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Review – Transformers – Combiner Wars – Computron (Technobot Giftset)

Combiner Wars was definitely an interesting take on the line.  The need for every figure to be a robot and a vehicle and an arm or a leg really made for some pretty similar designs across the board.  All of the most well known combiners, Superion, Menasor, Bruticus, Defensor, ended up with a release in the main line.  Devastator got a massive Titan Class boxed set release as well.  One vehicle combiner missing from the mainline was Computron.  Instead of individual releases, Computron came available at the tail end of the line as a boxed set only, though he consists of repaints of previously released figures.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

The boxed set for Computron consists of 7 figures, 5 forming the core combiner and one Legends class partner, like all of the other releases, who happens to also include another even smaller partner toy of it’s own.  Unlike the other 4 known combiners, Computron is a straight update of his normal 5 members, no stand ins like Rook of Alpha Bravo.  It’s also worth noting that there was also a Japanese boxed set released around the same time that costs around the same price.  There are a lot of different design choices in which molds are used and both sets contain unique new remold versions of Strafe.  I do not own the Japanese version but there are pluses and minuses to each design choice and a lot of what it comes down to is a preference of G1 cartoon vs G1 toy aesthetics.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Lightspeed

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

I want to start with Lightspeed since he’s probably the most boring of all of the figures in this set.  Not really so much because of his design, but because he’s a repaint of the Streetwise/Prowl mold which is itself a remold of the Breakdown/Wildrider mold.  Basically, this mold has been used a ton throughout this entire line and so it’s starting to feel a little tired.  On the plus side, it’s one of the better molds in the line.  He has a nice range of pose ability, his transformation is a little more interesting all around and it works well as both an arm and a leg.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

The overall shape fits pretty well as an update to G1 Lightspeed as well.  The original toy was a bit more orange in color however.  This color works pretty well though and homages closer to the cartoon color pallet.

Nosecone

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Next up we have Nosecone.  Probably the weakest figure in the entire set, primarily due to the choice in base mold.  The original Nosecone was a drill tank thing.  Rather than take the Takara route of extensively remolding Rook, Hasbro’s Nosecone is simply a repaint of Brawl from the Combaticon set with a new drill bit turret.

A lot of Nosecones flaws are simply due to using the Brawl mold, which is the weakest in the line.  He is so close to being pretty good though, at least in robot mode.  The waist joint however is very poorly designed, things accordion together to connect the legs to the torso, but the accordion action isn’t quite a solid as it wants to be or should be.  He does have a pretty nice paint job in robot mode as well which helps.  The paint apps are more designed to homage the original toy than the original cartoon.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Where things fall apart is the vehicle.  The intended design is to position the turret out what is the back of the original tank.  The problem is this means the bottom of the feel are really obviously exposed in all of their hollow glory.  You’re better off just positioning the drill facing forward the way Brawn’s turret sits and calling it a day.  It’s mildly less accurate but looks a heck of a lot better.

Strafe

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Strafe is kind of the polar opposite of Nosecone and Lightspeed.  Where both of those were straight repaints, Strafe is an extensive remold of the Air Raid mold.  Where Air Raid turns into an F-14 fighter jet, Strafe has an entirely new front half and a completely different wing assembly on the legs.  The only real noticeable bits that are the same are the robot parts and the rear tail fins.  As such he shares the same basic transformation that all of the Aerialbots used with the clam-shell leg mechanism and the arms folded to the sides and the nosecone backpack.  All of the Aerialbots are solid figures however, which translates into a nice plus for Strafe.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Unlike his Aerialbot counterparts, Strafe’s “funky space ship” alt mode allows him to wear his bulky undercarriage much more well.  He isn’t trying to be a sleek jet, so the body bulk and complete lack of aerodynamics become much more excusable.

Afterburner

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Afterburner is the pseudo new mold of this set.  The motorcycle mold in Combiner Wars showed up originally in Takara’s Defensor set for Groove.  There has been rumor and speculation that the US release received Rook in place of Groove because of safety issues involving the clear plastic canopy, due to scale issues of the motorcycle, and possibly just because the mold is a little large for a standard deluxe and this didn’t fit price wise.  Eventually Groove did get a limited release in the states through several online retailers.  Afterburner however is the most reliable way to get the mold in the US, though Afterburner is also a remold and not just a straight repaint of Groove.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

I can see why he might have failed standard safety tests, that window backpack just sort of hangs off of the top of the figure and clear plastic tends to be more brittle than the standard plastic used in most figures.  On the other hand, here we are, with a regular mass release version of the mold.  The speculation that he’s too large is feasible as well, he is definitely taller and bulkier than most of the Combiner Wars deluxes.  The scale issue, at least in Afterburner’s case, kind of falls away however.  Groove is a police motorcycle, thus would be much smaller than his fellow Protectobots.  Afterburner is a space motorcycle.  Who says he isn’t a giant space motorcycle.  Especially when all of his friends are giant robots.

Scattorshot

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Scattorshot is a repaint of the much more muted color pallet, mass released, Scattorshot who is a remold of the Aerialbot torso, Silverbolt.  The mass release version of the figure was very bland and mostly red, and formed the torso for “Beta-tron”.  I’m not sure why he ended up with two releases, my only real assumption is they weren’t sure Computron would actually get a release.  The boxed set version has a lot more white spots of color and different shades of red, which really helps make the mold look a lot less… beta, in design.

This mold is one of the better torsos in the line, but the individual robot is a little funky looking with it’s huge boots.  It does work for Scattorshot though, the original toy also had some kind of funky proportions going on with his body.  The funky space wings really help to make him seem different than Silverbolt as well, which is nice.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

The vehicle gets a new node piece in the form of a giant cannon, in addition to the previously mentioned space wings.  There are enough little greebly bits added to the vehicle to help him stand out even more from Silverbolt.  The torso, doesn’t fare quite as well however, as it very much resembles Superion’s torso.

Scrounge and Cybaxx (Boltax)

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Because there were little “helper” transformers in the Legends scale for each of the other combiners, Computron also includes a repaint of Generations Cosmos and Payload in the form of Scrounge and Boltax.  Both are relatively obscure G1 comic characters, both of which were originally yellow gold colored.   The original Scrounge seems to turn into some sort of wheel thing, so Cosmos’ flying saucer works pretty well there.  Boltax doesn’t really have an original alt mode, his association here is more on the “smart guy” side of the Technobots theme.  He was sort of an omniscient librarian in his original form.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

The new head on the Cosmos mold is a nice little touch, it would have been really simple and easy to just make him a repaint.  Given that this is an older mold from an older line, the interactivity with the larger Computron is pretty weak.  Where Menasor and Defensor got new chest pieces and Superion and Bruticus got guns, Scrounge sort of becomes a shield that loose bolts onto existing pegs and Boltax turns into an undersized targetmaster style gun (just like Payload).  Well, undersized for Computron, less so for any of the individual robots.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Computron

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

So, being apart of Combiner Wars, and the combiner Computron, these figures all merge together to form one giant robot.  He’s actually got quite a bit going for him in his combined form, compared to the other combiners in the line.  Despite some of the individual flaws, all of these figures are good limbs.  Couple this with the Silverbolt/Scattorshot torso and you end up with a pretty solid combined robot.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

What also helps make this set is that he also includes a new set of hand/foot pieces.  The individual releases all came with various hand/foot bits that could be either a hand or a foot.  They were also a bit undersized for the combined robots, especially for the feet.  Computron here has two dedicated feet that are much larger than the previous hand/foot gun pieces, and two nicely sculpted left and right fists.  The Hand/Foot Guns all were also designed to work as a left or right hand.  These pieces really help him look more beefy and properly proportioned in his combined form.

His color scheme is a little hodge podgey, though the tones are all sort of in the same general pallet and there is a lot of colors across the limbs that helps everything feel a bit more blended.  He also benefits from the boxed set benefit of budget, because he has a bit more paint apps across the board, which helps make him look really nice.

Overall, Computron is a really great complete package of a combiner.  He’s probably my favorite of the 5 combiner sets that I own (Superion, Bruticus, Defensor, Menasor, and Computron).  The techno spacey Cybertronian theme of all of the vehicles helps these guys stand out in a sea of Earth modes and help hide some of the bulky-ness flaws of the Combiner Wars line.  You also get an entire set instead of having to hunt down individual robots, which makes things a lot easier.

 

Review – Transformers – RiD – Bisk

I have yet to actually watch any of the Transformers Robots in Disguise show, but very early on one of the designs showed off was for a character named Bisk.  Everyone hoped Bisk would get a toy but early indicators where we had one Decepticon for a dozen Autobots, it didn’t seem likely.  Thankfully things changed and we ended up with our crazy Lobster Man Transformer.  He’s even gotten a repaint named Thermidor.

Transformers Robots In Disguise Bisk

Bisk, has the pleasure of having a Lobster for his animal theme.  He definitely takes this theme above and beyond with his lobster head and giant Lobster Claw hands.  Even his vehicle mode kibble hanging off of his back works since it sort of looks like a lobster shell.  I can fully understand how this zany looking robot would not work for some people, he certainly stands out with other Transformers, especially non RiD Decepticons, but he certainly has a ton of character from this look.

Transformers Robots In Disguise Bisk

This character even goes a bit deeper than expected with his Vehicle Mode.   Transformers Robots In Disguise is a sort of sequel to the previous series, Transformers Prime.  It shares a general design ascetic and the plot is a sort of follow up to the previous series, though the tone of these two shows is quite different.  Bisk’s vehicle very much resembles the Vehicon Drones that were ever present in Transformers Prime.  He’s not an exact match but the overall shape is there.  His guns even mount on the front headlights the way the old Vehicon guns do.

Transformers Robots In Disguise Bisk

His guns also work in robot mode via the same pegs, mounting on top of his lobster claws.  The claws are particularly interesting, the arm joints aren’t quite traditional joints for up and down and rotation, but there are essentially two different elbow joins next to each other, which allows for his claws to work both in a vertical and horizontal orientation.  It really helps add to the range of poses he can make using his big ol’ claws.

Transformers Robots In Disguise Bisk

Overall, though the aesthetic won’t work for everyone, Bisk is a pretty fantastic addition to the Robots in Disguise line up.  He looks nice in both modes, the Transformation is pretty straight forward and he just oozes character.  He’s nicely poseable too, which is always a good feature.

Review – Transformers – Titans Return – Kup

Ah Kup, a character that seems to be hard to just do right in Toy form while not being kind of boring.  His original G1 toy is best described as “Weird Space Pick Up”.  He got an alright update a few years ago in the Generations line where he turned into an old timey Earth Pick Up.  Kup, despite being fairly popular has a few issues that come up when trying to make updates.  First, his alt mode is lame and kind of boring, which isn’t particularly marketable.  Second, his character is old and grouchy and thus isn’t the best character to appeal to kids.  In the comics he’s been molded more into the classic veteran commando type but he also has trademark items like his Cygar, that help push this motif, which doesn’t really work in a toy line marketed to kids either.

Transformers Titans Return Kup

The whole Titans Return line is really pushing in on the later G1 toys, and being really slavish to their original designs as much as possible.  It’s not surprising Kup got an updated figure for this line.  Aside from the chest area and actually having shoulders, he is a pretty good update to the original G1 design as well.  The vehicle manages to fold up on itself in some pretty interesting ways to form a very nice looking and clean robot.

Transformers Titans Return Kup

In fact the neat Transformation is one of the best parts of this toy.  The front cockpit does some fun little things to form a cavity for the Headmaster to drive, but on top of that the side panels do some pretty impressive origami to form the lower legs.  The end result is that the Robot doesn’t have a ton of gaps and holes in it that has become the trend in today’s cost saving design choices.

Transformers Titans Return Kup

Kup maintains his dopey Space Pick Up design this round, though he takes some queues from Transformers Prime’s Kup with the truck bed.  His guns can fill in the gap to create a nice little block of technology engine looking junk that he can carry around.  They still look like guns, but it does help to keep his alt mode from looking funky.

Transformers Titans Return Kup

Like all of the Titans Return line, Kup’s titan master can sit in the cockpit to drive the vehicle mode.  Unfortunately the pegs that hold the titan master in place are kin of weak and getting the little figure attached while navigating the window piece and not splitting the truck panels apart is tricky.  What I’m saying is, it’s a lot harder to get him into the driver’s seat than say, any of the space jets that have simple canopy cockpits.

Transformers Titans Return Kup

The Transformation that I enjoy is probably the main downside of this figure.  Getting everything to line up isn’t that hard, but it can be tricky and it could be tricky to manage for some folks (kids, apparently Kup just doesn’t work well for kids all around, see above).  Getting the front of the truck to all line up and attach to the side panels is definitely tricky and given the small pegs holding things in place can be hard to keep in place.  He’s a neat fun toy, but the Transformation from robot to vehicle is overly complex compared to other figures in the Titans Return line.

Review – Transformers – RiD – Thunderhoof

Thunderhoof has the distinct pleasure of possibly having the first Tractor alt mode in Transformers.  There may have been one previously, probably some sort of Minicon if there was one, but I am pretty sure there hasn’t been a Farm Tractor in Transformers history.  Plenty of construction vehicles, not so much farm machines.

Transformers Robots in Disguise Thunderhoof

Thunderhoof’s spirit animal as it may be, is a deer.  As such he ends up with some pretty huge majestic antlers on his head in Robot mode.  He also, appropriately, has hooved feet.  His robot mode is pretty imposing and has a nice design but it’s not without it’s problems.  The backside is very bare bones and his legs are very hollow.  This makes him pretty ungly when views from rear angles.

Transformers Robots in Disguise Thunderhoof

The biggest offender is in his legs.  As part of the Transformation, his shins have a joint in the middle to allow the lower half to fold up.  This joint basically ends up flexing constantly because there isn’t really any way to lock it in place.  It almost functions as a second knee joint, in an annoying way.

Transformers Robots in Disguise Thunderhoof

Part of the reason for all of this hollowness and funky extra joints is the amount of compression that goes on during transformation.  Thunderhoof kind of reminds me of the old Lockdown toys in how much larger his robot seems than his vehicle.  Thunderhoof is easily one of, if not the tallest Deluxe figure in the Robots in Disguise line, yet his vehicle may be the smallest of the line.  Everything neatly and compactly folds up on itself.  The vehicle is neat and pretty menacing with it’s giant spiked bit on the front.  The spike bit is simply his head hanging off the front, but it’s not super noticeable as his head except from the bottom.

Transformers Robots in Disguise Thunderhoof

Transformers Robots in Disguise Thunderhoof

Thunderhoof is a bit of a mixed bag.  He’s got a neat design, but he has a lot of little issues that make him pretty finicky as a toy.  He’s definitely a good example of why it kind of stinks that there are no Voyager level toys in the Robots in Disguise line.  He could have definitely benefited from a larger size and price point allowing for a bit more stability and a larger alternate mode.

 

Review – Transformers – RiD – Fracture

Fracture is the real turning point for the Decepticons of the Robots in Disguise line.  There was a slow build up before hand with Megatron but Fracture was the point where the line really got good.

Transformers Robots In Disguise Fracture

Fracture’s animal theme, though less obvious than Quillfire and Steeljaw, is a rooster.  This mostly presents with his little mohawk deal on his head, though his shoulders also have a sort of random almost feathery look to them.  Articulation is really nice on this figure, and he doesn’t have a lot of really bad hollow bits which tend to plague a lot of modern Transformers.

Transformers Robots In Disguise Fracture

Transformers Robots In Disguise Fracture

The real shinning bit is his nifty rifle.  He has a variety of pegs and handles that allow it to be handles and held in a lot of fun poses.   It’s not quite a sniper rifle, though given it’s long barrel and design it’s easy to see that it could be wielded in such a manner.  It can also be used a sort of cudgel using the center post.  It’s very versatile and add a lot to the play ability of the figure.

Transformers Robots In Disguise Fracture

Fracture transforms into a decent looking Chopper style Motorcycle.  He’s large enough for other Transformers to ride on, however the width of the bike’s body makes it hard to get most figures to properly straddle the seat.  It still is a very cool looking alt mode and the Transformation is interesting despite it’s simplicity.  The front wheel and topmost center mass do some fun flippy tricks to compact down and form the robot’s torso and backpack.  The large rifle also folds in half and attaches as a large exhaust pipe.

Transformers Robots In Disguise Fracture

Bottom line is that Fracture is a really fun Decepticon for the Robots in Disguise toy line.  The robot is neat and pretty dynamic and the vehicle is pretty cool looking and unique.  I have no real complaints on this guy.

Transformers – Review – Titans Return – Broadside

Broadside is a character that people have been anticipating an update of for a while now, mostly because he was part of the popular Wreckers team int he comics.  He’s one of the few members who hasn’t gotten a new toy in ages, though it’s somewhat understandable why he hasn’t.  Broadside has two alt modes, one is a jet, one is an aircraft carrier.  Working aircraft Carriers in with any level of scale is effectively impossible being possibly the largest vehicles on the planet.

Transformers Titans Return Broadside

There is a vague attempt to make scale work with Broadside.  He includes a set of small aircraft sculpted to resemble the recently released Combiner Wars Aerialbots toys, that can be stuck on the carrier deck using little pegs.  This does have the odd effect int hat it means his Headmaster in “reality” would be larger than Superion, but it’s still a neat effort.  I plan to paint up my Aerialbots at some point since they are all white plastic.

Transformers Titans Return Broadside

Talking about small Aerialbots seems like a funny place to start out discussing a figure, they are just accessories after all.  The thing is, I prefer to discuss the good points before the bad points, and the mini Aerialbots are the only real good point with poor Broadside.  It’s fairly rare that I just flat out don’t like a toy, I try to find some redeeming qualities when possible, but I really just don’t like Broadside, he’s just a big ball of weird design choices and flaws.

Transformers Titans Return Broadside

So, continuing with the carrier mode.  The flat deck essentially consists of a bunch of flippy panels that all sort of but don’t quite mesh together well, which kind of huts the aesthetics of the carrier.  It’s also covered in a lot of ill fitting stickers.  The stickers aren’t the problem on their own, it’s how poorly they fit and how the sticker detail doesn’t even attempt to match the sculpted detailing on the surfaces they attach to.  Then there are the little landing gears on the carrier, which are mostly just used to allow it to sit on a flat surface, except the way they fold up is goofy and they are prone to folding up by mistake when trying to display the carrier.  Lastly the goofy wings on the front end of the carrier.  These wings sort of exist for the Jet mode, except they look goofy over there, as well in Robot mode.  They just are all around poorly executed and get int he way in all three modes than they do help the look.

Transformers Titans Return Broadside

Moving on to the Jet mode.  I will just say, an attempt was made, and leave it there.

Transformers Titans Return Broadside

On the robot, hid design is almost there, he’s nice and beefy and chunky, except his also just sort of gets int he way of himself.  Those previously mentioned Wings just sort of hang off of his shins and get in the way.  The carrier panels hanging off of his shoulders get in the way of the arms and shoulders.  He’s also back heavy so posing him can be a little difficult as well.

Transformers Titans Return Broadside

I think my biggest issue with Broadside is mostly just how close he is in almost every area he misses.  It just makes him frustrating to interact with in every way because everything about him mostly almost works but not quite.   To add insult to injury, he seems to have been shipped alone to a lot of stores, which means he will likely clog up shelves for a while blocking other Voyagers from getting a more widespread release.

Review – Transformers – Titans Return – Perceptor

Due to it’s hodge podge origins in various Japanese toy lines, primarily Diaclone and Microman, the Transformers picked up a few less practical alt modes in it’s early days.  The most well known is Soundwave’s cassette player.  Perceptor is one of those characters with a less conventional (ie not a car or a plane) modes with his Microscope mode.  The previous Generations remake of Perceptor changed things a bit giving him a Snow truck alternate mode instead of his traditional Microscope.  Titans Return has been all about keeping with the designs of the original toys as much as possible, with updated modern engineering, so Perceptor is once again, a Microscope.

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

You could argue that he’s actually a sort of medical bay for the Titan Masters however, since the stage of the microscope is designed for a Titan Master to lay in to be examined by the scope.  The scope itself is functional as a microscope, though it’s extremely low power and kind of hard to look through due to it’s small size.  If you put say, a finger in front of it, you will get an enlarged image of your fingerprint however, which is a nice touch.

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

The overall design is very reminiscent to the original Perceptor toy from the 80s, though he’s quite a bit smaller, the original figure was somewhere between modern Deluxe and Voyager sizes.   His transformation is where a lot of the flaws come through.  It’s simple enough, but the sliding mechanism for the microscope feels extremely stiff and prone to breaking.  I have not broken one, it just very much feels like a part that could easily BE broken if care isn’t given.  There are alsoa  lot of unused extra bits on his body for the undocumented Tank Mode

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

The original Perceptor had an attack mode which amounted to folding him into a square and using the scope as a tank canon.   There are definitely vestigial bits for something similar to be done on the Titans Return toy, but the instructions do not show anything about how to properly transform him into a tank.  There are extra flip out treads, extra flipping parts on his chest, extra tabs on his legs and shoulders.  It’s even a great way to better incorporate the little Titan Master drivers into the mode.  It’s just not documented, which is kind of tragic.

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

Aside from the missing Tank Mode, I really enjoy this figure.  I’ve always been partial to Perceptor because of his goofy Microscope mode, though I can see how this may be seen as boring by some people.  The microscope actually having some very basic functionality just makes this guy even more interesting and good in my book.

Review – Transformers – RiD – Quillfire

Broken Record time again, I just love the unique style and designs of the Robots in Disguise Decepticon line up.  Quillfire is no exception, with his porcupine themed robot mode.  He also has a very unique squat shape to his design, which just helps give him more character.

Quillfire, unlike Steeljaw, has the benefit of being a late line figure.  That is, he came out in wave 3 or 4, and the designers of the figures have had a chance to work out the new kinks that pop up every new Transformers line.  The neatest part of his design is probably in his head, which Which despite having a hunched look, has an extra joint added that allows for side to side movement.  Given that a lot of recent Transformers have kind of felt like they were cheapening out in places, the neck joint here really feels like a bonus.  It’s something that could easily have been removed.

He also has a functioning jaw on his large head, which helps add to the ascetics in a good way.  Additionally, despite his stocky design, the pose ability is pretty good.  He does unfortunately have a pretty large ugly backpack just sort of hanging off of him, which is kind of meh and though the neck is cool, it is limited compared to your more traditional robot designs.

He is also incredibly brown, which admittedly makes him kind of bland to look at.  He has a repaint named Scatterspike which has a very similar color scheme, which doesn’t help matters on his color scheme.  Like most of RiD, the Transformation is pretty straight forward without too many steps or flippy panels.  He includes two weapons, a hand held gun and a quill knife, both are able to be stored in Vehicle mode.

Despite his boring brown appearance, Quillfire, is a neat and fun little toy.  His repaint Scatterspike probably has a slightly more interesting color scheme since it’s a dark shade of Red, if you are only interested in getting the mold once.  Then again, the browns are a bit more military looking if that’s your thing.  He’s a decent toy, just not much to look at.