Just a heads up, these next two posts are going to be pretty flowery and praise-heavy. Ye neck beards be warned.
So here’s the thing, the G1 Transformers Universe is FULL off characters. Most fans at this point are aware of the Japanese G1 shows, which continued on after the show ended in the States for quite some time. The Japanese shows were darker, sometimes goofier, sometimes totally brutal (the Deceptions actually blow up Mars). But there are a TON of unique characters that hail from those shows. Black Shadow is one of them…
I’m not sure why Hasbro needs to use Sky Shadow. I don’t know if it’s technically a trademark thing or if it’s something else, but for this post, we’ll stick with his actual name. Black Shadow hails from the Victory timeline.
He’s not a major player, he only shows up briefly, but he’s unique in that he’s a criminal. Not like “we’re the bad guys” criminal, more like an intergalactic racketeer. OH and I love him. It’s odd, but he’s one of those guys that I just always liked. Well, him and his partner-in-crime Blue Bacchus (and if we get a toy of him, I’ll lose my mind).
We’ve gotten a Black Shadow toy in the past, during the Generations CHUG line, who was a deluxe class and a very cool toy in his own.
I think the strongest thing the deluxe has going besides his amazing headsculpt is the techno-organic styled legs that this new version doesn’t have. IDW even styled their Black Shadow based on the toy (Until they of course killed him…)
(Aside: IDW is basically on a mission to Game Of Thrones all of my favorite characters. Scrapper, Runabout, Shockwave, Black Shadow, Trailbreaker, SKIDS…RAVAGE!! F YOU IDW!)
Anyway, back to this new glorious Leader Class toy. See, the fact that we’ve gotten TWO toys out of a character that most casual fans have never heard of is just outstanding. And the fact that both have the “Drone” homage to the original toys Cross-Former Double Pretender figure is even better.
A lot of folks are saying that because he’s a “pre-tool” of the more popular Overlord that will be coming out, that’s some how a bad thing, and I really just don’t get that. While they’ll share the same transformation scheme, there’s a TON of retooling done and Black Shadow here stands out as an amazing example of how successful retooling can be.
I think my favorite aspect of his design is how the head sculpt’s eyes are designed to give him almost a shadowy (no pun intended) outline to his eyes. It’s very striking!
The instructions want you to have the nose cone of the jet facing upward, but I prefer to fold it down so he’s more cartoon-accurate. You can also peg the drone/shield to his back as well for out-of-the-way storage.
He’s incredibly stable as well, with tight joints and a solid ankle tilt design for his feet. you can get a myriad of poses out of him, which I had quite a bit of fun doing.
His Titan Master is Ominus, and again, Hasbro is knocking it out of the park with these Titan Master names. I would have loved him to be designed after Blue Bacchus, or named Blue Baccus, or even have him colored blue and grey, but that would be a stretch. Maybe if Takara decides to make him, they’ll do something like that, but it doesn’t look like it’s happening.
So I mentioned earlier that Black Shadow is a ‘pre-tool’ of Overlord, and with that comes the aspect that his transformation has him separate into two different components!
The two sections transform into a jet and a tank, which, I’ll admit, WAS Overlord’s signature look, but I honestly have no problem sharing that concept, and it makes for a very fun toy. Neck-beards will claim the transformation is simple, and to an extent it’s nothing complex, but again, G1 toys had the most basic of transformations and are still a ton of fun. (Somewhere along the lines the idea that Transformers had to be puzzles was rooted into the fandom, I don’t know why.) Anywho, the components basically form a deluxe sized tank and a voyager sized jet, NEAT!
Furthermore, there’s a latch on the bottom of the jet, and a clip on the top of the tank that let’s you combine the two into a ridiculous vehicle that would never actually function!
Naturally, he also has his base mode, as all Leader class toys of this line have (except YOU Sixshot…) and as design brother with Overlord, it’s more of a given. Base mode has you connect the two components, however you do not have to, if you prefer to have two smaller “outposts”.
I think Overlord will end up being a stronger looking base mode to an extent, but I do like the option and it’s fun to attach him to Typticon. (Next post, stay tuned).
I adore this toy. Like I honestly think I’ll end up liking him more than Overlord, even though obviously Overlord is where the hype is at. I get that a lot of folks have no draw to the character, he’s not super well known (Although IDW has done a good job of brining him into the light being a “Phase Six”-er). I’d of course recommend him to anyone, but if you’re more into the big names, Overlord is right around the corner. Black Silver and Red though…they look so nice together.
Next up, Trypticon!
I love this guy. Like you said, even though the hype is all about Overlord, I think I’m going to end up preferring Black Shadow.