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Roadblock

Transformers: Adventure
by yo go re

You know... I don't want to jinx anything... but I'm, uh, I'm starting to suspect... that maybe - just maybe - we're not going to be getting one of those Devastators from Hasbro to review in time for SDCC.

Scoop's religious fervor causes him to believe that Starscream is "the Chosen One," appointed by Primus to lead. This makes him loyal to the former Decepticon even against his best interests - such as the time Starscream convinced the one-time Autobot to recolor himself green and forced him to join the Constructicons as the newest component of Devastator.

That's a bio for Scoop, covering what's been happening in the comics since his last toy. And that's nice and all, but this isn't Scoop. This is Roadblock, a figure in the Transformers Adventure line (which is Japan's name for the Prime followup show Robots in Disguise). Rather than rely on the thin assortment of characters Hasbro is releasing, Takara-Tomy is supplementing the line with repaints from Generations, Prime, Fall of Cybertron and even Animated. Thus, what was once Scoop is now Roadblock. Or "Load Block," depending on how poorly your retailer of choice translates Japanese.

Roadblock is an homage to an obscure Generation 2 toy, who was a piece of yellow-green construction equipment, yet not a Constructicon. Thus, using the Scoop mold as a base makes a lot of sense. It's not an overly bulky design, like the original Roadblock had, but it's not scrawny, either: this is a bot who could stand up to some abuse, and would have the kind of strength needed for the work he does. Obviously the mold is designed to be an update of the 1988 Scoop toy, with similar details on the feet, knees, chest, etc., but if you're willing to be charitable, you can easily draw many of those same parallels to the 1995 Roadblock.

The original promo photos of this toy (as well as the art on the top of the packaging) showed that his nose would be painted green, which would have helped set him apart from Scoop. The final product, however, retains all the same paint masks - his face is silver, and his nose follows suit. The frown seems to suit Roadblock better than it did Scoop, though.

He gets some nice articulation, but then, most of the Generations molds do. He has hinged knees (double-hinged, if you count the point that's only meant for transformation), swivel thighs, balljointed hips, a swivel waist, balljointed head, hinged elbows, and swivel biceps. The shoulders are balljoints, but you get a bigger range of motion from the hinges that are there as well. His kibble - namely, the wheels on his legs and the bucket behind his shoulders - makes him noticeably back-heavy, so he'll want to fall that direction if you don't pose him carefully.

The old Scoop and Roadblock toys both turned into similar vehicles, so this is a nice choice for a repaint. It's still a large, industrial grade front-end loader, so that's what counts. There's a ladder running up one side (almost the same size as the ones on Ultra Magnus, and all four wheels roll. The bucket has multiple hinges in the arm, allowing it to lift and tip. The funniest feature, though, has to be the cab: it has clear windows, and fits over the robot's head as you convert him. So it ends up looking like there's a giant robot head driving the loader! Amusing!

Generations Scoop came with two Targetmaster partners, Holepunch and Caliburst. Roadblock only comes with one, presumably for budget reasons. A repaint of the Caliburst mold, this Targetmaster's name is... Targetmaster. ターゲットマスター. Tāgettomasutā. We can only assume this was done to mess with the heads of the people who run the Transformers Wiki. Coming soon, a new show called Transformers: Franchise, starring a character named "(disambiguation)"!

Targetmaster has a purple body, dark grey limbs, and a red face. He's got balljointed shoulders, but that's it. To turn him into a gun, you raise the barrel from his back, fold his arms back, and rotate the (removable) handle into place. Very simple, but effective. The handle is a 5mm peg, so it can plug into various ports on Roadblock's body, or be held in his hand.

In the IDW continuity, Spike Witwicky was a member of the US Army, sent to help evacuate NYC when the Decepticons invaded. A good friend of his was killed by Devastator, so he went looking for revenge - his plan was to kill one of the Constructicons, so they could never merge again. He succeeded, but the Constructicons were more adaptable than expected: they made do with Prowl for a while, but that proved untenable; that's why Starscream conscripted Scoop to join them, and gave him a makeover. It's just a shame this figure doesn't have the ability to turn into a giant leg.

Scoop was a decent Transformer, but I never felt the need to get him. But that worked out nicely, because it meant I was free to get his Japanese repaint. Whether you want to consider this a green version of Scoop or an entirely different character (surely Roadblock has a personality of some sort), it's still a nice addition to the Decepticon ranks.

-- 09/15/15


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