In my business, there are no friends, only suspects.
PUNCH / COUNTERPUNCH
Series: Generation 1
Subline: Double Spy
Punch, the Autobot, transforms into Counterpunch, the Decepticon, to infiltrate enemy installations. Cool-headed, a robot of few words, reveals little of his true self to either side. Maximum car mode speed: 160 mph. Uses twin mortar launcher in Autobot mode, photon cannon in Decepticon mode.
As a Double Spy (a subline of one, actually) Punch possesses two distinct robot modes. The first is Punch himself, an orange-chested Autobot with blue-and-black arms and legs. Punch's head is somewhat reminiscent of Optimus Prime, just as a side note. Posability of this robot is pretty much average for his time. He can swivel his shoulders and bend his arms at the elbows (though the elbow joints sit right below the shoulders here). That's it, the rest of him is a statue. Well, he can move his wrists a bit, too. In this mode Punch carries a double-barreled orange weapon that fits in well with his overall color scheme. Detailing is also quite good on this figure, if short of spectacular, so overall a pretty nice, solid robot. No complaints.
As a spy Punch has the ability to disguise himself as a Decepticon, though. Getting him into his Decepticon robot mode isn't particularly challenging. You simply turn the figure around, push the helmet backwards so that the Decepticon face is visible (and the Autobot face on the back of the head now obscured), fold in Punch's robot arms and unfold Counterpunch's robot arms. That's it. Oh, and you need to unfold Counterpunch's toes, too, if you haven't already done so to use them as heels for Punch.
Despite the fact that it's basically just the same robot turned around, the two robot modes differ quite a bit and it's not immediately apparent that they're one and the same. His thighs are pretty much the only thing that look identical to Punch. Counterpunch is mostly blue with only a tiny bit of orange visible on his shoulder pieces. Posability is pretty much the same as it was with Punch. Counterpunch can swivel his shoulders and bend the elbows, though sideways in his case instead of forward as Punch could. Counterpunch has the car's roof as a chest, which somewhat limits the amount of detailing on him, but overall he looks pretty good as well. In this mode he carries a single-barreled black rifle, which also fits in quite well with his color scheme. So overall a nice-looking, sufficiently different second robot mode.
Overall the gimmick of incorporating two robot modes into a single figure is done very nicely here despite the rather minimalistic design. Due to the arm switch and the helmet, which can obscure whatever face isn't in use right now, you can look at each robot mode from the back as well without immediately guessing that it's a second robot mode. Standing the two robots side by side (as I've done digitally in that one picture with G1 Prime
), the two robots do look somewhat similar, but far from identical. So not only do we have two nice robot modes here, but they're combined into a single figure quite well. Thumbs up.
Punch and Counterpunch share a single alternate mode between them, a rather generic-looking blue sports car. There isn't a whole lot I can write here. Detailing on the car is minimal, just enough to keep it from being completely boring, but it's otherwise unremarkable (which is kind of what you're shooting for, of course, when you're a spy). You can glimpse Punch's shoulder joints on the sides, other than that the car looks pretty wholesome and offers little clue as to the robot(s) inside. So overall an okay, if boring car mode.
Not too long ago I acquired Animated Shockwave
, a Transformer with two distinct robot modes, one Decepticon and one Autobot. And while Shockwave took his name elsewhere, the concept of the Double Spy originated right here with Punch / Counterpunch. And as a matter of fact there will be a new version of this character soon, as the Transformers Collectors Club is going to release one, based on the Universe Sideswipe
As for the original here, despite his interesting concept as a double agent, Punch / Counterpunch hardly ever made an appearance in any media. He had a very small role in the Japanese Headmaster cartoon and one could briefly glimpse him in the Marvel comics, but that's pretty much it. Which is kind of sad, as the character had a lot of potential in my mind. The Dreamwave profile series hinted at a multiple personality disorder, meaning that the Counterpunch persona he'd created was beginning to take over Punch, but nothing ever came of it in the accompanying comics before Dreamwave went bankrupt. So here's hoping that Punch / Counterpunch might yet get a bigger role, be it in the IDW comics or maybe in the Transformers Club comics once the Club Exclusive comes out.
The original G1 toy here is a very innovative, nicely executed figure. The two robot modes are done very well and while the car mode is rather boring, it wasn't the main point of the figure to begin with. So while Punch / Counterpunch is, of course, somewhat lacking in terms of posability and detailing from today's point of view, he's definitely one of the best figures from that particular year. Recommended to all G1 fans who can afford the rather hefty price tag of this figure.