I was never that big a fan of Beast Wars, but I couldn't resist after seeing reviews of Masterpiece Optimus Primal and Cheetor. I missed the first run of Optimus Primal so am waiting on the next. In the meantime, Masterpiece Cheetor made me glad I took the plunge.
I like the general silhouette of the cheetah. There are panel lines everywhere, but that can't really be helped. The face has quite a bit of personality. The whiskers are a nice detail. I also like the painted spots all over his body and how his abdomen is a different color. The spots have an interesting pixelated appearance. There is a little bit of kibble hanging off his rear legs and there is a gaping hole in his abdomen. If you lift his tail, there is an unfortunately placed hole just underneath it. Cat owners will see a very recognizable sight.
His head is on a swivel peg. Although he can nod, shake, and turn his head, the collapsing peg is not the easiest to use. More often than not, pulling the peg out disassembles his front section. It is prone to collapsing if care is not taken pegging on the head. His jaws can open a decent amount. His front legs are on swivels and hinges at the shoulders with an additional set of swivels and hinges just below those. He also swivels just above the elbows, which are single-jointed. His paws are also on swivels and hinges. He flexes a little at the abs. His rear legs are his robot legs, with universal joints at the hips, swivels just above the double-jointed knees, and hinges at the ankles and paws. His tail is hinged at two points and can wag up and down. Despite all these points of articulation, I still find Ocular Max Jaguar to be more enjoyable and fluid to pose.
Transformation involves a bit of parts-forming of his weapons to complete the beast sculpt. Going to robot mode, you can remove the cheetah head completely. It's supposed to store in the chest cavity, but the whiskers get scrunched up. Over time, they may deform. There's a faux head for his chest anyways. Removing the cheetah head does leave some visible hollowness though. The entire process is very easy in either direction. His rifles come from his tail and stomach sections. It's kind of neat how the stomach gun sort of resembles a glob of intestines.
Robot mode is stunning. I was at first turned off by how his cheetah arms hang on his back, but after checking his animation model, that's just how he was portrayed. I like the blue and gold that is exposed on his arms and legs. His face sculpt is done very well. The light-piping catches quite a bit of light. I don't like the sculpt of the shoulders. They are just a set of hinges that stick up out of his flanks. Even with the cheetah head left inside the chest, the gap is very noticeable. I wish that they had clipped to his neck piece.
His head is on a ball joint, with an addition hinge so he can look straight up. His shoulders are on swivels and double hinges, with another set of swivels that allow him to butterfly his arms. He can raise his arms outward and then straight up into the air. His thumbs are fixed and the rest of his fingers are single-pinned and articulate as a single unit. He swivels at the biceps, wrists, waist, and just above the knees. There are also hinges at the wrists. He has double-jointed elbows and knees that can do full curls. His hips are on universal joints that allow him to do more than full front and side splits. Jean-Claude Van Damme would be proud. His feet have ankle tilts and rockers.
Cheetor comes with a total of three robot faces, three cheetah heads, and three pairs of cheetah eyes. His weapons are actually part of his beast sculpt so aren't really accessories. The stomach gun uses a Masterpiece-style tab. I dislike this system. I hate how difficult it is to get the tabs into the slots and how closing the fists so easily dislodges the guns. The tail gun has a bar for him to grasp, which he does not do very well. The robot faces have only very subtle changes in expression, mostly to the size of his eyes and mouth. They are very easy to swap. The cheetah heads have different expressions, but are otherwise identical. They are neutral, surprised, and sly. Although his eyes don't move, each of the three pairs of eyes look in a different direction - left, right, and straight head. That's nine different variations for beast mode. The head and eye swap mechanisms are very simple to use.
I'll start a new shelf for the Masterpiece Beast Wars figures and throw in Perfect Effect Leonidas and Xerxes for lack of any place better to display those two. I'll also put Black Arachnia here since she sort of stands out from the other Combiner Wars and Titans Return figures or whatever line she was supposed to be with. I'm on the fence whether it's worth getting Rattrap, Waspinator, and Rhinox. Although they were in beast mode for the majority of their appearance on the show, I'll probably keep Cheetor in robot mode, especially since it takes up less shelf space. I look forward to Dinobot, hope that a Megatron will soon follow, and cross my fingers they will complete the relatively paltry line up.