(In foreword... if you think it's me complaining about stuff, read Crankcase's bio first... ) I was lucky to get this guy shortly after he was released - him, Breakway and Fracture (both on my want list) are quite rare nowadays (and Fracture even got knocked off since then). As a lot of you know, all three had been intended for the Universe toyline... but, nooo, Crankcase had to be shoehorned into the movie line, to share shelf-space with those bug-eyed, mandibled Bayformers. You think that's bad? He was also sold as a Walmart Exclusive, so you can imagine how common he was even in the states. Lots of countries don't even have Walmarts, so that much about a worldwide release. Thanks, Hasbro. Typical. But a nobody like Acid Storm gets a Universe toy... Crankcase thus became an official part of the movie universe. He even got to star in one of the movie prequel comics! You know... the ones that are famous for killing off characters who were not in the movies. Guess how Crankcase ended up... Yup. Dead as a doorknob. Killed by that two-faced chickengorilla in an effort to rebuild the Allspark. And, it didn't even work! Crankcase could have told Dorkscream that, if he had asked, but of course, no-one was interested in his opinion. Typical. Crankase is (of course) not a new mold, but the (second) repaint of Cybertron Red Alert. I must say, as much as I hated the Armada Version, the Cybertron one is perhaps one of the most fun and innovative Deluxes from that line. No longer a blocky off-road jeep, he is now a Dodge Magnum. Although the original toy was a rescue ambulance, Crankcase's color scheme works just as well in this case, as a HAZMAT operations car. He and his crew are ready to deal with all sorts of hazardous materials! Yes, because - as his well-written and surprisingly long Marvel Universe bio explains - Crankcase used to work in the Fuel-Spill Section of the Ministry of Energy and Nutrition, back before the war. Holy Hommages, Batman! Of course, no-one remembers that old bio anymore, so this was a complete waste of effort. Instead, try putting him in more cartoons and comics, Hasbro! Being a Cybertron toy repaint, Crankcase of course comes with one of those stupid Cyber Planet keys... Activating his features by pushing it into his rear department (ugh!), the rear side windows pop out and two blasters swivel forward. A hommage to his old Triggercon days. Of course, back then this was done with a simple push of a button. And they call that advancement, pfft. Crankcase stores his 'tools of the trade' inside his front chassis - the panels open up to reveal compartment spaces inside, where a hammer and a grapple-claw are stored. The panels are molded together with his windshield, though, so it looks silly and Crankcase doesn't like people seeing this. The transformation of Cybertron Red Alert (and thus, Crankcase) is quite unique - the front and rear halves of the vehicle close together, forming the legs. To do this, the rear wheels have to be turned inside on a joint. The half-transformed phase reminds me of an ancient B-movie called Gunhed, that of course, no-one remembers. The only difficulty is getting the arms out - the door panels are quite rigid and hard to move. Also, Crankcase has one of those "peeking-out in vehicle mode" heads Energon was so famous of. Great, Takara... I thought you have gotten that one out of your system by Cybertron, but apparently, not. Well, at least we can re-enact the famous scene of AM Optimus Prime squashing in Crankcase's skull in "End of the Road". (I always wondered how Crankcase was seen running away after that attack.. Guess he stores his brain module somewhere else?) The robot mode, due to the transformation, is quite short and stocky. His legs have some sideways movement, though, and his arms are on a shoulder ball-joint, which would be fine... except those darn shoulder windows are always getting into the backpack when you move them. His left hand is replaced by a cannon, which you can mount either the hammer on... ...Or the grappling claw, to help him in reaching and safely touching hazardous materials. People leave the oddest things lying around. Imagine if a Deathbringer droid touched that! Those Primes should be more carefull about where they drop things. The cyber-key action also works in robot mode - just like his G1 counterpart, Crankcase's huge backpack reveals two shoulder-mounted guns. They are quite small and puny compared to the G1 one's, though. Crankcase also has a neat small space above his head where you can easily put a small figure to sit. Hasbro of cours, totally dropped the ball by not making this into a Human Alliance figure. So, all in all... He's a really neat figure, and looks great on any CHUGTHLU shelf. I immediately put my Cybertron Red Alert among my sales after getting Crankcase, because I did not have much love for that character - unlike for Crankcase. Really, he needs more love, and homages. Of course, knowing Hasbro, he'll get re-imagined as some ugly mandible-headed, predator-haired monstrosity for the Movie Universe. Just mark my words.