Rob's Pile of Transformers: Manic Ramblings

Manic Ramblings and Delerious Ranting
re: Pretenders

  Well, yesterday, via Sunstar's auction, I at long last joined the elite 
ranks of those with a complete set of Monster Pretenders. I just gotta 
babble on a little bit about these guys, as well as the four regular 
Pretenders I got...

 First, lemme say THANKS to Sunstar. He got the goods out FAST. I was 
quite impressed. 

 Now then... First thing I did was to pop the little guys out of their
shells. I managed to keep marginal track of who went with what shell, not
easy since I've never seen four of these guys before. Sorry if I mix up
some names... Slog is the leader, right?... Almost immediately I broke
Bristleback's robot form -- his creature leg was very stiff, and when I
twisted it around to transform him, his robot feet cracked down the
middle. Nothing major, really; with a little Fun-tak, he'll still hold
Monstructor's fist. And now his feet move independently!... 

 When I got them all out, I spent several minutes putting Monstructor
together, no mean feat since I had no instructions for him. I like the
little guy -- he's as posable as the regular gestalts, and he looks cool.
The Slog-Birdbrain connection is rather clever; you have to get Birdbrain
just right, and the way Slog unfolds is neat... it took me a while to
figure it out. 

 Other impressions... Just what is so great about the Icepick-style
transformation that they had to use it *twice*?? (for Scowl) I guess the
obvious answer is that it makes a good Monstructor leg...  Too bad Slog's
outer shell isn't as cute as it looks in US issue #67; it was his
appearance here that first got me interested in the MPs. Maybe some paint
would fix that to some degreee?... Bristlback, Icepick, and Scowl
definately have the coolest shells. Birdbrain is the nicest robot, I
think... Just what the hell are Icepick, Scowl, and Slog supposed to BE in
creature form?? It's too bad they don't look anything like they do on the
Tech-Spec art, neat-o slashing creatures instead of funky-looking block

 On to the regular Pretenders. Let me start by saying that Iguanis's shell
is COOL! I love the textured skin and the tail. OTOH, his robot form is a
bit of a let-down. I don't mind SOME add-on parts for a vehicle mode, like
Cloudburst's nosecone/gun, for example... But come on! You have to attach
his whole wheelbase, fer cryin' out loud! And the wheels aren't
free-rolling, either, just one big blocky piece o' plastic. So much for
the spiked tires or whatever it is they mentioned on his specs. The whole
motorcycle mode looks like a circus contraption, with tons of stuff
balanced on two little wheels... Decent posability as a robot, but his
head is frozen -- that drives me nuts in an otherwise mobile robot. 

 SplashDown: Another one I'd never seen before buying him. This guy hardly
even got an appearance in the comics; he was in maybe three frames of
issue 40. First thought, for those of you who have him: Doesn't his
shell's face look a hell of a lot like Fort Max's first binary bond
partner, Galan? Second thought: why do the shells get all the cool
weapons? Splashdown's shell is armed with a really complicated-looking gun
and a frakkin' HUGE pronged spear. Splashdown himself gets an ordinary
little gun... A pretty good robot inside a shell that's much cooler than
the typical Autobot Pretender. Again, decent posability, though like many
Pretender robots he needs some joint sanding to increase it. I had to sand
down the insides of his knees to get him to TF properly (his legs wouldn't
fold back all the way). IMO there are too many 'water' vehicles in the
pretender line -- hovercraft, subs, and the like. They're okay if they're
well-done, like Waverider, but in Splash Down's case, well... he just
looks like a hunk of machinery. If he was as streamlined as in the
tec-spec art, he'd be great. But, alas, he's not... 

 A friend of mine had Waverider and Cloudburst long ago, so I was already
familiar with them before getting them. Cloudburst looks funny in toy
form, being so skinny after I'd gotten used to his beefier appearance in
the comics. Still, he's a pretty cool jet. I like him. Shell is dull,
dull, dull. Me and my friend owned four Pretenders between us, and we
would just toss the shell in the closet, using only the robot. Now I
remember why. Waverider is a little stiff as a robot -- no knees, no neck
joint. And his head looks a little too humanoid for my tastes. But, as
mentioned above, he has a good vehicle form. Again, a boring shell. I
wonder if the Pretenders have to breath? Seems like it'd be difficult for
Cloudy and Waves, since their mouths and noses are buried inside those
space suits. 

 Okay, that's all, I'm done indulging myself at the group's expense. Or, 
at least until Dreadwing, Road Pig, the McBeasties, Finback, and Chain 
Claw arrive. :)

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