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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Numbat's Review: Botcon Clench

Name: Clench
Allegiance: Decepticon
Size Class: Botcon 2010 Exclusive (G2 Redux)

People say Megatron, you know who you’re talking about – Decepticon leader. Galvatron – a lot of folk will know what you mean too. Scourge? Maybe. Clench though – small chance. Frankly, people are more likely to know Cy-Kill, the Gobot Renegade leader. But Clench is a Decepticon leader, who had a brief reign in Europe at the end of G1 / beginning of G2. Transforming in to a truck, he preceded Scourge, Nemesis Prime and Dark of the Moon Megatron in presenting a twisted take on Optimus Prime. In recognition, perhaps, he was included in IDW’s Megatron Origin limited series as the original master of the underground gladiator fight scene that spawned the Decepticons, with Megatron as their leader.

Clench had a very distinctive look, and has a warm place in my heart – as a kid he was the leader of the Decepticons in far more games than Megatron ever was. Megatron transformed into a gun, which was pretty limited. Megatron was flimsy and broke on the first day I owned him. Clench turned in to a truck and was highly mobile. Clench was solid, and never broke. Clench had a big missile launcher. Clench could stand up to Optimus Prime far better than Megatron could dream of.

I held on to G2 Clench longer than almost all other Transformers from my original collection (excepting Minibots). He actually had a really interesting transformation, and gorgeous aesthetic (if you’re into the late ‘80s, early ‘90s eye-burning-neon colours). Frankly, I only traded up – after finally getting hold of Botcon 2010 G2 Redux Ultra Clench, he was no longer needed.

This toy is f*%^£$g awesome.

Alternate Mode:

G2 Clench transformed in to a truck, and that’s cool. That was way better than a little pistol like Megatron, or a random futuristic cannon like Galvatron. And it was a lovely twisted evil take on Optimus Prime. However, Robots in Disguise / Car Robots Scourge bettered Clench as an evil, twisted version of Optimus Prime. So how do you update an obscure classic character like Clench? Well, you play on his other strength – firepower.

Botcon 2010 G2 Redux Clench uses the Universe 2.0 Ultra Onslaught mould. While this mould always looked awesome, I never felt it fitted with Onslaught, but at the same time it was an interesting choice for Clench. However, it is far more appropriate – it’s bullish, and heavily armed, and is a fantastic alternate mode representation for the hardcore Decepticon leader.

Measuring 7 ½” (19cm) long, and 4” (10.5cm) wide, Clench is a brick of an Armoured Personnel Carrier. This is not a police force riot control truck (despite the Onslaught SWAT billing) – it has bladed bullbar and double cannon gun turret. This is a vehicle made for armoured incursions / assault.

A huge G2 Decepticon insignia is displayed on the turret shield roof, making no bones about allegiance. On the side is the wolf in target cross-hairs, and lightning bolt callcard of Clench. You do not mess with this truck. Clench does not transform into his alternate mode to hide – he transforms to kick ass.

Moulded in bottle green plastic with metallic flakes, with pink cannons and roof grills, alongside bright green detailing, equally there is no doubt that Clench belongs firmly in the G2 camp.

Aside from the great moulded detailing, a lot of attention has been paid to highlighting with paint applications on Clench. Rich copper picks out vents and winch cables, while red and yellow highlights rear claxons. Transparent green plastic is used on the headlights, brake lights, siren lights, windows and turret searchlight. Black is used for details such as the bladed bullbar, while crazy blue lines are drawn along the front of the truck referencing the original G2 Clench’s chest. It’s a unique colour palette, and if you’re in to G2 then you’ll love it. Otherwise, well, there are worse / more extreme G2 colour schemes out there, like Clench’s nemesis, Pyro...

The vehicle mode rolls well on six chunky wheels (with silver hubs), and the turret spins nicely. Clench suffers from the loose fitting of the shield on the turret, and loose joints on the bladed bullbar. Thankfully, however, the electronics have been removed.

Botcon 2010 Clench has a big, bold, and dangerous alternate mode. It’s an appropriate update to the G2 character, if slightly leftfield. No matter what, though, it’s imposing, interesting and eye-catching.

Robot Mode:

Clench has a relatively straightforward but interesting and well-executed transformation. Standing 9” (23cm) tall in robot mode, he’s very imposing, unlike a lot of his Classics-style contemporaries, towering over even Voyager Class Classics figures.

The robot mode gives a lot of new features to look at, and it’s great to see where APC parts end up as well. While the truck front half shoulders – one of the most distinctive features of G2 Clench – have been lost, they have been replaced by awesome shoulder blades, and massive copper shoulder plates, the right of which sports a bold G2 Decepticon insignia. Those blue lines, harking back to the G2 robot chest, find themselves on Clench’s stomach now. Pink becomes more dominant, but is still subdued compared to the original figure, while bright green and copper paint highlights other features.

While the paintscheme evokes the G2 character, it is the brand new head sculpt that makes this figure (whereas the lack of a new and appropriate head sculpt detracts from Clench’s nemesis, Botcon 2010 Pyro). A more bold version of the biomechanoid G2 head, emphasising the horns and head crest, picked out in bottle green, with copper mouthplate and bright green eyes, this is one of the most distinctive heads in Transformers. Sadly, for whatever reason, it has not been cast in the same bottle green plastic of the majority of the figure, and there are certainly paint errors on my toy where the dark grey plastic shows through, which is a minor, but niggling, complaint not obvious without close scrutiny.

Clench features the flip out gun on his right arm, and attachable shield for his left, as did Universe 2.0 Ultra Onslaught. His articulation is a little on the limited side, at only 15 meaningful points, often with limited range of motion. The real limiting factor, though, is the lack of ankle articulation. Fortunately, his feet are designed to be at an angle meaning his legs can be posed slightly apart, as opposed to rigidly straight, and he is still capable of plenty of menacing power poses, which is fine – after all, Clench is a lumbering bruiser destined to loom over your Decepticon forces, not a sprightly ninja.

The blocky design and simple yet satisfying transformation captures the feel of G1/G2 figures, while the beautiful detail really brings the mould to the heights of Classics-style. This, coupled with the amazing paintjob really makes Botcon Clench a centrepiece for your collection. Plus, he’s pretty big, and [I]very bright[I/]! If you can find him at an affordable price, I’d highly recommend him.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 8 – The transformation design is simple but satisfying, yet could have done with building in ankle articulation.
Durability: 7 – Clench feels very durable, but the fact that his head is not actually moulded but painted, and that mine has at least been issued with errors makes me worry the paint could fleck further in time. Those turret cannons feel a little brittle too...
Fun: 10 – Clench is super fun to transform, pose, or roll around as an APC. Plus he looks awesome. Can’t fault the guy here!
Aesthetics: 9 – Clench looks absolutely gorgeous. He only drops a point because of the minor paint errors on his head. I just don’t know how widespread this issue is.
Articulation: 6 – Clench really is not very well articulated, although what he does have is serviceable and allows for decent power poses. The lack of ankle articulation is rather limiting though.
Value/Price: 4 – Clench goes for around £60 to £70 GBP ($95 to $110 USD), which isn’t bad for an Ultra Class convention exclusive, but it’s still pricey!
Overall: 8 – Clench looks awesome, displays well, and is a really lovingly produced homage to an obscure Decepticon leader. He fails a bit in articulation, quality control, and, of course, price, but if you can find him and afford him, I’d recommend picking him up!
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