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DR. CRANK

Series: TFC Toys
Allegiance: Decepticon
Year: 2011



Prelude: Legal stuff first, as always. Dr. Crank is not an official Transformers product from Hasbro or Takara-Tomy, he hails from third party provider TFC Toys. Heís clearly meant to be an updated version of G1 Hook, but for legal reasons he canít be called by that name.

Robot Mode: Letís start with the resemblance this figure has to the original Hook. Itís pretty good. They donít look identical, mind you, but if you put them side by side, the resemblance is definitely there. They have the same basic design and share several elements such as the front of the vehicle mode becoming the lower legs and the crane being on the back. Dr. Crank is twice as tall and Iíd say at least three times as massive, but itís clearly meant to be the same guy.

Dr. Crankís design clearly places him in the Classics era, which is more than fine by me. The figure is very nicely articulated, the only thing missing is a waist joint and twisting wrists. Otherwise, though, no complaints. Dr. Crank isnít exactly a contortionist, but he poses just fine. The detailing is also very nice, I especially like the way the chest clearly has a place for a Decepticon emblem (have to check my Reprolabels sheets for a fitting one) and the stomach being a near-perfect match for the sticker the G1 figure had there.

Letís talk accessories. Dr. Crank carries two handguns, which he can either hold in his fists (the standard fists-with-hole) or plug into his forearms. He can also put them onto his legs or on his back for storage. One is red and one is purple, both will become part of Herculesí combined weapon. Additionally Dr. Crank has the big crane on his back, which he can plug onto his shoulder, too. He can then either use the crane itself as a weapon (extending it gives him quite the reach) or use the two bigger guns on the craneís sides. The two hand weapons can also plug into the sides of the crane. Finally, he has what I believe is a muzzle for the combined Hercules weapon, which serves no real purpose for Dr. Crank on his own. It can plug into the side of the crane, too.

Whatís left to say about the robot mode? I like it a lot. Itís not a revelation as far as robots go, but itís so far the best Classics-style Construction Iíve seen (him being my first TFC Hercules robot). The main draw of the figure is, of course, the combiner aspect, but even as a stand-alone figure heís pretty good.

Alternate Mode: Seeing as the word Ďcraneí occurred numerous times in the review of the robot mode, itís probably not a big surprise that Dr. Crank transforms into a Ė you guessed it Ė crane. Now Iím no expert in construction vehicles, so I canít tell you what model or company this crane is, but it looks like youíd expect a crane to look and there are no obvious robot parts visible. The resemblance to G1 Hook is less pronounced than in robot mode, but still present (theyíre both cranes, after all).

The crane can do all the same stuff here as in robot mode, of course. It can turn a full 360 degrees and extend quite a bit. On the side of the vehicle you can see grey flip-out pegs that are used for combining into Hercules, but can also be repurposed as stabilizers when the crane extends, such as real-world crane vehicles often use. And in case anyone wonders, yes, you can fully extend the crane without the vehicle toppling over. Both weapons and the muzzle mentioned in robot mode can be stored on the crane arm as well, so no loose parts in this mode. Bottom line: a good, solid vehicle mode.

Combiner Mode: Dr. Crank forms the head and shoulders of the Hercules combiner robot (not called Devastator for legal reasons only). There will be a separate review on Hercules once I have all the members.

Remarks: The original Constructicons hold the distinction of being the very first combining robots in Transformer history. Strangely, though, Hasbro has never really made an attempt to create an updated version of them, at least not one with the originalís look and feel. ROTF Devastator is an entirely different animal and while Energon Construction Maximus was much closer, he was still pretty far off. Now, though, TFC Toys brings us the closest thing to an updated G1 Devastator weíll ever see (along with the one currently being made by MakeToys).

As for Dr. Crank / Hook himself, well, the G1 Constructions never had a clearly defined team leader. Most of the times it was Scrapper giving the orders (and he had the most lines in the cartoon), but Hook is the one forming the head (which is the leaderís job in every other combiner team ever made) and was named team leader in the Transformers Collectors Club ďWings of HonorĒ comics. He also seemed to give the orders in the G1 cartoon episode ďThe Secret of Omega SupremeĒ, so he does have some claim to the leadership position.

As a toy Dr. Crank is a good figure. The only real drawback it has is the price tag. Quite frankly, no one would pay between 80 and 100 dollars just for a Voyager-sized Classics-version of G1 Hook... if it werenít for the fact that he combines with five more like him. So thatís the crux here: you buy him, then you buy the other five, too, otherwise it makes no sense. Which means dishing out between 400 and 600 dollars for six figures. Itís what made me hesitate a long, long time before finally succumbing. From what Iíve seen so far, I think itís worth it (again, Dr. Crank being my first TFC figure, still waiting on the other five). But you need to decide whether youíre willing to dish out this much money. Money and combiner issues aside, Dr. Crank is just fine by himself. Not a revelation, but good. Iíll rate him again as part of Hercules when the giant is fully assembled.

Rating: B





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Tags: - Construction Vehicle - Decepticon - TFC Toys - Third Party




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Published 06.02.2012
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