Cliffbee.com: Skullcruncher Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Skullcruncher
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Swamp Warrior
Alternate Mode: Robotic Alligator



GATOR MODE
Height: 9cm Length: 25cm Width: 9cm

   A magenta and olive green alligator, Skullcruncher's long tail is magenta while the rest of the toy is a mixture, his head green with a green lower jaw, his hindlegs are green while his front legs are part green, part magenta with light grey feet, There's also a grey panel on his back. His eyes are painted an off white and on top of his head is a very dark transparent blue "canopy" of sorts, over the cockpit which houses Grax. As odd as magenta and green might be on an alligator, the bodyshape here is pretty good and the green really makes Skullcruncher work, so I can deal with the colours, even if magenta is a tricky colour.

   On the whole this is a fairly low detail beast mode, but that's mainly because there are a lot of big pieces of plastic. The tail has stubbly spines, as on a real crocodilian. There are silver stickers on either side sporting Decepticon symbols and a rubsign indent on top of the canopy. He has overhanging teeth on his top jaw, without the fangs you normally get on crocodiles - not alligators - which is nice attention to detail. There are rather chunky digits on his feet and his legs attach to the sides of his of his body, as reptile legs do. The legs are also bent more or less like those of a crocodilian, which I like.

   The play value here is pretty limited, which is to be expected I suppose. The top jaw lifts up to reveal a sit-down cockpit for Grax, there's some swing in his hips and that's really it. While the Autobot Headmasters can mount their weaponry as vehicles, Skullcruncher's handgun is surplus here.

   While it's a little simple in detail and play value, the overall alligator appearance works. I would like some more play value, for the time Skullcruncher's no worse than any other beast Transformer. My only real complaint is the low detail in certain places.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the tailtip and set aside, release Grax from his cockpit and transform into head mode. Flip out the sides of his tailstub, flip out the base of the tail to form his boots, which will reveal the thighs and groin. Rotate the waist, fold the alligator head onto his back, revealing his Headmaster socket - into which you'll attach Grax. The forelegs unfold into the robot arms, while the feet flip back and hang off the back of his wrists. Give Skullcruncher his gun, and his tailtip as a sort of serrated-sword. You can stow this sword in his backpack if you prefer.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16cm Width: 10cm

   The green and magenta are joined by more grey, while Skullcruncher's head is black with a gold face. The torso and upper arms are green, the lower arms and boots are magenta while his chestplate, groin and thighs are grey. This colour scheme is far more fluent than that of his alligator mode - the colours aren't quite so mixed - it's obvious the colours were laid out with this mode in mind. While the black head is a little awkward, the green, magenta and white come into their own, making for a pretty decent, if unorthodox, colour scheme.

   The big, plain pieces of plastic are again something of an issue - especially the big boots, which are flush with one another. The other one which I found annoying his the gator head, which is now a backpack, and not really a problem. I would have really liked a gap between his boots, which I should mention have a lot of kibble hanging off the sides - the hindlegs and tailstub halves just sit there, and there's more mass there than in his arms.

   Probably the biggest problem with Headmasters is that without the partner, the robot is a loss. Detaching the head looks silly, although there are reasons to do so - you can have Grax standing next to a headless Skullcruncher if you like, and of course you can flip open the tech spec meter and click in the head, which will cause his specs to appear (SPD 3, STR 10, INT 8 - which makes Skullcruncher unusually smart for a "primitive").

   Poseability here isn't too bad - and while most of it is a by-product of the transformation it's still quite welcome. The shoulders rotate and the elbows are hinged. The waist turns, although at lower-than-normal level, which is rather unnatural. The knees bend, allowing for a "stepping" pose, which is stable although the hollow boots and knees flush to one another mean this looks fairly poor.

   On the whole this is a decent effort, but the conjoined knees and leg kibble bother me. The thighs and waist are a single piece, and a little effort would have done a lot to fix the legs - even if the kibble can't be fixed, a gap between his legs would do so much for this mode. The colours work surprisingly well and there's slightly more play value than you'd expect, but it's still a mediocre robot mode.

Grax
   Grax has a black torso and head with a gold face - just like the giant head he becomes. He has spearmint green arms and legs and his hips and knees bend, allowing him to sit. His shoulders also swing, making him also as poseable as Skullcruncher. He has a tiny moulded nose and mouth, although they're kind of lost amongst the gold paint, and fairly low detail anyway. The colours work although I'd have preferred a green that matched Skullcruncher's shade of green.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   There's some good stuff here - the alligator mode is well formed, and the robot mode is relatively playable, but Skullcruncher's level of detail and robot legs keep me from getting too excited. On balance, he's a decent toy and if you like the Headmaster concept or the alligator idea, then I'd say grab him, but otherwise I'm kind of neutral about Skullcruncher. He's my least favourite of the five large Decepticon Headmasters, but by no means a _bad_ toy - 6/10

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