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Transformers ROTF
by yo go re

I was really excited to hear that Devastator would be making an appearance in Transformers 2, but it was disappointing to learn that the individual Constructicon toys wouldn't combine to form the big guy. Despite that crippling limitation, I knew there was at least one figure I'd be getting: Mixmaster.

Resident chemist and explosives expert for the elite among the Decepticons, Mixmaster has spent his entire life learning all there is to know about chemical interaction. He can make thousands of poisons, explosives and deadly gasses from the materials around him. The other Decepticons rely on him to fashion powerful warheads for their missiles, and dangerous venoms in which to coat their blades.

Like most Voyager Class toys, Mixmaster is packaged in vehicle mode - and as you'd expect, that vehicle is a cement mixer. Though I suppose technically that should be a "concrete" mixer: cement is gray powder, concrete is the stuff you get when you mix that powder with water, sand and gravel. So really, you might as well call this a water mixer - it would be just as accurate a name.

In the movie, Mixmaster was specifically a Mack truck - you could tell by the adorable Decepticon-headed bulldog that was perched on his hood. The toy isn't a licensed reproduction (no credit to Mack on the packaging), so the small details of the vehicle don't quite match up with the real thing, but no one's really going to complain about that. It is a bit sad that his hood ornament is just a plain, unpainted wedge, but overall the mixer looks quite good. The Decepticon logos are huge (but not Demolishor huge) and you can actually move the delivery chute around. Concrete for everybody!

Sadly, like Quickmix, Mixmaster's drum doesn't turn. At least this figure has an excuse for it: changing him to a robot involves splitting the barrel into four sections. Now, if you believe the folks over at TFwiki, then Mixmaster is assembled wrong, because the parts don't move the way the instructions show. Don't believe them: the toy is assembled right (everything moves the way it's supposed to), the problem is that the instructions are drawn wrong. Occam's razor, you know.

Mixmaster's robot mode is very much in keeping with the movie designs: he's wide and squat, with unusual proportions and lots of threateningly sharp bits poking out all over. His fingers reach down to his ankles, and he doesn't have any neck to speak of. If you're expecting the boxy "stack of cubes" that G1 Mixmaster was, you'll be disappointed, but overall, his design is nice. At least it's not another robot with wheels for feet, right?

The largest bit of vehicle kibble on the robot is undoubtedly the truck's cab - the entire thing, from windshield to grille, just hangs off Mixxy's butt. Does the real design have that? Wow, probably not. The butt-cab is the focus of the complaints about the toy being misassembled; or, more accurately, a thin hinged arm that holds the cab. The claim is that this hinge is on backwards, and should fold the other direction: we say "no." Yes, it's drawn hinging the other direction in the instructions, but the way it's assembled in the box, the tab hidden under the truck's hood fits into the slot of the robot's spine, and everything stays in place. You don't need to "repair" anything, no matter what anyone on a TF fansite says.

Enumerating his articulation is tough, because of the movie design. Is that thing a wrist or an elbow? Does he actually have four shoulder joints on each arm? Basically, Mixmaster has all the important joints, other than a waist. He's back-heavy, so he tips over easily, and the fact that there's a transformation hinge in the middle of his foot makes leaning him too far forward a dicey proposition, as well. Once you find the sweet spot, though, he's quite steady.

The packaging says Mixmaster is a triple changer, and no, that doesn't mean there's some secret way to turn him into Devastator's head, like in the movie (although there are a few mystery bits on the mold that don't serve any purpose... yet). The third mode comes straight from the film, where Mixmaster flips over in the middle of battle and shoots the giant cannon on his back. Now, in the movie, it wasn't a third mode, just him kind of doing a handstand to aim the gun fused to his spine (and using the recoil to push himself back to his feet), but for the toy, it gets its own instructions and everything. "Battle mode." The thing is kind of a mess, looking more like a Transformer stuck halfway through conversion than an actual mode, and I'm still using the instructions to change him to the gun. Feel free to ignore it altogether.

Some of the Constructicos are really lacking. Scavenger has those giant wheels and Rampage looks like a pogo stick. Mixmaster, however, is pretty swank in both robot and vehicle modes, and even his cannon form has some real basis. There's a green and purple repaint coming in the future, but for once, a Constructicon looks better not in those colors. All done up in grey, silver and yes, a little bit of purple, Mixmaster is a good Revenge of the Fallen toy.

-- 07/14/09

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