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Scourge (Robots in Disguise 2000 Universe)

Transformers Legacy
by yo go re

Forget the poser with the Sweeps - this is the real Scourge!

During the "War for Cybertron" trilogy (Seige/Earthrise/Kingdom), Walmart had a whole series of Netflix-inspired exclusives that you probably never saw in a store. Now that the line has moved on to Legacy, the exclusives are getting new branding: the "Velocitron Speedia 500 Collection," in which bots from across the multiverse gather on Velocitron to participate in the Speedia 500, a planet-wide race to determine its next leader. Sure, why not?

A tanker truck may not seem like the best choice to win a race, especially with some of the fastest Transformers in the multiverse as competition, but maybe he's planning to cheat?

This is a black repaint of the Generation-2-styled "Laser Optimus Prime" available in the regular line, being a long-nosed tractor cab with a detatchable tanker trailer that plugs in to get pulled around behind it. The truck is black with magenta windows and metallic teal pinstriping on the hood and over the rear wheels. All the wheels roll, and you can even fold down a strut from inside the tank to keep the tanker properly sitting when it's not hitched to the truck.

The original Scourge had a very straightforward conversion - after all, it was a mold from 1995, it wasn't going to be something ridiculously complex. The new version is... well, not ridiculous, but definitely complex. Like, they went out of their way to have things that look like the old toy without actually moving like the old toy.

Example: previously, the truck's cab stayed in place on the robot's back; now, the cab folds open so you can flip down a panel at the back of it before folding it back into place, so that the cab can look solid. What the heck! It's fun, yeah, but over-designed. Like when they try to make Soundwave more involved. Don't fix what ain't broken.

For Scourge, the path to victory is through sheer power and brute strength. After winning the Speedia 500, he will claim the planet in the name of the Decepticons and rule with an iron fist.

Oh look, he got a little bio, how nice! It's not about him, but rather what he plans to do, but it's better than nothing. Being the latest in a long line of evil clones of Optimus Prime, he of course looks like Optimus Prime: square body, big legs, window-boobs, all of it. The colors on this one are a lot more "Nemesis Prime" than "Scourge," lacking the warm grays and just generally being a lot more black. That's because current design manager Sam Smith wasn't very familiar with Scourge, and wanted the robot mode to best match the altmode; a perfectly logical choice.

Plus, it took them a while to nail down exactly who this character was going to be. The idea of "repaint Laser Optimus in black" was set, but would he be Scourge? Nemesis Prime? A different Nemesis Prime? Black Convoy? Crankcase? Those are all black repaints, but they're all separate characters, and Legacy is drawing from everywhere, meaning they were all game. But Scourge was the inspiration, so Scourge naturally won out.

Scourge is really nicely articulated, with joints in the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles. The stacks on his shoulders aren't actually connected to the arms this time, so they don't have to stop pointing forward when you move the arms - there are even flaps on the front so you can raise the arms forward. He's got rocker hinges in the ankles, so those big feet will stay flat on the ground. The detents in the shoulders and hips are far enough apart that the limbs feel slightly too far out from the body if you move them even one notch.

Just like in the olden days, Scourge is armed with the Sword of Fury, made from the same translucent plastic as his windows. But this one also gets a piece that can be used as either a shield or an axe, or combined with the sword to make a bigger sword. The panels on the front of his shoulders flip up, revealing sculpted missile banks. Neat! For the first time, Scourge has a removable Matrix in his chest. It can combine with the mega-sword, too. The weapons can both be stored attached to the cab or inside the tank.

Scourge's trailer opens up into a battle platform. It's not spring-loaded, like the 2002 toy's was, nor does it have as many weapons, but it's still a fine inclusion. There's a hinged arm with a little clamp at the end, and a gun on top. The gun can be removed and held by the robot, as well.

The original Scourge was a Toys "Я" Us exclusive, back before they had their own website and Amazon was doing all their sales. (We've been doing this job for a long, long time.) A second figure in 2003 was exclusive to KB Toys, a third came in 2013 as part of the Transformers Collectors' Club subscription service, and a fourth in 2017 at the Tokyo Toy Show. Now this new Scourge is a Walmart exclusive, though some are available through Hasbro's website, as well (which would have been nice to know ahead of time, so I didn't have to stay up to an ungodly hour to preorder this when they went up on July 21). That means the only time Scourge has ever been released at regular retail is the Spy Changer! I was very excited when I learned one of my favorite Transformers was getting a modern update, and this one really lives up to its legacy!

-- 08/23/22

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