I’ve been wanting to get the Dinobots spark crystal in one of these.

It’s time for the last Dinobot from this series in my collection. I think. I have this box of Transformers I went through a long time ago and pulled out that I need to get around to going over again for a final purge. I probably should have done it years ago.

Striker is a redeco of the Beast Wars Neo figure Saberback. Frankly it’s here that the problem I have with the Takara-produced formerly Japanese exclusive molds of the period make their first appearance. It’s one think for the Alternators to be a bit complex. That was a toyline for adult collectors and some of them like to treat the Transformers like a Rubik’s Cube. I am not one of those people and it can be more frustrating when the toy was supposedly designed with kids in mind. For one thing, while transforming it for the first time in years for this review part of it broke off, and it’s not in a spot the engineer planned for. So here’s a review of a broken toy. Joy.

Yes, I know the plates are off. I’ll get to that.

Striker’s stegosaurus mode is really painted beautifully, and I know the image is slightly blurry. Sorry. I’ve been recovering and was just able to get these done. However, I think you can see what I mean. The mix of brown, yellow, and red really captures what this dino might have looked like based on theories of the period. It’s a nice sculpt too, and what it lacks in posability it makes up for in the position he’s standing. Technically the dino legs are posable but there’s not much you can do with them, and it’s where you see the glaring flaws. The robot legs do not meld well with the hind legs of the stego and the robot arms don’t look good with the front legs. It’s a big blot on an otherwise fantastic dinosaur mode.

I think I’m also supposed to lie him down. I forgot that.

Someone’s going to want me to demonstrate Saberback’s/Striker’s “dead mode”. The Neo Dino Predacons (Decepticon and Predacon alike were known as “Destrons” in Japan) had a feature where they could appear to be dead. Again I remind you this was intended for Japanese children. That’s supposed to be a giant flower hanging off his back and his dino head’s “skull” can drop down. This is just lame to me.

Then we get into transformation to robot mode and here’s where everything goes wrong. The stegosaurus back panels are clipped on, and come off pretty easy during transformation. I’m only mostly sure they’re in the right spots on his back but in the wrong position. It doesn’t help that the plates spin around to get out of the way but at the same time that just messes the alignment up even more. One of the side panels that is the majority of the stegosaurus broke off right near the ball joint so there’s no way to reattach it in robot mode. I can in dinosaur mode but this is a Transformer. I want to put him in robot mode. I think.

“Why is there a breeze on my back?”

Something you don’t see on either robot picture in this review is the spine forming a long tail off of the headpiece, which for some reason resembles a Native American headdress. In a toy from Japan that has nothing to do with Native Americans. As far as I know Saberback’s personality doesn’t even reference them so why? Otherwise outside of being a bit stubby he isn’t that bad looking a figure. The robot colors work better, the skull looking like a necklace and hiding the spark crystal. The hip pieces aren’t too bad. But you can still tell that having the dino pieces on his back like that (and yes, that’s how they’re supposed to be positioned) look weird. The robot feel look more like the dinosaur feet wearing skis and considering how they messed up the dino legs by being there it just makes them worse. It’s a robot that looks okay until you give it more scrutiny.

“Poke me with this stick and see if I’m dead.”

Poseability is also limited thanks to the engineering. His knees work okay and his hips work but due to the design of the feet this is the only way he even stands up. The head turns but the headdress and the spikey plates attached get in the way as do the dino halves. So posability is basically G1 in execution but not in design, and that’s a shame. The tail is supposed to be open in the “flower” position (if you can get the mechanism to lock in place) but he wouldn’t stand on the photo stage when I tried. It’s really a disappointment.

Decision: Goes

Honestly even if he didn’t break this would be going. Striker’s a mixed bag. Parts of him look really good and parts of him don’t. Transformation is not intuitive or cool and that led to at least one part breaking off. Maybe he can be used for parts or someone will have a version with the other side broken off and they can combine them into one Striker but for all his beauty his flaws ruin the fun for me, and I need to get this collection down. I wanted this to be a better figure but he keeps coming up short.

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