Select your language

Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Pretender
Function: Space Defense
Year: 1988

You can´t tell a bot by his cover!
Aggressive, witty and charming, but only when hiding in his outer shell! Wary of everyone and everything, especially Decepticons. Uses his outer shell to disguise his dull personality as well as himself. Reluctant to leave his outer shell so he can transform into an interplanetary star cruiser, armed with particle beam cannon. Within shell, armed with lightning whip and thunderbolt laser pistol.

Prelude: Remember Cloudburst? The guy who nearly got busy with a giant alien Amazon? No? Well, he is a G1 toy, he is a Pretender, and... yeah, that’s pretty much it. Still, the Pretenders were a pretty big thing back in the day and they kind of have an anniversary coming up this year, as it’s been 35 years since the first of them came out. So clink your wrists together, shout “Suit on!”, yell “Pretendaaaa!” at the top of your voice, and let’s say go!

Many thanks to Jörg “the Carpenter” Zimmermann for loaning me Cloudburst for this review.

Robot Mode: Let’s take a look at Cloudburst’s Pretender shell first. He appears as a huge, armored space-marine type. His red, grey, and blue armored suit looks pretty cool and with a little more articulation it would have been a great toy all by itself. As things stand the Pretender can only swivel his arms at the shoulders, that’s it. The belt and helmet can be removed, though the poor guy can never reveal his lower face. For arms he has a red blaster and a blue whip. One of the few whips in Transformers history that do not double as a beast mode tail, by the way, just an easy to lose (or break) accessory.

Once you crack open the shell (belt and helmet need to be removed for that) you come upon the inner robot, who is pretty much a typical Pretender. Slim, nearly no kibble, and looking very generic overall. Still, Cloudburst does have a few good points. He is very nicely articulated for a G1 figure. He’s got a turning head, knees, can swivel and spread his arms at the shoulders, and can extend his jet mode wings in robot mode, too (which I sadly forgot to take a picture of). The robot uses the same red blaster as the shell, but cannot use the whip, sadly.

So bottom line: very nice shell, though it’s a near-statue, and a decent if somewhat limited inner robot. Not bad for a figure from that time.

Alternate Mode: Cloudburst’s inner robot transforms much in the same minimalistic way most of the early Pretenders did, namely by folding in half. Due to the unfolding wings and the large gun that is plugged in under the cockpit, he still manages to look somewhat like an airplane (or “interplanetary star cruiser”, rather) and not entirely like a folded-up robot. Of course he still IS a folded-up robot and you can easily spot the robot head and fists from the back, but overall it’s not the worst of the Pretender alternate modes.

Remarks: Cloudburst was among the first wave of Pretenders. Most of the early Pretenders were organized in teams of three, each team containing a flyer, a groundpounder, and a naval warrior. Cloudburst was the fly guy of his team and also starred in several issues of the Marvel TF comics, where (in his Pretender guise) he attracted the attention of an alien Amazon. When she realized he was but a robot, she immediately beheaded him, but he got better. In the Japanese Masterforce cartoon he was called Phoenix, though he was somewhat redundant as his role as flyer was pretty much usurped by team leader Metalhawk.

Cloudburst is a figure that shows both the strengths of the Pretender concept (the cool-looking and nicely-detailed outer shell, nicely articulated inner robot), as well as its weaknesses (shell, a statue, robot looks slim and generic, alternate mode barely worth mentioning). So he looks nice if you just put him in your display case, but there is not a lot of transforming fun to be found here, honestly. So bottom line: if you like the Pretender concept at all, then Cloudburst is a pretty decent toy. If you have no love for the Pretenders, though, best to leave him aside, because there really isn’t anything else to him.

Rating: C+

Toy DB Link

Picture Gallery:

No comments