SKY SHADOW (2011)
Every now and again I’ll buy a Transformer toy based on a character I didn’t grow up with, like Hardshell, and once and a while I’ll buy a dramatically re-imagined Transformer toy baring the same name as a classic character from my youth, such as this Soundwave. But about 90% of my Transformers collection is comprised of Generation 1 characters who debuted during the first few years of the brand in the mid 80s. I had already started losing interest in Transformers, and all the new characters being introduced, around about the time that the animated Transformers movie came out in 1986. Therefore even late Generation 1 toys, which carried on into the 90s, don’t interest me much. 1984-1986 were the golden years of Transformers. The comics, cartoon, and toys all went downhill after that in my opinion.
When Hasbro started their Classics/Generations toyline in the mid 2000s I was on board from the get go because they were finally focusing on those early 80s characters again. My shelves were soon full of new versions of Bumblebee, Sunstreaker, Starscream, and more. Occasionally I’d come across a “Classics” branded figure of a character that I’d never heard of before. I usually left those on the shelf. I remember passing up a green repaint of Starscream named Acid Storm because I had no use for yet another seeker jet. But the problem with leaving figures like that behind is that sure enough, months down the road, the character will appear in an issue of IDWs Transformer comic and then I’ll suddenly want the figure but by then it’s nowhere to be found. I should’ve bought that Acid Storm back in 2008.
I almost passed on Darkmount when I first saw him on the pegs at Giant Robot Comics because I didn’t recognize the name. I figured he was some new character being shoehorned into the Classics line. Only upon closer inspection did I realize that he was intended to be Straxus from the Transformers comic book published by Marvel in the 80s. Suddenly he was a must-have and I scooped him up.
I think it was during that same visit to GRC that I saw this Sky Shadow figure. I didn’t recognize that name from my childhood either so I overlooked him at first; but after the Straxus revelation I took a second look at all the toys I had initially flipped past on the pegs. On my second look Sky Shadow had an air of familiarity about him so I asked the shop owner Darryl ( a Transformers expert) about the character’s history and where I might know him from. It turns out Sky Shadow is not a character I would have recognized from anywhere. The original figure was only released in Japan. But Darryl informed me that Sky Shadow was featured in the latest issue of IDWs comic. That sold me.
I love IDWs Transformers comics but I only collect them in softcover format so I’m always a few months behind in my reading. I didn’t want to risk not buying Sky Shadow now only to read the aforementioned comic book months later and then wish I had bought it based on his awesome characterization in the book. Besides, Sky Shadow reeked of generation 1 coolness. He looked like he’d fit right in amongst classics G1 figures on my Transformers shelf.
By the time I actually read the story that Darryl had told me about I found out that Sky Shadow was only on the first couple of pages before being murdered by the Decepticon Justice Division who hunt down wayward Decepticons. Hardly enough story for the character to wow me and make this figure a must-buy but I don’t regret purchasing him at all, it’s a really nice figure.
This figure is mostly made up of the previously released Thunderwing figure but I never bought Thunderwing ( another regret) so this toy is all new to me. It’s a nice change to get a Decepticon jet who isn’t just another repainted Starscream. The design is quite unique so he really stands out from the other figures on the shelf. I especially like his horned head sculpt. He looks awesome when light pipes in through the back of his head giving his eyes that light-up effect.
Another great thing about this toy is the colors. Surprisingly black Transformers are few and far between. The black, red, and grey looks great together. This figure’s got plenty of articulation points and can be posed in many ways and he has no trouble standing. His jet mode is pretty cool too. This is a very cool figure and it’s a shame that the character is toast in the comics as I’d like to get to know him better. 8 out of 10.