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Blackjack's Review: Repugnus

Name: Repugnus
Allegiance: Autobot
Repaint of: Cybertron Undermine
Accessories: Power Mace/Tail, Jungle Planet Cyber Key

So, as with the tail end of any Transformers toyline, as the Cybertron series began to fade out, the line was padded with repaints of earlier wave toys alongside new moulds. Some of them were original. Like, say, Brushguard or Hightail. Or, failing that, upgraded versions of show characters. But many are homages to transformers from past series. Swindle, Cryo Scourge, Smokescreen, Runamuck... and Repugnus.

Repugnus was a repaint of one of Scourge's two minions in Jungle Planet, namely Undermine. Apparently, Repugnus is Undermine's brother. But because Undermine is one of Scourge's two main flunkies, Repugnus drove Undermine away from their swampy home territory, just because he hates Scourge so much. He values freedom and all, you know? Pity that Repugnus never made it into the show... this alone would've made him a much more interesting character than, say, someone completely banal like Clocker or Snarl.

Despite supposedly being a homage, however, this Repugnus doesn't bear much resemblance apart from some colours to the original Repugnus (who holds a special place in my heart due to his kickass name) who transforms into this hunchbacked, sickle-armed, bug-eyed, reptile-headed cockcroach-lizard-thing. The second Repugnus toy (who may or may not be the original) is a Fuzor of a praying mantis and a lizard, a repaint of Beast Wars' Buzzclaw. Definitely a decent substitute for the original Repugnus, something that I can't say for this toy. Fortunately, this guy has his own charm.

I got Repugnus in 2009, way after Cybertron ended. The reason being Hasbro repackaged the surplus toys of Repugnus, Ransack GTS and Scattorshot in a three-pack and released them as a Walmart exclusive for the Universe Classics line. Compared to more modern toys, he obviously doesn't stand up that much, but he's cute enough. Plus, the name 'Repugnus' is irresistible.

Repugnus transforms into a robotic spinosaurus, the lead dinosaur villain in Jurassic Park III. Well, a very, very rough approximation of it, anyway. The real spinosaurus has the fin on its back like a crescent-ish shape, kind of like a fan. Repugnus, meanwhile, has the fin shaped like a shark's fin, in a triangular manner. The dinosaur geek in me frowns at this.

However, fin shape aside Repugnus is a pretty decent representation of the spinosaurus. His head, in particular, and the general build of his body puts newer toys like Classics Dinobot to shame. It's exactly what you would expect a dinosaur to look like, giant mechanical shark fin aside. Also, it is kind of refreshing to see a different dinosaur.

Oh, and at the tip of his tail Repugnus has a spiked club. I definitely don't need to tell you that real life spinosaurus don't have that, do I?

Repugnus' main body (his head, torso, abdomen and tail) is black, and his neck has red stripes. His eyes are baby blue, while the inner part of his mouth, as well as his thighs, are painted with a rather dull metallic bronze colour. The mace on his tail, the sides of his chest and some parts of his legs are red, while his arms and feet are orange. His big fin is mainly orange, with the rims being silver and the decal (some kind of sword-ish pattern) is red. Well, maroon, actually. An Autobot insignia is tampographed on his left thigh. Reportedly Repugnus was supposed to be branded as a Decepticon until someone at Hasbro realized that the original G1 Repugnus was an Autobot, so a hasty faction swap was done.

Repugnus has a decent range of articulation. Two hinge joints on his neck, and his mouth can open and close. His arms are hinged on the shoulder, his tail is articulated at three points so it can flex up and down, and he has four joints each on his legs. A respectable amount for a beast mode, nearly the same with Classics Grimlock and putting Classics Dinobot to shame. (both of whom are Deluxe Class toys) That, combined with his highly realistic beast head sculpt—none of those goofy heads like the toys for the G1 Dinobots or some of the BW toys—Repugnus looks positively menacing.

Of course, the gimmick of the Cybertron line is the Cyber Key. It looks horribly stupid. At least with Minicons we get a new bonus little Transformer. The Cyber Keys look ugly, unwieldy, and there's just a whole bunch of them. At least Repugnus could store his key. Plugging the green Jungle Planet Key into the rear of his shark fin would cause a blade to pop out of the front of the fin. It doesn't do much in beast mode, since it can't reach forwards to stab the enemy with the head in the way, but the gimmick is, at least, not obstructive. With Undermine's deco, when the Key is left in, it would look like part of the sail/fin, but not so for Repugnus. Boo.

Repugnus transforms into a rather unusual robot mode. The 'good' kind of unusual, thankfully. His beast mode head and neck splits apart to become hands, and a little rearrangement of the parts on his bottom would give you his robot mode. It is kind of jarring that after his rather terrifying beast mode, his robot mode could only be described as 'cute ugly'. His face, painted on the base of his fin, looks like a frog, really. A cute, pointed frog. Or a fish. Look at him. He just looks so cute. I mean, just imagine him going all Godzilla in his beast mode, then he transforms to reveal that cute face. 'Wawr!'

Colour is still about the same. Black, orange and red being the main ones. Articulation, however, gets improved. Due to the fact that his beast mode hands still stays beside his chest, Repugnus gets four hands — two beast mode hands and the two halves of his dinosaur head/neck. Each can move independently, which kind of makes sense. The dino heads could be used as some kind of pincers while battling, while the fingered dino hands could be used for more delicate tasks. In the cartoon Undermine used all four hands for doing stuff.

Repugnus looks quite weird, but refreshing compared to most other humanoid robots from the Cybertron line. At least he can keep his balance very well. He has his fair share of weapons too. Like many Jungle Planet characters (Snarl, Scourge) and really many other transformers with beast modes the tail becomes a weapon. However, unlike that line's Scourge's unwieldy, oddly jointed axe-thing, the designers have undoubtedly planned ahead. Repugnus' tail has a club on the end so it doesn't look awkward, and it is jointed at regular intervals so it doesn't look as stupid as Scourge's axe-tail thing. It attaches to either one of Repugnus' beast head arms, on the lower jaw.

The Cyber Key gimmick still works, and the blade swings out from above his head. It looks kind of cool, and is realistic that Repugnus would jump into the fray, headbutting with his head sword, clubbing people with his mace, scratching, biting... screw the cutesy face, his arsenal is savage!

All in all, something that I expected to be mediocre or below average turned out great. Refreshing, and kind of a gem among a toyline where most of the toys are sub-par.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 6/10 I keep thinking that the beast mode heads and how he holds his mace could've been improved, but I guess that's all you can get at this scale.

Articulation: 8/10 A whole bunch for a toy of his era. To compensate for the lack of the neck and hip joints, the legs have more hinges, and his beast mode hands can move in robot mode.

Durability: 8/10 He's a brick. However, you can lose the Cyber Key (which isn't a big loss) or the tail (which is a big loss).

Aesthetics: 7/10 I love weird-looking Transformers. Plus, he's one of those that look cute. Deal with it.

Fun: 7/10 He's a spinosaurus that transforms into a frog-faced, four-armed freak with a prehensile mace. And he can sprout a horn-sword thing. Total weirdness, but fun nevertheless.

Price/Value: 7/10 Not bad. I got him cheap, though — in a three-pack with more than two-thirds the price knocked off. If I had to pay for him with the same inflated price I had to pay for the Scouts class toys nowadays, well...

Overall: 7/10 An average toy, with decent gimmicks, articulation and a wacky look. Your mileage may vary on whether his weirdness is charming or not, though. But he is not worth getting if you already have Undermine. If you like beast modes, or want to see a unique toy and don't mind Cyber Keys, try him. A nice crowd filler for your growing collection, though, if you can get him cheap.
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