When thinking of Transformers, most people picture a robot converting into a Porsche or a jet plane, or maybe an animal, and vice versa. They are the eponymous robots in disguise, after all. So the Monsterbots are fairly novel in that they don’t really turn into anything recognisable. They’re Heroic Autobots®, and have standard humanoid robot forms. They even have jobs, according to the packaging; Grotusque is a military strategist, Repugnus is a spy, and Doublecross is a supply procurer.
Yet they each transform into a hideous, brightly-coloured affront to nature. Why? Because they’re awesome, that’s why. They’re mavericks who don’t play by the rules.
They’re a nice-looking bunch, all said. Quite large, chunky, with interesting sculpted details. Between the three of them, they even have elbows and knees. Doublecross even has shoulders that rotate outwards. As any child from the 80s will tell you, bringing a toy with such deft articulation to school would’ve had you burned in the playground as a heretic.
Let’s study each in a bit more detail, shall we?
Grotusque is first up. He’s pink and nobbly, with bat wings and gargoyle-esque features. Is he a tiger? A reptile? The unholy product of some forbidden love between the two? Either way, he’s an impressive animal and my favourite of the three. Pump the little handle on his head and he spits a jet of sparks*. This gimmick unites the triplets, yet I often forget it’s there. His robot mode is proud and tall, he has a stern expression and luscious lips. His wings hang over his shoulders, lending him a distinctive silhouette.
(*This feature will never be seen again, due to a young girl in Americaland setting her solvent-drenched underwear on fire with sparking Barbie rollerskates. Truth.)
Repugnus is perhaps the strangest. He turns into a… beetle? Crab? Something you wouldn’t want to find in a box of bananas, for sure. He has a unique transformation sequence, folding in strange ways that make him a lot of fun to play with. The articulation in his arms is fairly limited because of a joint on each side of his chest, but he has movement at the shoulders, elbows and wrists. His legs, too, are well articulated. A fun and interesting toy.
Doublecross is quite plain in comparison. A fairly stereotypical dragon mode, notable perhaps for being quite ‘western’ in appearance; the snake-like dragons from the Far East seem more prevalent these days. His legs are bonded together due to his transformation, but his arms make up for it. The dragon heads become hands, after a fashion, but it rather looks like he’s wearing mittens. In keeping with the gimmick, he shoots sparks from the circular saw in his chest (maybe he moonlights sawing timber?) instead of his dragon heads. I suppose his mouthhands are too small to accommodate the mechanism.
In summary, wonderful toys, perhaps my favourite of the vintage Transformers. In lieu of any props, I have posed them grappling with a selection of miniature vegetables found in the fridge for your amusement.
Awesomeness Rating: 5/5 – On their own, they’d score lower, but the failings of one are made up for by the other. A lovely set.