"Alternators" Ravage Toy Review


General Information:
Release Year: April 2007
Retailer: Wal-Mart Exclusive
Price: $20.00
Accessories: None

Ravage is one of the original Transformers from the Generation One series. He was memorable largely because he served as one of Soundwave's loyal cassette minions and for having the unique form of a robotic jaguar. After Generation One, Ravage was largely ignored for a while until the character appeared in the "Beast Wars Transformers" three parter "The Agenda". After that he began getting some fairly regular nods. One of the Energon Terrorcons was called Battle Ravage (and took design cues from G1 Ravage).

When the Alternators and Binaltech lines were launched, one of the few Decepticons released was Battle Ravage (whose name was used because at the time Hasbro could not use just the name "Ravage" on its own without a qualifier) aka Binaltech Ravage. While it was somewhat unique to see a beast-based G1 character get an Alternators vehicular form, Battle Ravage sort of got a bit of the short end of the stick since he was just a redeco with a new head. This new Ravage Alternators figure gives the character an original sculpt and a beast-based one to boot, making him unique in the line (thus far).

Vehicle Mode:
There is a definite synergy that occurred with this figure almost by accident. Ravage originally transformed into a Jaguar, and now here he is over twenty years later transforming into a car named after that animal. It amuses me to be able to say that Ravage is now a Jaguar in both modes!

The Jaguar XK is one of the newest models of the classic vehicle. Being the sleek vehicle that the Jaguar is, it does not have an overly complicated set of lines or details. However certain key details of the real life vehicle were captured. It's sleek front end is remiscent of the muscle lines of a feline. The front eyes have a slant to them that also suggest the eyes of a feline. These are classic features of the vehicle line and carry over onto the sculpt for this car. The front end of the car is curved and has a middle and lower grille. If you look at the front of the top grille you'll see the classic Jaguar symbol, showing the beast in an open mouthed roar. On the sides near the door there are vertical slots with a horizontal piece overlaid on top.

The back end is extremely detailed, with twin exhausts on the bottom and a strip running across the middle of the trunk door with the word "Jaguar" etched into it. Other nice details include the letters "XK" and "LZ" which seem to indicate Ravage is the convertable sub-model. As always, the details extend to the hubcaps, which have the same shape as the real life ones. The dashboard is also sculpted to be accurate to the real one, down to how the stick shift is on an "L" shaped track and air conditioning vents.

The deco for Ravage is fairly simple, but uses colors befitting the character. His primary plastic color is black. The windshield and windows are all cast in clear plastic. The headlights and rear lights are cast in translucent clear and red plastic. The hubcaps are vacuum metallized silver. Silver paint is used to color details such as the front grille, the trim on the windows and the strip on the trunk that says "Jaguar" on it. Ravage's license plate is blue with a vertical strip and the letters "GB" indicating he is from Great Britain. The license plate number is "RAVAGE".

Ravage is a fantastic looking vehicle that lives up to the sculpting detail standard of its predecessors. Unfortunately, its functionality is another matter altogether.

Afer a few years worth of Alternators releases fans have come to expect certain design level for the line. Generally the vehicle doors, hood and trunk all open and the front two tires move in tandem (through either pegs or magnets). However Ravage is the exception to this. His doors can open, but that's it. The hood does not open, nor does the trunk. This is primarily due to his design having to change into a beast mode rather than a robot. This is disappointing since part of the strength of the Alternators line are the vehicle modes.

Transformation to Robot mode:

  1. Flip the car over and swing out the rocket boosters to the sides.
  2. Open the doors and swing them down and then up, aligning them with the front end of the car.
  3. Swing down the paws in the middle.
  4. Swing down the chairs.
  5. Pull the front side sections out to the side and lift up the hood.
  6. Swing the front paws/arms forward and then straighten them out.
  7. Rotate the hood piece around and swing it back.
  8. Swing the rear sides of the vehicle out and then swing them down.
  9. Straighten out the legs and point the paws forward.
  10. Rotate the missiles so they point forward.
  11. Lift the back window section and swing down the rear bumper piece.
  12. Swing out the tail.
  13. Rotate the bumper piece down and swing the rear window piece back down.
  14. Swing down the middle sections with the vehicle seats on them.
  15. Behind the middle sections with the seats are two curved sections, swing those down and connect them together.

Beast Mode:
There are quite a few limitations on making a beast mode out of a vehicle mode. In a sense because the form is positioned horizontally, there really is no "back" to hide car parts as many of the Alternators have. Because of that there are a fair bit of car parts in plain view including the car hood, the wheels on the back legs and the rear window on his back. However, this does not keep him from looking cool in this form.

The head sculpt harkens back to the G1 form. While he does represent a jaguar, it is a mechanical approximation of one. The head has very sleek lines. From the nose going back it angles backwards, even his ears sweep back. The cheeks extend out a bit giving his head somewhat of a V shape. This is connected to a neck piece that is broken up into two sections in the sculpt. His two front arms are made up of car parts on the upper legs, but the lower legs are all robotic looking. The lower legs have about three layers of details, both horizontal and vertical. On the front of the lower legs are sculpted pistons, hinting at his ability to pounce at his enemy as he was often shown doing in the past. Despite having the tires on the upper part of these legs, the doors from the car cover up those tires, looking like armor plating.

The rear legs don't hide the car parts, but they do have very intricately detailed rockets. These rockets are a direct design cue taken from the original Ravage, who had two side mounted rocket launchers. The tail at the rear section has several nicely sculpted details running across and along the tail.

There are a lot of small details on this figure that would be really easy to miss if you did not look for them. On the inner sides of the front, upper legs are lots of sculpted details including tubes and cured overlapping plates. On the inside of the rear, upper legs are circular details with four vertical lines in them that are reminscent of the tape drums on the original Ravage figure.

Silver makes an appearance again on Ravage's claws and teeth. Purple color reveals itself on his head and on his neck is a purple and silver Decepticon symbol. The rockets on his hips are vacuum metallized silver with purple thrusters on the back and red tips. It is interesting to note that the red tips of the rockets did not appear on the original Ravage figure, but they did appear on his package art - showing someone did their homework when working up his deco. The rockets would have looked awfully plain without the red.

Ravage has twenty points of articulation - hardly unexpected for an Alternators figure but they are fairly different than the other Transformers in the line. Much of his posability is focused in the legs, which have at least three points of articulation each. His jaw can open and close and his head is connected to the neck via a ball joint and the neck itself connects to the main body on another. I like the touch of having an articulated tail as well.

Final Thoughts:
While I do make comparisons between previous Alternators and Ravage, I also allow for the fact that in many ways he is the first of his kind - an experimental Transformers figure if you will. He's not perfect, and perhaps if he had gone through a couple more iterations of planning more could have been done, but he still is a gorgeous car that transforms into a cool looking robot with play value that also pays homage to his G1 roots. Recommended.

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