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Transformers: Robots in Disguise
by yo go re

Careful, you may feel a slight pinch.

The leader of Decepticon Island wasn't on the Decepticon prison ship that crashed landed on Earth. Scorponok is good at avoiding capture. Back on Cybertron, he'd raid remote outposts, steal their resources, then disappear. His idea of fun is tearing a building to the ground after he steals everything valuable inside. He came to Earth for his own sinister plans and is readying a Decepticon army for attack.

Since reviewing Thunderhoof, I've found that Robots in Disguise is on Netflix, so I've seen a few episodes now. None that have this guy in them though (and still waiting for my Steeljaw and Strongarm to get to me), so I don't know if that bio - which isn't printed on the packaging anywhere, just listed on Hasbro's site - is accurate to the show or not. And I dosn't really care, because while it's nice to have an idea of his personality, the fact that he's a Decepticon makes it pretty clear that he's not going to be a pure and morally upstanding citizen.

Scorponok has a rather odd head. It's wider than it is tall, making him instantly look inhuman - this is clearly an alien, and not just someone in a suit of weird armor. The face is silver, with red eyes and pointy teeth in the front of the mouth. That's surrounded by a black (well, dark grey) "helmet" with two thin red lines on the forehead.

His body proportions are even stranger, if you ignore the kibble on his back. The big square stuff? We're supposed to pretend it's not there. He has a wide chest that quickly tapers down to a waist that's no wider than his head, then pokes out a bit again to become the hips. His bent animal legs make him feel like he's taking design cues from the movie Transformers, and his hands are really just curled hooks. There are gigantic structures on both his shoulders - those will be important later.

Though the kibble does mess up the shape of the body, it also keeps Scorponok from looking hollow. A tradeoff, I guess. His articulation is about as good as it could be: a balljointed head, balljointed shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, and hinges at the knees, ankles and toes. He has no waist and no wrists, and the way the head sits on the body means its range of motion isn't spectacular, but you definitely get to see some varied poses when you play around with him. He's armed with a segmented gray sword, held tightly in either of his hands hooks.

The RiD toys don't come with separate instructions, the steps are just printed on the back of the packaging. Scorponok's instructions are slightly unclear, especially the first time through. There are a couple tricky parts: figuring out how the kibble is supposed to raise out of the way, determining how the legs bend, and dealing with the shoulders. See, unlike every other Scorponok toy ever, this one doesn't just have his hands turn into claws - rather, they got creative, and the big pods on his shoulders become the claws instead. They open up, slide off the shoulders and down the arms, then close up again. It's really neat!

As you may have guessed by the mention of "claws" (as well as by the character's name), Scorponok turns into a scorpion. Gasp! The colors from the robot all carry over here: gray, brown, orangey-tan, and grey. He only has six legs, not eight, but maybe he wasn't paying much attention when picking his altmode. The arms still have articulation, and there are two hinges and a balljoint in the tail. Even the scorpoion's jaw gets to move a little, so he can bite his enemies! If you want to extend his stinger, the sword can plug into the tip, but that's really not necessary.

Scorponok is a unique-looking character with a decent altmode and a transformation scheme that's more creative than usual. Say what you will about RiD, they don't always take the easy way out.

-- 12/06/16

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