Transformers Review – Ravage (Alternators)



Intro:
            When the Transformers franchise was first released in the year 1984, it was all about the concept of Robots-in-Disguise. Megatron transformed into a super-realistic replica of a gun; Soundwave transformed into a realistic mini-Cassette recorder; Reflector transformed into a realistic-looking camera; even the vehicle-based robots such as Optimus Prime, Jazz, Mirage and company transformed into vehicles that were replicas of the original thing.
            However, as the franchise evolved throughout its history, that concept was slowly forgotten in place of more futuristic alternate modes. To some diehard/ hardcore fans, the magic or uniqueness of the franchise was indeed lost for awhile. However, during the early part of the 21st century, Takara and Hasbro began to re-explore the idea yet again, and someone apparently came up with an idea to create actual 1:24 scale model cars, that can be transformed. The car would look just like a real scaled model cars, with open-able doors, hoods and sometimes, even trunks, and also came with detailed car interior, rubber tyres and steerable front tyres. The Binaltech’s version however would be made with die-cast metal, whilst the Alternators would be made from good quality plastics. The Takara-produced Binaltechs would go on and produce the official back story for the series, which was set in 2003, prior to the events of the 1986 movie.
            Toy-wise, the Alternators would continue to play second fiddle to Takara’s Binaltechs as Binaltechs would continue to release the figures first, before Alternators to follow suit. The only times that the Alternators would create their own (initially) exclusive figures are Mirage (Ford GT) and Ravage (Jaguar XK).
            In 2005, Binaltechs/Alternators released a retooled Tracks figure and would go on to name him Battle Ravage, due to lack of copyright to use the name Ravage, which unsurprisingly faced heavy criticisms from TransFans in general, and I would readily admit that I was one of them. I mean, come on (!), a Ravage figure that transform into a humanoid?! Apart from the Beast Wars fiction that really did feature a humanoid Ravage character (a.k.a. Tripedacus Agent), I really couldn’t get used to a humanoid Ravage. It just felt wrong, and thus, the exact reason why I didn’t get him in the first place.
            So when Hasbro announced that Ravage would be re-released in a new mold that wasn’t humanoid, needless to say that I wasn’t about to pass him up this time. This time, I was adamant in getting him, and thus here we are with this review.

Alternate mode:
            Ravage comes packed in his car mode, which is a Jaguar XK. Painted in smooth black paints, this Jaguar looked really slick and smooth. 
As with all other Alternators figures, the tyres are made from rubber with carved-in grooves on it, and would also have the words “Cybertron Radial” written on them. The chromes on the rims look really shiny and metallic. 
The door hinges are on ball joints, which is nice. The interior of the car itself is very nice, complete with the steering wheels, the two seats, dashboard and the gears. It however kinda falls a little bit short since the clear translucent back windscreen kinda expose all the kibbles within. 
The lights are made from realistic looking light tubes, which is very nice. There is also a small Jaguar logo right in front of the front grill, and also the name JAGUAR is also written at back of the trunk, along the words XK & L7. The UK license plate also bore the name RAVAGE.
 
            My only 2 gripes with the car mode is the lack of steering of the front wheels compared the rest of his Alternators brethrens, and also the trunk and hood don’t open, so don’t expect any engine-block-as-weapon-gimmick either. Otherwise, he is just absolutely perfect. 
            The side mirrors also have reflective stickers on it, which is nice. But over time, it tends to peel off, thus revealing the black paint underneath, as happened with mine. 
             
Robot mode:
            One sentence: I just love this bot!!!
Yeah, sure, it isn’t the best robot out there, but I choose this guy over the previous released Binaltechs/ Alternators Battle Ravage, anytime. If nostalgia alone doesn’t bought you over in the first place, the head sculpt alone would have done it for you. 
The transformations sequence that follows aren’t really that complicated, by Alternators/ Binaltechs standards, but it is a bit involving, so to speak. 
            The articulations are wonderful: His head is on two ball joints (yes, u read it right) and I can’t really remember any other figures out there whose head has two ball joints. This is probably a first.
           His front legs moves up and down, ball-jointed elbow (so sue me) & wrists move up and down. His hind legs, on the other hand rotate at the hips; has a double-jointed knees (one is on the door panel slightly before the wheel and the other on the leg sculpt itself); and finally ankle joints that move only up and down. Ravage also has a tail that has 3 points of articulations, but none of them allows any rotation movement.
            As with any G1 Ravage figures, Alternators Ravage comes with a couple of missiles on his hips, which looks really cool. Ravage is skinny. The hoods and roofs of the car are just optical illusions to hide the fact that he is very skinny underneath!!! The folded up chair at the side of the chest tried to add a little of mass to the figure, but it really didn’t. However, this doesn’t matter much since it’s really not that easy to design an animalistic robot out of a car!
            Absolutely fantastic robot mode.

Overall:
            I really love these Alternators figures. No disrespect to Binaltechs, but I would prefer the Alternators over them anytime. Of course, this is based on personal preferences. A lot of my friends do prefer Binaltechs due to the fact that they are car buffs and that they also collect scaled model cars. And these guys would prefer to keep these figures in car modes rather than in their robot modes.
Personally for me, I like to transform these figures, which doesn’t bode well with die-cast figures since they are prone peelings and chippings. Where the Alternators lack in heft, they made up with transformation-flexibilities.
            As I said, the Alternators/ Binaltechs line are aimed at 2 fan categories in general: pure transformers fans and car model fans, who in most cases go hand in hand, and personally they are one of HasTak’s crown jewel series. It’s sad to see the line was discontinued and being replaced with a somewhat inferior series in the form of the Alternity.
            Ravage is one of the best examples of Alternators/Binaltech success stories. He is a Jaguar that transforms into a jaguar, and how can anything go wrong with that? A slick car mode and a unique robot mode, although its articulations can be a little bit restricted.
Still, this figure is absolutely highly recommended.
Final verdict, 9.5/10.

2 comments:

  1. oh my, that is something my nephew Zach would love to have!!! awesome, :-)

    ReplyDelete