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Mini-Con Predator Attack Team

Transformers Classics
by yo go re

Among all the retro throwbacks in the Transformers Classic line, there was at least one thing that was new. We'd been getting Mini-Cons since the Armada series years ago, but none of them had ever had beast alt modes.

Generally speaking, even the most evil Mini-Con robots are more light hearted than their larger cousins, the Autobots and Decepticons. But not these guys. Everywhere they go, they move as if with some dire purpose, their glowing eyes scanning the landscape for potential prey. These robots live to hunt, and are always on the prowl, no matter what their actual mission is.

There's no doubt that Snarl burning bright in the forest of the night is a mechanical creation. Though he has a few curving lines on his body, it's mainly harsh, straight lines that frame his fearful symmetry. The front legs are about twice as thick as the rear legs, which looks weird on a tiger. His only articulation is in the jaw, the tail, and (in what almost seems like a joke on the part of the designers) the back right hip. Yes, you can make him mark his territory.

Transformation is simple. Raise the front half of the body, lower the back half, twist the sinews of his heart (and the rest of his torso) up and to the side, and fold the insides of the tiger's front legs down to form the robot's legs. Oh, and turn that one hip so the leg faces the outside for some reason.

The robot is just over 2" tall, Snarl and has a weird look. The fact that he has an animal butt hanging off his left shoulder makes him somewhat resemble the little-known LioConvoy, while his legs make him look like he's wearing big puffy pantaloons. His articulation is mostly limited to the shoulders, but if you open the cat's mouth that is his right "hand," he has a blaster there. Originally the figure was supposed to have more painted stripes (and green eyes in both modes), but budget cutbacks changed that.

The Decepticons are no strangers to evil birds - hell, Laserbeak is one of the most popular TFs, period, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed and all he did was sit around on people's shoulders. The Predator Attack Team's air support comes in the form of Dreadwing, a falcon with a 5" wingspan. The wings actually look a bit like Archangel's, with the big, squared-off feathers. There's a bit of articulation at the wingtips and for the head, but the most useful joints are the bird's hips, which allow him to stand and can also be pulled back so he can fly.

Switching Dreadwing between modes is a little tricky, because of the way you have to split his wings. The front halves swing around to become his legs, while the bird's legs turn and turn in a widening gyre to become the robot's arms. Dreadwing The tail and the rear halves of the wings fall apart; the center cannot hold, because that's where the robot's head flips up and is loosed upon the world.

In robot mode, Dreadwing is about 2½" tall, thanks to the pseudo-wings on his back. His legs are extremely skinny, but the combo of wing-halves and big upper arms kind of makes him look like he's wearing a cape or a shawl. He's mainly brown in this mode, since what we're seeing here is little more than the bird's belly, but his head is red and his face is metallic blue. He also seems to have a red bird-head as his crotch.

The final member of the Predator Attack Team is Overbite, remember the night is for hunting and forget not the day is for sleep the black wolf. Why is the wolf Overbite and the tiger Snarl, when those names would have made more sense the other way around? Couldn't say. Though the design unquestionably pegs him as a mechanical creation, the lines are all smooth and rounded. His rear legs have pistons and flywheels, suggesting an incredible power and speed, and the "fur" around his neck looks like air intake vents. And take a look inside his ears: the small horizontal lines suggest microphones.

To transform Overbite, start by raising his tail up over his back. Aww, he's happy! Overbite Swing the legs back and straighten them out, so he's dragging himself along the ground. Split the top half of the upper body to form arms, and swivel the waist so the feet face forward. Simple!

Obviously the robot mode has a lot of the beast mode showing. His arms are each half a wolf head, for instance. His lower legs look like springs, now, and his knees could almost pass for high-tech tires. He doesn't actually have any facial features, just a blank white space in a red helmet. Though the figure is mostly black, the little flashes of white and purple accent it nicely. This is a sharp-looking 'bot!

One of the coolest things about the Predator Attack Team is the repaint possibilities. Snarl with Overbite's color scheme could be Ravage. Dreadwing could easily turn into Laserbeak. And though there wasn't a cassette-bot that turned into a wolf, the Mini-Con ports on his hips are very reminiscent of the holes on the sides of the animal-casettes. This is a fun little trio, even if the budget changes axed some of their paint apps.


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