The Reverend's review of: Scourge
First Cartoon Appearance:
Transformers: The Movie
"Desolation follows in my trail."
Scourge is a fearsome, merciless and implacable hunter. Created from Decepticon wreckage, he leads "The Sweeps", a wolf pack of tracker-terminators designed to hunt down and eradicate Autobots. Scourge possesses powerful high-tech scanning squipment and a disintegrator ray that can cut through solid rock. In robot mode, he carries a laser blaster that shoots short bursts of intense heat. Scourge's only weakness is his arrogance.
It is the year 1986. The Transformers' designers have given up all hope of their creations actually being "more than meets the eye" and being at least somewhat indistinguishable from the toy cars and jets on your bookshelf.
So what exactly IS Scourge's alternate mode? Well, the instruction booklet calls it a "hovercraft", and the configuration does look a lot closer to a hovercraft than, say, the hindquarters of your aunt's Lhasa Apso. Hovercraft though it may resemble, essentially this is a futuristic, high-tech vehicle built for seek-and-destroy missions. (The hindquarters of your aunt's Lhasa Apso, while often being the more presentable end of the dog, do not serve quite as interesting a function.) The comic profile called it a "scouring vehicle", which also suits his described role.
SO. In keeping with the concept, this futuristic hovercraft is sleek and sexy, with a smooth, light blue-grey hull curving to a blunt nose at the front and a darker blue middle section (also with pleasing curves). The light hull features a few bits of detailing, namely some delicate etching towards its rear and a raised, low-profile forward vent on either side. A sticker towards the front on each side appears to reveal some sort of piston-like workings, and a rubsign is present near the rear of the vehicle on one sign, pressed into a nice little indention. The darker blue middle section features a large Decepticon symbol and rises just behind it, providing a nice transition to the rear of the vehicle where three turbine-like protuberances sit high above a rectangular rear-mounted engine or exhaust port. There's a stickered vent making the front of the center device. The "turbine" at rear center is blue, unlike its smaller blue-grey comrades on either side, and this is named by the booklet as the "disintegrator ray" mentioned in the tech specs. The disintegrator is removable if you wish. All three turbines feature red circular stickers at their front, and the smaller ones on either side sit atop well-molded support struts with nice little vents at their bases. There are three very small wheels mounted to the bottom of the vehicle, so you can roll it a bit without scratching the hull.
Now, once you get over this mode's rather non-everyday appearance, there's something really cool about it as opposed to a number of G1 Transformers. When you view it from the top, sides, front or back... NO KIBBLE! That's right. Scourge's humanoid body is not at all visible. It's encased entirely inside the hull from the neck down, and while his head serves as the center strut for the disintegrator ray, you can't see his face due to the hinged plate bearing the vent decal for the front of that strut. The only hint you get is looking at it from the bottom, where a gap permits viewing of his upper legs. In other words, if suspension of disbelief doesn't come well to you, you're really going to love Scourge's vehicle mode.
So there's a robot in there, you say? Pull on the front of the hovercraft and split the bow in half slightly. Then rotate the two halves 90 degrees so that the hull sides are facing up. Split the rest of the hovercraft's hull, fold the rear engine/vent down, and swing the larger portion (middle and rear) of the hull back into place. These are Scourge's wings (more on those in a minute) and you can now see his torso. Fold the front hull sections downward now to reveal his shins and swing the blue feet into position to stabilize them (the hull sections are somewhat heavy and will give in to gravity if you don't). Push the disintegrator section back and up to reveal Scourge's face and close the face's cover against his chest. Oh yeah, and give him his blue gun. Only the minibots ran around with no guns, and you see what that got them - an awful caption in the product catalog about "messengers with meaning".
Scourge's robot mode is very, very blue, being largely dark blue all over with highlights of the same grey-blue that featured in his alternate mode. His face is amazingly well-molded for G1, featuring a scowling brow, red eyes, a hooked nose, a long molded "mustache" and goatee, and a mouth frozen in an open state that looks like he's in the middle of an argument (maybe he took offense to being compared to the Lhasa Apso's hindquarters). His torso is nice looking, with some more etched lines in his stomach, a yellow stickered "belt buckle", and some beveling around his chest plate. His forearms are sculpted as if he's wearing armored gauntlets and his shoulders have a "rotating joint" pattern on them, which adds overall to driving home that this is, indeed, a robot. As cool as he looks, though, there's one thing that may bother some folks - his chest doesn't flare at the shoulders at all, and his arms are oddly thin for his brickish torso, giving him a physically weak appearance. Its hard to imagine Scourge coming out on top in a fistfight. Look to his buddy Cyclonus (with his great big blocky fists) for the brawling games.
And yes, he has wings. Now, in both his comic and cartoon depictions, Scourge tended to have giant bat-like wings projecting out of his back. In the toy, since the wings make up a sizeable portion of his outer hull, this is not the case. Viewed from behind, the wings look more like long, twin backpacks. The two small "turbines" from his vehicle mode jut out on either side, and the top portion of the hovercraft wraps around near his hips on either side. Don't get me wrong - Scourge still looks menacing with these wings. It's just not the same artistic-license version.
As far as articulation, here's where G1 definitely kicks in again. Scourge can move at the shoulders and elbows. Somewhat at the knees. That's all you get.
7 - You know what? I actually enjoy transforming Scourge. The way his body is hidden within that hovercraft hull is just cool. Very cool. But be careful. Because the hull parts fit flush to each other all the way around the vehicle, you have to rotate them into place around each other during transformation, and too much hamhandedness can mar them.
4 - Feels fragile to me. The joint where the legs join to the torso seems especially easy to break. Be careful in robot mode, although the vehicle mode seems nice and sturdy.
7 - Not too large or small to be unrealistic, imposing enough in appearance to make a great Decepticon. His poseability is limited, I suppose, although I've always been of the school that says if you want tumbling, twisting, pro-wrestling-esque poses, you really should be collecting GI Joe instead of Transformers.
Bought mine for $35, Ebay.
A great villain for G1, especially if you find their incarnation of Galvatron unsatisfying, and a great rank-and-file baddie if you're using Energon Galvatron instead.