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Zeeks' review: Mixmaster

Name: Mixmaster
Function: Decepticon Chemist/Explosives Expert
Sub-Group: Constructicons

Resident chemist and explosives expert for the elite among the DECEPTICONS, MIXMASTER has spent his entire life learning all there is to know about chemical interaction. He can make thousands of poisons, explosives and deadly gases from the materials around him. The other DECEPTICONS rely on him to fashion powerful warheads for their missiles, and dangerous venoms in which to coat their blades.

Man, am I getting old. Reason? The first thing I thought when doing the transformation of Mixmaster for the first time is “This ain’t your daddy’s transformer.” And it most certainly is not, which is the reason I love it.

Out of all the toys for the new movie, this guy struck me the most appealing, especially since I was a huge fan of the Constructicons back during the G1 heyday. Mixmaster was always portrayed as a bit of a nervous chap; eager for a lead to give him orders. He was also a leg on the original Devastator as well, but things have been changed around a bit in the Michael Bay era, and it was such a welcomed change after the disaster that was Transformers Animated (not a huge fan of that series). Apparently, Bay utilized two versions of Mixmaster in Revenge of the Fallen- one as a stand-alone robot, and a truck version only as a Devastator configuration piece. Mixmaster also appeals to me on the basis of what his alternate mode is: a cement mixer. I love all types of construction vehicles- tractors, dump trailers, and big rig trucks like cement mixers, especially those made by Mack.

Specifically for this version, Mixmaster was very much an extra in the movie, as he played no real significant part other than “being there” fighting. His most memorable scene was in the last act of the battle, as he changed into (what Hasbro defines as) a triple changing “battle mode”. I take a bit of issue with that phrase, as this third mode does not merit the title, but more on that later.

Alternate Mode One: Cement Mixer

First up is the Cement mixer mode, which really is just great in 99% of the overall scheme. Colored in a dark gray for the cab, the detail is amazing- the hood indents, light fixtures, front grill, and wheel hubs are dead on. The purple tinted clear plastic is also very cool as it plays a nice juxtaposition to the grays throughout the body. The roof of the cab has a nice overhang, which, if you have ever hand polished a Mack Mixer as I have, you tend to appreciate the various parts, even the pseudo light fixtures on the overhang. The diesel tanks are marked with the appropriate warning strips for fuel, as well as the steps to get up in the cab. Half of my 1% gripe has to do with the coloring of the fuel tanks, mirrors, and smokestacks- definitely should have been a silver finish or chrome-plated plastic. The other half of the gripe has to do with the mixer itself- it doesn’t have the rotating feature, but the reasoning for that becomes quite clear when transforming into robot mode. I like the “quietness” of the Decepticon insignia on the hood, and then the “loudness” of the huge version on the mixer, although in the movie, the insignia was vertical, not horizontal as is on the toy. The mixer insignia also bears the distinctiveness of having the only other purple color in the whole color scheme- not overused, which is very pleasing to the eye.

Other cool details include the cement chute, which is completely movable and bendable in regards to transformation, and a ladder, which IMO should have been either silver colored or chrome as well as the aforementioned parts on the cab. The other thing that really stood out for me on this was the wheels- another part of my work history was de-mounting wheels and sanding/painting the rims to the point where they looked like they just came off the assembly line, and what color did I use? A silver chrome/gray color scheme, which is what my friend Mixmaster here boasts as well. Surprisingly, for a transformer where the wheels can easily be disturbed in alignment, the general direction remains straight, so rolling him on the kitchen floor won't result in him veering sideways into the refrigerator.

Alternate Mode Two: “Battle Mode”

Expounding upon my initial take on this “triple changer” title, I think it’s a bit misleading inasmuch as this “battle mode” is nothing more than Mixmaster lying on his stomach with his arms and legs in the air ala Regan in the Exorcist. If you think about what the true triple changers have been throughout the course of the Transformers legacy, the third modes were very well defined visually- Blitzwing was a robot, a PLANE, and a TANK. This battle mode is not “a BATTLE MODE”- It is just a fancy description for Mixmaster laying down on the job. When I purchased Mixmaster, I noticed that he is not the only character to bear this triple changing mode- I saw it being taunted on Soundwave’s packaging as well, but I also felt Soundwave was worthy of the title- he changed into a robot, a SATELLITE, and a SPACE SHIP. Proactive nouns, people. Gotta love them. The only redeeming part of this “battle mode” is the rocket launcher, which will definitely take your eye out if you are not careful, because, yes, I almost did it. To myself.

Robot Mode:

Now here are where things get very interesting. I’m not going to hide the fact that I was confused as hell trying to transform Mixmaster from truck to robot mode. I spent the better half of watching The Manchurian Candidate (the one with Denzel) trying to get this thing into some semblance of what was pictured on the back of the box. The very first thing I noticed was the “ape arms” as I tend to call them- something was has been very prominent in Michael Bay’s redesigning of the Transformers overall. The 2007 Bonecrusher had this feature as well- the arms are incredibly long with very lengthy fingers that umbrella the entire robot scheme, providing a cocoon for the body and legs. I was a bit displeased to find that the right arm shoulder joint had a stress crack in it before I even barely touched it. A bit of shoddiness in the manufacturing realm of things. The arms themselves are also incredibly thin, and finding the right placement for the mixer quarters (two per arm) is a bit of a hassle since they have a tendency to pop off without much force (but can be easily put back on). With the rear wheel sections, they are also a bit weighty.

One thing I noticed, again in the overall Michael Bay scheme of things, is that quite a few of the Decepticons have very similar facial features, which makes it hard to distinguish each character. Mixmaster is no exception- he could easily be confused with Bonecrusher, Soundwave, or any of the other ‘cons that bear no visible lips. That’s not to say I don’t like this redesign- in fact, I like it very much, but there needs to be more distinguishable features to differentiate each character. The missile launcher and fuel tanks make a nice “backpack” of sorts for Mixmaster, adding coolness points to the overall scheme.

On the packaging, there is this feature called “Mech Alive” in regards to the torso. Hate to disappoint, but there is nothing “alive” anywhere on this toy aside from the rocket launcher. The advertisement specifically points to the dark purple chest plates, but there is nothing moving there. They are stationary and remain that way regardless of what mode Mixmaster is in. The abdomen area tends to be bulky as well, with no real separation of the hips from the abdomen. Part of the bulkiness has to do with the placement of the cab hood, which just bends underneath between the legs to wrap around vertically in an awkward placement on the back. If one were to look at the bot’s sideways profile, you would immediately notice this.

Now, the legs are odd to describe because it really depends on what your end result is when getting Mixmaster into robot mode. I have seen 3 variations on the placement of the legs, specifically the hip joints, in regards to the overall scheme-, the back of the packaging, and an independent transformation online. If going by the box, leg placement results in a hunchback of sorts with very short legs, and makes the arms look even bigger. If going by, you have a leaner robot- much taller, and IMO, quite attractive aesthetically. Then there was the independent chap who had it somewhere in the middle. Out of the three, I prefer the definition, and it makes more sense from the movie point of view as well, since (even in a very limited screentime) Mixmaster didn’t appear as a hunchback.

So overall, am I pleased? I would say yes, even given the slight buggers I have pointed out. Going back to my original statement about your “daddy’s transformer,” I appreciate the way that the whole toy line has evolved over the years, even with slight evolutionary setbacks such as the Animated series. Core characters have basically remained the same, yet have been re-imagined visually, which is the case for Mixmaster. I like this guy as much as that small brick bot from the 80’s.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 10- for me, this was quite difficult. And then the ensuing argument with my girlfriend over transforming him BACK to the Mixer Truck didn’t help much either. Definitely not your 80’s transformer.
Durability: 6- things pop off easily, especially the mixer quarters, and I was not thrilled with the right shoulder stress crack that was there before I even took him out of the box.
Fun: 8- If you were to have an all out war between the ‘Cons and ‘Bots, a child playing with Mixmaster could have some good times, especially with that rocket launcher.
Price: 3- All the voyager class robots are around $22, and that is what I paid at WalMart.
Overall: 8- I enjoy Mixmaster because I love construction equipment. Another person might like race cars better, so it’s really a case of “eye of the beholder.” If you want to get your Decepticon Faction all together, then grab him.
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