Last time we looked at the new Power Core Combiners, it was one of the five-piece sets with drones. This time we look at the other variety, which is a single PCC Commander, Smolder bundled with his minicon partner, Chopster. Keep in mind that all the Commander figures can be combined with any of the drones, but if you don’t yet have any of the drone sets, you’ll have to be content with combining your figure with his minicon buddy. Deja Vous? Yeah, its Armada all over again… sort of. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
The packaging here is pretty decent. Smolder comes carded in robot form beside his minicon, Chopster, also in robot mode. Its a simple, wide card and bubble, and not much to write home about. I was surprised to see Hasbro grade this guy as an Intermediate difficulty conversion. Don’t forget, these Commander figures are basically Scout class sized and honestly, they’re easier to transform than most of the movie based Scout figures we’ve been getting for the past year or so.
Smolder has a really nice and unique looking robot form. I really dig the way the cab of the truck forms his feet and I like the extensions for his shoulders, each with a Decepticon emblem. The only thing I’m not crazy about here is the way the bright blue combiner pegs are extremely visible and hang off his knees. Apart from that, I do like his red and black paint job and he has solid articulation for this size of figure. All in all, this is one cool Con.
In vehicle form, Smolder is a Fire Emergency Response Vehicle. Yep, he’s a Decepticon and an Emergency vehicle! Again, its a pretty good vehicle for the size. There’s decent detail in the grill and light bar. I also love the flaming Decepticon logos on the sides. There’s not much robot kibble unless you luck underneath him and he rolls along really nice. Smolder has a minicon peg on top so that you can mount Chopster.
The minicons in this series aren’t quite the same as what we saw in previous series like Armada. Instead of transforming into vehicles themselves, they’re more like triple changer Targetmasters, and that right there is pure awesomeness wrapped in cool, because I’ve always loved the whole Targetmaster concept. Its also a lot better idea than just sticking little vehicles all over bigger transformers to “power them up.” Chopster can transform into an energon axe for Smolder’s robot mode, a cannon for his vehicle mode, and he can also transform into power up armor that mounts onto the front of Smolder’s chest. Ok, so he’s actually a quadruple changer. Truth be told, the armor piece doesn’t look so hot, but the energon axe is really cool. Kind of sucks for Chopster, though, since he has to get smashed into Autobots all day. His robot form is about what I’ve come to expect from the minicon figures. He’s not terribly remarkable, but he does have a pair of gatling guns for arms, so he’s got that going for him.
I only have the one set of drones, the Combaticons, so we’ll have to settle for using them to show off Smolder’s combined form.
It works, but I don’t think he looks as good as Bombshock’s combined form. Then again, the color scheme is pretty off. I think he’ll look better combined with some of the Autobot drones, but that’ll have to wait until I get my hands on some more of these.
Smolder and Chopster retail at $9.99. I think that’s a pretty decent price. At first I wasn’t so crazy about the use of translucent plastic on the minicon, but I have to admit his energon axe mode makes it worth while. Smolder is a nice looking figure and he fits in really well with other Scout figures from Energon or Cybertron.