Allspark Retro Review: Armada Demolishor!
Ferociously fighting ALL the battles in the Allspark studios this week is none other than lone time unswervingly loyal Decepticon soldier, Demolishor! Will he obey Megatron at any cost, or will he spend his time waxing poetic with his inner dialogue? Tune in after the break to find out!
It is hard to believe it’s been 16 years since the debut of Armada. Back when the speculation and first pics were fresh, I remember being so excited. The art looked like we were getting really cool, unique, and fun characters and toys. I remember feeling a little conflicted at the time because I was enjoying these toys way more than quite a few of my fellow fans. While the Mini-cons were great, and the larger figures were very sturdy, most people were disappointed that the action features seemed to hinder the articulation. Pair this with further dissatisfaction at the cartoon show and people just did not appear to be happy with the franchise at all, in spite of voraciously hunting the figures down in stores. The complaining continued through Energon and then started to dissipate with Cybertron, when the fun and the engineering seemed to reach a paired culmination. Fans looked back at Armada and mostly held the toyline and show in disdain as a failed experiment of taking a new route with a beloved concept and characters and making toys appealing to kids.
Here’s the thing though. The art was right. Those toys were fun. The designs were unique and stylistically like nothing we had seen before. Gone were the overly complex figures from RID, and in their place were toys that child and adult alike could enjoy…if you didn’t need your figures to have Marvel Legends level articulation. At the risk of it appearing like nostalgia is getting the best of me, when I look at my Armada collection, I see something I wish we were still getting in addition to the amazing G1 redux in Generations: new characters and truly unique takes on older characters. The result of this trip down memory lane is a retro review of one of my favorite Decepticons from the Unicron Trilogy, Armada Demolishor!
Demolishor, The Character
You had to love Demolishor for the stupidly loyal brute he was. He was angry, blindly devoted to being a Decepticon, and easily outwitted or even overpowered by the Armada kids or the Autobot forces. He wasn’t particularly nuanced at first, and I didn’t care. He was a big, ignorant, loud, war machine, and his toy was fun, even if he had no lateral arm movement. I loved him, my nephews loved him, and my first child loved him. He was a great character, and a great toy.
Demolishor’s vehicle mode is the kind of toy my G1 loving inner child was longing for as an adult. He was solidly build, geared for battle, and had an alt mode that was both familiar and exotic at the same time. As a mobile missile platform, he had missiles that could fire, and even a little humanoid Mini-Con to “man the battlestation”. In addition to some strikingly fierce colors, he sported some interesting deco details. Was that mud or blood on the front of the treads? Only Aaron Archer can say for sure, and I’m not connected enough to ask him. 😀 Additionally, this figure sported some intricately molded detail that was brought out by a phenomenal paint wash, something we don’t get enough of on figures nowadays.
Minor complaints for this mode are that the treads were not real moving treads, and that the turret tended to knock Mini-Cons out of the seat. A counter to that is that you could also stick Mini-Con partner Blackout between them as extra firepower, and you could even eject him mid battle, though the spring on mine has seen better days. All in all, this was a great Decepticon alt-mode, and one of my favorite Armada vehicles.
What is not to love about this iconic Decepticon ground pounder? Demolishor has the build of a bruiser. He is thick, wide, comparatively tall (in the show), and has a look on his face that says, “hey, I’m gonna smash you because that’s my hobby”. Throw in the fact that he has GUN FOR FINGERS, and he is the ultimate Decepticon badass. This figure even has better articulation than some of his fellow Cons, with some good articulation in the knees, hips, waist and elbows. His arms can also be decently posed, in spite of not having any lateral movement at all. Really, the only complaint I can find on this mold beyond the shoulders is the lack of any neck movement. He has nothing…nada…not even the side to side movement that the current team seems to be stuck with in spite of using ball joints (please take note on that current Hasbro Design Team, you guys rock, but you have shown you can do better).
Still, my love for this figure will never die. He has a fun and unique character design, decent articulation and a great deco and detailing. I even love the repaints he received down the line.
Fan Modes and Mini-Con
There were a few fan modes making the rounds back in the day. I think my favorite has to be the “chicken walker mode” depicted below. Just another example of how this figure is some Neo-G1 greatness. Mini-Con Blackout was some sort of weaponized communications vehicle, which may or may not make sense, but most Mini-Cons had some slightly off alt-modes, so I will forgive this guy a bit. He stays together in both modes pretty well, which is not a quality of all of his Mini-Con brethren.
Demolishor is a great figure and you should do yourself the treat of owning him, if you missed out on the line when it was in stores. I imagine he can still be found on eBay every now and then, and I highly recommend him.
I’m also sure by now you can tell I have a great love for Armada, even if some of my readers out there don’t share my enthusiasm for the line. Armada took the things that made G1 great, boiled them down and made a new line in the same spirit. It gave us tons of great character designs, even if the fandom was not always pleased with the execution in toy form. From Armada, we got the joy of toys that were fun for kids and (some) older fans alike, many of whom got to experience the line with their own children, forming special bonds that will remain a lifetime. For me, I get to relive this moment in time right now, as I enjoy staring at my Armada Demolishor, amazing figure that he is, standing on my desk, 16 years after I bought him.