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Series: TFC Toys
Allegiance: Decepticon
Categories: Combiner
Year: 2012

Prelude: Legal stuff first, as always. Hercules 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 Devastator, but for legal reasons he can’t be called by that name. Also, many thanks to my loving wife, my father, and my in-laws, who pooled resources to gift me the TFC team members for my birthday and thus made this review here possible. Thank you all.

Components: Hercules is the combined form of the TFC Not-Constructicons, each of whom I have already reviewed individually here at TFU. 

Combined Mode: Okay, here we go. First off, Hercules combines in pretty much the exact same way Devastator does. All the various team members serve the same functions and with some minor exceptions transform in a very similar way to become the body parts. Dr. Crank becomes the head and shoulders, Heavy Labor becomes the lower body and hip, Structor and Madblender form the legs, while Exgraver and Neckbreaker become the arms. Notable differences to Devastator are the way the lower arms are formed (from the actual robots instead of simple attachments) and that the thighs are part of Heavy Labor instead of a static extra part.

There are more differences than the assembly, of course. For one thing Hercules is a good deal bigger, being assembled from Voyager-sized figures instead of Scout-sized ones. Also, Hercules is actually able to pose. Sure, Devastator could move his arms a bit, but he was a statue otherwise (as well as prone to falling apart). Hercules is both solidly connected and possibly the most agile combiner robot I’ve yet seen. He’s on a par with Fansproject’s Crossfire sets, yet a good deal bigger. He’s as articulated as you’d expect from a good Supreme-class figure like Primus, for example, right down to individually moving fingers, twisting wrists and a ball-jointed head. The big feet formed by Structor and Madblender also give him a fairly firm stand, so he can easily balance in most poses. Also, despite obviously being assembled from a number of different vehicles, Hercules manages a mostly harmonious look, the combined humanoid form looking far more organic and wholesome than G1 Devastator ever managed.

Next up, weapons. Each component robot of Hercules comes with two weapons and these can either be mounted on various points all over Hercules’ body or be combined into two big weapons consisting of six smaller weapons each. It’s meant to be one all-purple and one all-red weapon, of course, but the parts are interchangeable, so you can mix and match if you want. The finished weapons look pretty nifty and do bear some resemblance to the original Devastator’s big rifle, so thumbs up here. Hercules can holster the weapons on his back by attaching them to the sides of Heavy Labor’s loading bed.

Additionally Hercules can wield the big crane arm of Dr. Crank as a weapon, either as a sort of club or extending it into a big spear. Flipping out the purple guns of the crane even gives it a double tip of sorts. Alternatively you can leave the crane on his shoulder and just flip out the guns, thereby giving Hercules two shoulder-mounted cannons. Finally it is possible to remove Madblender’s mixing drum and split it up into its weapon components, which can then be attached to various points of Hercules. Problem is the left leg looks frail without the mixing drum, so I’d advise leaving it there. Hercules has enough firepower as it is.

One final piece I should mention that comes with Hercules, a visor for his head. Seeing as Devastator had two distinct animation models for his head in the cartoon (sometimes within the same episode) - once with eyes, once with visor - this extra piece allows you to decide for yourself which look you want.

So the bottom line here is quite simple: as far as combining robots go, Hercules here has set a new standard. There’s nothing I can think of that would improve it any further. Two thumbs up.

Remarks: There have been combining robots in Japan for as long as anyone can remember (you can probably find cave paintings of Megazords somewhere over there), but Devastator will forever be the first combining Transformer. Debuting in the season finale of the first season of the original Transformers cartoon, the Constructicons first combined to kick Dinobot butt and became a constant threat to the Autobots for pretty much the rest of the cartoon’s run. Devastator’s role in the comic books was somewhat less epic, as he was very quickly eclipsed by the later combiners, but during his debut he still kicked Autobots around with gusto. So whenever anyone is talking about combining Transformers, Devastator is usually the first name mentioned.

While Hercules is not legally allowed to carry that name, he clearly and evidently is by far the best incarnation of that original Transformers gestalt robot. Now that position might soon be challenged by the MakeToys Giant, but for now and for me: Hercules is Devastator incarnate and a perfect centerpiece for every Classic Decepticon collection. While the individual team members might vary somewhat in terms of quality and play value, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the combined product. Except, of course, the price tag. That’s the only reason I’m not giving this guy a perfect rating, by the way, and the only conceivable reason not to get him. Finances aside, he’s a must have. ‘Nuff said!

Rating: A

Bonus: If TFC Toys wants to release repaints of Hercules, I've added some ideas to the gallery, inspired by Defensor, G2 Devastator, and Hello Kitty.
Toy DB Link

Picture Gallery:

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