Release Date: May 2016
Price Point: $297 (for the Transformers Subscription Service 4.0 with a total of seven figures)
Retailer: Fun Publications Exclusive
Accessories: Hand/Foot/Weapon; Axe
In 2016 Fun Publications began to ship the action figures for the "Transformers Subscription Service 4.0". The theme of this series of figures was a new Combiner known as "Thunder Mayhem". Comprised of five G1 Decepticons, this series focused on Transformers introduced in the latter half of "Generation One". The second release for this series shipped very quickly after folks received the first figure, Needlenose. The name "Grabuge" is a new English name in place of the G1 name for this character: Ruckus. Technically this is Ruckus' French-Canadian name from G1, but now it's his English name too. Originally part of the team known as the Triggercons, this new version of the character is part of a Combiner instead.
This figure is based on the sculpt originally used for the new Stunticon team member Offroad. The sculpt would later go on to be modified and relased as Protectobot First Aid. More recently the figure has been retooled and given a new deco as Ironhide, Trailbreaker and the Breakdown included with the "Grand Galvatron" set in Japan. You'll definitely want to check out my Offroad review to get detailed context on this redeco. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
Grabuge comes inside a cardboard box with a foam tray inside. The instructions and tech specs are inside a plastic bag underneath the foam. The figure is stored in vehicle mode with the accessories laid out around it. The box has three stickers holding the flaps together with "TFSS 4.0 2" on it.
Grabuge includes the same accessories as all previous incarnations of this sculpt. The hand/foot/weapon piece is the same one, with a design that resembles the engine of a vehicle. This piece is cast in blue with the thumb hinge cast in dark blue. The axe is cast in blue as well. There are no paint applications on either accessory.
When you talk about premium decos, this is one of the figures that should come to mind. In order to replicate the deco of the original G1 Ruckus, Fun Publications really went all out on this figure, giving it more deco than I think any version of this sculpt has had thus far.
This mode mostly shows off purple and black plastic. Purple makes up most of the figure from the front all the way to the back. Black is used for the wheels. However these base colors are only the beginning of this deco.
Mirroring the G1 Ruckus figure, the front portion of the vehicle is purple, as are details along the sides and the outer part of the truck bed. However the middle, doors and the truck bed itself are all painted beige, calling back to the same sections on Ruckus. A bit of beige is also used on the front of the vehicle, which helps break up the purple color. That's a lot of paint just for one set of details, but things don't stop there. The windows and the sides of the wheels are all painted silver, another detail inspired by the G1 figure. Silver is also used for the front grille and headlights. Then, in an effort to recreate a design from stickers on Ruckus, Grabuge has teal and silver designs running along the sides of the vehicle. But wait, there's more! The front hood has a two tampographs that look like springs. These details are printed in purple, black, yellow and silver with a white border. This pays homage to a very similar set of stickers on Ruckus. Rounding out all these details is a Decepticon symbol in purple with a white border on top of the air intake on the hood.
The deco on this figure is absolutely gorgeous. Fun Publications really knocked it out of the park. For G1 fans this figure is instantly recognizable as based on the G1 Ruckus toy and just in terms of the amount of deco a ton of effort clearly went into this figure. All the colors pop very well and the only deco point I could find "missing" are the rear lights, but that's a minor quibble.
Both accessories still attach to the figure without a problem. I was slightly worried that the hand/foot/weapon piece would scrape paint off when you attach it to the truck bed, but I've done it a few times and so far there's been no issue.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
- Flip the figure over and swing the front of the robot legs forward.
- Pull the back of the robot legs back.
- Swing the halves of the lower legs down and connect them together.
- Swing the front of the vehicle back.
- Swing the sides out and up at the shoulder joints, then straighten out the arms.
- Swing the front of the vehicle against the back.
- The weapons can be fit into each fist or attached to the forearms.
This mode mostly features purple plastic, but it does introduce some beige parts in the center of the torso and the hip/waist area. Beige was one of the main colors on G1 Ruckus so this color makes perfect sense to include into the mix.
Like the vehicle mode, a lot of the parts of this mode are made up by purple so paint is used to bring this figure's deco closer to G1 Ruckus' appearance. Beige paint is used on the torso while silver and blue are used on the hip area. The face is painted yellow with red eyes. The legs feature silver details with yellow and purple laid on top. The finishing touch is a tampographed Decepticon symbol on the left side of the chest. All this deco is based directly off of details on G1 Ruckus and they look amazing. I'm especially happy about the details on the hip/waist area and the legs. They're intricate and really pop against the beige and purple plastic.
Unfortunately, constant reuse of this base sculpt is beginning to show wear and tear. The ball joints on the shoulders and hips along with the knee joints feel significantly more loose than those on the other figures I have based on this sculpt. He's not floppy by any means, but he's nowhere near as solid feeling as it could.
Transformation to Arm Mode (Starting in vehicle mode):
- Detach all weapons.
- Swing the front and rear halves of the legs out, then down and connect them together to form the forearm.
- Swing the arms out then swing the forearms back.
- Swing the front of the vehicle back, swing the hinge up then forward.
- Attach the hand piece to the bottom of the feet.
Grabuge's colors are really unique among the various Combiner Wars figures. The purple also screams "Decepticon". He contrasts more than he blends in with other Combiner Wars figures, but he looks good.
Unfortunately due to the (relatively) loose parts Grabuge can't really hold up heavy weapons in this form. He can hold lighter weapons without a problem however.
The ratchet joint on the Combiner connection piece is nice and strong. However because the ball joints on the hips are not very tight he can't really hold heavy weapons up.
Transformation to Leg mode (Starting in vehicle mode):
- Detach all the accessories.
- Swing the front of the vehicle back, then up.
- Attach the foot piece to the bottom of the robot feet.
- Swing the Combiner connection piece in the torso up.
Thanks to the design of the vehicle mode, this mode is really solid and my preferred limb mode for this figure. The foot piece attaches nice and tight and the ratchet joint on the knee works great.
Like Needlenose Fun Publications did an amazing job bringing a G1 character into "Combiner Wars". This is also a fantastic redeco that really brings this sculpt back to what it was always meant to be. My only issue is with the relatively loose parts (hence the figure not getting a perfect score).