Friday, August 14, 2015

The Great Green Dream Come True

When it comes to adult toy collectors (as in an older person who collects toys, not someone who collects adult toys :P) like me, nostalgia plays a BIG part in why I pursue this hobby. Each toy I buy brings me some degree of great memories of simpler and more fun times of a kid growing up in the 80’s. Not all toys are created equal though and the degree of joy varies from toy to toy. It’s the difference between receiving a couple action figures versus the G.I.Joe Tomahawk for Christmas. Even today, while pretty much all my toys are purchased due to some level of nostalgia attached to them, a special few are on a totally different level of awesomeness and magically bring me back to my childhood days.

Like many things in life, when it comes to toys, more often than not bigger means better. Because of their size, bigger toys (like vehicles or play sets) usually command a higher price so are purchased less often, usually for a special occasion like a birthday or Christmas. Such a special occasion came up recently for my wife and I, when we celebrated our first year wedding anniversary. So when she asked me what I would like for a gift, I knew I couldn’t just ask for anything…it had to be something awesome. Luckily, something that fit that description was coming out right about the same time as our anniversary.

In early 2015, rumors started rumbling of Hasbro’s plan to release a Titans Class Devastator, which was confirmed a few months later. Anyway for those not familiar, lets start with some definitions.

First, Devastator was Transformer, a Decepticon to be exact. He was a giant Decepticon that was actually composed of 6 smaller Decepticons that transformed into construction vehicles who were fittingly called the Constructicons. While the concept of smaller robots combining into a bigger one wasn’t exactly unique (there were quite a lot of them in Transformers…called combiners or gestalts), Devastator was special because he was the FIRST one. And aside from being the first, he was even more unique because the combiners that followed him were only made up of 5 smaller robots and followed a “scramble city” format where you could switch up the components even between each combiner. Simply put, aside from the main central robot that formed the torso, all the others could form either a leg or an arm and combine with any other torso bots.

Devastator was different in that aside from being 6 robots, no one was interchangeable, an arm was an arm and a leg was a leg, so each part had a unique design giving him a more mis-matched Frankenstein-ish look to him, this in my opinion made him look even more intimidating.

Now when we say “Titan Class”, we’re referring to toy size. In order to keep price points in order, Hasbro came up with a size classification for their Transformers toys. The most common ones ranged from the tiniest size of “Legion” to the small “Legends” to mid size “Deluxe” to “Voyager” and finally “Leader Class”. Every year Hasbro would roll out a number of new toys for each class, but there was one more size class that was even more special, the “Titan class” which by the name itself one can safely assume that these guys were HUGE. Titan class Transformers were so big that they were rarely made, in fact you could probably count the total number of Titan class Transformers Hasbro has made in the past decade with your 2 hands and have some fingers to spare. The Titan class was a size saved only for characters who truly deserved the size. A couple years ago, Hasbro released a Titan class Metroplex, an Autobot who transformed into a city/battle station who was over 2 feet tall!

So now that you get the idea, you can imagine how prospect of owning “Titan Class Devastator” can make any Transformer collectors mouth drool with excitement. Definitely fitting for a first year anniversary gift!

As a kid, I only owned one member of the Constructicons which was Mixmaster who turned into a dj turntable….just kidding, he turned into a cement mixer truck and the left leg/foot of Devastator. I would transform him into a foot and pretend he was attached to the rest of Devastator and make him kick all the rest of my Autobots around. So finally being able to get a COMPLETE Devastator was definitely a childhood dream come true for me.

This new modern version of Devastator is part of a Transformers line called Combiner Wars where you guessed it, focused on Transformers that combined into bigger robots. All of the teams released basically consisted of a voyager sized robot that formed the body (so we’re talking about a 7-8” tall robot) and 4 deluxe sized robots (around 5-6”) forming a larger robot of about a foot in height. As with the original, the guys in Hasbro wanted him different than all the others combiners so he is composed of 6 VOYAGER sized robots making Devastator himself tower over all the other combiners at around 18” tall…making him the tallest Transformer I ever owned…ever.

Now prior to this, a few years back, two third party companies released their own non-licensed versions of Devastator. A company called TFC Toys released their version dubbed Hercules and Maketoys released a slightly smaller (but more detailed) one simply called Giant, since both weren’t officially licensed Hasbro products, neither of them could use the Devastator name. Anyway both sets were really well done and great modern renditions of the classic combiner. Unfortunately, they cost an arm and a leg at around $400-$500 each! So as much as I wanted to get one of these…I had to resist the temptation and skip out on both.

Luckily, it turned out that my patience and self control paid off for me big time in the long run as this official Devastator cost “only” around $150 and it TOWERS over both Hercules and Giant. Many will argue that the official one isn’t as detailed or complex as the third party versions but you know what? At this size, sometimes simpler is better. Prior to this, I have bit the bullet and bought myself a few third party combiners and even if they LOOK infinitely better, they can be quite fidgety and almost never really fun to transform and combine, they’re pretty look at, but that’s it. Hasbro’s Devy on the other hand is a blast to assemble and dissemble, transform back and forth and so on. In my book, it’s money WELL SPENT! He’s a great green childhood dream come true!