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Numbat's Review: DOTM Legion Class Roadbuster

Name: Roadbuster
Function: Wrecker / Scottish Asshole
Subgroup: Wrecker / Dark of the Moon (DOTM) Cyberverse Legion Class (Legends Class)

Unlike others, I’ve never been a particular fan of the Wreckers elsewhere in Transformers fiction. It’s not that I don’t like them, it’s more that they never really made it onto my radar. When they were announced as featuring in the third Transformers live action film, Dark of the Moon (DOTM), the only character that excited me was Topspin for sentimental reasons (frankly, the G1 Topspin figure was pants, but I always felt bad for being initially disappointed when I received him as a gift when I was a kid). When photos from the set were leaked showing three heavily armoured Autobot Nascar Impalas sporting machine guns and rocket launchers, though, the Wreckers all grabbed my imagination. Michael Bay was taking these guys seriously, and in a more aggressive direction than previous Autobot characters.

The DOTM Wreckers also serve as my introduction to Nascar. Frankly, I didn’t know much about it beyond that it was an American autosport before. It doesn’t seem to be a big deal in the UK, which is funny, considering the other great thing about the DOTM Wreckers – they’re British! (Well, Roadbuster and Leadfoot are – Topspin never speaks.)

Not only is Roadbuster British, but he is, in fact, Scottish! Being a Scot myself, I laughed and laughed so much in the cinema, and still do rewatching the Bluray. The Wreckers’ attitude is totally outrageous, and their designs are great fun, and rather derogatory. While negative stereotypes are often viewed very badly by the public (and sometime people see racism when it really isn’t there), it seems acceptable to poke fun at the Scots – and you know what? We love it! When it’s in good humour, there’s nothing funnier than laughing at yourself, frankly – I wish more people realised that. While a total exaggeration, I can’t deny the Wreckers do embody a lot that is common in Scottish character, making them total working class gits, and they’re not allowed off a secure base because of that – hilarious!

Indeed, the Wreckers are a double-joke, as the designs were originally conceived as caricatures of the average Nascar fan, but have become so much more with the British accents - ironic, as there are few British Nascar fans!

Some have suggested the use of British accents was because only Brits know the G1 Wreckers, but that seems unlikely for a number of reasons - particularly as Bay has not pandered much to fans this way, and more-so as most of the cinema going audience these films are targeted at didn't know Bumblebee before the first movie, let alone more minor characters such as Shockwave and the Wreckers even moreso. More likely, the accents were chosen for the added humour of taking the piss out of Brits, and it works nicely.

Anyway…

The DOTM toy line includes a pocket money size class equivalent to the Legends Class figures that have been with us since the Cybertron line back in 2005 – only now Hasbro has renamed them Cyberverse Legion Class, and upped the prices beyond the pocket money bracket (in my opinion). (Apologies while I use Legends Class and Legion Class interchangeably from here on in… ) While I love Legends Class figures, I’m the first to admit that the Movie lines produce the worst for some reason (I thought it was the complex designs originally, but, frankly, it wouldn’t be hard to do better, and they really don’t hold a candle to other contemporary Legends Class toys, such as the Universe 2.0 or Reveal the Shield lines, and certainly don’t compare with the original Legends of Cybertron [LOC] figures, of which Starscream remains the best mould in the size class 6 years on). That, coupled with the now 5+ RRP meant I decided not to pick any up when they were released.

Roll on December 2011/ January 2012, and a handful of stores are reducing Legion Class (Legends Class) figures to below 4 – a more affordable price for a tiny piece of plastic with a simple transformation, and one I’m willing to pay for a Legends scale figure. That is, if I want it in the first place. Fortunately for my wallet, there are few DOTM Legion Class figures that appeal, but, unsurprisingly, I could not pass up the opportunity to own pocket-sized versions of the funniest and most out-there characters in the film, the Wreckers.

And the first I encountered was Roadbuster. Perfect! How does he measure up? Well, two Legion Class Roadbuster figures later…


Alternate Mode:

All of the Wreckers transform into Nascar Chevrolet Impalas, and Roadbuster is no exception. Unlike the Deluxe Class version of the character, Legion Roadbuster’s Nascar mode is the weaponized version (as is the much larger Human Alliance release). While Roadbuster is in no way disguised in his weaponized mode, it is the way he appears in the film and looks like he means business. Which he does, judging from his scenes in the final Chicago battle. Plus this is the most fun alternate mode that Roadbuster has to offer – and easily one offering the best play value of any live action movie character.

Assuming the weaponized Nascar mode is the same length as the non-weaponized normal mode, measuring 3” (8cm) long puts Legion Roadbuster at around 1/67 scale. And he’s a green Nascar, which is a nice nod to the G1 character, as is Topspin’s blue, whether or not that was intentional.

The first thing you’ll notice about Roadbuster’s Nascar mode is that he is super-detailed for a Legends scale figure. Also, unusually for Legends Class, Roadbuster benefits from a high level of paint applications in this mode, with a dull-but shiny gunmetal grey used for the armoured windscreen, hotrod engine block, main front gatling gun (sadly the smaller guns emerging from the headlights are unpainted green, but they are rather tiny!) and other mechanical details. White is also used for some of the car panels, the Chevrolet logo and other tiny racing logos, and ‘88’ on the roof (which is red in the film, and on larger figures, but I think we can forgive Hasbro on this occasion, in light of the fantastic detailing). The ‘88’ on either side is red though. Everything is rounded off with a silver Autobot insignia on the rear spoiler.

All in all, Roadbuster’s alternate mode blows me away – it’s the most detailed Legends scale figure I had bought to date and blows all other Movie Legends Class figures out the water in this sense. I have to say ‘well done Hasbro / Takara’!


Robot Mode:

While the designers have outdone themselves with the level of moulded detail on Legion Roadbuster, they certainly didn’t pull out any stops for the transformation, which is littlemore complex than a 2001 Robots in Disguise (RID) Spychanger (which themselves were recolours or based on the 1995 G2 Gobots figures, depending on the character). However, it works (thanks to the gratuitous use of faux car parts).

The fantastic level of moulded detail continues in robot mode, which is refreshing for a Legends scale live action film figure. Standing 3” (8cm) tall, Legion Roadbuster does a great job of representing the CGI design on a small scale – the only notable difference being the positions of the car wheels, but many larger Movieverse figures fail on that front (I’m looking at you DOTM Leader Ironhide). The main colour in robot mode is the shiny gunmetal grey, which does an amazing job of bringing out the detail and looks much better than the flat grey used on the larger figures which has led many to consider Roadbuster’s toys robot modes to be plain. The false car bonnet on his chest is green, matching the real (and much larger) bonnet now situated on his back. Amazingly, there is a lot less kibble interfering with Legion Roadbuster’s robot mode than with the larger Deluxe version, and the underside of the aforementioned real Impala bonnet is super techno-detailed, rendering it and the car windscreen totally invisible from any angle. Oh, and the Autobot insignia ends up on his knee.

Roadbuster is well armed in this mode as well, with the rocket launchers finding their homes on the robot’s shoulders (which is CGI accurate, unlike the Deluxe version…), and, the most exciting feature of the figure – the chainsaw on his left arm! Yes, Roadbuster has a chainsaw! And, what’s more, it is not a clip on accessory, but does remain connected and folds away in car mode (or can be revealed too for some highspeed Deceiptcon chopping on the road – it’s your call). This brings what is a highly detailed but otherwise mediocre Transformer up a couple of points, adding tremendous play value. Oh, and his right hand can grip the small guns that feature with some of the Cyberverse figures (none are included with the individual Legion Class toys though).

However, Roadbuster’s feature that brings greatest pleasure also has the potential to cause massive disappointment, as I discovered firsthand. You’ll recall I alluded to having gone through two Legion Roadbusters before writing this review? Well, this is all because of that wonderful chainsaw. My original Legion Class Roadbuster’s chainsaw simply sheared off at the ball joint connection during the first transformation. I then struggled to find a replacement in the endless sea of Legion Bumblebee repaints, but fortunately came across one buried in a Cyberverse Commander hopper in Asda. So far my second Roadbuster remains intact, but I can see the potential for the chainsaw to break off again and worry every time I transform him, or adjust the saw, which does detract from the fun somewhat…

Legion Roadbuster is quite well articulated for his size class, with good ball joint hips, shoulders and chainsaw plus hinged knees all with fantastic range of unhindered movement (thanks to the almost zero kibble) offering fantastic poseability for a Legends Class scale figure. He falls just short of my favourite Legends Class mould – Legends of Cybertron (LOC) Starscream – by not being able to move his head. However, like LOC Starscream, his arm weapon (chainsaw) is really need and can be folded away, but has a much greater range of motion than Starscream’s weapons. In fact, I’ve not had so much fun with an individual Legends scale Transformer since LOC Starscream, although that mould remains superior with a much more involved transformation.

So, overall, I would recommend DOTM Legion Class Roadbuster – he’s the most fun Movieverse Legends / Legion Class Movieverse figure I own next to Revenge of the Fallen (ROTF) Devastator. His mediocre transformation design is overshadowed by the excellent attention to moulded detail and gorgeous paint job. And the chainsaw. Mustn’t forget that super piece of playful goodness! However, be careful with that chainsaw – goes without saying, you’d hope, but I don’t mean those words in the same way you’d normally understand them! – it is apt to switch from giving you great pleasure, to deep disappointment…


Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 5 – DOTM Legion Class Roadbuster’s transformation is little more complex than an RID Spychanger, but it is effective thanks to the use of false car parts in the robot mode, and results in very little kibble.
Durability: 3 – While Legion Roadbuster is largely solid, and made of high quality plastic, his chainsaw is very flimsy and can – nae will – snap off from its ball joint. My original one went this way during the first ever transformation! Prepare for disappointment…
Fun: 9 – Roadbuster is one of the most fun Movieverse Legends scale figures, thanks to the superb detail, weaponized Nascar mode, and, of course, that chainsaw! I could play around with this guy for hours, if it weren’t for the fear of the chainsaw snapping off, which does temper the fun a little, hence he drops a notch from ‘10’.
Aesthetics: 10 – You know what, despite the uninspired transformation design, you can’t fault DOTM Legion Roadbuster in the looks department – he is super detailed and well painted, and has very little visible kibble in robot mode. I could not hope for a nicer looking Legends scale Transformer.
Articulation: 8 – Roadbuster is well articulated for a Legends Class figure, but would have benefited from head motion.
Value/Price: 7 – Cyberverse Legion Class figures sell for 5+ at RRP, which is really quite steep for such a small and simple Transformer. However, if you can find him at a reduced price (I picked mine up for 3.97), DOTM Legion Roadbuster is well worth it.
Overall: 8 – DOTM Legion Roadbuster is amazingly detailed, great fun in either mode, very poseable for his scale and has a chainsaw! However, the transformation is uninspired (but effective) and the chainsaw will almost certainly snap off at some point (in my case, the first time I transformed him) which is quite a serious and terribly disappointing flaw. Still, if you’re going to pick up one individual Movieverse Legends / Legion Class figure, Roadbuster should be it.
 
 
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