Cliffbee.com: Stalker Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Stalker
Series: "European" G1
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Communications Expert
Alternate Mode: Rocket Tank



TANK MODE
Height: 8.5cm Length: 17cm Width: 8.5cm

   A teal tank with four crimson outriggers, all four of which have grey painted treads. There's a crimson rocket platform towards the back, while at the front Stalker has a gold airlock hatch on the right and a cockpit on the left, complete with lime green windows. By far the most distinctive feature is a giant (16cm long) rocket that sits on the mount, which is white with a black booster at the back and transparent nose (with a yellow tip). The teal and crimson don't go together and the lime green doesn't really belong either, making this a rather ugly tank.

   Stalker's biggest selling point is his most obvious feature - the giant rocket on top. It's easily detachable but also incorporates a sight gimmick - you can attach a Predator jet to the top, and the viewfinder at the back would display a different scene depending on who is attached. Stalker himself comes with a schematic diagram of Rotorstorm, his Autobot equivalent. There's a black sliding door on top you'll need to open to let light in, and you can flip his Rotorstorm slide up and down, allowing other slides to take over. The sight gimmick does work well, although it's rather tacky and gets old fast.

   There's a small teal radar dish that can attach to either rear outrigger, and the gold handheld missile launcher/lime missile (for robot mode) can attach loosely to the other outrigger, while the spare lime missiles can clip onto the outsides of the outriggers. Mind you, the last thing Stalker needs is additional colours - so you might want to leave the extra armaments off. There are small wheels underneath, but he tends to roll on hard surfaces.

   While the giant rocket is impressive, this is a disappointing tank. Without the rocket it's a teal and crimson lump with painted treads, and even with the rocket it's little more than a rocket on a transport. The sight gimmick works as intended, and while the idea of combining him with other Predators is nice, the end result isn't that exciting.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the rocket and missile launcher, set aside. Fold out panels underneath the front of the tank, flip over the front to form the boots, fold the panels back down as calves. Rotate the lower half and the legs are done. Swing down the arms from underneath the rear outriggers, fold out the forearms and rotate the outriggers into place as shoulderpads, which will drag the arms down to the sides. Rotate the rocket platform away, which will reveal the chest. Flip out the head, attach the missile as a giant shoulder cannon and give Stalker his missile launcher in either hand.

   While it's a fairly simple transformation, there are some nice aspects - such as the calf panels, something we rarely see on flip-over legs. The head is well concealed and the rocket well dealt with.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 19.5cm Width: 8.5cm

   Again based on teal and crimson, with teal on his torso and boots and crimson arms. Stalker's head, groin and very short thighs are black while the mouthplate and chest are gold, closely matching the launcher. The eyes are transparent yellow but the lightpipe is lost thanks to the rocket platform behind the head. The teal radar dish will sit on one shoulder and the rocket on the other. Since the added colour is black, the robot mode looks somewhat better than the tank mode - the colour map is a little more natural too, with teal inside and crimson outside.

   The rocket on his shoulder looks pretty good, I have to admit, and you're still able to mount a Predator jet on there, which is nifty. The radar dish also works well and the launcher fits into the fists _much_ better than it did into the outriggers.

   Poseability is limited to swinging shoulders, which isn't much, but the rocket will stay attached if you lift the arm supporting it up 90, which is pretty impressive when you consider the weight of the rocket and the small post anchoring it. Nothing else moves in a meaningful way, although there are some transformation joints which allows movement (if no stable poses).

   The play value is limited to the gimmick and the missiles, which fire quite well (and in bright green, they're fairly easy to locate on the other side of the room). The rocket can swing from side to side, doing its bit as a targetable shoulder cannon of sorts.

   Again the robot mode is fairly underwhelming, but it has some highlights. The shoulder mounted rocket is very cool, being able to mount smaller Predators on top or swing it back with the shoulder without it falling off are definite pluses (the post isn't quite strong enough that you do both together!). The colours are a little better, which isn't to say they're good - just not as bad. The head is very low detail and the lightpipe a total failure, but the missile launcher works well.

VARIATIONS

   None as such, although Machine Wars Soundwave (and later TFU Soundwave) is a retool of Stalker. For the record, neither retool has colours that improve much on this guy.

OVERALL

   Stalker is something of an overachiever - his tank mode sucks, the colours are bad and the transformation and poseability are simple, yet he has enough going for him that he avoids being awful. The gimmick is silly but works well enough if you have a Predator jet to bring something to the toy. The rocket adds some much needs spice and the transformation has some cool aspects. Stalker was a serious shelfwarmer around here (released in 1992, still around in 1995 long after), and for me that indicates just how stupid the choice of colour scheme was. Better colours would have made him a much better toy - 4.5/10

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