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Transformer Review: Dark of the Moon Deluxe Class Crankcase

September 9, 2013

Brace yourselves. This is a long review.


Chevrolet Suburban Van Mode

Crankcase - Alt Mode

Crankcase – Alt Mode

Crankcase is one of the three Dreads that appeared in the Dark of the Moon movie, and the only Dread to have a Deluxe figure representation. The other 2 Dreads only made it to the Legion class toylines and no further.

Firstly, Crankcase’s alt mode is a Chevrolet Suburvan police van.  The colour on its own is very nice and sleek, though a bit plain and boring at times. The windows have been tinted, which I believe is screen-accurate, and that is a neat touch too.

I can shoot you...

Crankcase – Gun mounted

The door handles are only molded in, but that’s fine. Sadly the Chevrolet logos on both the back and front of the vehicle are unpainted. In addition, due to the transformation, there is a piece of dull grey plastic on the hood of the van that ruins the overall black asthetic of the van in my opinion. I would’ve seriously preferred if Hasbro/Takara had used black plastic or at least painted that part.

Crankcase - Claws Deployed

Crankcase – Pincers deployed

Another thing to note is that the top of the van has 2 exposed Mech Tech ports, which ruin the overall smooth look of the figure in my opinion. But because he is all round black, the ports don’t ruin the figure as much as the ports on other DOTM figures and some of the later toy figures (such as the Transformers Prime toys). One good thing though is that the siren lights are included. Nice touch. As for the way the wheels are positioned, they are obviously lower than they should be but that’s due to the nature of the transformation. It’s okay but can be a major downer for some buyers.

Crankcase’s weapon (which will be further discussed in robot mode) can be stored on the top of the van if you so choose, although it will look absolutely ridiculous. Interestingly, the gun is thin enough that if you have two of the same guns or similar sized ones, you can mount 2 different guns on him. You can also deploy his pincers in vehicle mode though it will look no sillier than mounting the gun on top of the vehicle mode. For child safety, the pincers are made of soft rubbery plastic.

Overall the vehicle mode is okay. Nothing too spectacular and a rather dull colour scheme as it is mostly just black in colour.



From vehicle to robot mode, the transformation is decent. Not too complicated or difficult. But it is transforming Crankcase from robot to vehicle mode that is crazily tricky. I do not mean that the transformation steps are difficult. It is the fact that transforming him itself is a chore. I believe the main reason is the dreadlocks (in robot mode) get in the way of everything while transforming him back to alt mode.  A little bit of worrisome forcing should do the trick to collapse the parts together into alt mode. My advice? If you want to protect the longevity of the figure, it’s best to leave him in robot mode & if you just must keep him in vehicle mode, I suggest not doing so for too long like for example a few months. I do not dare to keep him in vehicle mode that long to see what could happen!


Robot Mode

Crankcase - Robot Mode Posed

Crankcase – Robot Mode Posed

Crankcase’s robot mode is a nice representation of the character. It is as close as it can get to its screen counterpart. Frankly speaking, in the movie the Dreads look like the aliens that were in the Aliens vs Predators movie, full of spikes, and hardly had any parts on them that represented something in their vehicle forms apart from the headlights. At least the toy model looks like he did come from a vehicle.

The fact that the design incorporated the pincers behind his head and the dreadlocks “flowing” out of his head is a good job on Hasbro’s part. Kudos! What worries me about the dreadlocks is that they could be made of Hasbro’s infamous gold plastic, which over time will crack and crumble horrifyingly (especially with the Beast Wars toys). But so far, it looks like it will stay for a while. When you transform Crankcase from robot to vehicle mode, you have to sort of force and stress the dreadlocks into place in order to free up some clearance for his arms to fit for vehicle mode. That is why I am against leaving this figure in alt mode for too long – the hinges of the dreadlocks are thin and small, and if they really are made of the gold plastic, then it’ll be all the more frightening.

Crankcase - Head and Chest Close Up

Crankcase – Head & Chest Close Up

Many reviewers have complained about the feet, and I quite agree. They don’t really lock or peg in anywhere and have the tendency to slip and slide due to the way it transforms. But it doesn’t severely hamper his posability thank goodness.

The wheels on his lower arms have a joint where you can flip the wheels to fit on his elbows. This is where, it is up to your preference where you’d like the wheels to be. Personally, having the wheels on the elbow gives him a fresh arm design, but it leaves this forearms on the skinny and bare side (not like his more bulky arms in the movie). On the other hand, having the wheels left on the forearms looks rather cliché as many transformers in the past have gone through that. But hey, it doesn’t look bad.

Crankcase - Dual Gun Quickdraw

Crankcase – Dual Gun Quickdraw

Crankcase’s gun is a large but small-barreled machinegun that when you pull back the trigger, it will convert into an extended claw. I think this gimmick is okay, and thankfully not as bad as DOTM Deluxe Class Barricade’s gun/gigantic claw weapon of abomination. You will see in several pictures that I have my Crankcase figure holding 2 guns. 1 belongs to Crankcase himself, and the other is from my DOTM Deluxe Class Cyberfire Bumblebee figure. I did that because firstly, the grey unpainted gun never match well with Crimson Bumblebee’s (or even the original Bumblebee’s) colour scheme. Also, the dull grey colour of the gun matches Crankcase’s dull grey plastic on his body. And since Crankcase has 2 (ugly) Mech Tech ports on his forearms, having 2 guns hide the ports very well.

Two major gripes I have with this figure are that he has a lot of dull grey plastic and the ugly Mech Tech ports in the middle of the forearms. I’ll talk about each one by one, starting with the dull grey plastic. Hasbro has been infamously known to use dull grey coloured plastic for the “inner metallic parts” other than the car shells of movie Transformers. Crankcase is another victim. The black plastic breaks up the dull grey only enough, not even just enough in my opinion. Gunmetal grey plastic would have done a far superior job in my opinion, like the colour of DOTM Deluxe Class Laserbeak’s neck and other parts of the toy of the same colour.

Crankcase - Imaginative Street Dashing Pose

Crankcase – Imaginative Street Dashing Pose

Now, on to the Mech Tech ports on the arms. They are disturbing and not easy to hide, and of course they’re there so that Crankcase can hold his gun or 2 guns (1 other gun from another Transformer). The ports have been designed that way so that when you plug in a gun into that port, it will look like he is using and firing the gun. Eeerrmm… the only problem is his hands are not touching anything with the gun(s) in place. Imaginary visible hand trigger? Perhaps if the ports were deeper, then that illusion would have worked better. I mean, (personally) the arms look bad already with the ports so making them deeper wouldn’t have changed much.

I get the feeling that Crankcase really should have been a Voyager class size figure because he was so big in the movie. But Youtube reviewer TJ Omega made a solid point: if the toy design is worth a Deluxe class figure, then make that figure a Deluxe class figure (it was a review for another toy). So, with the level of difficulty, and also the short screen time the Dreads had in the movie, it wouldn’t have made any sense to have the Dreads released as Voyager class figures. (Though I really would’ve liked that.)

Crankcase - Hands Up!

Crankcase – Hands Up!

I have covered the bad aspects of the toy. It’s time to move on to the bright sides. I already covered the dreadlocks and pincers. I would like to admit that Hasbro did a great job on the head sculpt. It is very menacing looking and he has four eyes to boot. When you can get decent light to shine on that light piping, he looks murderous and ready to kill! The paint apps on the chest are nicely done – bits of silver and gold on black plastic always blends well. I like the fact that the hands each have a pointed sharp finger to add to his alien look. Sadly, the finger on my Crankcase figure’s right hand was bent badly, but I can live with that. What is more saddening is that Hasbro decided to chop off the fingers of the later releases of Crankcase. I guess it’s because of child safety and PG issues? (The middle finger, you know)

Overall, Crankcase’s robot mode is decent. The legs aren’t as bad as many have said they are. The Mech Tech ports and use of dull grey plastic is not pleasing to the eye, but it isn’t horrible and doesn’t detract from the play value this figure has to offer. The paint apps on the chest are done very well, and the inclusion of four eyes and great light piping, the dreadlocks, and the pincers are well thought out. And if you are a fan of the Dreads, then this figure is for you. Otherwise, you won’t miss much if you pass on the figure.



Quite dull unpainted vehicle mode. Decent robot mode. Recommended only if you like the Dreads in the Dark of the Moon movie, or you like the spiky alien designs on robots, or you like a very different design on a Transformer.

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