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depth charge, maximize
22 March, 2009, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Cartoons, Design, Products, Toys

1998__depth_charge_1998

Depth Charge, a character in the Beast Wars animated series from Mainframe Entertainment, made his action figure debut in 1998 as part of the The Transformers: Beast Wars, Ultra Transmetal Assortment from Hasbro. In his robotic form he was formidable opponent, larger than most of his Maximal (good guy) comrades, while his beast mode was a similarly large but surprisingly graceful metallic manta ray. He stands out as one of the most beautifully designed examples of toy series.

image from seibertron.com

image from seibertron.com

His paint job is beautiful, and quite elaborate, even for the Transmetals, while staying true to his animated incarnation. It features a light gray plastic body with multi-tone marine blue fins/wings (with iridescent aqua green on their undersides) complimented with purple and yellow accents that bring a richness and depth (no pun intended) to the pallet. The metallic gold components practically bejewel the figure; they are crown-like in the beast-mode and understated in the robotic.

image from seibertron.com

image from seibertron.com

The manta ray form is seductively elegant with faux-streamlining and unexpectedly flappable recurved fins. It’s easy to imagine this mysterious creature gliding through the watery oceans. An extra “space-cruiser” mode is possible, but is really just a slight alteration of the wing articulation from the beast-mode. Depth Charge’s transformation into robot mode is a complicated process, one of the more difficult of the line. Once achieved however his robotic shape is stylish and interestingly poesable despite some balance issues from the heavy projections from his back. He is a hefty and imposing figure, though still with those soft aquatic touches that reflect his generally benign nature.

image from seibertron.com

image from seibertron.com

Regardless of his allegiances, Depth Charge is a warrior, and so, comes equipped with various weapons. The “nuclear cybershark drone,” a shark shaped torpedo/gun is the most apparent. It attaches to the underside of the manta form, and is handheld when hen robot-mode. By pulling on the rear fins two “missiles” will launch. This feature is a little cheesy, almost as though the designers just wanted to sneak in another animal for added cool points. It takes the aquatic theme just a bit too far. The tail sword, on the other hand, makes better use of sticking with the manta theme and readapting the shape.

image from seibertron.com

image from seibertron.com

The main weapon is a “power pizza”cannon located in the central mass of the figure (the torso of the robot and the head/mouth of ray). The small blue dorsal fin at the base of the tail acts as the trigger, and when pressed will fire thin yellow disks from the mouth-like orifice. Unfortunately the “firing” is more like a dribble since modern standards limit the force of projectile features in toys so kids wont hurt themselves or others (I survived).

All in all Depth Charge is a stand out figure in the beast wars line. He combines a great mixture of poseability and playability. Whether for a kid looking to recreate his favorite cartoon shows or collector looking for a shiny new aquisition, Depth Charge is sure to please.

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