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Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Decepticon
Categories: Firecon
Year: 1988

The smallest details reveal the largest secrets.
His greatest talents are revealed in the tiniest structures. An expert in robbing memory banks, counterfeiting printed circuits, decoding binary messages. Meticulous, cautious, obsessed with minute details. Decepticons appreciate his appearance more than his other talents because he terrifies Autobots. Shoots flame from mouth with limited accuracy. Better equipped to light campfires than melt Autobots.

Robot Mode: Sparkstalker’s robot mode might well be the epitome of the term brick-bot. He’s almost as wide as he’s tall, very boxy, and his articulation here is practically nonexistent. He can move his short, stubby legs forward and backwards, that’s pretty much it. The arms are completely fixed in place. It’s quite clear that the robot mode was pretty much an afterthought here, tacked on in order to make this toy a Transformer. It’s clearly not the focus of the toy, though, so let’s go to the primary mode.

Beast Mode: Sparkstalker transforms into a... creature. No kidding, that’s what his alternate mode is according to his profile. A creature. A creature that looks like a cross between some kind of fairy tale monster and a plucked chicken. Stubby little wings on the back, hook-things as arms, and a pointy, horned head, looking vaguely insectoid. In bright pink, mind you. No wonder the look of his alternate mode terrifies the Autobots. He is actually better articulated in this mode, though, as the hook-thing arms can swivel at the shoulders.

Anyway, the main point of this toy is the gimmick and here is where the true kicker lies, because Sparkstalker and his Firecon teammates contain the most fearsome, most dangerous gimmick of all time. A gimmick so epically destructive and potentially disastrous it has long been abandoned by American toy industry due to the immense loss of innocent life it... wait, what? It... it sparks? That’s it? There is a friction motor and a flint in his chest, so rolling him on his belly across the floor causes sparks to shoot from his mouth... and that’s it? That’s what all the hubbub is about? Really?

Anyway, Sparkstalker is a spark-shooting vaguely insect-like creature-beast with stubby little wings. And he comes in pink. I really don’t know how I can put it any better than that.

Remarks: There was a time when no one thought anything bad could ever come of a toy that shot out sparks. Then came the infamous case of a Barbie doll with sparking roller skates that set a kid’s underwear on fire. The fact that said kid had been doused in flammable hairspray by its sibling directly beforehand somehow failed to connect with people, who just saw the terrible menace of a child-immolating toy gimmick. Thus we have not seen spark-shooting Transformers toys since. It’s only been in 2014 that we’ve seen this gimmick revived with the Age of Extinction Dino Sparkers. The next scandal and/or lawsuit is probably just a matter of time.

Anyway, Sparkstalker and his Firecon teammates have some appearances in the Marvel Transformers comics to their credit, as well as appearing as the non-sentient Sparkdasher drones in the Japanese Masterforce series. The main selling point of the toy was their cheap price point and sparking gimmick, that’s pretty much it. I’m somewhat of a fan of the Firecons’ Autobot counterparts, the Sparkabots / Sparkler Mini-Bots, but the Firecons themselves don’t really do much for me, to be honest. Still, there is usually at least one of them in every other G1 lot for sale on eBay, so there is probably one in your collection right now. Use them to fill up your Decepticon ranks, but otherwise I see very little use for them.

Rating: D+
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