RUMBLE & FRENZY
Series: United Rumble is little more than a low-down dirty thug. Loudmouthed, violent, and destructive, he's the ultimate Decepticon foot soldier. He loves any mission that involves wholesale destruction. It's not uncommon to hear his shrill, maniacal laughter as his pile drivers shakes a structure to pieces.
-- Profile of cancelled US-release Demolition Rumble
There is an ongoing discussion in the fandom about Rumble & Frenzy, more precisely the eternal question which of them is red and which is blue. In the original G1 cartoon Rumble was blue and Frenzy red, while the original G1 toys were labelled the other way around. According to the tech specs included in this release here, Frenzy is the blue one and Rumble is red. For me, though, who grew up watching the G1 cartoon, Rumble will always be the blue one. So in this review, too, the name Rumble will refer to the blue one, while Frenzy is the red tyke. To each his own, though.
As is my standard operating procedure when looking at G1-homage characters, let’s first take a look at how they measure up against their predecessors. Rumble and Frenzy take the look the figures had in the cartoon and execute them to near perfection. You have their characteristic cassette tape chests (despite them no longer transforming into tapes), you have heads that are spitting images of the animated characters we remember, and they have their silver guns on their backs. The only real change is in the arms, but that was pretty much inevitable as a) those tank threads have to go somewhere and b) the original toys lacked the pile driver gimmick the cartoon characters had. So all in all I’d say mission accomplished, these two figures here are clearly Rumble and Frenzy from G1.
Now on to the figures themselves. Thanks to multiple ball joints the two of them are as posable as you expect from a present day Scout-class figure, so no complaints on that front. The only slight hindrance is the arm kibble, but again, that pile driver gimmick and the tank threads have to go somewhere and it’s not really a big thing. Rumble and Frenzy’s weapons, two silver-grey guns each (No chrome? But these are Japanese figures! Where is the chrome?), are on c-clips and can fasten to the tank turret on their back or the c-bars on their arms. Personally I like the back-mounted version better, as they can lower the guns over their shoulders (though not completely horizontal) and I do love shoulder-mounted weapons. Other c-bar equipped figures can use those guns as well, of course.
And now, finally, the gimmick that Rumble was known for in the cartoon and which was missing from the toy: the pile drivers. In the cartoon Rumble morphed his arms into two Earthquake-causing pile drivers and now, finally, we have a toy which can do that, too. You basically unfold the kibble and flip the arms upside down and there you have them. The silver plates on the sides are buttons that cause the pile drivers to extend. Kneeling down, the figure can hit the ground with these and thus take Autobots off their feet. Very nicely done.
Overall these figures are the best incarnations of Rumble and Frenzy I’ve seen so far (not that there have been that many) and there’s nothing really worth complaining about. Thumbs up.
Seeing as cassette tapes aren’t really in vogue anymore, Rumble and Frenzy got updated alternate modes and transform into... tanks. Okay, I have no idea how you go from cassette to tank as a natural progression, but whatever works. Transforming the two of them into their tank mode isn’t terribly complicated, but doing it without their pile drivers extending all the time is much more difficult. I think my record so far is two times per arm. The first time I transformed them it happened too often to count.
The finished tanks are nice-looking, solid vehicles. No robot bits are visible, everything fits together nicely, and you have a tank turret that can turn a full 360 degrees with the small gun up front able to turn slightly as well. Of course neither colour scheme really lends itself to a realistic-looking tank, but I don’t really care. The only thing slightly out of place here is the robot’s chest plate, which forms the back of the tank. It doesn’t look like part of a robot, but it doesn’t quite fit with the rest. Apart from that, though, no complaints. A solid, nicely designed tank mode.
In the original G1 cartoon Rumble (in blue) was a mainstay among the Decepticon forces and often used his Earthquake-causing pile drivers to devastating effect against the Autobots. Frenzy (in red), on the other hand, only appeared rather sparingly, though he, too, displayed pile drivers in the 1986 Transformers Movie. Neither of them have made much of an appearance since (except for the G1-based comic books), though the name Frenzy was recycled for the 2007 Transformers Movie.
While Takara-Tomy brought out both Rumble and Frenzy as a two-pack, Hasbro intended to release them individually as part of the Reveal the Shield line. Rumble (in blue, mind you) got as far as having in-package pictures circulate on the web, while Frenzy (in red) only got prototype shots. Neither was ever available in stores to my knowledge, though, as the line was cancelled before they came out. So the only way to get these tykes is the Japanese release.
Are they worth paying the high price of a Japanese import toy? That depends. If you’re a nostalgic G1-fanatic like me, who desperately wants a Rumble/Frenzy pair for his CHUG-style Decepticons, then yes. Without the nostalgia factor, though, I’d have to say no, they aren’t. If these two were Western Scout-Class releases at 12 Euros each (the standard German price for Scout figures), I’d tell everyone to go get them, nostalgia or not. But you’re paying about 75 dollars plus shipping and customs for a Scout-class figure and its repaint and while the mold as such is good, it’s not awesome enough for its price tag. Again, unless you’re a G1 fanatic.