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The Reverend's Review: Submarauder

Name: Submarauder
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Undersea Warfare
Subgroup: Pretenders

"Conquer the seas and the rest will fall!"
As silent and mysterious as the ocean depths. Sly and sinister. Roams the sea in solitary contentment. Angers easily, exploding into a furious frenzy. Serrated claws can shred a battleship like paper. Transforms into deep sea attack submarine, armed with proton cannon. Inside shell, wields torpedo rifle and unbreakable, organic-steel sword that eats metal on contact.


As I write this, I'm well-aware that this won't exactly be one of the most-visited reviews on TFArchive. After all, Submarauder's not one of the most vaunted Decepticons - with almost entirely second-string appearances in the various comics, and only a true recurring role in Japan's Headmasters, what's the point of writing this review?

Simple: I see the poor guy all the time at flea markets, and I feel sorry for him as a result. The question is: is the inattention deserved?

Shell:
Submarauder's Pretender shell is, to simplify things, a sort of two-legged "fish monster" - more humanoid than the Seacons' Overbite, not quite as weird as Gnaw. He's mainly blue in color, with a scale pattern running down the top of his head, a large fin jutting out of said cranium in mildly Mohawk style, almond-shaped purple eyes and orange gills. The shape of his head combined with his pointed proboscis makes a subtle allusion to a shark, but he's got no obvious jaws. Maybe he's a filter feeder. The blue "skin" is visible for much of the chest and legs, covered in places by a darker blue backpack and a purple codpiece/"belt". The belt, by the way, attaches to the front of the shell and does not need to be removed to open the shell. He's got green kneecaps and a few green protrusions on his upper legs (lamprey bites?), with three-toed, flippered feet. He's wearing some type of flexible white armor on his arms, and the scale pattern repeats on the backs of his clawed hands - but since they're white as well, I don't know if they "should" really be the same blue color as his skin. Regardless, there's holes on the sides of each upper arm, these are used to mount his flounder-like purple shield on the shell. He comes with the two weapons mentioned in the Tech Specs, although the sword is difficult to get into his hand because he's got long thumbs. Both weapons look suitably technological and aren't at all difficult to identify (not the case for every Pretender!) The rifle's peg can fit into the holes on his upper arm - it looks a bit strange, but at least if you want to mount it there you can. Oh, and smaller fins stick out of his sides and his calves, sealing the idea that this is an aquatic monstrosity.

As the Deception shells go, not too bad - he only has articulation at the shoulders and his hands really only hold the weapons off to an angle, but he's rather well-detailed and doesn't look too silly. He's also relatively slender for a Pretender shell, compared to some others from the subgroup. His colors are somewhat close to the Seacons', as well, so he goes fairly well with them on display.

Robot Mode:
Submarauder himself is exactly what you'd expect if you're familiar with first-wave Pretenders - a lanky robot with tiny feet and a really fat head. Okay, that's not really a detailed description, I apologize. Submarauder is a lanky purple robot with tiny blue feet and a really fat "bubble" shaped head. How's that? Seriously, Submarauder's primary color is indeed purple, with light turquoise/teal for his helmet, upper legs and feet. He possesses some molded detail - a few exposed workings here and there, some tubing on his arms, small turbine-like outlets on his shoulders. His stickers are dark in color and don't really add much to the toy, but they do provide some detail in the blanker areas. He's got a grey face molded with a rather impassive expression under his blue helmet. The helmet itself has molded detail as well, but it's not particularly aquatic looking. Submarauder is clearly a macho diver who needs no sissy face mask. The arms move at the shoulders just like the shell, allowing him to point his gun... although, despite what the Tech Spec says, he can't hold the sword. Not unless you hook it over his arm umbrella-style. There appears to be a small peg on the hilt that might fit his fists, but it seems slightly too short for a good fit and would have him carrying the thing upside down anyway. The rifle itself has a smaller peg on its "top" that allows him to hold it in his fist. Because it's so long, it looks somewhat strange, but it works. At least the fist hole is on top instead of on the inner side of the fist (Landmine). Submarauder can rotate his head somewhat to the left and right. Because of his transformation, his arms can also move inward somewhat at the shoulders, and his hips and knees have some sideways movement. I don't know how useful the leg joints really are, but he can do a relatively impressive Tae Kwon Do side kick, even if his feet are too small to balance him in that pose. As a first-year Decepticon Pretender, he's not particularly different from the rest, but they did make some that were notably sillier. And by the way, he's got a cockpit in his arse...

Alternate Mode:
Submarauder is supposed to transform into a deep-sea attack submarine. I had to look up the instructions on the internet to make sure the pile of purple limbs I achieved upon transformation was the right configuration - and sadly, it is. I've never seen a submarine remotely like this, even in Godzilla movies or Disney's old 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Part of the problem is that unlike, say, Bomb-Burst or Iguanus, I can't relate the various parts of this thing to any actual vehicle or vehicle part - the best comparison I can make is that he sort of looks like the head of Decepticon Snarler's beast mode. He's a vaguely triangular vehicle, with a grey viewport sitting ahead of some molded venting and what appear to be a total of four engines in the rear. He has small, stubby fins at the rear as well. The submarine's nose has two prongs jutting out on either side of it, with a "fuse"-shaped detail on top of each one that might be meant to indicate gunports. His fists jut out from underneath, sort of looking like square-shaped skis. Oh, and the head is sticking out of the back - there's a hole in it that looks like you're meant to mount the gun (pointing backwards) here, but it fits better in the hole just at the top of the vehicle and allows the gun to be positioned in several directions. Because the vehicle rests on the front of Submarauder's shoulders, it doesn't sit flat on a surface, but can be tilted slightly back or forward. (The rifle adds weight depending on where it's pointed, though.) I don't know. Maybe your imagination in regards to the vehicle mode is better than mine, but I really don't care for it - and even giving some ground in regards to Pretenders and all, I still don't think much of it.

So, should you liberate this poor sap from the flea market near you? Well, he's got a decent, recognizable shell, even if the accessories are missing - that's one plus in his favor. The robot mode's little feet make it unsuitable for display (forget earthquakes, dropping a Kleenex on the floor within ten feet could knock Submarauder over), although the robot's play value isn't as bad as it could be (the long rifle certainly helps his look and at least makes him a usable Decepticon trooper). The alternate mode isn't exactly a shining example of engineering. I will say he's generally better than some of his fellows (Splashdown immediately comes to mind). If you're interested in Pretenders, Submarauder is a solid buy, if not necessarily an enviable one. The shell does place him above some of the others, if nothing else.


Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 2/10. Yawn. But I did have to check the instructions to make sure I did it right.
Durability: 6/10. While Submarauder doesn't have a lot of flimsy parts, loose joints could be really irritating if you're determined to put him in vehicle mode. Outside of that, he's actually a fairly good knockaround toy.
Fun: 6/10. The big factor in terms of "play" is whether you like the idea of Transformers operating under the ocean. If that seems absurd to you, move on.
Aesthetics: 5/10. The colors are okay, but the inner robot isn't much of display piece in either mode. The shell looks good with other Pretenders, though.
Articulation: 3/10. Well, the articulation/transformation does allow some posing to a degree, but the small feet mean that you can't stand it on your desk in any of them.
Value/Price: 9/10. Submarauder usually goes for cheap unless you have to track down his weapons - so there's a degree of value versus the price, after all.
Overall: Against other Pretenders of his year, I'd give him a 7. In overall Transformerdom, I'll have to go with 4. The original Pretender designs were weak in general. In Submarauder's case the shell gains him a point or two,
 
 
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