The Reverend's Review: Doublecross
"Decepticon destruction is my favorite sport... and mine, too."
Can't be depended on -- can't even depend on himself, since he has two minds and they never agree on anything. A deal made with one mind won't necessarily bind the other to act accordingly. Ferocious, savage, hisses when he talks. In creature mode, flies at 80 mph, has razor-sharp teeth. In robot mode, uses rust-ray rifle to corrode enemy robots.
I have a hard time believing that anyone who grew up in the 1980s thinks first of the Monsterbots when they recall G1 Transformers. The trio of monstrosities might have gone on to make an interesting subgroup in the storyline had they made more than the barest of appearances.
Doublecross' Tech Spec lists him as a "Supply Procurer". I'm not sure exactly what that means. Does he get dispatched to steal things or is he just the Autobots' fetch boy? "Get me more Energon, Doublecross"? Maybe he's an arms merchant, like the Decepticons' Swindle.
Well, whatever business it is that he does, Doublecross is a robotic two-headed dragon of sorts. Mostly grey, he stands upright on two black hindlimbs, balancing on a curved tail, with black forelimbs, short "batwings" sticking out from behind his shoulders, and two necks with dragon-like heads on them. Each head has a pair of long horns and a few teeth in the mouth. His tapering tail has a small row of spiney protrustions, the hindlimbs can move at the hips and knees, his permanently bent arms can move at the shoulders. In a sort of forewarning of things to come, while he's clearly an armored, robotic creature, his legs (below the knee) and arms look organic - sculpted as if they're hairy. Each hand has three clawed fingers and a thumb, and the fingers are curved inward to allow the possibility of him holding something. You can also put him in a belly-down pose more like a lizard, although the tail sticking up looks a bit silly. There's a buzzsaw blade in the middle of his chest. A button on his back makes the sawblade move slightly (it doesn't actually spin) and activates his "spark-shooting action" common to all three Monsterbots. Yes, he spits sparks out of his chest, presumably while cutting things up with the saw blade. Well, why not? While the wings are immobile, Doublecross' necks can swivel at each base and also out to the side a little, and there's another joint in the middle of each neck for more posing. Each dragon head has opening jaws. In a way, he sort of looks like King Ghidrah from the Godzilla movies.
The end result of all this is, as I said, a bipedal two-headed dragon. His size goes well with other Autobots of that wave, and he's posable enough to play well with the imagination. Although his Tech Specs give him a grand score of ONE in Strength. ONE. Even G1 Bumblebee managed a two! This I don't really understand...
What surprises me about Doublecross is that although he bears a passing resemblance to Terrorcon leader Hun-Grrr, his transformation is not particularly similar. You fold the hindlimbs out of the way and the dragon's rump pivots out after splitting the tail (just like G1's Sludge, Slag and Grimlock), then fold the wings back (the forelimbs will go with them, then swing the dragon necks down into the space cleared by moving the wings to create arms. The head folds up from the dragon mode's back. Robot Doublecross is well-proportioned, with a taped waist and some red and white now breaking up the grey. He wears a blue visor over his eyes, his expression is mildly smirking, and the bat wings are still sticking out of his shoulder area, which doesn't look so bad. They can also be placed right behind the shoulders - sticking out to the side in a similar manner to several Autobot cars' doors. His hands are the dragon heads, which I guess limits how well he can manipulate the supplies he procurs. Unlike some artwork I've seen, the hands do not rotate at the wrist and thereby cannot be held outward in a "monsters for hands" pose, at least not right-side-up. His rust-ray rifle fits into a hole just behind each dragon head's upper jaw. As a figure, Doublecross really only has usable motion at the shoulders and elbows. He can point his gun, throw a punch and make a few other poses with his arms. I guess he would make an excellent traffic-directer when he's not, umm, procuring supplies. The small details that create his armored chest and well-sculpted head do a lot for him, although the large uni-foot with its dragon legs and tail parts hanging off to the sides is awkward at best. The cylindrical pushbutton that activates his spark action sticks right out of his lower torso - Doublecross, it would appear, has quite the outie happening. Still, even with the robot mode's flaws, he's not a boxy brick or an awkward car-parts-wearing excuse for a robot, so I can't in good conscience sit here and mock him for long.
Transformation Design: 4
. Not too difficult. The dragon's limbs really need to be folded up just-so in the robot mode, but this shouldn't cause any issues after the first or second attempt. The design is fairly intuitive, too, while still sporting a familiarity for those who had similar figures from earlier in the line.
. The wings protrude a good distance out of his back in robot mode, and that worries me - especially with the hinges that allow them to move for transformation. And the small hinges that keep the tail halves attached could snap off with enough force in the wrong direction. These are things that won't happen unless you're really smacking the toy around or seriously hamhanding the transformation, though, so I'm not going to say this is a delicate toy.
. I was going to mark 6
but decided to add a point for the sparking buzzsaw action. Although the Beast-former was getting to be a well-trod concept at this point (and now in 2011 it's not a surprise at all), many G1 beasties were Decepticons (Insecticons, Terrorcons, Seacons, etc) and most were rather small. Doublecross and his fellow Monsterbots do give the Autobots a bit of an equalizer in that department. Also, as the G1 beasties went, Doublecross isn't a particularly bad one to have around, with his interesting-looking dragon mode.
. I suppose this is a matter of taste, but with no chroming or see-through parts, Doublecross does look mildly plain, being rendered in only solid colors. Still, his limbs and necks look really good in dragon mode, and he's not as misshapen as many of his fellows from that point in the line.
. I think this is sort of a debatable category - I'll go ahead and give him the higher marks here because of aforementioned misshapen bots from the same wave with silly little sticks for arms and so forth. Although he's got no useful knee, hip, ankle or head articulation, the fact that he's got shoulder joints with a relatively wide range of movement plus elbows goes far in his favor.
. Being neither well-known or popular, Doublecross is an easy grab if you can locate one.
. Not one of the best-loved G1 designs or characters, but he doesn't deserve to be forgotten in a box in the attic either.