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REVIEW:
R.E.V.s KID NITRO, TRAILFIRE, and SIX GUN
By Thomas Wheeler


I am continuing to enjoy the R.E.V.s line of action figures from Playmates. The R.E.V.s line is particularly notable for producing four different sizes of robots, and yet the robots all have a certain commonality in appearance, unlike Transformers, for example, and they're all compatible with one another despite the size variance, which ranges anywhere from 4" to 11". The robots are all humanoid, fairly slender in appearance, with certain characteristics that remind me a bit of Bionicle, or the Battle Droids from Star Wars, with maybe a hint of anime thrown in for good measure.

One of the latest additions to my collection is KID NITRO, so we'll start with him. Now, tell me that name doesn't sound like it belongs to a professional wrestler. I can readily imagine watching a WWE program and hearing the announcer say, "And coming down the aisle, from the Detroit area REVs project -- KID NITRO!" Of course, go try to find a wrestler that's willing to take on a robot that's about the size of a car and probably weighs half a ton or so. Good luck on that score.

Kid Nitro is part of the Marauders size of R.E.V.s. This means that he's in the second-smallest group size-wise. He stands just short of 5-1/2 inches in height. Kid Nitro is a sort of very pale blue-grey in color, with a fair amount of dark burgundy trim on his chest, legs, and the back of his lower arms, with a little bit of black trim on his legs, and some fairly bright yellow on his chest and lower arms. His eyes are also yellow, and there's a little bit of burgundy trim on his head.

One of the strange things about the R.E.V.s toys is that a fair number of them have significantly different color schemes than the prototypes pictured on the packaging. Kid Nitro fits into this category. The Kid Nitro pictured on the back of the box has the same pale blue-grey body, but the bulk of his trim is a fairly bright blue, with a certain amount of red. Honestly, I can't fathom why Playmates made such drastic changes, and to quite a few robots in this line. And to be honest, most of the changes I've seen haven't been improvements.

For the most part, the R.E.V.s line across the board uses a surprisingly subdued color palette, mostly pale colors, or rather dark ones. I'm not saying that I entirely dislike the color schemes that were used, or the robots themselves certainly, but this is a line that could seriously use some brightening up, and if some of the original color schemes had been used, it would have had that. Just as a side note on that, the back of Kid Nitro's package shows Infernix in the "Collect Them All" section, representing the Marauders group. Infernix is the one from this segment that hasn't been released yet, and I am rather hopeful that he keeps his original color scheme, should be be released. It's a very dynamic black and white color scheme with gold trim. Extremely cool!

These R.E.V.s robots have excellent articulation, and of course Kid Nitro is no exception. He is poseable at the head, arms, elbows, wrists, waist, legs, knees, ankles, and "toes". Since R.E.V.s technically stands for "Radically Engineered Vehicles", of course Kid Nitro comes with a vehicle. Now, it's been interesting to observe that some of the R.E.V.s have vehicles with color schemes fairly close to the robot. Others are quite different.

Kid Nitro's is one of those that is very similar to the robot, in that it is the same dark burgundy color as the trim on Kid Nitro himself. And yet, this is also a fair change from the prototype on the back, which pictured a bright orange car, which really wasn't that close to Kid Nitro's color scheme as such. This burgundy car has a silver hood and spoiler, silver stripes on the sides, and some yellow trim on its spoiler. It's a fairly sporty-looking car, looking a bit like a stock car or a short Dodge Viper.

The vehicle is not for Kid Nitro to drive. The vehicles in the R.E.V.s line serve three purposes - It can operate as an independent vehicle, and has a nice little "pull- back" motor that will allow it to race across the floor on its own; the robot can conceal itself underneath the vehicle inside its hollowed body; or the vehicle can be disassembled and used as extra armor on the robot. Kid Nitro also comes with two weapons, which fire spring-loaded missiles, which he can either use in his hands, or they can be mounted on the sides of the vehicle.

Kid Nitro is one of the MavWrecks, the good guys in the R.E.V.s concept, out to stop the evil Syndicate from causing all manner of chaos and destruction through urban combat. Each of the R.E.V.s has a file card -- and Kid Nitro's reads as follows:

KID NITRO
Blabbermouth with a Bazooka
The only thing Kid Nitro finds more entertaining than hours in front of a plasma screen, is bustin' up and blastin' the Syndicate. This impression- bound comedian loves quoting commercials, soap operas, made for TV movies and even reality shows! But don't think he's just a lazy sack of nuts and bolts. Kid Nitro is an intel unit; a robot designed to monitor media in all its forms! Picking up information from everywhere, this film-frenzy, slap-happy hacker is tuned in to stopping Syndicates wherever they may surf!

Now, let's move up one size range, and have a look at TRAILFIRE, whom I shall review here. Trailfire is part of the Street Strikers group of R.E.V.s. These are the second-largest robots, standing roughly 7 inches in height, and they come packed in a box with a vehicle that's also about 7 inches in length, Trailfire is one of the MavWrecks. This makes him one of the good guys, fighting the evil Syndicate, although this guy has a face that one wouldn't exactly describe as friendly. The headsculpt has this jagged jaw that I was almost surprised to discover wasn't articulated (although none of the others in this size range are, so why should his have been?). A bit of black paint inside a slightly open mouth gives a deceptive level of depth to the head design.

It's probably just as well that the jaw isn't articulated. We've got some serious sharp-looking -- teeth (?) Add to that a couple of narrow yellow eyeslits and the end result is -- this is one of the good guys?! Frankly the headsculpt makes him look more like the Iron Giant's evil brother. Trailfire is one of the more robotic-looking of the R.E.V.s robots, mostly by virtue of his silver color scheme. He's not chrome-plated or anything, but the plastic color is almost metallic, and comprises most of his body. The figure has limited color trim, consisting of a blue chest and shoulders, blue upper legs, and yellow flame trim on the torso and lower legs. There's a bit of black here and there, as well.

While some of the R.E.V.s mysteriously underwent considerable color revision between the prototypes photographed on their packages and the final product that's actually in the package, Trailfire is not one of these. The robot shown on the package is essentially identical to the one you get inside the box. The only measureable difference is that the Trailfire you get has the MavWrecks insignia stamped on his torso. Unfortunately, since they tried to stamp it over an area that had a fair depression in it, it's not quite complete. The corners of the "M" are missing. However, those of you sufficiently talented with a paint brush or a really fine point Sharpie should be able to take care of this.

The robot is very well made and nicely detailed. This is why it bothers me that this line has apparently not succeeded. There's certainly no shortage of worthless wastes of plastic on the shelves these days. So something cool comes along and because of whatever reason -- lack of media attention, poor timing given a huge spate of summer movies with toy tie-ins, whatever -- finds itself clearance-priced within six months. That's just a shame.

The detail on Trailfire is very nicely sculpted, and the figure is sturdy and very well-articulated, poseable at the head, arms, elbows (with a swivel), wrists, waist, legs, knees (with a swivel), ankles, and fronts of the feet. Honestly, I think this particular size group of R.E.V.s is the best articulated of the entire series, despite some structural similarities across all sizes.

Trailfire's vehicle looks something like a pick-up truck with a particularly low cab. While some R.E.V.s have vehicles that don't really match the color scheme of the robot, Trailfire's vehicle actually comes very close. It has a fair amount of silver on it, and an abundance of yellow. While the yellow is the least color that appears on Trailfire himself, it does match colorwise. The vehicle features a "pull-back" motor feature, allowing it to propel itself across the floor or any other smooth surface. Trailfire also comes equipped with two spring-loaded missile-launching weapons that he can either use as handheld weapons, or attach them to points on the vehicle.

Trailfire also has a file card on the side of his package, which reads as follows:

TRAILFIRE
R.E.V. Re-Engineer Specialist
An extremely devoted and loral R.E.V., Trailfire is the most complicated
re-engineer on the planet. What's a re-engineer? It's like a robotic doctor, a unit designed to repair and restore other systems. Though Trailfire may be an effective fighter for combating scrapped pieces and broken servos, he's also known to be quite the sarcastic downer at times. While his teammates know that they are in good "hands" whenever under his care, Trailfire doesn't stop himself from making comments like "it looks terminal", if only for a nervous laugh!

Terrific -- a robot doctor and a lousy comedian -- and with THAT face. "Sarcastic downer" indeed! Still, Trailfire is a very worthy entry in the R.E.V.s line, and certainly has a -- distinctive look about him!

Finally, let's have a look at SIX GUN. Six Gun is part of the Street Strikers group. This means that he's one of the second-largest robots in the line, standing roughly 7 inches in height. He's one of the MavWrecks, making him one of the good guys, fighting the evil R.E.V.s of The Syndicate.

You know, I suppose it has to be a little tough to think of a personality for
a robot, especially a series that is just a little on the generic side. Don't get me wrong. The designs of these robots in any of their size ranges is excellent. They all have excellent detailing and articulation, and each has a distinctive color scheme. But it's also just as true that except for the heads, they all use the same body molds in their respective size group. This is understandable. Toy molds are expensive, and an untested line like R.E.V.s needs to prove itself. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to have. And within the concept, it makes sense in a way. If you create a workable, functioning, humanoid robot, how much fiddling do you really want to do with the body designs?

Arguably the smartest thing TO do if you want them to have some individuality is to just give them different heads and paint jobs. But it still can't always be easy to think of a reasonably distinct personality for a robot, and then manage to have that personality reflected, to some degree, in the robot's appearance. It's probably no great mystery what Six Gun's personality is like. Wait'll I get to his file card. I'd call him a robotic cowboy, but maybe just calling him a cowbot would be easier. No, that doesn't work. I had this sudden image of a robotic cow. I don't think even Transformers Beast Wars did that. Bull, maybe, but if I dig myself any further into the realm of potential bad jokes with that concept, we'll never get this review finished. Let's call Six Gun a Western-style robot. And interestingly enough, he looks the part.

The distinctive head is designed in such a way that it looks like it's wearing a sleek, futuristic version of a cowboy hat. Two yellow eyes peek out underneath the hat, on an otherwise red face that honestly doesn't look especially humanoid, but does look vaguely as though it's had a cowboy's spur welded to it -- backwards. The body mold is the same one used for all robots in this size, but it's the color scheme that it's been given that helps carry across the cowboy image. It's also one of the few R.E.V.s to feature some fairly bright colors, something this line could've used more of, in my opinion. Six Gun is mostly white, but he has red trim on his upper torso that almost looks like a vest, and brown trim on his legs that looks for all the world like the robotic version of a cowboy's chaps. You half expect Six Gun to be riding a robotic horse, rather than using a vehicle like the others. The end result is one of the most effectively "themed" robots in the entire R.E.V.s line!

And -- he doesn't come with a horse. He does come with a vehicle, however. The R.E.V.s use their vehicles for either transportation, camouflage (they can hide underneath them), or they can separate them into component pieces and use them as additional body armor.

Now, one might expect someone like Six Gun to come with something that looks like a truck. Unfortunately, Trailfire got the truck in this size range. Then again, one might tend to believe that even a robotic cowboy isn't going to complain too loudly about being provided with a vehicle that looks pretty much like a fancy sports car! Six Gun's vehicle is sleek, curved, and even has a spoiler in the back! And it's a fairly close match to his own color scheme, although it's mostly red, but it's the same color red as the trim on Six Gun himself. There is also a fair amount of black trim on the car.
The R.E.V.s vehicles all possess a "pull-back" motor, allowing it to race
across the floor, and Six Gun also comes with two spring-loaded missile
launchers, which he can use as either handheld weapons, or they can attach to the vehicle.

The R.E.V.s all have file cards, and certainly, Six Gun's reflects his
personality -- not to mention explains it -- abundantly well. It reads as follows:

SIX GUN
Big P.'s Second in Command Programmed with the personality of Dr. Tucker's childhood hero, "The Sarsaparilla Kid", Six Gun is a mean-talking, master blaster carryin' desperado in need of a target. Entrusted as Big P.'s second in command, this cowboy hotshot has got one thing on his mind: justice for himself and his fellow 'bots. A master strategist, Six Gun alwats has an escape plan... and when he ain't shootin'-up sass-mouthed Syndicates, you can usually find this V8 driving donut holes in the dirt or racing unsuspecting desert cops to their eventual defeat!

And this loose nut was entrusted as the second in command!? Just for those who don't know, Dr. Tucker was one of the scientists who helped develop the R.E.V.s, and reprogrammed a number of them to fight for justice rather than for the Syndicate, and Big P. is the leader of the MavWrecks.

It really bothers me that this line does not seem to have fared better. It certainly deserved to. And it has officially been canceled by Playmates, leaving the remaining members of Series One -- INFERNIX, HAMMERWISE, and ANARKIST, unreleased and as far as I've been able to determine, unproduced. All of the toys, not just Six Gun, were well thought out, well crafted, and nicely made.

It's a genuine shame, especially when one considers some of the junk that
manages to succeed. At this point in time, all I can recommend is that you see if any stores in your area have any of them left, or look for them online.

Should you be able to find them at this point, any of the R.E.V.s definitely have my highest recommendation!