This week, Hasbro is starting a promotion whereby fans can select pairs of characters to be featured in an upcoming toyline. As it happens, each pair features one G1 cartoon-era Autobot alongside some lesser-known character who (coincidentally, I'm sure) happened to be featured in the fourth "Transformers Figure Subscription Service" by the now-defunct Transformers Collectors' Club a couple of years ago. I doubt I'll ever have a better reason to feature these lesser-known characters, so I'm taking advantage of the opportunity.
The original Spinister toy was released in 1988, and was a so-called "double Targetmaster" (like Quake, who was released at the same time, as part of the same assortment). For this release, the club redecoed the Alpha Bravo/Vortex mold from Combiner Wars, a line in which (as the name implies) most of the toys could be combined into larger robots. Spinister is no exception, but I'll hold off on discussing the combined form Combiner Wars Spinister was to be a part of for at least a couple of weeks.
Because the original Spinister featured two Targetmaster weapons, Combiner Wars Spinister homaged that reality by redecoing the two Targetmaster weapons originally sold with "Thrilling 30" Scoop. However, while the predominately-black weapon "Singe" retains his original name, trademark realities dictated that the purple-colored partner formerly called "Hairsplitter" was given the name "Shrute" (an homage to a character from The Office believed to share some personality traits with Hairsplitter).
For the current Hasbro promotion, Spinister has been paired with Wheeljack. In this case, Hasbro suggests that the pairing is intended to be "saboteur vs. scientist." You can find more details here, and cast your vote anytime between now and Friday at the Transformers Facebook page. Hasbro stresses that you must vote for both robots in a given pair as they present it, so you can't vote for Spinister and, say, Mirage. If you want to vote for Spinister, you have to take Wheeljack along for the ride. Whatever pair wins the vote will get new Deluxe-class toys.
While the vote will be long-completed by the time I get around to the other two "lesser-knowns" (Needlenose and Impactor), I'll nonetheless have something to say about them here on the blog in the coming weeks. Be sure to come back then.