Sunday, 8 August 2010

Revenge of the Fallen Rampage

There's something about Decepticons and construction equipment... Back when the G1 Autobots had Grapple, the Decepticons had the Constructicons - a group of six vehicles (pretty much the equivalent of today's Scout Class) that not only transformed into individual robots, but combined to form Generation 1's first gestalt, Devastator. Perhaps it's the contradiction of a robot that spends most of its time destroying things disguising itself as a vehicle used in building that appeals to them... Whatever the reason, they always seem to have suitably dramatic names. Back in the first TransFormers live action movie, the name Bonecrusher was applied to a military mine-clearing vehicle... kind of a shame, because RotF Rampage uses an update of G1 Bonecrusher's vehicle mode - a bulldozer... And steals the name of one of the Predacons into the bargain...


Vehicle Mode:
As far as level of detail goes, Rampage is an excellent model, with huge amounts of molded detail, and even includes rubber treads. Sadly, being used in his transformation, these treads are not actually mobile and, instead, he relies on a set of small plastic wheels that sit between his treads. The first thing one notices about this model, however, is the dearth of paintwork: pretty much the entire model - or, at least, most of what you see in vehicle mode - is molded in yellow plastic, and remains completely unpainted. There is a tiny amount of silver at the base of the blade, a touch more on the (molded solid) hydraulics on each side, black for the cab and Decepticon insignia on hte rear, and a miniscule amount of red for the rear lights... easily placing Rampage among the plainest TransFormers ever, and making him desperately in need of customisation.

Furthermore, he's actually not much like the movie model anyway - quite apart from the colour (red in the movie), the blade is far simpler in this model - movie Rampage's blade was made up of many shiny panels, whereas this is quite plain and simple. Aside from the blade, he's equipped with what's described as a 'multi-shank ripper' at the rear... I'm not even sure whether or not the movie model had one of these, since it's never seen from an angle that might reveal it.

I may be transforming something wrong in this, but I can't get the back end to sit flush with the body - it's always sticking up at a slight angle, this reducing the effectiveness of his vehicle mode with some very visible seams. Also the mobile 'hydraulics' at the front don't connect particularly well anywhere and, even if they did, would tend to pop off if the blade was moved.
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Robot Mode:
The toy version of Rampage can only be described as a curiosity. In the movie, Rampage is almost the Decepticon equivalent of the Autobot 'wheelsnakes' (aka Arcee and her strike team). He bounces about on a springy tail, and uses his vehicle mode treads as whips. He's certainly one of the more interesting designs, so it's quite a disappointment that the toy doesn't even come close to capturing that form.

On the plus side, Deluxe Rampage is no less unique because of this. Since there's no easy way to fold up the bulldozer blade in any functional way it just sits on his back acting as a stand. Rampage has been given the ability to split his 'tail' into two legs which, supplemented by the arms on the blade at the back, give him an appearance something like a centaur. That said, I get the impression that the blade's arms are supposed to function solely as a stand, so they're not really there, not actually a set of back legs at all... Which is a shame, because if the toy can't be a springy-tailed snake-thing, a four-legged monster would suffice.

He does have an interesting gimmick in his 'snake' mode, in that the mobile 'hydraulics' can connect with his legs and work in conjuction with the spring-loaded action therein to make it appear as though he's able to jump. Again, the extra legs at the back make this gimmick less effective, and there's so little of his body that Rampage generally fails to convince either in 'snake' mode or centaur mode. Worse still, after very few transformations, there are signs of stress on the connecting part, so I'm a bit worried that it'll eventually snap, making it impossible to connect securely.

His arms come out reasonably well, in that they look quite fearsome in photos, and the treads work quite well when unhooked and threaded through his claws, but they only have one joint - at the shoulder - so, while they can be posed quite dramatically, some kind of elbow joint would have been a massive improvement.

The lack of paintwork is even more apparent in robot mode, even though he features a little silver on his face and a darker, gunmetal colour on his shins, groin, and on the outer rings where the hydraulics meet the legs. There is a bit more visible grey/silver plastic, but that doesn't change the fact that Rampage is very plain.
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Transformation is largely just a case of shifting bulldozer panels around from front to back - in many ways, Rampage could be described as a shellformer, if it weren't for the fact that there's so little robot inside that shell. The only hard parts are reconnecting the treads in vehicle mode - they're quite a tight fit - and trying to ensure his legs stay hooked in place underneath.

Poseability is effectively ruined by two things - the spring loaded leg gimmick, and the fact that this model needs a stand to stay upright. All that said, despite the deficiencies of the mold and the paucity of decoration, his very uniqueness wins me over. It's not perfect, and the fact that he's coloured like the limb from Movie Devastator rather than the robot that tackles Bumblebee (a red repaint became available after the movie's release) lose it points overall, but the real shame of it is that the Supreme Class Devastator toy features vehicles that don't transform into robots as well as limbs. Compared to that, Deluxe Rampage is a decent toy with a lot of character.

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