Review: Combiner Wars Sky Lynx

cw sky lynx hydra and buster masterforce

As Combiner Wars enters its death throes, it manages to throw out that most completely left field of character updates- Sky Lynx!

As a toy which was never released over here in the UK, I have always had a fascination with Sky Lynx. When Hasbro announced a Combiner Wars Sky Lynx it seemed like a great chance to tick that one off the bucket list. When they subsequently revealed there was no separate Lynx mode, I could finally empathise with how that poor bloke in Temple of Doom felt when Mola Ram reached into his chest and ripped his heart out.

Sad face.

But how did it actually turn out?

Transformers CW Sky Lynx in alt mode

Eschewing the real world NASA Orbiter the original Sky Lynx toy based itself off, Combiner Wars Sky Lynx does a good job of looking like that prototype Space Shuttle we all saw in the movie Armageddon (if for some reason you are young and haven’t seen it, go watch it. Bay hadn’t blown up everything in Transformers yet plus Hudson Hawk and Batman are in it).

The egotistical space Dinosaur looks resplendent with an awesome looking alt mode that is a lot of fun to pretend to swoosh around the living room. A Red and Blue box hangs from the bottom, which at your most charitable you could say potentially may pass for a cargo pod (like the old Starcom toys) but on the original Sky Lynx toy was intended to resemble a Shuttle crawler which transports the Orbiter, and their solid rocket boosters, to the launch site. Electronics allowed it to even move at the speed of a Turtle…so yeah, that was thing.

Being as the separation gimmick is no longer present, the Crawler/Shuttle play pattern is sadly lost and non hardcore fans would be clueless as to what that undercarriage is supposed to represent.

side of transformers sky lynx

Colours are nice with very White plastic (that doesn’t absorb all of the detail) being offset with a smattering of Gold paint apps – as well as the Blue and the Red. Gold backed Autobot badges on the wings look fantastic and are a lovely homage to original toy and fortunately didn’t get left in the 1980’s.

Many people have commented that Combiner Wars Sky Lynx feels small for a Voyager but I suspect what is happening is people are subconsciously comparing him to his original toy or the extremely large size he is portrayed as being in fiction, because when you compare him to other Voyagers he is a similar size- just very compact.

Silverbolt, for example, is a little longer but has nowhere near the bulk of Commander Modesty over here.

voyager sky lynx scale

There is no motorised gimmick contained withing his thin shell, thus he is very lightweight but thankfully this mode seems to have escaped the excessive hollowing and hole cutting that Hasbro has so egregiously inflicted across it’s Combiner Wars line.

Sky Lynx’s parts fit together reasonably snugly on mine and it is only the cockpit that seems to sit slightly higher than the fuselage and leave a slight gap, but it is so slight it does not bother me at all.
Tail fins are swept backwards for the sole purpose of looking better in combined mode, but if you are like me and have no intention to use his combiner feature then they pop off and you can just flip them over to give him a less OCD insulting look.

The original Sky Lynx toy and the NASA Orbiter don’t have them so…bonus?

sky lynx shuttle rear

Despite some gripes it’s a fun alt mode, that looks nice and is very in keeping with what we have come to expect from the Combiner Wars line thus far.

No bells and whistles, but a pleasant homage.

G1 Sky lynx combiner wars

Going from Shuttle to deranged Dino Bird mode is simple and nicely done. Pull the neck forward, pull the tail fin out, flip the wings over (you can leave them in place if you want a more G1 reflective appearance – you got options ) and pull out the Blue wing sections then swing out the legs and you are done.

A panel does flip over from the boosters (see:butt) to fill in the gap left by his neck but you can leave it where it is without losing anything.
My favourite part of all of this is something so silly you will think I’m a nutter- but I love how his mouth opens. It sits completely flush so you have to dig a nail in there, but that means there is no unsightly plastic lip or gap that you usually see to make it easier.

Such a small thing but it’s rare to see Hasbro not sacrifice the aesthetics to keep parents quiet.

transformers combiner wars voyager sky lynx

You have to give the Hasbro designers props for getting those design aesthetics so right and updating Sky Lynx in a stonking looking way. This is a sexy looking bot with a particularly wonderful Dino snout that pulls off looking both mean and chirpy at the same time. His shuttle tail fins end up accidentally homaging the double pull out tails of the originals Lynx mode…at least that is what’s happening in my mind.

His alt mode may have evaded the gouges that Hasbro have recently inflicted across their Transformers toys – but this mode isn’t so lucky. This most overtly manifests in the wings, which once flipped over expose some brutal holes that cut through the toy making it look hollow and really cheap. I am going to fill these with plasticard but I wish they’d save me the effort and stop doing this soon or their toys are going to look like tie-dyed Skeletons.

combiner wars sky lynx voyager class

Things don’t improve when you view him from the side, even lacking in modesty as Sky Lynx is, he would would be horrified by the huge gaps are visible through his Blue undercarriage. Previously, these were hidden by the folded up legs in alt mode, but here they are laid bare and it just rips out any imposing stature Sky Lynx should have.
Even his rear thrusters have holes in which allow you peer into his behind like some sort of twisted butt cheek binoculars.

Through the looking glass indeed.

Gaping holes and hollow pieces may be a feature of Combiner Wars, and it may be what Hasbro has to do to keep costs down – but who benefits from that? Collectors gradually get seduced by Third Party toy companies who give them all the fan service and die cast they could ever want and kids get toys that feel cheap and half finished. Surely this can’t continue?

cw sky lynx tail extension

Things Liam doesn’t care about #76 – these

Just to kick you in the unmentionables are the two accessories packed in with Sky Lynx – those Grey things in the picture above. I think they are supposed to be Tonfas, that look like Satellite panels which can combine to form either an unnecessary tail extension in this mode or a giant combined sword for Sky Reign – but they end up looking like a long set of callipers.

You will have noticed barely anyone mentions them (even the instructions deny their existence) and that is because they are stupid but if you are into them then peg holes are provided across Sky Lynx to store them.
But they are terrible, honest, and Hasbro would have been better leaving them out altogether and using any extra in the budget to improve the main figure.

combiner wars sky lynx head

Articulation is quite reasonable for a beast-former that is also a Spaceship (SPACESHIP!). His wings can pivot all over the place for any dramatic pose you wish, and his neck has several different joints to allow for some excellent “what you say about my mama” head angles.

His front legs can ratchet out powerfully to the sides to give some great cat like poses, but his back legs lack this magic power so there is a slight feeling of being robbed of some articulation he felt like he should have had. Both sets of legs rotate 360 degrees, and the front ones are clearly supposed to ratchet but don’t catch which is not a problem holding Sky Lynx- but how could it possibly go wrong with a toy that also doubles as combiner torso? Spoiler – it goes very wrong.

Nothing else is loose (other than his back feet, which you can tighten by twisting the handy screws) and if you shake him all his bits and bobs stay in place.

transformers voyager class sky lynx

90% of Sky Lynx’s will be displayed in this mode and for that Hasbro have nailed it. Purely based on looks it shows the flair Hasbro’s designers have for putting a modern spin on a classic character and carrying over the signature elements of that character’s look.

You don’t get the features that made the original toy what it was and there is so much cost cutting it practically spits Dilophosaurus venom into your face – but that is the modern mass retail toy landscape for you.

I am happy to own this Sky Lynx, which counts for something – right?

sky lynx fan mode lynx combiner wars transformers

If like me you are really upset about the demise of separate Lynx mode then don’t despair – you can fudge your own with some creative jiggery pokery!

Sure with the legs being reversed he is awkward as anything to pose but you feel the designers must have at least worked to make sure this was kinda possible to some degree, even if it is haphazardly done.

It soothes my inner G1 fanboy who demands there be a Lynx mode in there, as I can accept him as a Triple Changer – I never understood how his two parts worked anyway.

cw sky reign sky lynx combined mode

Hmmm…I am not feeling this – things have taken a turn here.

Yes, poor old Sky Lynx has been shoved into this line with a purpose so can transform into a torso for any compatible Combiner Wars limbs. Do you want that? Did anybody want that!?

Officially he is affiliated with the wave 6 deluxes , the second bunch of Autobot cars, and combines with these guys to form Sky Reign. As a traditionalist  I don’t want my Sky Lynx to combine no matter how pretty he looks or how cool a name he gains, so I am resistant and scared of the potential for it to bleed over into IDW’s comics.
Always good to say something nice though and of all the torsos only Superions looks better that Sky Reign and his atheletic Street Fightery looking frame.

transformers sky reign

Whilst he ticks all the right boxes in the appearance category where he comes a cropper is his bad case of spaghetti legs.

Yes, as mentioned earlier those front legs from Sky Lynx pose a significant obstacle in Sky Reign’s quest to stay upright. On Sky Reign they form his legs and the failing ratchets mean that they can hold almost no pose other than precariously balanced upright. It is fixable, but you do have to disassemble them and put something behind the ratchets to force them together.
How this slipped past quality control is anyones guess.

It’s disappointing because whilst I initially went in with zero interest in this as a combiner, the way he looks really grew on me. The Lynx head is one of the best head sculpts I’ve seen in the line so far irrespective of the unsightly seam running down his snout.

transformers sky reign combiner lynx head

Robbed of his gimmicks Sky Lynx is a confusing figure because his look is so heavily derived from what those parts and features do (it’s even in his his bloody name). Stripped of them something is sadly lost in translation.

The Combiner Wars line has been a strong demonstration of the clash of cost cutting and restrictions of having defined size classes because Sky Lynx has lost much of what made the original toy so unique. This Combiner Wars update still looks good and is full of fun but it would have been nice if they could have designed it so the halves could separate because whilst I want toys to look like I remember them – I also want them to function like they did. Perhaps Sky Lynx would have been better served as a leader class figure but then would he have shelf warmed?

Combiner Wars Sky Lynx is a very good toy, there is a lot of fun to be had and it is a beloved character who is long over due an update. Handsome looks and decent articulation means he does everything he sets out to with little fuss but you can’t help but be left with the feeling that something is missing and it is not just a big Blue cat.

 

7 Replies to “Review: Combiner Wars Sky Lynx”

  1. I have just read through your review and it was an excellent read. Thank you for giving me a mention – I really appreciate you doing that. Sky Lynx is a toy I really like but I do think with just a bit more oomph it could have been as spectacular as Sky Lynx's ego demands.

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