Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Galaxy Force Demolishor

Construction vehicles are nothing new to the TransFormers toyline - there's a grand tradition, particularly with the Decepticons, of these giant alien robots disguising themselves as machines involved in building. I guess it's a good cover for building all those weapons of mass destruction, but it does seem strange that the faction who are intent on destroying are the most likely ones to turn into machines used to create.

The Galaxy Force/Cybertron line featured a whole planet populated by giant robots, neither Autobot nor Decepticon, who lived to build... but there was one construction vehicle which was a Decepticon from the start...

Vehicle Mode:
I'd have to say that this is one model on which TakaraTomy fumbled and Hasbro produced a better overall product. Far too much of Demolishor's pale blue plastic was left unpainted, including several rather obvious details - such as the (non-functional molded detail) support feet around the central pairs of wheels. Aside from the front and rear girlles and a few technical details on the cab and the crane, the only paintwork on this vehicle mode is a couple of silver strips on the central platform. Both versions have very odd colour choices in the plastic - the pale blue of the majority of the vehicle contrasts strongly with the dark grey of the cab and crane base, and the crane itself is all white. It's not much of a disguise if it doesn't pass as a real construction vehicle...

And it really doesn't. Particularly from a distance, it just looks like a mobile platform which just happens to have a cab and a crane - possibly it's intended to be something that can be mounted with other useful construction machinery? It doesn't help either that the base vehicle is completely symmetrical aside from slight cosmetic differences on the front and rear grilles. Viewing from above, robot parts are quite visible either side of the central platform.

Both of the key-activated weapons are accessible in vehicle mode, though only the missile launcher on the cab - which stands out too much, in terms of both colour (it's a blue brick with three silver panels) and size (it sticks out a couple of millimetres past the back of the cab) - would actually be any use. Plugging the key into the side of the cab causes it to flip forward, though the spring on mine is a little loose.

The upside is that the crane part is pretty awesome. It's built so that an extra piece appears to be the pneumatic piston which lifts the arm, and the extension is so great that it easily overbalances the base vehicle if it's swung out to one side or the other - shame those stabiliser feet aren't functional! The arm has very nearly a full 90 degree lift range, and the base rotates a full 360 degrees. Of course, the hook can't be deployed, but it's still one of the better implementations of a crane arm on a TransFormer.
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Robot Mode:
Far less plain than vehicle mode, Demolishor sports a darker blue chest and thighs with purple, gold and silver highlights dotted around the body. Were it not for the attachments on his arms - basically the vehicle's cab and crane sections - he'd be one of the flattest robots in TransFormers history. That's not to say he's without molded detail, just that it's all very shallow.

There are four outstanding features of this model, though. Two of them are the weapons mounted on his forearms... the other two are his feet. They are absolutely massive plates, and I rather wish there was some way of sliding the 'toes' some way back into the feet. The length of the feet accounts for something like two thirds of the depth of this figure. They're not especially useful unless he's standing to attention, though he balances quite well on their edges.

The weapons are an interesting mix. One would think the missile launcher would be more useful in robot mode but, since the spring is so loose in mine, it tends to sag unless his right forearm is twisted into a hopelessly unnatural position. Also, the very fact that it's positioned atop the entire vehicle cab makes it look rather silly. Then there's the crane... when fully extended, plugging the key into the slot releases a massively long, transparent green saw blade. The crane can be retracted once the blade is deployed, but that's still one exceedingly long extra arm mounted on his left forearm (and, again, in the entire crane base). Even with his massive feet, his fully-extended weapon is quite capable of overbalancing him.

One oddity of this weapon - and about the only area in which TakaraTomy did a better job than Hasbro - is that the Japanese version features a rigid plastic blade, while the Hasbro version was a softer, slightly rubbery plastic (much like the wings and sword on their version of Vector Prime). The trouble with that was that, as the plastic warped, it came loose from the catch that was supposed to hold it in place until the key was plugged in. No such trouble with this version - the rigid plastic is very stable... Though there's always the chance that it'll become brittle over time.

The head sculpt is pretty cool. It almost looks as though he has a visor or battle mask sat up on his forehead and, were it not for the colour and the vent things sticking out of the sides of his head, he'd resemble the cartoon version of G1 Megatron due to the bucket-like shape of the rest of his head. The eyes and the central part of the top of his head are very effectively light-piped. The only complaint I'd have is that the pinned neck joint is incredibly loose on mine.
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Transformation is very novel, though it reminds me in some ways of the G1 cassettes Rumble and Frenzy. Rather than taking the usual route of splitting the vehicle down the length and, for example, having the legs fold out of the back and the arms out of the front, the vehicle is split so that one arm and one leg each come out of the front and the back. It's curiously similar to the transformation implied for the CGI-only character Signal Lancer.

Built with a mass of ratchet joints, Demolishor is both very poseable and very stable... the only things hampering him are the sheer size of his feet and the massive length of the crane on his left arm. That said, I believe the TV series often made reference to his ridiculously unweildy weapon, so at least the writers had a sense of humour about him.

I'm quite fond of Demolishor because the design is quite original - never repeated since Galaxy Force/Cybertron - and works fairly well. The model isn't without its flaws, and it does take a silly amount of shelf space to display in robot mode, but it's certainly not the worst of the line. That said, rubbery blade aside, I rather wish I'd held out for the Hasbro version, because its vehicle mode looks more complete.

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