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Devastator

Transformers ROTF
by yo go re

Like we said before, when ToyFare magazine made the first announcements about Transformers 2 toys, we were all really disappointed to see that while there would be robots that turned into construction vehicles, and construction vehicles that turned into Devastator, the two would be separate groups. At last, though, there's one set that does both.

Never before has a robot so powerful been seen anywhere in the galaxy. Indeed, few forces on Earth can match the strength and fury of Constructicon Devastator. He is the equal of Earth's most powerful storms - a ferocious destroyer of all in his path. He is so huge that the very thought of engaging in direct combat against him makes even the stoutest Autobot quake in fear. No one knows how to defeat him, but if the Autobots hope for victory, they will need to find a way.

We'll get this out of the way right at the start: Devastator is small! Yes, he's made from Legends Class toys, and thus you can expect a certain level of tininess, but you're still going to be caught off-guard when you see that curved package on the store shelf. Assembled, Devastator is 5¼" tall - that's the size of a Deluxe figure, the guys you can get for ten bucks. We can tell you, but your mind is still going to reject the idea until you see it for yourself. Now, he's packaged as the big guy (probably because it would take more space to have all the figures separate), but we're going to review the individuals and work our way up.

We begin with the crawler crane, Hightower. A lot of places describe him as a "truss" crane, but that just signifies the triangular structures reinforcing the boom arm, which means pretty much every heavy industrial crane is a truss crane. Modeled after a Kobelco CK2500, the crane is 2⅝" tall, 1¾" wide and 2¼" from front to back. The body of the crane is yellow, with a white cab and grey for the treads and craney bits.

Hightower's robot mode is decidedly inhuman. The central mass of the crane becomes the body, logically, and the treads feet, but not in any combination seen in nature. The "legs" actually come out of the top of the body, where shoulders should be, and he has adorably evil tiny T-rex arms. A metal cage covers his head, theoretically made from the same trusses as the boom arm, but on this toy it's separate. Technically the crane is the source of one of Devastator's famous balls - it's an overhaul ball, used to help the hook lower smoothly. In the concept art, the overhaul ball quarters to become a claw on the robot, but the toy just has a swiveling clamp fold out of the interior of the crane.

Long Haul has had no shortage of toys: Robot Hero, Fast Action Battler, Voyager, part of the big Devastator... the guy gets around. He's part of this set, obviously, but he's also got a solo Legends Class figure coming sometime this year! Since we already covered the Voyager Class release, we won't repeat any of the behind-the-scenes errata from that review. At the bare minimum, what you need to know is that he's a green dump truck, a Caterpillar 773B.

To convert Long Haul, fold down the legs, then tip the bed of the truck downward. Split it in half to form the arms, fold down his feet, and you're finished. The robot mode isn't very film-accurate, owing to the realities of connecting to the other Constructicons, and his legs are a blatant cheat: the backs look exactly like the fronts, for no good discernable reason; the only thing that makes sense is that they wanted the underside of the truck to look like LH's knees, for whatever reason. His hips are balljointed, but while he has joints in his shoulders and "elbows," they don't move the right way for posing. Consider them joints for conversion and nothing else. Mr. Grumpy stands 3¼" tall, measuring to the tips of his pointy, pointy elbows.

We move on alphabetically to Mixmaster, who has always been a cement mixer and will always be a cement mixer. At least until Hasbro decides to put out a TF who changes into two turntables and a microphone. The truck is 3" long, 1" wide, and 1⅜" tall. All six wheels roll, though for what should be obvious reasons, the drum in back doesn't turn.

Voyager Class Mixmaster's robot mode was kind of a mess, thanks in part to unclear instructions. Legends Class Mixmaster's robot mode is also kind of a mess, but that's just because he's a 2⅝" tall robot with ridiculously spindly arms and a huge and conspicuous bit of kibble hanging off the back. It's like he has the world's most horrible prolapse. He moves at the hips, the... shoulders? Elbows? Wrists? It's hard to tell what the joints are, but he has them and they're in his arms.

In the movie, Devastator is formed from (at least) nine Constructicons. The big toy comprised only six. Hasbro's official position is that seven robots form Devastator, and this set is the only one that includes that seventh: Overload, the Komatsu HD465-7 articulated dump truck. Although the toy lacks the swivel between the cab and the bed that would officially make it "articulated." It's just a red 3⅜" x 1" x ⅞" truck with four rolling wheels and two sculpted wheels.

Artist Ben Procter worked on Overload's robot mode, and he came up with a truly wicked-looking design that was very crab-like, with four legs and giant claws. That design ended up being used for Deluxe Class Rampage, so this version is humanoid and stocky, with thick limbs and a short body. He has a scorpion tail on his shoulders that can swivel up over his head. He stands 2⅜" tall, and has balljointed shoulders and swivel biceps.

Long Haul may be the reigning champ of toys, but Rampage, the little bulldozer, is right behind him. Based on a Caterpillar D9L, Rampage is 2½" long, 1½" wide and 1¼" tall. He's yellow, rather than red (both versions show up in the film), with blue windows around the cab and grey treads.

During production of the film, Rampage didn't have a real name. They just called him "Jumping Jack," due to his one-legged pogo design. The closing credits still call him "Skipjack," leaving a lot of people to wonder just who the hell that was, until the fandom finally pieced it together. The robot stands 3⅛" tall - yes, on his single pogo leg (they cheat and use bulldozer treads to help support him). He still has treads on his arms, though, giving him at least some ability to whip his enemies. Along those lines, his shoulders are balljoints.

While there were undenaibly (at least) two sets of Constructicons in Revenge of the Fallen, most of them go unnamed. Both bulldozers are definitely called Rampage, but for some hare-brained reason, Hasbro insists the two O&K/Terex RH400 excavators need different names. The one hiding in China was Demolishor, while the one who's a part of Devastator is Scavenger. Why the difference when they're essentially the same thing? Beats me, why do they want to call Blackout Grindor? [Ahem. --ed.] The bucket scoop on this 1¼" toy moves up and down, but that's all.

Since there's no feasible way, in this small scale, to turn the vehicle's long, thin treads into the large round wheels of the robot (who, incidentally, was called "Wheelbot" during production - how imaginative!), the toy cheats: the vehicle treads fold away, and the wheels come out from their hiding place within the body. The resulting robot is 3¾" wide and 2½" tall, and has to use his scoopy hands to balance himself. They swivel at the shoulder and hinge at the elbow, so there's a bit of poseability. If you really want to get wild, swing the treads around to use as a kickstand and have him throw his hands in the air.

Finally we have the Caterpillar 992G wheel loader, Scavenger. No wait, Scrapper. All these names start to run together after a while. The vehicle is 3" long, 1¼" wide and 1¼" tall, with real rolling wheels. This is the third yellow piece in the collection, making that the dominant color. The bucket can raise or lower slightly, though not in the way that the real thing would be able to.

Scrapper's robot mode is actually the most "movie-accurate" of the bunch. He's seen skulking around the buildings in Egypt, before getting blown up by an air strike. There was also some speculation that he was "ze little one" that Scalpel used as spare parts for Megatron's resurrection, because his altmode could be seen in a flyover of the transport ship. Ironic then, that at 3⅜", he's the tallest bot in this set! He has balljointed hips, shoulders and ankles, making for some decent poseability. He has a red eyeslit, sort of like a Cylon, and large, pinchy hands. This guy is decent enough that he could have been sold by himself - which actually is how these are sold by Takara: it's only Hasbro markets than can get them all at once.

As you can tell from the pictures and the measurements, there's no kind of scale between the figures in this set. No worries, there's no kind of scale in any other incarnation of Devastator, either. For instance, the Rampage in this set is closer to lining up with the Scavenger from the larger set and the standalone Long Haul; you get the idea. Those are the sacrifices made to allow for combination, and in this case, that's a worthy thing.

Like we said, Devastator is small - fully assembled, he stands a mere 5⅝" tall. The attachments are all fairly sturdy, and all the pieces fit in their correct places. That giant chunk of kibble on Mixmaster becomes Devvy's face, of course, and the arms have distinct hands. He's surprisingly well articulated for a combiner this small: you'd expect him to be a solid lump, but the shoulders swivel, the elbows are hinged and the forearms can swivel as well. The thighs swivel, and you can adjust the knees and ankles. It's not Revoltech, but it's poseable, and that's cool.

Devastator is a Wal*Mart exclusive, and sells for $32. Not $31.99, an even $32. Weird. That feels expensive for a figure this small, but with seven toys in the set, that's $4.50 apiece: cheaper than buying individual Legends Class figures, which, as we said, is what you'd have to do if you lived in Japan. Of course, Japan also gets a repainted version in classic green and purple that we in the US miss out on. Since I already have two movie Devastators in the normal colors, I would have prefered the repaint for this little guy, but no matter how you slice it, Devastator is good.

-- 04/27/10


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