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Transformers: Alternators
by yo go re

The cat came back, the very next day. The cat came back - we thought he was a goner. But the cat came back, he just wouldn't stay away.

Ravage operates best when he operates alone. Ravage He's a creature of the night and carries out most of his murderous mischief at that time. Often the other Decepticons have no idea where he is, but they know he's up to no good, so they don't mind. He is easily the craftiest of his comrades and is quick to devise deadly new strategies to be used against the Autobots. He tends to remain aloof from the others, but his deeds command their respect. He is an exceptionally efficient war machine.

Well now, isn't this interesting? the real thing This is one unique little Alternator, here. He's only the second Decepticon to get something other than a retooled body. He's the first to have a non-humanoid alt mode. And he's the first character to make it into the line more than once. The tenth Alternator released was Battle Ravage, a retooled Corvette Z06 convertible. Of course, back in G1 he was a cassette tape, so that was a pretty big change.

The new Ravage (yes, they dropped the "Battle" part - the rights must have opened up) is, the fake thing appropriately enough, a Jaguar. A Jaguar XK Mark II, to be precise. This is the coupe, which was actually the second version designed. See, usually designers will make the normal car first, then cut the top off and call it a convertible - for the XK, designer Ian Callum started with the convertible and added a roof later. Since Hasbro licensed the car design from Ford, Ravage really looks like a spot-on 1:24 model of the sporty new Jag.

Even the interior of the car is detailed. The dashboard has all the readouts and gauges of the real vehicle, signal and merge smoothly and the combo of black and lavender-gray plastic most recalls the "charcoal with aluminum trim" option. The steering wheel and seats are adjustable, though the wheel doesn't turn. That's fine, though, because the tires are fixed, as well - they roll, but you can't "steer" the car like you can many of the other Alternators. The car's grill is actually designed to look like the 1960s Jaguar E-Type, which is neat, and the ten-spoke Senta tires show that Ravage has the $3,300 Luxury Package.

Obviously, Ravage's transformation is pretty unrelated to his G1 incarnation's - sure, you could bluff about the legs moving the same way, but that's about it. Switching between modes on the Alternators G1 Ravage is aways pleasantly complex, and Ravage is no exception. It's a bit tough when you have to pull his limbs out to the sides, and until the very last steps he still looks like a car with legs, but it turns out okay. Surprisingly, the hood never separates from the rest of the front end - a shame, since the Jaguar XK is the first car with a system designed to cushion pedestrians in the event of a collision. If sensors in the bumper determine a pedestrian's been struck, tiny explosions lift the hood up, providing a bit of cushion between the falling pedestrian and the rock-solid engine block beneath.

There are a lot of visual parallels between G1 and Alternators Ravage, especially around the head and shoulders. One bad point is tht in cat form, he's not really solid - the top of the car just forms a bit of a hinged shell that lays over his back, rather than connecting. It's well-known that some car manufacturers were reluctant to sign for Transformers because they felt the break-apart panels made the car look like it had been in an accident; maybe Jaguar thought that way, too?

Ravage is highly articulated. shoot from the hip There are 12 joints in the legs, three in the tail, a balljoint for the neck, a balljoint for the head and a hinged jaw. He doesn't have an engine that turns into any sort of gun, but he does have the rocket launchers (or "boosters," as the package calls them) on his hips that the old tape had: they fold out of the trunk. Or is it "the boot," since this is a British car? The license plate says so. They're even on balljoints, for maximum poseability.

From tip to tail, Ravage is 9½" long. Battle Ravage A lot of fans tried to come up with a four-legged alt mode for the previous Alternators Ravage, and that works in reverse, too: you can stand this one up on two legs, if you're careful. Though why would you want to? It made sense that the last one stood up, since he was developed from the future version of Ravage seen on Beast Wars - this one is obviously an update of the cassette tape.

There used to be some confusion over what sort of animal Ravage was supposed to be. Apparently some Transfans thought he was supposed to be a wolf, rather than a panther. Why? Couldn't say. Hopefully Hasbro choosing a Jaguar for his alt mode has put that to rest.

If you've read the Alternators story, you know that Battle Ravage played a big part in it. No word, however, on what role new Ravage has to play. Probably won't be any word, either, unless Ravage gets released in Japan, like Nemesis Prime did. Heck, he was barely even released in America - no stores were interested in carrying the last two Alternators, so Ravage and Rumble only showed up in Europe. Thankfully, though, Wal*Mart came through, bringing US fans two exclusive Alternators that really broke new ground.


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