FRENZY, KNOK, WINGTHING, & SKAR
TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: EARTHRISE (HASBRO)
And yet another new item. Wow, we are just rolling through these new boys, aren’t we? For what it’s worth, there’s a week of time between Black Widow/Probe Droid and Drake, and then another week from Drake to today’s subject, even though there’s been no gap for you, the readers. I’ve just been sitting here worried I was gonna have to dig into my old toys again. I think I might be losing my grip on the now….where was I? Or, more accurately, *when* was I? Eh? Time traveler thing? …Yeah, it’s really not that funny. Sorry, I’ve not really had real people to run these things by as of late. …the toys…should review the toys! Yes, so the toys for today are some more Transformers. It’s been over a month, so it’s probably time for some more of those! I’m on record as being quite a Soundwave fan, and something that kind of accompanies that is the need to pick up his support crew, whatever their current alt-mode may be (since cassettes are so passe), and I’ll be taking a look at Soundwave’s Spy Patrol 3 today! What happened to 2? Don’t make me hurt you!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
This four-pack is one of the online-only (in theory, at least) Transformers Generations: Selects offerings, officially falling under the Earthrise heading. As I noted when I reviewed fellow Selects offering Hot Shot, these figures make use of minimal new tooling in order to accent the main retail lines. Though listed as “Soundwave Spy Patrol,” only two of the figures included here are actually really meant for Soundwave, with the other two intended to go along with the Earthrise Doubledealer figure. All four are technically compatible with Soundwave (and Soundblaster), of course.
One of the original four cassettes, released along with Soundwave in 1984, Frenzy quite frequently receives the short end of the stick on newer releases. This figure follows that lead, since when it came time to release one of the two humanoid cassette bots, it was Rumble who got first dibs as part of the Spy Patrol 2 set. Of course, with that set being practically non-existent for most collectors (myself included), maybe Frenzy’s not in quite as bad shape. In robot mode, he stands just over 2 inches tall and has 9 workable points of articulation. As one would expect, what with the two characters being always built on the same molds and all, Frenzy is the same sculpt as Rumble. This is my first exposure to it, and I dig it overall. Compared to a lot of the Siege and Earthrise stuff, he’s not quite as sleek, but given his alt-more is just a box, I guess a little bit of boxiness is certainly excusable. He’s also a bit less of an outright figure of his own than the TR-style Frenzy from the Bumblebee cassettes pack, but with the smaller scaling, I find that to be fairly excusable. Like all of the Spy Patrol guys, Frenzy turns into a definitely-not-a-cassette rectangle, designed to fit in Soundwave’s chest compartment. I had heard that he was a little too large to properly fit, but I didn’t find this to be an issue with mine, though I did notice he was a little snugger in there then Ravage and Laserbeak. Not by much, though.
After the original four cassettes were released, there was one additional cassette added in 1986, Ratbat. Ratbat made his way into the Siege line proper alongside Rumble, but much like the Rumble/Frenzy re-use, we also get a re-use of the Ratbat mold here as Wingthing, Soundwave’s Action Master partner, who has subsequently been re-worked into another of his cassette boys. In bat-mode, Wingthing stands an inch and a quarter tall, and has a moving neck, wings, and feet. His robot mode is decent, but not super posable, or really posable at all, for that matter. Mostly, the joints are just there to facilitate the transformation scheme. He’s kind of rudimentary, and doesn’t stand so well, but it’s a cool enough visual, I suppose. This body’s transformation turns it into less of cassette-esque box than the previous molds. Said box is even larger than the one Frenzy turns into, so there’s really no way to put it into Soundwave’s chest capacity, which is a definite bummer.
Okay, now we jump into the “not technically cassette bots” segment of this set. First up is Knok, who was originally Doubledealer’s Autobot powermaster, but has now been made a Decepticon, at least according to the instructions included here. It’s okay, though, because he’s without any sort of insignia, so he can kind of be whatever you want. Structurally, he’s pretty much the same as Frenzy, but with a new head (one of two new pieces included in the set). Using the same sculpt as Frenzy means he’s as good as Frenzy, so I can definitely dig that. Interestingly, in my case, I found that Knok actually fits into Soundwave’s chest cavity even a bit better than Frenzy.
Last up is Doubledealer’s other powermaster, Knok’s Decepticon equivalent, Skar. Skar makes use of the same basic mold as Wingthing/Ratbat. He’s got a new head (the other new part in the set), but is otherwise identical. So, you know, same basic issues that I outlined about the mold just above. Not really my favorite. He changes up the colors into something more classically decepticon-y, so that’s cool. Again, he’s got no insignia, but he’s correctly labeled as a Decepticon. Whatever the case, he can again be what you want.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I never saw the Rumble/Ratbat set once, and I was definitely a little bummed about missing out on the Rumble mold. I was kinda holding out hope for the Frenzy re-deco, though, so this set’s announcement did make me a little happier. I was even happier when I was actually able to secure one. It’s funny, because I realized I’ve inexplicably ended up with a Frenzy to go with each of my main Soundwaves. I’m okay with that. Knok is pretty cool by virtue of being more or less the same figure as Frenzy. Wingthing and Skar, I’m not quite as into. They aren’t bad, nut they aren’t as cleverly designed as the cassettes, made worse by the fact that they aren’t actually compatible with the cassette feature. Still, a 50/50 split on this set isn’t the worst.