Third time's the charm. Apparently.
The first two figures in TFC Toys' "Hercules" series - six green and purple construction-robots that combine into a giant gestalt - had
design flaws that needed to be corrected as the series went on. This one is the first to come out right on the first try.
"This one," for the record, is Structor, a name that makes more sense than Exgraver but not as much as Heavy Labor. He's based on the leader of the Constructicons, Scrapper. While the others built the structures that were commissioned, Scrapper was the one who designed them. Half architect, half engineer, he's one of the greatest designers in Cybertronian history, but is modest enough to wave off the praise he receives. However, he also has a few loose wires in his personality circuits: one of his favorite things is to include defeated Autobots' bodies in his masterpieces, a quirk that Megatron loves to encourage. But that's Scrapper, not Structor. Who knows what his deal is.
Structor's head looks very much like Scrapper's did - and it even behaves the same way, pulling up out of his chest as you convert him. The head is square and blocky, as most of them have been. He's got a silver mouthplate with angled slats, two red eyes, and a red line on the brim of his hat. Or head. Whichever.
The parallels below the neck are just as strong.
In fact, of the three TFC releases we've looked at thus far, Structor looks the most like his G1 inspiration. If the idea behind Hercules was to make "Masterpiece" Constructicons, then Structor is a perfect example of how to do it. The sculpt is obviously tons more detailed than the 1985 toy, but the shape of the body is identical. He's got a purple chest with a raised section down the center, thick arms with a square cross-section and deep inset lines, and massive green lower legs. Even the kibble ends up in the same places! Most of it, anyway: Structor has a big chunk of kibble hanging off his butt that Scrapper didn't. Still, this is an amazing update.
Also amazing? The articulation. Scrapper moved at the shoulders and knees, and that was it - and if we're being honest, the knees were only for changing modes, not for posing. Structor, meanwhile, has a swivel neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs and hinged knees. Now, he doesn't have wrists or a waist, but he can do so much else that you won't even notice they're missing. So that his tremendous amount of back-kibble doesn't pull him off-balance, he has large purple struts that come off the back of his feet, effectively quadrupling their size. Mmm, sturdy!
Structor comes with the two guns
we've come to expect with these Hercules releases, as well as two small purple wings. They can be plugged into his arms if you want, but they're really just kibble for the big guy - wait, wasn't this series' claim to fame that it didn't have combiner kibble? This is the biggest fraud since Benghazi! He also comes with the fixed hips for Heavy Labor.
The instructions for Structor are very much like real Transformers instructions: they're drawn in simple line art with parts highlighted as they move, and some steps seem to be omitted.
Structor's altmode is a large font-end loader - not a small one, like Scrapper was, but a huge industrial one that you have to climb a ladder to get into. Actually, all three of the toys we've reviewed so far has seen a size increase; maybe it's something TFC is doing on purpose.
The detailing on this vehicle is much higher than
on the real Transformer. We already mentioned the ladder, but there are shock absorbers behind the tires and exposed parts on the top that look like an engine (complete with exhaust pipes sticking up). Of course, the scoop on the front of the vehicle has two joints, so it can raise up and tip forward. That's already one more joint than Scrapper had! You can plug the wings into the sides of the vehicle, vaguely referencing the way Devastator's chestplate attached to Scrapper's altmode. Because mechanical shovels need to fly.
Just like their inspiration, the Constructicons, each of these toys has three modes: a robot, a vehicle, and a piece of the combined form.
Structor follows tradition, becoming the right leg. It's a bit more complex to convert him, but not by much: in Generation 1, you raised the bucket and the robot's arms, and that was it; today, you raise the bucket, raise the robot's arms, and then fold them in half. Wow, different! The shoulder joints are incredibly stiff ratchet joints, but that was probably done to better support the giant robot that's coming (after three more reviews).
Something else that's different about this big foot versus the original big foot? An ankle joint. It's not much, just a side-to-side hinge that will allow you to put Hercules in wider stances. After all, keeping the feet flat on the ground will make him more stable.
These Not-Constructicons retail for ~ $100 apiece, which is just a crazy amount of money to pay (unless you're a total chump like I am). We have to think, though, that if Structor had been the first release, it would have done a lot to draw buyers in: it's such a perfect update of the original Scrapper that it would have made an even bigger splash. Of course, that may have led to complaints when the other figures came in with big changes.
Exgraver | Heavy Labor | Structor | Dr. Crank | Neckbreaker | Madblender