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Transformers ROTF
by yo go re

As the Universe 2.0 line was winding down in preparation for the then-upcoming ROTF toys, there were several figures that saw an exceedingly scarce release. Ratchet may have been hard to find, but even he was a pegwarmer compared to the final Legends Class figures. Nobody could ever find those damn things. Fortunately, Hasbro's seen fit to recycle a few of the molds, finally getting them out to the public in one form or another.

An Autobot hunter squad has found more Decepticons hiding among the vehicles of Earth. Both are famous among the Autobots - Sparkcrusher for the near-invulnerability of his armor and the destructive power of his cannon, and Runamuck for his insane speed. Even in a three on two fight, the Autobots will have to use every bit of firepower at their command to bring Sparkcrusher down and stop Runamuck before he escapes.

Sparkcrusher, as he's known, is technically a new character. He's a part of the Target-exclusive "Straightaway Shootout" five-pack, released under the Transformers 2 banner. The set is all repaints, but Sparkcrusher is the only one with a body that originated in Classics, and thus the only one of any interest to us today.

Though he has a new name, Sparkcrusher is still a G1 homage. [Of course he is - is anything not, these days? --ed.] Don't feel bad if you don't recognize it, though, because it's ridiculously obscure. There was an Action Master named Gutcruncher, and that's who this is. In the movieverse. Action Masters were non-transforming Transformers, but if Gutcruncher had been able to change, the kibble designed into his sculpt says he would have changed into a tank.

Like Gutcruncher, Sparkcrusher is green and yellow, and has tank-like kibble. In this case that's because he actually does change into a tank, but we'll get to that in a second. He's surprisingly articulated for a Legends Class figure, with balljointed shoulders and hips, and hinged knees and elbows. Despite being a repaint, the head even bears a marked resemblance to Gutcruncher, which is quite unexpected.

Sparkcrusher's mold was originally designed to be the Legends Class version of Warpath, the little red tank, so like we said, he changes into a tank. The arms and legs form the treads, and the turret is made from the chest. If you're familar with G1 Warpath, you'll know how classic that is, though this time the arms are in the front and the legs are in the back. The turret is hinged, but since it doesn't peg into place in any way, it tends to tip forward loosely. Disappointing.

The bio says the Autobots found the Decepticons hiding among Earth vehicles, but it probably wasn't too hard for them to find Sparkcrusher, since he's a totally made-up tank. It's a cool design, a big H-shaped thing with four separate treads that are higher in the front than in the rear. It's an intimidating design, just not at all realistic. Of course, his Tech Spec's intelligence rating of 2 makes him one of the dumbest TFs ever, so maybe he just couldn't tell the difference.

In an ideal world, Warpath would have been easy to find, making this re-release unneccessary. But if you wanted the mold and never got it, Sparkcrusher is a good replacement for the Warpath that you never saw. Yes, you have to pay for the entire five-pack just to get him, but thanks to one of Target's regular clearance sales, it was possible for a time to get the entire set for $6, right on par with solo Legends releases. It's not clear why they changed the character's name from Gutcruncher to Sparkcrusher, but since it now more or less means "soul destroyer," it's more violent than before. If you can lay hands on Sparky for a price you like, do it.

-- 04/20/10

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