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Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Mega Pretender
Function: Ground Reinforcement
Year: 1989

A warrior is only as good as his weapons.
A hyperactive, overheated sky jockey. Talks constantly. Patrols Autobot headquarter perimeters with lightning speed, searching for Decepticon infiltrators. Only stops long enough to refuel and check his weapons. Armed with automatic 35mm machine guns, air-to-air missiles, and a searing thermal cannon. Also equipped with mid-flight refueling capabilities and cloaking device that makes him invisible. Transforms to supersonic dragster, equipped with high-speed turbo boosters and electro-jammers that disrupt enemy circuitry. Outer shell chopper equipped with metal-eating roto-blades. Combines with dragster to form ultra-sonic helicopter equipped with front-mounted magneto-ray that magnetizes on impact.

Prelude: People don’t really remember the Mega Pretenders (and many of those that do are doing their best to forget them), except Thunderwing. Crossblades is not Thunderwing, though, so he is instead relegated to the ranks of the many new characters released during the dreaded gimmick years, who are mostly forgotten today. Recently, though, I had the chance to buy a near-complete G1 Crossblades from fellow German TF-collector Jörg Zimmermann, so I guess it’s time to refresh our memories of the G1 Mega Pretenders. Let’s say go!

Inner Robot: The actual Crossblades robot is a small orange and beige figure. Due to the constraints of the Pretender gimmick he is pretty slim and his transformation is pretty basic, too. His articulation is restricted to the arms, which can move at the shoulders, and he can spread his legs a bit, that’s it. Not bad for the time, but not particularly great, either. Crossblades wields two big guns for weapons.

He transforms by folding in his arms and connecting his legs, so basically he just lies down on the floor. This mode is called “super sonic dragster”, but looks more like a space jet of some kind. The green wings are an extra part and there are no wheels, so he’s probably a hover dragster or something? Not sure. Anyway, it’s not the worst alternate mode of a Pretender I’ve seen, as it actually does manage to look like a vehicle and not like a robot folded in half. So bottom line, a decent robot given the gimmick constraints, but not the reason anyone would buy this figure.

Pretender Shell: Crossblade’s Pretender shell resembles a kind of space marine, wearing futuristic combat gear. I like that they sculpted parts of the figure so that it looks like he’s wearing a fabric uniform underneath, very nicely done. There is a lot of kibble attached to the shell, though, and it is wearing quite the backpack, too. Like with all Pretenders movement is restricted to turning the arms at the shoulders. For weapons he carries the rear assembly of his helicopter mode as a rifle, as well as the wing piece from his robot’s vehicle mode. Overall he doesn’t look too bad, but the sheer amount of kibble does drag him down a bit.

As a Mega-Pretender, Crossblade’s Pretender shell can transform into a vehicle mode of its own, a helicopter in his case. It’s basically the shell lying down on its stomach, with the legs folding twice to form the rear of the chopper. Crossblade’s inner robot can remain inside the shell for the transformation. The result is something that is somewhat recognizable as a helicopter, though rather weirdly proportioned. The rotor blades sit very far back on a separate piece, the skids and boosters are all (easy to lose) extra pieces, and both the shell’s fists and feet are rather visible from the side. So while the gimmick as such is a fun idea, the execution is not the best, I must say.

Crossblade can also combine his two vehicle modes into a single super vehicle. So the helicopter and the dragster combine to form... a helicopter with a dragster attached to its front, I guess? Some kind of super helicopter, probably, but it doesn’t really look much different from the normal helicopter mode.

Remarks: It was the year 1989 and while the world celebrated the end of the cold war, gimmicks were taking over the Transformers toy line. Every single toy released by Hasbro that year was either a Micromaster or a Pretender. And the Pretenders were getting crazier, too. Apart from the “normal” Pretenders and Pretender Classics, you had the Beast Pretenders, Pretender Monsters, Vehicle Pretenders, Ultra Pretenders, and, in case of Crossblades, Mega Pretenders. One of them, Thunderwing, made it big in the comics, but neither Crossblades nor his gimmick-mate Vroom ever achieved more than a few background appearances in some comics. Crossblades was repainted into Blue Bacchus for the Takara release, though, and at least scored an appearance in the Victory TV series there.

As a toy Crossblades is... weird. Really weird. In a fun way, though. He certainly won’t win any awards for best or most innovative Transformers figure ever, but he is certainly fun in a late-80s-nostalgia kind of way. Probably not something for fans of the more modern Transformers lines, but old-style G1 fans like me will certainly look favorably upon this guy, as our eyes are clouded by nostalgia. So bottom line: recommended to G1 fans who like even the weirdest gimmicks G1 came up with. Everyone else, probably not.

Rating: C+
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