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Transformers Generations
by yo go re

In Transformers: the Movie, Scourge was, like Galvatron and Cyclonus, a new version of an old, existing character. In recent incarnations of the G1 story (eg, Dreamwave's and IDW's), however, they're all separate characters who coexist with their "former" selves. Which, really, makes the original cartoon the oddity.

Little is known about the origin of the immensely powerful hunter known as Scourge. He rarely speaks, and never reveals his secrets. Few who encounter him survive to tell the tale. More often, he descends on his target from the sky, lays waste to all who oppose him, and disappears back into the darkness of space.

In G1, Scourge's almode was a... well, "flying bathtub" seems to be the best way to describe it. It was supposed to be an alien hovercraft or something, but this one is closer to having a real-world counterpart. It's some kind of flying wing; not based on any specific model, of course, but far more terrestrial than his old design. The vehicle is 4⅜" long and only 1½" high, but it has a 7¾" wingspan, even with those downturns at the tips. There's clearly some size-changing involved in him, judging by the windows visible near the nose of the plane.

There are three pieces of landing gear that fold down under the plane, to hold it off the ground. Two giant engines provide thrust, and there's some kind of laser cannon mounted on the roof. If you want to get silly, you can pull the robot's head up to look over the top of the plane: that happened sometimes in the old animation, so maybe the designers had that in mind. There isn't much kibble at all in this mode, and the details are fine enough to help sell how big he'd be.

Scourge has a pretty decent conversion: everything fits together tightly, and there's this really cool thing you do with the arms, where you pull them out to the sides, spin them 180°, then push them back in. Describing it is inadequate: just trust us, it's a cool new way of changing a Transformer's arms.

The mandate with the Generations line seems to have been "update the vehicles all you want, but stay true to the old robots," and Scourge honors that. This is clearly an update of his old character model, with only a few minor changes made. The wings, the arms, the shape of the chest... they're all taken from the original Scourge.

His head is the strongest connection, naturally: he's got a white face, blue "helmet" with a laser cannon mounted on top, and appears to have a stylish mustache and a split goatee - he's not the first Transformer to have facial "hair," but he's one of the most prominent, and you have to wonder what that really is: it's not real hair, so you have to assume it's metal welded in place.

Scourge is a little guy, just 5½" tall, but he still looks very powerful - the fact that his shoulders are so big, and that his forearms are so thick, helps make him look brutish. He has a short collar around his neck, an inset panel in the center of his chest and horizontal panels on his stomach. Articulation is good, with a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders and elbows, swivel wrists, swivel waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees and balljointed feet. There's a hinge in the wings that allows you to open them up, so they look more like the bat wings the old character had.

If you do open them up, you'll find two guns that store inside: a grey blaster with a long blue barrel, and a double-barreled blue pistol. They both look very nice, and the figure can hold them in either hand. You can also combine the two guns into a single weapon (that resembles Fracas, G1 Scourge's Targetmaster partner) or plug the blue pistol onto the top of the figure's head (as the Targetmaster could do [it was intended for the vehicle mode, where it's a bit less ridiculous]).

By virtue of being introduced in the movie together, Scourge is necessarily going to be compared to Galvatron and Cyclonus. Of course, Galvatron is one of the worst Transformers ever released, and Cyclonus is really a lot of fun with some clever quirks in his conversion. Luckily, Scourge is closer to his buddy than to their boss: he's got a great look, is well-made and has a few cool tricks when you're changing him from one mode to another, and what they did with his guns is pretty dang neat. He's a bit hard to find, but Hasbro insists they're putting more out later, so you should have a chance to get this guy... eventually.

-- 11/22/11

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