Party Like It’s 1985 with Transformers Combiner Wars Devastator

Reviews Toys
Prepare to meet your doom! (Image by Anthony Karcz)

In my head, there’s a 10-year-old kid who wants this review to be nothing more than three or four dozen pictures and the word “OMG!” over and over and over.

The Transformers Combiner Wars Devastator set is, simply put, the greatest toy to come out of Hasbro’s current line. This is the toy that finally realizes the promise that was made in the original cartoon (and movie). That was implemented as well as could be by the original toy back in ’85; but could only ever be a suggestion of the greatness we saw onscreen. Thankfully, engineering and design have made light-year leaps in the resultant 30 years. What this means for old G1 Transformers fans is that we are finally getting the toys that we imagined in our heads, but were never going to see. What this means for new fans is that they get some of the most amazing Transformers toys ever made.

(Image by Anthony Karcz)

Devastator is made up of six bots, just like the original, and has a unique combination system from the rest of the Combiner Wars combiners, just like original (No Scramble City interchangeability here). Unlike his G1 counterpart, though, Devastator is massive. Individually, each bot that forms Devastator is as big as the original combined toy. Combined, they’re eighteen inches tall, putting them in Hasbro’s Titan class (which we’ll be seeing a lot of next year with their Titans Return line).

(Image by Anthony Karcz)

The vehicles are, you guessed it, construction vehicles and directly correspond to the original Constructicons. Longhaul is my favorite out of the bunch. In the G1 set, he was the same size as everyone else; but here he makes up the torso and has the corresponding chunkiness to go with it. Plus, I’m a sucker for those giant dump trucks. One of the cool little details is that the Hasbro designers tried to maintain a sense of scale for each bot. If you check out the ladders (for those vehicles that have them) you’ll notice that they’re sized appropriately, based on the size of the vehicle. There are a ton of little details along those lines that can easily get lost in the sea of gorgeous neon yellow-green plastic (hey, Hasbro, an edition of these where all the details were painted would be well worth the premium!).

Fat bot in a little coat… (Image by Anthony Karcz)

Some share similar steps in their transformation scheme; but all of them transform differently (though I couldn’t get Bonecrusher’s crotch to stay together, no matter how much I fiddled with it). Once in robot form, they make a pretty awesome crew. They’re all Voyager class toys, so they’re each as big as the leaders of the other combiner teams. The head sculpts are all G1 based and do a fantastic job of paying homage while updating the look to modern sculpting standards. Mixmaster is my favorite in bot mode (Longhaul ends up looking a bit too dwarfish for my tastes). He’s the only one without a visor and I love his blockiness – it’s incredibly 80s. While there aren’t individual weapons for each of the bots (you’ll have to import the Unite Warriors version from Takara for that), Devastator’s fists become missile launchers and his chest plate becomes swords and a dual-barelled gun. Devastator’s gun even breaks into two smaller guns for Longhaul to wave about (no doubt over-compensating for his stubby arms).

Retail version on the left, SDCC on the right (Image by Anthony Karcz)

Transforming them into Devastator is a process that will result in a lot of squinting at the tiny pictures on the poster that comes with the set (how I wished for some old school instructions!). In the end, everything pegs together really well. He’s a sturdy toy. Will he stay in one piece when your rambunctious five-year-old guest slams him into your Optimus Prime? No, no he will not. But he will tolerate posing and light play. More than the Scramble City-style combiners that make up the rest of the Combiner Wars line.

Together, he towers over your other Transformers. While articulation is an issue for some of the individual bots (missing elbow joints and the like), Devastator is incredibly articulated. He’s even got ankle joints! He’s been released in a couple of different versions state-side. Above, he’s posing with his SDCC counterpart, who picks up vac-metal details and a lot of additional paint applications. I like my exclusive version; but he’s really not meant for extended play – the vac-metal will chip over time. If you want a toy that’s going to take out Autobots and lead your Decepticons to victory, it’s the retail box set.

Thanks to Reprolabels for the awesome stickers! (Image by Anthony Karcz)

But if you’re looking at that SDCC version and wishing the retail set had more details, don’t worry, you’ve got options. There is a great site,, that creates high quality after-market stickers for Transformers. Granted, you’ll need a set of tweezers, a heat gun, and what’s left of your patience and eyesight; but you’ll end up with a Devastator that is much more visually detailed than any factory paint job. You’ll also have a chance to appreciate all the little sculpted-in details.

The Transformers Combiner Wars Devastator set is the greatest combiner toy that Hasbro has ever released, a big thanks to Hasbro for providing a sample for this review. He’s a perfect homage to the toy that we all wished we had back in the 80s, while still being thoroughly modern. I can’t recommend this set enough. Hop over to Amazon and grab him today!

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