Dark of the Moon Legion Class Crankcase Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Dark of the Moon, Decepticon, Dreads, Legion Class, Cyberverse

Dark of the Moon

General Information:
Release Date: May 2011
Price Point: $5.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None


*Text in italics below from The Official Transformers Web Site:
CRANKCASE never fights it he can help it. He is a spy and saboteur, not a warrior. When he does fight, it is on his terms, and only when he is assured of swift victory. He prefers to lurk in the shadows, damaging his enemies’ support network, while other DECEPTIONS®* tackle the combat. Prepare for fast-paced fun with this vehicle-to-robot hero! Switch your mighty CRANKCASE figure from Chevy Suburban vehicle mode to battle-ready robot mode and back again. As the battle rages on, keep clicking to convert him back and forth, so he’s ready to face whatever his enemies throw at him!

"Dark of the Moon" introduces several new characters into the movie universe on screen, but this is one of the few times when a character has already appeared as a toy in the movie line before a movie script was even written. One of these characters is Crankcase. The original Crankcase was a member of the Generation One Decepticon team known as the Triggercons. Years later, the character was introduced into the movie universe towards the end of the 2007 movie toy line. However, that figure was a redeco whereas this figure is a brand new sculpt.

Robot Mode:
One of the hallmarks of the Michael Bay Transformers universe are the distinctive designs between Autobots and Decepticons. In general, the Autobots look friendly and in most cases a bit more "human", especially in terms of facial expression and design. The Decepticons however are made to look evil and alien. Crankcase is a perfect example of this. At first, he seems like your typical Bay-verse Transformer. He has SUV parts hanging off his chest, doors on the sides of his arms and vehicle mode chunks and wheels on his feet. In some ways, he resembles Ironhide, especially with the way the front of the vehicle mode splits at the middle on the chest area.

Now, take a closer look and suddenly you'll find some creepy details. The head sculpt is the absolute best part in my opinion. Instead of a blocky helmet/face design so typical of Transformers, his head looks much more organic and rounded off. On top of his head are horns with wavy designs that look like those you'd find on textured bone. The central crest on his head has a similar texture. Then look at his eyes and you'll see he has four eyes and a mouth that looks like it has fangs. In other words, Crankcase looks like some type of mythical demon, quite appropriate for a Decepticon! Add to this the way in which his legs arch back and he recalls the Greek God Pan, adding to the almost supernatural look of the character.

What strikes me as most interesting are how many designs look organic rather than mechanical. The head design is one example, but if you look at his chest in the center there are details that look like a rib cage. The arm details sculpted inside the SUV doors are rounded in design, as are his thighs. These offer a cool contrast to his more angled and mechanical looking parts, truly emphasizing the "robot in disguise" aspect of the figure.

Crankcase is cast in black plastic, which is a bit of an unusual statement since most Legion Class figures have at least two colors, not just one. For this demon like character however the color works perfectly. Paint details are done up in gold, silver, red and orange. The silver is used on various parts including the chest and the sides of the arms as Decepticon symbols. Gold details are found on the head and waist. The four eyes are painted red, which looks particularly creepy on this design. The orange is found on the sides of the headlights on his chest. Overall, not the most awesome color scheme of all time, but I really like the way the head is painted, emphasizing some of his creepier details.

There are eight points of articulation on this figure. Four of these (the shoulders and hips) are ball joints. You have to play a bit with his lower leg hinges to get him to stand properly as his feet don't really stand well flat. Instead, you balance his feet and wheels as heel pieces to give him the "chicken walker" look. At the end of each arm is a small, triangular blade that sticks out, presumably his primary weapon in the film (though this remains to be seen as of the time I'm writing this review). The right hand is sculpted in a "C" shape to allow him to hold weapons form Cyberverse Commander Class figures while the left hand is just a flat, sculpted detail.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Swing the chest piece up.
  2. Move the sections of the SUV with the headlights out to the sides.
  3. Swing down the central cabin cover/windshield panel.
  4. Connect the two lower legs together and swing them forward.
  5. Fold the robot arms in on the sides to comnplete the vehicle mode.

Vehicle Mode:
Crankcase is one of the Decepticons with a "real life" vehicle mode, that of a Chevrolet Suburban SUV. This long vehicle has a distinctive profile, looking like a combination of a truck and SUV in one (and indeed that is one of it's selling points). The overall form of the vehicle mode matches that of its real life counterpart. The SUV mode is long, with three windows on each side. Many of the Suburban's distinctive features have been captured in this figure's sculpt including:

  • The front grille is split into two strips, with a Chevrolet logo in between them.
  • The distinctive headlight design of the Suburban is reflected in the sculpt, with two circles representing the bulbs and strips under them and out to the sides.
  • The top of the vehicle has raised lines indicating a roof rack.
  • Running along the sides of the doors are raised strips also found on the real life vehicle.
  • On the back is a small strip right where the roof meets the rear of the vehicle. This is a rear light found on the real life Suburban.

The Suburban form taken by Crankcase does have a couple of features not seen on the run of the mill model. The top has, what appear to be two lightbars mounted on top, one towards the front and the other towards the back. Perhaps this indicates Crankcase steals his form from a government vehicle of some kind. The other feature not seen on the base Suburban is a raised air intake section in the middle of the hood. Both enhance the look of the sculpt and make him a bit more distinctive than the base model.

This mode, like the robot form is mostly black in color. Orange and silver paint are found on the light bars and the silver Decepticon symbols show more prominently now. The same can be said for the paint on the headlights. I do wish there was a bit more detail, like silver used to paint the windows perhaps (not that silver windows make much sense). Crankcase simply looks very plain in this mode with black dominating so much of the color.

Final Thoughts:
Crankcase has a very distinctive robot mode that shows some very creative designs. The vehicle mode is nice in that it replicates the real life vehicle very well, but with black dominating so much of the color it looks awfully plain. Overall, there's more "good" than "bad" in the figure, but more color would have definitely elavated it. Recommended for the robot mode more than the vehicle mode.