Voyager-class Decepticon Mixmaster
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
"With the All Spark gone, we cannot return life to our planet. And Fate has yielded its reward: a new world to call home. We live among its people- hiding in plain sight, but watching over them in secret. I have witnessed their capacity for courage, and though we are worlds apart, like us, there’s more to them than meets the eye. I am Optimus Prime, and I send this message to all Autobots taking refuge among the stars: We are here, we are waiting."
--epilogue from “Transformers” (2007)
With those words, a beacon was sent, alerting the cosmos to our presence in a way we never imagined. Some Autobots responded, but more Decepticons- learning of the death of Megatron- came to seek revenge, to take the throne of their faction for themselves, or simply to see that their leader was truly gone and wonder what would happen next. Two years after the All Spark Cube was destroyed, the Autobots have sought asylum in the United States, and they work closely with its government to form N.E.S.T. (Non-biological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty) to cooperate in tracking down arrant Decepticons hiding on Earth and keep the human race unawares amidst growing conspiracies. But with increasing alien activity across the world, it is suspected that the Autobots themselves may be encouraging Decepticons to come to Earth by their very presence here, and the relationship is beginning to become strained. Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky has gone to college, but on his first day he begins uncontrollably spouting gibberish like his great-grandfather over a hundred years earlier. It is discovered that he now retains, deep in his mind, the full knowledge of the destroyed All Spark Cube! Learning of this, the Decepticons steal the last shard of the All Spark, and rebuild Megatron. Teleporting himself to another dimension, Megatron consults with his master- an ancient and evil traitor known as The Fallen, who is the leader of all Decepticons. The Fallen plans to harvest Earth’s Sun for Energon at the cost of destroying the planet as he would have thousands of years ago were he not driven off by the Dynasty of Primes- the original leaders of Cybertron. But to do this, The Fallen must recover the long-lost Matrix of Leadership from the secret Tomb of the Primes- which Sam now holds the only key to finding- to activate the Solar Harvester. And the last surviving descendant of the Dynasty- Optimus Prime- is the only one who can stop The Fallen now…
Like a lot of the new ‘bots in “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”, there is little-or-no character development for Mixmaster. Additionally, there is very little off-screen info about him beyond Hasbro’s bio… which is more-or-less based on his original G1 counterpart, and says he’s a chemical expert & weapons manufacturer for the Decepticons. (Okay. With a cast of dozens of bots, at least a few had to get the short end of the stick in character development in a $200million movie… right?)
There’s also conflict in the movie about his very existence. During the battle of Egypt, two Decepticon cement trucks are seen- one fighting against N.E.S.T. who is then cut in half & decapitated by late-comer Jetfire… and an identical one which forms the head and neck of the massive Devastator at the exact same time! Both have the same decoration(s), but like many Transformers before, some share body shapes and are often used as filler on-screen. The one that forms Devastator’s head is only seen in vehicle mode, and the other fighting N.E.S.T. is only shown in robot & attack modes. (This leads Trans-fans to assume that one of them can only form Devastator’s head without an associated robot mode, and the other form robot mode but does not combine with other Constructicons.)
(Man- Bayformers can suck a lot sometimes, huh…?)
The side-view mirrors, left-side ladder, and concrete slush funnel are the only parts in vehicle mode made of PVC; all others are ABS. (The three-fingered hands are also the only parts in Robot/Attack Mode made of PVC.)
The cement drum cannot turn due to how he transforms. (The open upper-side of the drum is the swing-out joints for his shoulders.) However, the rear discharge chute has two joints and can be repositioned just like on a real cement mixer truck.
All six ABS wheels turn.
The main gimmick for all of the fully-transformable figures from the 2007 “Transformers” toy line was Automorph Technology™: as one part of the toy was being moved, another section would activate and move by itself via internal gears, springs, and levers. (Usually this applied only going in one direction for transformation but not the other.) For the 2009 “Transformers- Revenge of the Fallen” toy line, the Automorph feature has been replaced with Mech Alive, which is not involved in transforming the toys. Rather it is a gimmick that functions only in robot mode to better imitate, in some fashion, the intricate movements and mechanics of the immensely-more complex CGI character(s).
Some figures are being reissued from the 2007 line since no significant changes were made to the character in that time-span, and will still include their original Automorph feature, but not the newer Mech Alive feature because they were manufactured two years previously.
Since this is a brand new toy which was not released in 2007, the “Transformers- Revenge of the Fallen” Voyager-class Decepticon Mixmaster has the Mech Alive feature, but not an Automorph Technology feature.
Transformations from Vehicle Mode to Robot Mode to Attack Mode
The head features light-piping (purple), but it is not very clear even when a light shines directly on it.
The cannon on his back cannot be hidden like it is in the movie, and so it always sticks up like this above his head. Likewise, the shell of the cab cannot be collapsed down anymore than is shown.
In the movie, Mixmaster does indeed have this alt mode… which makes him the first triple-changer seen in the so-called Bayformers movie(s). (This assumes, of course, that he can’t also merge into a Devastator-like combo, in which case he would instead be the first quad-changer.)
[Mixmaster's last/only words: "Listen up!"]
Now, here’s the thing: Hasbro designates this as an official “mode”, but in the movie-proper, he simply does a hand-stand, some minor stuff along his back shifts around and the triple-barrel cannon flips into firing position. But because the toy cannot recreate this (I’ve tried as well, and it’s just too top-/back-heavy), they had to make-do with what is available. Hence, this toy’s Attack Mode isn’t really all that close to what is seen in the movie, even though the relative position of the limbs is roughly the same.
Mech Alive is a special feature included in almost all transformable figures from “Transformers- Revenge of the Fallen”. In robot mode, specific parts of the figure’s body can be animated beyond simply posing it- panels shift, gears spin, and in some cases there is light-and sound tied in. This brings out a new level of detail to try matching-up against the immensely-complex designs of the computer-generated characters seen in the movie.
For the Voyager-class Decepticon Mixmaster toy, it has one Mech Alive feature:
- There is a tiny light-gray cylinder inside each thigh, and when his knees are twisted side-to-side, the cylinder twists in the same direction(s). This can only be viewed on the outer sides of his thighs. (A lot of people seem to miss this because it is easy to overlook, and the labeling on Mixmaster’s box incorrectly points at the truck wheels rather than his thighs!)
Additionally, there are similar dark-gray pieces inside his hollow lower arms, but these are tied to transformation joints, and so don’t move once he is completed changed. Thus, I did not add them to the list above since they are not functional in robot mode, which is the entire point of Mech Alive.
This toy does very well appearance-wise. As there are no final-CGI model images anywhere on- or off-line (grrrrr…), and he never stands still enough for scrutiny on-screen, it is difficult to determine how screen-accurate the robot mode in-particular is (surface details, general shape, coloring, etc.). But when you start moving things around, then you start to see the cracks in its presentation... This is a toy that looks good out of your hands, but then does not fare well in your hands. And I refer specifically to how it poses. For any Voyager-class toy, they are usually big enough that ball-and-socket joints cannot hold it up. There are ball-and-socket joints used, but they are limited to the drum/arm shields and discharge chute. But that’s not my problem. My problem is that it has no locking/ratcheting joints anywhere on the toy; they all swivel and use friction-only to keep their positions. Thus, it quickly wears down especially in the shoulders and ankles. Now, while the legs pose just fine, the big hassle is in posing the arms- those shields get in the way so dammed easily, and are actually rather inflexible despite their ball-and-socket joints. Additionally, the fingers all curve one direction, so posing with convincing hands is more-or-less out of the question. To its credit, though, the only Vehicle Mode kibble you have to worry about is the cab cover on his backside. Vehicle Mode is flawless, with perhaps the only disappointment being that the cement drum doesn’t spin! But, I can easily see how that would have been very difficult to accomplish given how the arms are cramped in there and need somewhere to latch on to the rest of the body. However…
You get to Attack Mode, and the lack of ratcheting joints and flimsy-attached shields and top-heaviness conspire together to mercilessly wreak havoc on your patience. I spent 20 minutes double-checking the instructions, and then researching online to see if I was missing something in converting it. I learned two things: 1- the thin plastic bar that the cab attaches to is illustrated incorrectly in the instructions; and 2- it makes more sense to try and come up with your own version of the Attack Mode. I found that for all the people who reviewed the third mode, a lot of it was up to personal interpretation and depended less on what the instructions said in the end. Now, this is not the usual methodology of any Transformer: you follow the instructions which lead you to the right form, and then over time you cautiously tweak how you’d reposition a fin or a joint. But in this specific case, you go about half-way through the instructions, and then it’s up to you to decide what looks best for you. (I must confess: I did my best to get him into Attack Mode for this review according to the instructions, but I too finally caved under the stress, and came up with what felt best for me. I’m not sure who’s to blame for that: me for not having the strength to go on further, or TakaraTomy for f’ing up the design…) For all it’s worth, I’d say you can skip learning the Attack Mode and won’t lose out on anything. The difficulty in forming his other alt mode, and the lose joints for posing, seriously hamper the Voyager-class Decepticon Mixmaster, but in presentation he is still a winner. I would not, however, recommend him to the usual crowd of 4-6yrs, as his transformation is near Leader-class-difficult, and posing can be a pain at times.
Reviews of Vehicle Mode, Robot Mode, & Attack Mode
|Posted 4 January, 2010 - 05:26 by EVA_Unit_4A|