When I first conceived the Hall of Fame idea for this blog I knew I had to keep something big and bad-ass in reserve for when I reached Part 10. And they don’t come much bigger or bad-ass than G1 SCORPONOK (figuratively speaking of course… there are bigger Transformers out there… but you know what I mean.)
As touched on previously, the HoF articles are all about the most precious and revered toys in my collection. These are personal stories about the certain toys that I never intend to part with due to their sheer coolness or nostalgic importance. You may think some of my selections suck and that’s fine as this is all entirely subjective but I would suggest you don’t mention that in front of Scorponok unless you like the idea of a giant purple claw wrapped around your bracket.
Through 1987 and 1988 Transformers were absolutely killing it in the toy aisles. They were at the apex of their popularity. Those years saw the introduction of various sub-lines within the Transformers range: the Headmasters, Targetmasters and Powermasters. The gimmick with these toys was that each of the robots were accompanied by a small ‘Nebulon’ robot which would transform into either the head, weapon or engine of the larger ‘bot. It was a really novel idea which spawned some of the most memorable transformers of the era such as Powermaster Optimus Prime, Chromedome, Triggerhappy, Hardhead and the titanic Fortress Maximus. Even some earlier characters such as Hot Rod and Cyclonus were re-released with Nebulons to take advantage of the Targetmaster gimmick.
From memory, hazy as it is, my brother acquired a Metroplex around this time. Metroplex was a pretty big ‘bot for the day and may have been the largest in our combined collection at that point. I remember I did drop all my pocket-cash on an Omega Supreme sometime in 1986 so maybe he was our largest… I dunno. Suffice it to say, Dan and I were digging the big Transformers and with sibling rivalry being what it is combined with the fact that I am the eldest, I figured I had to go one better. When Scorponok landed on Australian shores I knew that massive chunk of purple and green perfection had to be mine. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a sucker for a green and purple colour combo but if you throw orange into the mix as well AND make it a giant evil robot… then holy shit, it’s akin to buying a pervert a subscription to Penthouse. Anyway… where was I?
Scorponok came in a fuck-off huge box that any kid would have lost their shit over should they find it parked under their Christmas tree. Within that box, Scorponok and his accessories were beautifully laid out inside a styrofoam sarcophagous which both protected him from over eager toy store shelf stackers and displayed the majestic plethora of cool accessories that came with the toy.
Once out of the box and in robot mode Scorponok stands at a thumping 36 cms tall. He’s big, chunky and deliciously decked out in Poisonous Purple and Glorious Green (I’m not sure if those are the official colour names, but they seem appropriate so I’m going with them…) with accents of Ominous Orange, Ball-bursting Blue, Gut-goring Grey and Sinister Silver.
Scorponok’s articulation for a G1 Transformer is pretty great. In ‘bot mode his legs can move forward and back as well as side to side with awesome heavy ratchet joints that assure you that this bastard isn’t going to break any time soon. He has joints at both the shoulders and elbows again with nice clicky ratchets. His claws are also articulated meaning you can wedge a small Autobot scumbag in there and have Scorponok crush the living shit out of it.
Scorponok’s weapons comprise a huge orange and grey laser rifle and a hinged shield with massive claw motif to ensure you understand exactly who it belongs to. The shield tabs into the outside of Scorponok’s claw meaning he can thrash it about in the heat of battle without losing the use of his vicious, ‘bot-crunching claws.
The small Headmaster Nebulon that transforms into Scorponok’s head goes by the name of Lord Zarak. This beige and purple ponce features articulated arms and legs allowing him to fold up and become Scorp’s nefarious noggin. The sculpted detail on this little shit is pretty great. Admittedly, I don’t know a great deal about his character but I’m certain that what ever it is, it’s effing evil. As far as I’m aware, Zarak is the leader of an evil Nebulon faction who sided with the Decepticons in an attempt to wipe out their do-gooder Nebulon enemies. Phew, what a dick.
As a head, Zarak on his own is too small for the gargantuan Scorponok so once he’s attached he becomes encased in a grey and orange helmet of doom with a translucent visor. This helmet greatly increases the size of Scorponok’s cranium and creates an improved head-to-body proportion. The visor exists, no doubt, to prevent the oil and grease spatter from dismembered Autobots landing on Lord Zarak while in bonce mode.
Flipping open Scorponok’s chest plate reveals a series of ‘tech specs’ which, with Lord Zarak in head mode and attached, display his speed, strength and intelligence ratings. These displays are actually small barrels in the chest cavity which rotate when a button in the Headmaster connection port is depressed. Clever stuff.
Scorponok also comes with a dark grey and orange robot who goes by the name Fast Track. This charismatically challenged a-hole transforms into a Cybertronian torture tank with dual laser cannons and six spherical wheels of death. Fast Track integrates with Scorponok when in base mode and functions as a scout and mobile assault drone.
As with most G1 Transformers, Scorponok’s transformation into his alternate mode, or in this case, ‘Beast Mode’, is quite easy. Just lay him on his back with his arms above his head, fold up his legs, deploy the scorpion legs and tail and bang! You’re done. Lord Zarak can take up the pilot position in what is now the top of the scorpion.
In scorpion mode, Scorponok has wheels on his underside which activate a mechanism in his body that cause his eight independent legs to move up and down as he rolls across the floor. It’s a cool gimmick and certainly adds to the fun of this already bad-ass beast. As if those hell-spawn purple pincers weren’t enough, his tail features an articulated orange laser stinger ready to level any oncoming phalanx of Autobot filth.
Scorponok’s third mode, the Battle Station or Base, brings all his accessories into play. I must admit that over the journey of the last thirty-plus years I managed to lose a few of these small parts but thanks to the huge G1 Transformer spare parts industry on eBay, I’ve managed to re-acquire them all. I really enjoy Scorponok’s base mode. Sure, it’s fucking weird but who cares? It should be. It’s fun, tactile, solid and features some nice little gimmicks. There is a repair bay which includes an attachable claw and probe, a small elevator platform, missile pods, attachable radar and sensor scopes, ramps for smaller Deceptions to drive on and connector ports for Scorponok’s various weapons. His shield forms a central tower in front of which is a little bay for Fast Track to reside. If you flick a button near this bay, it tilts forward allowing Fast Track to roll into battle via Scorponok’s front ramp. Cool shit.
Base Modes have often been a bone of contention for many Transformers fans. Sometimes they work well and are a nice feature of a particular ‘bot while other times they feel kinda shoe-horned in as a ‘third mode’ but ultimately wind up being a bit shit. In the case of Scorponok, the base mode is a total win and I love it.
I guess its become fairly evident that I dig the hell outta this toy. His size is awesome as is his build quality and engineering. His colours give me an ocular orgasm and his play value is outstanding. I’m especially proud of the fact that I’ve managed to keep mine in such great condition for over thirty years. Scorponok is and will continue to be, a pillar of my toy collection and for any of you G1 fans out there who don’t own one, I can’t recommend him highly enough. I know he fetches pretty hefty prices these days, especially if complete and in good condition. But if you’re prepared to hunt down his various components separately it may be a more affordable way to get one.
As a side note for all you hard-core Scorponok fans, an un-produced prototype image of Scorponok (possibly intended for the European market) can be found here showing our pincered pal in a very different colour scheme. I must confess, it looks pretty shit-hot.
So that’s my look at G1 Scorponok. I hope you found it to be insightful, educational and superbly written. I know I did. If you haven’t already done so, please check out my previous nine HoF articles. This tenth instalment has been a long time coming so apologies for my tardiness. I’ll do my best to ensure Part 11 arrives sooner rather than later. In the meantime I’ll leave you with the immortal words of Scorponok, Headmaster Commander, himself:
“Kindness is no virtue… and cruelty is no vice”
Preach on, brother. Preach on.