Cliffbee.com: Roadgrabber Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Roadgrabber
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Gunner
Alternate Mode: Jet



JET MODE
Height: 4cm Length: 9cm Width: 11cm

   An indigo jet with pink wings attached underneath, a short black nose section with a pink painted canopy and large black cannons sticking out from the front of the wings. The colours combine well enough, without really being anything special. The indigo and black are good, though the pink, which I'd call hot pink, isn't quite as welcome - thankfully it's mixed with dark colours.

   There's not that much to this jet. The indigo body is essentially a triangle, and while it doesn't look so good without the detachable wings (and cannons that go with them), it'll happily pass as a submarine. This is a positive for Roadgrabber - a lot of Pretender vehicle modes are absolutely useless without an add on piece (Roadgrabber's Autobot counterpart, Gunrunner, is one of the worst offenders). So while his mode relies on add on parts it can still work without them.

   There's no play value here, Roadgrabber just sits around being a plane. It's not an especially interesting jet, but it works fairly well compared to most Pretender alt modes.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the wings, set aside. Swing the sides forward to form his legs, rotate the arms and swing down to the sides. Rotate his head and you're done. The wings can't be used in this mode - they attach to the shell, while Roadgrabber gets another, indigo, handgun.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 11cm Width: 6.5cm

   Again based around indigo, Roadgrabber has black thighs, black shoulder struts and a black head with bright orange face. There's no pink now, it's all retreated to the shell. The colours are again uninteresting, but perfectly reasonable unlike some of the other Decepticon Pretenders released in 1988. There are some red sticker son his arms, waist and groin, but they add very little colour.

   There's not much play value here - the arms lift, the head turns and that's it. There is a hole underneath one foot which allows this robot to use the shell, which adds something (I'm come back to that in a moment).

   While there aren't any real flaws with this robot mode, it's quite boring. The colours don't stand out at all and the poseability don't make Roadgrabber at all. Despite the boredom, I prefer this uneventful robot mode to some of the bad robot modes we saw in some Pretenders (such as the beasts).

The Pretender Shell

   A purple car with blue underneath and some hot pink here and there - including earwig-like claws on the front. This car looks like something out of a 1970s "futuristic" cartoon, which isn't a bad thing - it's just very distinctive. The trio of bright colours work in a 1970s decor way, which is kinda cool. The brighter colours provide a nice contrast to the sombre colours of the inner robot without being gaudy themselves. There's a dull transparent orange canopy at the front of the car, which is curved kinda like a Jetsons style car.

   The wings clip onto slots on the back of the car, forming cannons. As you roll the car along on its black plastic tyres, the cannons move back and forth, alternating. This gimmick works surprisingly well for a toy with plastic tyres. The indigo handgun can plug into a hole on top of the roof while the claws at the front are fixed - which is a shame since they're the inspiration for his name.

   The shell lifts at the front, like a coffin, allowing Roadgrabber to life face up and head first inside. There are actually two hinges to the opening mechanism, which allow the shell to form a battle chariot for Roadgrabber. Basically, the canopy becomes a windshield while the front fenders swing down (a third hinge) and the cannons clip onto these fenders. Roadgrabber stands behind the windshield - and fits securely since that hole in his left foot allows him to anchor firmly. There's a little console behind the windshield which Roadgrabber can reach with his hands - a really cool aspect of this quasi-mode. While it effectively rolls backwards, this is a really nice aspect of the toy, and one that makes Roadgrabber stand out amongst the Pretenders of 1988 - none come close to interacting with their shell like this (and only Gunrunner really tries).

   With the chariot mode, funky colours and a cute 1970s theme, this is a great shell - easily my favourite of the non-humanoid shells of the first batch of Pretenders. It's the star of this package, really, and makes the mediocre robot fun.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   This guy is all over the other "concept" Pretenders of 1988, and better than a lot of the humanoid ones, too. Roadgrabber's robot and jet modes aren't anything special, but don't really have any flaws. The shell - and the way he can interact with it, make this set fun and interesting. He's way ahead of Gunrunner, so if you want to only get one Pretender Vehicle, get Roadgrabber - 7/10

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