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Ravage

Transformers ROTF
by yo go re

I actually did pretty well with the toys from the first Transformers movie: other than Optimus Prime (who was two different colors and two different sizes), I managed not to double-dip on any of the characters. Yet here we are, a scant few weeks into the TF2 toys, and I've already picked up a duplicate.

Bulleting down through the atmosphere at better than 15 times the speed of sound, Ravage considers the data he has already amassed on the small, soft creatures that inhabit this planet. They seem weak and fragile, yet they are the ones that destroyed Megatron. That is a fact he will keep in mind as he penetrates their most sensitive installation. Against such an unpredictable enemy, stealth will be his watchword.

Okay, maybe we're exaggerating a bit: the first Revenge of the Fallen Ravage, you'll remember, was basically a glorified missile included with Soundwave - this one is an actual standalone toy. He's sold in his beast mode: a big mechanical kitty. While people may have been confused during G1 about whether Ravage was a jaguar or a wolf, hopefully the way he acted in the movie has made it clear. KATT NOT PUPPI.

Ravage is a very vicious-looking creature. His chest is thick, but he's got a narrow waist and thin legs. His back and tail are covered in deadly spikes, and pretty much every inch of him looks like it would be sharp and unpleasant. Just like the G1 version, he's got a big pair of weapons mounted on top of his hips, though they seem to be cannons, rather than missile launchers. There are silver circles on the outside of his hips, similar to the casette tape of the '80s, and the "biceps" are detailed with teeth to make them look like stacked gears - the sort of small mechanical detail that helps set the movie Transformers apart from their animated counterparts.

The kitty's got a lot of useful articulation, starting with five joints in each leg, two joints for each gun, and three joints in his tail. He even has a balljointed waist! There's no articulation in the head or neck, owing to Ravage's "Mech Alive" action feature: slide back the lever hidden among the spikes on his back, and his head pokes forward, rather like a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos.

Of course, instead of gobbling down marbles, he's vomiting up a swarm of ball bearing-sized Microcons, which unfold, Bakugan-like, into little monsters that can then form a two-dimensional killing machine. Mechano-hairballs! The head only moves forward about a quarter inch, but it's still a cool feature, thanks to the way his jaw drops open and his ears flit back. So cute! I wasn't terribly impressed by his cyclopean design, but the toy has managed to redeem it for me.

Ravage doesn't really change into anything, but then, neither did the last one we got. The package calls it a "reentry mode," suggesting that he turns into a protoform comet, albeit a very pointy one. Of course, if you watch the film, you getthe impression he has to have an altmode of some sort, since he's last seen running around on a Pacific island, and then he's crash landing on a ship in the Atlantic. Did Soundwave suck him back up to space, then fire him at the ocean again, or can he get around on his own? The toy says the latter.

For the most part, the reentry mode, Cybertronian cruiser, or whatever you want to call this thing manages to avoid looking like a folded-up cat. For the most part. Despite having that free-turning waist, the top of the beast mode remains intact in this form, just with the legs folded up and wrapped around him. This mode does mange to conceal the tail, however, and it sprouts new wings form the sides, so it really does look like something Ravage could use to get around in the air. A few more tech details are revealed when you move the legs, and overall, I ended up liking the altmode more than I thought I would.

The toy is mostly black with a little bit of light gray, and just a few accents in metallic blue visible in both modes. Technically, that doesn't match the movie at all, where Ravage was a gun metal grey all over; but given the choice, isn't black better? It suits his stealth capabilities, and it's a nice nod to G1. Yes, grey worked great on film, where black would have made it too hard to tell what was going on, but as a toy? This is perfect.

Ravage was originally supposed to be in the first film. All those scenes in the desert? They would have taken place in the jungle, so instead of being chased by a scorpion, Lennox and the rest of his platoon would have been on the run from a jaguar. Of course, that's back when the helicopter was going to be Soundwave, not Blackout, so it's been a long path to the screen for everybody's favorite Cybertronian cat. The only reason I resisted getting this set at first was the crummy altmode, and even that turned out to be pretty good once I gave it a chance. As far as movie Transformers go, Ravage definitely gets a recommendation.

-- 07/21/09


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