As I wrote in my last review covering the Combiner Wars Combaticons, finding all of the
Combaticons was only one part of what finally caused me to pull the trigger and jump in with both feet. It was also because I came across one of
the Generation 1 characters that I missed out on as a kid, Sky Lynx. So when I came across the modern incarnation of Sky Lynx on a shelf a few months
ago, I knew I wasn't going to miss out for another quarter century. But being the completionist that I am, I couldn't very well buy Sky Lynx and
pass up on the rest of his team. So in spite of the fact that Sky Reign is a completely new invention and neither Sky Lynx nor any of his team mates:
Hound, Wheeljack, Smokescreen and Trailbreaker were ever actually part of a combiner team in the past, I couldn't pass up the team or the chance to
put together the sixth and most recent combiner team: Sky Reign.
Packaging - Sky Lynx 7/10, Others 8/10The packaging for Sky Lynx and the four deluxe size figures remains the same as the past four sets. Sky Lynx is packaged in a traditional style window box in his robot mode. The packaging shows off the real toy well. It does use a couple of comic images of both Sky Lynx and Sky Reign. The back of the box shows both of Sky Lynx's modes and all of the figures needed to complete Sky Reign. I like the overall look. But it would be nice if they would either show off the completed Sky Reign more or leave that off in favor of better/bigger images of Sky Lynx. The deluxe figures still come on traditional cards with a comic for the background. So they do show off the characters better while still having much the same information as Sky Lynx's box.
Sculpting - Smokescreen & Trailbreaker 7/10, others 5/10This group of figures seems to exist mostly to capitalize on all of the molds that they had already made for the other combiner teams. And that reuse of molds means that all four of the deluxe figures are compromised. Trailbreaker and Smokescreen seem like the least compromised, mostly because I am just not that familiar with how they looked originally. When you get to Hound and Wheeljack, you see that the figures are very different from their G1 designs. To be fair, they tried. Wheeljack has decorations on his chest and feet to make it look like they were formed from the hood of his vehicle form even though they weren't. But he is still missing his wings and shoulder cannons. And they sculpted the headlights and front bumper into Hound to make it look at least a little like his chest is made up of the front end of a jeep. But unless you are looking at the details specifically, he really doesn't look much like his G1 incarnation. The vehicle modes for all four are better than their robot modes, but none of them are particularly impressive.
Sky Lynx is a completely new sculpt, so he didn't have the same limitations as the others. But I think that they made a mistake when they decided to make Sky Lynx a Voyager Class figure. To start with, Sky Lynx is suppose to be two parts that combine together, a shuttle and the lower shuttle transport platform. And both of those parts were able to transform into a dinosaur like bird and a lion modes that can then combine. The Combiner Wars Sky Lynx is not able to split into his two parts. So no lion form, no dino bird form and the shuttle is permanently stuck with a big blue brick under it. Half of what made Sky Lynx so unique is gone! The remaining two forms are decent, but would certainly look more imposing if he was larger. It might have also given them enough room to include some wheels so that the transport platform could actually be functional.
Paint - Trailbreaker & Wheeljack 5/10 Others 7/10After so many years of buying Marvel Legends figures with their hit or miss paint operations, it is kind of a treat to visit a line with such consistent paint quality. And make no mistake, all five figures have well executed paint applications. But the colors aren't always very well balanced. Sky Lynx has a few large blank areas that could use a bit of detail work. But otherwise he looks decent. Of the four deluxe figures, Hound has the best balance of colors and detail that keep the entire figure looking interesting. By contrast, both Wheeljack and Trailbreaker have large monochrome areas that allow both to look a bit dull. Smokescreen strikes a balance between the two extremes. But even he has a lot of blue and very little other color on his legs.
Articulation - Sky Lynx 5/10, Others 8/10The articulation for Smokescreen, Wheeljack, Hound and Trailbreaker is the same as all of the past deluxe figures I've recently reviewed. And it is fairly impressive. Each has hinged knees and elbows and multiple other joints to give them a decent range of motion as well as good joint quality. So there's no excessively loose joints. Sky Lynx has a lot of articulation as well. But because of the complexity of his form, there is a lot of room for more articulation. The articulation provided leaves the legs quite stiff still and with limited range of motion. There's not much chance for a dynamic pose of any sort. There is also very little that can be done with either the wings or tail.
Accessories - Sky Lynx 3/10, Others 8/10Smokescreen, Hound, Trailbreaker and Wheeljack have the same trio of accessories as we have seen with all of the deluxe Combiner Wars figures since the Stunticons: a weapon to use in robot mode, a pack that serves as either a hand or foot for the combined form, and a comic book. The comics are still a cool addition. The weapons are just recycled from previous figures and lack much paint. But they did step up a bit for the accessory packs for both Wheeljack and Trailbreaker. Both Autobots can carry their accessory packs on them in their vehicle mode. That's a nice touch. Sky Lynx on the other hand has a pair of blade like weapons and a profile card. The card just has a photo and character name on it, which seems to render it fairly pointless. And his weapons aren't much better. Sky Lynx comes with a pair of sword like weapons. I honestly don't have any idea what they are suppose to be. They are shaped a bit like broadswords. But they don't have any sort of sharpened edge and there is what looks like a gun barrel running down the center. And the handles have small balls at the end making it look like they should work as some sort of projectile. And there isn't any real use for them. You can peg them to the underside of the shuttle's wings in vehicle mode or connect them to the end of the tail in robot mode. But both uses seem more like storage options to keep them out of the way rather than effectively using them as weapons.
Sky Reign - 4/10I have been really enjoying these modern versions of the old school combiner teams, but I'm afraid that Sky Reign is not them ending on a high note. (Not that he is likely to actually be the last team.) Sky Reign is the least impressive of the six combiners that I have seen. To start with, the body is not well proportioned compared to the four limbs. All four seem too large and bulky to be matched with that body. And the colors don't work well together either. They don't clash, but it is obvious that Hound, Wheeljack and Trailbreaker are random bots put together rather than having been designed together from the start. They also tried to give Sky Reign a less humanoid look since it has Sky Lynx at its core. But that is limited to giving him a cat like head and nothing else. If they had been able to engineer the entire thing to have a non-humanoid form, it could have been incredibly interesting and quite unique. Instead it is just a strange looking head that gives you the sense that there should be more to it. He's also extremely lacking in the weapons department. There are Sky Lynx's two small blade weapons, but that is the least intimidating weapon of any of the combiner teams so far. I wish I could say he has some redeeming quality. But while Sky Reign isn't horrible, he is underwhelming in just about every way.
Value - Sky Lynx 7/10 Others 6/10As with the previous Combiner Wars figures, the deluxe figures sell for $15 each and Sky Lynx as a Voyager class figure should sell for $25. That's not a bad price for any of the figures. But these are not the best or at least not the most accurate versions of any of these characters. And while the combiner gimmick is fun, I don't tend to think of any of these characters as being part of a combiner team and Sky Reign just isn't that great compared to the other five combiners. I'm still a bit disappointed that Sky Lynx ended up being a stripped down and slightly too small version of what I was hoping for. But while I would love to have seen a Leader class, $45 version, for the $25 price tag he is pretty cool.
Happy Hunting:Hound, Wheeljack, Smokescreen and Trailbreaker are all part of the most recent assortment of deluxe figures and should be shipping to most stores. Sky Lynx seems to be much harder to find. I found him once in a store back in February, but he was already in the hands of another collector. I ended up ordering Sky Lynx and Onslaught from BBTS.com since I was too impatient to wait to find him again and they were selling the pair at normal retail price. That was probably a good idea since three months later I still have not seen him in stores a second time. Hopefully he will become easier to find in the future. But it would be nice if Hasbro could do a better job of shipping all the team members at the same time.