Alternate Mode: Technorganic Cheetah
Height: 10cm Length: 18cm Width: 8cm - exact dimensions depend on pose
This is a pretty good choice for a BotCon toy, it was the third attempt at a cheetah in the BM line, and was the first one that really worked. Thanks to a combination of rigged shoulders at the front and tight joints at the back, you shouldn't have any trouble finding a way to stand this cat up. The front shoulders are swivels on springs, which is a robot mode gimmick. The elbows are hinged and the wrists ball jointed, however the ball joints are restricted, only allowing his wrists to rotate or bend inwards. The neck is more or less immobile, the tail can lift up and down. The hindlegs are where all the action is, with ball jointed hips and ankles, two hinges per knees and hinges below the ankle joints.
Unfortunately, the restricted wrists at the front really limit what you can do with this toy, since all poses need to accommodate them. There is a lot you can do with the hindlegs, but in the end the front legs have to be crouching, so Catscan ends up low to the ground, almost in a crawl. Considering that cheetahs are cats that run down their prey, a hunched, ready to pounce pose isn't really natural for this type of cat. The lankiness is retained, although this toy is a lot more angular than the last two, which were pretty much devoid of corners. There's a jetpack on his back, it's highlighted with a black paintwash, and sits on a hinge allowing it to point up, which fits in with the angular look of this toy.
The colours look good, and while they don't really fit a cheetah, they work for an exclusive repaint. The play value isn't really what you'd expect of a Beast Machines toy, which is really because it's all been saved for the robot mode. Having said that, play value isn't quite as important as display value for a BotCon toy, and this toy displays well, with a colour scheme that's more G1 than Beast Machines.
Height: 18cm Width: 7.5cm
The defining feature Beast Machines Cheetor, both the toys and in the show, is the double-knee feature. This feature actually works, unlike the early BM Cheetor toys. So Catscan stands quite easily - the ankles on mine seem tighter than on Night Slash Cheetor, too.
The limbs' poseability is essentially the same as the beast mode, with the addition of hinged heelspurs and the loss of wrist motion. As mentioned, the ankles are a little weak, but with two joints and the jointed heelspurs, the end result is that Catscan's feet are quite versatile. The arms aren't all that poseable, which is understandable since both his gimmicks involve the arms.
The first of these gimmicks is a set of inbuilt black machetes, deployed by switches on the outsides of his shoulders. When deployed, they spring down so that the handles end up in his hands. While these swords aren't removable they stow well and look great in his hands anyway. The other gimmick is activated by the spark crystal, now on his back. Pressing the spark in causes the arms to swing up and down out of phase with each other, giving Catscan a two-handed slashing attack (or a double punching attack if the machetes are stowed).
The transparent red chestplate has a lot of detail on the inside, which is a relic of Cheetor. The darker plastic makes this moulding redundant now, but Catscan has an Autobot logo stamped very subtly in red on his left breast. The facial sculpt is excellent and the dark grey facial paint fades back to a silver in places, giving his a worn look. There's a gold chrome dish inside his chest that looks like a radar dish, when you press the spark crystal (and the arms flap) the central post will turn back and forward. There are white stripes on it, the white reflections create the illusion of the the entire dish spinning. While this is a nice addition to his gimmick, it's odd that they went to such effort for a feature that's hidden so well by the dark chest. The choice of white stripes make it even less relevant - they may as well have left it unpainted.
G1 fans will find this robot mode bizarre in shape, but this mould is actually unusually angular for Beast Machines, and the colour scheme really belongs in G1. As a BotCon repaint, this was a good choice since it's one of the better BM moulds and this robot mode has been well adapted. The gimmicks work too, and while they restrict the poseability a little, this is still a great display piece.
I usually don't talk too much about packaging in my reviews but I should point out that Catscan has a very complex and detailed yet fragile box, so if you have a Catscan with a box in good shape, you should consider yourself lucky. Mine was quite dog eared before I even got it.