Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders

Thursday, February 14th, 2019 10:52PM CST

Categories: Site Articles, Editorials, Top Lists
Posted by: william-james88   Views: 9,396

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Every two weeks, Seibertron.com brings you a Top 5 list related to all things Transformers written by your fellow editor or a guest star. This week, the list is written by Black Hat!. These are our opinions so what matters most is what you guys think of the topic or list, and I hope to see your own lists or comments on omissions and ranking. Let's have fun! All previous lists can be found here.


Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders


5. Transformers Super God Masterforce Skullgrin (Dauros)

Skullgrin is pretty grim for a kids’ toy, even by 80s standards. With his shell resembling a monstrous demon with a cow’s skull for a head and horribly necrotic-looking flesh and armour, he looks like he’d fit right at home with Inhumanoids’ D.Compose. His inner robot was derpy for certain but that shell was the stuff of nightmares. Brrrr.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders


4. Transformers Super God Masterforce Submarauder (Gilmer)

Another creepy looking Pretender, Submarauder resembles nothing so much as a mixture of the Creature from the Black Lagoon, a classic Kaiju and something out of the late great H.R. Giger’s twisted imagination. The combination of the carapace-like armour design, gribbly pseudo-organic tubes on his chest, strange fin and sucker details and those horrible orange gills in place of a mouth make him look truly alien. His inner robot, whilst abstract like most Pretenders, kinda resembled a horseshoe crab in vehicle mode too.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders


3. Transformers Super God Masterforce Cloudburst (Phoenix)

I don’t much care for most of the Autobot Pretenders but Cloudburst is an exception because of how cool his armour design is, even if his inner robot is 200% goofy. The colours are on point, with a nice mix of red and cool grey accented with blue, and the smooth, rounded shapes of the armour are pure late 80s robot goodness, looking like it would be more at home in Bubblegum Crisis or Megazone 23 than Transformers. His whip is a cool accessory too, looking much better than most whips that come with toys.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders


2. Transformers G1 1989 Bludgeon

Not much needs to be said about Bludgeon. He’s a skeleton samurai for crying out loud! And on top of that, his inner robot isn’t terrible for a Pretender either, actually making a decent tank and a nice robot mode. However, where he wins over most Pretenders is he actually did stuff in the comics, where he was a total badass and almost beat Megatron in a duel.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders


1. Transformers G1 1989 Thunderwing

Unlike the others on this list, Thunderwing’s shell also had a vehicle mode, and unlike some (poor Crossblades) it actually looked like something. His robot modes were suitably imposing, especially the shell, with its organic, alien designs and sweet colour palette. And like Bludgeon, he was actually important in the comics, being part of a major story arc, being driven mad by the Matrix and having the manifolds to challenge Unicron! What a madbot. Thunderwing is the most fictionally important Pretender by some way, and combined with his unique toy and frankly awesome name he easily lands the #1 spot.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders


Honourable mentions: Black Shadow. A retool of Thunderwing, this guy had minimal fictional appearances, but was a very nice looking rework of an already cool toy, had a cool name and also spawned one of the best Leader class molds in Titans Return. Also the Monster Pretenders, who whilst pretty terrible toys had shell designs ranging from adorable to awesome and had very unique backstories.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders
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Re: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders (2010349)
Posted by Nemesis Maximo on February 14th, 2019 @ 11:21pm CST
Black Hat wrote:With his shell resembling a monstrous demon with a cow’s skull for a head

Man I dunno where you find cows with that kind of a face, and I sure as hell don’t wanna know.

But this is an interesting list for sure! The pretenders are so fucking weird.
Re: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders (2010357)
Posted by TheForgottenTaxi on February 14th, 2019 @ 11:58pm CST
If mega pretenders like Thunderwing are eligible, then I don't see how Skyhammer doesn't make the list. He's so awesome! The inner robot isn't bad, the shell's alt mode is good, and then there's ANOTHER shell FOR the shell, with a turret the inner robot can man! Truly, he was a leap forward in Russian Nesting Doll Transformers.
Re: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders (2010370)
Posted by frogbat on February 15th, 2019 @ 1:06am CST
I might’ve included one of the two ultras...
Re: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders (2010381)
Posted by alldarker on February 15th, 2019 @ 2:28am CST
Nice list! I've had a crazy love of the Pretender toys since a couple of years, and I'm lucky enough to own almost all of them, except for some (IMHO) dire examples like Gunrunner, and the Japanese repaints Black Shadow and Blue Bacchus.
In my list, I'd probably have Dinoking, and I've always loved Ultra Pretender Roadblock. I like Iguanus as well.
Re: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders (2010384)
Posted by ausbot on February 15th, 2019 @ 2:59am CST
I love the pretender Beasts.
Re: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders (2010391)
Posted by Carnivius_Prime on February 15th, 2019 @ 4:03am CST
Odd, I quite liked the inner robots of the first wave Pretenders much better than some other Transformers of that time cos they were mostly kibble free and not too blocky (like that Bludgeon inner robot is VERY blocky). Some of their 'alt-modes' still looked kinda neat again for that era of made up sci-fi alt-modes. I liked Landmine a lot.

Thunderwing is a weird one for me. I remember seeing it in stores and just thinking it looked ugly as hell and I had already gone off the Transformers toys for the most part but I was still getting the UK comic and that darn comic had to go and make Thunderwing awesome so I then needed the toy but then it was sold out. I still don't think much of the figure but it's worth a lot these days and it's still bigger than the decent but far too small and kibbly Generations figure. Never really cared for the Bludgeon toy even though he was great in the comics. I'm much happier with the RotF figure with Headrobots upgrades.

I have fondness for Carnivac again cos of the comic but yeah the toy was fun to me.

Still annoyed they've wasted the shells in Power of the Primes as mini-figure things when they could do cool things with the concept these days.
Re: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders (2010401)
Posted by Big Grim on February 15th, 2019 @ 6:07am CST
Good list, though I will ever have a soft spot for Bomb-Burst (my first pretender and he had a cool robot and vehicle mode. And who does not like guns mounted on arms?!?) and Vroom (who was a gift from my elder Brother and it's just damned cool.).
Re: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders (2010407)
Posted by william-james88 on February 15th, 2019 @ 7:36am CST
Big Grim wrote:Good list, though I will ever have a soft spot for Bomb-Burst (my first pretender and he had a cool robot and vehicle mode. And who does not like guns mounted on arms?!?) and Vroom (who was a gift from my elder Brother and it's just damned cool.).

I like Vroom too due to the fact that there is that added interactivity between the two alt modes, which I think it does better than others.
Re: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders (2010422)
Posted by SpikeyTigertron on February 15th, 2019 @ 8:15am CST
https://tfwiki.net/wiki/Roadblock_(G1)

Maybe i’m bias because he was my favorite as a kid. But I always found his vehicle shell super fun and functional.... add to it the inner shell could also be a vehicle or suit just blew my mind as a kid.
Re: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders (2010427)
Posted by zodconvoy on February 15th, 2019 @ 8:31am CST
Everything about Submarauder but moreso for Octopunch.
Re: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders (2010433)
Posted by -Kanrabat- on February 15th, 2019 @ 8:38am CST
Such a very, very short article...
I'll put in my top 5 as well.


#5) Because those 3 are basically the same thing I'll regroup the evil Masterforce Trio as only one entry. Skullgrin, Submarauder, and Bomburst. All have similar transformations and principles. The monster shells are pretty bad-ass and truly look like villains. The "vehicles" are just the bots foled in two with bits plugged into them, but it work. Plus those inner bots are fairly big although they are skinny. Relatively affordable, this trio is a must in any Pretender collection.

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Transformers Super God Masterforce Bomb-Burst (Blood) Gallery
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Transformers Super God Masterforce Bomb-Burst (Blood) Gallery
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Transformers Super God Masterforce Bomb-Burst (Blood) Gallery

#4) Octopunch. What a very CREEPY dude! This mutant is pure horror but he do have a "gentle" look to him like Elephant Man. It's a weird feeling. There's molding details everywhere and there's plenty of colors. Only thing lacking on the design is a translucent window for the helmet. The inner bot is also very interesting and transforminto an adorable crab. Even though Bludgeon is way more expensive and is legendary in fiction, Octopunch is the superior toy. So he win.

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Transformers G1 1989 Octopunch Gallery
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Transformers G1 1989 Octopunch Gallery
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Transformers G1 1989 Octopunch Gallery
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Transformers G1 1989 Octopunch Gallery
Note that the tiny gun that plug on top of the crab and the inner bot hand is missing from the official gallery. Come on Seibertron, that's pretty lame. #-o
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#3) Crossblades. Yes, I'm not joking. On principle, he's a "bad" pretender. A human with clothes is not very popular. Plus his transforming shell give the most stupid helicopter ever. The inner bot is nothing special and need many bits to complete the vehicle mode. But that's what make Crossblades so special. He IS completely absurd and show no shame for it. This toy is pure fun because there's lots of play value and everything about him is funny. And in a good way.

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Transformers G1 1989 Crossblades (Blue Bacchus) Gallery
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Transformers G1 1989 Crossblades (Blue Bacchus) Gallery
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Transformers G1 1989 Crossblades (Blue Bacchus) Gallery
I never set the inner bot vehicle this way. I always use the form below. This vehicle have multiple forms and it's pretty awesome!
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Transformers G1 1989 Crossblades (Blue Bacchus) Gallery
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Transformers G1 1989 Crossblades (Blue Bacchus) Gallery

#2) Bumblebee. What if classic characters were human? The question was answered with the classic quatuor of Bumblebee, Jazz, Grimlock, and Starscream. Jazz is bad, Grimlock is good, Starscream is partsforming festival, but it's Bumblebee who steal the show. The shell look basic for sure. Look like a burly marine from some futuristic FPS. An interesting take on the character because Bee is usually the "cool kid". What make this pretender so high on the list is the inner bot alone. It's a very SOLID scout class Bumblebee with a pretty solid bot mode. The vehicle wasn't skipped over either because it dosent need any accessories to complete it and it's one very bad-ass beetle pimped out for all-terrains driving. Classic Pretenders are usually inexpensive so anyone can easily have that Bee in their hive.

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Transformers G1 1989 Bumblebee (Bumble) Gallery
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Transformers G1 1989 Bumblebee (Bumble) Gallery
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Transformers G1 1989 Bumblebee (Bumble) Gallery
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Transformers G1 1989 Bumblebee (Bumble) Gallery

#1) Thunderwing. Without contest. No matter the configuration, he look pretty stunning. He have presence and is very intimidating. This guy deserves the Masterpiece treatment without a doubt. I have nothing more to add than what the article have already said.

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Re: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders (2010474)
Posted by Black Hat on February 15th, 2019 @ 9:40am CST
Thanks for all the feedback, folks!

I'd completely forgotten about Vroom. He's a nice design though, and the way his front wheel turns into a drum magazine for his weapon (a bit like a Lewis Gun) is really cool.

Roadblock and Skyhammer IIRC suffer horrendously from Gold Plastic Syndrome (the same reason the Monster Pretenders only made it to the honourable mentions). However, Roadblock especially LOOKS awesome, so I do somewhat regret not mentioning them.

Whilst we're on the subject of toys conspicuous by their absence, Roadgrabber was a crazy looking thing and I love him, and in hindsight I kinda wish I'd at least mentioned him. Update when, HasTak?

Finally, whilst not qualified for this list due to being post-G1, the POTP Prime Masters IMO were actually pretty cool. Not as updates to the Pretenders themselves mind, but they did a very good job of translating the details of the old shells to modern aesthetics at a much smaller scale. Also they came with tiny Matrix core robots, which is awesome.
Re: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders (2010563)
Posted by joevill on February 15th, 2019 @ 11:54am CST
Love Bludgeon!!
Re: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders (2010669)
Posted by TulioDude on February 15th, 2019 @ 4:53pm CST
Never had exprience with them,but purely from hands off perspective,Starscream always looked one of the most neat ones
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His pretender shell conveys his character in a way that other human pretenders don't

His inner robot and jet,though simplified,he can convert between each other without parts forming,which is neat.
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And I imagine was cool for the kids back in the day have another chance to have a Starscream in their collections,and arguably,a more cartoon/comic accurate one.
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Re: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders (2010687)
Posted by NeonPrime on February 15th, 2019 @ 7:09pm CST
Short but sweet post :APPLAUSE: It's neat to see some focus on the Pretender line.

For what it's worth my list is:

#1 Thunderwing...best "Big Bad" character behind Megatron & Galvatron. Would love to have this guy in my collection but my wallet disagrees.

#2 Octopunch...Robot Monster meets H.P. Lovecraft with a great robot crab toy. This guy takes center stage on my Pretenders shelf.

#3 Roadgrabber...the car is bitchin' and the robot is awesome with a wicked alt mode. Plus he's still a lot of fun to play with.

#4 Splashdown...personally I thought the Autobot Pretenders were boring until I found this guy. The shark head armor was badass and the robot was decent with a neat hovercraft mode. He's been battling Octopunch for shelf supremacy for the last 7 years.

#5 Skullgrin...never had him because he scared the crap out of me and made me fear for my soul. He was the devil the satanic panic 80's and Turmoil In The Toybox warned us about at the time. 31 years later ol' Skully is now a bit of an icon.
Re: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders (2010725)
Posted by Windsweeper on February 15th, 2019 @ 11:15pm CST
Cloudburst was one of my first Autobots growing up. I loved the shell design and the inner robot was one of the more articulated G1 toys.

I loved Landmine too mainly because of their portrayal in the Mecannibals story.

Skullgrin was my first Pretender and I loved his character in the comic especially since he wasn't a generic bad guy. The shell bugged me because the lower jaw was unpainted.

I loved Jazz' shell but the inner robot was terrible. Thankfully like Grimlock, you could fit his Actionmaster figure inside the shell.

Catilla and Carnivac were great and Snarler's inner robot was surprisingly poseable.

I still have my Bludgeon in perfect condition and he's 30 years old this year.

I'd love to see more updates of the Pretender inner robots like Titans Return Metalhawk not the Chug hybrids of the shell and inner robot like Skullgrin.

My top 5 would be...

1. Cloudburst
2. Bumblebee
3. Starscream
4. Carnivac
5. Bludgeon

Honourable mentions:

Landmine
Oilmaster
Catilla
Roadblock
Re: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders (2011281)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on February 18th, 2019 @ 6:56pm CST
That fact that Skullgrin ain't #1 irks me, but in a funny non-angry way :lol:

I nominate Roadgrabber for the list. That is a really fun Pretender, and since I own both Vehicle pretenders, I have to say they are both really fun and deserve more recognition!
Re: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders (2011389)
Posted by Big Grim on February 19th, 2019 @ 6:19am CST
william-james88 wrote:I like Vroom too due to the fact that there is that added interactivity between the two alt modes, which I think it does better than others.

Yeah, the sidecar combination was pretty awesome. I loved the figure.

TulioDude wrote:Never had exprience with them,but purely from hands off perspective,Starscream always looked one of the most neat ones
Image
His pretender shell conveys his character in a way that other human pretenders don't

Pretender Starscream was an amazing figure, yeah.
Re: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders (2011400)
Posted by Black Hat on February 19th, 2019 @ 8:27am CST
D-Maximal_Primal wrote:That fact that Skullgrin ain't #1 irks me, but in a funny non-angry way :lol:

I nominate Roadgrabber for the list. That is a really fun Pretender, and since I own both Vehicle pretenders, I have to say they are both really fun and deserve more recognition!

I like Skullgrin a lot, but Thunderwing and Bludgeon scooped the top two spots by virtue of being not only central characters in the G1 comics, but really, really cool ones.

...I need to track down the G1 comic anthologies. I hope it's possible to get them with the extra stories (the UK exclusive stories, Earthforce, G2 etc).

And yeah Roadgrabber is awesome. Even if he doesn't do the Pretender thing I hope he gets an update of some form. Heck, I'd have bought a heavy reshell of Chromedome in TR with grabby claws on the front of the car.
Re: Top 5 Best Transformers G1 Pretenders (2011855)
Posted by bodrock on February 21st, 2019 @ 1:46pm CST
I didn't become a Pretenders fan until about 4 years ago. But I fell hard -- the absurdity of the concept, the interesting shell designs, and the fun of hunting them (rare, but complete is rarer still!) has made the Pretenders a personal favorite flavor of Transformer.

So Top 5.....of the ones I own and mean the most to me, I'd say:

5. Bomb-Burst -- the original vampyr. That's who BB is to me, and I like how he's a dark myth as well as a carnivorous 'Con.

4. Octopunch -- he was my first, thanks to how weird he was. He exemplifies all that is weird and cool about the Pretenders, from his coloring to those tentacles and that old school diving helmet.

3. Carnivac -- easily my favorite Pretender Beast, this hulking timber wolf looks vicious baring his fangs, and his spiked pauldrons elevate him to punk-rock puppy-love for me. He looks best as a mount for Combiner Hunter Arcee, imho

2. Roadblock -- GPS means his inner-bot is best left in his small Pretender-sized shell, but this creature, with its blue visor and ability to transform into a Bat-landspeeder is really cool. Throw in his APC-like outermost shell, and you've got Deceptideath on Wheels.

1. Thunderwing - as others have said, he's simply wicked-lookin'. That oni-face, his techo-organic look and transformations all look superb. His place in the comics only established him further as an ambitious force to be reckoned with.

Honorable Mentions:
-Bludgeon (I'd love to have his G1 self)
-Crossblades (for all the awesomeness Kanra mentioned!)
-Iguanus (King 'Con!)
-Skullgrin (looks mean as hell, and liked his Marvel story arc)
-Roadgrabber (his colors pop! Best Pretender vehicle imho)
-Metalhawk (grail figure!)
-Finback (love his shell's head-sculpt and blade-arm)

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