Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Hasbro Combiner Wars Titan Class Devastator Review (Part 1)


A fan favourite if ever there was one. The myriad unofficial versions of the Constructicons are a testament to the less than jolly green giants enduring popularity. And not since the live action movie series’ namesake almost slapped his bollocks in John Turturro’s face has a combiner courted so much controversy as this Hasbro effort.

Clocking in at a massive 18 inches tall, this herculean robot first made headlines back in January 2015 after photobombing a bald German attending Nuremberg Toy Fair. Cries of ‘RUINED FOREVER’ as well as delighted purrings of anticipation quickly followed. The official reveal at New York Toy Fair crystallised feelings towards this giftset and it’s safe to say that the Constructicons’ debut split a lot of folk straight down the middle. Simplicity and size have taken precedent over complexity and articulation, the end result aiming to deliver the definitive Devastator at an affordable (comparative to his 3rd Party rivals at least) price point. But in doing so, have Hasbro delivered a true Titan class killer to the Combiner Wars or have these design choices simply poured liquid haterade upon a raging flame war?

Easy there. Let’s take a look at the Constructicons themselves first.

Scrapper and Scavenger

Packaged in vehicle mode, I was immediately taken aback by the size of the damn things. The second thing that hit me is how cartoony they are. Strong notes of 1985 melt into a lingering Sunbow finish. I’m drinking a vintage drop of Heavy Metal War aged in bleached VHS right here. This is a good feeling.

Hook and Long Haul

They’re not light either. In fact they feel pretty decent (it’s certainly a different type of plastic than normally used though) but those awful clip on wheels never look good anywhere, seem cheap as hell at this size and some silver rims on toys this big would’ve definitely helped offset that. It also appears that somebody forgot to colour Bonecrusher in. Although that is accurate.

Bonecrusher and Mixmaster

All of them, bar one, do a fantastic job at looking like they rolled out of the cartoon. I get that Hook takes some liberties (that suspicious purple block in the middle of the vehicle is fooling no one, son), hell they all do to some degree but Mixmaster is the anomaly here. Turning him into a frontloading cement mixer definitely flies in the face of the cartoon love fest the rest of them are having. I understand that this was to help create a stronger leg for Devastator, but ain’t nobody inviting Mixmaster to their alt mode party this weekend. Perfect Effect might have their own plans for that though. Them and about 8 million other guys. We’ll touch on the vultures circling as the review progresses.

No cake or vodka for you Mixmaster. Not now. Not ever.

In the meantime, these are all big badass construction vehicles. Long Haul in particular is a giant. I do lament the lack of functionality in these forms. What you do have is limited (Hook’s crane - it just goes up) or plain non-existent (Long Haul’s truck bed - fixed) but Kid Me wouldn’t mind. Kid Me would be too busy flipping Autobots with Scrapper’s scoop, swinging Scavenger’s shovel at volcano ceilings and generally just smashing them into stuff. Yeah, Kid Me..

Listen, they look good, they feel good and they evoke the cartoon all over your play space. Round 1 done and I am satisfied.

None of the transformations are a bother. Some, like Mixmaster’s sadly, are pretty uninspired and see the guy basically lying down for a kip. Others, like Scavenger and Bonecrusher are nicely involved. But crucially they’re easy to flip back and forth and that keeps a big part of Combiner Wars’ play pattern going. These are toys first and foremost and there’s no need to set aside a chunk of time to transform these Constructicons. A chunk of space, however..?

‘Scrapper, report!’

'All present or accounted for noble leader..'

This looks ace. There are flaws (oh, are there flaws) but getting this lot together for this shot was a blast. Hasbro have gone for the animated look writ large with plenty of nods to the original toys decals and colour layouts. It works. As a group on a shelf, man are they gonna look the part for you.


Easily one of the most posable Constructicons, Scavenger also succeeds in being one of the least compromised. Ball jointed all over the show he can rack in plenty of characterful poses and even with that ridiculous non face of his, that stuff you need to make it in life? 

He’s got it.


Honestly? Utter garbage. His massive backside makes him slope back on weak hips, and he lacks the character the others have (this is important) to counter things like weak arm design.  

Dat ass..

Maybe he’s a slow burner – his face is evoking the Decepticon symbol in a big way but like his vehicle mode, this one is doing nothing for me. Dr Wu is actually cashing in (I'm as shocked as you are, my friend) on this weak link and making his own Mixmaster from scratch. It’ll likely cost at least half as much as this entire set too.

Long Haul

Remember when Cartman went full BEEFCAAAAAAAAAAAKE? Someone else did as well.
The size of this one is staggering. The size and shape and the noises it makes. It's like cocking a gun when you move his hips. There are some glaring issues. His arms are ridiculous affairs that articulate sideways at the elbow. It doesn’t matter. This is one you need in hand to make sense of. Pictures, maestro!

Hugs for all!
Hugs and death


The best transformation brings (technically) the best overall figure in the set to the table. One that is wearing a big green onesie. Hey, it’s accurate! Reports abound of poorly locking hip tabs are not an issue on mine and I can see it being more of a mistransformation issue than a design flaw. Or I got really, really lucky. Another brilliant headsculpt and as with Scavenger ball joints aplenty, this is Bonecrusher ripped right out of the cartoon for your pleasure.


Even with the horrendous (and they are) compromises around the elbow section Hook almost gets away with it. Why? Presence. His snooty superiority complex sneers through this sculpt, particularly in that nailed down smug visage of his. There’s a trend here. You spotted it yet? He is hollow in the legs and arms though and it’s inescapable however you look at it. 

'I'll allow this. We all hate Mixmaster too'

But his articulation is surprisingly decent, allowing for some impressive leg and foot motion. A strong showing, and probably my overall favourite.


Probably a bit gorgeous

A wonderful looking robot, the cartoon influence shines through in a lovingly on point headsculpt, his colours and detailing are simple and crisp and then you get to his arms and you’re like, ‘Dude. Where’s My Elbows?!’ Like his brethren, Scrapper suffers from design elements cut by out Hasbro for financial reasons. And it blows. It does. Perfect Effect have got a set coming out that give him, Long Haul and Hook the full forearm makeover.

Though if you can get past this flaw, he is a great toy to look at, remains fun to play with and the one that actually sold the set to me in the Toy Fair reveal. Food for thought there. It’s not necessarily always about moving like Jagger when you’re born with swagger.

You two are carrying around the big guys bra. Stop it right now.

As we bring to a close Part 1, this is an ideal time to mention the upcoming Unite Warriors Takara release of Devastator in light of all these 3Ps smelling the blood in the water. As you can see, the Constructicons have to make do with Devastator’s combiner kibble as weaponry as opposed to their original guns. The Japanese release rectifies this and actually gives Scrapper and Long Haul fully functioning arms as well as breaking up Bonecrusher’s inner treads with some purple. It’s also expensive.

But.. and this is a big but, I did not expect to be this impressed with the domestic, no frills release. These are toys. Big fun toys. And sometimes you just want big fun toys. And today I am drowning in big fun toys. Hollow legs, dodgy arms, none of that has actually impeded the fun I am having today with this set. And if you like your Constructicons cartoon, I hope the pictures speak volumes.

'It's uncharismatic you pathetic little runts'

Next? Something about preparing for devastation.

The first batch of Devastator sold out quickly but you can preorder our second batch arriving in about 4 weeks here.

The Japanese version is out in January 2016 but can be preordered here at a lovely price far below RRP