We’re through the looking glass here, people. Back into the thick of that golden era: the mid ’80s. Back to G1 Transformers. Now I warned you that these HoF articles would get personal. And it doesn’t get anymore personal than this: TRANSFORMERS G1 WARPATH.
“WTF?!” I hear you cry in unison. “It’s fricken Warpath! Who gives a shit?” Well let me tell you something: I give a shit. You gotta problem with Warpath then you gotta problem with me. And unless you have an unhealthy craving for hospital food, particularly knuckle sandwiches, I suggest you stow any ill feeling you may have toward my little maroon tank-buddy. You get me? Me and this little freak go back a long way and and let me assure you: if I don’t kick your arse into next week, be sure that Warpath will.
So unless I haven’t made it clear enough, WARPATH is a very, very, very important part of my toy collection. Let me put it this way: if my house caught fire tomorrow and I only had ten seconds to grab what I could from the collection room, little Warpath would be the first cab off the rank. Followed by whatever other awesomeness I could fit in my arms. Probably the MP-01 Optimus and a Hal Jordan… I could probably fill my pockets with about ten Hot Wheels… a Skeletor down the front of my pants… anyway, you get the point. I love this little bastard and my reasoning behind that is pretty simple: Warpath was the first Transformer I ever got. The first. Take a moment to let the weight of that sink in.
Still with me? Good.
G1 Transformers will be a recurring theme throughout the Tonk’s HoF series. Because they are, along with Star Wars, the most important toyline in my lifetime. My reverance for G1 is so great that nothing can touch it. Yes, modern Transformers are vastly superior toys. Yes, most of the G1 ‘bots were die-cast metal and plastic lumps with about as much articulation as a house brick. Yes, they broke a lot and parts were easily lost. But has there ever been a toyline with as much character development, as much heart, as much balls-out greatness as G1?
Now in all honesty I couldn’t tell you if it was early, mid or late ’85 in which I scored Warpath. I get a sense that it may have been late ’85. After all, Warpath was technically part of the second wave of G1 Transformers. I remember clearly that he was bought for me at Tea Tree Plaza in Modbury, South Australia during a school holiday. I fell for Warpath because he was different: he wasn’t a car or a plane. He was a fucking tank. My younger bro went for a yellow CLIFFJUMPER when given the choice of what would be his first Transformer. Me, I went for the tank. Because its a tank. And tanks blow shit up.
As with all the G1 Transformer Minibots, WARPATH was a rebranded Takara Microman toy. His vehicle mode is a General Motors M551A1 Sheridan ARAAV tank (according to TF wiki). The tank mode is great and where the real appeal of the figure lies.
His ‘bot mode is fine by G1 standards having the distinctive mono-leg/foot that was a common feature among many of the Minibots such as COSMOS or SEASPRAY. His real distinguishing feature in robot mode is that tank barrel sticking out his chest. This cool feature is such a big part of what defines Warpath and has featured in all bar one of the subsequent toy incarnations of the character. Articulation wise, Warpath was actually superior to some of the larger G1 Transformers (I’m looking at you, Seeker jets) with a massive four points of articulation: both arms, a chest rotation and an ankle tilt which was part of his transformation.
In the original Transformers cartoon, Warpath didn’t get a heap of screen time. But when he did show up nothing could divert my attention from the screen. Warpath would often shout out “BAM!”, “KAPOW!” or “ZOW-EEEE!” as he rolled into battle blowing the living shit out of the Decepticon scum. He loved to battle and that was pretty cool given some of his Autobot buddies were just pacifist pussies (you know who you are, BEACHCOMBER, ya hippie!) You knew that when Warpath arrived on the scene all you had to do was sit back and watch the scrap Decepti-metal fly straight to robot hell.
Its hard to believe but in 2011 Takara/Hasbro actually improved on Warpath when they released him as part of the ‘Generations’ line. This modern take on the classic Warpath is a stunning Transformer and is one of the best in my collection. I was so pleased that they nailed this modern Warpath and that my favorite Minibot got the 21st Century update he deserved.
G1 WARPATH may be diminutive and little weird looking but he’ll always be a pillar of strength in my collection. There’s that intangible ‘something’ about this tiny transforming tank that captured my imagination as a kid and continues to hold my attention to this day. After all, Warpath was my first and as we all know: you always remember your first.