Skyquake87's Review: G1 Ruckus
“I take a licking and keep on kicking”
A rolling bucket of bolts, Ruckus always looks like he just lost a demolition derby. Willing to take big risks on the battlefield because he's in such a state of disrepair. A deadly, devastating warrior, he enjoys ramming his enemies and then running them over with his nail studded tyres. He also emits viscous oil slicks that send his enemies into a tailspin. In robot mode, he's armed with two heavy-duty rocket launchers that fire mercury tipped explosives.
An unassuming little fellow, Ruckus debuted in 1988's gimmick heavy line, which threw every possible Transformers concept into the mix to keep sales up. The big draws this year were the Powermasters and Pretenders, but in addition we also got more Combiners, Headmasters and also Double Targetmasters (why not double Headmasters?). Even the entry level 'pocket money' Transformers didn't escape the tide of gimmicks with this years Mini-bots (not so mini anymore) introducing the Triggerbots and Triggercons which featured push button flip out weapons. Although not as well represented in fiction as the Triggerbots, Ruckus did at least land a minor supporting role in the comics, first appearing in the Underbase Saga and went on to grab some further appearances serving under Matrix-obsessed Thunderwing.
I've been after Ruckus for a while now, and I don't know where the appeal has come from. Ruckus isn't particularly well remembered and his toy displays all the hallmarks of the era, making him a less than celebrated figure and about as desirable as a movie Bumblebee toy. Even so, there's something about this rough and ready brawler that I really like. Its probably the colours. Reading his bio, he seems a good fit for Motormaster's terror cell. So it is a bit of a shame he was passed over for Combiner Wars Stunticon duty in favour of Off Road. Given the flaws I found with the Off Road toy, perhaps its just as well. Nothing spoils a favourite character for me more than having a crappy toy. Isn't that right Staxx?
Ruckus has an interesting physique. He looks like a midget bodybuilder, all shoulders and fat head, with slender legs. It gives him a slightly stocky and odd looking appearance, like he's a bigger bot cramped into a smaller frame. I think if his head was a shade smaller he'd look a little better. Speaking of his head, why have the designers ruined a perfectly decent headsculpt by giving him this silly protruding chin? It looks dreadful, like his lower jaw has been broken and smashed up to fit on his torso. Either that or a silly beard. And I hate silly beards. His arms are perhaps a little shorter than they ought to be, but he's one of those strange toys that if they were a little more well proportioned, they'd just look odd. Ruckus rounds out his puffed up peacock look by rocking a pair of very fetching kinky boots. He looks simultaneously ridiculous and hard, so you wouldn't want to call him on it or he'd break your face. In addition to his perverse little frame, Ruckus is also rocking some righteous colours, looking like a cheescake with his mixture of deep purple and butterscotch, accented with that nightmareishly luminous face (hmm. Really does look like Off Road).
God knows what this is supposed to be. It looks like a cross between a beach buggy, a military jeep and those sort of roll cage stock cars you see at Demolition Derbies. Its simultaneously all of these things and none. It's a blocky funny car and it fits him very well, given his bio of being a bit of a mess. I can picture this thing being a sort of welded together hot-potch of parts, looking like some custom dune buggy on steroids. The weight is all in the rear end of this thing, but despite that rolls really well and is great to fling around the place. He feels very rough and ready. Doubly so when - with a dainty push of the button at the back - he can deploy his weapons for shooty attack mode fun.
Marks Out Of Ten For The Following :
Standard Mini-bot fare, despite the larger size. Legs flip around to form the front of the vehicle, arms are pinned by his sides. Job done. I'd like to say all the money's gone into the gimmick (probably true), but then Transformers of this size and era never really had much more going on. It's incredibly basic by today's standards, but its actually kind of nice to waste less than 30 seconds switching between modes. The only marked bit of complexity is remembering to rotate the guns back from the robot mode shoulders after you've finished transforming the rest of him. 5/10
Ruckus is a solid and beefy little fellow with lovely chunky colours. The worst that's likely to happen to him (aside from sticker wear and discolouration) is that the clockwork mechanism isn't quite what it could be after 28 years. 9/10
As with all Transformers of this era, there's just movement at the arms. I know! How did we cope in an age before Todd McFarlane brought action figures with 28 points of articulation to market? 5/10
Ruckus is tremendous fun. He's small, simple, looks great and has a fun gimmick – c'mon whats not to love about weapons popping out with the flip of a switch? It's like M.A.S.K but with less effort. He's a good, solid little toy and a lovely little infantry brawler to add to your Decepticon army. 10/10
As one of the lesser lights of the late 1980s, Ruckus can be found fairly cheaply, with a loose example in decent condition costing around a fiver (which isn't so far off his original RRP). If you wanted to take a chance on a carded vintage example, you should be looking around £15 - £20. And waay more than that if you're into that AFA shizzle. 10/10
Its easy to sneer at Transformers from this era as they are much less refined than the borrowed Diaclone and Micro Change toys from just a few years previous. There's also the heavy reliance on gimmickry in the play pattern, with Transforming between one mode and another felt to be less of a novelty than it once was, but that does Ruckus a bit of a disservice. He's a great little figure, he's chunky, pleasing to handle and fun to play with. The robot mode is charming and there's very little to dislike once you've got him in hand. 8/10