The R.E.V.s line from Playmates toys continues to impress me. In this review, let's take a look at one from each size range in the series.
HIGHTAIL is the last of the smallest of the REVs that I have purchased, completing this assortment. This particular assortment, known as Roaring Thunder is, as far as I can determine, a Wal-Mart exclusive.
It's also the only assortment to include vehicles that aren't four-wheeled land-based vehicles. Of the four, two come with motorcycles, and two come with aircraft. Hightail is one of the ones that comes with an aircraft.
These particular REVs are about 4" in height. This has made them particularly popular among fans of other 3-3/4" scale figures such as G.I. Joe and Star Wars, since it's not too much of a stretch to fit them in. The REVs are robots, and have a fairly slender appearance, which vaguely resembles aspects of Lego's popular Bionicle series, and has a fair resemblance to the Battle Droids from Star Wars, as well, although they're not quite that skinny.
Hightail is one of the MavWrecks, the good guys in this line, programmed to defeat the evil robots of The Syndicate. Hightail is a dark green robot, with limited black trim, a hint of red around his eyes, and a red MavWrecks insignia on his chest. Honestly, this is a line that could really use some brighter colors.
The robots are superbly well-articulated. Hightail is poseable at the lead, arms, elbows, waist, legs, knees, and ankles. Because of the fairly slender body, the elbows and knees particularly have a greater range of motion than one would expect in a more humanly proportioned figure. It's also worth mentioning that while some of the robots in the next two larger sizes seem to have a little trouble standing up perfectly straight for some reason, that hasn't been a problem with the 4" figures.
Hightail comes with a small airplane. REVs stands for "Radically Engineered Vehicles", so even though the robot is the character, there is a certain emphasis on the vehicles in this toy line. This aircraft is a goldish-tan in color, with some green trim. It's sort of interesting how it doesn't really match the color scheme of the robot. In fact, a number of the REVs have vehicles that don't match their own personal color schemes. Thank goodness for catalog pictures...
Hightail can conceal himself underneath the fully assembled aircraft, and one can assume that he can also use it as such pretty much like a flying backpack for an aerial assault. The aircraft can also be disassembled for Hightail to use not only as a certain amount of additional armor, but as a second mode of transportation, as the lower section of the aircraft has rolling wheels, and Hightail can stand on this and -- well, use it as something like a jet-powered skateboard, really.
Hightail comes with a spring-loaded missile-launching weapon, and one missile. The toy also includes a CD-Rom which outlines the origin story of the REVs.
Playmates Toys put enough consideration into this line to include a character bio with each robot in the form of a file card. Hightail's reads as follows:
A bit of a showoff, Hightail is one MavWreck worthy of his big ego. Though new to the war between his comrades and the Syndicate, this fearless fighter jet has already hot-dogged his way onto the team as a well-respected equal. Wanting nothing more than to take out his evil twin Steelrain, Hightail won't rest until his "brother's" wings are clipped... permanently.
Interesting comment about his "evil twin". Granted there is a lot of mold reusage in this line. This isn't really anything new in the toy world. G.I. Joe did it in its introductory year, and so did Transformers. You still see a lot of it today, except we call them "repaints". Heck, for that matter, consider the Transformers Alternators. The process of manufacturing a mold for mass production is one of the most expensive aspects of toy-making, so one can hardly fault the toy companies for wanting to get as much use out of them as possible. Especially if that line is brand new and untested as REVs is.
Steelrain is a Syndicate robot that is essentially identical to Hightail except for color. Steelrain is more of a medium blue. And of course he has the Syndicate logo on his chest. Like Hightail, he also comes with an aircraft, making him the only other air-capable member of the REV's team. One can well imagine that Hightail wants to bring him down. The feeling is probably mutual on Steelrain's part, and the dogfights likely to ensue will be considerable. Personally, I think it's cool of Playmates to make that connection. Sure, it's a little obvious that the toys are pretty much identical except for their colors, so why NOT make it part of the storyline.
Eleven of the fourteen "Series One" toys are out, and simple observation indicates they're unfortunately not doing terribly well. They just don't have enough media support. Which is a shame, because they're a very cool line.
I would honestly recommend any of them. They're an impressive toy line that deserves to do better than it is. And in the case of HIGHTAIL or any of the other 4" scale Roaring Thunder series, you've certainly got a robot that will work well on its own or in other similar-sized concepts and toy lines.
HIGHTAIL, and any of the REVs, definitely have my highest recommendation! Give this toy line a chance, while you can. It's most assuredly worth it!
Now let's move up to the next size-range, with TENGU. If color is anything to go by, there's little doubt that TENGU is one of the bad guys in the REVs line. He's almost entirely black. This also makes him one of the more dynamic-looking figures in the line, since for the most part, the REVs tend to use more muted color schemes. As I have said in other REV's reviews, this is a line that would benefit from some brighter colors. And while no one is going to consider black a "bright" color, it does tend to stand out somewhat, and certainly Tengu is a standout in the REVs line.
Tengu is part of the Marauders series. These are the next size up from the smallest figures, the apparent Wal-Mart exclusive Roaring Thunder group. The Marauders, which include Tengu, Crux, Kid Nitro, and the unreleased (as yet, I hope) Infernix all stand about 5-1/2" in height. These robots have a more or less humanoid appearance, but are also very clearly robotic, with rather slender builds that consistently remind me somewhat of Lego's Bionicle, and a bit of Star Wars Battle Droids.
Tengu is almost entirely black, but he's not like the original Snake- Eyes from G.I. Joe. There's some color on him. He has a bit of grey around his face, a silver crest on his head, tiny green eye slits, dark blue shoulder spikes, some grey trim on his lower arms and upper legs, and some red around his knees. He's not too far removed from the picture of the prototype on the package, which only shows a bit more red trim on the arms and feet that the figure doesn't have.
Honestly, he doesn't need any real additional trim. He does have a cool- looking red dragon-head insignia on his chest, and the Syndicate logo on his upper left leg. But he hardly needs this emblem of the villains to come across as a bad guy. Nobody's really going to mistake this particular robot for a pleasant fellow. Not on looks, anyway.
These REVs figures are well-made, but unfortunately some of them in the Marauders and Street Striker sizes (the next size up) have a little trouble standing up straight for some reason. There's a certain imprecision in the structure of the lower legs that I can't quite figure out. Everything looks even enough, but you still have to tip the lower torso to one side a bit to get Tengu to plant his feet properly. Annoying, but only triflingly so.
Certainly one can't argue the articulation. Tengu is poseable at the head, arms, elbows, wrists, waist, legs, knees, ankles, and even "toes", an unusual feature in a figure of this size. Some of the articulation points are "ball-and-socket" construction, and allow for quite a range of motion.
Tengu comes with a vehicle. And in his case, it's a pretty fancy ride. Tengu's vehicle looks something like a sports car! It's mostly red with a bit of black trim, essentially the reverse of Tengu himself.
The vehicle features a "pull-back" motor, as all of the REV's vehicles in the larger three size-ranges do. Pull the vehicle back a bit, let it go, and watch it "rev" across the floor! This fancy car can also be disassembled to form armor for Tengu himself, making him that much more formidable a warrior. Tengu can also conceal himself under the vehicle while it is in car mode.
Tengu comes equipped with two spring-loaded missile launchers. These can be used either as handheld weapons for the robot, or attached to the vehicle in either car form, or while Tengu is wearing it as armor.
Playmates Toys has developed the characters in this line extensively enough to give them their own file cards, as well. Tengu's reads as follows:
Shadowy Assassin of Anarkist!
Though in Japanese, the word "Tengu" means "pointy-nosed goblin", don't be fooled into thinking that this mercenary machine is anything to laugh at. Built with stealth and efficiency in mind, Tengu has been equipped to take out even the most protected of targets with his ferocious and silent attacks! Connected to a central computer that stores hundreds of the world's martial art disciplines ready for download, Tengu's inhuman strength becomes that much more deadly when battling "hand to hand"!
Ferocious, silent, martial arts -- okay, maybe he IS the REV's version of Snake-Eyes...
And while I'm not sure about the authenticity of that Japanese translation, I suspect it's accurate. Somebody would probably call them on it if it wasn't, and I remember one time in the Batman comics, when Batman was being trained by a Japanese assassin, she made him wear a bat-like mask that was called the "Mask of Tengu". And a "pointy-nosed goblin" isn't TOO far removed from a bat's visage.
And I have to say, it's a cool sounding name. I like it. Sounds dangerous somehow, which certainly fits the character.
I've got to wonder, though, if Tengu isn't also just a bit of a boot-licker. His color scheme isn't too far removed from the color choices -- based on the photographs -- of Anarkist himself, the leader of the Syndicate. Lot of black with red trim on him, too...
At any rate, TENGU is a cool part of the REV's line. While I have my doubts regarding the line's probable longevity, and at this point am mostly hopeful that the entire Series One collection makes it to the stores, there's no denying that Tengu is one of the more impressive entries in the REV's line and he, along with any of his comrades or enemies, definitely has my most enthusiastic recommendation!
Heading to the next size-range, we come to KNOX. Knox is the first of the REVs in the grouping of second-largest robots, the Street Strikers, that I have acquired. The others in this particular assortment include Trailfire, Six Gun, and the yet to be released Hammerwise.
I find REVs a truly interesting toy line. Unlike Transformers, all of the various robots, regardless of their size, have a somewhat consistent appearance. They're roughly humanoid, but have fairly slender limbs and somewhat long legs. It's not hard to imagine them coming from the same project. They can trade parts between them, and even combine with different sizes. There's a certain almost Bionicle look to them, with a bit of the Star Wars Battle Droids thrown in for good measure.
Knox and his assortment fellows are a full 7" in height, making them the second-largest REVs in the series.
If one thing is somewhat lacking in this line, it's the use of bright colors -- and it could frankly use it. Interestingly, some of the robots have obviously undergone serious color changes between the prototypes, pictured on the package, and the final product. For the most part, these changes aren't improvements.
On the other hand. Knox hasn't gone through any real changes, apparently. His basic color is a very pale, pastel green, an unusual color that one doesn't often encounter in the action figure world. He has significant black trim on him, including his torso and legs. There's a fair amount of dark steel trim on him, as well, with just a bit of white and dark green.
The head is an interesting design. Although not exactly human in appearance, Knox has two red eyes, trimmed in dark green, with a steel grey jaw that gives him a sort of "tough-guy" appearance, coupled with what amounts to a steel grey mohawk on his head that appears made of metal components!
Knox is one of the bad guys in this line, part of The Syndicate, as evidenced by the Syndicate insignia on his left foot.
Playmates Toys has done a superb job with this line, although despite considerable detail and articulation in the figures, sometimes they're just a little asymmetrical. Case in point with Knox -- to get him to stand up straight, his lower torso ends up just a little askew. It's not that big a deal, but somehow, I tend to prefer a greater level of precision from robots.
One certainly can't argue with the articulation, though. Knox is poseable at the head, arms, elbows (including a swivel), wrists, waist, legs, knees (including a swivel), ankles, and "toes".
Knox comes with a vehicle. In his case, it looks something like a futuristic pick-up truck. Although not all REV's robots match the color schemes of their vehicles, Knox does. The truck is the same dark green as the trim around Knox's shoulders, and it has white and black trim on it.
The vehicles in the REVs line all feature a "pull-back motor" feature. Pull the vehicle back a short distance, and then watch it "rev" its way across any smooth floor surface.
Knox can use the vehicle in several ways. He can hide underneath it, or the vehicle can be disassembled for use as varying degrees of armor protection for Knox as a fully-armored robot warrior!
The set also includes two hand-held weapons with working, spring-loaded missile launchers, complete with missiles.
Playmates has gone to the effort of including character profiles for all of the REVs in the form of file cards on the packages, and the one for Knox reads as follows:
Junk Punk of Anarkist's Regime!
Like the humans that inspired this punk-rockin' R.E.V.s image, Knox has got a thing for music and sound in general. Anarkist's chief communications expert, Knox not only has acute hearing and wavelength control, but is also fluent in the majority of the world's languages... including machine! That's right, Knox is the first artificial intelligence developed that can hold a conversation with just about anything that has a processor chip. What does that mean? Technically speaking, Knox is Anarkist's best hope of tracking the MavWrecks to their unfortunate end!
The MavWrecks, of course, are the good guys in the REVs concept.
Interesting file card. it certainly makes reference to his unusual appearance, but that note about the language skills is also interesting. I wonder if we should get him a job at the UN, or maybe see if he can ask my microwave why it keeps burning chicken strips.
I'll be blunt here -- the R.E.V.s line has been out since the day after Christmas 2006, and it doesn't exactly seem to be flying off the shelves. I doubt it's going to last beyond its first series at this point, and that's a shame. Honestly, there are still three figures from the first series that I sincerely hope come out so I can at least complete my collection.
To be fair, REVs has a lot of competition on the shelves that is either better established, or has a lot more media exposure, or both. REVs doesn't have a cartoon or a movie backing it up. And that's really too bad, because it honestly is a very cool toy line that deserves to fare better than it presently seems to be.
For myself, I will continue to purchase and review them, in the hope that they get some measure of sales and publicity from my doing so, and just maybe a few others will give this cool toy line a decent chance.
Certainly, I recommend KNOX. He's a cool robot that's part of a cool toy line. He, and any of the REVs, have my highest recommendation.
Last but not least, we have a robot by the name of BIG P -- admittedly a name lending itself to some pretty bad jokes, and I really do wonder who at Playmates came up with this, unless they wanted to name the main good guy with the initial of their own company, and even then they should've thought it through a little better.
He is described on the package as the "Courageous Leader of the
MavWrecks", and when it comes to the REVs, clearly, size does matter.
One of the more interesting aspects to this toy line in my opinion is
that while all of the REVs have more or less the same physical structure
The smallest robots are about 4" in height. The next sizes are 5-1/2" and 7-1/2" in height. Then we have Big P. It's hard to determine his height from inside the package, since he's posed in a somewhat crouched position, but I've been guessing that he was somewhere between 10"-12" in height. Seemed that was a pretty good guess. I stood Big P upright when I got him out of his box and put a ruler next to him. He's 11" tall.
Big P is one of only two REVs robots in this size range, designated "Arsenal Attack" on the package. The other one, not surprisingly, is the main bad guy. His name is ANARKIST, and he's not out yet. I am fervently hopeful that he comes out before the line ends. At this point in time, I'm not especially optimistic.
Big P has a head that reminds one -- sort of -- of a medieval knight's helmet. There's a sort of gridwork to the lower part of the face -- if it can be called a face -- that looks a lot like the typical visor of a knight's helmet. The metallic color of Big P only adds to this "knight" image. Most of the robot is a dark metallic gold. The rest of him is a semi-metallic silver. I might've preferred a somewhat brighter gold on the figure, but as it is, the design works quite well. The only real color apart from this are black feet, and a yellow crest on his head.
In a way, Big P almost looks like a more detailed version of "The Iron Giant", a massive robot that was the title character is a superb animated film from Warner Brothers some years ago. There's definitely a slight resemblance in some respects, mostly in his proportions and his color scheme to some degree.
Big P has a light-up feature, as well. Press a button on his back and his eyes -- well, the slit across his face that's supposed to be his eyes, anyway -- lights up. Very interestingly in my opinion, the light stays on. This isn't some little blinking feature that flashes a few times and then turns off. If you want Big P's lights to stay on, they stay on. Press the button on his back to turn them on. Press them again to turn them off. Their duration is governed only by the battery life, and the battery case is easily accessible in the back of the toy. Looks like he takes a couple of watch batteries.
The articulation of Big P is excellent. The head is mounted on a ball-and-socket
joint. He is poseable at the arms, elbows (including a
Of course, Big P comes with a vehicle. While the vehicles in the REVs line are not any officially licensed automobiles, so one sort of has to guess at what they most resemble, I'd have to say that the vehicle packaged with Big P most closely resembles a Range Rover. It's a sturdy-looking sort of vehicle, not quite an SUV, with a rather rugged appearance that makes it look like it was designed for some off-road exploring.
Of course, Big P is far too large to actually sit in the vehicle, which measures about 11" in length. That's not the purpose to the vehicles that comes with the REVs line. Instead, the vehicle can be disassembled and used as additional armor on the robot.
However, it's a perfectly capable vehicle in its own right as well. One of the main features of all but the smallest REV's vehicles is that they are equipped with a "pull-back" motor. Move the vehicle backwards for a short distance, let it go, and watch it zoom across the floor for a fair space. It's worth mentioning that I don't recall seeing any "pull-back" vehicles that were quite this large before. Also, Big P's vehicle is equipped with rubber-like tires. This is a nice attention to detail that one doesn't often expect to see on vehicular toys these days.
The vehicle also has two working searchlights, small yellow lights mounted on the roof. Like Big P's own light system, these can be turned on, and they will stay on until deactivated. Nice touch, really.
The vehicle itself is colored in a dark olive green, with ivory-colored detailing on the roof and hood, and silver on the sides, broken up by some jagged olive lines.
According to the instructions, the vehicle can be disassembled into almost thirty component parts. Well illustrated and explained instructions outline how the robot can be combined with these parts. But there's more than that! This largest of the REVs is designed to be combined with aspects of some of his smaller partners, for the ultimate combined, customized robot warrior. Instructions are provided for this feature, as well, and if the photograph on the package is any indication, the end result is something that -- well, if I saw it stomping along the freeway, I'd give it a wide berth, that's for sure.
The back of Big P's box gives the most thorough origin story yet for the REVs. More room to write it out, I suppose. It reads as follows: "Forged on the floors of the top-secret R.E.V.s Project, the Radically Engineered Vehicles are artificially-intelligent, armed to the axle robot soldiers built for one purpose: covert urban combat. Feeling this power was too much for an uncaring machine to command, one rogue engineer, Dr. Tucker, programmed 5 units as honorable MavWrecks: robots driven to pursue what is right and just. Determined to stop R.E.V. Project Director Lucien Malik and his evil R.E.V. Squad, the Syndicate, the war for their survival has begun!"
I could comment on that "war for their survival" from a toy standpoint, but I won't bother. It's too depressing. However, that comment about "5 units" pretty well affirms the fact that the smallest robots in the line are indeed Wal-Mart exclusives, since if you include the good guys from that batch, it brings the total up to 7.
Big P has his own file card on the side of the box, and it reads as follows:
Courageous Leader of the MavWrecks
Originally built to be the commander of the worldwide R.E.V. Syndicate, unit 13 Gamma 4 or "Big P." as he was dubbed, has come a long way since his reprogramming at the hands of Dr. Tucker. Now leader of the honorable and just MavWrecks, Big P. has armed himself with twin ion cannons and an "A" list of heroes at his back, and will stop at nothing to prevent the evil Lucien Malik and his sinister squad leader Anarkist from manufacturing more mindless weapons of destruction!
I'm not even going to try to figure out how you get "Big P." from "13 Gamma 4"... Those "Twin ion cannons" are also included with the set, hand-held weapons that have a spring-loaded capability to fire a couple of small missiles that come with the set.
Honestly at this point I'm not optimistic about the future of R.E.V.s. It just doesn't have the media backing necessary to succeed. We seem to have a toy world right now where if you're not long established, like Power Rangers, or have a movie backing you, like Spider-Man, or both, like Transformers, you don't stand a chance. And that's a real shame in the case of R.E.V.s, because these are really some very cool toys.
Right now, I'm just hoping the first series is allowed to complete itself. There's still three unreleased robots, one each in the second and third size ranges, and the other big one, Anarkist. I would like very much to add them to my collection.
Meanwhile, I certainly recommend BIG P, even if you can't find him.
He's an impressive robot, with a cool vehicle, and R.E.V.s is certainly
a superb concept and a well-made toy line. All of the R.E.V.s, including
Big P, definitely have my highest recommendation!