(This is my 800th post! Thanks for reading guys.)
I’ve reviewed a few combiner components from Hasbro’s new “Combiner Wars” toyline in recent months but this is my first full combiner review. If you don’t know what a combiner is they’re the big robots you get when you combine a bunch of smaller robots. The very first combiner, released in 1985, was Devestator who was made up of a group of robots who individually transformed into construction vehicles so naturally they were called the Constructicons. Soon after Devestator’s release Hasbro released several more combiners and within two years there were nearly a dozen of them. Despite the crowded field Devestator was always considered the biggest and baddest of all the combiners.
I owned the original Devestator when I was a kid. I loved the idea of the toy and it looked pretty cool but it was nearly impossible to play with. That first combiner toy didn’t stay combined as well as advertised. All it took was a single punch from Optimus Prime and the guy would crumble to pieces. Another thing that bothered me about Devestator, and Transformers toys in general, was the scale. In the cartoons and comics Devestaor was huge and rightfully so because he was made up of 6 massive pieces of heavy equipment but the Devestator toy wasn’t much taller than Soundwave who transformed into a tape deck.
Regrettably I got rid of nearly all of my childhood Transformers when I thought I outgrew them; Devestator included. When I started collecting Transformers again in the mid 2000s I found myself buying up new versions of all the toys I once owned as a kid. I still wish I had the originals but the new ones were superior in several ways such as better sculpting, increased articulation, and the likenesses were much truer to the comics and cartoons. I eventually purchased new versions of almost every vintage Transformer I once owned but for some reason Hasbro held back on releasing new versions of any of the combiners. I had to make do with my Lego version of Devestator. It took a decade or so but Hasbro finally launched a combiner focused toyline in 2015. Now I’m getting more combiner toys than I know what to do with. In the past few months not only have I collected new versions of the Aerialbots, Stunticons, and Protectobots, but now even Transformers who were never part of a Combiner team before, like Iron Hide and Arcee, are getting in on the action.
Once “Combiner Wars” was announced I knew it wouldn’t be long before they got around to releasing a new version of Devestator and, sure enough, a Constructicons box-set recently hit stores. Unlike the other combiner figures that you have to buy individually, the Constructicons came packaged together in a huge box. At retail I think it might be exclusive to Toys R Us stores but I ordered mine online from BigBadToyStore. All combiners are made up of one big robot that forms the head and torso and 4 smaller robots that form the limbs; except for Devestator. He’s made up of 6 robots and they’re all big. This means that Devestator is huge even when compared to other combiners. He’s closer in size to Metroplex now instead of Soundwave. The scale is still completely out of whack but at least Devestator is finally BIG. I can get past a plane being the same size as a car but one thing that was never acceptable was a dinky little Devestator.
I won’t bother getting into reviewing the separate pieces today because I’ll talk about each Constructicon individually another time. Today I just want to review Devestator as a whole. I will say that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The individual figures are decent (some are better than others) but I feel they all got a little shortchanged. Some are lacking basic articulation like elbow joints, paint apps and stickers are minimal, and some of the sculpting benefits the combined form but not the individual. For example, Long Haul is the dump truck who makes up the lower torso. I know he needed to be thick since he’s the key piece holding Devestator together but the thickness doesn’t serve him well as an individual character, he looks like a little fatty with stubby limbs. Regardless of the individual issues the combined Devestator is a thing of beauty.
For some reason, in the Combiner Wars toyline Hasbro has swapped out an original member of each combiner group for a new character seemingly for no reason other than to piss off old-school fans. Hasbro could have spited Devestator fans in the same way by reducing him down to a 5 piece robot instead of 6 or they could have swapped out an original group member for a new one but thankfully they didn’t do either of those things.
Devestator is made up of all six original Constructicons and while their individual looks may have changed a bit the combined design is very true to the original. The entire build, and most importantly the face, looks just how it should. I have zero complaints about the look of the figure. However his greatest weakness remains his sturdiness. The individual figures lock together quite well so I have no fear of him falling apart on his own. Mine has been assembled for several weeks now with no problems. He’s definitely better constructed than the original but I’m still not sure he could withstand any rugged play. His Scrapper leg is his most frustrating component as his weight is supposed to rest on the shovel as if it was his toes but it slides out of place very easily when you move him around. His articulation isn’t too bad but the more you move him around the less sturdy he feels.
The color scheme is purple and green throughout just like the classic version which makes for a nice cohesive look that isn’t found on other combiners. For accessories he has a massive purple cannon (don’t snicker) which is the same size or bigger than most other Transformers in my collection.
This toy isn’t perfect but it’s pretty damn cool. Almost all of my issues with this set have to do with the individual Constructicons and not the combined form and since I’m likely going to keep him combined those issues don’t matter so much. This set is pretty expensive at $140 but I’d still say that Devestator is a must-have figure for any Transformers fan so if you see one grab it. If you’re lucky maybe you’ll find one for 25% off like my brother did today. 9 out of 10.