I’ve never been a car guy. I just don’t care about them. To this day I don’t drive. I guess that’s why some of my favorite childhood Transformers toys were the ones that transformed into bugs, dinosaurs, and animals. The Dinobots and Insecticons were introduced into the comics and cartons very early on and were key players in the war between the Autobots and Decepticons. When it came to the action figures, my brother Doug and I were missing 1 key character from each of those groups. We never had the Pterodactyl, Swoop, nor the Grasshopper, Kickback. Luckily the absence of one character from a sub-team didn’t matter so much back then because those early Transformers predated the combiner craze which were so prevalent soon after.
Combiners were big robots who were generally made up of 5 or 6 relatively small and affordably priced Transformer toys. Doug and I had complete sets of the Constructicons, Combaticons, Stunticons, and Protectabots; plus we had a handful of arms and legs from other combiners. One combiner that I always wanted to complete was Predaking, who was made up of the Predacons. The Predacons were robots who transformed into animals so they were right up my alley. Unique alt modes aside, the Predacons stood out to me out for a couple of other reasons. They had a very eye catching color scheme. Devestator was the first combiner and all of the 6 robots that merged to create him were green and purple which gave him a nice uniform look. All of the later combiners were made up of robots who didn’t share a color scheme so you’d end up with a big robot with one black arm, one red arm, a yellow leg, and a blue torso. Combiners like Bruticus and Menasor looked more like patchwork Frankensteins as opposed to a cohesive unit. The Predacons all shared a black, red, yellow, and orange color scheme so they looked like a real team and Predaking didn’t look like a slapped together afterthought.
The other thing that set Predaking apart from the other combiners is that he wasn’t made up of 4 small Transformers who served as limbs with a larger one as the torso; he was made up of 5 equally sized transformers; and they were all big (and by big I mean medium). They were on par with the Dinobots and Seekers and other medium/deluxe class Transformer toys. I liked that they were bigger but this also meant they were more expensive which is probably why I never got the whole set. Of the 5 Predacons I only owned 2; the leader Razor Claw who transformed into a lion and formed Predaking’s head and body, and Rampage who transformed into a Tiger and formed one of Predaking’s arms. Even just the one armed torso looked pretty cool though I longed to have the other 3, Divebomb (an eagle), Headstrong (a rhino), and Tantrum (a bull), so that a completely formed Predaking could wreak havoc on my Autobot forces. Sadly, it never came to pass and I only ever had a one armed hovering torso. Eventually I sold off Razor Claw and Rampage along with the rest of my Transformers collection.
My interest in Transformers was rekindled in the mid-2000s when Hasbro started making new figures inspired by the classic characters I grew up with and Dreamwave began publishing excellent new Transformers comics.
If I had a ton of money and space I would love to go back and repurchase all of the vintage Transformers I once had but I don’t have much money or space so that’s unlikely to ever happen. The modern figures are generally superior anyway so I’m content to collect them. The problem with that, however, is that Hasbro’s really slow about producing new versions of the characters that I really want. In the 10 or so years since they started releasing classic-inspired figures they’ve failed to produce any Predacons or Dinobots; with the exception of Grimlock. It’s a travesty.
This is why so many third party companies have sprung up to fill the voids in our collections. Many of the best Transformer figures I own, such as Gears and Bombshell, were produced by unlicensed third party companies. The problem with third party products is they tend to be very expensive. Multiple third party companies have begun releasing their version of the Predacons but the price per figure is jaw dropping, ranging from about $110 to $200. To assemble a complete third party Predaking would cost me between $600 to $1,000. Not gonna happen.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from high quality third party figures are crap-quality boot-legs.
When it came to acquiring a Predaking for my Transformers shelf that’s the route I went. I wouldn’t exactly recommend bootlegs as they’re of poor quality and easily breakable. Usually the plastic is brittle and the paintjobs are sloppy. However, this entire figure, which came on a large blister card, only cost me $27. Free shipping to boot.
I ordered it from China a couple of years ago from an ebay seller who was offering similarly priced replicas of many other Combiners. I was tempted to buy more than one but figured I’d start with Predaking to sample the quality. I never did order any of the others but I am relatively impressed with the quality of this figure.
The color scheme looks good with his various parts molded in the appropriate color plastics in most cases. Other than the fact that it’s been shrunk down in size from the original it looks pretty darn similar. From a distance he’s quite impressive and could easily be mistaken for the real deal. However, when disassembled the individual pieces are not very impressive. Only when snapped together does it looks passable on my shelf as a real Transformer. He’s relatively sturdy and he stays together quite well. I’ve never had any issues with him tipping over or falling apart. I was tempted to take him apart so I could take pictures of the individual pieces for this review but decided not to push my luck. I wouldn’t recommend buying this if you want to display each Predacon separately but if you’re looking for an assembled Predaking for your shelf then I’d say go for it. Despite the fact that this toy was likely made using lead paint, and several other materials that are probably slowing killing me, I’m happy with this purchase. The Chinese know how to bootleg. Mexicans…not so much. 7 out of 10.