Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Revenge of the Fallen Demolishor

One of the (few) things I actually liked about Revenge of the Fallen was the variety in robot designs. While the original stuck to bipedal robots on both sides (other than Scorponok), the sequel took an 'anything goes' attitude - these were alien robots, after all... they didn't have to conform to any physical standard, let alone that of humans... And Demolishor is one of my favourite designs from the movie. Rampaging through Shanghai on a pair of massive wheels, he was improbably deadly to soldiers and civilians alike, until his joyride was dramatically curtailed by Optimus Prime blasting a bloody great hole in his head:
Demolishor (ominously, portentiously): "The Fallen shall rise again..."
Optimus Prime (obdurately): "Not today."

Vehicle Mode:
The excavator is not an uncommon alternate mode in the long history of TransFormers, from G1 Scavenger to Energon Steamhammer, it's a form which has normally - though not exclusively - been adopted by one of the Constructicons in each continuity. It is, however, quite an awkward form to turn into a robot and, almost invariably, the digging claw is either entirely redundant or simply becomes an arm. This thing is complicated by the fact that it's based upon a real-world machine (must try to find a reference for it sometime!) and, going by the size of the staircase and cockpit, it's an absolutely huge one.

There's a 'Mech Alive' gimmick, in that moving the arm causes a strange silver barrel thing to rotate within but, other than that, there's not a great deal of action to be had in vehicle mode. The treads, while rubber, are stuck in place, though the reason for this is not particularly apparent until the toy is transformed.

Oddly enough, while the pre-production artwork had Demolishor in roughly these colours, in the movie he was basically white in vehicle mode, with a few red accents - mainly to the head - in robot mode. The model was redecorated and released in a set with the 'Ice Cream Twins' (who also had minor cosmetic differences to their original release), but neither were special enough for me to try to pick up.

Robot Mode:
And here's why Demolishor was one of my favourites - he looks like a mobile force of destruction. He can roll about on one wheel, on two wheels, or rotate his entire wheel frame around his body and 'walk' on both wheels as they turn... and, all the while, his arms are flailing about wreaking havoc.

I have to say that I'm pretty sure his 'hands' were round the other way in the movie (not to mention split into fingers), but there's no wrist articulation on the toy beyond that which is needed to make the digger bucket tilt. A rotational joint would have been a nice addition but, I guess, would have led to shortcuts being taken elsewhere... Same for the shoulders, really, since the arms can only effectively move outward, not forward or back. Still, in spite of these shortcomings, he makes for quite a dramatic - if comparatively small - robot.

The biggest disappointment for me is the head - not only is it not particularly accurate to the movie character, but it's molded in place... I can understand why it wasn't given a ball jointed neck (which would have been incredibly cool, if awkward), but surely it could have had some rotation available? At least the light-piping works well...

As previously stated, the reason for fixing the treads in place becomes obvious in robot mode - were they loose, they'd simply pop off as soon as the wheels/spokes were collapsed to form the tread-wheels. On the upside, the wheels can spin quite adequately in this form.

Aside from the obvious - getting the arms out to the sides - there are so many subtle variations in the way this thing can be transformed, I'm not sure what the 'right' way is. I've tried to get him looking as much like the character in the movie as possible, but the head shouldn't be quite so recessed and, as mentioned, the 'hands' aren't quite right, and never can be. Robot mode also shows why rubber was perhaps not the best choice for the treads, as it's prone to sagging under the weight of the model, unless it is balanced on one of the spokes. Segmented solid plastic might have been a better choice... though that probably would have ended up prohibitively expensive.

Demolishor is one of those figures where it's easy to say "it would have been so much better in a larger size class" but, frankly, it was never going to be a Leader Class toy - he gets destroyed in the first ten minutes of the film. Even so, the added complexity available to a larger figure would have been beneficial and, as one of the largest robots in Revenge of the Fallen, might have made him proportionately more accurate compared to his fellow Decepticons.

Still, as one of the first wave toys from the second movie, it isn't half bad... and, to be fair, improvements in complexity and articulation were being made as the waves progressed.

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