Wednesday, December 7, 2016

BotCon 2014 Dread Pirate Crew

Dread Pirate Crew ArtBack before BotCon 2014 started, I reviewed the original Pounce and Wingspan, and shared my thoughts about the then-rumored remakes of the Decepticon clones as BotCon exclusives. Long story short, I wasn't thrilled with the idea. As it turned out, we did get exactly the toys that were rumored (full disclosure: while I try to be careful to continue to treat rumors as rumors until toys are officially revealed, Transformers fans have gotten pretty good at figuring out which rumors are reliable and which ones aren't over the years), but the characterization given to the toys turned out to be something of a surprise.

Dread Pirate Crew Robot ModesInstead of presenting us with Pounce and Wingspan in new bodies, these toys represented entirely new characters: minions of the "dread pirate" Cannonball (not quite this Cannonball, but essentially the same concept. I didn't keep the BotCon version), created using blueprints for Pounce and Wingspan, and mass-produced. So we're not talking about two characters, but rather two members of a much larger force, divided into "Pounce-types" and "Wingspan-types." Great for troop building, especially if you want to populate a pirate crew!

Dread Pirate Crew Vehicle ModesAs I said when reporting the rumor, these toys use the Vehicon and Jet Vehicon molds from the Transformers: Prime toyline, and turn into a car and... yes... a car with wings, respectively (I really don't know how else to describe the Jet Vehicon mold). I'm really not sure how, even in the fiction, these are intended to be based on the Pounce/Wingspan blueprints (which, at the risk of belaboring the point, had animal alt-forms), but that's the explanation we were given, and that's that. Sadly, there was a misassembly at the factory, whereby the Wingspan-type was assembled using a rear fender part intended for one of the regular Vehicon molds (there are a couple of options, the other of which was used on the Pounce-type) rather than the fender intended for the Jet Vehicon mold. This results in a bit of a gap (barely visible in the image to the left) whereby the fender refuses to fit flush with the rest of the vehicle on Wingspan-type toys.

Dread Pirate Crew WeaponsFor some reason, only the "Pounce-type" comes with a standard hand-weapon, but both types also come with little transforming weapon partners (created from the Arms Micron Igu mold that originally came with the Jet Vehicon toys in Japan) which are designed to resemble the standard Vehicon hand-weapon in one mode, and these little iguana-like beasts in the other.

The color-schemes, of course, echo those of Pounce and Wingspan, and do so quite well, but these toys don't really resemble Pounce and Wingspan otherwise, IMHO. They do resemble each other nicely, however, which is the main point behind them, and using these molds as troop builders certainly makes sense, if that's something you really have to do (and judging by the BotCon exclusive offerings in 2005, and in every year from 2009 to 2016, it's obvious that Fun Publications really did feel that they had to do troop builders).

At the time of this writing, Fun Publications is approaching their final days as holders of the Official Transformers Club license, and so have been having periodic sales attempting to sell the items they still have in their club store. The Dread Pirate Crew toys are among those that remain, so if they appeal to you, keep an eye out for such a sale, and you might be able to score a bargain!*

*I don't know for sure, but you may have to have been a member of the club at some point since 2012 to make a purchase.

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