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Series: TFC Toys
Allegiance: Decepticon
Year: 2011

Prelude: Legal stuff first, as always. Exgraver is not an official Transformers product from Hasbro or Takara-Tomy, he hails from third party provider TFC Toys. He’s clearly meant to be an updated version of G1 Scavenger, but for legal reasons he can’t be called by that name.

Robot Mode: As usual, let’s start with the resemblance this Not-Constructicon has to its predecessor, in this case Scavenger. Simply put, there is some resemblance here, but it’s not that great. Both robots have the crawler tracks of their vehicle mode as legs and a smiliar-looking head, but while Exgraver’s upper body contains some minor elements that resemble the torso of Scavenger, it’s barely more than a hint. Both robots have the shovel of their alternate mode on their back, too, though in Exgraver’s case the shovel can be unplugged and placed on either arm, too.

In terms of detailing and articulation there is little to complain about here. Exgraver can move very nicely. He has a twisting hip, his head’s on a ball joint, only his relatively small feet restrict the number of dynamic poses he can pull off somewhat. The detailing is done pretty well and there is ample room for a big Decepticon sticker right there on his chest. Exgraver comes with two weapons, one purple, one translucent red, which he can hold in hand, attach to his forearms, or place behind his shoulders.

Biggest weakness of the robot mode: Exgraver has no good way of storing the big Hercules hand on his body. It just hangs off his back. Okay, you can simply leave it off and imagine it vanished into subspace, but generally I like all parts to be integrated in each mode, so Exgraver falls a bit short here. Also, the plug-in cockpit / driver cabin of the alternate mode needs to go somewhere. You can put it on one of the arms or on the back, but the latter interferes with the fist and the shovel (if you want to place it there, too). So bottom line: a good robot mode with no real flaws except for the big hand thing.

Alternate Mode: Exgraver transforms into an excavator, as one might have guessed from the name. Positive mention right at the start: while you can still see the big Hercules hand on the rear of the vehicle, it’s integrated far better here than in robot mode. If you don’t know it’s a big hand, you won’t necessarily notice.

Hand storage aside, it’s an excavator. It’s clearly recognizable for what it is, no problem. You can see the robot mode fists on either side up front, but that’s not a deal breaker and one of them can be hidden by plugging in the driver’s cabin. Alternatively the driver’s cabin can be put on the rear, either in the centre or on either side. Same goes for Exgraver’s weapons. Minor thing: Exgraver has no holes on the sides for the weapons to go in, so unlike most other TFC members, he can’t simulate upwards-pointing smoke stacks with his guns. The shovel can turn and move up and down a bit, so no complaint here, either. All in all a good vehicle mode. Not spectacular, but nothing bad here, either.

Combiner Mode: Exgraver becomes the right arm of the Hercules combiner, for whom I’ll do a separate review here on TFU.

Remarks: Scavenger possibly rivals Long Haul for the role of Constructicon water boy, but unlike the grumpy transport guy, he was always eager to please, hoping to gain the appreciation of his peers. And like most Constructicons (except Long Haul) he appeared to be team leader at least once. During the Constructicons’ initial appearance in the Marvel comics, Shockwave gave the team’s marching orders to him, so he could brief the rest of the guys. Seeing as he was never portrayed as leader again after that, he can’t have done too good a job.

Exgraver was the first of the TFC Not-Constructicons to be released, so he was the guy most people judged the whole Hercules project by initially. I must admit that I wasn’t too impressed by the first pictures and the added factor of the high price made me hesitate a long, long time before I got into this set. Exgraver certainly isn’t the best of the TFC team and certainly wouldn’t be worth his price as a stand-alone figure, but as part of the team, he’s okay. He’s the second-worst of the entire team in my eyes (Neckbreaker takes that particular trophy), but you need him as part of the whole. If he were a normal Voyager-class figure at normal price, I’d call him a good average, but no more than that.

Rating: C+
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