The Reverend's Review: Rumble & Frenzy
Demolitions (Rumble), Warrior (Frenzy)
Deception Cassettes, 1984
"Destroy what's below and what's above will follow."
RUMBLE is your basic street punk. Small, but always acting tough. Quick temper and mean disposition. Follows Megatron's orders eagerly. Transmits immense low frequency groundwaves to create powerful earthquakes. His small size limits his physical strength, but his ability to shatter the ground makes him difficult to approach in a fight.
"Sow panic and surrender will bloom."
If FRENZY needed to breathe, war would be his oxygen. He knows no cause, only craves to spread fear and destruction. His efforts are appreciated by other Decepticons. His devotion to warfare makes him hard to deal with on a personal level. Can roll his drums to produce high-pitch, grating sound of 200db. Disorients and disrupts electrical flow in opponent's circuitry which makes them malfunction. Physically weak. His manic attack can be countered with cool logic.
Do they really need introduction?
Rumble and Frenzy were part of the original four Decepticon cassettes released by Hasbro in 1984, alongside Laserbeak and Ravage. The cassettes were available at retail in two-packs - Rumble with Ravage and Frenzy with Laserbeak. (Buzzsaw, technically the fifth cassette, only came packaged with Soundwave). Aside from slightly differing head sculpts, Rumble and Frenzy were near-identical to each other, minus their color schemes - Rumble was black and red, while Frenzy was two shades of blue. Both robots appeared in the Marvel comic from the first issue, and as dictated by their Tech Specs, their powers were depicted early on as being generated internally from their bodies (Rumble transmits low-frequency groundwaves, Frenzy generates a paralyzing sonic attack).
Now, as for the animation, Rumble appeared in the original G1 "More Than Meets The Eye" mini-series as a pint-sized, big-mouthed Decepticon, generating chasms under Autobots and tidal waves to smash dams with his piledrivers, thanks to artistic license. Frenzy, meanwhile, had to wait until the episode "Countdown to Extinction" to make his debut - although he ended up generating similar artistic-license piledrivers for some reason. For brevity's sake, I will mention that the color schemes in the animation differed from the toys - Rumble was depicted as lavender, while Frenzy had the Rumble toy's black-and-red coloring. This led to some obvious confusion and probably resulted in a lot of kids who happened to own both pretending the blue Frenzy was actually Rumble and vis-a-vis.
The microcassette form of the toys is fairly good compared with some of the others that would come later. Like all G1 cassettes, they were one-sided, with labels providing much of the cassette detail on one side and the other just being a mismash of robot parts. In Rumble/Frenzy's case, there was a fair amount of space available to cover with cassette labels - room for the "A" side marking, the magnetic tape window, etc. Only the upper-center of the cassette side isn't covered mostly by label. The cassette has molded teeth and no obvious gaps when the parts are fitting together flush.
The inherent problem with this mode, though, is that very little holds it together. The robot head is kept in place by using the arms to push it into the cassette body - as the joints loosen with age, the arms are no longer tight enough to keep the head pressed in. And since the legs don't snap or clip into place in cassette mode, a Rumble/Frenzy with loose hip joints and/or loose arms won't stay in cassette mode without you holding it together with your fingers, or shoving him inside Soundwave to limit the movement of the parts. The labels also have several very thin parts that tend to peel with age.
Still, a clean, tight Rumble/Frenzy in cassette mode is one of the better examples among his fellows, looking closer to an actual mini-cassette than some.
Transformation is simple and intuitive unless the spring-loaded head isn't working for some reason. Frenzy/Rumble has small metal feet that slide out of the ends of his legs, his head pops out when you swing his arms into place. Each robot comes with two winged guns to fit into the holes on his back (interestingly, the function of these is never explained in the Tech Specs for either robot), or they can be clipped over the forearms as hand weapons. Despite their small size, Rumble and Frenzy have well-designed robot modes, with long legs, a torso that widens at the shoulders and fairly-proportional arms. Because they have to transform into cassettes, they're both rather thin. Each has rotational movement at the hips, a hinging joint just above each knee and elbow, and a sliding joint at each shoulder - this sliding joint is mainly used in transformation, but it does allow some extra posing of the arms. The arms do not have an extra hinge at the shoulder and can't be pointed straight down at his sides (as a result, Rumble/Frenzy tends to look like he's about to hug somebody), but thats the only major limitation outside no head movement. Labels give the robot shinguards, upper leg detail and some trim around his wrists (these labels seem to usually be the first to fall off with age). And there's some molded detail on the torso and the gold trim around the holes in his chest, forming the joined squares on the chest familiar from depictions of these two. Although the piledrivers of the cartoon aren't present here, you can clip both guns onto Rumble/Frenzy's forearms and turn his legs around backwards to achieve a similar effect.
(I always thought that the head sculpts were slightly different between the two, but looking at them side by side, perhaps they're not. The black color of Rumble's head makes it look like the vertical crest on his forehead is larger and makes him look like he has two eyes instead of a visor, but I think this is optical illusion. Interestingly, I also have a Chinese KO Frenzy I got with a KO Ratbat, and the KO Frenzy's visor is painted red, which was not the case with the 1984 original.)
Rumble was gone from the toy catalog by 1986, but Frenzy went on to be packaged with Ratbat that year. However, the 1986 version of Frenzy is slightly different - he came with gold rifles instead of silver, no stickers on his legs, and plastic feet.
The question of whether you should add one or both to your collection depends on what you plan to do with them. While both robot and cassette modes are relatively good, they do not make the best display pieces. The robot mode's small feet do not help keep the robot upright over long periods, and the cassette mode tends to fall apart unless the joints are mint-tight. However, the play value in Rumble/Frenzy was fairly high due to the articulation and weaponry, so they ARE fun to mess around with.
7. You really don't need instructions, and the process is a little on the simplistic side, but they're still interesting.
4. The problem with Rumble/Frenzy in this area is that the effects of age can really show on the figures. The chrome rifles/wings wear, the chest details wear, the many stickers peel and fall off. More importantly, the loosening of the joints really impede the cassette mode. I wouldn't go so far as to call them "delicate", but I can't think of many G1 Transformers who were affected as much by age as these were.
5. Despite their small size and inherent thinness, Rumble and Frenzy really did have a fair amount of play value. They were large enough to bully the smaller Autobots, and their inherent "super powers" gave them a degree of play value that wasn't always present with many Transformers.
5. Here's the problem - Rumble and Frenzy actually look very good in both modes, overall, but its hard to display that to others - the robot won't stand up for long without being braced against something, and the cassette mode won't always stay together without assistance.
5. Rumble/Frenzy have more joints than many TFs of their era, but they're not always usable when the figure is loose. For example, a loose one in robot mode won't be able to point his rifle at anyone, as the guns just weigh too much.
7. You get a fair amount of play value out of the figure, so I'm giving it a high rating here - especially since you're not saddled with a unifoot, useless straight arms or some of the other issues that plagued others in the line.
6. Design-wise, they might have been among the better ones in the line. However, age takes a serious toll on them, and you might not want to pay the top asking price as a result.