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Mudflap & Rampage

Robot Heroes
by yo go re

Before the first Transformers movie, Target famously broke the street date for the toys, selling them before everyone else did. Now that the second movie is drawing closer (44 days and counting!), they seem to be doing it again. This time, the early releases are limited (so far) to Robot Heroes two-packs.

Robot Heroes are, of course, the Transformers segment of Hasbro's "Heroes scale" toys: you know, Galactic Heroes, Superhero Squad, Adventure Heroes and Combat Heroes. [You forgot Toy Box Heroes. --ed.] The line started with the first movie, so it's only right that it's back for the second.

Now, so far, we don't know anything about any of the new movie characters. They've been glimpsed in the trailers, but that's it. Certainly nothing that would reveal personalities... or even names. So the little red guy is Mudflap? Surprise!

Yes, there's already been a Mudflap in the movie continuity, but how many people do you know in real life who have the same name? This one, however, is not nearly as terrible as his namesake. He's this set's Autobot, as evidenced by the familiar silver logo on his shoulder. He's posed with one hand on the ground, similar to Blackout's "defensive lineman" promo renders. He's got the usual four "Heroes" points of articulation: neck, shoulders and waist.

The bot himself is a nice bricky red, not a color seen on a lot of TFs. He's obviously going to turn into a car of some sort, as evidenced by the doors on his back. In fact, in the Robot Hero style, he looks a lot like Bumblebee - I'm surprised he's not Cliffjumper. You get the feeling he's going to be "zany" (or insane) in the movie: his eyes are different sizes and he's got an oddly large jaw. Deformed = funny. You can briefly catch Mudflap in the latest trailer, about to be eaten by Devastator.

And hey, speaking of Devastator (probably), the Decepticon in this set is Rampage. I'm assuming he's part of Devastator, since he looks like he turns into construction equipment. Judging by the design, it'll probably be a bulldozer - and since the name "Bonecrusher" was already used in the first movie, it wasn't available. And sadly, because the movie is sticking strictly with realistic colors on its vehiles (kind of), Rampage is yellow, rather than fan-favorite green and purple.

Rampage's robot mode is very strange. The bulldozer's treads have become whips of some sort, and instead of legs, he seems to balance on a single point. Since there's no way the toy could actually stand like that, there's a pile of dirt acting as a base to keep it upright. He's definitely designed with the movie aesthetic, which of course plays up the inhuman appearance, so all that weirdness? Suits him perfectly. There's no sense of scale among the Robot Heroes, so bulldozer Rampage is the same 2¼" tall as compact car Mudflap. His waist is too weird a shape to accommodate a joint, so Rampage only moves at the neck and shoulders. It's still fun to wrap his tread-whip around Mudflap's wrist and send the Autobot flipping away.

I'm an avowed fan of the Constructicons, which is why I finally decided to get this two-pack. Hasbro's kind of screwing fans with the regular releases - there will be one set of vehicles that only change into robots, and a second separate set that only form Devastator - so until I decide whether I'm spending my money on either of the halfassed offerings, I'll just have to content myself with Robot Heroes. This set is a winner, and not just because I got it before it was actually released.

-- 05/12/09

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