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Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Pretender
Function: Chemical Engineer
Year: 1989

Be humble of word, but great in deed.
A mad scientist of sorts. Concocts metal-eating, corrosive acids, oxidizing agents and other powerful formulas. An over-achieving, unassuming genius. Venom coated stinger paralyzes on contact and can drill through metal to drain enemy fuel supplies. Also armed with 20 megavolt stun rifle that shoots short bursts of metal-fusing energon. Inner robot armed with laser torch. Serrated claws can pierce metal and emit circular force field in robot mode.

Prelude: Remember that Pretender guy from G1? No, not Bludgeon. The scorpion guy! No, not Scorponok. The Pretender scorpion guy! No? Well, you are in good company then, because no one remembers Pincher. Yeah, a scorpion guy called pincher, what can you do? So here we have Pincher, the Autobot Pretender that turns into a scorpion. Intrigued? Let’s say go!

Many thanks to the Carpenter Jörg Zimmermann for loaning me Pincher for this review.

Robot Mode: As a Pretender from the second year of the gimmick, Pincher’s Pretender shell is a bit smaller than those of the first year Pretenders, but that is really the only major difference. Just like most of the other Autobot Pretenders his shell resembles a human in futuristic battle armor. He has a white rifle and a removable helmet. He also carries a part of the robot’s alternate mode on his back, the legs and tail of the scorpion mode. Sadly there is no good way to bring the scorpion’s stinger into play here, unless he plans to stab someone standing behind him.

Opening up the shell, you find a relatively small robot, as well as a smaller weapon stored inside. Pincher’s robot mode is teal and grey and the only real clue to his alternate mode are his forearms, which end in pincers. Pincher is pretty well-articulated for a robot from this time, being able to bend his knees, swivel and spread his arms at the shoulders, and bend his elbows. His weapon can be plugged into either pincer, though he is sadly unable to wield the Pretender’s larger rifle in this mode.

Pincher can carry the rest of his alternate mode on his back, much like the Pretender does, but the connection isn’t very solid, and the scorpion legs restrict the arm movement. But at least here he can bring the stinger to bear if you want him to. So bottom line: a Pretender shell much like any other, but a pretty good robot mode.

Alternate Mode: Pincher transforms into a robotic scorpion. Now usually insects and arachnids of all kinds are bad guy beast modes, but Pincher is the exception. He is an Autobot and he transforms into a scorpion. And leaving aside the fact that nearly half this mode is an extra part carried around on the Pretender’s back, it’s a pretty good scorpion mode. Sure, the scorpion legs are immobile, but both the pincers and the tail can move, and you can mount Pincher’s gun on top. With the right paintjob he could easily serve as a miniature version of G1 Scorponok.

Not much else I can write here. A pretty good alternate mode and given that he is the only good guy ever to transform into a scorpion, he is something unique.

Remarks: Pincher was released in the second year of Pretenders in the same assortment as Bludgeon. But while Bludgeon went on to become a fan-favorite cross-continuity character, barely anyone remembers Pincher. He appeared in the Marvel Comics during the Matrix Quest, though he was more a side character to Longtooth, and had some cameo appearances in the IDW comics, where he was part of the Lost Light crew. That’s it, though.

The second year Pretenders had a bit of an advantage over their earlier peers in that their inner robots usually offered a bit more than folding-in-half for a transformation. While still far from an intricate Transformer, Pincher offers a decent robot mode and a rather singular alternate mode for play value. Combined with his Pretender shell, he is more entertaining in my book than quite a few of his gimmick-mates. Sure, he has almost no media-presence, but as a figure he is pretty good as far as Pretenders go. Recommended if you are a fan of Pretenders or somewhat unusual alternate modes.

Rating: B-

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