Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dark of the Display Case: DotM Deluxe Crankcase

Not every Decepticon is well known. Some don't do much, others don't fight on the frontlines and the rest lurk in the shadows, waiting for the moment to strike. This is the function of Megatron's own secret service unit, known simply as Dreads. The Dreads function as assassins sent to eliminate anyone who is no longer deemed useful to Megatron's plans. So far we've only gotten one member in deluxe form. His name? Crankcase....

Vehicle Mode:

Crankcase transforms into a Chevrolet Suburban outfitted for secret service use. He definitely pulls off the look, with an all-black paint scheme with two light bars on the front and back of the roof. One thing I love about this mode is how it pulls off the look of suspension with the body of the car sitting high over the wheels. Due to the transformation, however, the suspension isn't functional. Still, it's nice that they were able to achieve the look. Another interesting thing is that the interior actually has some detailing in it, but is completely covered by the black paint on the windshield. To be fair, though, it's accurate to the actual vehicle and the interior detail isn't anything to write home about. The size of the vehicle mode is....kinda debatable. On one had he looks good with other deluxes and his SUV mode isn't all that big, especially when compared to Ironhide's Topkick mode. On the other hand it still comes off small-looking. Unlike Ratchet, this can be a bit more ignored. Lastly, he can deploy two pincers from under the front bumper. It's a cool concept, but it looks a bit cartoony in execution. You'll see them when we get to the robot mode.


Crankcase's transformation can seem slightly intimidating at first, but once you realize where everything goes it becomes a snap to do. His leg transformation is really neat, involving the wheels being moved inward and down do that they become the bulk of the shins and feet. Collapsing and folding up his front bumper are a bit scary at first due to how hard you have to push the piece down into position. This is due to the back of the head getting slightly in the way. It feels like too much pressure may stress or break the plastic. Thankfully the plastic has held up perfectly fine and is strong enough to handle the pressure needed to fold everything away. Everything else in the transformation is straight forward.

Robot Mode:

Robot mode is FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC. I'll go so far to say that it's probably my favorite deluxe of the line. The sculpting is great. The head sculpt is predatorial and intimidating and the wire dreads on each side add to his look. The way the backpack folds up combined with the two pincers behind his head make it seem like he's slightly based on a beetle in design. Articulation is great. His elbows and knees are jointed in such a way that makes it seem as if double joints have been used, when instead it's either a single joint or a transformation-specific joint. This allows him to pull off low crouches and crawls. Although the bottoms of his feet are curved, his heels provide great stability. Even though this figure is awesome, there is one thing to watch for. When Crankcase was first shown and even during the initial release, both his hands had two long, bladed middle fingers. When the figure was put out, most of them had the middle fingers clipped down to the bottom knuckle. As time went on more Crankcases were released with less sloppily cut fingers, so they would be in proportion with the other fingers. it wasn't until a few weeks ago that a final batch was released with completely remolded hands. Whether the figure is cut, uncut or remolded depends on the stamped number located on the back of the card. Most sites have discussions on this with the numbers you should look out for based on your preference.


Crankcase's MechTech is a black rifle. It comes off as a bit blocky at first glance but isn't all that bad looking. If anything, you could say it looks a bit bland, though the silver bits on the front help break up the black a bit. Activate its secondary mode and it springs forward into an attack claw. This mode is actually very nice, especially if you removed the spring inside. The hooks on the front can grab on to other figures and even cling onto bars or ledges. This increases his playability and turns a rather dull gun into an awesome weapon.


If you collect movie stuff, you need him. You need him bad. Crankcase is a wonderful toy full of character and a creepy charm. His sculpting, articulation and transformation are all top notch, just remember to watch those code stamps if you don't want a clipped figure. The movie is going to have at least 3 of these guys, the SUVs any way, so that also makes them army buildable. If you can, I'd get two. They look much better in pairs.

Four days down, four deluxes reviewed. Tomorrow will be the final Display Case review and I can't think of a better way to end it then with a big threat with a big name....

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