Tuesday, 6 September 2011
K is for K-9
*Please note, my figure is missing his battle mask
The Winning Toy
"Placed in charge of guarding his fellow Maximals from a surprise Predacon attack, K-9 is always alert thanks to his lightning-fast reflexes and ultra-sensitive canine nose. While other Maximals plot defence strategies, K-9 stands guard to survey the surrounding area for signs of Predacon spies. But even if he encounters an entire attack force, he can hold them off with his fast-fire missile launcher until reinforcements arrive. When it comes to combat, K-9's bite is definitely worse than his bite
Toyline: Beast Wars
Generation: Beast Era
Size Class: Deluxe
Function: Guard Duty
K-9's robot mode is quite standard really for the early Beast Era, he has the majority of his robot mode encased in the beast mode, which then results in his robot mode having a lot of beast kibble in random places (such as the front legs on his arms etc.
K-9's robot body is mostly white and blue, with shades of brown inthe places where the beast mode is visible. His arms are completely blue, except for the lower arms, whilst the inverse is true for his torso, where it is mostly white with some blue markings on his chest (which are designed to look like chest hairs in a way). K-9's leg's interiors are white, with the best mode leg colours being shown on the outside.
K-9's body has sculpted muscles on his torso to look like a human's abdominal area and pectorals (with some robotisizing of course. His abdominal area has 2 spikes poking out of it, which are the rear ends of his missiles poking through the back (which is a weird, yet interesting design decision).
K-9's arms are connected to the torso by a connector bar, which is able to be brought forwards by about 90 degrees. The shoulder is connected to that bar via a ball joint, then the upper arm is connected to that by a pivot joint, which enables pretty much full movement (allowing for the shoulder kibble of course). The upper arm is connected to the lower arm by a hinge that allows it to move fully forwards and inwards (like a real arm). The hand isn't articulated, but is sculpted with fingers and has a peg hole for his gun (made from his tail). His beast mode head splits in half and can be positioned on his shoulders to create shoulder pads of sorts.
K-9's upper legs are connected to his groin by ball joints which allows it some articulation, but depending on whether you have the back plate on or not, it can be hindered. His knees are connected by a hinge which can allow him to fold forwards by about 90 degrees and backwards fully.
K-9's head is able to rotate upwards and sideways be a very small fraction (due to it's design). The head is mostly white with a black face and green eyes. The face has some sculpted details like a nose and a mouth, which don't do anything. The figure would normally come with a battle mask, which folds down over his face from the top of his head which acts in the same way as the mutant faces of the very early Beast Era toys. A very interesting point to make about the head however is the size of his chin...it's ridiculously huge...and people comment about the Transformers: Animated chins!!!
K-9's back plate is able to be removed to act as a shield by folding out a handle, also on the back are 2 harpoon-like missiles that can be slotted into the gun's missile slot to be fired at the enemy
K-9's beast mode is, again, very standard for the early Beast Era toys, it looks realistic, but has some very obvious robot parts showing (like the robotic arms hanging under his chest). He is made to resemble a German Shepherd.
Now because of his design, and the fact that his front legs are just kibble in the robot mode, they don't move at all. His back legs however are also the legs he uses for his robot mode, so they have the same basic articulation (ball point connecting to the groin and hinge at the knees). His feet have sculpted digits with small claws on the ends (but the claws aren't painted differently, so they're easy enough to miss.
K-9's head is (again) immobile, so is just purely decorative, his jaw is sculpted into a snarl, which works with his body design looking like it's about to pounce. His eyes are blue in this mode, unlike his robot mode's green eyes
K-9's tail is designed to look shaggy and of couse can be removed (as it becomes his gun in robot mode) The tail can also rotate around about 45 degrees either way as it he's wagging his tail like a happy little puppy
K-9's body has been sculpted to look like he has fur and muscles, and has a colourscheme of a very dark brown/black and a lighter brown with a white underside (except the blue robot parts that you're supposed to ignore)
K-9's an interesting little fellow, he didn't appear in the TV series, or any media until IDW's Beast Era series. However, in the 2 IDW mini-series' (The Gathering and The Ascending) K-9 didn't do much and ended up being killed off unceremoniously by Shokaract. Also, something to note is that K-9's alternate mode of a German Shepherd, is an animal that didn't exist on prehistoric Earth, and is most likely a hang-over from the original idea of having this series set on a more modern Earth (as seen in some early pack-in comics)
K-9 was also featured in the Botcon 2006 Live Script Reading, "Intimidation Game", but was revealed at the end to have been the Predacon Max-B all along in disguise. In a related piece of information, K-9 was the basis for the on-screen only character 9K from the video of "The Theft of the Golden Disk", set just before the start of Beast Wars, where he was seen in the Maximal Command Security in a modified version of Cybertron Clocker's toy (as well as wielding Energon Strongarm's axe, and an energy base shield (to emulate the toy's accessories)
Something I should note however, the original plan for the Beast Wars TV series was to have Wolfang as the new character instead of Tigatron (since he was just a remodelling of Cheetor), so had he have appeared instead, then K-9 might have been in the series at some point, but that's just speculation.
K-9's toy was remolded from Wolfang's almost entirely, with a new battle mask, tail/gun and beast mode design (although the robot mode still looks mostly the same). The original Wolfang was later given a redeco in Japan as a Predacon, also called Wolfang (most likely to add more Predacons to that line). K-9 himself was remolded to create Max-B for Beast Wars II, an upgrade for BB with cybernetic implants on his beast mode
Is he Cool?
I do believe that K-9's a cool figure, especially for his time of release (1997) He has a decent amount f articulation and looks good in both modes (especially if you ignore the arms in beast mode).
The best parts about this figure however, are his accessories. K-9's back plate is able to be removed to become a shield, and his beast mode tail becomes his gun, with 3 rib-cage harpoon missile to fire at people. This is most suitable because of his role as a guard, which gives him a SWAT team look, with a full body shield and a weapon.
A fun little feature that I noticed when planning this review is that, since his shield's handle can be flipped up when in beast mode, you can have another character hold the handle to make it look like they are grabbing his by the scruff of his heck or that he's on a (very short) leash
I also think this figure is pretty cool because his mold was almost totally changed from the original user (Wolfang) with is very rarely done, even nowadays, normally a figure will just get a new head or altered hands or something rather than an almost completely redesigned body.
I'd say that if you like the Beast Era, then definitely get this figure, but honestly there are other better figures that you could be spending your precious pocket money on considering that his main appeal is his accessories