Rob's Pile of Transformers: Manic Ramblings


Manic Ramblings and Delerious Ranting
re: Pretenders
5/10/96

As threatened, more rambling... this time it's Finback and Chainclaw. 

 As Msipher promised, Finback's shell is pretty cool. The body is a
smooth, dark mix of black or dark purple or something, which complements
the yellow highlights well. It looks very much like the rubbery skin of a
whale or a shark. His head is rather funny looking; he looks like he's
wearing some sort of shell or fish skull for a helmet. But it's pretty 
cool. Further evidence (if we needed it) of the poor design quality of 
the Pretenders: Finback's lower jaw could easily have been articulated 
with a simple hing, but it's not. Finback is yet another case of the 
shell getting the cool weapons - the shell's gun is HUGE, and one arm 
ends in a bladed instrument. Pretty cool. 

 The inner robot looks good in robot form, fairly good in sub form. Like
Waverider and Submarauder, he suffers from having his thighs and knees
articulated to the side rather than to the back. He can do the splits (and
does, when he transforms) but he can't take a step forward. Standard
Pretender articulation outside the legs; the head turns and the arms
swivel from the shoulder, and can angle back (from the joint made to him
in his shell). I wonder what it is about G1 toy designers... even the most
poorly made figure has to have at least one arm joint. Many have
completely static legs, but only a rare few designs (Battlechargers,
Throttlebots) don't have movable arms. 

  The bio card shows the trend toward less characterization as the toy 
line got older... Finback's card just mumbles something about him being a 
wheezing wreck, and says that his shell is a case for his spare parts. 
Then it goes on about how well he can blow stuff up :/. If he's in such 
bad repair, how's he going to go underwater in sub mode? Won't he leak?

 Chainclaw was something of a letdown, although from the pictures in the 
catalogue, I knew what I was gettin' into. :) The inner robot is Glo-bot 
Soundwave yellow with grey highlights. It's ironic that the instructions 
call the robot a "bear", but the shell a "beast". The shell looks a lot 
more like a bear than the robot does! Shoulder articulation only on the 
creature-mode robot. Transform is annoyingly simple; for such an easy 
design, they could have made the robot form more posable. But his robot 
feet are one big fused block, leaving him as yet another guy stuck in 
place waving his arms around. 

 What makes this guy worth having is the outer shell. Of course, it's a
frozen statue, like all Pretender shells; more so, in fact, since there
are no arms to have a single joint on at the shoulders. But, what a
statue! He *looks* like a real bear, and a BIG one, too... big, heavyset,
and vicious. The only problem is, there's all this equipment strapped to
his back. Come ON!! "Hmm, what's that? Oh, it's just a bear with an
electronic backpack... HEY! Where'd that robot come from?"... I don't
think so! Interesting that his shell splits down the middle, as almost all
Pretender shells did in the comics. It's the only such shell I've found,
though I imagine the other beasts are the same way. 

  Funny thing about his tech spec... first line is, "A ferocious warrior."
But everything after that is about what a fanatical worry wart he is, and
how he is often too busy fussing over non-problems to fight!  Sounds like
that first line might have been some sort of editing mistake... 

 Alright, that's it for now... I'm rather proud of this thread! After 
less than 10 posts, it no longer has anything to do with Pretenders! :)


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