WHO IS IT?:
Stalker was a member of the Decepticon team known as the Predators, who were the rivals of the Autobots Turbomasters and among the final Transformers of G1. Both teams were made up of figures exclusive to Europe and Japan.
Since Stalker was never featured in any comic or series to my knowledge (including the Japanese G2 manga), he didn't have much of an established personality. He also was done in a color scheme matching fellow Predator, Skyquake- personally, I like to think of them as sort of a continuation of Giga and Mega, who formed Overlord in the Japanese Masterforce series due to the similar alt-modes. Later repaints of this figure in Machine Wars and Universe would christen the mold, Soundwave.
Stalker was purchased loose, but complete. Packaging was in a window-box, a la classic G1, but with new wave colors and cheaper cardboard inserts.
As with many of the other late-era European Transformers, Stalker had a really solid design, albeit a strange gimmick and wonky colors. It's unfortunate that American G1 ended with the Actionmasters, with these figures delayed stateside until their inferior repaints in the mid-90s.
Stalker's alt-mode is a futuristic missile-tank thing, much like that of Doubledealer. I'm not exactly sure if it's a mobile weapons platform or a reconnaissance vehicle, due to the radar dish on the back. Nevertheless, giant missile on tank = cool. Even if the tread shields are hawt pink.
Now, since we're looking at the tank mode, I'll talk about that gimmick I mentioned earlier. If you have one of the other, smaller Predator jets, you can mount them on Stalker's giant missile. Now, if you plug them into the missile, there is a viewfinder in the back of the missile that allows you to see some Autobot or other in the target sights. Given the horrid gimmicks that a lot of the other late-G1/G2 Transformers were saddled with- the hypercolor water-shooting Transformers come readily to mind- this isn't too bad and is relatively unobtrusive. Why an fighter jet would mount on a giant missile, however, is another question.
The alt-mode might have been good, but the robot mode is great. It's all blocky and awesome in that un-poseable way that only G1 Transformers can be. The plastic is also the shiny, durable ABS plastic that most of the old time Transformers were made from; a nice change from some of the thinner, cheapey plastic that's used in some of the modern Transformers. The massive shoulder-mounted missile is AWESOME. The face also has the classic Euro G1 styling, that is black head, bronze facepiece, and green visor. Now that I think about it, he does kind of look like Soundwave. Probably not intentional, I'd guess. Oh, and there's light-piping for his eyes, not that that's unusual for the Transformers of that era.
The one low point of this toy is the little bronze gun. This is the same gun that is included with any of the Predators; it's spring-loaded so that it can launch the little green missiles. The gun is also made of that plastic that suffers from gold plastic syndrome, and it just snapped like a twig when I fired the missile for the second time.
Before we move on, an interesting fact is that the copyright stamp on his leg has both Hasbro AND Takara listed. There are also rumors that some of the European Transformers were released in Japan on a limited basis with a region-specific sticker. I've never seen one of these, but I would love to find it in-box.
The European Transformers are largely eschewed by many collectors due to their highly fluorescent color scheme. I think it should be kept in mind that these are probably people who think that black pants should be matched with black sneakers, and on most days, a good black shirt. I can appreciate the freak-tastic colors; gives them a bit more character than the alternately drab and horrifyingly bright American G2 releases.
I don't think articulation was invented until G2 Laser Prime. Sorry.
Transformation isn't incredibly obvious at first (without instructions), but it won't give you an aneurysm.
The trick really isn't finding an affordable Stalker- he and Rotorstorm and Skyquake are very common on eBay for non-domestic releases. The real challenge is finding one that's complete.
Opened and in-box, I've seen this guy go for about $45-50 from a UK seller (mid-2006).
WHY I LIKE IT:
Stalker is just a really solid toy from the golden age of the Transformers. There's virtually no articulation, and some people take issue with the colors, but he looks really impressive with all of his accessories equipped. I would recommend this version over any of his later repaints, simply for the full armaments.