It seems like only yesterday that I was typing up a review about the new reissue of Beast Wars Cheetor. In reality, it was three days ago.
OK, I jest, but Tigatron arriving hot on the heels of his mould-mate shouldn’t be such a shock. Whilst these days we’re all accustomed to the idea of the white tiger receiving a separately-moulded, larger toy to his ‘little cat’ equivalent, it wasn’t always so. This reissue harkens back to when the character was a straight-up repaint.
I say that except it wasn’t all that simple back in the day. The first Kenner release of Tigatron from 1996 was distinctly more cream and silver than the brilliant white fans might expect after having tuned in to the accompanying Mainframe cartoon, almost looking discoloured, if anything!
Fortunately, Takara changed things up for their version just a year later, completely doing away with the cream in favour of a crisp, clean look reminiscent of the animation colours. It was truly glorious at the time and, if memory serves, was the very first Japanese Transformers toy I opted to pick up over a Western counterpart.
I’m slightly embarrassed to admit I moved on that exact copy not so long ago, which I have certainly regretted on at least one occasion. This reissue arrives in good time then, as though good fortune is helping me to correct a mistake somehow. That feels especially true given it looks remarkably similar to that original Japanese release, all stunning bright white and electric green.
The tiger form is unmistakably gorgeous, with the stripe pattern adding a welcome contrast to the stark palette. In the Cheetor review, I mentioned some of this mould’s major beast mode quirks, but honestly, I feel like Tigatron wears them better, as though the colour scheme is more forgiving overall.
I mean, sure, he still has giant rear feet and a rather obvious cannon hanging off his underside, but these effects are somehow mitigated by the muted tones. I’m sure it helps that the tip of the ‘gut gun’ is also white in this case, allowing it to blend in a smidge, visually speaking.
Then there are the eyes – oh, the eyes! – the green of which is the kind of aesthetic choice you don’t see all that often on a Transformers toy, but boy, does it look fantastic. That it’s also somewhat cartoon accurate (in this mode, at least) is a real bonus, but I love how it looks either way.
It leaves Tigatron’s big cat mode feeling like a perfect accompaniment to Cheetor, even if you’ve only just got into the game with these recent reissues. True, it’s a far cry from modern interpretations, especially as they’re both the same size as each other in this case, but purely on a colour scheme basis, they look great together.
I’d go as far as saying I’ve enjoyed re-examining this beast mode more than I thought I would, based on my memories of it, especially having also recently picked up the vintage Shadow Panther version. I highly doubt Hasbro will give that one a turn on their reissue slate too, but I suppose stranger things have happened. Either way, this is a cracking trio of cats.
A few straightforward twists and turns later and we have Tigatron in his robot mode, looking surprisingly spot-on to his animation portrayal overall. I often think of Beast Wars cartoon accuracy as having kicked in during the second season when bringing the Transmetals to life, so it’s sometimes surprising to see just how close some of the early toys were too.
In some ways, Tigatron might be the ultimate evidence of that. Even comparing him directly to the screen, it’s incredible to see just how faithful the animators kept everything to the toy, although I suppose this Takara-inspired colour scheme had the benefit of being crafted after the TV design had already been completed! Either way, I’m sure it will keep collectors happy.
If anything, Tigatron is closer to the cartoon than Cheetor, with the younger Maximal’s design more extensively tweaked and streamlined for his pilot episode appearance. Again, I’m sure some fans might be surprised to see that the two are identical to one another here and the same size as a result, but that’s just how we rolled in the nineties!
Anyway, even taking this toy on its own merit, that colour scheme is very striking in hand. The white is once again a real showstopper, whilst the increased presence of silver and green adds a welcome pop to the proceedings.
The face may lack the cartoon’s moustache, but it remains a classic sculpt. I love the vibrant red eyes on offer here (again, also accurate to the animation), although I will say that the moulding doesn’t look as crisp as on my copy of Cheetor somehow. It’s not bad, but just a little less defined and sharp. Shame.
Still, should you prefer, the mutant mask remains an option. Simply flip the face forward and this savage alternate look is brought into play. It’s finished in a thick coat of green paint, which isn’t exactly matched to the bare plastic sections on the shoulders and neck, but it’s close enough.
Weapons-wise, Tigatron retains the two guns from Cheetor, which are made up of bits of his beast mode. The tail blaster remains my favourite of the two, especially as it fits better in hand and sits in a more natural position on the arm.
The ‘gut gun’ may just be bare white, but it still packs the surprise of a squirting water feature for those that want such a thing. I have noted that the squeezable section with the moulded intestines is perceptibly off-white on my copy, not entirely syncing up with the stark look of the main body of the toy. I’m hoping this is simply a result of the soft material used and not an indication of troubles ahead, but of course, it’s one to watch out for.
In any case, Tigatron feels like a worthy addition to the litter, standing in ably for his vintage Takara equivalent and looking spot on versus other versions of this design in my collection. It’s been a definite treat to discover the mould again.
It’s also yet another solid entry in this new line-up of Beast Wars reissues, proving that wherever Hasbro chooses to take this roster in the future, we’re surely in for a bit of a treat. Thus far, I’ve been happy with every figure I’ve received, and with non-cartoon character choices already on the horizon, it’s time to get excited for what might be next.
Even if you already have a decent crop of vintage original Beast Wars toys, the reissues generally do a cracking job at fitting in alongside them. Tigatron is one of the revisited toys that is most unchanged versus its original Japanese release, so it works perfectly, in my opinion!
Mostly, I’m just happy to have corrected the selling on of my original copy at last. We all make mistakes, but it’s good to be able to reverse them when the opportunity arises, eh?
WHAT’S HOT? I love that they retained the Takara original colour scheme, as the brilliant white looks superb!
WHAT’S NOT? The face is not quite as nicely defined as on Cheetor and I’m keeping a close eye on the off-white soft plastic on the ‘gut gun’!