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First/Last Comic Appearance (US) - Issue 43, August 1988
First/Last Comic Appearance (UK) -
First/Last Cartoon Appearance - The Transformers: The Movie, August 8th 1986 / Episode 94 (Season 3 #29), February 24th 1987
First Toy Appearance - 1986
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AKA 'Sharkies' Manufacturer - Unique Toys
Since the demise of Impossible Toys people have been wondering who would next tackle the non-Transformer races. In particular, fans intent on collecting the various types of Quintessons etc were still waiting for someone to step up and homage the Sharkticons. And now, in a pattern that seems to be spreading to all 3rd-party figures at the moment, 2 different manufacturers have thrown their hats into the ring. Not to mention that Hasbro has also got in on the act, finally realising that these little guys might shift a few units. iGear announced their intention to create a set of 3 a while ago, but then I don't really like iGear so avoid them wherever possible. Then another company called Unique Toys announced theirs - I wasn't thrilled because I didn't like the designs they had come up with so far. But then I saw the renders and prototypes and my mind was made up. Unique Toys' 'Sharkies' would be mine!
Appearance (Robot Mode) 8/10
There are actually 3 little robots in this set, and generally I feel this represents good value for money - particularly in the 3rd party market. One of the sharkies has a different colour scheme, so because of this I have picked him out as Gnaw, who is the only officially-named Sharkticon. I have used the 'appearances' stats from the Sharkies in general, as there isn't really a way of proving or disproving that Gnaw is not present, amongst all of his pals. Anyway onto the figures who are something of a treat. They are diminutive and barrel-chested, with tiny little legs. Their heads are disproportionately large, yet somehow everything ties in nicely. Regarding the headsulpts, these are finely detailed with 3 distinct faces, all of which are well done. I am also very impressed by the paint apps on this figure, which are really rich and contrast nicely against the electric blue and dark grey plastic. These guys come bundled with their spiked club weapons and a pistol each, and manage to look both comical and menacing at the same time.
Appearance (Alternate Mode) 9/10
It is in this particular mode where these guys really shine, and I mean that quite literally with their nicely-chromed eyes, cast in a sumptuous gold. These figures have an impressive set of teeth, which are satisfyingly sharp, thanks to this toy being firmly in the realm of 'adult collectable' and out of reach of the majority of 5-year-olds who could cut their wee pinkies on them. The club weapon works perfectly as a tail and these guys look good from every angle aside from right underneath, which makes them infinitely more coherent than FOC Grimlock. These monsters definitely look better in groups, and I am sorely tempted to buy another 3 to boost their numbers further!
Ostensibly a shell-former, this figure still manages to squeeze in a quite innovative transformation. Firstly the head is rotated to face backwards and is snapped into the shark maw. This is then closed up, and the belly opened up. This allows the legs to be folded, rotated and tucked into the torso and also the arms are rotated down at the shoulder. This is to move them fractionally lower on the body, and also to facilitate slotting the shark arms into place. The robot arms are then repositioned, with the fists collapsed. And with that, you are pretty much done. One of the shark horns has an annoying propensity to pop off - I actually cut them down slightly at the point they connect to hold them in a bit better.
generally this is decent but lacks a forward-facing 'knee joint' in shark mode. But then you do get nice little arms and horns that pivot. Onto the robot mode and the head is ball-jointed but regrettably waist swivel is missing - a necessary concession to facilitate transformation. This figure does have ball-jointed shoulders and hips, and swivel at the bicep and thigh area. The elbows are also ball-jointed, although the range is limited by the plastic either side of the joint, limiting what you can do. His wrists are not articulated although he does have ball-jointed feet. His sheer belly mass makes some dynamic poses impossible, although the balance is very impressive considering the diminutive feet and big belly.
This is a solid effort from Unique Toys. Compared to, say, MMC, the plastic used feels quite light and thin although not in any way brittle. The paint apps are also plentiful and well-applied, with my main criticism being that the shark 'horns' pop off with alarming ease, particularly on the side of the head where they are masking the screws. This is because the tabs are slightly too long, and they protude a bit because of the screw. I took a few millimeters off of the tab and now they sit in a bit more securely. They still pop off though, and I would be tempted to glue them in place if I didn't like the fact they could be repositioned to make the sharks look 'happy' or 'sad'.
Overall - 40/50
I heartily recommend this set of Sharkies - I doubt the Hasbro effort will be up too much and they will also be too small. As for iGear they are dragging their heels as usual, and will surely conspire to mess their figures up, as is their propensity of late. The 'Sharkies' are very cute and intricately designed figures, and Unique Toys have not scrimped on quality either, managing to deliver 3 very decent figures for a relatively cheap price. Pick them up, they will make you smile!