As a kid I got a huge kick out of creatures in Transformers, far more than the cars. I had to have Rippersnapper as a kid, because a land-walking shark monster was just too awesome to not own - the fact that it transformed was icing on the cake, but it was a neat toy concept in and of itself much like Torca or the Dinobots - there were a lot of really great toys in Transformers where the gimmick of turning into a robot was just a bonus.
Oh, and I'm sure you know but a new version is coming in 2018. I can't wait!
In robot mode, Rippersnapper is basically a Scout/Legends-class toy, standing about 4-inches tall at its tallest point. Since that would be the shark snout, he seems pretty tiny in person. As a robot his arms swing forward a bit - barely - basically making this a tiny statue. The toys were much simpler in those days, with fewer parts and more stickers. This means perfect unpackaged specimens can be hard to find, but complete or unbroken ones aren't impossible to come by.
This is the only member of the team I had as a kid - a "Scramble City"-style combiner, Rippersnapper has a couple of guns and no combiner limb parts. Fists and feet are sold with Hun-Gurr, so that helped to keep the prices down on these simple, tiny "limb" toys. Armed with a blaster and a fin rifle backpack, he could only use one accessory per mode without some genuine awkwardness
To transform him, you fold the small arms and legs forward, push in the robot legs, and bring up the creature head. Plug in the fin, and you're done! It's really easy - and you can see how the robot head becomes a combiner connecter, and that there's a 5mm hole in the bottom for a fist or a foot. It's a stumpy little limb, but that was the nature of the combiners of the late 1980s.
The creature is the key feature, with a landshark toy featuring swiveling arms and legs. The jaws don't open, but the lips are parted slightly showing big, sharp teeth inside. Sculpted robot eyes and gills compliment the tail giving him a fishy personality despite his limbs. It's a sturdy figure, with a gun that serves as his dorsal fin and main weapon the gun has no on-board storage in creature mode. It's a pretty simple sculpt, but there are some of Takara's signature robot bits and generally sturdy build.
I'm sure some fans thought this to be a silly toy, as the character had little regard in comics or the cartoons. This was a figure from when Hasbro and Takara gave us more fanciful designs - monsters, futuristic sci-fi vehicles, giant people suits, and kaiju. I love the original Rippersnapper and you can get one on eBay for about $10-$30 unpackaged, or you could get a new, larger one next year for about $20. I should suggest waiting, but if you're impatient there are enough changes that the original one is actually pretty nice. Granted, this is probably the nostalgia talking - this is a toy I've had since it first came out in stores. With both a Decepticon symbol and a rubsign, it's a pretty fantastic creature.
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