The year 2009 marks the 25th anniversary of the Transformers franchise. To celebrate this incredible milestone, Seibertron.com will look back at a quarter-century of great Transformers toys, bringing back into the limelight some brilliant figures that have fallen through the cracks over the years. Once a week, a fan (be it a member of the staff or a user on the site) will have the opportunity to write about one of their favourite "hidden gems" of the Transformers Universe, and have their review posted on the site's front page.
We hope this feature will be a great success, and that many of you will be encouraged to look back at the last 25 years of Transformers and perhaps take a worthwhile second-look at some real unsung classics of the Transformers universe.
___________________________________________________________________Buried Treasure - Octopunch (Generation 1 series - 1989)
. The man who shot Primus right in the bloody face
. What’s not to like about this guy already? As far as the character goes, he’s got a pretty impressive CV going on. He was a pretty important Decepticon in the Marvel Comics series of the late 80s, even being a member of the prestigious Mayhem Attack Squad. And he’s a Pretender, which is probably one of the most interesting of all the gimmicks Hasbro has ever tried on Transformers, but there’ll be more of that later. He’s also a noted treasure hunter, so perhaps he should be doing these Buried Treasure reviews instead of me. But most importantly, he shot Primus in the FACE. What have you done lately that’s so manly?
Picking up Octopunch
’s robot toy, you’d be forgiven for being a little sceptical. Standing a paltry two inches tall, he can see eye to eye with most of today’s minicons and is positively dwarfed by the legends size class. But he manages to pack quite a lot of awesome into that little stature.
Being slightly more articulated than most toys of his size at the time, he’s capable of quite a few interesting positions, and that arm-mounted gun of his just seems to ooze authority, with his raised-fist, menacing-look appearance.
Flip him over, slap in his beast mode legs and gear up those pincers, and you’re presented with probably the best-looking crab in the Transformers range, complete with back-mounted rifle for extra kick. The pincers are nicely articulated, too, and clever use of the shoulder joints can achieve a few nifty ‘scuttling’ poses. This is not the kind of crab you want to wake up with after a shifty encounter. But wait – he’s a crab? Well, that’s just the worst naming disaster since the wheel-free Flywheels. Or… is it?
The true beauty of Octopunch
comes not from his neat, but titchy, inner robot, but from his being two toys at once. And, since the Transformers are technically two toys at once anyway, I guess we’re looking at three ways to have your Octopunch and eat it. One look at the Pretender Shell and you’ll know exactly why the lad’s named what he is.
But first, a note on Pretenders. Originally, the Pretender line was created to market simple action figures and Transformers at the same time, with the robotic transformer being stored inside the organic shell, which opened in two pieces. The first range of Pretenders featured tall, lanky, incredibly simple Transformer toys, whose alternate modes tended to look a bit less like planes, trains and automobiles and a lot more like a robot doing some very, very simple yoga. However, by the time Octopunch and his Mayhem Attack Squad buddies came around, the overall toy had been reduced in size, but the quality of the robots increased dramatically, albeit at the cost of a bit of ‘parts-former’ additional piece interplay. Go ahead, compare Octopunch
or his contemporaries, such as Pincher or Bludgeon
, to the earlier efforts such as Submarauder, Bomb-Burst or Skullgrin, and the improvements should be clear. Of course, this game of one-upmanship just went too far when the pinnacle of the line appeared, with the shells transforming into alternate modes of their own and fitting inside even larger shells which transformed too. Yes, my head hurts as well.
Anyway, let’s get back to specifics. One look at Octopunch
’s Pretender shell, with its gruesome Scooby-Doo villain appearance, and you’ll see where his name stems from. Each of his arms is accompanied by two additional tentacles, although each three-limbed cluster moves at the shoulder as one piece. The olden-days deep-sea diving helmet is removable, but please, for the love of God, don’t do it. Under its enticing mystery, there’s a whole world of frighteningly terrifying in there. Octopunch
’s face can probably be best described by imagining the following words all at once – tusks, brains, bolts and plates, and that episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog with the space-dudes with foreheads supported by sticks on wheels.
I warned you.
Upon regaining composure after than initial shock, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that not a single piece of Octopunch should ever go missing if you pay attention – those beast mode legs that didn’t store inside his shell actually attach to the back of the shell’s backpack, while the smaller red gun affixes to the inside of the rear half of the right leg.
When holed up inside his Pretender shell, Octopunch
is armed with a bizarre gun-like contraption, which I have to admit is a huge disappointment for anyone who was expecting the brutal-looking trident he often carried in the comic series – for some reason, the Decepticon Pretenders (Octopunch
) were all illustrated with mêlée weapons, but came packaged with ranged weaponry. Ah, Hasbro, how you mocked our childish enthusiasm.
Unfortunately for the shell, it features another let-down, but one that was ubiquitous to the entire Pretenders line – it displays a range of motion similar to that of myself with a hangover: little more than flailing arms and a blank stare. Due to the position of the shell’s halves, only the (oddly rubbery) shoulders feature any articulation, with everything else being solid hard plastic.
Overall, however, there’s something deliciously charming about Octopunch
, and I don’t mean as a fried entrée. The Pretender line, with its novel approach and delightfully different appearance, means that any of its components are a welcome addition to any collection, but it’s truly the smaller, later Pretenders who show off the best of the range – and if you’re going to go looking for a real ‘buried treasure’, you really can’t go wrong with a man who shot his own god right in between the eyes.
So what if it was by accident...Links:
Visit the Octopunch gallery by clicking here
Visit the Bludgeon gallery by clicking here
Visit the Stranglehold gallery by clicking here
...Or find your own buried treasures by visiting all the toy galleries here
* If you would like to write a review for our "Buried Treasures" feature, please send a private message to Skowl
on the Seibertron.com forums!Previous Buried Treasure Reviews:Cannonball by SkowlSnapdragon by JeepCybertron Downshift by Chuckdawg1999Frostbite by Duke of Luns