Rob's Pile of Transformers: Manic Ramblings

Manic Ramblings and Delerious Ranting
re: Tripredicus

  I got the Predacon combiner group this evening, and let me say 
I haven't been this mystified by a Transformer since I got BW Megs.  
Took me fifteen minutes just to get Ramhorn into robot mode -- I've 
never seen so many random parts goin' off in different directions. 
Here's my  impressions.  Please note that I'm actually writing this 
as I figure the guys out, so it'll be a bit random and disjointed.  
But hey, if it weren't, it wouldn't be manic rambling...

Cicadacon:  He's CUTE!  His bug mode is simply adorable!  (Much more 
so than a *real* cicada, I can tell you.)  He looks like he should 
be Waspinator's little brother.  The translucent wings are nice.  
What really makes the the wings, though, are the detachable 
swords/wings/whatever underneath -- the orange lines look like veins 
when seen through the wings, and it's a really nice effect.  Having 
*two* pairs of insect wings is a nice touch -- very classy on the 
part of the designers.  A lot of work went into these things, you 
can tell.  I really like how side panels conceal his folded-up robot 
legs.  Feels really solid in robot mode, definately more weighty and 
less hollow than a regular.  The way his (and Sea Clamp's) head folds o
ut from his chest reminds me of Laser Optimus Prime.  He suffers from Retrax-style skinny ankles, but that's a minor complaint.  Very nice in both modes.

Sea Clamp:  The coolest in beast mode, and the one whose appearance 
first grabbed my eye when I saw the set.  The rough texture and 
purple-grey translucent plastic add up to a really nice appearance.  
The extra claw-inside-a-claw is pretty vicious looking.  Robot mode 
is a bit lacking -- I'm getting tired of 'bots with huge claws 
instead of real hands.  And the beast-mode tail section (thorax or 
whatever it's called on a semented animal) gets in the way of his 
legs, hanging stiffly behind them.

Ramhorn:  A worth successor to Barrage (G1 Insecticon) if there ever 
was one.  This guy unfolds so much I'm not sure if I'll ever get him 
all the way back together!  In robot mode, his mouth actually moves!  
Actually, the head moves, while the lower jaw stays fixed.  Combined 
with the strange buck teeth and the beady round eyes, he alternately 
looks nutty, angry, or like a sadistic clown.  If you get him the 
right way in mid-transform, he looks like a beetle feeding on a dead 
Transformer.  Passable robot mode, the least interesting of the 
three.  His rear beetle legs stick out from his robot-mode shins; it 
looks very strange.  No Tarantulus-style machine guns for him; he'd 
blow his face off.  At the very end, I had to give up and look at 
the instruction sheet to get him back into beetle mode, and even 
that didn't help all that much.  Not very flexible as a beetle -- 
the head and two front legs move, and that's about it.  But he looks 

Tripredicus:  Okay, I got him together.  Finally.  It took about 
fifteen or twenty minutes, and I had to cheat and look at the box a 
few times.  No, wait... gotta adjust a few things on the right arm... 
there.  The right arm is somethin' else -- basically, Ramhorn's waist 
and shoulders pivot around his torso, leaving his legs sticking out 
of where his chest used to be, while the arms become Triped's 'fist'. 
 Meanwhile, all of Ramhorn's 'backpack' animal bits are way on the 
other side of Cidadacon, acting as the other arm.  Wow, what an 
amazing transform... he almost splits in half.

  He's not all that tall; I think he's actually a bit shorter than 
Megarex (though I don't feel like digging him out of his abox to 
check right now.)  Still, he towers over the regulars.

  Tripred is far more stable than the old 'Scramble City'-style 
gestalts, which relied on a single peg to hold each component to the 
main body.  They popped back out as easily as they went in.  I just 
grabbed Tripred by the leg and shook him, hard.  He's still in one 
piece.  Do that with Defensor and you'll have Protectobots flying all 
over the place.  And, of course, he's far more flexible.  I count at 
least 16 points of articulation, not including the claws that end 
each arm.  Compare that to, what, five, perhaps, on the G1 gestalts?  
And that's only if the head happened to turn, which wasn't always the 
case.  Chew on that, Beast Wars haters! :)

   One of my biggest complaints about BW has always been the organic 
and/or monsterish robot-mode faces.  To me, the robot should still 
look like a robot, regardless of the alt mode.  But, oddly, I'm not 
at all bothered by the bizarre robot face on Tripred.  More than any 
other BW I've seen, it looks appropriate for him.  He really does 
look vicious and animalistic; the teeth and scowl and warpaint-like 
stripes just seem to fit.  I even like the 'sucker' on his forehead 
(Cicadon's stinger winds up on Tripredicus's forehead, sticking 
straight up)... imagine getting head-butted by this guy -- ouch!

   These guys are really solid toys, all three.  I think not having 
any gimmicks attached (beyond the combiner trick) makes them a lot 
more massive than a lot of BWs, where much space is typically taken 
up by weapons that don't take part in the transformation.  On these 
three, every bit of space is given over to transforming, and it 
gives the toy a feeling of just being more massive.

   Ah ha, just re-discovered Sea Clamp's launcher (which I took out 
and then put aside earlier.  The extra Cicadacon wings go in there, 
if I remember the box pic right.  Zip!!  Not a bad thing to shoot 
the cat with... though he got up and left when I started digging for
my Rotor Forcers. :)  Some of the Beast Warriors shoot some strange 
stuff from their launchers... this one takes the cake, though.  
Wings!  He's shooting BUG WINGS at his enemies!  What's it gonna do, 
make 'em look like dirty windshields??

   So, overall, I'm every bit as pleased as I thought I would be.  
These are some of the best BWs I've seen... I would almost say that 
they are to BW what Laser Op was to G2, except that BW has been good 
to excellent all along, as opposed to G2's wild swings in quality.  
Anyway, I expect to have a lot of fun fiddling with these guys in 
the weeks to come.  Everyone, go out and buy them.  Good day.

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