"Generations" Studio Series Deluxe Crowbar Toy Review

in 2018, Action Figure Review, Dark of the Moon, Decepticon, Deluxe, Dreads, Generations, Studio Series

Generations

Studio Series

Crowbar General Information:
Release Date: February 2018
Price Point: $19.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: Spiked clubs x 2

Official images and text in italics below from Amazon.com:
Reach past the big screen and build the ultimate Transformers collection with Studio Series figures, inspired by iconic movie scenes and designed with deco and figure scales that reflect the movie universe.

Approaching incognito as law enforcement, the “Dreads” convert into vicious destroyers in the High Speed Chase from Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Crowbar accelerates towards the Autobots to overtake them as they battle down the highway. With optics dead set on Sam Witwicky, he unleashes chaos until the explosive standoff against the Autobots.

This Studio Series 03 Deluxe Class Movie 3 Crowbar figure converts from robot to Chevy Suburban car mode in 20 steps and comes with 2 accessories. Remove backdrop from pack to showcase Crowbar in the High Speed Chase scene.

2017 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved.
2017 Paramount Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
General Motors trademarks used under license to Hasbro.
Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

2017 was a milestone in Transformers history. The live action movie series was now ten years old meaning an entire generation of fans had grown up in an era where they had a live action Transformers theatrical film every other year to watch. In 2018 Hasbro launched the "Studio Series", a "Generations"-esque line of figured focused on the live action movies. The series boasted toys that were made in rough scale with each other using the CAD files from Paramount Pictures as the basis for the design. Part of the idea was also to fill in gaps in previous lines by making characters who had not appeared in the line previously.

The Dreads are a sub-group of Decepticons introduced in "Dark of the Moon". These terrifying Decepticons looked nasty with sharp fangs and claws, borrowing some design cues from the famous scifi Predator. In last year's "The Last Knight" film, one Decepticon who was presumably a Dread appeared: Berserker. Despite only appearing in the film briefly, Hasbro did make a figure of him. That figure has since been given a heavy retool into one of the Dreads from "Dark of the Moon": Crowbar. While I do recommend reading my Berserker review before this one, the changes are very significant so I will try to cover them in detail.

Packaging:
The Deluxe Studio Series figures are packaged in boxes similar in size to the boxes used for "The Last Knight". The boxes are vertical rectangles with a large window in the front. Instead of the lighter colors of "The Last Knight" boxes, this box takes a more "Generations" style approach, using a black background and a vertical "Transformers" logo to the right. Above that is the "Generations" logo. Reflecting the new, unified approach to the Transformers toy line both Hasbro and Takara Tomy's logos appear on the front of the packaging. Towards the lower part of the box is the logo for the specific film the character comes from. To the left is new package art with blue borders. The packaging also has package art on the side and a large collector number designated to each figure. In Crowbar's case he is number 3. The idea is that you can line up all these figures on a shelf to show off the collection numbers. It's a neat idea and has kept me from tossing out the box so far.

The back of the packaging shows Crowbar in both modes along with the logo for "Dark of the Moon". It also describes his transformation as having twenty steps. Towards the bottom it shows you how you can take the cardboard insert from the inside of the packaging and use it as a display base and background for the figure. In Crowbar's case, he comes with a background with a battle scene on a highway as seen in "Dark of the Moon". Next to that are the cosells for this figure: Ratchet, Stinger and Bumblebee. Below that is all the requisite legal information for the figure.

Robot Mode:
Crowbar's design is a striking one, though not one you would normally associate with a Transformers character. Almost every inch of him looks like some type of sharp, savage instrument of destruction. His head has a huge jaw section featuring two large fangs in a crazy underbite. His hands feature four claws and his feet each have four claws in the front and one in the back. His torso design has sharp and angled details and even his knee armor comes up to a point at the top. Trailing behind the head section are the distinctive "dreadlocks" seen on the Dreads in "Dark of the Moon". While a very non-traditional design, I do love the look of this character. He truly looks evil.

From a retooling standpoint, the only part that appears to have been recycled from Berserker is the waist/hip area. Other than that, the parts are not only new but they even move differently in some cases. For instance, the head is a solitary piece connected to a ball joint. The actual "dreadlocks" are three separate pieces. One is behind the head on a separate hinge and the other two are behind the arms towards the middle of the body. On Berserker his "dreadlocks" were shorter and connected directly to the head. Here they are long and go all the way down the back. From a construction standpoint, I find Crowbar to be a bit more solid than Berserker thanks in part to the way his feet are constructed. The feet are longer and have a heel piece that extends out relatively far. Not only does this give him stability, but it also looks really alien and cool.

The Dreads had a standard color pattern of black and grey. Crowbar is no exception. Most of the figure is grey with some gunmetal grey parts. Black plastic is mostly found on the vehicle mode bits hanging off the back, arms and legs. The paint colors on this figure include gunmetal grey, silver and red. The red stands out the most against the darker colors. I particularly like the red applied to the eyes, which are very tiny details. A bit of orange is used on his hands (though how screen accurate this is, I could not tell since the character does not really stand still very long in the film). Overall the colors work very well for the character. They add to his overall sinister appearance.

There are twenty one points of articulation on this figure. That includes five on each arm and four on each leg. His waist cannot turn, but it has a hinge, allowing him to hunch forward like his on-screen counterpart. Crowbar inclues the same spiked club weapons as Berserker, and they can each fit into one of his hands.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  2. Detach the weapons if attached and set them aside for now.
  3. Swing the hands into the forearms.
  4. Swing the robot feet down, then swing the wheel attached to them down.
  5. Rotate the lower half of the thighs and the lower legs inward.
  6. Rotate the head around.
  7. Swing the upper body forward on the waist hinge.
  8. Swing the black panels on the lower legs forward.
  9. Swing the robot arms up to begin forming the rear of the vehicle.
  10. On the side of each foot/ankle area there is a small tab. The slides into one of the grooves on the thigh pieces.
  11. Swing the dreadlock pieces back.
  12. Lift up the back panels and swing out the rear panel of the vehicle.
  13. Swing the top and rear panels back and clip them to the tabs on the side panels.*
  14. Swing the front panels down and connect them together.
  15. The weapons can attach to the sides of the vehicle for storage.

*This particular step is difficult, and I confess I struggled with it a lot. The rear panels simply do not line up and hold together well. Worse, the "dreadlocks" are soft plastic, but they are still hard enough plastic that they have a tendency to push the panels out of place even if you manage to line them up. This is the biggest flaw in the design of this figure.

Vehicle Mode:
If you can get the vehicle mode together, it looks like a good representation of the Chevrolet Suburban. Like the vehicles seen in the film, this is a long SUV with three windows on the sides, two light bars on top and a distinctive air intake on the top of the hood. Both the front and back feature the Chevrolet logo. The front also has the distinctive grille sections with a thin strip on top and a wider one on the bottom. There are also small, round lights under the headlights.

For the most part this vehicle mode mirrors the one on Berserker. The way you can tell the difference between the two is towards the back where you will see the robot feet behind the rear wheel wells and of course the "dreadlocks" sticking out. I think the "dreadlocks" were meant to "tuck" under the top panel, but because they are not soft enough to curl without potentially snapping them, this does not work.

Color-wise this vehicle is the same as Berserker. It is mostly black with metallic blue windows. The headlights are painted white while the edges of the lights on top and the rear lights are red. The Chevrolet logo in the front is gold. Both also have purple Decepticon symbols on the front doors.

Final Thoughts:
This is one of those figures that makes me a bit sad because I really love one mode, but then the transformation and alt-mode ruin it. Crowbar's robot mode looks fantastic, and if you are going to keep him in that form for display then you're solid. However if you actually want to transform him, he is kind of a wreck because of the "dreadlocks" and the way the difficulty in getting the rear panels to hold together. Not recommended unless you can get him on deep discount.

Pros:

  • Excellent sculpt in robot mode.
  • Heavy retooling involving most of the body, not just the head.
  • Good deco.
  • Creepy design.
  • "Real life" vehicle accurate detailing in vehicle mode.

Cons:

  • The transformation is a nightmare.
  • The rear of the vehicle mode does not hold together well.
  • No real way to make the "dreadlocks" totally disappear in vehicle mode.