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Transformers AOE
by yo go re

Dispensor may have gotten a toy three movies later than he should have, but Junkheap only had to wait one.

Okay, "officially" this is one of the mindless drones KSI built out of (ough) "transformium," but that seems unlikely. For one thing, the unnamed Decepticon seen in Trans4mers 4: 4ge of Extinc4ion actually functioned like Reflector, where three separate robots combined to form a single altmode - this is just one robo. But if you think back to Dark of the Moon, there was another unnamed Decepticon who came through Sentinel Prime's space bridge and scanned a garbage truck, and he was operating alone. So, one robot, one truck? TF3 character sold on a TF4 card. Now that we have said it, it must be canon!

Now, to be fair, if you look at the promotional renders of the AoE character, this toy does look quite a bit like him, but we never really got a clear glimpse of the one in DotM. Who's to say whether he looked like this or not? His body may have been reused from Long Haul, but his head could totally have been pointy like this.

Junkheap is a Power Battlers figure, which means less articulation than usual, and some sort of an action feature. In Junkheap's case, that action feature is a "Claw Crush" - press a button on the figure's neckback, and his chest juts out to snap at whoever's in front of him. It's a fairly unobtrusive feature, but it's also unnecessary. There's a lot of detail sculpted onto Junkheap's body, so he looks like a nice normal TF when you look at him, but playing with him just doesn't bear that out. His only points of articulation are swivel/hinge shoulders and hinged knees, which make him better than Stinger, but not by much.

The same goes for his conversion: point the arms forward, then fold them back, flip the head over, and raise the legs. That's really all there is to it.

Like we said, Junkheap turns into a garbage truck. But adding to the suspicion that this is the TF3 character and not the TF4 one, it's a rear-loader; the one seen in Age of Excretion was a front-loader - a pretty significant change!

This isn't just any garbage truck, though, it's a Waste Management truck! For our non-American readers, Waste Management is the largest garbage/recycling company in the country; so in other words, he's disguised as a perfectly normal vehicle that would blend in perfectly in almost any city. That's a great choice! Considering that most of KSI's Transformers were sports cars or other unusual vehicles, maybe this was designed for stealthy infiltration. The Claw Crush feature still works in this mode, which must be handy on trash day.

I have a soft spot for mundane Transformers. Yes, all the crazy jets and the supercars are fun, but sometimes you just want an average altmode that wouldn't draw any attention, and Junkheap fits that bill perfectly. Unfortunately, since he shipped at the end of the toyline, he's pretty hard to find - he's in a series with a Vehicon and a Bumblebee, but a later wave of that same series shipped without him included. Great choice, guys. And really, there's nothing about the design or the action feature that mandated he be part of the Power Battlers line - they could have put him in the normal line and given him normal articulation. Also, an actual Age of Extinction version with three robots that combined into one truck would have kicked ass.

-- 11/24/15

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