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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Blackjack's Review: Crowbar

Name: Crowbar
Allegiance: Decepticon
Size Class: Cyberverse Legion Class (Legends Class)

Crowbar is one of the three Dreads introduced in the third live-action movie. Unlike Revenge of the Fallen, which seemed to be quite in a hurry to introduce a whole bunch of new Decepticons (most of which do nothing), Dark of the Moon introduces only five new named Decepticons, plus Driller, which is a large contrast to twelve-plus new Decepticons in ROTF. Of course, there are buttloads of other generics which would undoubtedly be turned into toys at some point, but let's not go there.

A bit of spoilers for those who haven't watched Dark of the Moon yet, so if you haven't, skip straight to the alternate mode section.

All people who want to avoid spoilers have scrolled down? Good. Now the Dread trio appeared during the chase sequence. All three Dreads (Crankcase, Crowbar and Hatchet) turn into Chevrolet Suburban SUVs, but turn into different looking robots. Hatchet turns into a dog, while Crankcase and Crowbar both turn into wicked-looking robots based on the titular alien from the Predator franchise. Hence, the dreadlocks. Crowbar is the one with the long whip-like dreadlocks that fly all around him, while Crankcase is the one with lots of spiky kibble and shorter dreadlocks that don't look like whips.

During the car chase Crowbar was the first Dread to transform, and he was the one responsible for reaching into Simmons' car, grabbing the poor sod and tossing him away. Crowbar tore down a massive signpost to allow his fellow Dreads to transform and engaged Bumblebee, Sideswipe and Dino in a crazy street fight before finally being rammed by Ironhide in the oft-repeated crash sequence in the trailers. Crankcase, Crowbar, Ironhide and Sideswipe engaged in a Mexican standoff, each holding two guns, before the Dreads drop their guns, pull out wicked Predator spear-rod things from their back and lob them at the Autobots. Crowbar's spear wounded Ironhide's chest, but as he leapt towards the Autobots, Sideswipe kicked one of the guns to Ironhide, who shot Crowbar in the face and killed him.

Now of course, while fans would lap it up eagerly having three identical-looking cars in the Deluxe class with similar looking robots, all black to boot, wouldn't sell very well. From the looks of it, Crankcase seems to be quite the shelfwarmer, let alone three of him! But the Legion class (the new name for our beloved Legends class) are more than accommodating for more new molds. As part of the 'Cyberverse', Legends and Scout class toys are now meant to interact with playsets each other, while the Deluxe class and larger have their own toyline. I think this is a great idea. While I'm not a fan of playsets and stuff, the fact that Hasbro is putting more thought into playability and scale warms my heart.

It doesn't solve all problems, though; Crowbar trades in his Chevy Suburban alternate mode for a Carbon Motors E7. However, unlike his Hatchet's radical change into a jet, Crowbar's altmode looks similar enough to the Chevy Suburban at a glance to be more or less... serviceable.

How is he as a toy, though?

Alternate Mode:
As mentioned, Crowbar transforms into a. Carbon Motors E7 police car, albeit without the police decals or anything that would cause someone to mistake him for a police car. Have to keep Barricade unique, after all.

Crowbar is almost entirely black, windows and all. The only hints of colour are the silver on the headlights and front grille, the silver pins that hold the wheels, the Decepticon emblem, again, silver, on the right side of the roof, red brake-lights, and, most amusingly, one of the front end of the side mirrors is painted red and the other blue, a relic of when the E7 was still a police car. Well, it does look like a completely black, lightbar-less police car, so what can I say?

Crowbar is all sharp edges, making him look pretty darned powerful. He is a relatively kibble-free alternate mode, with only the shoulder ball joints on the sides showing that he's not just a car. And even then Crowbar's paintjob is entirely black so it's hard to pick it out.

Not a Chevrolet Suburban, but subjectively a rather well-done alternate mode, if very plain... which is realistic, really. With the Autobots in the movieverse happy to hack you up, you wouldn't want to stand out, would you?

Robot Mode:
Crowbar's transformation is pretty mundane and not really interesting. Crowbar ends up a very lanky robot, easily a head taller than most of the Legends class figure I have on display. If you consider his sticking-up shoulders, he's even taller. Crowbar's still mainly black, but he gains new colours here. Keeping with the motifs employed by his fellow Dreads Hatchet and Crankcase, Crowbar sprouts more gold colours, mostly on his upper arms and his skeletal, insectoid abdomen. His head crest is silver and his four beady eyes are red.

Now Crowbar and Crankcase are based on the Predator. The final Crankcase design focuses more on sharp edges, keeping the dreadlocks bunched up near his head. Crowbar, meanwhile, has distinctive whip-like dreadlocks that are nearly as long as he is tall. This distinctive feature is one of those things, like Shockwave's singular eye or Optimus' window chests or Bumblebee being yellow, that would not feel right if it's not present. And indeed, any indication of the dreadlocks present are just random molds on the sides of his head, not visible at all from a distance. I understand it is difficult to replicate on a Legends Class scale, but it robs Crowbar of his individuality. For all I care Hasbro could've slapped an Armada Minicon name on him, like, say, 'Zapmaster' or something and no one would've batted an eyebrow.

In fact, the only thing that says he's Crowbar, that says he's a Dread at all, is his head design, with jaws, mandibles, and four beady eyes... but the portruding lower teeth aren't painted despite the lower jaw being painted silver. The end result really makes Crow look like just another Barricade toy, albeit with longer arms that also jut upwards.

It's by no means a terrible toy; Crowbar's got pretty decent articulation. His shoulders and thighs are on ball joints, and his knees and ankles are hinged by way of transformation. Yet he doesn't really feel like a member of the movie cast, unlike Legends toys of Brawl or Hatchet or Bonecrusher or Blackout. He looks more like one of those random new molds that Hasbro likes to sneak in among the guys that actually appear in the film.

Still, not all is lost. Crowbar's left hand is molded to interact with Cyberverse playsets. I don't have one (and am not planning to buy one, where am I going to put it?) but it may appeal to kids or those who like playsets. At best Crowbar would be just a troop builder, someone to fill your Decepticon ranks. You won't be seeing him as one of the badass Dreads, just another generic Decepticon. I mean, they changed his alternate mode, and made his robot mode virtually indistinguishable, so he really doesn't look like the Dread Crowbar anymore. I was hoping for a representative to round up my movieverse cast and was sorely disappointed. Objectively he's a decent Legends class figure, but I can't really heap praises on this guy on the grounds that I was severely underwhelmed.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 3/10 Dull and uninteresting, and puts the tips of the shoulder protrusions under undue stress. It's also a bit of a challenge unfurling him from vehicle mode.

Durability: 5/10 Pretty lanky, so might have some durability issues. But so far mine hasn't seem to break yet.

Articulation: 7/10 A wee bit over-average for a Legends toy due to the fact that he's got knees and ankle joints.

Aesthetics: 2/10 I wanted something looking like Crowbar, or at least Crankcase, but instead I get this uninspired, lazy toy. If he were a nameless toy he'd probably get a 5 or 6, but I'm just pissed that Hasbro gave it no effort to look like the Dreads.

Price/Value: 4/10 Standard fare for a Legends class.

Fun: 2/10 Fiddling around is a bit annoying, and he doesn't display really well beside Hatchet and Crankcase, looking like he doesn't belong with the three due to his altered design.

Overall: 5.5/10 Not a bad toy... if it wasn't supposed to represent a transformer with a distinctive design like Crowbar. It's standard Legends class fare, but I hate this toy for not looking at all like Crowbar in both modes. And since Hasbro isn't keen on making multiple deluxe class toys of a Chevy Suburban, this is the best representation of Crowbar we might ever get... and as a movie enthusiast, I'm sorely disappointed.
 
 
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