SDCC-Exclusive Devastator “Special Edition” Review

devastator-126San Diego Comic-Con is just a day away, and one of the biggest Hasbro exclusives this year is “Transformers: Generations Combiner Wars Devastator Special Edition Action Figure” – I thought the Combiner Hunters 3-pack had a long name, but yikes! This version of the Titan-class Devastator has a different face design based on his G1 toy rather than the cartoon, sports vac-metalized parts, and additional paint and pre-applied stickers. It’s exclusive to SDCC at the HasbroToyShop booth #3329, with a limited number made available on after the con.   Read on for more. Or don’t, but you’ll be sorry because Devastator is worth the look, that’s why I used the comparison to Superion there as the lead image instead of a standard headshot.

The Constructicons were a great choice for the Titan combiner team. Not only were they the first combiner in the Transformers brand, but unlike other combiners, they aren’t Scramble City-style so they can’t work with the other Combiner Wars figures, and they aren’t vehicles that can be remolded into other characters. Plus, Devastator is awesome, he’s the first Combiner Wars combiner to truly feel like the titan seen in the IDW comics, he utterly dwarfs regular figures of every size.  The crucial SDCC version differences include the purple at the hips, the black paint in Bonecrusher’s treads, the silver paint on the wheels, and the various small paint additions and stickers; it all makes a for a noteworthy difference; the purple chrome I can take or leave, I actually keep forgetting it’s there, so it must not be that bad.

(Update: the review sample in the original photos had 2 right hands due to luck of the draw, within a few days Hasbro has supplied me with a correct left hand, so additional photos showing this off have been been added.)

Packaged: The box comes in a giant, seriously huge sleeve that’s taped at the top and bottom to the box. Devastator’s eyes are chrome-y goodness.

The inner box is a gatefold using Scrapper’s shovel to cover the window. The figure comes combined rather than the 6 Constructicons separately for intense Transformers boxed excitement. The tray inside is a scaffolding around Devastator.

Inside the box is a collector card in the upper left tray (barely noticeable), and the world’s worst instruction sheet. The sheet’s panels are impossibly small, laid out in a weird up-right-down-left order, suffering incomprehensible arrows, and it’s lacking directions back to combiner mode and has a few instances of wrong info. Luckily, once you’ve actually done it, transforming Devastator and his components is fairly direct.

Devastator: Weighing a hefty 3 pounds, standing 17-inches tall at the head and 11-inches wide at the shoulder is the biggest combiner ever, and mighty substantial. Devastator is a little leggy, but for Transformers he’s fairly proportionate. Transformed correctly, the combined form is pretty solid (I had a fall during the photo shoot when he ended up falling backwards and nothing came off, only a few small parts came out of position), with even the front treads locking via tabs into the chest armor.

Devastator has some pretty decent articulation, and his crucial weight-bearing joints are finally the right stiffness for a Titan-class figure, they’re quite strong and ratcheted to keep him upright no matter what. He’s pretty good at standing and posing. He sports:
– a swivel head,
– hinge and rotation shoulders,
– hinge and rotation elbows,
– swivel wrists,
– a finger set on each hand hinged at the back knuckles,
– ratcheted swivel waist,
– hinge and rotation hips that are ratcheted in each direction,
– swivel thighs,
– ratcheted hinge knees, and
– side-hinge ankles.

The range of motion on these joints is pretty good. The knees and hips only bend about 45 degrees, but he stands quite nicely doing so.

The Constructicons: There they are, folks. Green and purple. Sized around Voyager-class but a bit simpler in design like deluxes. Their looks borrow heavily from the G1 cartoon (as well as those toys’ stickers). Half of them have vac-metalized parts. These exclusive versions all sport a little extra deco in the form of small paint elements and pre-applied stickers. Each has inward-tilting feet for more dynamic posing (in theory, your mileage may vary). They use Devastator parts for their only weapons – the gun separates, the chest separates into a gun and twin swords, and each fist becomes a missile bank. In vehicle mode, they’re all construction vehicles, and each has very low ground clearance but does roll. It’s impressive how few screws are on display with these guys.

Scale: The Constructicons are roughly Voyager-class figures, so here’s comparisons to various other-sized figures from recent times (except another Voyager, where I chose the only one handy, Inferno who is a somewhat big Voyager-class).

Devastator is absolutely massive. He even towers over the regular line’s combiners such as Superion. And next to Leader-class, Deluxe-class, and Legends-class, it’s utterly ludicrous.

Even the entire Combiner Hunters team together looks like they’d have a hard time handling this situation. And Masterpiece Grimlock certainly has a challenge on his tiny T-rex hands.

Components: Until you get the chest armor into place, Devastator doesn’t look remotely whole. It’s only when every last thing is in place does the entire shebang come together properly and look fantastic. Until that chest armor is attached, it’s just a collection of robots stuck together. The gaps at the chest and below the knee help keep the weight from overwhelming the massive figure without sacrificing aesthetics or stability.

Bonecrusher: Starting alphabetically, Bonecrusher is a bulldozer that turns into a robot who can barely stand on his own. He’s got a adequate robot design overall, but is horribly doomed by a crotch that doesn’t stay latched together under almost weight — he can stand or even hold a light weapon if you don’t try to pose him too heavily, but even slightly further apart than in these pics and down he’ll go.

Bonecrusher’s vehicle mode is a bulldozer. The dozer blade hinges, and there’s a wheel under the front of each tread as well as a single wide wheel between them in the back. The SDCC-exclusive deco stickers add a little to the look, but it’s the black paint inside the treads that takes it the furthest, visually.

Hook: Although that panel sits over his shoulders and blocks some range, he’s got a decent range of motion, even rotation forearms.

Hook’s vehicle mode is a crane truck. The crane arm has to be attached after taking him out of the box. The crane lifts up, but doesn’t extend, nor does its base rotate.

Long Haul: This figure is almost a third the mass of the whole set by himself. He sports the silver head design from the G1 cartoon, and it’s easy to accidentally push that head back into the chest.  Despite his bulky appearance and lack of meaningful elbows, he has a decent range of motion in his shoulders and legs. Getting the front end transformed properly is awkward due to the internal hinges, I put stress marks on my sample from them missing alignment very slightly.

Long Haul’s vehicle mode is a giant dump truck whose bed doesn’t actually tilt at all. The bed has clips, pegs, and holes to carry all the Devastator merge parts and weapon.

Mixmaster: Robot mode has a look taken from the G1 cartoon (complete with the stuff over his head being tubes rather than a missile), and that head sculpt somehow feels more sophisticated than the others on the team. His bustle can be challenging to counterbalance, though that could be due to my sample having loose hips. He’s fairly poseable; of note, his head is on a restricted ball joint and his forearms rotate.

Vehicle mode is a departure from G1, becoming a front-discharge cement mixer truck (something I’d never heard of before but is apparently better than the classic style), the section on the back that becomes the combiner foot is the motor housing. It looks quite backwards at first glance, but this is a real vehicle. Note from the side the wheel alignment looks slightly raised at the front, that’s the intentional design.

Scavenger: There’s something derpy about Scavenger’s face and his simplistic body, but once he’s holding a weapon he seems extra dangerous, like he may not have the faculties to wield it properly. Scavenger seems to share the lower legs and feet with Bonecrusher, but the rest is all him.

Vehicle mode is a power shovel. Similar to Bonecrusher, Scavenger has a wheel at the front of each tread and a single, wide wheel between the treads at the back. The crane arm hinges at the “shoulder” and “elbow”, and has a rotation joint between those.

Scrapper: Darn this alphabetical order! In robot mode, Scrapper is the best one. He’s got the best proportions, the best visual balance, and despite the lack of elbow hinges he’s got at least equal to the best range of motion of the Constructicons.

Vehicle mode is a front loader. The shovel hinges up at the “shoulder” and “elbow”.

Set Issues: For something this complex, there aren’t as many issues as I expected.
– The biggest for me was the instructions giving incomplete and occasionally wrong information with the tiniest images imaginable in a confusing order. This lead to nearly breaking off the shoulder tabs on Long Haul that plug into Hook’s upper torso mode, you can see the stress marks in the picture, I had to bend that tab back into place.
– In combined mode, Long Haul’s feet form the inner thighs and lock his knee articulation out… in theory. The lock is a tab inside the foot which is easily dislodged, creating an alternate hip which bends forward and isn’t as strong as his real hip.
– One area that’s loose on Dev is Mixmaster as a foot while using ankle articulation, you have to undo his forearms to use that articulation and when you pick the figure up, there’s not much friction keeping the front half of the combiner leg from flopping forward.
– There are a few little angles where gaps in Devastator’s chest are slightly noticeable, I didn’t even realize I had captured one in that photo below until editing.
– The purple vac-metalized parts don’t match the regular purple parts, though I personally don’t care in the least.
– There’s a surprising lack of standard 5mm pegholes, aside from the individual robot fists there’s virtually none, so they can’t stow weapons. Devastator’s hands don’t have any 5mm pegholes either, so he can’t really hold standardized weapons or Legends figures as weapons.
– As mentioned, Long Haul has issues transforming the front half of his vehicle into his other modes, the alignment has to be done from inside at the back and even then it’ll catch. And equally mentioned is Bonecrusher’s failure at the crotch halves, it’s actually worsened by the transformation hinges trying to use a narrow tab and slot to use gravity as a method of holding the whole affair together but instead causing the parts to split.

Overall: Truthfully, Devastator himself is the real reason to buy this set, he’s a massive combiner with great balance, solid joints, and a firm build. The Constructicons as vehicles are fine but as robots really aren’t as exciting individually with their simpler looks, although their G1 cartoon-inspired styling and idiosyncrasies do make them interesting, so they’re more a bonus to me. And the exclusive version of this set is selling at SDCC for $180 with tax, making this only about $15 more than the retail version of $150 plus tax, yet it has a better deco and a nicer box. So I recommend SDCC Devastator wholeheartedly if you want a giant, awesome combiner that towers over all he surveys, this is the sort of thing that helps define Transformers as a unique and enduring brand.

Review sample supplied by Hasbro