Monday, 22 October 2012

#50: Wildrider (1986)

In 1986, the Stunticons were my favourite combiner team. (This would change with later releases, but for 1986, this is the way it was) They were Decepticon cars, which didn't happen very often. It also automatically made them very, very cool. These days Decepticons transforming into cars is no big thing; back then it was almost unheard of. So to have an actual combining team be all cars, well, that was pretty special.

Wildrider was always one of my favourites of the team, along with Breakdown, because their alt-modes were pretty sweet, and I liked that they were almost diametric opposites, with Breakdown being scared and paranoid, and Wildrider being brash, loud, and let's face it, completely insane. I love that his Tech Spec bio alludes to this, stating that some of his colleagues think it's all an act, but nope, he really is as crazy as he appears to be.

Sadly, as often happens, this has never really translated well into fiction. Now, in the G1 cartoon, Wildrider was always crazy and insane, driving about and crashing things, including Rodimus Prime at one point, inadvertantly changing him back into Hot Rod (The Burden Hardest to Bear), that's about as complex as his personality got. Which isn't too bad, not every character can have studies every single episode, but he wasn't given too much to do, sadly. He was just one of the guys, which is so often the case. Mind you, it could have been worse. In the comics after all, he hardly figured at all, being a background figure at best. This has carried on even into IDW where hasn't done anything of note yet. Hopefully he and the rest of the Stunticons will get something to do soon. Because after all, Menasor is awesome.

Wildrider, like pretty much all of the Scramble City-style Transformers, is a tremendously simple toy. This is obviously borne from necessity, as it doesn't pay to have a combiner that's too complex, and frankly in 1986 couldn't be done anyway. The robot has extremely limited articulation in the arms only, but it does look great in the deep grey and red livery. The car is spectacular; it's a Decepticon sports car after all. I even like the twin cannons on the back, they always looked cool to me.

For a left leg, Wildrider is a great toy, and a marvelous, underused character. Sadly, because he really is not much more than a crazy person, the chances that he'll ever get a story or an arc to himself are minimal. The fact that he's pert of a team doesn't help. But I'd love to see a sitcom starring himself and Breakdown. They'd be a true Odd Couple.

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