"HI MY NAME IS F-! DASHER I CAN BE UR FRIEND PLZ?!!!11 THX FOR TEH ADD!!!"
"Cheerful, friendly and obedient." That's what the blanket Tech Spec descriptions say for all of the Powerdasher toys. The description of their personality and functions are so intentionally ambiguous that the assigned function is "Multi-Function Specialist". In fact, the only difference between the three Powerdashers on their tech specs (which are printed on the instruction sheet for the three different Powerdashers that were available via mailorder) is the picture of the Powerdasher itself.
The Powerdashers hold a special place in my little, black, hardened heart and this one is my favourite because it was my first experience in obtaining an obscure toy. I'd gotten the odd He-Man poster with proofs of purchase here and there, and while some of the neighborhood kids had long since gotten their Admiral Ackbars and Boba Fetts through the mail at this point, the "F-1 Dasher" was the first actual toy premium that I'd obtained for myself. Along with the Omnibots and Time Warrior, "Powerdasher" was also offered for a specified amount of robot points and some shipping and handling via the first Transformers mail offer now famously known as Reinforcements From Cybertron! As a young'un, I'd expected to receive the Powerdasher shown in the image (the Sky Dasher), regardless of the fact that the leaflet text offered the vague explanation of how the Powerdashers are 'constantly evolving'. When I received this guy in the mail, my young mind thought that either a mistake was made or I'd struck it huge by receiving a very rare Transformer! As the years would go by, I would realize that there were indeed three different Powerdashers and this guy here was by far the most common. I still liked him though, mostly because nobody else in my hood had him.
I've always been fine with the existence of the Powerdashers inhabiting some strange, unincorporated corner of the unexplained Transformers canon. Obnoxiously (and perhaps unfortunately), the fandumb as it is now seems intent on explaining fuck everything; from fanwanking a legitimate reason why the Matrix was not shown in the pre-movie episode A Prime Problem to pontificating the finer scientific points of rub symbols to why Hoist and Grapple should be allowed to fuck and have children. I've always thought, 'relax... it's just a kid's toy, have fun with it!' Why doesn't anyone want to relax? For decades, my Powerdashers existed as enigmatic heroes on the fringe of Autobot society; precursory Jumpstarters whose full potential was a secret power long left unrealized and untapped. Now, thanks to Dreamwave, they've been canonized as simple drones with low self-esteem. *sigh*
"F-1 Dasher" is the Diaclone-designated name for the toy that would eventually become available as one of the Transformers Powerdashers via Hasbro mailorder, and many fans have adopted this designation if for no other reason that to differentiate one from the other. The 'car' mode is still pretty cool, in my opinion. Gone is the cockpit covering once Hasbro put their grubby mits on it for the states, but you can still see the tiny pegs where it used to be. It's certainly obvious that this vehicle turns into a robot, but the detailing is enough for me to accept it as a cool-enough alt-mode in its own right. I'd always pretended that the feet were capable of firing a myriad of different projectile weaponry or energy discharges and that the two posts on the front 'bumper' could generate varying degrees of electrical discharge and/or magnetic projection. Given the rather open-ended tech spec description given to these toys, I had an active enough mind as a child to assign such abilities as I saw fit. The pull-back motor works well enough as a simple addition to slightly enhance an already simple toy and because of that I'd also decided that the Powerdashers were prototype Cybertronians who were created before the Battlechargers' and Jumpstarters' 'quick-change' transformation technology had been fully developed. But that's just my active childhood mind; in retrospect, you don't necessarily get much more out of this toy than what you put into it. The legs have a nasty tendency to become very floppy and keeping them up as you see in the image here can be nearly impossible after a while without angling the 'feet' all the way forward like so. After a while, the legs become so loose that after the pull-back motor is engaged, they flop back and drag after the vehicle as it shoots away from you.
The robot mode looks quite nice to me, actually. Its visual presence is a bit retro and I like it for that reason alone. The stickered face is actually pleasing to me (though I do wish it had been applied better at the factory) and there's a surprising amount of small detail on the chest and legs for such a small mold. An immediate downside is that the arms can only swing up, out and away from the body at the shoulder; they cannot be rotated to point forward... however, for a Multi-Function Specialist, this should be no hindrance, as your imagination is the Powerdasher's ultimate weapon! The chrome is the cheaply painted kind which wears easily to show yellow plastic underneath; it's quite difficult to find one of these guys used in good condition.
Overall, I like this guy still. Sad to see him go, but there's memories enough for me. He lives on better that way, as I don't like what's been done with the Powerdashers in established canon anymore. My Powerdasher could beat up your Powerdasher.