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Transformers Combiner Wars
by yo go re

Round 2 of our piecemeal Devastator reviews brings us back down to earth, with one of the feet.

Scrapper is a front-end loader, just like he always is. According to the stories, his shovel can slice through 12" thick carbon steel and lift up to 30 tons - that's the equivalent of a propeller from an aircraft carrier. Though what a front-end loader would be doing in the ocean is beyond me!

The original Scrapper was one of those one-man models, but this version is a massive industrial unit - you have to climb two different ladders to even get up as high as the tops of the tires! The toy is 7" long, 3¼" wide, and 2⅝" tall. It's mostly bright neon green, with silver hub caps and a little bit of purple in the center. The wheels roll, and the bucket can be raised - the arms even have a hinge in the center so it can be tipped forward.

The original Generation 1 Scrapper came with Devastator's chestplate, so it was able to attach to his vehicle mode as a "single-jet levitation wing" capable of carrying him 250 miles. You can honor that old feature on this new toy, thanks to holes under the chestplate wing sections that fit on pegs at the back of the vehicle. That is, of course, if you don't want Long Haul to carry them.

Scrapper's conversion is very similar to what it was in the '80s: the bucket moves out the way of the head, and the back of the vehicle flips over to become legs. Of course, there's a lot more complex engineering involved today, but the broad strokes are the same.

Scrapper is a wizard at designing fortresses and energy production plants for the Decepticons. Disguising his creations to blend unnoticed into the surrounding alien human landscapes comes almost as easily to him. He modestly shrugs off the acclaim these talents inspire from his comrades. After all, he feels he is just fulfilling the requirements of his job. But overcoming an enemy Autobot and secreting his body in the foundation or structural skeleton of one of his buildings is another story. It is in such cases that Scrapper exhibits his true malevolent genius and relishes the admiration and praise it garners. Megatron considers him the most valuable of the Constructicons, so it really must have sucked when he got killed.

The original Scrapper had a rather unique head, in that it was perfectly flat on top - it was never really clear whether we were supposed to think it looked like that in "real life" (like the box around Motormaster's head) or if we were supposed to ignore it (like the flate plate behind Long Haul's head), but it was a feature that carried over to both the cartoons and the comic, and it's here, as well. He has a fairly normal head-shape under it, with an angled forehead, red visor, and a mouthplate between blocky cheeks. Plus a flat top.

The paint details will vary by where you buy Scrapper. I got the Japanese version, so his torso is a dark purple with yellow and two-tone grey/silver on the waist; there are two red sections on his ribs, and both sides of his chest are silver, with black details. The US release adds a lot of silver on the waist and a big red panel on the right side of the chest, but less paint on the waist and a lighter face. The SDCC release adds a little bit of yellow to the legs, and vac-metallizes the entire chest. Honestly, a combo of all three would be best.

The articulation and accessories are different, too. Japanese Scrapper (スクラッパー, Sukurappā) has elbows, while Hasbro's doesn't. Clearly Big H made this choice for stability reasons, but if a third-party group could figure out a way to accommodate elbows, the actual designers should have been able to, too. Well, Takara's did. Beyond that, Scrapper moves at the ankles, knees, hips, biceps, shoulders and neck. The head does have a little trouble staying up - it wants to fall back into the chest cavity easily.

Japan also gave Scrapper his own black pistol, which he can hold in either hand, or store in vehicle mode (when the wings aren't attached). So that he doesn't have to run around empty-handed in North America, the chest-wings can be held in his hands like swords. While the gun (and elbows) are cooler, that's a nice way to use the leftover kibble.

Naturally, Scrapper turns into the right leg of Devastator - unlike the Scramble City combiners, where the limbs can swap around however you like, Devvy's only got one correct assemblage. Rather than relying on a separate piece that connects the legs to the hips, this time the robot's feet unfold in such a way that they can plug directly into Long Haul's leg, creating a very sturdy connection. The bucket hinges upward to form his foot, keeping the pressure close to the center of gravity and preventing excess stress. The vehicle's cab rotates 180° to keep Scrapper's legs from popping out of place and weakening the big guy. The added elbows aren't a weak point either, because you rotate the arms 90° to the side - that means the joints point a different direction than the leg moves, so its weight won't force them out of position. To add a little stability, Scrapper's wrists fold back to reveal small flat wedge shapes that increase his footprint (no pun intended).

Scrapper is an easy Transformer to get the hang of, because he owes so much of his design to the original G1 version. But he's nice in both modes (all three modes, really), and converting him is fun. The Takara version is minorly better than Hasbro's, but he should be nice either way.

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

-- 02/16/16

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