Thursday, January 17, 2013

Transformers G1: Carnivac (Pretender)

Before I jump into this review of a classic G1 Transformers toy let me confess something that may effect this post.  I love Pretenders.  There.  I said it.  And I'm not one of those bandwagon fans either.  I liked the Pretenders before collectors realized they didn't have them in their collections and the prices shot up on the secondary market.  Because of the price increases I'm a little slow on picking up the last few, but I finally finished off the Pretender beasts not too long let me present the Decepticon Pretender, Carnivac!

courtesy of
How on earth can you not like this character based on his awesome box art?!  While the whole premise of the Pretenders was to offer the Autobots and Decepticons more life like (organic) disguises, I never did understand the human Autobots and monster Decepticons.  It wasn't until I saw the Japanese series, Masterforce, that I began to understand how the Pretenders looked among the human populace.  Sadly the Pretender beasts weren't included in the animation.  That doesn't mean he's not a cool character with a equally cool toy.

A growling, howling, mad dog destroyer. Commits abominable acts with unrelenting glee. Always smiling, even in battle. Outer shell has built-in hydrolic lifters that enable him to jump over 50 feet in any direction. High-intensity laser beams in eyes incinerate targets in seconds. In robot mode, armed with anti-thermal cannon with infrared scope that freezes targets on impact. 


Carnivac's Pretender shell is that of a gray wolf.  It appears as if the wolf is wearing some sort of black harness.  On his back is a purple...well, do you know what that is?  His bronze rifle can be mounted on the side via a peg hole.  Removable teal spiked shoulder pads adorn each side of the shell.


There is quite a bit of detail molded into the Pretender shell.  Take a look at the sculpted hair, the layers on the back of the neck and around the side of the head.  This looks like one mean Decepticon that's ready to go toe to toe with Catilla!


Unlike a lot of the other Pretenders, Carnivac doesn't have a belt or helmet you must first remove before splitting the shell in half to reveal the Transformer inside.


The inner robot is modeled after it's organic Pretender shell.  When Hasbro decided to create the Beast Wars series I wonder if they looked back at any of the G1 animals?  I know the knock a lot of the early Pretenders got was for their simplified inner robots and unbelievable alternate modes.  All 4 of the Pretender beasts have bulkier figures that sport better forms.

By the way, my editing software got the hue of the purple plastic a little out of proportion in the above pic.


While Carnivac's robot mode is still rather small and non-sophisticated, I like it.  The Pretender beast characters always struck me as small and powerful.  His function is a Hunter / Tracker so it makes sense for him to be of a smaller stature.

As with all of the Pretenders the decals are printed on clear plastic as opposed to paper.  This allows the stickers to have a slightly different (better) look in my opinion.  Carnivac only has a few labels for his robotic form.  Paint apps are sparingly used throughout the toy.

Articulation is on par with most G1 toys.  Arms move up and down and that's about it.  You can rotate the beast legs on the back of the arms or on the side of the legs to look how you wish.

It finally feels good to have secured the 4th and final Pretender beast.  Now I just gotta find a way to work him into my crowded G1 Decepticon shelf.  I like to display my Pretenders out of their shells - while it looks great it does take up more shelf real estate...which currently is at an all time premium.  If you like Pretenders then surely you'll enjoy Carnivac or any of the other beasts.



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  1. Don't be ashamed of your Pretender love. I love those guys! I passed up Headmasters and Targetmasters in favor of Pretenders as a kid. They're great. I still need to get the Pretender Beasts. That's a very clean Carnivac shell, by the way.

  2. I had 'Bee as a kid and he was awesome, though the whole "human" shell thing seemed odd at the time (and still kind of does). I liked these guys more, that had a more appropriate shell. But I really just like the inner robots. Carnivac looks awesome even to this day. He's a cybertronian wolf, I mean, how awesome is that??

    Great review!

  3. Awesome! I used to have this one and Snarler and a couple of the human/monster figures. Lots of fun times with those toys.

  4. Expect to see more Pretenders in the near future then!

    1. look forward to seeing more! Carnivac was one of my favs as a kid - Mayhem Attack Squad vs Wreckers anyone?
      The toy is a little underwhelming, but the wolf is just so nice. The other one I like is Catilla. Snarler, I like the least.