REVIEW: Devil Saviour DS-01 Split (part two)

We’re back for the second part of our review looking at the recent 3PMP Movieverse combiner, Devil Saviour Split! If you haven’t caught up yet then be sure to check out the initial unboxing video and then part one of this review, where we looked at both the vehicle and battle modes.

So where are we up to? Well, thus far the toy has proven to be a bit of a challenge, to say the least, with the transformation being the main sources of grumbles but also the vehicle mode outright failing to tab into place neatly or securely. Oh, and we’ve had a bit of breakage as well, so that’s never a good sign! Can the robot mode redeem proceedings?

Well, here’s the funny thing to start with – the transformation back from vehicle to robot mode actually isn’t so bad, at least for the most part. Without the need for everything to be tabbed in *just so*, as is required for his truck form, the fiddly nature of this conversion is a lot more forgiving and thus makes for a noticeably easier ride overall. That’s not to say it isn’t without challenge, nor that the final product doesn’t require a fair amount of adjustment, but hey at least the result looks suitably creepy.

Mixmaster has one of the most unique robot forms I think I can call to mind, with bizarre proportions, intentional kibble aplenty and an aesthetic straight out of your nightmares. The character design is going to be one that splits (hah) opinion considerably, but for better or worse the toy itself pulls off the intended look with aplomb. Visually at least, it’s a real treat.

Even the back with its ridiculous truck-cab backpack works pretty well and does a generally good job at calling to life the on-screen likeness of the character (despite a few liberties being taken here and there). I don’t think you could honestly say it’s a “tidy” robot form, but it does look exactly how it’s supposed to (messy bits and all) so by its own metric it’s successful in that regard.

The overall look is aided by the magnificent finish on display here, with the weathered paint application and superb moulded detail really working overtime to make Split stand out. Even the largely grey main body looks fabulous due to the way the paint catches the light, giving a presence to this toy that is really quite something in-hand. Looks-wise, it’s certainly something.

A focus on that detail will show you precisely what I mean, with the various mechanical portions of the figure looking on point even on close inspection.

It’s honestly hard to think of many toys that have so ably recreated the gritty metal detail of the big screen Transformers films in such superb fashion, with every examination of Split revealing more and more little touches for your eyes to ponder.

The headsculpt is pretty marvellous for as hideous as it is, ably representing the character and indeed the general style of this type of Transformer. Again, it won’t be to everyone’s taste, but if you like your Movieverse toys then it’s hard to not think this nails the required look.

Sadly where it all falls apart is when you try to do something other than just look at this toy. Such as move it, pose it, play with it or just generally touch it in any way. Hey, I’d even take care breathing on it, all in honesty. That might sound like hyperbole (never from yours truly, perish the thought), but I swear it’s not far off. I don’t think I’ve ever known a toy that required so much re-adjustment, fiddling, fixing and just general praying-to-a-higher-power about in order to stand still and straight in a stoic pose before.

It’s mainly down to the whole thing just being *so* fiddly that everything has a habit of moving out of place during even the slightest bit of handling, but there are some pieces which are certainly more offending that others. The smokestacks on his chest have a habit of swaying about with free abandon for starters, and on my copy the one will absolutely not sit flush next to the body as it’s supposed to (as clearly shown above).

The joints in the legs aren’t really up to snuff either, meaning that he’s a strong contender for falling over backwards or toppling sideways without a moment’s notice, or else he’ll just randomly go full Van Damme and do the splits on you rather unexpectedly. In fact the legs in general are just not prepared for supporting all of the bulk of the top half, making Split a notably non-stable prospect overall.

The arm joints on my copy fare a little better, but the shoulders are still somewhat prone to giving way and need to be positioned in a real sweet spot to avoid the arms sinking to the floor – quite annoying. I’ve already mentioned in the previous part about the unfortunate breakage quite somethI experienced on one half of the mixer section, although that also causes frustration here as now that part often refuses to stay in position as well.

Then there are pieces like the wheels on his thighs, which are required to stay in place through friction alone but by their very design become looser and looser over time just through handling and motion until they eventually flop around without proper position. It’s an inevitability that this will need to be resolved through tightening of the screws again and again moving forward.

Oh, and kindly don’t get me started on the gun accessory pieces that store on the back of his legs, for I just gave up on them ever fastening securely in place after a fashion. It’s a shame as in theory they do a great job at filling in some of the bulk required to make the legs look a little less spindly, but in practice they’re just an exercise in outright frustration.

But hey, let’s not forget the single biggest grievance I have with this robot mode, shall we? If you’ve seen my unboxing video then you will know that I was struggling with getting the backpack section to stay in place, as despite an obvious and large peg for it to tab onto it just didn’t seem to want to hold. Well, that wasn’t just user error on my part in front of the camera, as it turns out that the hole is just simply not large enough to accommodate the peg – end of. I spent more than enough time trying to jiggle it from every which way, applying more and more ridiculous levels of force until I finally accepted defeat and took a small file to the opening and began modifying it to fit.

I’m by no means a customiser by nature and this kind of thing absolutely fills me with dread, especially when I had to repeat the process several times over before it was in any way close to resolving the problem. As it stands now the backpack will just about hold in place, although it’s by no means perfect and will still give way should I fiddle with the toy too much. I will add that I’ve watched a couple of online videos of this toy since and noted that other reviewers do not seem to be having this same issue, so maybe I’ve just been terrificly unlucky on this occasion. I did also spot that my copy is missing a small panel which is meant to be in place on his crotch section to cover up those screw holes as well, so by this point I’m beginning to wonder if I have a bit of a lemon on my hands!

It really is a huge shame as honestly the thing *looks* amazing and carries a bucketload of presence, but as soon as I pick it up it all goes a bit Pete Tong. It’s meant any kind of dynamic posing has all but gone out of the window, with the photos you see here about the best I could achieve despite a fair amount of effort on my part.

I sincerely hope that Devil Saviour take this opportunity to learn from this release, as there is so much potential here that is sadly a bit squandered through execution. For my part, I really *wanted* it to be a success as well, so I can’t tell you how disappointing the actual experience has been.

Ultimately I do still like the look of Split quite a bit, and with him sat on my shelf now I can almost imagine away all of the various problems and just admire him as he’s stood there all stoic and smouldering. Unfortunately I know I’ll need to pick him up again at some point.

I previously made the comparison to MPM Ironhide in terms of how handling this toy felt, but I think the thing that figure has as an advantage is that at least the robot mode stands securely and can be posed without too much frustration (and especially so with the use of an upgrade kit, but that’s another story).

It is unfortunate that several of the official movie Masterpieces have suffered in terms of quality control and then we’re seeing third party equivalents falling down the same trap, which almost makes me think that it’s something about the inherently intricate nature of the designs that is leading to the issue.

However then you have companies like Dream Factory knocking it out of the park by producing robust and reliable toys that still bring the goods in terms of how they portray the complicated aesthetic of these ‘bots. For what its worth their Revenge of the Fallen Megatron looks ace next to Split, although the two could not be further apart in terms of successful execution.

Still, we’re well on the way to assembling more ROTF baddies now, so I am still looking forward to continuing this Devil Saviour journey for better or for worse. I just hope that they can drastically improve on the way, and quickly! If nothing else then fingers crossed the combined form pans out ok.

With that in mind it’s time to turn out attention to Split’s final transformation, which is of course the head section for what will become “Troublemaker”, the fully-formed attempt at Devastator. And boy, is it something!

That face! It’s truly and unspeakably horrific but I love it. The Devastator design is one of those things that divides Transformers fans like no other, but I for one can’t help but think there’s something wonderful about its twisted madness.

I say this with a sense of cautious optimism but this is by far and away the one mode where Split works exceedingly well! The transformation to get into this form is the easiest of all and the result is… well, just observe!

Even at this point of just having the head section there’s still quite a bit to admire, and in fact it’s amazing to see how this hideous visage is assembled out of the truck cab with such ease.

The face itself is a work of art, with a fantastic amount of detail and a gorgeous application of paint. In fact I have no hesitation in saying that they have really knocked this preliminary piece of the puzzle out of the park. There’re even nice little touches such as a double-moving jaw to provide a smidgen of play value.

It’s a bizarrely triumphant high point to end on after a review of this nature, but if Devil Saviour can deliver the remaining components of the combined form to this same level of execution then maybe… just maybe… things are going to be ok. I really hope so, despite a bit of a false start.

WHAT’S HOT? Split mostly looks amazing in all modes. The intricate detailing and weathered paint applications are fantastic. The combined head mode is absolutely brilliant.

WHAT’S NOT? Terrible quality control, with breaking parts, loose joints, misaligned sections, tabs not fitting and just all-round a general shoddiness. The transformation is pretty horrendous too. I really wanted to like it more as there are some positives to mention, but the frustrations are notable to say the least.

SHOP FOR THIS TOY AT TFSOURCE

TTFN

About Sixo

Transformers photographer & blogger from the UK with quite a well-known carpet. Collects both vintage G1/G2 and Masterpiece/3P.

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