbeak transforms into a bright orange camcorder of no particular model. There is a flip-out LCD screen on the left side, showing a fuzzy picture of Armada Optimus Prime. A number of fake buttons are sculpted into the side and three real ones are on top. The two grey ones activate various sound effects, the blue one unsnaps Laserbeak’s head for the transformation.

Additionally you can unfold a handle on the camcorder’s underside, “transforming” Laserbeak into his third mode as a stun gun. It’s really just a camcorder with a handle, but it’s also the reason this toy is bright orange. Laserbeak was originally meant to come in a black and red color scheme that would have paid homage to G1 Laserbeak, as well as making for a far more realistic-looking camcorder, but toy gun laws being what they were even this highly unrealistic looking gun had to be colored a bright orange to make it past the safety inspectors. So bottom line: a nice role-play alternate mode. Would have been better with the original paint job, I think.

Side note: apparently Laserbeak in camcorder mode can serve as an alternate head for Fortress Maximus. Haven’t tried that out yet, but I’ll add pics when I get around to it.

Remarks: By the time Armada came around we hadn’t seen any 1:1 scaled Transformers toys (referring to their alternate modes) in years and we wouldn’t see them again until the Real Gear line for the 2007 live-action movie. Thus Laserbeak is something of an anachronism here. He was marketed as a role-play toy, but at the same time he was a character and played a part in the cartoon. Laserbeak is mostly remembered for one thing, though: being a notorious shelf-warmer. When this guy came out was about the time I got back into Transformers collecting and I remember dozens of him clogging the shelves in just about every store and remaining there for years.

There isn’t a lot of love out there for Armada Laserbeak and... well, that’s mostly justified. He didn’t play that big a role in the cartoon or comics and his toy is aimed at a very young audience. After leaving him on the shelves ten years ago I paid a single Euro (plus shipping) for this one on ebay and for that, he’s nice. Wouldn’t have paid much more, though. So bottom line: nice, but little more than that.

Rating: C+


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