I really dig small Transformers. I was hooked on the Mini-cons like crack and their spiritual predecessors, the Micromasters were just as awesome. Yeah, these figures are really simple, but they’re so highly collectible, I can’t help but have totes full of the little buggers. My favorite of all the little guys were the combiners. And since Devastator has always been my favorite combiner, there was never any doubt that I would have to pick up the Micromaster version of him put out by Takara a while back as Sixbuilder.
Of course, the original Sixbuilder didn’t come standard in the iconic green and purple Devastator colors, but rather each of the six figures were available in these colors as chase figures. If you were in Japan, it was probably a maddening prospect to get them all, since these figures were blind packaged. In other words, you bought the little box and had no idea who was inside until you got him open. I was lucky enough to find an auction a while back that was selling a whole case of them, which guaranteed at least one of each chase figure.
Later, these figures were released in the US under the Transformers Universe moniker. They were carded similar to basic class figures and were KBToys exclusives. That meant that you were probably better off flying to Japan and trying your luck with the blind packaging, then finding them in the US. Back in my golden age of toy hunting, I actually once spotted three or four of them hanging on the pegs of a KBToys Outlet store, but never the whole set.
Unlike the original Constructicons, which were a team of five, there were six of thee guys, hense the name Sixbuilder. The figures consisted of Hightower, the boom crane. Quickmix, the cement mixer. Bonecrusher, the bullsozer. Long Haul, the dump truck. Scavenger, the steam shovel. And Buckethead, the earth mover. Obviously, Hasbro lost some of the trademarks of the original names over the years and had to get creative. Plus, these were the names of the American figures. With names like Crush Bull and Gran Arm, I’m not even going to go into the Japanese names.
Naturally, the figures are simple to transform, but there’s still a really nice amount of detail on them, both in robot and vehicle form. They all roll nicely in vehicle form and many of them have moving parts like Hightower’s crane or Buckethead’s scoop. They all have tiny stamped Decepticon logos, their little faces are even painted, and in many cases, their articulation isn’t much worse than the original G1 figures.
Like the original Constructicons, these guys rely on a number of add-on parts to complete their gestalt form. Each figure came with one of these pieces and consisted of a frame for his torso and pelvis, two feet, two hands, a head and a gun. The cool thing about these little Constructions is that their spare parts, when not being used to form Devastator, can be used to build an attack jet that one of the robots can ride in.
I have no idea what the Takara figures sell for nowadays, but you can usually find a set of the US ones on Ebay in the $50 range. Its a fair amount of money for such small and simple toys, but if you happen to be a MOC collector, that would be the best way to go. I’ve never owned the US set, but I have to admit they do look fantastic in their packaging. Either way, these are great little figures and well worth tracking down, especially if you are a Devastator nut like myself.