In real life, there are no such things as construction vehicles painted green and purple. Yellow? Absolutely. Neon green? Sure, sometimes. But lime green and purple? Nuh-uh. But ask any Transformers collector what color they'd choose for a new construction-themed TF, and their answer is clear: give us a throwback to the original Devastator! And in 2004, that's just what Hasbro did. In between all the repaints in their long-running Universe line, Hasbro imported a few toys that had never been seen in North America before, like the tiny, tiny Micromasters.
The Micromasters were Transformers who downsized their bodies to be more fuel efficient. But since that left them severely out-classed in a fight with even the Minibots (like Bumblebee), eventually they introduced some combiners to up their ante. In the sixth Japanese-only series, 1992's "Operation Combination," there were four Micromaster gestalts, including the heroic Sixbuilder. Sure enough, when Hasbro imported him, he'd been repainted with a more pleasing color scheme, and his components had some familiar names.
We'll begin with Long Haul,
the dumptruck. Despite being only 2" long, this mini-vehicle is detailed nicely. All four big wheels spin, and they have a distinctive tread. There are headlights flanking the grill, and you can make out the vents on the sides of the engine. The driver's side-door reveals that this is yet another in a long line of gigantic trucks, a la Demolishor. The bed doesn't actually raise to dump anything out,
but the sculpt does include some pistons to make it look like it should.
Transformation is simple, and involves little more than just standing the truck on end. In fact, begin by doing just that. Then rotate the robot arms up, fold the front of the truck up and forward, and pull the head up. In its own way, this Long Haul is a lot like the original G1 verison, since the truck's engine becomes his chest. No, the bed doesn't flip around to orm his legs, and the arms don't pull out of the wheelwells, but the parallels are definitely there. Since poseablity is so low, what you see is basically what you get: Long Haul can move his arms, but that's really all.
Somewhere along the line,
Hasbro apparently lost the rights to the name "Mix Master" for their cement mixers, which is why our next guy is Quickmix. The vehicle form is a little less than 2" long, and while the front and rear wheels turn freely, the set in the middle are just molded. The drum in the back is painted silver, though it doesn't rotate, and the windows are purple. There's a Decepticon symbol on the passenger's side,
just in case you were unclear about his allegiances. From a purely realistic standpoint, the cab is probably too big when compared to the drum, but is anyone really going to notice?
Quickmix's transformation is even simpler than Long Haul's - just pull the body up and move the arms forward. If you squint your eyes and wish really hard, then the robot form does bear a slight resemblence to the original Constructicon who inspired him. The head is similarly encased, and surrounded by weaponry. The way he's constructed, sadly, means that his shoulders are up around his ears, though there's a bend in the upper arm that makes it less noticeable than it might have been.
Next we have Buckethead,
the front-end loader. At last, we have a vehicle with moving parts! The scoop on the front is hinged. It's not much, but it's better than nothing, right? The wheels turn, same as with the others. The vehicle is 2" long to the front of the scoop, or 1½" if you don't count it. The ladders sculpted on both sides of the loader give you an idea of its intended scale -
big, but not gigantic. Can't imagine how anyone sitting in the cab could see over the front, though.
To change Buckethead into a robot, simply pull the two halves of the vehicle apart and stand him up. Flip the scoop over his back, and rotate the face forward. There's no real relationship between Buckethead and Scrapper, the G1 front-end loader, but this is still a perfectly acceptable little robot. One confusing flaw, though? Because of the way his wheels attach to his chest, the arms are permanently stuck behind them. Sure, you can swing them backwards to get them up and over the axle, but then they're pointing at the sky. I realize there's only so much you can do with a 2" robot, but still.
We return to G1-inspired names for the bulldozer,
Bonecrusher. Actually, "Bonecrusher" is one of the most common TF names, with at least one appearance in every continuity. This vehicle is a bit shorter than the others, coming in at just over 1¾" from end to end. The treads don't move, of course, but there are small rolling wheels concealed behind them. The bulldozer's scoop can raise and lower a bit, as well. The sculpt is good, with a sizeable cab and tons of detailing - particularly down in the treads.
Like most of the other Universe Constructicons, Bonecrusher's transformation is simple. The back half of the dozer becomes his legs, while the front half is his torso. In this case, the top of the vehicle is the robot's front, rather than the underside. With the scoop behind his back, the treads become arms and the head flips up out of the grill. The robot looks pretty nice, though if the legs could split it would really add a lot to the overall design. A quirk of the paint apps means the Decepticon symbol on his chest is upside down - oops! Guess they had to make a choice whether it would look right on the robot or the bulldozer, and opted for the vehicle.
Our next piece is the excavator, Scavenger.
Once again the vehicle mode is an even 2" long, but detailed nicely. The four wheels turn freely, and the small details on the back of the truck are impressive - vents, diamond plate and more. This isn't a treaded vecile, but more of a scoop on the back of a truck. The bucket arm has two joints, and the entire control cabin rotates on the back of the vehicle.
That means you can really get the machine to reach a wide area for pretend construction work.
Transformation is basically just a matter of flipping the cab over to be legs. Yeah, it's beyond simple. Make sure the scoop arm is folded under itself so Scavenger can stand, and you can move his arms forward at the shoulders. The robot is okay, even with the giant kibble floating over his head, but the legs could stand to be shorter. He's mostly purple, with silveron his face and below his chest. Technically his lower legs can rotate individually, but they're squeezed so tightly together that they move as one. Because of the way the vehicle is made, you can flip the excavator's bucket up over the robot's head, making him look somewhat like a scorpion, if you want.
Finally we have Hightower, the crane.
The vehicle looks a lot like the excavator, but there are plenty of differences. Since a crane is going to deal with a lot more weight than a glorified steam shovel, so there are six wheels instead of four. The angle of the windshield is different, and though there's still a rotating control center on the back,
the actual cab is on the other side and all the technological details are different. The crane moves at the base and at the hook, and there's a hinge in the middle, for some reason.
Even the transformation mirrors Scavenger's: flip the truck cab over to be legs, then stand the robot up. Wow, innovative. The arms move, but the head is still hidden by lots of truck kibble. Shame, too, because it's actually a pretty nice design, under there. The legs are too long, which may be why Hightower tends to fall over backwards if you don't have him posed just right (or use the crane to support him). He's one of the bigger Micromaster Constructicons, standing nearly 2½" tall, but a lot of that is the junk over his head.
Each of the Micromaster Constructicons was individually carded, and each comes with a piece of the "connection kibble" to form Devastator. Long Haul has the right foot, Quickmix has the left, Buckethead has the chest, Bonecrusher gets the legs, Scavenger gets the head and gun, and Hightower has both hands, strangely. All six were KB Toys exclusives, and can still be found in KB Outlets to this day.
Combined, Devastator stands 6½" tall, which is pretty decent even by non-Micromaster standards - that is, there are plenty of "full size" TFs that aren't even this big.
Articulation is extremely limited, with the only movement being swivels at the neck and shoulders. It sounds pretty awful, but the G1 version wasn't particularly better: it didn't even have a neck, just shoulders, elbows and wrists!
The distribution of green and purple is pretty good, though it does tend to skew toward the green since that's what all the vehicles show. The robots aren't really connected by the Devastator pieces as much as they are plugged into holes in the kibble. In particular, the chest and back serve no purpose - they're just there because Buckethead and Bonecrusher needed to be included in the final product.
Still, once he's all collected and combined on your desk, Micromaster Devastator is a decent take on an old favorite. He's not the most poseable Constructicon gestalt ever, but he definitely looks like he's part of the family. Stand him around with the G1, Classics and other Universe versions, and they'll all look line one mean, green (and purple) army force.
But this set holds one more surprise that none of the other Devastators have ever boasted:
when you want to play with the robots by themselves, you don't have to just throw the kibble in a box until you need it again. In a cool and unexpected move, the kibble can all combine to form some kind of wonky space-jet thing. It's 5½" long and 4" wide, and uses all the pieces (even if it's just as decoration), though it's obviously too small for anyone to use. Unless mass-shifting is somehow involved. Which it very well may be.
The Micromaster robots are small and simple and by themselves, they'd be kind of lame. But considering the fact that they combine into a new version of Devastator and their kibble transforms, too, these six Universe Constructicons are more than meets the eye.