Yeah, the boozing snuck up on me yesterday and I was in no condition to finish up this three part Feature, so here we are on Sunday to wrap things up before I move into a brand new week of toys and tomfoolery.
Before I get with the combining, let me just say a few things about the Constructicons as a team. All lined up on the shelf, I think they look fantastic and a lot of the oddball feelings I had about them, concerning the plastic and the simpler articulation has melted away and been replaced with that warm fuzzy feeling of having a collection of (mostly) G1 faithful Constructions in the Voyager scale. There are certainly some nits to pick here, but as individual robots making up a combiner team, I think Hasbro did us proud with these fellas. I’ve been in love with this dirty half-dozen since I was a kid and these are certainly the best versions of the characters I’ve owned.
While they’re woefully out of scale with most of the other Combiner Wars figures, they do fit in beautifully with CW Leader Class Megatron. And yes, he is wearing the DX-9 Upgrade Kit, which I’ll be looking at on this coming Transformers Thursday.
And if they fit in well with Leader Class Megsy, that means they’re pretty close to Masterpiece Scale too. Mixmaster, for example is just a bit taller than MP Lambor and that works for me. Even the aesthetics work together fairly well.
And one last size comparison shot shows that they can easily hang out with Warbotron’s Not-Combaticons. I think Sly Strike and Scrapper look damn fine together. But we’re here to make with the combining, so let’s go ahead and do it. It’s generally best to start with all of them in their vehicle modes, although it probably doesn’t matter so much with Long Haul. I was happy to see that combining these guys is very similar to the original toys, at least in principal, with the main differences being the various pegs and tabs that help secure strong connections.
Case in point, the legs should be familiar to anyone who’s played around with a G1 Devastator. While I wouldn’t have it any other way, this leads to some stability issues with Scrappers foot mode. Sometimes he likes to bend in the middle, which can at times assist the stance and articulation, and other times can undermine it. Naturally, there are no ankle rockers, and that sometimes creates issues with wide action stances. The only other quibble I have here is the absence of silver paint on Mixmaster’s cab foot, which will be remedied in the Takara version.
The connections between the legs and Long Haul’s pelvis mode are brilliant. Each leg tabs in multiple places and not once have I ever had the legs come apart even when manipulating those heavy ratchet joints in the hips. It’s easy to see now why Long Haul had to put on so much weight for this update and I whole hardheartedly approve. The knees also feature some nice strong joints, but they are placed rather high on the figure, up near the connection points. It’s understandable why it’s done this way, but worth pointing out nonetheless.
Getting Hook and the arms all connected is where things got a little tricky for me. There are a couple of crucial locking points between Hook and Long Haul, which are easy in themselves, but doing it while getting three other tabs to line up and connect can be a bit of a pain. Fortunately, wrestling with this toy isn’t as scary as some of the 3P combiners, because a) This guy is a toy made to be played with and b) He’s about one fourth the cost of your average 3P combiner team, which makes me a lot less nervous about handling him. The way the arms attach is quite clever in that the treads of Scavenger and Bonecrusher lock into place and the shoulder articulation is in the vehicle itself. The back treads are stabilized with tabs connecting to Long Haul’s arms and the front treads are stabilized by the chest piece.
Which brings us to the three extra parts: The chest piece and the two hands. The chest piece is a work of art. It’s beautifully sculpted in the same brilliant purple plastic as the rest of the set. The Decepticon emblem looks great and there’s some nice red and silver paint hits to round it out. It attaches at several points and offers some nice stability to the chest and shoulders. It’s also very solid. I’ve yet to have it pop out while playing with him. The arms simply peg into the stumps provided by Scavenger and Bonecrusher and they’re well proportioned, although I do wish they were purple instead of black. I believe that’s something else Takara will be fixing, at least where the fists are concerned.
There are no big surprises in the back. Most of Devy’s other side is dominated by Long Haul’s dump truck bed and it looks good.
The head sculpt is amazing and while the Unite Warriors version will come with an alternate portrait with eyes, I’m glad Hasbro went with the visor because it’s my preferred look for this big guy. Alas, there’s no ball joint in the neck, but he can turn his head from side to side.
The last two extra pieces connect to form Devy’s rifle, which looks fantastic. He can hold it securely in either hand without the need of support pegs or trickery. It is worth noting here that there aren’t ratchets in Devy’s elbows and while he can hold the rifle aloft, I did have a few instances where the elbow gave way and twisted around. Also, as I believe I mentioned before, all of these extra combiner bits have alternate weapon modes, but I haven’t bothered with any of them. Another good reason to consider the Takara release is that it will come with the individual guns for the Constructicons.
The Masterpiece Scale of the individual bots translates pretty well to the combined mode. Of course, scale was all over the place in the Sunbow cartoon, but with the MP cars coming up to Devastator’s knees, I think that works pretty well for me.
Of course, if you want to employ a little mass shifting magic, it’s a lot more fun to have him interact with the Legends Scale figures.
There’s no doubt about it, Combiner Wars Devastator is a love letter from Hasbro to old school Transformers fans dripping with sloppy kisses and maybe even a courteous little reach around. I certainly never thought we’d ever get an official product like this one and it’s an instance where I’m very happy to have been proven wrong. Was the motivation behind this guy driven by the popularity of the expensive 3P combiners? Maybe, but in the end all that matters to me is that Hasbro is doing such amazing things. I may have said this already, but I do think it would have been interesting to see this guy in the Deluxe Scale to fit in with the other Combiner Wars gestalts. Part of me is a little sad that I can’t have Devy face off against my CW Superion or Defensor. It’s also possible the individual robots would have worked better, but then I look at this behemoth and say, “Nahhh, they made the right call.” With something like this standing on my shelf, along side the Titan Class Metroplex, I truly believe that the sky is the limit for Hasbro and the TF brand. I mean hell, we’re even getting a new Sky Lynx! Can a new Trypticon possibly be that far behind? I think not. In the meantime, the Unite Warriors version is due to ship at the end of the year and while that’s some bad timing for me and my wallet I’m going to make every effort to work the Takara version into my budget and show my support for such a wonderful endeavor.