Cliffbee.com: Scowl Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Scowl
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Sonic Saboteur
Alternate Mode: Dog Monster



MONSTER MODE
Height: 4.5cm Width: 3.5cm

   A yellow and lilac bipedal Monster, Scowl shares his colours with Wildfly (yellow) and Birdbrain (lilac). The bulk of this monster is yellow, including the stumpy legs, but the sides and back of the legs are lilac, along with his rather flat head and fists. He sports greenish-grey eyes on either side of his head and there are various stickers, most notable are two on either side of the torso with Decepticon logos as part of their pattern. I'm fairly neutral on the colours here - Scowl's not particularly interesting but the colours work alright.

   This is a pretty bad monster mode. The fists _look_ like the robot fists (which they are), the head is very flat and it really relies on the dog-like head to actually _look_ like a monster. Icepick uses the same bodyplan but does it much better. There's no play value and it really just ends up looking like the folded up robot mode that it is.

   I'd like to elaborate more on this mode, but it's incredibly simple without any real positives. There are toes on the feet and he can hold his pistol in the fist, but this looks kind of strange on a bipedal dog which is already weird enough in itself.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Considering how trivial the monster mode is, this is slightly more complex than can be expected, although it's still simple. Fold the lilac leg sheath down to form the lower legs of the robot, flip the head up to form the robot head and straighten the arms. Give Scowl his gun.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 7cm Width: 3.5cm

   It probably goes without saying that Scowl is again yellow and lilac. I should mention that his yellow is a light yellow, which actually works well with the lilac - straight yellow and purple would have been garish and Scowl manages to avoid that with two light - almost pastel - shades. His face is the same greenish-grey as the eyes of the monster, and while it's small and monochrome Scowl's face has a pretty good sculpt. The Decepticon logos on the sides of his chest are still visible.

   As you may have already guessed, this is Scowl's better mode. The facial sculpt alone is enough, but we've also got a fairly well defined robot shape, rather than the lump which is meant to be a monster. There's a gap between his thighs and a recess between his lilac boots (which are a single piece). The toes of the monster mode are now his kneecaps, which looks a little strange. There's also a big square above his head, which is the snout of the dog head.

   There's some play value here, although not much. The elbows are hinged and the shoulders can swing out to the sides. Granted, these joints are for his transformation, but they still count as articulation. And it's more than the monster mode can do - it just sits there not really looking like a monster, this is a quasi-poseable robot that does actually look like a robot.

   While it's far from the best robot mode ever, Scowl's robot mode _is_ easily his better mode. It's small and simplistic, and not really anything to get excited about, but it's not the worst robot mode amongst the Pretender Monsters.

The Pretender Shell

   As with all the Pretender Monster shells, Scowl's shell is a soft plastic case with a hard lilac plate on the back, and he fits inside underneath this plate. The plastic of the plate is a lighter lilac than on Scowl himself, and his pistol is made of this lighter lilac also. The shell itself is a sky blue, with a grey face and black chest.

   This shell is a very squat rock-monster, and it's mouth and eyes are meant to be jagged holes in it's face, as if lava is exposed through the holes. except it's hot pink lava, which is a pretty poor paint choice. Being a rock monster, this shell is asymmetrical, and I will give the designer points for making this effort on what is otherwise a fairly simple shell.

   While it's not the worst shell in the set, it's mediocre and I'm really not sure why a dog monster gets a shell that looks like a dwarf Rock Lord. I'd be keener if they'd left out the pink paint - the blue is actually a good shade, and while grey and black work, the Barbie shade doesn't.

VARIATIONS

   None I'm aware of. Doryu of the Japanese Dinoforce is a repaint (with a different shell).

OVERALL

   I am underwhelmed by Scowl. His robot mode is okay, but falls well short of being memorable, while the monster mode is just plain bad. The shell is also quite poor, despite the interesting asymmetry. Really, Scowl is only worthwhile if you're trying to complete Monstructor. If that's not the case, I'd recommend against him - 3.5/10

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