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Devastator

Transformers
by yo go re

The short-lived Transformers Classic line proved really popular with fans. Originally just a way to fill shelf space after the Transformers movie got pushed back eight months, the line ended up bringing us great new versions of old characters. And perhaps most surprising of all, out of the entire line, only one item was a repaint from an earlier line: the Wal*Mart-exclusive Devastator box set.

Devastator

The incredible power of Devastator is rooted in the combination of five Decepticon warriors, but he is somewhat limited by their minds all competing for full control over his massive body. Bonecrusher is a chaotic madman who lives to destroy, while Long Haul is a brooding genius with a talent for constructing the vast energy collection engines that supply the Decepticons with power. Hightower is a chemistry lab on wheels whose passion for poisons and explosives is surpassed only by his dislike of his teammates. His polar opposite is Scavenger, who has an instinct for detecting valuable fuels and minerals, but is desperate for the approval and friendship of his fellow Constructicons. Finally, there is Scrapper, a quiet psycho whose first love is building monuments to his enemies - out of their destroyed chassis.

Okay, technically the name of this figure is "Constructicon Devastator" (and his one component is "Decepticon Scrapper"), but since that's just trademark semantics, we're sure you'll forgive us for not constantly appending the extra word to the name every time we use it. If its absence bothers you, feel free to fill it in mentally as you read.

Devastator is a repaint of Constructicon Maximus, Construction Maximus one of the three gestalts from Energon, so he follows the old "Scramble City" style of one large central "leader" and four smaller limbs. The Energon version was a bit problematic - his legs were harder to find than the rest of him, causing headaches for anyone trying to build the whole team. Thus, getting the whole thing in one shot? Good deal!

Even the colors are better, now. While Constructicon Maximus was a bevy of greens, blues, browns and yellows, Devastator is classic green and purple. Ah, home. Actually, his legs are black and grey, rather than the more common green, but it works well for this figure. The colors are balanced well, and the spots of silver really help bring the design together. His hands and feet are translucent purple, a holdover from the Energon toys. The big guy stands about 9½" tall and moves at the neck, shoulders, waist, hips and knees. The shoulders, hips and knees have the same range of motion as balljoints, too - this guy kicks the old Devastator's butt all over the place!

A gestalt is more than just one big robot, of course, scrapey and the components need to be good toys on their own, as well. We'll take a look at them in the reverse order they were presented in the bio paragraph, which means we start with the evil architect, Scrapper. In G1, Scrapper was the front-end loader that took his place as one of Devastator's legs, and all that still holds true for Classics. Of course, he's no longer green and purple, but instead grey and black, with a few green highlights. He's 4¾" long, the big wheels roll freely, Scrapper 2007 and the scoop has two points of articulation.

The transformation is surprisingly similar to the old figure. The legs fold down from behind the cab, the scoop ends up behind the shoulders and the arms are sort of in the middle of the whole thing. It's much more complex than back in the day, of course, but you could really believe that robot was upgraded into this one. There's more green visible in this mode, which should appease hardcore purists. The old Scrapper was the Constructicons' leader, while this one sounds a bit more... disconnected.

Scavenger got an upgrade In TF Classic, it seems Scavenger is the leader - even though he used to be the team loser. The one desperate to be liked, even if that meant letting the others pick on him. Of course, he also used to be a backhoe, and now he's a huge industrial steam shovel, so maybe he got his act together and staged a coup. Well, probably not steam, but it is huge and mighty. The body of the vehicle can pivot above the treads, the shovel is adjustable and even features an opening lower jaw, just like the real thing, while the arm that supports it has three joints for maximum articulation.

In robot form, Scavenger stands 5¾" tall bring me the head of Mike Mulligan! and actually manages to avoid the curse of these five-piece combiners: he looks like more than the big robot's chest with a tiny head. He does, however, have the unadorned shovel as his left arm - that's some pretty blatant kibble, right there. The articulation is good, and Scavenger has large feet to help keep him balanced, even with the giant bucket-arm. The gray used on his arms blends nicely with the silver on his chest to keep everything looking cohesive.

Our next visitor, Hightower, is a bit of an oddity. big and pinchy If you can't place that name on the original Constructicon team, don't worry: he was't there. The name first popped up with the Robots in Disguise Build Team (which also had a Devastator repaint), but this crane truck is a new creation - his mention in the bio seems to combine the personalities of G1 Constructicons Hook and Mixmaster. Like Hook, he's a crane. Like Mixmaster, he becomes Devastator's leg. Like neither of them, he's black. I wonder if that's racist?

Hightower The robots all have transparent purple "Energon weapons," and Hightower's is a big claw thing. Since his design has so much purple in it, the weapon really suits him in both vehicle and robot mode - with careful posing, you can even turn him into an archer, which is neat. So why, if this set is supposed to be Constructicons, are the figures these crazy colors, like grey and black? Because four robots share two molds: this set has two pairs of twins. No, they're not trying to cheat you, that's another odd holdover from Maximus.

Hightower's opposite number is Long Haul, Long Haul who used to be a dumptruck but is now a crane. To set him apart from his dark twin, try leaving his Energon claw off the vehicle - it really makes a difference. So how did they decide to give the 4½" mobile crane the name of an old truck? Process of elimination, most likely. Probably thought that having the classic colors would help ease the transition. The vehicle is nice enough - the crane arm can raise and extend (tee-hee!) and all six wheels roll - but it's hard to equate him with the dumptruck and not the old crane. Oh well.

Changing Long Haul to a robot is easy, not Hook but the process isn't immediately obvious just by looking at him: always a nice touch. Like Scavenger, Long Haul is left with one mutant kibble arm in this form: his left arm is just the crane's tower. That can throw him off-balance, but his massive flat feet help keep him upright. Put his Energon claw in his right hand and he'll be fine. In fact, that claw may be the only purple you see on him - his design leans really heavily on the green side of things. He moves at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, waist, hips and knees.

Bonecrusher The final figure in this set is Bonecrusher, who was once the demolition-crazy bulldozer, and is now a demolition-crazy front-end loader. He's much greener than his twin, Scrapper, but the only real purple on him are the cab's windows. You can plug his Energon weapon into the back of the vehicle for storage, but that doesn't really count as part of the design. Of course, the only purple on this robot mode is his Decepticon symbol, but an abundance of black and gray makes him less overpoweringly green than Long Haul.

Bonecrusher's weapon is either a rake, a claw, or a club. Or maybe a high-tech cricket bat. wasn't this supposed to be a bulldozer? You can decide. With two joints that let you pose the thing in several different ways, the two copies of the weapon that you'll get in this set don't have to be wielded the same way. The set also includes four "Energon stars" that plug onto various points of the figures. What do they do? Nothing - they're pretend. Maybe the Constructicons need them to combine or something. It's play, it can be whatever you want.

Overall, this really is a good set. it's worth noting that that isn't the G1 Devastator It'll cost you about $30 for five figures, which is cheaper than they cost when they were originally sold three years ago. Damn, can't beat that! And yes, this is a Wal*Mart exclusive, but it's easy to find - we're not talking Wal*Mart Legends or Walternators, here. The individual figures are good (yes, even if two of them are just palette swaps), with good vehicle modes, and the big combined robot is very cool, as well. The colors work out nicely - much better than the Energon version of the character, that's for sure. You don't have to be a big Devastator fanatic to find this to be a great figure. Get it before it's gone again, and maybe we'll see another set like this when Classics 2.0 rolls around.


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