29 November 2011

Takara Transformers Encore 20: Devastator Giftset - quick review

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".

Close up

Then, some shots of the exterior.

Nice box exterior

The "Encore" label, clearly marking this as a reissue

Close up

Close up of box right

Back of box. Still looking very classic G1, but there is a distinct lack of any Tech Specs.

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).

The insert (sadly, not styrofoam)

Insert with paperworks

The inserts - bio cards are a very welcomed inclusion into the set.

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.

Hook - 1 QC issue. (1) chest and abdomen stickers are peeling, right out of the package.

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.

I'm going to try it now...

... yup, rub-sign damaged...
Takara Transformers Encore 20: Devastator giftset

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.


  1. Hey HD, thanks for share this photos with us. I´m sorry, but I´m very dissapointed with Takara in this one.
    Here in Europe we need to pay around 100 euros for it and for that price, I think that is better to buy a second hand original loose.
    With that QC, for that price, I can buy 2 Devastator KO´s with the same colour and less issues than this one, don´t you think that?
    So hey, really, thanks for share this review man, definitely I´m not going to buy this one.
    I hope that the next two will be better than this (I really want those new cassettes in that freaks colour schemes XD)
    Saludos desde España amigo!!!

  2. Thanks for the review. I've currently got this on my "watch list" and I hope to pick it up soon as vintage Construction parts are so inflated in price right now. That and with so many KOs floating around the market it's hard to tell if what you are buying is legit or not. Plus I'm a sucker for the bio cards. I'd buy the giftset for the cards themselves!

  3. As much as i'd love to obtain a G1 non scramble city combiner but the QC issues make it a miss for me :(

    i secretly hope Takara would do a modern update to classic combiners though :)

    Then again, wasn't Predaking the first reissue combiner? (i know he wasn't in the Encore line but still...)

  4. yes, i see the green is weird. so no one is going to get this set?

  5. Disappointment.

    I am a big fan of the Encore reissues- they are what got me into collecting. Since I don't own any g1 originals (except jetfire)they are a good way to obtain the figure inexpensively and have the amazing box and artwork.

    Ever since Devastator was announced I was excited- the box and gift set aspect itself would be a great display piece.

    Early warning of QC issues had me worried, especially missing mix master heads. Your review just pushed me to not getting a set- the biggest factor is the colour.

    BTW HD, have you bought MP-10 or thinking to get one?

  6. This is not your mom and dad's Japan, that's for sure.

    I got a copy in Singapore, and I can tell you with confidence that every copy here is missing Mixmaster's head. In the old days, the company pays QC on behalf of the customers. Nowadays, customers pay to be a QC :(

    HD, you didn't mention this in your review but was Devastator's fist very loose? Mine is, but I have never had the original so not sure if that's just a "feature"

  7. @ Predaking - 100 euros for this set is pretty expensive. Can get vintage G1 pieces for that kind of price. What are the cassettes in crazy colour schemes? Are you referring to the KO ones?

    @ Colbey - yup, the bio-cards are certainly a selling point and if you don't own a complete set, this is one sure way of getting a legit piece. In its defence, the joints and connectors for the Encore version are actually much improved from the G1 version, but its just the off-green and "cheap" plastic feel that puts me off a little.

    @ Eric - yes, QC issues galore. I read in Sg threads that MOST pieces in SG are missing Mixmaster's head! Give it a miss, I think. As to who is the first combiner to be reissued, it's hard to say... could be Landcross back in early 2000 or one of the "six" series MM combiners; then there is Bruticus, Piranacon and also Predaking (actually, that's a lot of combiners!).

  8. HD, Encore Twincast and Encore Soundblaster comes with recolour cassettes.
    Can see here:

    I like a lot!!!

  9. Hey Brandon!

    Nice review. Agreed with the comment that most of the reissue G1 stuff have a KO-ish feeling. The giftset box seems brighter in purple than compared to my vintage but then again my set is old. Will try to pick one up.

    Sad to say I won't be going to Hong Kong this year. Maybe next year. I did way too much traveling this year, need a break on my bank account.

  10. @ gdmetro - If you don't have a set, it'd be worthwhile to consider this set. However, at the retail price of US$125 (BBTS price), not inclusive shipping, it'd almost be better to pay a little more to get the original vintages. I have not gotten MP-10 yet, and am in no rush to get one. Having a smaller scale MP-Prime might be nice, be it'd render my MP-05 totally redundant. Nah, not yet.

    @ Roger - Could it be that it's the Singapore batch that is stuck with wonky QC? So far, the HK sets and AU sets appear to be fine (ie: have head). The fist is loose in the sense that it can spin around in the hole, but it does fit snugly in the launcher. Either way, its pretty common of the fist to be 'loose', even during G1.

  11. HD, it's entirely possible. I think Singapore was the first region to get the set (I got mine on 19th Dec), so perhaps based on early feedback, Takara managed to fix the problem for the other regions? All I know was that by the 20th i.e. the next day after I picked up my set, Robo Robo, and 2 other major shops mentioned that the problem was common, which I interpreted to be every set.

    Good thing is that the spare part will arrive this week or next.

  12. Hi H_D! Very honest and through review. Looks like after reading the various QC issues on this, I might be sadly giving this release a pass too. Maybe I can buy the individual boxed ones or a loose mint original vintage one sometime soon instead. Oh by the way, just a heads up: the pics of Blue Bacchus has been posted on my blog. :D

  13. @ Simon - Hey man, pity you not coming HK this year. Will miss chatting with you. Yes, this Devy set feels KO-ish. The box colours don't seem "right" either. Maybe we're just too fussy?

    @ Roger - oh, so they are giving out spare heads for Mixmaster? That's good, at least they are helping to fix the issue, but how strange huh.

  14. Thanks for your review. Because of it I had to buy a second set, so I could open it and make sure the pieces were allowed to be called Constructicons.

    I don't know if there is a difference between a HK release and a Japan release, or maybe you just got a bum box, but I had no problems with the individual guns inside. My set had all 6 different guns.

    The QC could have been much better and the plastic quality as well. But the only big issue I had was the rub sign with Mixmaster, like yours.

    The problems with Hook kind of offset. Like you said the rear cab has black windows (the original has purple) and his crane's hook is on reversed of the original counterpart. But since the transformation on Hook and Long Haul has been improved like you said, I'll take it.

    Overall, it's a great set to have, since I have an original G1 set, the re-issue is a great back up set that can be played with and displayed.

    Thanks HD.

  15. Oh, and as for the stickers, they were coming off as soon as I opened the box, but all I had to do was press them back on, and they were good to go.

    One more point, the roof on Scrapper appears to be locked in or sealed in. So I don't think it will come off and get lost like on the old G1 set.

    I am not sure if the Japanese version is better (as far as QC goes) or if there is even a difference, but I think my set was pretty good, although it was 8400 yen.

  16. @ Adam - knowing you, I'd recommend just getting the originals straight. Getting the reissue may actually piss you off and just make you want to throw it away... hahaha...

    @ gage - hey buddy!!! How you been? Thanks for your quick review too. Yes, Hook and Long Haul are much improved and so in the leg(s) connector plate. I wonder why they made Hook have black windows though?

    Good observation on the Scrapper hood too. I didn't know that but will go and try it now!

    I honestly don't think there is a difference between the "Jap" release and the other countries' releases. It's probably just a dud batch that got the mix up and QC issues.

  17. Just a quick update, got a whole new Mixmaster instead of just a head, so perhaps all in all, those who got the crappy batch came out ahead?


  18. Wow, sounds like there's going to be an oversupply of Mixmasters out there for spares and what not... poor guy


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