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with Zigzag & Sunbeam

Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Decepticon
Categories: Double Targetmaster
Year: 1988

Get hip or get hit!
The coolest Decepticon ever to crush an Autobot. Believes the secret to being bad is to be "BAD". Trendy. Fascinated by Earthly fads. Always tries to fit in, even when it's impossible. So busy being cool he seldom joins in battle. Teamed with Sunbeam, a solar powered beach bum who transforms into a light burst discharger and Zigzag, who transforms into a slightly-inaccurate, twin elecrtostatic overloader rifle.

Robot Mode: Much like many other Transformers with jet alternate modes over the years, Needlenose is basically a robot with a jet on his back, who transforms into a jet with a folded-together robot hanging underneath. Let's look at the robot first. Needlenose is a rather typical Transformer from the late 80s, meaning his posability is limited to the arms (fully articulate shoulders, but that's it unless you count the fold-in fists). The detail work on his torso is pretty good, but could have used a bit more color to bring it out.

My favorite part of this Decepticon is the head, though. It looks like a cross between the head of Optimus Prime and a medieval knight. The helmet moves, btw, folding down to hide Needlenose's face in vehicle mode. Fun thing is that you can practically give him different expressions, depending on how far down you fold the helmet. Fun stuff.

That's pretty much it for the fun stuff, though. All in all Needlenose is an average robot for his time, meaning not that brilliant.

Vehicle Mode: Needlenose transforms into an F-16XL fighter jet, or rather the robot folds together (quite nicely actually) into an undercarriage for the plane he carried on his back in robot mode. The jet looks pretty good and while most of the detailing is provided by the two big stickers that cover 90% of the wing surfaces, that works pretty well to. It has a working landing gear and the two Targetmaster weapons can be fastened underneath the wings. Sadly the big screw hole on top of the jet's surface is a tad too big to serve as an attachment hole for the weapons. So all in all a decent jet mode, but nothing too special.

Partners / Add-Ons: As a Targetmaster Needlenose's weapons are actually separate entities, two Nebulons called Zigzag and Sunbeam. Sunbeam is the purple one, Zigzag the black one. And just like pretty much every other Targetmaster figure from that time, the two Nebulons are statues, pure and simple. Or rather, they are figures sculpted into the surface of a rectangular block of plastic, from which a barrel (or two) fold out. The detail work on he figures isn't bad, but their play value is pretty much zero. Best to leave them in weapon mode. They can even combine there, too.

Remarks: Needlenose was a member of the Decepticon Mayhem Attack Squad in the Marvel UK comics and was involved in hunting down Decepticon deserter Carnivac. He was also a spineless coward and in the Marvel UK story "Cry Wolf" he ended up staging so many practice alarms, that when Carnivac came by to kill him, his comrades didn't answer his cry for help, thinking it just another false alarm. In the US Comics Spinister was one of the lieutenants of Thunderwing during the Matrix Quest and was one of the first to see that Thunderwing was slowly losing his marbles in the process. Didn't much help him in the end, though.

Needlenose is a rather typical example of the rather lackluster figures the original Transformers series was pumping out after the cartoon ended and gimmicks began to dominate the line-up. Needlenose certainly isn't a bad figure, but he's far from brilliant, either. So unless you're a big fan of the character or the Targetmaster gimmick, there really isn't any special need to get this one.

Rating: C
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