Series: Generation 1
Function: Squadron Leader
Alternate Mode: Plane
Height: 6cm Length: 11cm Width: 11cm
A black Cybertronian plane with tan wingtips and underjunk, Gunrunner has a white canopy and twin black cannons on either side of the toy. He's more or less a wedge shape with a single tail. There's some red stickering on the wingtips but otherwise this is a pretty uneventful plane.
It's hard to really like this plane mode, for one simple reason. The entire plane sits on top of Gunrunner himself - who is the tan underjunk I mentioned. The entire plane is an attachment that clips onto the robot itself, which is folded up. While it's not a bad plane in itself, it's poor for an add on and the fact that so much has to be added is a sad indictment on the toy.
There is no play value here. The cannons oppose, but in this mode are stuck, so one will stick out while the other is retracted slightly. There are no wheels, and while you can attach the bombs underneath the wings, they're lost amongst the black. On the whole this is a suckful alt mode and the less I have to say about it, the better.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
If you want to call it a transformation. Unclip the plane, unfold the front to form his boots, fold out the arms. You can attach his twin bombs to the arms, and give Gunrunner his handgun.
Height: 11cm Width: 5.5cm
A tan robot with black head, thighs and shoulder struts, Gunrunner has a silver face with decent detailing. There are a few stickers here and there, but he's essentially tan. The mould has reasonable detail, which comes out well on the light tan plastic. There are no plane elements here, since the plane is sitting to one side now.
The three weapons are all black and add some much needed colour here, but I wouldn't get too excited. His arms swing, the head turns and both his hips and knees can bend as one (the boots are a single piece), making Gunrunner one of few Pretenders who can sit down. Mind you, that's about all he does, and when you consider that about 98% of the toy was available to the robot mode, this isn't much.
The bodyshape is pretty good, but the single piece boots are disappointing - again there's so much of the toy available but the designer didn't bother. I don't see why his waist can't turn for the same reason. I would have like some simulated plane aspects here, but all Gunrunner gets is generic robotic detail.
The scariest aspect of this robot mode is that it's the stronger of his two modes. The robot looks okay in that the colours and bodyshape work, but they've done so little with what's essentially a blank slate. Gunrunner really needs to take a look at the Actionmasters - he could learn a lot. When it comes down to it, this is a boring robot mode that ignored potential and doesn't justify the downright pathetic transformation.
The Pretender Shell
A terracotta all terrain vehicle (ATV) with a grey base, black tyres and transparent cockpit, at 18cm it's a lot bigger than Gunrunner himself. The black bombs sit on either side of the toy at the back (behind the canopy), while there's a hole on the left side of the bonnet for his handgun and a mount on top for the the plane attachment. There are white headlights and Autobot symbol stickers on the doors (which are those awful clear stickers that this generation of Pretenders shared - they have a tendency to curl). This is by far the most visually interesting part of the set, not least because the terracotta and grey go well together.
The plane attachment actually folds up for this mode - the wingtips and nose fold away, leaving a lump that's all about the opposable cannons. The idea is that as he rolls along, an internal gear mechanism will cause the cannons to oppose. It doesn't quite work on mind but the idea is good, and this represents the most interesting gimmick Gunrunner has. It clips in firmly yet can rotate around for aim, with the mechanism still functional.
Gunrunner himself can hide inside the ATV, whose top flips open to reveal a chamber that reminds me of a coffin - Gunrunner lies down on his back. You can lift up the canopy and push the folded-up Gunrunner through a spring loaded tan plate, allowing him to "ride" the ATV (the folded up legs aren't visible, so the illusion is maintained). Personally, I prefer the second configuration since the engineering is kinda clever, and gives the robot something do to here.
This Pretender shell isn't terribly special but it's decent for what it is, and is easily Gunrunner's best aspect. If you do get Gunrunner, you're better off just leaving the robot in the shell really. It's more interesting that the Pretender Beast shells and quite a few of the humanoid shells from 1988, with a decent level of detail.
None that I'm aware of.
Gunrunner is a disappointing toy, plain and simple. The robot mode is dull, the plane mode is an add on plane stuck over the robot mode, and yet still manages to be a crappy plane. The transformation is the biggest disappointment here, which is saying something considering how poor some of the 1988 Pretenders are (such as Iguanus). The shell is decent and has solid play features, but it's not enough to save this toy as a Transformer - since the Transformer itself sucks so hard. Not really recommended unless you're a hardcore Pretender fan - 2/10