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by yo go re

If the point of the Transformers' Pretender Shells was to help the robots look less conspicous when moving among humans, then somebody missed the bloody memo!

A hideous, slithering monster. So in love with his loathsome, lizard-like outer shell that he rarely removes it. Shares misguided camaraderie with all reptiles. Equipped with super robotic strength. Able to crush cars with his reptilian claws. Hypnobeams in eyes penetrate enemy cerebro-circuits and override primary programming directives. Armed with hurricane air blaster that shoots concussive blasts of pressurized air. Wheels in cycle Mode equipped with spinning blades that tear through enemy armor. Built-in anti-gyrostators able to disrupt equilibrium of enemy robots.

Actually, it was just the Autobots who tried to pass as human: the Decepticons were trying to sow fear and confusion (as usual) so they all adopted suits that made them look like monsters. Remember Bludgeon? He started out as a Pretender, so you have an idea of what we're talking about.

Iguanus is a giant purple lizard - and we mean giant! At one point the comics showed him being at least 40 feet tall, which really calls into question the efficacy of Autobots' disguises, if their Pretender suits are the same size. Anyway, his skin is covered by large rectangular scales, and he's wearing a little bit of armor. The breastplate and kneepads are golden and spiked, and there's a ribbed red area on the chest as well. He has black shoulder pads and bracers, again with more spikes. He has a light grey belt, but his isn't used to hold the two halves of his shell together - it only attaches to the front.

The shell has lots of nice "lizardy" details, suck as the spines on his head or the wings on his sides. Yes, tiny vestigial wings, just like those lizards on The Simpsons. They're a real thing. His eyes are yellow, with sculpted irises, and he has fangs poking out of his mouth - they're not painted, so they're easy to miss.

Thanks to his head-fin, the figure stands just a little over 7" tall. He has swivel joints for his shoulders, and another that lets you turn his tail side to side (the tail is molded in the same gray as his belt). Both fists are molded to hold weapons: the "hurricane blaster" described on the Tech Specs, and some sort of double-buzzsaw blade weapon. It's kind of clumsy to wield that latter one, since he either has to hold it sideways or have one end of it bump up against his arm.

The back of the Pretender shell has some blocky, rectangular areas that are comepletely at odds with the rest of the design. Why? Because that's how the robot fits inside. You split the shell in half and the robot is just dangling in there with his arms tucked behind him - the squared of bit in the back makes room for the arms.

Iguanus's robot mode looks slightly better than Cloudburst's - mainly because the legs aren't ridiculously skinny. Though the torso and legs have a lot of straight lines, the arms are tubular. He even has sculpted elbow joints, which merely makes us wish there were real joints there: you can tell how he'd move, if he were a real robot (or a toy being released today, instead of in 1988). The chest is angular, if a bit small for the body, and his legs have slightly curved lines that look very nice.

The head is very large on the body. He has a silver face and a magenta "helmet" that matches his arms, abdomen and feet. The shoulders swivel (in addition to hinging away behind his back), the hips swivel so he can raise and lower his legs, and the knees are hinged. Notice what's missing from that list? A neck. His head doesn't move at all.

Iguanus's altmode is a sci-fi motorcycle of some sort, and converting him is easy: rotate the panel behind his head, raise his arms and fold them back behind him, lift his legs as high as they'll go, then straighten out his feet. That's all there is to it! Sure, he may not look like much, but that's because you need to plug the blade weapon into the undercarriage, to become the bike's wheels - so whatever you do, don't lose that weapon!

As for the other weapon, it can plug into the bike behind the seat. The "windshield" is white, but there are no handlebars or any other way to steer the bike - good thing this is a Cybertronian recon cycle, and thus would have no need for a rider. Come to think of it, there's no room for a person's legs and with the gun on the back the seat is almost covered, so it would be terrible to ride this thing.

Iguanus has a very cool Pretender shell, but the fact that you can't completely convert the robot to a bike unless you have access to all the accessories makes him less fun than figures that are all-in-one (like Cloudburst). If you can get him complete, though? Full speed ahead! Still, a modern-day take on this guy would be killer!

-- 02/21/12

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