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with Grax

Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Decepticon
Categories: Headmaster
Year: 1987

Autobots are like bad fuel -- weak and greasy.
Has a habit of grinding his teeth before he strikes -- annoying his friends and tipping off his enemies. Binary-bonded to Grax, a Nebulan industrialist who's joined up to eliminate his competition. In robot Mode, uses softening ray run -- gives metal the consistency of rubber, making his enemies easier to chew when he reverts to alligator mode.

Robot Mode: Skullcruncher is a tall, relatively slim robot who would probably be part of the Deluxe-class if he were released today. There are very few parts of his alternate mode visible, at least from the front. The head of the alligator hangs on his back and the tail is split and hangs off his knees right above the rear legs of the alligator, which hang off his thighs. Nothing that gets in the way, there are TFs with much, much worse kibble. The paint job with green and something that is somewhere between purple and burgundy looks good, almost understated. Might have looked better without the purple/burgundy, though. Not sure and definitely not sacrificing this one for a repaint.

In terms of posability Skullcruncher is neither the best nor the worst figure of his time. He can bend his knees, twist at the hip, and move his arms at shoulder and elbow. Not fancy, but okay for a G1 figure. The figure carries two weapons. One is a pretty standard laser pistol, while the other is a kind of short sword or possibly a mace, formed from the very tip of the alligator tail. Almost reminiscent (or is that preminiscent?) of Beast Wars, where the weapons were usually integral parts of the beast mode as well.

Like all Headmasters Skullcruncher shows his stats behind his chest plate when his head is plugged in. According to them he's very strong, pretty intelligent, but very slow. Not sure where the intelligent comes in (certainly not in his tech spec or any of his in-media appearances). So in the end we have a rather typical 1987 G1 robot with no flaws worth mentioning, but nothing particularly outstanding, either. A good, but unspectacular robot mode.

Alternate Mode: Like all Decepticon Headmasters Skullcruncher becomes a robotic animal, in his case an alligator. I think he's actually the first alligator in Transformer history (not that there have been that many, even if you count in crocodiles), so a small bonus point for originality. In terms of look and proportions Skullcruncher does a pretty decent job here. The head might be a bit big compared to the rest of the body, but overall the proportions seem pretty okay to me (as a non-zoologist).

The color combination is the same here as in robot mode. Wouldn't have been my first choice, but looks okay. The alligator's head doubles as a cockpit for Headmaster Grax, who has to enter his partner's mouth in order to take a seat (would make me very nervous each time). Posability in the four legs is okay, the front ones (the robot arms) do better than the rear ones, which can only swivel at the 'hip', so to speak. No tail movement, sadly, and the twisting hip doesn't do much good here, either. Skullcruncher can open his jaw wide enough, though, to swallow small figures and fully grab taller ones (if Grax isn't in the seat, at least). So all in all a beast mode more for looking at than playing with, but still quite good.

Partner / Add-On: As a Headmaster Skullcruncher's head is a separate figure, the Nebulon Grax. Mostly black, Grax is a pretty standard Headmaster figure from the gimmick's first year. Far more posable than later Headmaster figure, he can move his legs quite freely (though they're joined at the knees) and his arms swivel at the shoulders. Pretty decent for his size. When plugged into Skullcruncher in head mode, he causes the robot's stats to become visible behind his chest panel.

Remarks: To the western world Skullcruncher was just one more new face in the crowd during the infamous three-part finale of the G1 cartoon, "Rebirth". He did nothing of consequence there and his role in the Marvel comic series wasn't any bigger, either. Just one of the crowd. In the Japanese Headmaster series, though, he had a bigger role as one of the trio of Destron Headmasters that took point in just about every battle of that series and blew up planet Seibertron (the Japanese name for Cybertron), too. That will look impressive on just about any résumé.

Rating: B-
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