Transformers Revenge of the Fallen: Constructicon Devastator
This is my first review so forgive me if it comes off either too simple or too detailed.
This figure has caught a ton of heat ever since it was pretty much announced. In fact I think the only good impression it had was at the New York Toy Fare when it was first unveiled. Most of the complaints it caught were unjust, but enough of them did have valid reason. So lets begin. I'll start with the individual VEHICLES, and I will stress VEHICLES since they are either that or the various appendages that make up Devastator.
Mixmaster (head): He is a large, ultra class silver, light gray, and dark gray cement mixer, with blue/purple painted windows. Sorry not actual translucent plastic. For what he is I would say he actually has nice detail. Along the rear you can see what is made to be the pipe work for cement to be poured from along with rivets and simulated panels, and red painted tail lights. The drawback, it is all done in the dark gray tone, so there is no definition to it. it comes off as a Tonka toy where it's enough for the imagination, but seeing what has been done in terms of movie figures it's a big let down. Now along to the cement mixer chamber it is done in sections of alternating light gray and dark. Missing from the detail is the ominous Decepticon faction symbol. Something as simple as that would add so much to this figure. As for the cab it takes on the mostly dark gray color with a light gray bumper and crash bar. Surprisingly done well is the detail for the door, gas tank, side mirrors and off road lamps. Missing once again is the additional paint applications to add definition, as mostly all is done it the dark gray with no separation to look as if real effort was done to make this feel like a transformer by appearance. Last but not least is a randomly activated vehicle sound. Random because you don't have to do much but touch it and it makes this annoying sound. Hair trigger is an understatement. Rating this vehicle alone on a 1-10 scale I'd go 5 to 5.5
Scavenger (torso): To any that have seen the YouTube review, you know this guy is massive (bigger than leader class). Easily dwarfing the vehicle mode of ROTF Leader class Optimus Prime. It is represented as an excavator done in a burnt orange and white with gray painted windows, and dark gray faux treads (actual/typical tiny wheels that make it roll) and shovel. Highlighted is signs of a good paint job as the Decepticon logo is done in white along with the letters SCVNGR, which is done in an imperfect paint job as if this vehicle has been in use for a few jobs, and wear and tear have taken its effect on the paint job. Don't get me wrong for detailing, that is it The shovel itself has three (3) points of articulation. The shovel section, lower arm, and base to the arm that connects to the main vehicle. For a sandbox toy that you'd give to a 6 year old, that is awesome. The savvy collector I'd give it a nice grin. The main vehicle body is done in decent detail, where you can see simulated railings, gears, and a ladders for electrical access and a human operator. From a top view you are exposed to more detail which sadly stands out as the crown jewel of detail as far as Devastator as a whole goes. There is the presence of fans, vents, walkways and various other things you can expect to come across on a true to life construction vehicle. From the underside view you can't help but get this "HALLOW" feeling. Why? because that is just what it is. The underside is the resting place for Mixmaster in bot mode. I give this guy a 6.5 for his vehicle rating.
Scrapper (right arm): This is represented by a voyager class wheel loader, done in a mostly goldish yellow, with a large gold engine on the front end of the vehicle. This figure as well demonstrates detail of gears, hydraulics, stairs and hand rails with exhaust pipes towards the rear. On the large block engine is the Faction logo painted in silver, I'm gonna say this is nicely done overall until you get to the shovel. It has nice detail, but pulls a big zero in articulation. When in vehicle mode there is no pose-ability. I wish there were more to say of it, but that is about it for Scrapper. 4 for scrapper.
Hightower (left arm): Represented by a truss crane, done in solid happy meal toy yellow. I Can leave the review of this figure there, as you can expect no more, and probably get less. But I will not cheat it as so. The cabin for the figure is don in the same coldish yellow as Scrappers engine block with the painted windows in the same color as the other Constructicons. Also painted is the Decepticon logo near the rear. The choice of this particular vehicle is puzzling, cause the real life form has just as much detail. 2 rating for this guy.
Rampage (left leg): A yellow deluxe class bulldozer with amazing detail done in the same color yellow as Scrapper. Side by side comparisons put his vehicle mode on the level of the wave 1 deluxe class rampage with robot form minus rubber treads. Also unlike scrapper the shovel carries articulation in motion and paint scheme. There is the presence of a shadowed gray to represent a used dirty feel that you would normally see on a real life bulldozer. From the sides you can see the workings of an engine, vents, wires, and hydraulics. 6 rating for this con.
Long Haul (right leg): Green deluxe class dump truck with weathering/dirty shadowed gray toward the bottom of the load carrying portion of the truck. From the sides and front attention to detail was well thought out with railings, but poorly executed. The cabin portion of the cab the typical painted window detail with areas represented as the door and access panel, to the right of this there are formations of exhaust pipes and engine sections. Also is the Decepticon symbol to the front of the engine block. Missing from this is simple paint to show the all important definition of this vehicle. As for articulation in this mold.....It rolls! Alas it is a dump truck that instead of dumping debris, it just takes a dump. Long Haul earns a 3.
Now on to the bread an butter of this gift set......
Devastator: Skill level of this figure is said to be level 4 which is the highest rated of transformers. I know these rating are given out based on size, not actual effort. For the transformation sequence I've provided a pic of the instructions Devastator came along with. Sorry the scanner is incapacitated right now.
This guy puts the term Hulking at a new level. The width of this guy is the equivalent of Leader class Optimus Prime, Megatron and Ironhide from shoulder to shoulder. Front to back this guy clears approximately 10 inches from face to "hump". Done in nice detail this form is easily gorilla like with the long bulky arms and shorter bent legs. To answer can he walk on all fours? Yes. Recommended? No. This form is definitely the saving grace of a seemingly lost cause. With the transformation of the limbs come a new level of detail that make the parts seem as if the went through some serious twisting and rearranging to reach this form. At glance you can no longer recognize the original vehicle forms of each construction vehicle. Robot mode is highly poseable with all joints capable of range of motion equivalent to a double jointed human. There is no lack of poses this figure can be put in. Note: due to the top heaviness, some positions may need additional support.
There are two (2) claw like hands consisting of three (3) fingers each that can open wide, but not truly grasp anything other than Autobot chassis to throw in the well represented Vortex Grindor, which can be activated by depressing the typical center mech alive button found in the center chest much like all movie leader class figures. Once activated you'll be treated to several sounds to the effect of the actual revving sounds of the suction device, phrases such as "crush Autobots", "I am Devastator", and the all too sinister laugh. He actually has more sounds than the box would lead to believe. The actual detail to this vortex grindor is amazing. Inside the mouth there is articulation representing a spiraling death device all throughout. It puts you in the mind of anything unfortunate enough to come into contact will be destroyed on contact. Also there are approximately 8 LED lights in the back of the mouth that flash and spin to enhance the grinding effect.
The face of this beast is also pretty accurate showing several green eyes (ten by my count). The main four also have the blinking LED effect. Also is the lower jaw shown in a 2 part mandible, much like the vampires in the Blade movies. When activated, the mouth opens wide enough to fit deluxe class Mudflap inside. Which I know will make for great gallery imagery. Detailed is the face with a mangled mass of light gray plastic with splashes of neon green paint. The length of the head which doubles as Mixmaster's cement barrel has folded back panels that expose the outer gears of the vortex grindor, with splashes of neon green paint as well which I'm guessing are to represent the oozing fluids of defeated foes. From the top and side views this guy look imposing and moderately cool. The back view gives you nothing more that a view of Scavenger's shovel and Mixmaster's cab. Sorry no wrecking balls of devastation.
What you get is 6 construction vehicles with lackluster detail and no individual robot modes that merge to form a 85% screen accurate Devastator. I would say 95%, but missing is the 7th Constructicon (the articulated dump truck). It goes as high as 85% because if you did see the movie you will know that the Constructicons that actually formed Devastator did not have individual robot forms. I'm guessing, based on their screen time, Hasbro might have a valid point with the lack of detail to the vehicles.
The overall impression that I am left with for the Devastator form is a strong 8 out of 10. The only things truly missing is the height, and the detailing that Leader class Optimus Prime carries in a paint job. To touch on the size, I'll say in a normal stance he is larger than Supreme class Animated Prime, but if you were to extend the legs straight he is actually taller than Unicron. Due to weight issue without a stand, he could never stay in this pose.
To wrap things up if you are a collector and want all figures represented in the movie, go out and get him, but wait for the inevitable price drop. The $99.99 price tag is definitely not warranted when given the lack of detail to the individual vehicle forms, but I would honestly jump at paying $59.99 for this guy.
Shout Factory wrote:
Transformers DVDs released prior to our 25th Anniversary Edition were missing animation seen in the original broadcast. We did extensive research, found the discrepancies between the original broadcast masters and the restored masters used for the last DVD release, reinserted the correct animation, and color corrected it as best we could to match the shots before and after. But because a one-inch master tape simply can't hold up to the quality of the restored masters, you may notice occasional shots - or even scenes - in some episodes that seem slightly softer than others. Just take comfort in knowing that laser blasts have been reinserted, backgrounds have been corrected and Starscream is Starscream once again.
B Ward from Shout Factory wrote
Okay, so since Garson has officially launched information about the recent Hasbro deal, I have been authorized to come in and discuss all things Transformers and G.I. Joe (another thread) with only a couple of exceptions. Until the official press release about the complete series sets come out, I cannot go into detail about the dates or what will be different from the season sets. All I can say about that is that they will be out this year and there WILL be bonus material on the complete series sets that will NOT be included in the individual sets. And if you know me, you know I've tried to make it worth it.
There is something you should know, regarding this thread. It is the ONLY thread I'll read on the topic of Transformers and, most certainly, the only thread to which I'll respond. You guys really like to create new threads for every single question and, frankly, I don't have the time within my REALLY BUSY schedule to go through and answer multiple threads. So read this one. Post any questions you have into this one. And you should get my responses within a reasonably timely fashion.
I am currently working on 40-ish DVDs worth of material for Shout! Factory. Sixteen of those discs are Transformers, the original animated series from Sunbow. This is an absolute dream come true for me. I'm 31 years old and grew up watching the series, as well as collecting the toys and comics. So I know my stuff. Long before I was producing DVDs, I was buying them. And, yes, I bought the original releases from Rhino. I know what was good about them and I know what was bad about them, not because I did extensive research (which I still did), but because I was also a fan praising what deserved praise and criticizing what deserved criticism. That being said...
The S1 Packaging
I've seen some divided opinions regarding the cover art for Season One online. A lot of people really seem to like it. Some don't. But in many cases of the more dissenting opinions, people complain that it doesn't look "special" enough. I agree that what you see online doesn't adequately reflect the special treatment Shout! Factory is giving the series. However, I will argue that you haven't seen the art in person. What can't be displayed in a .JPG online is the type of treatment the slipcase is getting. The title treatment and characters will be fully embossed and the background will be BEAUTIFULLY printed on a shiny foil board that really makes those background colors POP. Unfortunately, you can't see the effect in a photo, but I will say that there will be no doubt (or, at least, there shouldn't be) that the set is "special" when it hits store shelves.
Hasbro provided us with the same masters Rhino used for their releases. HOWEVER... There have been changes made. I, personally, went to New York, where the original broadcast one-inch masters are housed, and found each of the problem areas, in regards to animation. Before the question is asked, I'll answer it now. The one-inch masters have not physically held up well over the years. In some cases, they're nearly unwatchable. Therefore, instead of simply transferring and using masters of the one-inches, we found every instance of faulty animation demonstrated on a YouTube video or mentioned in a rundown we could find online (and even found some of our own) and corrected them, replacing the faulty digibeta master material with the best-quality one-inch source material. Finally, we color corrected everything to match--as best we could--the shots before and after. Surprisingly, unless you know specifically what you're looking for, you won't even notice many of the instances of slightly softer picture. It looks REALLY good.
We chucked the Rhino audio. You will no longer hear additional sound effects or music, not previously heard in the broadcasts. We went back to the original source mono and created a nice stereo track to even out the audio. It sounds really nice.
The Bonus Features
There are very few bonus materials from the original releases that are specifically related to G1 and what interviews are there tend to be long, relatively drawn out and have no cutaways. In short, they're kinda boring. I've spent the last month or so traveling to Rhode Island, New York and back interviewing as many people as possible that had something to do with this incarnation of the series. In some cases, I talk to original Hasbro toy designers. In others, I'm talking to original comic writers and editors. And in even others, I'm talking to the gang behind the series, itself. And, yes, that includes the voice talent.
I will also have commercials from the appropriate seasons. In other words, you won't see a commercial for the Sharkticons on the season one release. Something you should know about the commercials is this: the quality of what you're accustomed to seeing on YouTube and other DVDs is pretty much what you're going to get here. And it's for one simple reason. No one ever anticipated the future lives of commercials, when they were first being broadcast. So Hasbro never kept high-quality masters. They kept VHS screeners of their commercials, strictly for reference later. So when you say, "why couldn't they get the original copies from Hasbro?", we actually did. Still, there are some pretty cool commercials here and I'm looking forward to having them included.
There's a bunch of other stuff that will be included. I don't really want to get too detailed and bogged down here and now. But I do want you to know that this property is being handled with care by folks that loved the franchise far prior to its acquisition at Shout! Factory. Now, with all of that said, let the comments, concerns and questions begin.
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