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By Thomas Wheeler

It was rumored a while back that the TRANSFORMERS - ROBOTS IN DISGUISE line would be maintained by Hasbro as a means of bringing out repaints of earlier Transformers. No one mentioned, however, that these repaints had the potential for being extremely cool. Such is the case with the new five-pack called RUINATION.

It's the classic Generation One COMBATICONS, given new names and a new group-name -- Ruination. Originally, these five evil Decepticons were known as Brawl, Swindle, Vortex, Blast Off, and Onslaught, and they combined to form the immense Bruticus. Now, their names are Rollbar (tank), Armorhide (jeep), Ro-Tor (helicopter), Movor (space shuttle), and Mega-Octane (long flatbed truck). Not sure I consider most of those to be improvements, really, but what's in a name (besides possibly some copyright difficulties which resulted in the changes)...

These Transformers were available last year, sold individually, with these names and combined name, but what's cool about this set is that the five Transformers have all been given a common color scheme. The only previous time I believe this was done was with the Constructicons, six construction vehicles which combined to form the massive Devastator, and the original Predacons, which combined to form the huge and menacing Predaking. I always felt that these Combiner teams should have all had more common color schemes, as whenever they didn't, their combined form, however large and impressive it might have been, also tended to look a little haphazard.

The five Decepticons forming Ruination have been given a very cool grey camouflage color scheme. It's not exactly what I would describe as "urban camo", but it's close -- think about the color scheme of the uniforms for the recent G.I.Joe Alley-Vipers, and it's very intricately done on such complex items as these Transformers. Their Decepticon logos have been stamped on them very effectively, as well.

What's my overall take on Ruination? I'd call him a blast from the past with a nice update. Modern Transformers may (and I stress the word "may") be more detailed, even more articulated. But for any fan of the classic Transformers, who might want something with just a little more detail work, it'd be hard to go wrong with Ruination. I found him at Wal-Mart, but I don't know if he's an exclusive to that store. In any event, for any longtime or current Transformers fan, I definitely recommend him!