Devastator / Devastor
Review by VF5SS
A few years ago, I talked about my formative experience with the original Transformers cartoon in my review of the Generation 2 Constructicons. Since then, the world of unofficial TF toys dumped a truckload of different unlicensed Constructicons on collectors hungry for a modernized Devastator. While tempting, I felt that none of these stand-ins captured the look of the classic G1 combiner team.
Admittedly, Devastator is a tough nut to crack in terms of design. While the individual Constructicons are close enough to the toys they are derived from, the big green guy himself has some major deviations from the humble Diaclone Construction Robo. Some of this was necessary due to the G1 combiner's distinct lack of recognizable thighs, and the need to keep things streamlined for animation. Other things, like Devastator's disappearing shades and odd choice of colors that didn't quite match his components, were the result of several slightly different model sheets (like the one shown above), and the realities of trying to produce an animated series with people spread across at least three continents.
After numerous "third party" add-on kits to the original Devastator, and two fully formed unofficial teams, Hasbro finally decided to step in with their own take on the legendary combiner team, one that would be bigger (and cheaper) than anything else on the market. My fellow review, Siningy, took a look at the Titan Class Devastator and, like many, found it a bit lacking due to Hasbro's tight (some may say "thrifty") budgetary restrictions. Rectifying this is TakaraTomy's "deluxe" version of Devastator, featuring a number of reworked and remolded parts. Enter: Unite Warriors Devastor!
Please check out my in-depth video review.
Aside from their painted silver wheel rims, the Buildrons don't appear to be any different from the Constructicons. In fact, the packaging is nearly the same as the American release, with modified box art and an extra bag of parts thrown in. But as we'll soon discover, the Devastator is in the details with this import version.
First up is team leader Scrapper. His vehicle mode is still a front-end loader, but he's upgraded from what was probably an old 70's style Japanese design to a more modernized piece of equipment (complete with enclosed cabin).
Scrapper is a solid toy in this mode, and quite detailed too. Things like tiny ladders, mesh vents, and the heavy duty tires give the Voyager-class Transformer a good sense of size, as befitting a massive earth moving vehicle.
In fact, this modern Scrapper can easily fit one of the original G1 Constructicons in his front scoop.
And while this set of figures is technically under the Combiner Wars / Unite Warriors line, all of the Constructicons are around seven inches long in vehicle mode, which makes them a better fit to stand alongside Masterpiece Transformers.
The Unite Warriors release gives each team member their own G1-style gun. Scrapper's can peg neatly on either exhaust pipe while he is in payloader mode.
And you can peg Devastator's chest wings onto Scrapper to recreate the G1 toy's "flying front-end loader" mode. Now he's ready to dogfight Tracks in the most awkward air battle ever.
Scrapper's transformation is relatively simple for his size, but incorporates some cool tricks that are similar to what designer Shogo Hasui did with early Masterpiece Autobot cars. The resulting robot is, hands down, the best Scrapper toy to date.
He's got the right build, colors, and exudes the perfect air of an evil construction foreman.
In pursuit of cartoon accuracy, Scrapper has a Decepticon symbol right in the middle of his scoop. Although it is the only one in this entire set of toys that is a sticker, rather than a tampo-printed emblem.
In robot mode, Scrapper and the rest of the Constructicons are likewise geared towards hanging out with Masterpiece figures. They're all at least a head taller than the average Autobot, which is pretty accurate to the show.
The Unite Warriors version gets a much needed upgrade with a set of fully functional elbows. This simple change makes the toy look leagues better than the Combiner Wars Scrapper, and even allows it to emulate the classic G1 box art.
One thing to be aware of with his new elbows is that they lock in TIGHT for vehicle mode and leg mode. You may have to pry the small clip on his forearm up and away to free the joint.
And like the Combiner Wars version, you can arm Scrapper with the Devastator's chest wings, where they form a... thingie.
Scrapper has always been my favorite member of the team, so if it seems like he gets most of this review's photos, you're just seeing my adoration on full display.
"Scoop, eh? You think you can replace me as a part of Devastator?"
"There's only room for ONE front-end loader on this planet, Autobot scum!"
Up next is the team's mad chemist, Mixmaster, whose vehicle mode is the most changed from his original design. In a move that confused anyone living outside of the American northeast, he is now a front discharge cement mixer, rather than the classic rear discharge type. The Unite Warriors version loses a bit of silver paint up front in service of 'toon accuracy, but honestly I don't remember Mixmaster being so green in the grille.
TakaraTomy also confuses the matter more by adding additional paint to what is just the engine section of the vehicle, in an attempt to make it look like a truck cab. While I would have preferred him to remain a traditional (and more internationally recognizable) cement mixer, the toy is perfectly fine in hand.
Mixmaster's pistol pops onto one of the bumps on the truck's engine section for storage.
Once in robot mode, Mixmaster goes back to being the familiar drum carrying robo-man we all know (and fear).
This bit of design trickery is easy to see when Mixmaster is placed next to his G1 predecessor. Considering that they each transform into opposite-facing truck modes, their robot forms are pretty well matched.
Like Scrapper, Mixmaster's colors and details are spot on, with any new bits being tasteful updates to his G1 incarnation. His blocky head is easily accessible underneath the dual blaster-sporting hat, and can be turned left or right.
From the rear, the modern mixer man is less faithful to his old design, as the cement drum hangs off like a bug's bulky abdomen. Again, it's something that is more egregious in photos than in hand, but I would have liked the drum to be capable of moving upward to assume a position more like the old toy.
Mixmaster also received an elbow upgrade in the form of an additional joint. While this doesn't fix the "broken forearm" look if you use the outermost joint, it does at least allow you to bend his elbows in a natural looking manner in any other pose.
In fact, Mixmaster is a pretty dynamic looking Decepticon, in spite of his bulky frame. He even has ankle tilts!
However, I do wish that his elbow improvements added a proper swivel joint, as all he can do right now is twist his fist in a menacing manner.
Mixmaster's purported use of Devastator's parts is that of a big blaster or a shield. While this is a step up from what scraps Scrapper gets, I'd rather just leave this part on the sidelines.
With the legs out of the way, let's move onto Devastator's arms with Scavenger. Both he and Bonecrusher are the most direct updates to their original toys, with Scavenger being a nigh-identical looking green excavator.
Sadly, he does lack some of the functionality of the old toy, as the upper portion of the vehicle cannot rotate. The joints visible on the front and rear of the excavator are dedicated to Devastator's articulation.
His shovel arm can still move up and down, and features an additional joint for waving his scanner-equipped bucket in different directions.
Scavenger's Prowl-murdering pistol stores on the left side of his vehicle mode.
Both of Devastator's arm guys have fairly involved transformations that deviate from their G1 roots in how they divvy up the mass of the vehicle's main body. Scavenger's resulting robot mode turns out to be one of the best in the team (although Scrapper is still my personal favorite).
From his boxy mouth to the distinctive chest plate, this modern Scavenger is the most faithful update of the character to date.
While his shovel arm has been inverted and his feet are formed differently, it would still be hard to get more G1-accurate unless the toy suddenly started talking to you in a vaguely Scooby Doo sounding voice.
Scavenger's pistol is likewise pretty spot on, although the foregrip is angled for vehicle mode storage.
"I'm coming for you, Prowl! Bwee-hehehehee-heeee!"
Both Scavenger and Bonecrusher benefit from having to do the least work in becoming a part of Devastator, as their own individual robot modes feel the least affected by their combiner limb status. As such, the Unite Warriors versions of these toys are barely changed, with only their knees getting a subtle upgrade for durability. The Combiner Wars release featured ball-joints for the two tread-legged guys' knees, whereas the Japanese version has a mushroom peg swivel and separate hinge joint.
Devastator's forearm parts have been changed from (sometimes) functional drill missile launchers, to a non-firing action movie-style box o' missiles. This is probably the best re-purposing of combiner parts, as it actually involves a bit of transformation on the part of the accessory. There's even a flip-out handle for any Constructicon to hold.
Providing Devastator's devastating southpaw is, of course, Bonecrusher. Like Scrapper, the team's resident thug transforms into a modernized bulldozer, complete with enclosed cabin.
Note that the Unite Warriors release gives Bonecrusher purple interiors for his treads. This is their attempt at emulating how the animated Constructicon's caterpillars would change colors in order to make Devastator more symmetrical (and more animator friendly).
Bonecrusher's gun pegs into a hole on the side of the cab.
Like Scavenger, Bonecrusher transforms with a completely revamped conversion scheme that results in a near-perfect realization of the gruff-voiced green onesie-wearing bruiser.
Bonecrusher's novel transformation does come with a drawback, as getting his waist to lock together is a bit of a pain. Please go to around minute 34 of my video review for a guide on the best way to get everything to align for robot mode.
TakaraTomy's devotion to show accuracy has removed the silver paint from Bonecrusher's dozer blade turned chest plate. Other than that, he isn't that different from the Combiner Wars version, and still features a stellar head sculpt.
The only egregious change to Bonecrusher's design is part of Devastator's forearm trying to masquerade a nondescript part of the figure's back. I like to leave it slightly curled up to make it less visible from the front. This change really doesn't bother me, but I know it is a sore point for some fans.
Speaking of Devastator, here is my childhood G2 version next to Bonecrusher. You can already tell that the new combiner is going to be absolutely massive when just one of its components is nearly the size of the old one.
Once you get Bonecrusher's crotch to behave (ahem), he is easily one of the best figures of the set. Granted, he is just a box on treads that turns into a boxy robot man with treads for legs, but this toy does it with such skill I can't help but applaud its execution.
Like Scavenger, Bonecrusher is assigned one of Devastator's forearms as a missile launcher. However, I prefer using the accessory like a big ol' Power Fist in order to give the toy a bit of character-appropriate flair.
With the limbs out of that, it's now time to focus on Devastator's main body with Hook. Interestingly, he is the only individual member to have a different name in Japan, where he is called "Gren (グレン)." Presumably this is a pun on "クレーン" ("crane") and "グリーン" ("green"), but it's never been confirmed. In any case, Hook is still the same type of vehicle as his G1 self.
He has a lot of good surface detailing in this mode that is, sadly, left bare.
Hook's crane boom is where the toy budget crunch is most evident. It's a single piece of plastic with noticeable hollowness on the underside. To add insult to injury, the base of the crane cannot swivel like on the old toy, although it does slide sideways for transformation.
At the very least, the crane boom provides a place to store Hook's gun. It slots onto a square peg on the left side of the boom.
In robot mode, Hook ended up being my least favorite of the team. While he does make for a handsome crane guy, Hook is often off-balance and parts of him are a bit too thin. The Unite Warriors version changes his shins from green to silver to emulate the cartoon's version's simplified legs. Oddly enough, this shift in color actually highlights the detail on the figure's shins in a way that is leagues beyond what Hook's looked like in the show.
It's a shame Hook is not a better figure, as he's one of the coolest looking Constructicons. Rocking a flattop and sweet red shades, Hook is ready to tell some uncharismatic boors that they aren't fit to polish his robo-boots, let alone lead the Decepticons.
One big issue is how the toy's hips and ankles are ill-equipped for handling the big crane assembly on Hook's back. He can both stand and pose without the boom acting like a third leg, but the toy's joints are neither precise enough nor robust enough to make it worth the effort.
And like Mixmaster, Hook's elbows were given an extra joint to make his arms look better while posing. Unlike his teammate, Hook's arms still look off even with this improvement, and suffer from some noticeable curving due to their thin plastic construction.
Even his overall articulation is a bit lacking when compared to the others, as his knees can't bend quite as far as the rest, while his shoulders get hung up on the crane assembly.
And like Mixmaster, Hook lacks any kind of bicep swivel, so most of his gestures involve a slightly turned forearm.
Hook gets assigned the main barrel of Devastator's rifle as his alternate weapon. It makes for one of the better reuses, as the gun makes a decent hand cannon.
Last, but certainly not least, is Long Haul. The bellyaching dump truck is the largest of the Constructicons, and with good reason: he has the task of becoming both Devastator's main body and upper legs without the benefit of extra parts like on the G1 toy. Still, I think he looks great, and his size only adds to the image of a gigantic earth mover.
The rear of the dump truck fails to hide Long Haul's chunky legs, but still doesn't look too bad.
And while his dump bed cannot tilt downward, it is equipped with a place to store all of Devastator's accessories. Long Haul's own weapon slots onto one of the tabs on his black forearms.
Though Long Haul's robot mode is a pretty large (and fat) departure from the original toy, I can't help but love the big tub. In fact, I wish I had a plushie version I could hug and squeeze and call him George and...
Despite Long Haul becoming the team's version of Heavy Weapons Guy, he is still recognizable as the character. His head especially is a great rendition of the vaguely bullet-shaped helmet design.
A big change between G1 Long Haul and this rendition is that his dump bed no longer becomes his lower legs. Instead, it just rests on his back with two big gaps left in it by the absence of Long Haul's legs. While I understand why it was designed this way (because Devastator needs the dump bed on his back), I wish some parts of the bed were incorporated into the Constructicon's legs.
Despite his beefy appearance, Long Haul is technically the most articulated of the group, as he has a rotating waist joint. The Unite Warriors version also gives the sumo wrestler dump truck some proper elbows. They look a bit weird and gangly from some angles, but at least they are a marked improvement over "sideways elbow action."
The main impediment to getting Long Haul to pose is the fact that his waist and hips are also Devastator's. As such, they have some monstrously tight ratchet joints that are difficult to move without the added leverage of a combiner limb.
Still, I think Long Haul does a fine job at being a fun toy on his own. I wish the Unite Warriors version gave him some beefier forearms, though. There's enough space in all of his modes to do more than just keep the same dinky gauntlets with added articulation.
Long Haul gets to use the main body of Devastator's gun like some kind of over-sized 90s FPS weapon. It's a bit too weighty for his tiny elbows, though.
"Now, it's time to bring out the heavy artillery!"
"Constructicons, TRANSFORM! PHASE ONE!"
PREPARE TO MEET YOUR DOOM! NOTHING CAN WITHSTAND THE MIGHT OF... DEVASTATOR!
The fully formed Unite Warriors Devastator (or Devastor in Japan) stands a whopping 18 inches tall, which makes him the tallest Transformers combiner on record. Assembling the towering green giant is pretty straight-forward, and results in a toy that looks and feels like a skyscraper.
While there are some gaps all over his body (and no purple dump bed on his back because this is real life), Devastator is a terrific looking figure.
He's basically built like a building, with everything locking together in multiple places to ensure the nearly two-foot-tall toy doesn't fall apart.
Devastator has a full range of articulation, which actually exceeds that of his individual components in many ways. Long Haul's beefy legs become a set of solid thighs for the towering Titan-class figure. He can even stand on one leg if you're brave enough to try recreating Devastator kicking a Dinobot out of the air.
Both Scrapper and Mixmaster have built in ankle tilts that let Devastator plant his feet in a wide A-stance. And, unlike most of the third party combiners, this Devastator's shins aren't too thick, so standing with his legs straight up and down is just as easy.
Please note that there are only two positions in each ankle, as I've heard reports of people overstressing Mixmaster's joint and breaking him.
The Constructicons' individual weapons can be pegged together and stored on Devastator's back. There's no real rhyme or reason to the gun clusters they make, but it's a functional way of keeping everything together.
Devastator's own rifle is bigger than some Transformers and does a decent job of staying in his hands, despite not pegging in anywhere.
AHAHAHAHAHA! DIE! AUTOBOTS!!
In the cartoon, Devastator was regularly seen with both individual eyes and rocking Bret "The Hitman" Hart shades, due to some animators using slightly different model sheets. The retail version of Combiner Wars Devastator had a visor, while the SDCC exclusive had normal eyes. TakaraTomy was able to give their release BOTH, as Unite Warriors Devastor has his own built-in sunglasses for dealin' with his enemies.
Whether he has shades...
Or not, this Devastator sports a perfect rendition of the big Decepticon's grim-looking face on a slab.
At 18 inches tall, there are very few Transformers Devastator can't tower above with malevolent force.
Even MP-10 Optimus Prime is at a loss for what to do with this beast.
I am extremely happy with this figure. This is the Devastator that hits all the right marks for me.
Is Unite Warriors Devastator just a modernized and enlarged version of the G1/G2 toy? Yeah, but in my opinion that's what makes this set work more than the other attempts at revamping the Constructicons.
The G1 Devastator was a simple figure (even for his time), but his design struck a chord with generations of fans in a way few other Transformers have. What I think makes the Unite Warriors version work is that it takes the solidly designed Combiner Wars toys and adds a layer of polish that makes the whole team feel complete. While I am not completely happy with all the updates to the individual figures, this overall package manages to rise high above its budgetary restrictions to produce a damn fine combiner. There is a definite Masterpiece pedigree in what are essentially a set of regular Voyager-class toys, one that makes the Unite Warriors set feel right at home alongside their high end brethren. It's quite remarkable considering this set is meant to be sold for only a little over $200 USD.
Honestly, even if there was a proper Masterpiece Devastator, I would't want it to be that much more complex than this. What I think really helps this toy stand out from the unofficial competitors is that it recognizes that the Constructicons are meant to be straightforward toys, and that keeping them simple doesn't mean they have to look cheap. Each figure does a great job at capturing the look and feel of its animated counterpart, while also being a fun toy its own . Sure, there are compromises to make the team work as a combiner for a reasonable price, but each team member is a proper modern Transformer toy. If you want a modern G1-style Devastator, the Unite Warriors Devastor is the version to get. Sure, there is room for improvement, but this set is already a high mark for Transformers toys.
|Posted 4 January, 2016 - 18:27 by VF5SS|