In 1987 Hasbro released a stocky green and purple robot that transformed into a mechanical scorpion and a Decepticon Fortress. Nearly 30 years later, third-party Transformers crafters MakeToys releases a much cooler take on Scorponok.
First off I must thank my friends over at Toy Dojo for lending me their production sample of MakeToys CityBot series MCB-03, Pandinus. Third-party Transformers are a passion of mine, but they are a very expensive passion. After spending more than $400 on another MakeToys creation and purchasing GCreation’s ridiculously huge Shuraking Dinobot combiner piece by piece as it’s released (one more to go!), my budget for third-party bots is pretty much shot for life.
And secondly, I have nothing but love for the original Scorponok, though he wasn’t my cup of tea back in the day. “Transforming into an animal?” thought 14-year-old me. “How lame!” One day 30-year-old me is going to go back in time and bury that stupid kid with his Beast Wars collection.
I never owned the original, but I’ve got several Scorponok toys in my collection. Beast Wars, Energon—I’ve even got the first live-action movie toy. Sometimes I just throw it against the wall. It makes me feel better.
MakeToys’ latest CityBot is not something you’d throw against the wall, as demonstrated in the video atop this post. For one, he’s expensive, as third-party Transformers tend to be. Companies like MakeToys design transforming robots far more complex than anything Hasbro could bring to market, producing them on a much smaller scale.
Also, he would most certainly damage the wall.
Standing at over 15 inches tall, Pandinus is a massive, bulky figure. He’s designed to look like dynamic comic book art, exaggerated feet and hands requiring dramatic stances. He looks like he’s ready to strike at any moment.
His large, purple claws are imposing as hell, far more than the tiny baby hands hidden inside of them (see video), should his owner be looking to knock him down a peg or two.
Every inch of Pandinus’ robot form is brimming with details—lines, grooves, panels and bolts. They give the gigantic figure a better sense of scale. He feels like a manufactured being, from his translucent orange knees to his segmented purple tail.
Let us not forget, Pandinus’ inspiration, Scorponok, is a Headmaster. Hiding behind this robot’s cool-ass visor is a another robot. Call him Zarak. Call him Scorponok. Whichever fiction you follow, it’s cool.
Much more articulated than the head robots Hasbro’s currently releasing in their Titan Returns line, this little guy also transforms into a nice-try scorpion. Also, he has a leash, which is a very nice touch.
Speaking of scorpions...
That is certainly a massive mechanical scorpion, alright.
My least favorite of Pandinus’ three modes is still an impressive sight, all claws and legs and menacing tail. In the video I complain about the feet just sort of being there on the beast’s back, but looking at the original Scorponok, that’s pretty much what Hasbro did as well.
In scorpion mode, Pandinus’ head becomes a pilot, which really makes the mode a mech. It might be only vaguely scorpionish, but Pandinus is totally mech.
Oddly enough, my favorite form of Pandinus is generally my least favorite form of any other city robot. His fortress mode is impressive as hell.
It’s a monument to vaguely Decepticon-ish might. A temple dedicated to the worship of evil robot power. It’s got a dark passage, beckoning followers into its unknown depths.
And atop its massive tower blazes the face of the enemy, a beacon for all who aren’t sure about this whole “Freedom is the right of all sentient beings” stuff Optimus Prime keeps spewing.
MakeToys Pandinus is what the original Hasbro Scorponok would have grown up to become if he hadn’t been tagged for sand duty in the first Transformers live-action movie. He would have been an incredibly impressive robot, a passable mech scorpion and the coolest temple/fortress the Decepticons could have asked for.
Check out my video atop the post for a closer look at Pandinus, and his up MakeToys’ official YouTube for a detailed look at each transformation.
Pandinus production sample loaned to Toy Time by Toy Dojo.