Now it’s time to get into the few Dinobots I have (from the Beast Machines period) that were originally part of the Beast Wars Neo line. Some of them were altered modes of previous Beast Wars dinosaur modes but there were a few originals and I only picked up a small number of those. Airraptor was based on the Neo figure Archadis. The alternate mode of choice is an archaeopteryx, which is not one of the more well-known dinosaurs but one that was always considered more bird like even when the consensus was still that dinosaurs were reptiles. How do you turn one of these into a robot?

This is also when a few other details were added. As a later Beast Wars toy Archadis and thus Airraptor has a “spark crystal”, which I can’t really show you in these pictures but I’ll show with the next figure. The Dinobot spark crystals replaced the Predacon symbol with an original Dinobots faction symbol, although the Dinobots were referred to as Maximals in the bios and instructions. They never showed up in the television shows but did appear in the convention comics and more recently in the IDW comics where their origins are completely different from the original concept, but that’s another conversation. Let’s take a look at the toy.

Why is it easier for me to get him to stand up on an uneven surface?

In dino mode Airraptor looks really cool. The combination of blues, light green, and yellows flow together well, especially on his feathers. I can position his wings so they hold him up on a table, but trying to use his small bird legs isn’t easy. The red eyes kind of make him look evil, which considering this is supposed to be the good archaeopteryx seems odd but everything else looks good…except for how his robot legs to into place. They don’t line up as flat to the body as they should and he looks thicker than the images I’ve looked at of what this animal is believed to have looked like. The strengths more than make up for the weaknesses besides that one flaw but even then the scales favor Airraptor.

He’s not drunk, I just don’t have a good flight stand.

The wings are tight but can go into various flight positions. There are also buttons on the top of the wings that make feather bombs drop by extending the arms out a bit further than makes sense, which I didn’t remember to demonstrate in the pictures. The mechanism holds them in place and it’s at the very least a unique design. The bird legs are posable although the feet could use a little more movement. The neck forms a robot arm so it has a decent range of motion, and the jaw opens and closes. Overall it’s good but there are flaws in the dino mode I wish it didn’t have.

A composite to show where Airraptor’s spark crystal is.

Airraptor’s robot mode is kind of mixed because almost every strength comes with a weakness. The colors don’t change, which is both good and bad. He gets a cape, which looks cool and protects his spark crystal but it blocks part of his vision and doesn’t let us see the spark crystal, which also houses the Dinobots faction symbol.  His robot legs stand better than his dino legs but despite the articulation anything other than standing straight is unlikely. I do like the head scuplt though, and he has the one of the best beast head hands of the Transformers line. His gun can also be auto-deployed by turning the tail feather shield on his right arm, which is the only way he can hold it.

Opening the cape again to show off the left arm’s range.

However, the cape does block the left arm’s potential and the right arm has a weird joint above the elbow in order to put the arm at 90 degrees, while the elbow goes in and out. The tail shield combined with the arm guard also limits Airraptor’s posing of his right arm. Cool shooting poses are impossible but they are very limited. The gun is also connected to a peg that the deploy feature actually spins and it can come off the peg. While this is a safety measure to reduce the odds of it breaking and thus making the gun useless the mechanism is both cool and it’s own enemy.

Decision: Stays

On the surface it appears to be a tough call. For every strength there is a weakness but in the end the strengths slightly edge out the weaknesses, and it is fun to fiddle with once you give up trying to put him in any major position. I don’t know if I would outright recommend him beyond his looks but I kind of want him on the team.