Transformers Power Core Combiners: Bombshock by Hasbro

Hooray… in the Transformers aisles, The Revenge of the Fallen figures are finally subsiding in favor of some new, more original material. I’ll be the first to admit that I bought a lot more ROTF figures than I had planned to, so I’m not hating on them, but the movie has come and gone so long ago, its about time we get some more original stuff before Transformers 3 rolls out and we have to start this all over again. So what does Hasbro have in store for us between movies? They’re called Generations and Power Core Combiners. Truth be told, I was hoping to find some of the Generations figures, but I had no such luck, so today, we’re going to look at one of the later.

When I first heard about the Power Core Combiners gimmick, I was pretty skeptical. The idea of having one true Transformer combining with either minicons or non-transforming drones gave me fevered flashbacks to the days of Energon Optimus Prime. But then I saw some pictures of the figures, and I was willing to give them a chance. The transforming figures are called Commanders, and they come in two types of sets: One type pairs a Commander with a minicon, and another bundles a Commander figure with four drones. Today, we’re going to take a look at the first of the Decepticon sets, which consists of five military vehicles and are called… what else? The Combaticons!

The packaging is similar to the type Hasbro used for those exclusive repackage sets of the Energon Aerialbots and Combaticons a little while back, only smaller. The Commander figure, Bombshock, comes in his robot mode and is flanked by his four, nameless drones: An armored car, an APC, a rocket truck and a tank. The back panel shows the toys combining into their gestalt form. All in all, its ok packaging, only a little more derivative of the Revenge of the Fallen design then I would have liked. Its fairly collector friendly too.

The first thing I noticed about Bombshock is that he’s smaller than I thought he would be. I was expecting the Commander figures to be Deluxe sized and the drones to be closer to Scouts. As it turns out the Commanders are definitely Scout classes and the drones are even smaller. Bombshock actually fits in really well with the Energon Combaticons, check him out standing beside Energon Blackout.

Size aside, there’s definitely an homage going on here, as Bombshock has a few similarities to the G1 Combaticon leader Onslaught, particularly with the way his two cannons sick up behind the back of his head. The colors are a solid military mix of green and gray with some yellow thrown in to brighten things up.

Bombshock is a little stocky, particularly in the legs, but he does have decent articulation, with ball joints in the shoulders, elbows, hips and hinged knees. You can also position his back cannons forward to give them a more functional position for his robot mode. As far as robots go, he’s nothing amazing, but he is a solid figure. He reminds me a lot of an Energon-era figure, which is not a bad thing and I’m happy to see the more boxy G1 style coming back over the bionicle-styled Bayformers.

Bombshock’s vehicle mode is a sort of artillery truck, much like his predecessor Onslaught. It rolls along on six wheels and has a rotating turret with guns that elevate. I think his robot form took priority over this form, because some aspects of it are a little sloppy, like the way the combiner pegs hang off the back bumper. Still, for a Scout sized vehicle, it isn’t bad.

I don’t have a lot to say about the four drones. They look decidedly less detailed and more toyish than Bombshock’s vehicle mode. They do have some decent paint apps, and each one has a Decepticon logo. As expected, they also don’t do a whole lot, except roll along and some of their weapons turn. They’re certainly more interesting than the drones that came with Energon Optimus Prime, and I can imagine that kids could have some fun with these.

Surprisingly enough, the combination feature works extremely well with this set. Getting Bombshock into his torso mode is pretty easy and once that’s done, all you have to do is peg on each of the drones to their appropriate spot. The rocket truck and tank form the arms and the armored truck and APC form the legs. You can switch them off left or right, but you can’t make a leg into an arm or vice versa like you could with the old Scramble City style combiners. The drones all have spring loaded mechanisms that transform them automatcally as you peg them in. It works well, so long as you aren’t holding any of the parts that need to transform.

The Combaticon’s gestalt mode (Bruticus? Ruination??) is pretty good. Yeah, his limbs look somewhat like cobbled together junk, but he’s much, much better than the Energon combiners and he doesn’t look any worse than most of the G1 combiners either. His head is definitely inspired by G1 Bruticus. What’s most impressive is that the gestalt mode doesn’t require any additional pieces, which is pretty much a first for Transformers combiners, and the result is a very solid figure. You can play around with the combined form without having to worry about bits falling off or limbs coming loose. Its very cool.

This set retails at $19.99. Considering that Scouts are going for around $7.99 at some retailers, I don’t think this is a bad deal. Sure, four of the pieces in the set don’t transform into robots, but I think the set is pretty well designed and comes across as one of the better combiner toys we’ve seen out of Hasbro in a while. I was iffy about it when I made the purchase, but I have no regrets after playing around with it for a while and I’m looking forward to picking up the future releases.

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