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Blackjack's Review: Powerpinch

Name: Powerpinch
Allegiance: Predacon
Size Class: Basic Class
Accessories: Tail-pincer weapon, tail-holder assembly

See, I got on a Beast Wars toy spree a while back. It is pretty exciting to hunt down all these wacky Beast Wars toys… they feel so different! Not just a bunch of jets and cars and trucks, every single toy felt refreshing and new and so wacky. My criteria for buying non-show Beast Wars toys are basically anything that looks weird and fun, although they do get a bonus if they had memorable artwork in the IDW Beast Wars comics or something.

Powerpinch is neither. He’s just a bug that transforms, which is like 80% of all the available Predacon toys. He doesn’t have the novelty of being a half-lionfish-demon-bee, or being the most notorious shelfwarmer, or is an adorable little mutant pillbug whose gimmick consists of hugging people. Powerpinch is just… boring. He turns into an earwig. Toy bio personalities can make me love a toy, but Powerpinch’s bio just describes him as a really, really fast and ferocious insect and deadly. So basically he’s just your generic evil thug without a personality. And he’s really fast, apparently. A fast earwig. In a world where T-rexes have roller blades and VTOL engines. Good luck on that, Powerpinch.

Anyway, when I scoured the internet for Beast Wars toys, I passed over Powerpinch with a ‘meh’. He’s not bad, but he’s got nothing special that makes him desirable over everyone else.

So of course he has to come bundled with a toy I really want. I’m a bit foggy whether he came bundled with Retrax – my all-time favourite toy for simply being so bloody ridiculous – or one of the Tripredacus members, which I wanted to make the combiner. Whatever the case, Powerpinch tagged along like a parasite on another toy which I truly was looking forward to, and ended up being an unexpected addition to my collection.

Beast Mode:
Powerpinch transforms into a black-and-orange earwig with massive eyes that are painted a shade of lime-green. Unless there’s a sub-species of the earwigs that are painted neon orange because they’re deadly poisonous or something, Powerpinch is relatively unrealistic considering real earwigs are coloured like cockroaches. On the other hand, I absolutely abhor and despite cockroaches with all my heart and soul, so it is a good thing that Powerpinch is not coloured like one.

Earwigs are, for those of you who are uninitiated, relatively harmless insects that look like a crossbreed between an ant and a cockroach. They look like most long, disgusting bugs you want to step on with the sole exception of a single, extremely defining characteristic: a massive set of pincers on their ass. Powerpinch replicates this, perfectly, of course, painting the pincers bright orange… and even though Powerpinch has a rather slim abdomen, the pincer looks pretty in-scale with what a real earwig would have in relation to its body. Earwigs use these ass-pincers to defend themselves and to hunt prey, although considering their most powerful weapon is on their behind… well, I’m not a scholar on entomology, but I think it is rather impractical to try and do anything with your butt, let alone complex things like killing prey or defending themselves from predators. These forceps are also apparently used in earwig sex. The exact methods how, dear readers, I shall leave to your own imaginations.

Also, in a nice bit of detail, male earwigs have more curved pincer things, so Powerpinch can proudly declare his masculinity with his curved ass-blades and mock the likes of Waspinator and Inferno who are based on female insects.

Earwigs are apparently everywhere and can live in your house and garden. They are named so because of the totally unfounded myth that they crawl into your ears at night, burrow into your brain, and lay eggs inside your gray matter. And probably do a fair bit of pain as they crawl up your ear with those segmented legs, and snap those hard, chitin-encrusted pincers… it’s apparently a myth, but I’m pretty sure there aren’t exactly a line of volunteers ready to test if earwigs will really crawl into your head. Just imagine this thing anywhere near the ear canal. Brr.

(Jokes aside, earwigs are very maternal creatures that care for their young, and they’re mostly scavenger-type insects, so no, they don’t find our cerebral cavities an ideal place for breeding.)

(Though they can get into your ear by accident. Sleep tight!)

Ahem. Back to the toy – Powerpinch certainly is far too big to burrow into a human’s ear, being twice as large as and a lot thicker than the largest earwig in the world. But he’s just the right size for a basic class toy. As mentioned above, most of him is cast in black (or really, really dark green, if you go by the box art…) plastic… clear black plastic, though, and if you’ve read some of my reviews I dislike clear black plastic. On Beast Wars toys, though, especially for bugs like Powerpinch, I’ll happily make an exception. I’d, of course, rather have him be realistically cast in opaque plastic but this adds to the general feeling of bugginess Powerpinch exudes.

His butt-pincer, mandibles and antennae (which are short for obvious child safety reasons), as well as his six immobile legs, are all cast in orange, as are some details across his body. As mentioned before, Powerpinch’s abdomen is a bit too thin for a proper earwig, as far as the internet can tell me, but otherwise he’s pretty fine. He’s got a fair bit of detailing, from the segments on his abdomen and the hard cover that protects the thin wings on his thorax… pity these are not picked out, but the fact that the details are there makes me happy. Also, yes, earwigs, like cockroaches, can fly.

Powerpinch is a very static earwig, though. He can barely walk, let alone fly. The three segmented legs on either side of his body are hinged, but moving them will kind of make Powerpinch the insect look silly. His head can angle up and down somewhat, but being a mostly-flat insect the act of moving his insect head kind of reveals unsightly gaps. The orange piece that is his mandible-antenna ensemble can also angle up and down. Lastly, the massive ass-pincer ensemble is on a hinge that can move up at a right angle, so Powerpinch can surprise passing airborne Maximals and stab them in the stomach as they fly by.

Overall, though, despite the novelty of having a unique insect mode – who else transforms into an earwig? – Powerpinch is a pretty static and basic beast mode. It can’t come close to replicating the scuttling, high-speed murder-machine that the toy bio implies.

Robot Mode:
Powerpinch’s transformation is a fair bit more complex than you’d think. Rotating the legs and lower body into place involves a fair bit of fiddling. The entire tail pincer assembly (which comes in two parts: the pincer itself and the detachable hinge-holder) comes off to serve as a hand-held pincer weapon, or as Don Figueroa stylizes it, connected directly to one of Powerpinch’s arms. In transforming him, where the pincer-tail connects to the body is a Predacon rubsign. If it happens to be a Maximal, don’t fret – it means you have a rarer Japanese-exclusive Beast Wars 2 (or Neo? Can’t keep them straight) Scissor Boy, who is identical to Powerpinch in every way other than that little rubsign.

Powerpinch’s robot mode is pretty basic. He’s got a pretty nice headsculpt, with silver-coloured mandible-like teeth thing, angry yellow eyes and a pair of horns. He looks evil and kind of dumb, which suits him well. The wing-thorax part of his carapace ends up as his chest, and the earwig head splits apart to reveal hands... or, well, the interior of earwig heads with fist-holes moulded in. It actually works pretty well, though, since the bug-head halves are hidden behind the actual hands, and the antenna that jut out can be passed off as stabby claws or something. The bug legs hang awkwardly off his biceps like Tarantulas, Waspinator, Cicadacon and a lot other BW-era bug transformers. His legs fold out from under his abdomen.

In robot mode Powerpinch has a fair bit more orange, with most of the new robotic parts – his biceps, crotch and thighs – cast in orange plastic. His legs has a fair bit more paint splashed here and there as well. He’s a fairly short toy, although the insect legs does give him the impression of being larger than, say, Spittor or Snapper. He looks decent, sharing the Beast Wars aesthetic and doesn’t get too different. Other than the massive earwig claw that he holds on one hand, Powerpinch looks unremarkable, just like that one kid in your class that’s just average. But at least now Powerpinch can actually look where he stabs instead of approximating where his ass is in relation to the enemy.

You can leave the tail assembly in when you transform him so Powerpinch has a massive pincer thing jutting out of his chest. Which I cannot decide to be completely stupid or completely awesome.

Powerpinch’s head can rotate, and he’s got ball joints on his shoulders and thighs. His elbows, knees and ankles are all on hinges (the ankles especially thanks to the transformation scheme) so he’s basically got the normal articulation range for a Beast Wars toy his size… or indeed any modern toy his size. Despite his top-heavy look, Powerpinch’s feet extend outwards both ways, making him pretty stable so he can stab people in the face with his massive pincer.

Overall, Powerpinch is a pretty decent robot, and it’s certainly the stronger of his two modes.

Marks out of ten for the following:
Transformation Design: 7/10 It’s simple and easy to figure out, though folding out the whole lower-body-and-legs assembly is surprisingly complex for a toy his size… but again, a simple and fun enough little toy to transform. None of that spring-loaded annoyance that some BW basic-class toys have.

Durability: 4/10 The clear plastic makes it clear (see what I did there?) that Powerpinch has some pretty thin parts. Unless you’re a total ogre, though, you probably won’t break him. I am worried, however, about his robot mode head – mine is showing some nasty stress marks on the back, and it’s already popped off once. The joints on mine are relatively loose, and be careful not to lose the holder for the pincer-tail or beast-mode Powerpinch will be feeling pretty emasculated.

Aesthetics: 8/10 He’s got a nice sculpt and general appearance, plus orange-and-black is a pretty refreshing little paint scheme no other toy in my collection has. Compared to many other Beast Wars toys though, he’s positively overshadowed… but otherwise he is a pretty nifty little guy. Might, of course, be subjective because not everyone finds insects as interesting as I do.

Articulation: 8/10 About right for a toy in his time, and stands up pretty well to modern standards. He doesn’t have much articulation in insect mode, but we really don’t deduct points from Bumblebees and Starscreams for not having articulation in their car and jet modes, do we?

Fun: 6/10 He’s a great robot, and a great earwig, and not much else. He’s the most boring out of the Beast Wars toy I got at around the same time, and he’s mostly overshadowed by the likes of Retrax, Spittor, Polar Claw, Tripredacus and a lot of others. He’s a decent transformer, but he doesn’t have the gimmicks or enough weirdness to have me be engrossed for too long.

Price/Value: 7/10 Not much demand going on for Powerpinch. I got him as some kind of two-deal with Retrax or one of the Tripredacus guys, and he’s pretty cheap.

Overall: 7/10 Powerpinch is far from being the zenith of accomplishment in the Beast Wars toyline, but he is a solid toy nonetheless. Still, I won't lie -- he’s fairly uninteresting, and other than transforming into an earwig he doesn’t do anything special. Over the time I've had him, I've grown to like the little bugger, but he's not something that you should hunt down specifically. If you find yourself in need for a nifty little addition to a Beast Wars collection, and manage to find him at a reasonable price, Powerpinch is not a purchase that you will regret.
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