The Reverend's Review: Octopunch
"Anything that can sink is worth sinking."
The terror of the deep. If he's not stealing sunken treasure or ancient artifacts, he amuses himself by smashing holes in submarines and cruise ships. Electrically-charged, razor-tipped harpoon gun momentarily short-circuits on contact. Also armed with vice-like tentacles that stick to any surface. So strong underwater that he can wrestle a whale to a standstill. Inner robot convers to metal-rending crab creature equipped with depth gauges, deep-sea radar and acetylene torch gun.
From the Tech Spec, it appears that Octopunch stomps around the ocean floor looking for useful bits of junk. The same role as the Seacon Nautilator, although the description leads me to believe that Octopunch is a little better at his job. Anyway. Octopunch had a tendency to pal around with Bludgeon as part of the Mayhem Attack Squad in the Marvel books, although his appearances there feature him carrying a trident that he doesn't actually have in his toy incarnation.
Oh yeah, and even though it was something of an accident, he did shoot Primus in the freaking face. That alone is worth a few bucks in his favor, right?
Octopunch comes packaged with the inner robot, two sets of attachable legs for his crab mode, two guns (one for the inner robot, one for the shell) and the shell itself.
Octopunch's carapace is difficult to describe succinctly. He's a bipedal creature, sort of a cranberry-red hunchback crammed into part of a deep-sea diving suit. He's got a big, deformed-looking head with yellow eyes, protruding teeth, no real nose, veins outlined on his scalp, and a big flabby chin that hangs over his breastplate. This is probably why he comes with a big round helmet that clearly emulates the classic diver-wearing-metal-bowl look. His head is set pretty far forward on his body. Interestingly, this makes the helmet's oversizedness even more obvious, so it obscures much of his ugly face and makes him look even more like a monster, with eyes and (unpainted) tusks visible from the front angle. Also, because of his head's position, the seam that splits the shell apart when opened actually runs behind the head instead of through it, meaning that you don't have to pull off his helmet just to open the shell. Each arm is bent at a near-90-degree angle and features two tentacles coming out of each shoulder, which aren't flexible or poseable, sorry. But they do have textured detailing suggesting sucker-cups and a slimy surface. He doesn't have the extraneous clip-on belt that earlier Pretenders did, although a similar item is molded into the shell with a death's head on the front. He's also got two-toed feet and a blue backpack on his grotesquely large back. He comes with a white harpoon gun that fits his look, although the choice of white may not have been the best. Overall, he sort of looks like a deep-sea diver that suddenly mutated into a walrus/octopus hybrid thing and broke out of most of his suit in the process. Well, after the hybrid thing went out and got itself some shinguards and other sundry pieces of armor to wear.
So anyway, as Pretender shells go, it's distinctive and easily recognizable, which is more than can be said for some of them. I've even seen a couple of independent sellers making tridents for him, in case you really liked the look of it in the comics. Oh, and like all the basic, non-transforming Pretender shells, he only has shoulder articulation. However, he does have a couple of surprises in regards to the shell, which I'll describe as we go...
Opening the shell, we find Octopunch himself nestled neatly inside. He's TINY. Not much taller than a Mini-Spy. Shorter than Bludgeon, and shorter than Pretender Grimlock. Still, before we jump all over him too badly here, he's really not bad-looking at all. His torso, head and upper legs are a dark red, with his lower legs, arms and back picked out in a light orange that actually works. They've attempted to give his chest a tapered, detailed look. His masked face is generally featureless, but it's picked out in white underneath his nicely shaped red helmet.His arms are molded in another near-90 degree angle and only move at the shoulders, but there's no holes in his fists - his torch gun fits in a hole in his elbow, if you like those forearm-mounted weapons. Overall, while they could have used some labels to help disguise the screws obvious in his robot mode, he really looks pretty good for a Pretender.
It would seriously behoove me to mention also that not only does he fit snugly into his shell, but there's a small hole inside one of the shell's legs to hold his torch gun. Little things like this go a long way for the Pretenders line in my opinion, since so many of them are pretty much a waste of the money...
Using the hidden tab in Octopunch's chest retracts his head. Lay him down on his belly and you'll realize that the backs of his legs are actually claws. Two purple sets of four legs each plug into his elbow sockets, and his small torch gun can be plugged into the hole on top. He's a widdle orange crab! Actually, given the limits of the era's TFs in general, he's really not that bad of a replica. He's almost entirely orange here, with red eyestalks and orange spikes sticking out of his carapace. His forelimbs have two joints each (I guess you'd say shoulder and elbow?), and little tabs on either side of the claws allow them to be opened or closed easily. He's even got little molded lines between the forelimbs (or is that the robot mode's butt?) to simulate a crab's mandibles. It's a simplistic transformation and requires accessories (the legs), but it's really not too bad.
Speaking of the crab legs, the shell's backpack has two holes that allow you to store the legs on the outside of the backpack. If you're very precise and careful, you CAN stuff them in the shell with Octopunch and his torch gun, but using the backpack mountings is easier.
Because the claws double as the robot mode's lower legs, there's a plastic piece on the underside of each claw that prevents them from carrying anything really big. The robot feet on the underside mean that the crab mode is better balanced on a flat surface, but admittedly the limitations do knock off some play value points for the crab mode. (I should point out, though, that he's small to begin with - not sure what you'd do with the claws in the first place, except have him run off with Pretender Grimlock's sword/gun like I just did!)
4/10. Simple, but relatively entertaining. The plug-in crab legs can be irritating, though, just because they may or may not fit snugly.
7/10. Although it's a small inner robot, it doesn't seem particularly fragile, and of course the shell is good basharound fun.
5/10. As the non-deluxe Pretenders go, I actually like Octopunch without making too many excuses for him. Good looking shell, good looking robot, doesn't come off as silly as many of the others do. And the crab mode is definitely unique.
6/10. The shell's big helmet makes it an eye-catching display piece, and the robot's colors help a lot as well.
7/10. Typical for G1, useful articulation is limited. However, none of it seems likely to make the figure fall over.
6/10. It's a bit tricky to get one's hands on Octopunch with his accessories, but he still tends to run on the cheap side of the market.
7/10. The Pretenders line is certainly debatable, but you could do worse.