I have so far been enormously happy with every Transformers Robots In Disguise 2015 toy I have bought of the Warrior and Legion class variety released by Hasbro. I have also had the privilege of being able to buy them in local stores in the UK, a pleasure from the distant past! However, one figure fell below my expectations and my sore review of it has put others off buying it, that figure is Warrior Class Steeljaw, so far the only really proper Decepticon release in the line (not counting the One Step changers and the like). As some predicted, I have since gone back to the figure and spent more time appreciating it, not believing that a line that has thus far delivered simple designs but effective Transformers could fail so badly. It also helped that friends pointed out he did have more articulation than I gave it credit for. Here, then, is justice for Steeljaw.
The Warrior Class figures from RID 2015 do not come with instructions, and those printed on the back are pretty pants. When packaged in the blister, Warrior Class Steeljaw does not have his arms extended and so I never thought to extend them, plus they seemed super fragile and flimsy. But, thanks to CyberShadow of the UK TFW collective, I was duly educated and found he did have forearm articulation. An elbow, if you will. I had noticed the pivotal pin and also the teeth for ratcheting on the forearm, but had no luck trying to bend the arm, and hadn't spotted the extension rail. The result was what you see above, Steeljaw posed as he was in his blister packaging.
The insanely light feel of the toy and really oddball vehicle mode didn't help endear Warrior Steeljaw to me, but the overall concept was not flawed in my eyes, I really love the Legion Class Steeljaw and from what I have seen of the smooth-talking villain in the RID teasers, trailers and online short video spots I have really enjoyed, it's got me very excited for the series and the Decepticons. Vehicle based beast robots? Where do I sign?
In addition to being told about the arms - which I extended and decided maybe prematurely that it did not help as he looked even more fragile and weird - I was informed by user IronicHide that he should be posed in a more feral crouching stance like a Velociraptor, no longer having to lean on his tail as an almighty heel spur. The result?
He stands better now, and has more expression available to him with the extra elbow usage. I can also make more visually interesting use of his tail in robo-wolf mode. My daughter already calls him the "big bad wolf" so I was basically obligated to fall in love with it. Oh I wish so much they could have put just that bit more budget into the Warrior Class and made it so that his vehicle hood didn't become the feet so obviously, as Steeljaw's robot feet look great in animation. Even when scanned into the RID game/app, when Steeljaw is selected and he runs, the totally organic-looking and moving tail is amazing, and I should be quite impressed with the degree of articulation it enjoys on such a cheap-feeling representation...currently the most complex available of what could be an amazing character for Transformers.
There's that classy touch again, the Decepticon symbol on the grille of the off-road vehicle alternate mode, complete with slash marks from his claw. Even the lower end of the RID toy spectrum has charisma.
No complaints about the head sculpt either, it's actually brilliant.
So, about justice, about giving the figure its due...well, among a wave of rather quality "Warrior Class" and "Legion Class" toys that show a general trend towards less complexity, detail and general finish, we still have toys of significant character and distinguishing feature. Steeljaw in my eyes has earned his place among the wave and opening salvo of RID 2015. I feel bad for the figure in that some were convinced to strike him off their possible purchase list, such was my condemning of its appeal. He's grown on me, although my criticisms of build quality remain.
All that said, how can you not appreciate a figure that can do this?
All the best