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Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Pretender Vehicles
Year: 1988

The truth wrapped in a lie is still a lie.
A super hero in reverse. Daring and defiant when inside outer vehicle, but shy and insecure when out on his own. Armored outer vehicle equipped with armored wheels and hydraulic lifters for all-terrain combat capabilities. Gunrunner transforms from robot mode to hypersonic jet with a maximum speed of Mach 5. Equipped with twin, turreted 8mm electro-static cannons with a range of over 60 miles. Also armed with two armor-piercing, energy-plasma missiles. Armor plating equipped with thermal generators that "burn" through solid rock.

Robot Mode: Gunrunner, a name that would fit better on a Decepticon in my mind, is a yellow-orange robot that’s rather easily recognizable as a Pretender. Due to the constraints of having to fit inside a shell, the Pretender robots are usually very thin, have little to nothing in the way of kibble, and generally don’t look like they transform into anything at all. Gunrunner is actually one of the nicer-detailed Pretenders I know, but his pretty uniform orange-and-black paint job swallows up many of the details. Still, a nice head sculpt and a pretty good overall look for a Pretender robot.

Posability is limited to swiveling his arms and bending his knees (both together only). He comes with three weapons, though, Two double-missiles that fit to his arms, plus a black rifle for his hand. Additionally Gunrunner can wear his jet-module (see below) as a kind of jetpack, but it causes him to topple over backwards unless he leans forward and reduces his arm posability to zero. So all in all one of the better Pretender robot modes, but that isn’t saying that much, really.

Alternate Mode: Most Pretender robots don’t really have intricate alternate modes, the requirement of having to fit inside a shell too restrictive to allow for complex transformations. Gunrunner circumvents that somewhat, seeing as his alternate mode is a semi-impressive looking jet with twin cannons and bombs hanging under the wings. Not bad. The downside? Gunrunner isn’t really a part of this jet. He’s that orange box hanging under it, while the entire jet proper is a separate module. So in truth Gunrunner’s alternate mode is either an orange square or a very bulky landing gear for a jet, take your pick. The sad part? Still one of the best Pretender alternate modes I’ve seen.

Pretender Shell: Unlike most other Pretender figures, Gunrunner’s Pretender shell isn’t a human in armor or a roughly humanoid-looking monster, but rather a vehicle. A car to be precise. Gunrunner’s jet-module transforms into a gun turret that goes on top of the car, while his hand gun plugs into a hole on the side of the hood. The car is pretty nicely detailed, though it could have used some more paint apps to really bring them out. Rolling it across the floor causes the guns of the turret to go back and forth in a pow-pow motion. So far, so good.

Now for the confusing part, though: Gunrunner can both sit inside the car’s cockpit like a normal driver, or you can flip up the entire chassis of the car and lie him down inside it. This is the part I really don’t get. If the car is designed so he can sit in it, why include a second option where he can lie down? They even included a flip-up panel that sort of closes down the space where he’d normally sit, so you can’t look inside to see him lying there. Really doesn’t make any sense unless it’s some sort of slavish devotion to the usual Pretender-way of storing the robot inside the shell (arms folded in and all) or a rather misguided attempt to get some of that “robot in disguise” thing working here. See? It’s an alien armed car with no driver and no room for one, either. Surely it’s not an alien robot in disguise, you think? Anyway, Gunrunner looks a lot better sitting in his car than lying down inside it.

Remarks: In the late 80s Hasbro really went wild with the whole Pretender gimmick, though God alone knows why they thought it was a good idea. Fans didn’t even like the first wave human- and monster-shell Pretenders. Still, we got vehicle Pretenders, Mega Pretenders, Ultra Pretenders, you name it. Gunrunner was one of them and hasn’t really acquired much fame in the last 23 years. He scored some background appearances in the IDW comics, but that’s it.

I bought Gunrunner was part of a bigger lot and originally intended to resell him quickly. For some reason I can’t quite put my finger on, though, I like this strange guy. Maybe it’s the weird way he transforms and interacts with his Pretender shell, I don’t know. Might still sell him, but for the moment he’s got me hooked, at least a tiny little bit. Still, recommended to Pretender fans only.

Rating: C+
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