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Transformers Combiner Wars
by yo go re

Back when Marvel Legends Galactus came out, we codified the way BAFs are reviewed - all the individual pieces first, then the assembled figure at the end. Build-A-Figures, Collect & Connects, Collect and Builds, Lego ships, Droid Factories, gestalts, it's always the same: parts parts parts, big guy; parts parts parts, big guy; parts parts parts, big guy. So this time we're changing it up, reviewing the final build before the individual components.

Devastator is a raging hammer of chaos, battling voices in his head one nanoklik, then crushing his targets the next. He is the perfect weapon, held back by a single imperfection: the circuit-clogging conflict caused by bots unable to wield the very power that they themselves bring to life. The Constructicons struggle to successfully merge their thoughts into one cohesive action, making it difficult to focus the wrath of their combined form. If they were able to harness the full force of their collective power, they would give the Decepticons a weapon capable of pounding entire civilizations to dust. As long as that threat exists, Devastator will loom as a shadow across the universe, an enemy the Autobots - and all the worlds they protect - must fear.

I was thrilled when this figure was announced at last year's Toy Fair - even more than when Capwolf was revealed at SDCC. In fact, I was so excited for it that when Hasbro showed off the SDCC-exclusive version in March of that year, I actively campaigned to get one from them for review (mainly for the cool packaging, which inside looked like a docking bay [specifically, this docking bay], and outside looked like various parts of Devastator's body), but was unsuccessful in my efforts. Presumably because I'm not enough of a Devastator fan, or because of my well-known stance on vac-metallizing. [I *told* you being an unhappy grumper about things would bite you in the ass one day. --ed.] Hey, whatever, at least Santa Claus loves me.

Santa loves me so much, in fact, that I ended up with the Japanese "Unite Warriors" release, which has a few differences from the American "Combiner Wars" version. We'll talk about those when they matter.

First, though, here's the picture you've been waiting for. Yes, that's the mass-market Devastator standing next to TFC Toys' Hercules and dwarfing it. Remember, this is a toy that retails for less than $200, absolutely towering over one that I spent $400 to get (and that was a really good deal). He stands 17" tall to the top of the head, plus a little extra counting all the kibble on and around his shoulders. If, as the designers stated, Ultra Magnus was made to be in the same scale as Devastator, then the real robot would stand 301'9", as big as the Statue of Liberty on her pedestal, or as long as a football field if he laid down. It's all solid construction, too, making this a mighty heavy toy!

Heavy toys require sturdy joints, and Devastator delivers. He has a swivel neck, swivel/hinge shoulders (with the caveat that, due to the way the left shoulder is designed, you have to hinge it out to the side a little before it can swivel), swivel/hinge elbows, swivel wrists, hinged fingers, a swivel waist, swivel/​hinged hips and thighs, hinged knees, and even sideways hinges in the ankles, to help support wide-legged stances. The shoulders, hips and thighs are all ratchet joints, with a loud and satisfying click as they move. Those things are going to be sturdy for years to come!

The colors are nice, though there are quite a few paint differences between the Hasbro and Takara versions of the toy - as is always the case. It's mostly minor things, like the placement of the Decepticon logos, or the exact shade of purple used (Hasbro's is closer to blue, Takara's is closer to red), but it's not like one of them is G2 yellow, you know? There are a few elements on this one that are definitely better than the US release, though: a purple app has been added to the interior of the treads on the left side of the chest, rather than remaining green; there's a bit of silver breaking up all the black on the forearms; the hands are purple instead of black; and there's extra silver on the left foot to better simulate Mimaster's cab. Most of those you could do yourself if you really wanted to.

One thing you couldn't do by yourself? Change the face. The original Devastator toy had a visor, but he was often shown on the cartoon with two separate eyes. Hasbro's version sticks with the classic (in red, instead of yellow), but Takara gives you options: you can have the visor, or you can tuck it away inside his forehead and just have eyes. It's a fun little feature, engineered simply, but easily adds variety to the toy.

Devastator comes with his 10,000°C solar energy beam rifle, though it splits in two to become oversized weapons for the individual robots. But the Japanese release also comes with six G1-style guns for them to use, guns that Hasbro chose to forego. Again, we'll review those when we do the Constructicons, but they can all plug together to store on Devastator's back in this mode.

Contrary to what you may think, I don't pick the ToY winners by myself - this year, for instance, NECA's Ripley won, but I nominated Devastator. Not only because he's big and awesome, but because he's a perfect example of why real toys are still better than third-party counterparts: he's bigger, more detailed, more elegantly engineered, and yet costs a fraction of the price. Devastator is Hasbro and Takara's way of showing everybody why they're the kings.

Hook | Long Haul | Scavenger | Bonecrusher | Scrapper | Mixmaster

-- 01/19/16

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