Cliffbee.com: Doubleheader Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Doubleheader
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Surveillance
Alternate Mode: Jet Plane



SCORPION MODE
Height: 2.5cm Length: 8.5cm Width: 7.5cm

   A red and grey jet, the central part of the plane is a softish red plastic plate, the light grey twin tailfins stick out the back while Doubleheader has twin dark grey noses at the front, which sport light grey painted canopies. There are twin light grey wheels underneath the canopies, which are clearly visible. The colour scheme works well enough, since red and grey go well together, although the simple layout of the toy makes things a little boring.

   There's not really much to this mode, and about half of it is the wingplate, which is quite a cop out, really. To be fair, all six of the small 1989 Pretenders in this series have an add on piece, and only Stranglehold has a viable alt mode without the add on. While I don't like the add on concept, at least it works here, making a viable alt mode which is clearly defined unlike some of the Pretenders of the previous year (Splashdown is a bad example).

   The details we do get here work fairly well. The twin cockpit thing is unusual and provides Doubleheader with a distinctive feature, and while the paint on the canopies is simple, it works. There are some details on the plate itself, including some plane panel lines and twin red cannons close to the fuselage.

   It almost goes without saying there's no play value here - which is to be expected. There are no rear wheels to speak of, but there are runners concealed underneath that keep him level. The dark grey handgun can slot over a small block at the back of the red plate.

   Simple and small, but Doubleheader works for what he is. The twin cockpit idea works, as do the colours, but at this scale he's nothing special. The giant plate which forms the entire wingspan and much of the fuselage is the Achilles' heel - if it's missing the plane mode doesn't exist. Indeed, I'm reviewing this toy on the day my red plate from eBay arrived!

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the plate and attach it to the back of the Pretender shell as a backpack, flip over the tail section to form boots, swing the nosecones out to the sides to form arms, slide the head out from the fuselage (using a tab on his back). The front wheels become forearms, although no transformation is required.

   As simple as this transformation is, the ides of nosecones as arms is kinda cool, and the clever use of the wheels are forearms is nifty.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 6.5cm Width: 3.5cm

   A dark grey robot with light grey boots, forearms and a light grey head. For some odd reason his low detail face has been painted lime green. As dull as two tone grey is, I'm not sure that lime was the best choice for the robot's only paint application - blue or red would have looked a lot better.

   There's some poseability, but not much. The forearms can lift from their "down" position of about 30 up to 60, and the elbow joints are dedicated for this movement. The shoulders lift out to the sides, but this is part of the transformation. The boots are separate pieces, and the knees can hinge independently, but the value of this is limited, since he need two flat feet to stand, so Doubleheader can stand there with forearms up or down. The handgun can slot over either hand.

   This robot mode is fairly well proportioned, as tends to be the case in this group. The tapered noses of the jet hang off the upper arms, behind the forearms, which is unusual but it works. The fists are moulded fairly well considering that there are discs (the front wheels) on the insides - this actually works very well, with the relevant details for each mode dominant appropriately. The thighs are well formed, a trait of the small Pretenders. There is some chest detailing including hoses, along with a well defined waist and groin.

   While the arms are interesting, and actually fairly well done, this is a pretty dull robot mode. The colours do not help, and the fact only the tailfins on his knees are the only plane features makes his seem even more generic. Doubleheader really needed some more definition for this to be an exciting robot mode. While it's not bad for the size, it's just drab.

The Pretender Shell

Height: 15cm Width: 9cm

   Thematically, this is where it's all happening for Doubleheader. The shell is humanoid, with two heads (hence the name!), both are Caucasian with black hair. The body itself is blue with some white and lime green paint applications while the arms are dark grey with pale blue shoulderpads. The red wingplate fits on the back fairly well, although it doesn't hug his back at all, which bothers me a little.

   What would a Pretender shell be without a helmet? Doubleheader has his own double-helmet, complete with two crests and green eyevisors. It's sensibly the same soft plastic as the arms - too hard and it would crack when you lift it from one side (which is need to grip it properly when removing the thing). Doubleheader's shell sports a light grey handgun, which can be held in either hand.

   The arms can rotate, as you'd expect, which provides most of the play value here - with the accessories making up the rest. This is one of the least bulging shells, which isn't surprising when you consider how generic the robot that fits inside is.

   The robot itself is almost an afterthought here. The shell justifies the name, has far better colours and of course has the very distinctive twin heads. The bio pretty much talks about the shell _as_ the character, so it's obvious the robot was tacked onto the shell rather than the other way around.

VARIATIONS

   None I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   One of the weaker Pretenders, since the inner robot and alternate plane mode are uninspiring. The transformation does have some interesting elements, but on such a small, simple toy, this only goes so far. While I don't dislike the robot itself, it's just not inspiring on it's own. The two headed shell is the whole point here, really, and while the idea is nice, it's not _quite_ enough to make Doubleheader stand out amongst the Pretenders. If you like Pretenders or the concept really grabs you, grab him if you can at a decent price. Otherwise, don't search him out - 5/10

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