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Robot Mode (Ikard): Ikard is a repaint of Beast Wars Claw Jaw (or rather it’s Japanese version Scuba), so I’ll keep this relatively short. Just like his predecessor, Ikard looks pretty cool in robot mode and is also quite posable. The blue and white paint job of this version does change the look a bit, of course, but I wouldn’t call it better or worse than the original, just different. The robot mode is clearly the strength of this figure, as there is little to complain about here.

Beast Mode (Ikard): Just like the figure he was repainted from Ikard transforms into a squid. The same problems apply as well, of course, as the beast mode is pretty much a brick. Only the two front tentacles can move, but you need them to keep the thing from toppling over, so there isn’t much you can do with them, either. My recommendation is to keep Ikard in robot mode, as that is a) his much better mode and b) the mode that can interact with his vehicle, the Tako Tank.

Beast Mode (Tako Tank): Ikard’s vehicle, the Tako Tank, resembles a giant Octopus. Now I’m not a zoologist and I have no idea how close the resemblance to any existing species of octopi is, but to me this thing looks very nice, almost like something you’d see in an old-school monster movie. The look is mostly organic, though there are some robotic pieces and details visible here and there.

The Tako tank has two big eyes, whose ‘pupils’ can be made to rotate by way of a wheel on the side. He has the appropriate eight tentacles, six of them made of hard plastic to serve as a standing platform, the bigger two out front made from rubber. The rubber tentacles can be made to move by way of two black levers that run underneath the tank and stick out the back a bit.

The Tako tank also has a water squirt gun in his ‘nose’. Now I haven’t tried that out, but for a species that can spread black ink (I know it’s not really ink, but I don’t know the proper scientific term) as a defense mechanism, that’s a pretty fitting gimmick. According to the instructions you take the squirter out of the nose, fill it up, put it back in, and you can then squirt by way of a button on the back. So all in all a very nice and scary looking piece.

Base Mode (Tako Tank): The Tako Tank is made to open up into a sort-of base mode, somewhat similar to the trailer-base of the original Optimus Prime. The head splits open and the two halves fold out to the sides. Inside is a module that can take on three different configurations. In the first you leave it inside, just unfold the two missile launchers to give the Tako Tank firepower, in the process opening up a seat where Ikard can sit (he can’t stay inside when the Tank is closed due to the way the launchers are stored). This is the main base mode.

The inner module can also detach, leaving the Tako Tank as a sort of platform where Ikard can stand in the depression where the module was attached (now he can stay inside when it closes, too). The module itself can be transformed into either a two-wheeled bike or a kind of hovercraft, both of which can be piloted by Ikard. Ikard doesn’t fit all that perfectly into the seat because of the figure’s back kibble, but with some doing you can get him into a stable position so he doesn’t fall out all the time. Both bike and hovercraft look pretty cool, but the whole thing looks best in my opinion when it remains inside the Tako Tank as a bigger, combined base mode.

Remarks: Ikard and the Tako Tank are from the Japanese-exclusive Beast Wars II cartoon series, which was broadcast to fill the gap between the first and second season of Beast Wars for the Japanese market. Ikard brought the Tako Tank, a space-going vehicle, to the planet Gaia to aid the Cybertrons in their battle against their enemies. I haven’t seen a lot of BW2 episodes (and none with these two in them), so I can’t say much more than that. Both Ikard and the Tako Tank made various cameo appearances in Transformers comic books (most recently in IDW’s Beast Wars: The Ascending series), but generally the two of them are barely known outside Japan. Btw, Tako is the Japanese word for octopus.

Rumor has it that the Tako Tank was originally designed for the Microman line of toys, which would explain why he isn’t one hundred percent compatible with its pilot Ikard, who as a repaint of Clawjaw/Scuba was certainly developed independently of it. Speaking of Ikard, he remains a rather unspectacular figure. His robot mode is good, but his beast mode is pretty much useless. Seeing as he was only available together with the Tako Tank, though, one can consider him a mere add-on to this giant vehicle.

As for the Tako Tank itself, or the whole package of vehicle and pilot rather, it’s hard to come up with an objective rating here. The Tako Tank does look pretty cool, but at the end of the day doesn’t really do much except sit there and open up to release a bicycle. Now for me, that is quite enough, as I think it looks fabulous and I like the Beast Wars aesthetic in general. Other people, though, will probably be a lot less enthused about it. I can only apply my own personal set of preferences, though, and when I saw this beauty here at the C.O.N.S. convention, I knew I had to buy it despite the somewhat bigger price tag. So the final word is: Probably not for everyone, but every Beast Wars enthusiast who can manage to get his hands on this very rare toy should seriously consider it.



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