Rather than tackle real-world creatures-- of which there are many-- that have never appeared in Beast Wars, Hasbro opted to start their own robo mash-up and gave us figures like Air Hammer. While it can never be certain if a designer lost a bet or won one, one thing is for sure: if a hammerhead shark ever mates with an eagle, it's not going to look very majestic.
One of the neater things about this particular creation is that it serves as a reminder when Kenner, not Hasbro, was the name on the boxes and those designers would try all sorts of wacky ideas. Since the Beast era ended, very few of the toys under the Transformers brand could be called genuinely weird because there just isn't much you can do to really freak out a kid who's going to buy a vehicle that turns into a robot. Heck, you wouldn't think there would be any weirdness with animals either, but here it is! The metallic blue head and tail on this feathered fellow really shine, quite literally. The off-white plastic looks almost like glow-in-the-dark without actually doing much glowing in the dark, and Kenner added various paint details on the feathers to help bring them to life. While in the beast mode, the figure has articulated feet and a nifty spring-loaded jaw which becomes the robot's right hand.
To convert the abomination of science into what could loosely be called a robot, it's pretty easy-- rotate down the legs, move up the torso, fold back the head, say a few words, and presto-- robot thing. While the head has little yellow eyes, very little about this toy figure reads as a robot-- if anything, it looks more like a mutant of some sort that might be more at home in a sewer with ninjas. The articulation, while good, isn't as good as some other figures as the ankle joints are hinges and not ball-and-sockets, and the hands are... well, not really hands. One is the opening spring-loaded mouth of the creature, while the other is its tail, and the tail isn't really anything like a hand, or a claw. It's a tail on an arm.
I can't deny that the sculptors did a nice job and that, on the whole, a fairly durable toy exists in Air Hammer. But the thing is just so damn ugly, and it's worth noting on our sample (and the other one I've seen) the crotch doesn't quite peg together nicely, leaving a bit of a gap. Packaged samples of this figure actually go for a little above retail, which is surprising given that it's just plain bizarre. For this reason, I'd say consider getting one-- but don't overpay for it, I don't think it's necessarily worth a premium price but for $5 or so you'll likely get some fun out of it. (Or get to make some fun of it.)
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