I’ve mentioned Pretenders before. They were Transformers that had a “shell” shaped like a human or monster and inside there was a robot that would turn into a vehicle. Landmine was among the first of the Autobot Pretenders. They were all guys in sort of space suit dealies. The thing is from the size of them, they’d probably be about twenty feet tall, so they wouldn’t exactly blend in, but I guess you just have to Pretend.
It was a pretty neat concept though, sort of like the Terminator. The Decepticon ones were a little more imaginative with Skullgrin (who had a goat skull head), Finback (a fish head), and Bugly (a giant fly head) but the Autobot human ones were pretty neat too. The robots inside were kind of scrawny so they could fit inside the shell.
Anyway, Landmine was supposed to be an asteroid miner. He made an appearance in the US comic book but was too late for the TV show. I don’t think Pretenders really made it into the IDW series yet and they haven’t been reissued either. Too bad for Landmine and his comrades. There have been a couple of other toys with the same name, but they weren’t Pretenders.
Laserbeak was another of the cassettes you could get to put in Soundwave. As the name implies, he turned into a bird-like robot. In the first two seasons of the TV show either he or Ravage were spying on the Autobots and very often they’d fight the humans because in terms of size they were pretty even.
Laserbeak has a major role in the 1986 movie: he spies on the Autobots and learns of their plan to fly from their moon base to Earth to retrieve energon and reinforcements to attack the Decepticons on Cybertron. The Decepticons then intercepted the ship and killed everyone on board.
A sad fact of life for characters in a toy-based show: unless you’re super-popular like Optimus Prime you’re going to get squeezed out for the latest toy. So in the third season of the show Laserbeak was replaced by Ratbat, who pretty much did the same stuff only he was a bat—not a rat.
A fun fact is that Laserbeak had a twin named Buzzsaw who came with Soundwave and was shown on the TV show once or twice maybe but like Frenzy never really got much screen time. Laserbeak didn’t really do a lot in the comics and I don’t think he really did a lot in the IDW series. He has been reissued a couple of times, usually with Soundwave.