Thursday, 25 October 2012

Pretender time, Chainclaw

G1 Chainclaw

 

After doing my little review of the Botcon’s version of Metalhawk and it having gotten me in the mood for some Pretenderin’ I thought I would have a look at a real G1 Pretender.  Naturally, I wasn’t going to pick someone obvious like Landmine or Cloudburst.  That would be too easy (Plus I don’t have Cloudburst), so I have chosen Chainclaw, who is still a Pretender and is more exciting than the normal Pretenders, because he has a beast mode!

 

So what exactly is a ‘Pretender’?  Well it was a series of Transformers towards the end of G1 that featured a small robot that also came with a shell for them to hide in.  Usually the shell is a monster of some sort for the Decepticons and a humanoid type for the Autobots.  There were also 2 sets of beast shells for both Autobots and Decepticons.  Chainclaw here is one of the Beasts from the Autobots.

 

 

Pretenders are generally looked down upon by many Transformers fans for their simplistic robot modes and crappy vehicle modes.  To be honest, a lot of them are total rubbish in the way they have been designed, but I have found myself somewhat drawn to them recently.  Chainclaw is an interesting one as the beast mode is fairly good when one takes into consideration the limits it faces.

 

G1 ChainclawG1 Chainclaw

And it’s one of the few G1 toys I have that have the box intact.  Hmm, G1 boxy goodness.

 

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I really dig the Transformation sequence on the top of the G1 Boxes!

 

I am a sucker for the box art too, but that would have to be nostalgic bias getting in the way there.

 

First thing would be the shell, or his ‘organic’ beast mode.

 

G1 ChainclawG1 Chainclaw

Chainclaw is obviously a bear.  I am going to say a Grizzly.  It is simple and designed to hide the robot within, which it does.  Shame that the helmet and backpack with gun mounting are features that one doesn’t often see on bears, thereby giving away the impression that he is just an ordinary bear.  The helmet has a cool Battlecat vibe to it and can come off, as can the gun. The backpack is sculpted on and has to stay.

 

The shell has no articulation whatsoever.

 

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Reminds me of chocolate.

 

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Once disarmed the bear looks quite fierce.  Even with the backpack on.   I wouldn’t mess with it, that’s for sure.

 

The helmet is a soft pliable plastic and it clips rather well onto the ears.

 

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Now, to get to the robot Chainclaw, one has to split the shell open.  This reminds me of an episode of Astroboy, where a panther can ‘clone’ itself.

 

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As you can see, the robot is quite small.  And the Grizzly, quite chocoliscious!

 

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So you have to fold the robot up a lot to fit it into the shell, this is where a lot of the critisizm is justified I think.  Much of the Transformation (and therefore looks and accessories) of the robot have been sacrificed so that it fits into the shell.  So with a quick unfold of his arms and a flip down of the legs, let’s see what the robot-bear looks like.

 

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I don’t think the face looks all that much like a bear’s face and the colours,  well the yellow is how can I say it?  Like butter?  So perhaps not the most realistic of colours either.  But then I guess I am talking about a robot hiding in a bear body…  I do like the robot style sculpting on his legs and arms and the bear mode is quite fun to play with, putting into ‘typical’ bear poses.  It also looks good when placed next to the shell, which was one of the selling points Hasbro used back in the day, you got two soldiers for the price of one!

 

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Fairly simple in design and you can see the back of his robot head quite easily.

 

Transformation is exactly as it looks, flip over the rear of the bear for his robot legs, flip down bear head into the robot chest and flip the claws up and flip the robot hands out, Done.

 

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The yellow looks even more overwhelming now.  The cannon plugs into a hole in his arm and that is the only way he can wield it.  The bear’s rear legs can’t really fold away anywhere nicely, so they have a tendency to get in the way of the arms, or look ungainly where-ever you position them.

G1 Chainclaw

The cannon actually has some nice sculpting on it as well and it certainly looks like it packs some heat!

G1 Chainclaw

 

The face is nicely sculpted, but has a large green glob of paint on it, obscuring some of the detail.

 

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Naturally being a G1 toy, the articulation is a bit lacking.  But in a surprising twist, he can reach across his chest!  Even despite his rigidness, I found myself having a lot of fun with the guy, he can bust out a rather weak Wolverine impersonation.

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Holstering his gun, Chainclaw’s best Grotusque impersonation and transforming to get a bit more height to see over crowds.

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Of course it wouldn’t be the same without another beast to beast comparison shot too.

 

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So there we have it, a brief introduction to the limited toys that were the Pretenders of Transformers.  Kind of lame, but for me, likable enough.  I would like to see this concept revisited I guess.  I suspect if thought about well enough, some cool pretenders could be designed with today’s technology.

 

I guess in the end, Chainclaw is actually one of the better Pretender figures.  At least you know what he transforms into, although it would be a bit hard to be scared of a butter yellow robot bear…  At least he has that big cannon.

2 comments:

  1. This pretender gimmick was always pretty horrible.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah. As Much as I like the cheese of it. I can see why it isn't popular.

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