I am aware that you’re not supposed to make fun of people with disabilities and — at least in Transformers — robots are people too.
There are plenty of examples of robot speech impediments in Transformers. There’s:
- “Me, Grimlock “and other Dinobot’s inherent inability to grasp grammar or proper sentence structure;
- Blurr’s superfasttalkingallthetimeboyohboyitsagoodthingthisisn’tannoying.
- The Insecticon Shrapnel’s vocal tic that makes him repeat the end of his sentences, sentences.
- Warpath peppering his speech, rather inconsistently, with “Ka-pow!”, “Zowee!”, and other vaguely onomatopeiac exclamations.
Wait… Robot Tourettes? Now, even as a kid I recognized that Tourette Syndome was an exceedingly lame speech impediment for a robot. You would think that a race of robots that are scientifically advanced enough to delete most of their “personality subroutines to leave more room for science” would be able to cure themselves from exhibiting the vocal symptoms of Tourettes.
Now, some may argue that Warpath doesn’t actually suffer from Tourettes. His utterances are not palilalic (repeating oneself, like Shrapnel), echolalic (repeating others), which only leaves coprolalic (uttering “obscene words or socially inappropriate and derogatory remarks”). My argument is that when you are surrounded by a shell-shocked race of robots that have been at constant war for millenia, suddenly and without provocation yelling “BLAM!” in a crowded room is a good way to incite panic and therefore falls under “socially inappropriate”.
To tell the truth, though, a good portion of why I want to believe Warpath exclaims “Wham! Bang! Warpath’s on a roll!” is because beyond a recognized speech impediment, the only other reason that Warpath might do this is just that he wants to. That would just be ridiculously annoying. So, I go on accepting that Warpath suffers from a vocal disability because that way I can still like him as a character and not want to tie his toy to the closest explosive device I can get my hands on.
Something I recognize now but didn’t catch as a kid, if he does have Tourette Syndrome and he transforms into a tank (a vehicle with a turret, ha!) that’s just too damned clever for words.
In G1, Warpath was one of the minibots, like Bumblebee, Cliffjumper and my favourite minibot, Powerglide. Warpath was another of my favourite minibots, maybe it’s something to do with his decidedly non-standard-tank colouration of red.
Maybe it was the fact that he had a cannon for a chest in robot mode.
Whatever it was, I loved the little red tank despite his character’s annoying speech pattern. This was one of the reasons I was exceptionally unhappy when his Universe Legends class release in 2008 turned out to be an end-of-the-line toy that I never once saw in stores.
Though I might go back and fill in that particular hole in my collection, the need to do so has dramatically decreased thanks to this year’s Generations release. Ironically also end-of-the-line and somewhat difficult to procure, Warpath was one of the last three of the current Generations run, with Wheeljack and Thundercracker.
And he is amazing.
The headsculpt is spot-on, the transformation includes tread feet and treads on his arm, as well as his cannon protruding from his chest. The great thing is that his cannon now recedes into his chest so the full length of it does not awkwardly protrude. Pushing his cannon in also has a sort of auto-transformation as it causes his head to pop up. Though they have added some much needed colour variation, he is still predominantly red.
He also includes a number of rungs for use with the new C-Joint weaponry, though his own shoulder weapons are actually hard-mounted to him and swing out in tank mode. I like to think that this new, grown-up version of Warpath has gotten help and is now Tourettes-free, but his tank includes two call-signs that suggest that might not be so.
One side reads “Z0W-333” and the other reads “KA-90W”, a cute little nod to his G1 incarnation.
Though some complained about his new tank mode being the futuristic “H-shaped” tank style, I have never found a bright red tank to be all that realistic to begin with, so I am digging it. Also, I am a big Halo fan, and by extension, a big fan of the M808B “Scorpion” Main Battle Tank of which Warpath now bears a slight resemblance.
It’s almost enough to make me buy one of those little Spartan minifigures in Red that come with the Halo Megablocks sets to hang out with Warpath. Speaking of which, someone needs to do an official Halo/Transformers crossover.
Now that is a Human Alliance I could get behind.