Unite Warriors Devastator Review

Long admired as the Autobots’ most deadly foe, the fans have been begging Hasbro to produce a “proper” toy of this leviathan for decades. The original 1985 version just doesn’t cut the mustard in the modern age, not least because of how tiny it is. Even back in the eighties, kids were disappointed; the Decepticon titan was dwarfed by most Transformer toys of the era, even its direct contemporaries.

So ever since Transformers returned to the mainstream in 2001/2002, ceaseless rumours abounded that a ‘remake’ of the toy was in the works. The case was certainly not helped when Dreamwave released a now iconic bit of artwork – it showed Devastator surging out of the water underneath the San Francisco Golden Gate bridge. Rendered in the complex, anime style that Dreamwave became famous for, it turned out to be naught but a tease, and the hopes of a mechanical Goliath appearing on toy shelves went unfulfilled.

Look out! It's one of those fish that swims up your crank!

Devastator, watch out! It’s one of those little fish that swims up your crank!

We’ve had combining Transformers since then, but they’ve never quite been up to scratch with the original concept. Hasbro were reluctant to commit to the idea of five or six unique toys needed to combine into a single robot, and deemed it unmarketable. Therefore we were provided with combiner teams that unconvincingly consisted of two sets of robotic identical twins. It’s cheaper that way, you see – Hasbro save 40% on costs because they only have to design three toys for a final set of five. Oh, and let’s not forget that the combined robots didn’t have hands or feet.

So majestic!

So majestic!

Utterly flabbergasting.

However, Combiner Wars / Unite Warriors Devastator is material proof that if you wish on a star, cross your fingers and eat all your vegetables, dreams sometimes do come true. Hasbro has pulled out all the stops and released a colossus of a robot – Devastator how he was always meant to be. We have a full team of six Constructicons, each able to convert into a construction vehicle, but most importantly able to merge into one giant mechanical menace!

How's the weather up there?

How’s the weather up there?

In combined mode, Devastator stands about eighteen inches tall. He’s not the largest Transformer ever made, but he comes close. Each individual Constructicon is as large as your average “voyager class” Transformer toy, which in muggle terms means about seven inches. They’re not lightweights, either, and look suitably bulky and menacing – as you’d expect for a Decepticon goon squad. Their design is based more closely on the animation models, rather than the original toys, and in fact they look like they crawled straight out of your VHS copy of Transformers: The Movie like that girl from The Ring.

"Hulk Smash! Oops, wrong movie!"

“Hulk Smash! Oops, wrong movie!”

Devastator is one solid toy – each component clicks and locks into place so securely that you’ll never have to worry about him falling apart. The original went to pieces easier than Adam watching Homeward Bound. The joints, especially in the legs, are stiff and ratchet into place. He even has ankles that tilt outwards for those extra-cool poses!

Draw!

Draw!

There are two versions of Devastator available – one for the west released by Hasbro, and one for the Japanese market (featured here) by Takara. There’s aesthetically little difference between to two; Hasbro’s has black hands and slightly different paint details. However, there’s quite a big difference in terms of construction, which is where things start to get weird.

In short: someone at the Hasbro fun factory forgot how to make elbows. We still can’t believe we really have to say this this because it sounds so stupid. But it’s such a strange and ubiquitous flaw in the group that we just have to point it out. Poor Scrapper has no elbows at all. Long Haul’s tiny forearms swing uselessly outwards on a fixed hinge. Hook and Mixmaster have it worst of all. Just look at this mess:

Remember when you were younger and you’d break your toys? Maybe you’d ask your dad to take a look at them, and he’d bodge together a rudimentary fix? Our toybox is full of hobbled, mutant robots who got the “dad treatment”. And you know what? It looks for all the world like someone at Hasbro was taking notes…

The Magnificent Six

The Magnificent Six

The aforementioned Japanese release does fix the elbow issues for all involved. However, Scavenger’s newly articulated arms require incredible force to bend – probably because he takes the enormous weight of the combined form on his forearms when in leg mode. Still, we’re not going to look a gift horse in the elbow. Mouth.

Takara also went the extra mile and included some new pieces. The individual Constructicons get a handgun each – a vital tool for a group of warriors, we can all agree – and Devastator gets a new head with a really nifty “visor” gimmick. You see, depending on what episode of the cartoon you were watching, Devastator either had two individual eyes or rocked the ‘sunglasses’ look that so many Transformers did so well. This toy allows you to flip flop back and forth depending on your mood (just like the animators! Arf!) by having a tiny visor that folds away to stow inside the head.

*Put on your 3D glasses now*

*Put on your 3D glasses now*

There are only a couple very minor flaws that are common to both versions of Devastator:

Most noticeably, Long Haul’s general proportions are well out of whack when compared to his team mates. This is because where the original Devastator had a removable plastic codpiece to hold his legs on, this envious job is now assigned solely to Long Haul. Well, it’s either that or he’s spent the intervening decades on the Wayne Rooney diet because he could crush planets between those thunder thighs. He’s very sensitive about it, so don’t say anything.

g1cwlonghaul

“Me so hungee.”

Devastator’s arms are subject to some minor mechanical oversights – for example, his forearms are hollow gauntlets that loosely peg on to a flap below the elbow. It doesn’t look bad at all, but they fall off rather easily. Also, his arms ratchet outwards at the shoulder, but not forwards. So he can do star jumps just fine, but can’t hold his gun out straight without the arm sagging slightly. Very odd indeed.

"We're gonna need bigger guns..."

“We’re gonna need bigger guns…”

Overall, the toy is a wonderful slab of plastic and a fine addition to any Transformers collection… But at anywhere between £150 – £170, it doesn’t come cheap. We again plumped for the Japanese box set, but we’re not sure the modest improvements made to the set really justify the massive gulf in price. If you can find the domestic version grab it.

DEVVY RATING

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Legacy Blade Blaster Review and Comparison

Yep. It’s another pleasingly-scaled prop for Power Rangers fans with adult-sized hands and kid-sized imaginations. And, er, preferably a Megazord-sized wallet as well because this ain’t no pocket money toy. Toys-R-Us have it listed for a monster sum of £89.99, which is roughly $136 US dollars when translated to American. Whether or not it’s worth that much is a question best saved for… later on in the review.

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And you thought only Kimberly had a nice pair…

SIZE WISE

At first blush it looks like a better-painted remake of the original 90’s toy, but it’s actually a whole new tooling. To start with, its slightly bigger in every dimension, which really is saying something as the original is a chunky bit of kit anyway. The distinctive teeth are made in die-cast metal and chrome, along with the barrel tip and the core of the gun. Everything else is plastic but it’s still got a nice weight to it.

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Why is everything… chrome?

Aside from the new paint job, it has a refined, slightly angrier looking sculpt. The handle has a matte finish grip, which is a nice touch. It would’ve been cool to have gone a step further and had a soft rubbery finish, but what do we know? We’re not allowed to design toys any more since “the incident”. In better news, little Brandy is recovering well.

GET TO THE CHOPPER

Right. Pressing the trigger gets you some “pew pew pew!” noises and some explosions – which always follow in the same exact rhythm you fired the shots in, which is clever – but you’ll probably be bored after squeezing a few out. It’s time to transform into blade mode then, which is actually pretty awesome. You pull the top part of the gun back as you’d expect, but you have to hold a small button on the side of the gun to fold the handle back and complete the transformation. This is because of the crazy strong ratchet that holds the handle in place in either mode, so you can swing the thing around to your heart’s content. Another button pops the blade out like a flick knife, which makes you feel like a badass in an 80’s gang movie. In blade mode the whole thing is considerably bigger than the original, and has actually got a slightly menacing point to it. We like!

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Top: Legacy version. Bottom: Yesterdays news.

THEME’S FINE

You can play the Power Rangers theme song by holding down the trigger, which is something we’ve come to expect from the Legacy series (despite this function actually being incredibly annoying to anyone else in the room) and you can also access a few clashing blade noises instead of having to do them with your mouth, like when you were a kid. Of course, as kids we never imagined that twenty years on we’d be able to buy a perfect replica of the Ranger’s signature weapon in toy stores (even if there was always that one kid who said he had a working dragon dagger or the actual Megazord or some other bullshit) and that’s exactly what this is. A perfect replica, we mean. Not bullshit.

Anyways. On to that price. Is this thing worth it? It’s certainly a step up from the original, but it’s more of a baby step than a full-on acrobatic leap. If you don’t have or never owned the original (we can’t expect everyone to hang on to their old tat for twenty-plus years now can we?), and you’re looking for an awesome display piece, then we think you should absolutely plump for it. If you’re more into playing rough with your toys, save your money for the classic version and buy two!

KNOW THE SCORE

From now on we’ll be rating everything on Toy Meets World’s Score-O-Meter (patents issued and pending) which grades the toy out of five in different categories, before giving it an average score. A low score on Quality, say, means the thing’s likely to break apart into sharp pieces when so much as touched, while a high Value score means you get a lot of features or parts in exchange for your hard-earned. Fun is… well, do we really have to explain fun? You remember fun right?

rating_blasterSCore_blaster

 

Review: AtGames Mega Drive Arcade Ultimate Portable

 

$_35

Blimey, that’s a bit of a mouthful, isn’t it? We even left out the “SEGA” for brevity.

These things have been knocking around for a few years now in various forms. This one appears to be a special “Argos” edition, as it has a sticker on the back with their catalogue number on it saying “Imported by Argos Limited”. There’s a rumour going around that it has slightly different workings inside and outperforms the previous iteration of the same product.

We can’t say for sure as we don’t have the older model to compare it to, but it’s probably splitting hairs in any case. Besides, you won’t find these things elsewhere for less money, so Argos is your best option. Continue reading

Fortress Maximus – The Definitive Review – Transformers Encore

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“I’m here to kick ass and chew bubblegum. And I’m all out of ass.”

Let’s get straight to it, my tiddlypeeps. We all know the story of Fort Max – you’re just here to convince yourself that the toy is worth dropping some serious coinage on. In fact, you’ve probably made up your mind already. But whether or not you’re on the fence, read on!

First of all – what is “Encore” and does it make a difference? Yes. Yes it does. Continue reading

Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus Review

You wait thirty years for a new Ultra Magnus toy, and then two come along at once. It’s Ultra Madness, I tells ya! [Fired. – Adam]

If you ask us, it’s IDW comics who can take most of the credit for the boost in Maggie’s popularity. In their re-imagined Transformers universe, Ultra Magnus is a costumed character played by many different people over the years to carry on the legacy of an indestructible lawman. Kind of like when your class hamster died and the teacher replaced it with an identical-looking one on the sly.

“Sniffles, NOOOO!”

It’s this modern version of the character Hasbro have delivered in the new Combiner Wars line of toys, in lieu of bringing over the expensive – and retro-tastic – Masterpiece figure released in Japan earlier this year. As such, the diminutive Minimus Ambus – the ‘real’ Transformer at the heart of the Magnus armour – is included in the box.

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Chaos Control

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There’s a new Smash Bros out for Wii U. This is a pretty big deal, as developer Sora have proven to be masters at squeezing gaming goodness out of new Nintendo hardware. So naturally, when faced with the Wii U’s fancy touchscreen controller, both they and the fans decided it would be better to just use the old Gamecube controllers instead. Controllers which, may we remind you, debuted 14 years and two console generations ago. Only in the topsy-turvy world of Nintendo does this make sense.

That’s an awfully short cable. You’ll get eye strain sitting that close, m’lad.

Never one to miss a trick, Nintendo decided to do a cheeky re-issue of the ‘cube controller, this time tarted up with a little Smash logo on its pretty face. It can be yours – bundled with Official Nintendo Wii U Controller Adapter™ of course – for the modest sum of £54.00 and change. Incidentally, that’s more than half of what a brand new Gamecube (with game) would have set you back in 2003. How times change.

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