Revenge of the Fallen showed us that non-humanoid robot modes can be done in Transformers. Yes, we’ve had the original cassettes who had animal modes, but personally, they never really felt like stand-alone figures to me, and were best enjoyed if you had Soundwave or Blaster. Revenge of the Fallen gave us some pretty wild stuff like Rampage and Demolishor. There was Ravage, of course, but he shared the same problem Scorponok had with the first movie: What the heck do you have him transform into?
Thankfully, Dark of the Moon Laserbeak manages to avoid that problem. His alt. mode is some sort of gunship. It kind of reminds me of the ones from Avatar. It’s nice to see that it’s actually SOMETHING, even if it isn’t that realistic. It’s better than some of the “Cybertonian Vehicle-modes” at least. The cockpit piece is really cool, especially with the crazy painted-on bird face. Looking at those windows, damn, he must be huge. But we all know how much scale matters in Transformers. His vehicle mode has a surprising five MechTech ports, impressive for a figure this small, but no 3mm clip hardpoints.
Transforming Laserbeak is… just about as simple as you’d expect. Like the cassette birds of old, you just need to fold everything out for the most part. Since neither mold really represents anything that exists in the real world, it can be kind of hard remembering what is supposed to be folded out for which mode.
Laserbeak’s bird mode is… pretty weird, but it fits in with the movie aesthetic pretty well. The wings end up giving him a lot more mass, giving him a wingspan that makes them longer than that of a Voyager-class figure. The splashes of red on the wings really break up the color scheme, and make him reminiscent of the original Laserbeak.
Now there’s one thing I REALLY have to fault this figure for… and that’s the head. What the hell. The instructions show a much more dinosaur-like head. This thing… this thing looks like The Giant Claw. It’s ugly, even by movieverse standards. Maybe it’ll look cool on-screen, but in toy form, it just looks silly.
There isn’t much poseability to speak of, but what did you expect? He’s a bird. His tail and neck have segmented ball joints, but there aren’t enough for him to really be “expressive”. His wings can raise, but they can’t go down to make it look like he’s using them to make gusts of winds to knock his enemies over. Yeah, that’s needlessly complex and specific, but I like stuff like that, damnit!
I’m torn on these guns. Each of them works as really cool gatling guns for the humanoid figures to hold, or mount on his wings. They can combine to form a big MechTech gun, but the gimmick doesn’t quite work. The turning gun doesn’t stay in place all that well. It looks cool, yes, but it doesn’t function very well.
Laserbeak, like Ravage before him, is a neat little novelty figure that manages to improve on what existed before. He’s an interesting design, and his guns have potential. I’d recommend him, but not at full price. He just doesn’t have enough mass for me to recommend him at the price they charge for deluxes these days. Get him, but wait until he’s on sale.