HotShot81's Review: Platinum Edition Predaking
Jungle Attack Team
First US Cartoon Appearance:
Five Faces of Darkness, Part 5
First Marvel US Appearance:
Gone but Not Forgotten!
First Marvel UK Appearance:
4 Pairs of guns, 1 standalone gun, 6 swords
Predacons, they are the ones destined to lead the Decepticons after they lose the Great War. In honor of their leadership the Decepticons become Predacons and adopt smaller bodies, while still being commanded by their war like programming instilled in them by the Quintasons. When humanity is but dust and memory, this faction will give birth to a member who takes on the name Megatron, but that is for the future, yes, yes, the future. For the now, they serve at Megatron/Galvatron/Shockwave's command, and are able to command and conquer the most savage of planets. They are the ultimate hunters within the Decepticon army. No matter how big or how small the target is the Predacons will find it. They enjoy a fight where the biggest and the best fight it out.
When Transformers as a franchise first came to be, the Predacons were one of those Transformers that received a double birthing so to speak. In the 1980s Marvel comic book series they are summoned by Shockwave to Earth to kill Megatron. Megatron at the time was as mad as a hatter because he failed to kill Optimus Prime in a manner he wanted. Megatron would go on to kill himself via the space bridge, despite the fact he defeats Predaking, and has Shockwave dead to rights for his treachery. The Predacons didn't care about the politics; they care about the pay day, and the challenge of the assignment. This is before Swindle. They do make several other appearances in the Marvel comic series, but they aren't game changers.
In the cartoon, Galvatron unleashes them to intercept Metroplex's new transformation cog that was destroyed in Transformers: The Movie. There is no intro, no why, just mad old Galvatron makes a call, and off they go. As one of the new combiner teams post-movie they did get a lot of air time, but not a lot of development as individuals. I blame the writers for not really developing this. They do get quite a bit of air time during the episode "Call of the Primitives".
It is weird that Hasbro would re-release these guys without tying them into either the War of video games, or the books. Instead they chose a fancy name for the product, and re-released them. The only thing I can give you back story wise is what is written on the box, "Predaking is the perfect warrior. Powerful, remorseless, obedient, and nearly unstoppable, he hunts Autobots with a predatory intensity absent from even the most diabolical of his Decepticon peers. The massive X-ray laser he carriers as a primary weapon is an instrument of singular destruction potential, capable of incinerating entire forests, liquefying steel, and cement, and instantly turning an entire battlefield into a blasted landscape into rubble and fused glass"
As someone who owns 3 other Scramble City style combiners, I was always fascinated by Predaking. I know if I had spent 5 minutes online I could've seen how Divebomb's wings ended up on Razorclaw's back, but in for a penny in for a pound. One mystery unlocked, another will be revealed. Sometimes all the videos and blue prints doesn't tell you about something unless you see it in person.
When Predaking arrives he's already assembled as Predaking, and all right he needs some stickers, some weapons, but he's fully assembled, and he's bigger than the average combiner at 11 inches tall, which is about two inches taller than traditional Scramble City combiners. His shoulders are a good 8-9 inches wide which is one again bigger than a Scramble City combiner which have 5 inch shoulders.
When compared to his other incarnations, the cast metal looks good on him. While they were remaking him in cast metal, they chose to tone down the bright yellow to a rich gold. The rich gold colouring fits him better than the bright yellow. I find it complements the darker color range that is Predaking's colour pallet. Let's break him down top to bottom so to speak.
Unlike a lot of combiners, Predaking's head is hollow, as in as empty as a can of cola at the end of a hot summer day. It has double pipes coming out of his head similar to other Transformers of the era, like Computron, but with the size there is no confusing it with another head. You can display him with or without the guns that goes on Divebomb's wings. I find when the guns are attached, they complement the guns built into Razorclaw's shoulders.
Rampage and Divebomb are Predaking's arms. You can flip them around, but it is impossible for them to be Predaking's legs. Rampage is a tiger and is on the right side when Predaking comes out of the box. He's got minimal range of movement, Maybe 45 degree arc, and yes it can spin around in 360 degrees like most combiners. This is also the arm that holds Predaking's sword. Divebomb, that is our Eagle friend, and he offers a range of motion not always seen in combiners. He can flex out so far that he could cloth line another combiner. His tail holds the X-ray laser that is Predaking's weapon of choice for ranged combat. Both sides have fists that can bend in a bit, and both arms can do 360 of movement. Both fists have 4 claws, which can rip up paper. I view this as a mild health warning, since they are a sharp, but dull.
Razorclaw is the torso of Predaking, and the leader of them, which is befitting given how he turns into the king of the jungle, a lion. For the most part he plays a none roll in how Predaking looks, his head holds Predaking's head in place. He has the belt unit built into him, and his hips are the hips of Predaking. I did find unless the hips are pressed into place, Predaking does have weak posture, and will tip forward or backward.
For trademark reasons Tantum has been renamed Torox, but old Headstrong remains the same, they serve as Predaking's legs and feet, if there were two animals which could serve as the legs and feet of this master predator they are two prime choices. I mean rhinos and bulls are thought of as strong animals, with high stamina, they fit that role. That's not the point, how do they serve as feet? There is no articulation with them. They are interchangeable, and wait for it. The feet are specific to the transformer and links up with it perfectly.
I've seen earlier and alternative runs of Predaking. I love the color change, and the change to a part plastic, part metal build. It gives these toys some durability that plastic isn't renown for. Usually when you remake a Transformer, there are complaints. I don't have any. Because he wasn't designed as a collector's item, but as a toy, I could see him being played with. I even did some drop tests, and nothing broke off. Those tests even made me realize that because of how Razorclaw's foot make Predaking's leg, he can actually kick, which is great if you (or your kid) want to use this motion to kick some downed Autobot.
Predacon Rampage Beast Mode
Rampage is the first one up, realize that the Predacon addition to his name isn't mine, it's Hasbro's idea. All the Predacons got this addition to their respective names. Hold onto Predaking's torso, pull Rampage gently, and he should pop right out of Predaking. We're going to transform him from arm to Tiger here.
Slide the tab that held him into Predaking into his body, and then slide the cavity holding the lower leg towards you; this will permit you to remove Predaking's hand. Flip the legs forward; they actually have holes on top of the legs to fit into the space above. His robot head is floppy, so while you can slide it into the space for it, it will flip out. Slide and rotate the Tiger head so it's in line with his front legs. The rear legs need to be flipped out from the compartment where they've been store, and then extend his tail that was firmly between his legs to complete the transformation. Add weapons to his shoulders as you deem fit.
How does he look in this state? He reminds me of the Dinobots, when in G1 they forgot the concept of robots in disguise. I mean he's supposed to be a Tiger, and he doesn't even have any stripes! Somehow I think people would notice a red & orange Tiger anywhere, from the wild to a city. I am not a fan of the floppy head beneath his jaws as a Tiger. His Tiger head has decent movement, including the jaw. He can support his weight on 3 legs, and his forward legs have limited mobility, so it's hard to put him in a position of say slicing an Autobot. With the pictures provided with him it's hard to ID what his weapons are.
Predacon Rampage Robot Mode
Pull the weapons out of the shoulders, and return the Tiger head to where it was before. Flip his lower legs back, along with his tail back into their original position. Flip the orange covers out, and extend his black toes to give him something to stand on. Flip his Tiger front legs down, and then extend his robot arms that are roughly parallel with his head. Now that there is some space where his arms were, flip the legs forward into that space. Extend his fists, and hey the job is done, add weapons as you wish. As a quick note I did find that for reasons unknown the left arm on mine was a bit stubborn coming out.
Let's look him Rampage in robot mode, and weights the pros and cons. On a whole I am impressed with him. Nice solid size, with no easy break points. He has the stubby arms that all combiners have, which means he has a basic shoulder joint, but no elbow or wrist. Thanks to his legs, he can hold a few poses beyond the basic stand up method. He can hold one of Predaking's fists, as well as his sword, and gun, just not all 3 at the same time.
Predacon Divebomb Beast Mode
Divebomb is a bit of a two pointer for the disassembly part. You take his wings off Razorclaw's back, it's a simple plug, no latches or anything to hold it in. It's the same deal with his connection to Predaking's body, a gentle hold and pull and he's off. You will want to take off the X-Ray laser before starting to transformer him from arm to bird.
Flip the tab which is extended towards his head; now twist his body 180 degrees so the tail feathers line up with his back. A quick pull of his legs will dislodge the fist that is still there, the Eagle feet are easy to flip out. Remember his wings? There is a big long piece of plastic, flip it towards the backpack part of the wings, and press it into Divebomb's back. Flip the earlier tab up to really secure the wings to Divebomb. The step mentioned before does not appear in the manual.
If it wasn't for some research I did on him, I would've been convinced that Divebomb was a Raven. It's all the blacks he has and the ways the eyes looks. The eyes actually remind of birds seen on Native American totem poles. He doesn't have much articulation, because of the nature of the joints around his head; he can either look down, or straight in either mode. He can open his break, and spread his wings, as well as move his tail feathers.
He's mimicking a flying animal, so I do cut him some slack in the playability role his wings move, he does have feet. The one thing I can't really understand is why name him Divebomb if you aren't going to give him any bombs to drop. He has a pair of guns to attach to his wings, so he can strafe enemy ground targets.
Predacon Divebomb Robot Mode
Let the transformation begin from Eagle to robot! Flip the tab that is holding the wings to the body more securely than the pressure method alone. Once the wings are detached flip them to their original position. Due to its hardness to reach I recommend using a sword included with Predaking to help flip it. Flip Divebomb's tail up, flip the Eagle feet inwards and then flip his robot legs out. Pull the arms away from the body, extend them and the hands out. The head is you own call. Since you can push it back, and just show Divebomb's face, or angle the Eagle head, open the beak, and display his face that way.
Due to the design of his legs Divebomb can't really take a classic on bended knee position. Only his arms are really able to pose. It looks like he has a pair of built in energy weapons on his wrists. Like almost all combiners, and early Transformers, he lacks elbows. He does look nice in as a robot, he's a so-so figure so to speak.
Predacon Razorclaw Beast Mode
Ah, the body of the beast, Razorclaw. Remove Predaking's head from him, and then pull him off of Torox & Headstrong. They might become very attached to him in those joints, so be ready to pull! The studs and holes in him are too big for Scrambler City style Transformers so you can't mix and match him.
Flip Razorclaw's head inward, and then rotate his lion's head 180 degrees and slide it into place at the end of the slide. The front legs need a light touch to move forward into place. Turn his waist 180 degrees. I would recommend using a sword to help flip his rear legs into a position to easily grasp them and put them into place. Like teammate Rampage, he does have a small tail also. Place his weapon in the hole in his back, and he's ready to go.
Let's look old Razorclaw over. Like some G1 figures he suffers from looking blocky, where the figure in one form or another looks very blocky. While his feet and jaws move, he can't hold any poses except standing up looking forward. I mean his tail isn't that great looking, there is a circle where his tail is stored is a bite tight for his weapon. The torso part for Predaking droops in beast mode and can't be stored neatly. It would take such a small modification to make it look better.
Predacon Razorclaw Robot Mode
Pull the weapon out of his back, you won't need it again until later. Flip the lower legs and tail back into their respective places. Take out the black legs, flip them, and the red feet out. Return the lion's head back to its original position, pull the arms out, flip the lion's front legs up, and the robot head back to where it was. You need to transformer the weapon by separating the two sides, and pushing the weapon extension back into the body of the gun before attaching it to Razorclaw's shoulder.
This is almost identical to how Rampage transformers. He suffers the pros and cons of Rampage. He has stubby arms, I mean they don't even reach past his lion's face. He can't really hold any poses beyond standing up. The only real improvement/difference between Razorclaw and Rampage that Razorclaw's robot head is better concealed in beast mode.
Predacon Headstrong Beast Mode
It's a coin toss who goes first from leg to robot, do you want the Bull or the Rhino? I chose the Rhino out of pure whimsy. You have the same decision when you choose is arms.
Pull him off the base, which has two large toes. You will see two legs hidden within his robot legs which are easy to flip out. Where his rhino legs just came out from there are a pair of red pieces of plastic at the end. You'll want to have the curved piece facing towards the head as you close it up, you can't close him up until you pull those front legs completely out. Flip the Rhino head up, and lower it so the hole where he was connected to Razorclaw is visible and we're almost done. You will feel and hear a small click when the head is done correctly. Just plug the foot into the hole in Headstong's back to complete the transformation.
What do we have here now then? We have a poor robotic Rhino, that's what! He has only one point of articulation as a Rhino. His head moves around, but nothing else. You have stickers that cover holes where screws go. When you look at his back he has a pair of holes where his rhino legs came out. Don't get me wrong here; I love the die caste work over the original yellow plastic. Even that has its flaws since the stickers don't seem to stick well to the metal in question. He does look like he does in the show, but he's a toy which needs imagination, and lacks articulation.
Predacon Headstrong Robot Mode
Let's start the transformation, take the guns/foot off his back, pull the space where the hind legs were so you can push the front legs back to where they came from. Push his Rhino head back, and flip his robot head up, you'll want to get this so where the Rhino head stops, the robot head starts for the best look. Remember that curved piece that was before facing the rest of his body? Well now you want it facing in the direction of his face. A good way to verify he's done right is by looking to see the arrows on the shines pointing down. Extend the arms, and hey he's done!
Before I do a breakdown of him in robot mode *WARNING, WARNING, WARNING!* He has a BIG balancing problem. I've transformed him a dozen times, and every time it's hard to balance him so he stands up straight.
How does he look? From the legs down he looks horrible, since there is no sense they are legs, they look like stripped down pieces of plastic that might be legs. The arms that pop forward remind me of a review of Powerglide with his arms stretched forward. Of all the Predacons, he's the worst one. He's a brick, and a brick that doesn't try to look like anything. They improved him with a gold paint job, but the fact they couldn't try to fix some of his design flaws when doing this "new" version of him is just insulting.
Predacon Torox Beast Mode
Ah the late Tantrum, now known Torox. Somehow when I see him I think mess with the horns, and you are looking for trouble. It seems with Predaking the limbs share similar transformations. Unplug him from the foot. Rotate his head, flip out his front legs, extend his rear, pull out his legs, close him up, pop the gun on top and hey he's ready to go!
What does he look like? A bulked up bull with cannons on his back! Just like Headstrong he doesn't have much in the way of articulation. His front feet, and his head move. While there is room for improvement on the rear, it looks good enough to be passable. He's another G1 bot who it takes a lot of imagination to play with.
Predacon Torox Robot Mode
Take his foot off his back, extend his back enough so you can flip his rear legs to where you found them before. There are two red tabs on the other side that you will want to flip about 45 degrees, there are his feet by the way. Flip the front legs down towards the body. Extend the robot arms which are gray and are near the bull head. Rotate the bull head 180 degrees so its facing forward, and flip the piece of plastic with the rub sign up. Hey he's done!
Torox and Headstrong are like Rampage and Razorclaw. They have identical transformations and identical looks. Torox is better than Headstrong, since he can keep his balance rather easily, so giving him weapons or leaving him standing watching over Autobots is easy. He can't rank high in the articulation score card given how only his arms can move back and forth like a bird. He's one of those Transformers where you need to use your imagination to play with him.
FINAL CALL TIME!
Transformer Design 7/10:
There isn't a lot of material covering the Predacons out there. You look at the show, the cartoons, and they look close to how they appear there in beast form. The real problem I have is how 4 of the 5 of them have near identical transformations. This was early on, but a little creativity goes a long way.
Transformation Difficulty 7/10:
I am not going to look up 5 boxes, average scores, and do a comparison to the here and now. Neither do I read Japanese so that option is off the sable. Hasbro rates him Intermediate, which I agree with. It's simple enough a child as young as say 5-6 years old can wrap his/her head around it, and the adult will enjoy how simple the old school bots transform.
Some G1 toys are easy to break, and the list is long. When you make a toy of metal, and you make them like these guys, it will take some heavy play time to break them. They might lack articulation, they might lack being able to take different poses, but short of C4, they will last the test of time!
In the Predacons I see innovation and fun, and I see lessons not learned. I can see a child pretending Predaking is flying from A-Z, or stomping Autobots underneath his feet. However because his knees as Predaking can't really bend to 90 degrees it can't be done. I can see the fun factor being higher depending how much imagination the child has.
I've had them for about 12 weeks, and I've looked at them in beast, bot, and combined form. They look their best united, or as beasts, which means mistakes were made. Don't get me wrong, I love the large faces they have, and it's a step in the right direction, just wish that direction included thinking of ways for them pose except to standing up.
I do feel that Predaking lacks the articulation that was and is possible. Torox should be about to rotate his arms 360 degrees instead of them being locked like they are. However when compared to other combiners of the era, he and they are better for the most part. That is why they get a high score.
I got my set for $94, and I've seen it go for as much as $170. Individually they'd go for about as much as a Deluxe sized figured when priced at $94. They're about as big as a Deluxe class figure, so the pricing make sense. The two differences between them and the typical Deluxe figure is that they have more parts because they combine, and the caste metal work that I haven't seen in a Transformer in ages.
Predaking has got several things going for him. He's cheap enough during this run for a parent to buy it for his/her kids to introduce them to the old G1 Transformers, and not worry about them being broken. Yes, he has his flaws, but this is his best look yet. I've seen a lot of bots during this Thrilling 30 line. Some of them are bad redos, while Predaking is king of the jungle on look, price, and fun!