"Generations" Voyager Class Sky-Byte Toy Review

in 2014, Action Figure Review, Generations, Predacon, Robots in Disguise (2001), Voyager

Generations

General Information:
Release Date: July 2014
Price Point: $19.99-24.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Missile

Sky-Byte

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
The feats of many warriors have been written about in epic tales of battlefield heroism. Sky-Byte might be the only one to who writes about his own. Vanquishing his Autobot enemies not only gives him a hard-fought victory, but a chance to wax poetic about it. Gear up for triple Transformers action with this awesome 2-in-1 Sky-Byte figure! This crazy Decepticon can launch a spinning missile attack at his Autobot enemies in robot mode. But if the mission calls for a hammer-headed water strike, he can convert to shark mode! Keep converting him back and forth so his enemies can't keep up! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

Sky-Byte was first introduced in the 2000 Car Robots series, which would be presented outside of Japan as Robots in Disguise circa 2001. While the toy was just a redeco of Beast Wars Transmetal 2 Cybershark, the character became a fan favorite thanks in part to his propensity for spouting poetry and singing a song about himself that included the lyrics "Who's the baddest shark around? Who's the smartest shark in town? Sky-Byte, that's me!". In 2014, Hasbro released a new version of the character, and he would wind up making his way into the IDW Publishing comic books, allowing fans to continue appreciating this unusual Transformers character.

Packaging:
Sky-Byte's box uses the Generations "Thrilling 30" design which celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the Transformers brand. The box had five sides to it with an angle on the lowre left hand corner (if you are facing the box). The figure sits in robot mode in a large window box so you can get a look at what you are buying. A grid is found against a reddish background, a design that evoked G1 packaging from the early 80's that often included a graph as part of the overall design. There are a lot of logos on the box. The Transformers Generations logo is set at the top since this was before the era of the large, vertical Transformers logo on the right side of the box. On the right side at the top is a Predacon symbol which is a nice touch. While Sky-Byte worked with Decepticons, he was a Predacon! On the left side is beautiful artwork featuring Sky-Byte lunging at something. Towards the bottom is the Thrilling 30 logo along with the name and transformation difficulty scale.

The back of the box features Sky-Byte in both modes and a callout for his "Spinning Missile Launcher" feature. A large version of the Generations logo is across the top along with a large Predacon symbol. Above Sky-Byte's beast mode photo is his bio which includes a poem "Victory is mine. The Predacon shark has won. You Autobot scum!". The bottom features tech spec numbers such as his Strength and Intelligence. Next to that is the 30th Anniversary logo. Below that is the IDW Publishing logo and legal information. Overall the packaging looks great, and it is cool to look back at a time when packaging did not require multiple languages. I do miss the days of "full" tech specs!

Robot Mode:
Sky-Byte is a Voyager Class figure, but he is rather tall. During this era of Generations, the designers sought to preserve the height of figures so they would line up nicely on a shelf. However this also meant some degree of sacrifice when it came to the weight of the figure and how solid some parts were. Sky-Byte has a lot of panels that fold up to form the robot mode, she he winds up feeling a bit lighter and a bit more panel-former-y than he might have if this figure had been produced say, five to six years prior. All that said, he easily stands a head above many Voyager Class figures circa 2019.

This design is a stylized version of his appearance from Robots in Disguise, but it retails a lot of the design elements of that version. These include:

  • The robot head features a giant fin on top along with a mouth of sharp looking teeth.
  • The shoulders are round with fin-like protrusions on the sides.
  • The chest has two large eyes sculpted into them.
  • The center of the chest has a round "Spark Crystal" in it.
  • The arms are asymmetrical, with the right arm having a regular hand while the left forearm is one big spinning blade/missile launcher weapon.
  • The knee armor has four shapes on it that resemble the design of Sky-Byte's knee armor in Robots in Disguise.
  • Two of the panels that form the sides of the beast mode wind up on the back, though on the original Sky-Byte they became shoulder armor (but could be moved towards the back).

That said, a lot of the detailing on this figure that isn't found on the original. Most of this is for visual appeal including mechanical details on the right forearm and blasters on his right wrist. Overall the figure looks detailed and a bit scary, which is awesome.

Taking his design cues from both the Robots in Disguise Sky-Byte toy and animation models, this figure is largely a combination of blue, yellow, grey and silver plastic. Paint colors on the figure include gold, red, yellow, white and gunmetal grey. Taking a cue from the original Sky-Byte toy, the shark head on the chest has a huge splash of light blue paint, and the Spark Crystal is painted lavender with a purple Predacon symbol in the middle. The colors look great and almost every major section of his body has some type of deco or color contrast to it.

There are seventeen points of articulation on this figure. This includes four in each arm and leg. His main action features are built into the left forearm. Press the gunmetal grey button on the bottom of the arm and the blade arm spins (a feature also found in the original Sky-Byte figure). For added fun, press the grey button on the blade weapon and his missile fires! I am happy to see the action feature from the original Sky-Byte carried over to this modern version of the character.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Fire the missile and set it aside so it does not accidentally get lost.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Unfold the panels that form the right forearm and tuck the robot hand in.
  4. Swing the section with the Spark Crystal on the chest down to form the front of the shark head.
  5. Swing out the yellow armor piece on the side of each lower leg.
  6. Point the robot feet down.
  7. Swing each lower leg back and connect the knee armor pieces together.
  8. Swing the fins on the sides forward.
  9. Pull the beast mode head/robot chest section forward.
  10. Swing the robot head down and turn it around.
  11. Swing the panels on the back out.
  12. Rotate both arms at the shoulders so the tab on the left shoulder can connect to the slot on the right. Swing the arms up and push them together and push the "fins" on the shoulders down.
  13. Push the right arm panels forward against the "fin" on the robot head (this forms the beast mode's dorsal fin).
  14. Position the left forearm behind the right arm to form the tail.
  15. Swing the thighs back and collapse the lower leg armor pieces on top of them. The knee armor pieces connect to form the lower jaw of the beast mode.
  16. Swing the panels on the back up, then swing the blue panels up to form the sides of the beast mode.
  17. You'll need to line up the side fins with the grooves in the side panels to get everything to fit.

While the end result is really cool looking, this is one of my least favorite transformations from this era of Generations figures. It is very fiddly and relies a lot on panel forming just right. Your mileage may vary.

Beast Mode:
Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the actual transformation, I really do like this beast mode. First off, it pays homage to Robots in Disguise Sky-Byte very nicely. While much of the detailing on the figure is mechanical in nature, the details on the side panels look like they are "tearing" out of his skin, which was a carry over feature from the days of the Beast Wars Transmetal 2 figures who all had that aesthetic. From one end to the other there is a lot of rich detailing to admire from wires to tubes to vents and other machinery there is a lot to draw the eye in here. Of course, he also has several shark-based bits including scary looking teeth on the head, two dorsal fins, pelvic fins, pectoral fins and a sharp looking snout. From a sculpting perspective, this mode is fantastic.

Color-wise the blue plastic makes up most of this mode with the silver plastic making up smaller bits. Silver is used very heavily on the sides to fill in the mechanical detailing, but some of it is left unpainted, which is a shame. Sculpted detail of this quality should be given a chance to shine. That said, there is a beautiful silver spray op on the "gills" which look amazing. I also appreciate the intricate use of gunmetal grey and white on the teeth. It really helps bring out those details. While there are some unpainted details, this mode still looks fantastic.

This mode has two points of articulation. First, the lower jaw can open and close. Second, the tail can move up and down! The tail really surprised me but the designers made sure the elbow joint on that arm lined up just right to allow it to move in this mode. Brilliant! Even better, if you want to have Sky-Byte's tail spinning as he flies along (or swims) you can do so by pressing the gunmetal grey button that winds up on the top of the tail. Want to display the beast mode in "mid-air"? Hasbro's got you covered thanks to a port on the bottom of the beast mode that can connect to display stands made by Bandai.

Final Thoughts:
Sky-Byte is a very random choice for Generations but he's a welcome one. While I find the transformation of this figure less than fun, both the robot and beast modes look fantastic and have fun play value. Recommended!

Pros:

  • Fantastic sculpt in both modes.
  • Nice deco.
  • Good play value.
  • A fun homage.

Cons:

  • The transformation is not particularly fun.
  • Some fans may not like some of the hollow parts on the right arm and legs.