welcome back as I attempt to finish highlighting this sub-line in a second installment dealing with year 2 (1989) of pretenders and beyond a bit.
HASBRO Small Pretenders: Similar to the Large Pretenders but are scaled down they also use parts from their shells to complete the transformations like the vehicle pretenders. (There were six with three to a faction like the first and second wave of large pretenders).
- Autobot Doubleheader: A human shell with two heads in two toned blue, green and grey space armor, his inner robot (with only one head) transforms into a mostly two toned grey and red Cybertronian twin cockpit jet, the red backpack from the shell completes the wings.
- Autobot Longtooth: A humanoid grey walrus cyborg shell in yellow and blue space armor, his inner robot transforms into a grey, red and blue Cybertronian amphibious transport vehicle, the red backpack from the shell completes the back-end of the vehicle. (it is thought that he was designed to be a Decepticon due to his non human appearance and was switched with Stranglehold before finalization)
- Autobot Pincher: A human shell in yellow, grey and green space armor, his inner robot transforms into a grey, red and blue scorpion, the red and blue backpack from the shell completes his legs and tail. (he is an oddity among his line as he is a creature not a vehicle)
- Decepticon Bludgeon: A humanoid shell with a white skull face, with yellow and maroon samurai armor, his inner robot transforms into a green, lilac tank with a maroon underbelly, his gun shield from the shell becomes his turret. (He has become the most famous of all pretenders, with multiple roles in the comic unlike the others and at least two other toys)
- Decepticon Octopunch: A bipedal octopus creature shell in a multi-colored scuba outfit, with four octopus-like tentacles extending from his shoulders over his humanoid arms. inner orange and red robot transforms into a crab with the help of sets of purple crab legs that plug into the shell’s back. (I always thought he should transform into an octopus)
- Decepticon Stranglehold: A human shell in purple, brown and red armor (if 80’s Burt Reynolds played He-Man, He would like Stranglehold, cheesy 80’s mustache included) His purple shield forms the back and tail of his inner robot’s alternate form of a orange and green Rhino
Hasbro – Classic Pretenders: This was Hasbro’s first attempt to recreate previous transformers. (there were three for the Autobots and one for the Decepticons):
- Decepticon Starscream: A Human shell in a teal, grey and brown space armored suit, his inner robot transforms into a grey, red and blue F-15 fighter jet similar in design to his original G1 self.
- Autobot Bumblebee: A Human shell in a yellow, grey and red space armored suit, his inner robot transforms into a yellow, and black VW beetle similar in design to his original G1 self.
- Autobot Grimlock: A Human shell in a red, white, blue and brown space armored suit, his inner robot transforms into a grey, black and gold T-Rex similar in design to his original G1 self.
- Autobot Jazz: A Human shell in a white and blue space armored suit, his inner robot transforms into a white with blue and red striped Porsche 935 Turbo similar in design to his original G1 self.
HASBRO – Mega Pretenders: Much larger in scale these also featured two new gimmicks, both robot and shell could transform and both could combine together into one large toy form. (Two Autobots and one Decepticon in this group):
- Decepticon Thunderwing: An alien like humanoid shell in multiple colors with a gold face has the ability to transform into space cruiser, his inner robot is also multicolored but lacks the gold and can transform into a smaller space shuttle. The two can link together to make one big space ship.
- Autobot Crossblades: A human shell in multiple colors with a lot of dark green has the ability to transform into a mostly dark green helicopter and his inner robot in mostly orange transforms into a Cybertronian race car and can connect with the shell vehicle mode to make one bigger helicopter thing.
- Autobot Vroom: A human shell in red, white and black has the ability to transform into a a Cybertronian Motorcycle and his inner robot in mostly red transforms into a Cybertronian dragster and can connect with the shell vehicle mode to become a sidecar to the motorcycle.
HASBRO – Ultra Pretenders: These had two pretender shells, a large vehicle shell and an inner humanoid shell that can transform into a vehicle for the inner robot to pilot. (one Autobot and one Decepticon in this group):
- Decepticon Roadblock: A large green and grey Cybertronian tank, his inner shell is an alien humanoid in black, purple and gold with a blue visor over his face and can transform into a “wind cruiser”. His inner robot transforms into a gold and grey tank who can either fit inside the shell, ride in tank’s open cockpit or connect to the back of the tank and man the guns.
- Autobot Skyhammer: A large blue, red and grey “flying fortress” ship, his inner shell is a human in blue, red, grey and gold and can transform into a Cybertronian car. His inner robot also transforms into a blue, red and grey Cybertronian car who can either fit inside the shell, ride in ship’s open cockpit or connect to the top of the ship and man the guns.
HASBRO Pretender Monsters: there was six of them, each with a basic soft plastic shell in a form of a made up monster and the inner robots could combine to make Monstructor (the last combiner of the era and the only one to not come in a gift set)
TAKARA Crossformers: These were repaint and retooled reuses of the Mega Pretenders
- Victory Black Shadow: A robot like humanoid shell is a repaint and retool of Thunderwing to look more robotic and is in black, red, silver and gold, has the ability to transform into a space cruiser, his inner robot is also black and silver, but lacks the red and gold and can transform into a smaller space shuttle. The two can link together to make one big space ship.
- Victory Blue Bacchus: A robot like humanoid shell is a repaint and retool of Crossblades to look more robotic and is in black, blue and silver has the ability to transform into a helicopter . His inner robot in blue and silver can transform into a Cybertronian race car and can connect with the shell vehicle mode to make one bigger helicopter thing.
TAKARA Victory Dinoforce: The inner robot modes share the same molds as the pretender monsters but with dinosaur inspired shells, like the monsters they combine to form the same combiner but in different colors and is called Dinoking but in no way do they look dinosaur like:
- Goryu (leader, Tyrannosaurus Rex shell)
- Doryu (Stegosaurus shell)
- Gairyu (Ankylosaurus shell)
- Kakuryu (Triceratops shell)
- Rairyu (Apatosaurus shell)
- Yokuryu (Pteranodon shell)
After 1989 Pretenders were retired, and did not see the light of day until the live action movie Revenge of the Fallen in 2009 and they introduced a character named Alice and she looked human but had a robotic from hidden under the flesh. The back story explains she scanned a very human looking animatronic Alice in Wonderland puppet so she could pass as human, She also states she is from Orlando that is home to Disney World. She was never named in the film as being a pretender and did not get a toy.
Pretenders faded away once again until a few days ago as part of Cybertron’s Most Wanted BotCon 2015 box set The double Pretender Oilmaster was unveiled. Double Pretenders were a concept that only showed up in 1989 as half created shells and were unreleased when the line stopped. The premise was that the shell could fit two robots. They only created two different shells, One a bipedal spider like creature and an ape in armor. In 2015 they created a whole new sculpt for the ape warrior in brown with grey armor and named him Oilmaster. His inner robots are a repaint of Autobot Legend Swerve in purple and silver and his weapon master partner Flanker in red.
What will the future hold for this line, I am not sure but hopefully we will see more. thank you and see you next time.