Having won Gutcruncher on eBay from Whiz-Bang some time ago, my Action Master collection is finally complete (as far as the US released toys go). I have to admit that I don’t know why I never picked this guy up when he was at retail ten years ago. It sure would have saved me some money. But I digress...
Function: Air-to-Ground Support
“Conquest of the Autobots begins with control of the sky!”
Gutcruncher shares the Decepticon’s dream of total defeat of the Autobots, but for his own reasons. He has a contract with Megatron to trade their remains to the Junkions and other interplanetary spare parts dealers for vast quantities of energon cubes. This cold, calculating capitalist views all opponents as potential profit. He pilots the space-faring Stratotronic Jet, which has a maximum speed of 40,000 mph and is armed with fusion bombs, two cruise missiles, particle beam, infrared laser guns and more. It converts into a devastating battle station with missile launcher and fusion blaster cannon. Also includes pilotless surveillance drone and one-man battle tank.
Strength: 8 Intelligence: 8 Speed: 7 Endurance: 9
Rank: 10 Courage: 7 Firepower: 5 Skill: 9
Wow, the text sure makes Gutcruncher sound pretty darn buff, don’t they? He has a contract to sell Autobot parts to the Junkions (who are Autobot allies) and others for energon cubes. I didn’t realize the Junkions had “vast quantities” of energon just laying about for people to trade junk for.
The stats though, what is wrong with them? With a speed of 40,000 mph, he only rates a 7? Does this take into account the jet or just Gutcruncher? He only rates a firepower rating of 5 considering he has fusion bombs, two cruise missiles, particle beam, infrared laser guns, missile launcher, fusion blaster cannon and more. And while I think he should have a fairly high rank (if only for having such a cool name as Gutcruncher), I think a 10 is a bit high. Ah well, what can you do?
The Toy Part 1 – Jet Assembly:
I haven’t been this excited with a new (well, new to me) Transformer toy since I don’t know when. After slicing the tape and pulling the cardboard tray out, I became giddy as a schoolgirl...well, maybe I wasn’t that giddy. I proceeded to open the three little bags that contained the accessories, instructions, label sheet, catalog (woo hoo!), and Gutcruncher himself. More on him in a bit though.
After making sure all parts were present and accounted for; four missiles, two laser cannons, one twin laser cannon, two rear stabilizer fins, jet nose, and jet body (the seat and scout tank aren’t listed in the “Set Includes” section); I started to build the Stratotronic Jet. First, line up the pegs on the stabilizer fins into the holes on the scout tank (thus making it look really silly) and lock the tank into place in the jet body by aligning peg and hole again. Mount the twin laser cannon onto the front of the scout tank, put the seat into the cockpit, and set the jet cone into place in the front of the jet. Flip the jet over and attach the missiles to the wings and the two laser cannons into either side of the fuselage. The instructions show them placed into the rear-most holes, but I think they look better in the front ones. Suit yourself. Lastly, lower the landing gear, put GC in a seated position and you’re ready to blast the Autobots from the air at high speeds.
What really impressed me the most about the jet mode wasn’t the amount of weapons (although they are pretty impressive), nor the sleek design, it was the fact that this thing has landing gear. I’ve never seen any pictures of this toy that showed any indication of landing gear. After studying the catalog pictures for hours upon hours, I figured the Stratotronic Jet didn’t have any. Of course, the neon-green color that the main legs are molded of really doesn’t go with the rest of the jet’s color scheme.
And about that jet, there really isn’t any one color that stands out over the others. Both the main wings and the stabilizers are a dark blue while the majority of the nosecone and engines are black with some light gray highlights in the fuselage. All the weapons are red and the scout tank is orange. So, on the top, you have orange glaring at you and underneath you have neon-green beating you over the head. The stabilizer legs used in base mode are also visible underneath and are also neon-green. Were these leftovers from Megatron’s Neutro-Fusion Tank?
The Toy Part 2 – Unlock the Transformation Within:
All right, let’s get down to making a base that the Autobots won’t stand a chance against! Remove the nosecone, scout tank and stabilizer fins from the main body and retract the landing gear. Attach the stabilizer fins (which can each hold one missile) to the nosecone to form the surveillance drone. Take your pilot seat and move it to the next hole back where the scout tank used to be. Remove the laser cannons and missiles and swing the front section of the jet up and back on the (neon-green) extender arm. Pull out the cannon barrel that would make the original Megatron toy slightly jealous, rotate the wings forward and reattach the missiles and cannons. Swing out the stabilizer legs to a forty-five degree angle facing forward and you’re set to take on the Autobots on terra firma.
The nice thing about the Missile Base mode is that it can hold quite a few Action Master figures. One can sit in the pilot’s seat while two others man the guns on either side of him. Another can ride around in the scout tank. And if you remove the stabilizer fins from the nose cone, another Decepticon can man the drone...err toboggan. However, there is one thing, tacticallyspeaking, that bothers me. It’s the fact that if an Autobot gets behind the base somehow, he can (if he’s a good shot) take out everyone manning the base in three shots.
Another thing that puzzles me is the fact that the extender arm that allows the front of the jet to swing back can also rotate the front jet assembly three hundred sixty degrees. After playing around with it for a few minutes, the only reason I could come up with is if you wanted to use the base as a method of execution by seating an enemy in the chair and swinging the front around so the main gun faces them.
The Toy Part 3 – Get Stuck:
Now comes the part I really have never enjoyed about Transformers: the stickers. Maybe the Beast Wars and Machines toys have me spoiled with their paint jobs (though some are lacking even in that department), but I just don’t like stickers. They peel up on you, fade, rip, don’t come off the sheet well and split in half between the glued section and the detailed part (which actually happened to me on one occasion with the Stratotronic Jet – anyone have a sticker restoration kit for GC yet?). I recently had some fun with some Autobot and Decepticon stickers Zobovor sent me from his stash of Delta Star’s stickers, but that is the extent of my enjoyment of these sticky pieces of paper.
Anyway, eleven stickers weren’t all that bad, even if one is already ruined.
The Toy Part 4 – Gutcruncher:
Gutcruncher is, in my opinion, one of the best-looking Decepticons ever. If you take elements from Hard Head and Wheeljack and throw on a nice color scheme and detail, you have GC. Gutcruncher is primarily green with dark-gray undertones and orange and light-gray highlights. On the backs of his lower legs are some nicely detailed treads, so With the cannon mounted on his right shoulder, I think it’s safe to say that GC had a tank-like alt-mode prior to the Nucleon experience. Which leads me to wonder if he wasn’t originally supposed to come with the Neutro-Fusion Tank instead of Megatron. His face holds elements of Wheeljack around the eyes and mouth, which is a black-painted, lined mouth plate. Sadly, due to his shoulders being a bit high, he cannot turn his head more than a millimeter in either direction, leaving only his shoulders, hips and knees for articulation.
Some Points to Ponder:
On his Power Plan, Gutcruncher supposedly has a Target Trajectory Detonator in his left knee. What, exactly, is this thing supposed to do? Detonate target trajectories? There is also an Ammo Rec Procator in his right hip area. What in the heck does that do for him?
What I really want to know is who the bot is that can be seen in the lower right-hand corner of the Action Masters battle art (all you see is the rear left of their head and face)? Why is Mainframe shooting Jackpot? Was Skyfall really going to be colored blue-green and Kick-Off yellow as depicted in this scene? Anyone?
The Final Thoughts:
The Stratotronic Jet with Gutcruncher is definitely worth looking into if you can find him cheap, which won’t be too easy considering how apparently rare he is. I’m actually amazed that I got him for $50 less MISB that the loose one I bid (and thankfully lost) a couple months back. So, if you love Action Masters and don’t have him in your collection, get him. He delivers a lot more for your dollar than the UK exclusive toys and for not nearly as much money.
Now, all I have to do is find said UK exclusive Action Masters for a decent price. Ha! Now that’s comedy.
|Date||June 18th 2002|
|Score||(10 out of 10)|