After skipping on the retail release, I was recently given the opportunity to acquire both the Hasbro Combiner Wars, and Takara Unite Warriors Devastator gift sets. Rather than reviewing toys that have been out for the better part of a year I’m going to focus on the unique differences between the sets, what sets them apart, and why you might consider one set over the other when all is said and done. I'm not really going to talk about the alt modes as they are pretty self explanatory from the photos and the only real difference is silver paint on the rims. Time to get down to business and unleash these mean green machines!
The Autobots will see them coming a mile away at night!
Time to Meet the Constructicons.
Scrapper – Engineer. Team leader. Always afoot, but never stepped on.
Both versions of Scrapper are fun voyager size bots, with a modern deluxe Transformer’s budget. Easily the most photogenic of the group with a menacing face-plated visage and a fantastic robot mode silhouette. Paintwork on both versions is minimal but effective, focused primarily on the torso. The most noticeable difference is the color of Scrapper’s face plate with Hasbro going for a bright metallic silver and Takara opting for a more animation centric (depending on what frame, of what episode you want to look at) dark gun metal. There are a few different paint colors and placements on the chest and pelvis but the sculpting remains the same on everything except the lower arms.
Guns and Elbows. Who would have thought they could change the world?
The biggest difference between Takara and Hasbro is the addition of elbow joints to the Unite Warriors version of Scrapper. The lower arm and hand have slight sculpting differences and there is a locking clip on the back of Scrapper’s elbow to keep his arms stable in combined mode. The clip is incredibly tight, so tight in fact that I’m concerned about eventual damage while transforming him as the toy ages.
"You might want to get that looked at."
Scrapper’s designated weapons are the wing pieces of Devastators chest shield. Unite Warriors Scrapper also has a dedicated weapon molded in black plastic and designed to resemble his blaster from the original cartoon and Marvel Comics. In my opinion the Takara version is the far superior product when judged as a singular toy representation of Scrapper. The additional elbows add a ton of personality and open up a number of extra options when posing him. The included blaster weapon feels more at home in his hands than the large purple Devastator wings which feel more like a last minute solution than a dedicated weapon.
I'll bet he can slice up a mean filet.
Hook – Surgical Engineer. Second in Command. Always reaching for more.
Hook is one of the weakest figures in the set and unfortunately Takara’s premium touches really didn’t do much to improve him. Again there are some differences in paint application, with Takara opting to paint Hook’s legs metallic silver, which adds a sort of slimming effect, making the outer green parts look like kibble on skinnier silver legs. They also added some metallic silver to his midsection. Hasbro painted Hook’s thighs silver but opted for a fully green lower leg, giving Hook more of an armored boot look. I’m actually torn between which one I like more. I think in this case I like the legs on the Combiner Wars version but prefer the upper body of the Unite Warriors Hook.
You can dress him up but you can't take him to dinner.
Takara has also re-engineered Hook’s elbows adding a middle plank on a rotating axis that allows for a more natural elbow joint near the center of the arm, and a double elbow if you use the original joint that they left intact. Head sculpts and paint application are identical to the naked eye. Hook is a passable robot with average articulation but the bottom line really shows when you look at some of the sacrifices needed to make this set a reality. His arms are distractingly thin, he looks atrocious from the back, and his silhouette is probably the second weakest in the entire team. The amazing head sculpt is really the only thing that saves him for me.
Hook’s designated weapon is a blaster made of the barrel from Devastator’s gun. It looks like a giant purple pool toy in his hands, but wouldn’t look too out of place if he had some sort of wrist or shoulder mount for it. The Takara version again includes a G1 cartoon/comic style blaster that looks far better in his hands and has a really nice design.
"I came all the way from Japan to show you these silver pants and a gun."
Mixmaster – Fabricator. Chemist. Voted most likely to enjoy the Bee Movie.
No beating around the bush here, Mixmaster is, in my opinion, the worst toy in this set. He shares a lot of engineering with Hook but for all the things that were mediocre about that figure, Mixmaster somehow manages to crank the suck up to 11. Both copies of Mixmaster that I handled were incredibly loose in the hips and could not support the weight of their mixing drum/bee stinger backpack. The lower legs are gigantic and blocky, the arms are skinny planks just like Hook, and something about his torso and pelvis proportions just don’t look right at all.
There's a Sir Mix-a-lot joke here somewhere.
The only real difference between the Unite Warriors and Combiner Wars versions is the application of silver paint on the mid torso, and lower legs. As well the fuel tanks on the arms are painted silver on the CW version and purple on the UW. The head sculpt is well done and his signature overhead rockets are intact albeit without any sort of paint detail whatsoever. Mixmaster’s designated weapon is the central component of Devastator’s chest shield that forms a large double barreled blaster weapon. Unite Warriors Mixmaster comes with his G1 style pistol as well.
Long Haul - Transport Specialist. Holds the other Constructicons things while they go shopping.
In the immortal words of Thew; “Oooooh he’s a big ‘un!” Mixmaster is large and in charge…of being a pelvis. The largest member of the group, Long Haul is closer to a leader size in scale and is easily the heaviest and most solid member of the team. Aesthetically he is the furthest removed from his original design but a lot of the important bits are still there. He’s still got the exhaust smokestack coming out of his right shoulder, dump truck grill for a chest, and shiny silver head with a wicked red visor. That’s pretty much where the similarities end though. In an effort to keep as much of Devastator contained within the Constructicons as possible Long haul basically ends up being Devastator’s stomach, pelvis, and thighs with a head added on top for flavor.
The Unite Warriors version adds newly engineered arms that include an elbow joint and bicep swivel, whereas the Combiner Wars version has no elbows at all and the arms can only bend outward as part of the transformation. The CW version of Long Haul has silver painted thighs and a purple midsection and arms, The UW version decided to keep Long Haul as green as possible and only painted some silver details on his thighs.
He's a briiiiick hoooouse.
Considering his bulk I was ready to write off Long Haul as a casualty of his function and keep him standing in the rear without much action going on but this guy can actually pull off a few decent poses, especially the Takara version with their improved arm engineering! The ankle tilts and ratcheted knees and hips really help when trying to pull off any sort of action poses.
He may be built like a cinder block but he poses with the best of 'em!
As with the previous members UW Long Haul comes with a black blaster similar to his origin weapon. The CW version is designated the larger main portion of Devastator’s rifle as his firearm. While it is bulky, this is probably one of the better weapons to come out of the Hasbro set.
It takes a bit of getting used to but I actually like giant beefy Long Haul. It makes sense considering his alt mode and it’s a clever solution to avoid parts-forming for the waist and legs. Long Haul can also carry all of the extra devastator parts on his back if you choose not to equip your Constructicons with makeshift weaponry. Similarly to Scrapper, I feel the Takara Unite Warriors version is absolutely the better of the 2 toys, though I do like the color break up on the Hasbro version.
Bonecrusher - Demolitions Expert. Has the best name. Competing with Shockwave for the title of “Bustiest Decepticon”
Bonecrusher makes up the left arm of Devastator, and along with his fellow arm robot, Scavenger, is one of the strongest single robots in this entire set. Bonecrusher’s UW deco is one of the most drastic changes with Takara omitting the silver paint on his scoop chest and arms and adding purple detailing on the outside of his legs inside the treads. The Unite Warriors version is more cartoon accurate but I personally find it boring especially when standing side by side with his Combiner Wars counterpart.
It's not easy being green.
Both versions have nearly identical articulation but Takara has actually re-engineered the knee joint on Unite Warriors Bonecrusher to incorporate a pin joint and a swivel, rather than the all in one ball joint on his Combiner Wars counterpart. This gives the leg more of a natural knee bend that is slightly lower down, and allows Bonecrusher to bend slightly past 90 degrees at the knee. It may seem insignificant but putting him into a kneeling pose was far easier with the Unite Warriors version.
Speaking of articulation, Bonecrusher is full of it! He’s got double jointed elbows including an elbow rotation thanks to a ball joint, ball jointed shoulders and hips, and ankle tilts. If he had a waist joint he’d have the full package! The pelvis tabs in much more securely on the Unite Warriors version which makes posing UW Bonecrusher much more enjoyable. Bonecrusher has the most full featured articulation of any of the figures in the gift set with the exception of the combined Devastator mode.
"The name's Crusher... Bone Crusher!"
As with the rest of the set, Bonecrusher’s head sculpt and paint are a work of art. His head is a bit limited depending on the positioning of his scoop chest. Bonecrusher’s prescribed weapon is a missile pod that forms the forearms and hands of Devastator in combined mode. The Takara version can also use this weapon and has the missile heads painted in red which is a nice touch. The Unite Warriors version again includes a G1 inspired blaster molded in black plastic. It looks great and is a nice addition.
Scavenger - Mining and Salvage operations. Box for a mouth. Box for a body. President of the Skorponok fan club.
Scavenger falls in to the same boat as Scrapper. A decently engineered deluxe Transformer, that’s been blown up to voyager scale. There is little to no difference between the Takara and Hasbro offerings for this guy. Paint wise the Unite Warriors version’s left shoulder is painted silver instead of the symmetrical red details on the Combiner Wars version. Takara also omitted the yellow details in the center of his chest and painted the black squares rather than leaving them plain silver. That’s about it for aesthetics in bot mode.
It's like a stack of boxes on top of purple pants.
The Unite Warriors offering has the same re-engineered knees that Bonecrusher has and similarly this feature does add a bit more play-ability over the Combiner Wars version. Unfortunately Scavenger loses out on some of the articulation that made Bonecrusher so great, mainly the double elbows. Despite this Scavenger is still one of the better articulated figures in this set and is able to pull off a lot of fairly dynamic poses.
A menacing stature and a box for a mouth.
Scrapper and Scavenger were the 2 figures I had the most fun with while shooting the gallery for this article. I love his box face, it’s simple but the details are sharp and paint is flawless on both copies of the toy. The heads in this set, with the possible exception of Mixmaster who looks a bit mushed, are Masterpiece quality if you ask me. Like Bonecrusher, Scavenger’s assigned weapon is another missile pod with the Unite Warriors version wielding a black G1 style blaster.
Combined Mode - Devastator – Decepticon War Machine. The most iconic Gestalt in Transformers history. Sometimes he’s big, sometimes he’s really big, animation is a funny thing.
Hasbro Combiner Wars vs Takara Unite Warriors
After waiting years for Hasbro and Takara to remake the big green giant from our G1 childhood memories here he is and in my opinion he does not disappoint! Devastator is huge! Topping out at around 18” this is the largest official combiner figure ever released! Colors and proportions are near perfect in my opinion. The Takara version has a more uniform green from top to bottom thanks to their modifications of the color layout on long haul. Other than the silver thighs on the Combiner Wars version the other major difference is on the exposed treads; The Takara version has the inner tread area on Bonecrusher painted purple to match Scavenger. Similarly to Scrapper, Hasbro opted for a brighter silver face paint whereas the Unite Warriors Devastator has a darker gunmetal color. I actually prefer the bright silver of the Hasbro version as it pops more and doesn't get lost in the shadows the way that the Unite Warriors version can. The Unite Warriors version also includes a visor stored in the top of the head that can be flipped down to cover Devastator's eyes. It's accessed by flipping up the silver forehead crest. I've made it no secret that I love visors on bots so I'm happy that this option was included, and that it is the default option on the Hasbro version as well. If you want the Hasbro version with the individual eyes you would have to track down the SDCC variant.
"Devastator crush puny photographer!"
Proportions on Devastator are nearly perfect which is a nice surprise considering the lankiness of the mainline Combiner Wars figures. Articulation is pretty incredible given his size and simplicity. He's got every piece of articulation you could ask for on a modern Transformers toy; Ankle tilts, Knees, Thigh swivels, Ratcheted universal hips, Waist swivel, Universal shoulders, Elbows with built in bicep swivel, wrists, and a basic swivel neck joint. There are a few areas where I would have liked to see ratchet joints or stiffer friction joints, mainly in the shoulders and elbows as they have a hard time holding up his gun without reinforcement. Everything else is solid. Tight ratchet jointed hips, knees and ankles allow for great dynamic poses for combat, walking, or just standing around in anime super robot poses. I have to mention that the knee joints are really only useful for balancing him in walking or wide legged stances, they are too high up to facilitate any sort of kneeling pose which is a shame but that's something that I've gotten used to with transformers in general. The design aesthetic usually incorporates a shorter thigh and longer lower leg resulting in very few figures that can actually pull off a convincing kneeling pose. The addition of ratchet ankle joints and thigh swivels really helps when posing Devastator. Be careful not to over extend the ankles as there have been reports of breakage one some toys.
"I can't see a thing. I hope I look cool."
Devastator's shoulders lock in solidly thanks to a number of tabs and pegs that use both the chest shield and shoulder connection point to anchor them. They have a great range of movement and are capable of almost any pose within the limitations of his size. I would have liked to see more than 90 degrees on the elbow but the design of the elbow and forearm prevent any further movement. The Unite Warriors version has added ratchets in the shoulders to support the outward movement of the arm. This really helps with posing and is a fantastic addition. There is also a slight ratchet in the right arm elbow to help hold up Devastator's gun, however this joint is still not very strong on my copy. Devastator's hands are simple but effective. They've got a fixed thumb and all 4 fingers are molded with a slight curl and one a single pin allowing you to open or close the hand. They hold devastator's gun well and look pretty good as fists or open hands. The Unite Warriors version has purple hands instead of the default black of the Combiner Wars version. The purple is a nice contrast to show the separation from the forearm and hand and is my personal preference.
Knees? Look up...look waaaaaay up.
The Unite Warriors version can store all the individual bots weapons on his back which is a nice way to keep everything contained even when combined.
Backpack Jack XL
Devastator's head is a work of art. Just like the smaller bots, the attention to detail and sharp sculpt really set this head sculpt apart. Takara and Hasbro continue to show their dominance when it comes to amazing heads and faces for their bots. The darker gunmetal paint on the Takara version looks very nice in hand but it is hard to capture in photos without over or under exposing. The silver on the Hasbro version pops and looks incredible both in hand and in photos. If I had a complaint, it would be the neck swivel. I would have preferred a ball joint or a 2 axis hinge to allow for some upward or downward movement. I found a lot of cool poses that Devastator's body could pull off but without any upward head movement the poses looked unnatural and didn't make the cut when it comes to the final gallery. For how dynamic this figure is the simple neck swivel was a huge disappointment and is one of the main reasons I'm eyeing the DNA designs upgrade kit for this figure as it's the only kit that includes an upward neck movement in it's upgrade suite. Once the DNA kit is in hand you can expect some much more dynamic combined mode photos from me.
"Any Dinobots around here? I don't want any trouble..."
I'm impressed. I initially held off on this release as I wasn't quite satisfied with the Hasbro version, and I wasn't ready to spend the premium on the Takara release. I lucked into an opportunity to handle both at almost the exact same time with the Takara Unite Warriors version being purchased second hand for my collection from an online seller for a great price, and the Combiner Wars version being lent to me by my friends at Blast Off Toys. I opted for the Takara version for my own collection because there is a high likelihood that I will be displaying these figures in their individual Constructicon modes just due to the height of the combined mode taking up too much shelf space. With this in mind, the improvements to the individual bots and the inclusion of the G1 weaponry is something that really appeals to me personally. I absolutely love the individual bot modes for Scrapper, Scavenger, and Bonecrusher with Mixmaster and Hook being the low points in the set, and Long Haul sitting somewhere in the middle. They are victims of their budgets, so if you are expecting individual bots up to par with Maketoys Giant or any other third party offering you will be disappointed. If you go into this set with realistic expectations I think this is a nice set considering it's availability and cost.
Japanese Construction Gang (™)
If your intention is to purchase this set and leave them combined as Devastator, then just get whichever version is the most affordable to acquire in your region. The improvements to the combined mode are minimal and mainly aesthetic. This is doubly important if you plan on purchasing any of the third party upgrade kits available as the majority of them include purple hands and nullify the only real functional change on the Unite Warriors version; the ratcheted shoulder joints. I highly recommend this set if you can get it for less than retail. At a price point at or higher than the retail suggested MSRP the value of the set does start to deteriorate so try to get this set for a good deal if you're still looking to add Combiner Wars, or Unite Warriors Devastator to your collection.
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Thanks for checking out Plastic Spark Reviews: Takara UW-04 Devastator vs Hasbro Combiner Wars Devastator!