Review of Botcon 2009 Skyquake & Leozack

Discussion in 'Transformers Feedback & Reviews' started by Philister, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. Philister

    Philister Teutonicons Rising!

    Jul 12, 2005
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    Another review and picture set by my good buddy Desastron

    For more pictures, click on the image above

    Prelude: The long success story of the Transformers consists of many series and toylines, which gathered a large fan following for the plastic figures. So it’s not that farfetched, that fan conventions would pop up, some of them pretty huge events, made by fans for fans, where one can chat with the like-minded about our favorite hobby. Die best-known and largest of these conventions is the Botcon, which takes place annually in the United States.

    Not only do the fans get to see the newest figures, films and comic books here, there are also workshops, galleries and many other highlights, which elevate this event above most others. One of the most prominent features of Botcon, though, are the annual sets of exclusive figures, available only at the convention.

    One might remember the 2007 “Games of Deception” set, which finally brought us a full set of Classics Seekers. The following year “Shattered Glass” showed us a dark mirror image of the long-established Transformers universe, where our favorite hero Optimus Prime was the bad guy and our favorite villain Megatron gave a very convincing hero. This role switch worked pretty well for both these characters.

    This year we get “Wings of Honor”, which isn’t exactly a new theme. Because the background for this story is actually a tale told by Kup, a rather prominent character from G1, for the Dinobots during a Decepticon attack.

    This year’s figure set includes several old acquaintances, including two figures from Generation 1, whom no one expected to ever see again, I’d think. We’re talking about Skyquake and Leozak, who are members of a Decepticon unit called “Sky Raiders”, an early version of the well-known Seekers.

    Skyquake is the leader of this unit and also a scientific genius. He was the one who created the principle of similarly-built Decepticons warriors, laying the groundwork for the Sky Raiders and Seekers. , on the other hand, is a simple grunt, though one with soaring ambitions. He wants to be the leader of the Decepticons one day. is the most powerful member of the squadron and his attacks are devastating. In order to keep him under control Skyquake built a precaution into him. In order to launch his attacks, must verbally announce them.

    Other members of the Sky Raiders include Hellbat, Gaihawk, and Hooligan, none of which are available as toys, though. Maybe they’ll be included in a later set. But now let’s get to the actual review of Skyquake and Leozack.

    Robot Mode: For their Botcon release Skyquake and Leozack inherited the mold of Energon Starscream. This choice gives both characters a tremendous amount of posability. Almost every pose the human body can pull off, these two can do as well. The head, the arms, the leg... everything’s fully posable. Only the wings limit the figures’ range of movement slightly. This little limitation vanishes, though, if you put the figures into their battle mode, a common Decepticon feature during Energon (called Hypermode).

    Actually, though, in my opinion you can pretty much forget this battle mode. It consists of twisting the wings of the two figures behind their heads, so that the missile launchers hidden in the wings now point forward. That doesn’t sound too bad, but it looks as if the two Decepticons picked up rather massive antlers somewhere. Seeing as you don’t need to put either figure into this mode, though, I don’t regard this as a negative. Just thought I’d mention it.

    As we’ve come to expect from Botcon repaints, the color schemes of the figures turned out very interesting. You can see the attention to details that was paid here. Skyquake’s main color is a slightly shimmering green. This is broken up by a light brown, black and purple. At first glance Skyquake might appear a bit too colorful and I’ve read jibes about that in several online forums. Once you have him in hand, though, Skyquake’s colours fit him very well. It fits together well and doesn’t look harsh or mismatched, as many descriptions have deemed it. Not to mention that it’s a very close match to the original figure, a toy from Generation 1’s twilight days that was available exclusively in Europe. So perfect score on this end.

    Leozak’s color scheme, on the other hand, goes in an entirely different direction. He’s mostly white and a very light, cold blue. He has highlights on black and red. This color scheme, too, is faithful to the original figure of G1 fame. Leozak originally appeared in Japan and was part of a combiner team. Leozak’s color scheme gets a perfect score from me as well.

    Despite the fact that the two figures look very much different thanks to their colors, both display an enormous amount of details. Another thing we’ve come to expect from Botcon figures. It’s especially evident in Leozak and Skyquake, though. The mold offers lots and lots of sculpted details and the colors bring them out quite nicely.

    Finally I want to write a few words about their weapons. As was the case with the original Starscream figure, both Leozak and Skyquake carry a large, semi-transparent combination weapon. It can be split into two still quite large weapons. A mechanical-looking sword and a kind of laser rifle. Taken separately the two look very good and if you have Leozak and Skyquake hold them in both hands, you can pull off quite a few great poses.

    If you put the two weapons together you get a giant sword. It doesn’t look bad at all, but in my opinion it’s much too large for these figures. The sword towers over its owners and would fit much better into a Leader class figure’s hand. Seeing as you don’t need to combine the weapons, though, I see no reason to deduct points for that. Quite the opposite, the two weapons (separately) look great and fit the two figures very well. So once again: Two thumbs up.

    In closing I can only say that the choice of the Energon Starscream mold works very well for both Skyquake and Leozak. It fits the two characters very well.

    Alternate Mode:
    By way of a relatively complicated transformation Skyquake and Leozak turn into futuristic-looking jet fighters. The jets bear a certain resemblance to a F-22 Raptor and one can assume that the original mold was inspired by that jet model.

    The jet looks very dynamic and wholesome. And it has lots of extras included, which you don’t really notice at first glance. First, it’s got an extending landing gear, which still isn’t a given, even in current day Transformers figures.

    Additionally, the jet mode, too, offers a kind of battle mode, though it looks just as strange here as it does in robot mode. In this case you twist the wings around so that they’re now pretty much underneath the body of the jet, causing the missile launchers to appear at the sides.

    Finally you can fasten the separate parts of the combination weapon to the wings of the jet. Unlike the actual battle mode this looks very good. I can’t really write all that much more about the alternate mode of these two Decepticons. All in all a great, well-done jet mode.

    Conclusion: Both the robot and the alternate mode of Leozak and Skyquake are remarkably well done. The only thing that could have prevented a favorable rating would have been a bad paint job, but that is far from the case. Quite the opposite.

    Both Leozak and Skyquake, no matter their rather different color schemes, look so good that I’m tempted to say that these paint jobs have managed to take an already very good mold and make it just that tiny little bit better still.

    So there’s nothing keeping me from a full, unreserved recommendation, right? Well, there is one factor that might keep most people from buying these figures. The price tag. As Botcon exclusives these two are rather rare and go for quite a bit of money.

    So does the quality redeem the price? I guess that’s in the eye of the beholder. I bought these two figures and I’d do it again. So for me it does. Other people must, of course, decide for themselves. Regardless, though, I think of Skyquake and Leozak as very well-done Transformers. So I happily award them a...

    Rating: A

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