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Transformers Combiner Wars
by yo go re

This figure is more backwards than Kentucky politics.

Mixmaster is, naturally, a cement mixer, though it's not the kind he used to be. Back in Generation 1, he was a fairly typical flat-nosed truck with the drum pointed toward the back. Now it's a more modern "front discharge" truck, with a big engine in the back and the drum pointed over the cab. This configuration allows the driver to see where he's pulling up to, and keeps all the controls for dispensing the cement inside the cab. Not that any of that matters to a sentient truckbot.

The toy is 7" long, 3" wide, and 3⅞" tall. The wheels turn, but the drum doesn't, which is slightly disappointing - spinning that was always a fun feature. Plus, the front wheels don't seem to have enough clearance; they rub against the frame as they turn.

The originl Mixmaster came with Devastator's big gun, and so was able to carry it in vehicle mode. This time all the Constructicons are sold in one set, and all their accessories are bundled together, so that's not duplicated here. You can get him to carry part of the big guy's chest armor, sort of: it's just wide enough to fit over the back end of the truck.

Ignoring the direction the mixing drum points, Mixmaster's conversion is much like it was in the '80s: the cab flips around to become feet, and the arms pull out from the sides. Sure, it's a little more complex than that, but not by much.

Nothing is safe from Mixmaster's seething cauldron. He will use any material necessary, whether unliving rock or living robot, in the making of some new material. He's been known to swallow up brand new limousines and reduce them to steel girders. And he performs his often grisly tasks with an evil, cackling glee that more befits a medieval witch than a Constructicon. The manner in which he creates new materials resembles an arcane ritual. Sometimes his fellow Decepticons wonder if perhaps Mixmaster hasn't a few microchips loose in his logic center, but they never question the results of his efforts.

Despite having a fairly average head, Mixmaster still stood out by virtue of having a big box around it. Or maybe a shelf behind it. Something. In every incarnation - toy, comic and cartoon - he ended up with a pair of blasters pointing over his head, and they're here as well. The head itself is more angular than the other Constructicons, with thick black armor over the cheeks and nose, leaving just the silver mouth and red eyes exposed.

The molded chest details are taken directly from the old toy. There's a big panel on his chest that angled down to a lower level on one side and features horizontal lines running through it. There's a red rectangle on the right side of his chest, and a few small details on the left. Even the two big screws that held the old toy together are referenced here, in the form of two large grey pods above the angled blue stripes on the abdomen. The red triangle on his waist matches the sticker the original had. The specific colors of the toy will vary depending on where you get it: the mass market Hasbro version is different from the SDCC version, and both of them are different from the Takara version. The SDCC one is the best of the three, except for the fact that a lot of the purple is vac metallized.

Japanese Mixmaster (ミックスマスター, Mikkusumasutā) also gets more articulation than his US cousins, but like Hook, it wasn't really necessary. Basically, it adds elbow joints higher up the arm, but there are already existing joints that take care of that range of motion. The hips on mine are a little loose, which is compounded by the fact that the cement mixer's drum points down instead of up: it makes him look like he has a big insect butt, and it ends up tipping him backwards until it rests against the ground. And although he has hinges to keep his feet flat on the ground, they're pretty stiff.

Takara's version also includes a small black pistol, but don't fret if you can only get an American release: the center of Devastator's chest armor can be held like a large blaster. It even has two barrels, matching the weapon over Mixmaster's head.

Like most Mixmasters, this Mixmaster becomes the left leg of Devastator. In order to keep the barrel pointing the right direction, this time the back of the truck becomes the toes, rather than the cab. To help sell the comparison to the 1985 version, the Takara release has an additional silver app on the engine block to suggest the old toy's grill, and purple apps on the sides to look like windows. The front of the truck's cab unfolds to become a connection point for the leg to join the rest of the gestalt. It plugs in quite securely without needing any additional kibble, which is cool. To add stability, a kickstand folds out of the heel.

Back in the day, Mixmaster was my favorite Constructicon. Considering how much effort the other toys in this set put into duplicating their '80s forebears, switching the truck from a rear to a front discharge version is a letdown. The designers have to jump through hoops to keep the leg looking right, when they could have just kept the layout the way it was before.

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

-- 03/15/16

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