Ravage was one of the most popular G1 Decepticons, to the point that he was given a small but vital role in the Beast Wars cartoon 15 years after he was first produced. Oddly enough, while Hasbro has endlessly recycled most G1 characters, this is the first new Ravage toy to be made since 1984 (unless you count a minor Takara remold of Transmetal Cheetor). His was one of the first Energon toys shown to the fans, and predictably he became one of the most anticipated figures in the line. How did it work out?
Ravage has 4 accessories – an energon chip, two energon weapons, and a flail. The energon chip and energon weapons are a neon yellow/green. Despite early word that the series’ bad guys would have green energon, the green tint is barely noticeable unless compared with the more golden Energon Saber. It seems as though all Hasbro Terrorcons will have this color energon, while Decepticons will utilize darker green shades (though the final product has yet to be seen, early pictures show SuperLink Command Jaguar to have the darker green energon bits as well).
Ravage’s energon chip is a circular disc with eight radiating spokes (about 2 cm diameter at the spokes). An effort was made to use two different types of spokes, giving the impression of 2 overlapping crosses. As with all energon chips, this can be used to cover the spark crystal of any Energon figure. They snap on securely, and can be a bit difficult to remove, so its unlikely that kids will accidentally lose them.
Ravage’s first energon weapon is a 6.5 cm long missile launcher (about 9.2 cm with the missile). Nicely sculpted mechanical lines are obscured by the lightly colored plastic, though the details can be brought out with good lighting. The launcher has 3 pegs so it may be held in Ravage’s hands or mounted on his shoulder. There is also a minicon-type powerlinx port so that it may be mounted on pegs on Armada toys and larger Energon figures. The missile is about 7.6 cm and molded in opaque purple plastic.
The second energon weapon is sure make G1 fans heart’s flutter – a miniature version of Megaton’s fusion cannon. It has one peg and one hole, so that it can be used as a hand held or shoulder mounted weapon, or placed atop the missile launcher as a telescopic sight. This is a terrific shout out to old school fans, but it also works practically for those too young to remember the old days.
Ravage’s flail also seems to be homage to G1 Megatron, as he sported a purple energon flail in the second episode of MTMTE. While it would have been sweet to have this in translucent plastic too, its molded chain is too thin for more brittle plastics. The flail ends in a ball joint, allowing it a good range of motion even when mounted in standard weapon holes. This helps make up for the inflexible chain.
I will address this mode first since Ravage is packaged in robot mode rather than in his alt form. While this practice is becoming more common with larger toys (AAOP, Unicron, MP Prime, Universe Prime and Magnus), it is still unusual for small figures. The last such instance I can recall was BM Savage/Noble and Night Slash Cheetor in 2001. Anyway, the point of this otherwise pointless history lesson is that it has led many fans to question if Ravage’s “robot” mode is in fact his alt mode, and his animal form his true self. Adding credit to this hypothesis is the fact that his instruction sheet is labeled “changing to robot” – i.e. from bot mode to beast. While this may seem like a very trivial point, I think it would add a unique distinction to the Terrorcons, who I could imagine wrecking havoc on Cybertron by disguising themselves as regular bots. This would turn “robots in disguise” totally on its head.
Sorry, you’re not reading this to hear my half-baked ideas. Back to the review:
Ravage’s blocky bot form is more reminiscent of G1 Predacons than any figure in the Beast Wars or Beast Machines lines. Whether this is a good or bad thing is up to you, but I feel it is a nice touch keeping with his roots. The lines are very straight and mechanical, and detailing is sparse but effective. His robot head is sculpted to evoke his beast mode. A pair of pointed ears, razor sharp, shark-like teeth, and what could even be considered whisker lines sculpted on his cheeks. Most collectors seem to dislike this feral look, but I can’t think of anything more appropriate.
Besides his head, there are two bits of kibble that hint at his alt mode. The kibble itself is fairly minor thanks to the decision to make his beast mode mechanical as well. The less offensive of the two is the claws folded under his forearms. The second would be his beast head, which hangs directly behind his butt. Immature Transfans of all ages are sure to have fun with this feature.
A mostly black and very light gray figure, Ravage seemingly sports fewer paint apps than other Energon figures. This doesn’t seem like a cost cutting measure – red, yellow, silver and neon green paint is used to bring out details, but sparingly so. The figure’s design is simple enough that I don’t believe any more is warranted. In the center of his chest is his spark crystal, which has a fantastic sheen poorly captured by most cameras.
Articulation is fair for an Energon figure, but still outperforms a great many of the non-transforming toys on the market. Ball joints in the hips and shoulders are so restricted that they are nearly reduced to swivels. He can rotate his head and waist, and his knees, elbows and feet all have hinges. The feet have notches and large heel spurs for added stability, as well as the ability to rotate right or left. All joints are very tight, which leads to an unusual problem: any attempt to move Ravage’s upper arms will accidentally trigger his transformation gimmick. An extra peg or tab to secure the upper body, or simply looser shoulder joints, would have been a Godsend.
Height:: 7.3 cm (ground to weapon mount)
Length: 10.0 cm (nose to base of tail)
Absolutely no attempt was made to give Ravage’s cat mode (presumably a jaguar) organic elements, so again the look evokes G1 more than the beast era. This makes him a big, predatory beast next to the Omnicons, but a total kitten next to bigger bots.
Since no parts are covered or revealed by his transformation, his color scheme remains largely unchanged from his robot mode. The only new feature is his beast white and silver beast head. This has the nicest sculpting on the figure, including pistons on the jaw and a camera mounted atop the head.
Articulation is almost identical to his robot mode. The two additions are his tail – formed from the flail weapon – and his beast head. The flail-tail is mounted on a ball joint and can be posed in almost any position. His head is likewise on a ball joint, though more restricted. Ravage can look left, right, and down, but not up. The problem with forelimb movement triggering the transformation is remains, but to a lesser degree. Since the robot head firmly locks into place, the transformation never goes far enough to reveal the alt mode. Instead Ravage appears to be raising his back in a threatening posture. It is still annoying that it happens whether you want it to or not, but at least it can be put to some use.
Since Ravage was the first G1 figure I owned, Ravage (I will not call bow to legal necessities) was one of the Energon figures I was anticipating most. At first simply having him was enough to thrill me, then the flaws nagged me and lowered the score. The more I’ve examined him for this review, the more I’m willing to reverse my decision a second time. Ravage is not a great figure, but he is a good one for his size, and a nice start to the Terrorcon subline.
Final Grade: B- (B for those with greater than usual fondness for G1 namesake)
|Reviewer||Michael T. Dunleavy|
|Date||December 22nd 2003|
|Score||(7 out of 10)|
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