Saw the news a few days ago that Encore 20: Devastator Giftset (from Takara) has been released. I was quite excited because this was the first reissue of a combiner team outside of the oft-repeated and incessantly released Bruticus.
Went down to In's Point after work to pick up a set. Not every shop has it, but I'd consider it is 'all over the place' and easy enough to get. Prices ranged from HKD$730-780 depending on which shop its from.
I heard from a Singapore source that there was some issue with the Mixmaster in this set - apparently "Asia sourced versions" as opposed to "Japan sourced versions" are "purported missing the Mixmaster head". Transformers releases in recent years are rife with QC issues, so its not really a big surprise there. What this meant for me is this - I needed to open it double quick time to check.
A quick note that the HK sourced 'version' (whatever that means), comes with an exclusive Devastator badge which states "2011-11, Devastator".
Then, some shots of the exterior.
The box is made of tougher paper than the vintage version, but the printing is not as sharp and seems to be slightly off to me (could be lighting).
Mixmaster head? Check, it's there.
But look here, left to right we have Scavenger's gun, Hook's gun and Scavenger's gun again... Yup, 1 black gun is repeated, meaning another is missing - Mixmaster's gun is missing. QC issue, check!
As a person who owned all the Constructicons during childhood and having a very deep impression of each toy, I'm going to quickly review this set.
Overall, the green colouration of the reissue Constructicons are a little off. It's not the same rich green of their vintage predecessors. The green is lighter and each piece feels like its made of less dense, perhaps poorer quality, plastic? The pieces also feel 'lighter' than the vintage ones.
Bonecrusher - 2 QC issues. (1) Rub-sign not centered; and (2) chrome area around screw on right arm scraped.
Scavenger - No apparent QC issues, but again, this piece feels less dense and lighter than its vintage counterpart.
Scrapper - 2 QC issues. (1) left chest sticker not properly applied and already peeling right out of the package! (2) right chest sticker appears to have be taken out readjusted and reapplied, but is still slanted.
Noticed something strange, the window colour for the crane operator booth is black instead of purple. Can't remember whether the G1 version is black as well though. Oddly, I actually think this mold has been improved on and transforms better than the G1 molding, which is prone to breakage, especially the legs.
Long Haul - no apparent QC issues. Like Hook, I think the molding is an improvement over the G1 version, transforms much better to robot mode. But like the others the plastic quality appears to be of lower quality.
Mixmaster - no apparent QC issues. Head is there unlike what my Singapore person says. One thing though - the rub-sign appears to have been applied in an inconvenient location (see photo). I suspect that the leg connector required to snap into Mixmaster for combining into Devastator would inevitably damage the rub-sign.
... yup, rub-sign damaged...
Now to combine them into Devastator. Some noteworthy points. The connector pegs for Mixmaster and Scrapper feels much improved from the G1 versions. Also Hook comes together as the chest piece much better. The key difficulty is fitting the leg connector into Long Haul, man I took like 20 minutes.
The overall colouration of the combined Devastator makes it appear a little KO-ish for some reason. It's just the off shade of green, not rich enough but yet slightly too lime green. I can't put a finger on it, but it just does not sit right.
It's also a disappointment that the cement drum of Mixmaster is not painted grey like some of the promotional shots depicted. Also disappointing that Devastator's eyes are not red as per the cartoon, especially since Takara has taken some effort to 'correct' eye colour (think Encore Trailbreaker and Hoist for example).
Overall - This is a good set to have if you don't already have the vintage G1 pieces. It's good value for money too. There are some QC issues, for overall not fatal to enjoyment of the set as a whole. My key issue is the plastic colouration which I still, after about an hour of fiddling with the pieces, don't think is the right shade of green and makes it look KO-ish. 6.5/10 for me - good value, but if affordable, get the vintage G1 piece.