Wednesday, 26 September 2012

#36: Slapdash (1988)

The Powermaster gimmick, like all of the 'Master' conceits, is one of my favourites. This isn't news to anyone who reads this blog, to be perfectly honest. But the Powermaster flavour is a particular favourite of mine these days, due to Masterforce, the Japanese version of events, where the gimmick is repurposed somewhat. The basic story is this; Nebulons (or humans in Masterforce) power the Transformers, making them even more powerful than before. (In Japan, the human IS the Transformer. They turn into an engine and merge with the robot, so the huan becomes the robot, effectively.) I just love this idea, especially the wetsren version, because the Nebulons had to consume HUGE amounts of food for it to become fuel, effectively. The thought of Hi-Q scarfing down Elvis-like proportions of burgers and cake amuses me. I'm a bit odd.

Slapdash is another of those characters that wasn't used in fiction much. He was introduced in the comics, was in a few stories, and then disappeared due to the fact that no one could be bothered writing him at that point. The G1 cartoon had ended too, meaning that really there was only one choice; go to Japan.

Road King, as he was known in Japan, was a completely different character to Slapdash. There, he was a British racing driver, the 'British Wolf', with an eye for the ladies and a celebrity attitude. He certainly wasn't Slapdash, forgetting to take along his partner Lube (yes, yes, I know) which meant that he couldn't transform. If I'm being honest, Road King's a bit cooler than Slapdash. I'd rather he be Road King. I like Masterforce. A lot.

The toy is better than it looks. I mean, it's not perfect, but it certainly isn't as bad as it first appears. It does have a little bit of articulation, and the alt-mode is great. Sadly, it is a bit simplistic, and that's mainly down to gimmick issues. The fact that the toy is in Fisher-Pricey colours doesn't help, really. But like all the Powermasters, it's a solid enough toy with lots of replay value.

Slapdash suffers from what a lot of later-era Transformers suffer from - fiction drought. Because the cartoon had finished, and the comic was concentrating on a story arc rather than selling toys too much (toys were sold through the comic stories - but Furman was taking over by this point and the Matrix Quest was king, effectively), so some of the later era toys maybe didn't get the pushes that earlier toys did. Which is why I love the Japanese versions of these characters so much - they give these toys a purpose, a story. And it's a good story, too. If you haven't ever checked Masterforce out - do so, and do yourself a massive favour.

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