Transformers Combiner Wars: Menasor by Hasbro

Over the course of the last month or so I’ve been checking out the Combiner Wars Stunticons and that has inevitably started me on the path to today’s Feature wherein I take five really good figures and combine them together a questionable gestalt. But before we get to that I want to point out how much I appreciate what Hasbro is trying with these. I’ll also point out that Superion is by most collectors’ opinions infinitely better and the only reason I haven’t looked at him yet is because I’m waiting for the Takara release later this Summer. And so with all that having been said…

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“Stunticons…

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Transform…

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And Merge…

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Into…

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Menasor!!!”

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And here he is in all his, um… glory. In true Scramble City fashion, there is a great deal of customization available here. Not only can you arrange the limbs in any manner you want, but you can throw other combiner limbs on there too. I’m going for the standard G1 configuration that puts Dragstrip and Dead End as the arms and Breakdown and Wildrider Offroad as the legs. I’ll also point out that I don’t have Blackjack yet to fill out his chest, I’ll revisit that option in a few weeks when I get around to looking at that figure. Yes, without him the chest is an unsightly empty cavity, but I’m not going to pick on that just because I’m missing that figure. It can be closed up, but I’m not sure it’s much an improvement. Also, keep in mind, I’m not overly concerned with which foot/hand part goes with which figure at this point, so pardon me if I’ve mixed them up.

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Proportionally speaking, Menasor is a mess. He’s got such a tiny torso and he’s all legs and arms, which is an issue of Hasbro repeating the same design mistake from Fall of Cybertron Bruticus. On the plus side, the bulkier arms and legs help out a lot and the more I look at him the more I’m willing to admit that he’s a big improvement over that horrid Bruticus figure. Sure, that’s a loaded compliment, but Menasor should take what he can get.

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The head sculpt has grown on me quite a bit and I couldn’t tell you why. I’m still not a fan of the huge horns, but the face itself is pretty solid. I actually find his expression to be appropriate because he looks like he’s in agony and probably wants to be put down. Either that or he suddenly realized that he just pooped himself.

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While I said I don’t want to get into a lot of the customization options, I will say that I prefer to build his legs in the old G1 fashion with the undercarriages of the cars showing to the front. This does, admittedly hamper the normal knee articulation by not allowing the lower legs to bend backwards, but I think it looks better if I’m just going to have him stand there. And that leads me to my next point.

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While Menasor isn’t the prettiest thing around, it’s actually not his aesthetics that I find most irksome, but rather his stability and playability. Just looking at him, I would guess that Hasbro made a lot of sacrifices in order to build a solid toy and in fairness he does have a satisfying chunky look to him. Unfortunately, playing around with him, or just trying to pose him is an exercise in utter frustration, which all starts in the hip design. Ugh, those hips! Just getting the legs even is a pain in the ass, but unless I have the legs on mine straight up and down, the hips are going to give way and he’s going to do the splits. There’s also not a lot of subtelty to those ratchet joints, so tweaking his stance is all but futile and more often than not when he’s standing I find that his torso is lopsided.

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The shoulders are another problem. Moving the arms forward and backward usually cause the shoulder assembly in the torso to give way and come apart. I find that the only way to pose the arms is to hold the figure by this area to keep it together. Again, playing with toys and posing them should be fun, but everything about handling this guy is a chore.

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Menasor has one weapon in his arsenal (unless you count collapsing and falling on top of an Autobot) and that’s his sword. The sword is formed from Motormaster’s gun and sword and overall looks pretty good. Unfortunately, he can’t really hold it. Instead it pegs into a socket that’s closer to the wrist and looks rather awkward.

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I feel bad picking on this figure. I like what Hasbro tried to do here and I really like the Stunticons as a team of individual figures. I will even go so far as to say that Menasor probably doesn’t look as bad in person as I thought he would based on the terrible “official” pics from Hasbro. But the apologists will tell you that this is a toy and if it doesn’t look as good as your $350 Fansproject Menasor that’s because it’s for kids and it’s meant to be played with. Well, I can’t imagine that playing with this guy could be any fun. Fortunately, it looks like Menasor will likely be the black sheep of the Combiner Wars gestalts, because I’m really anxious to get my hands on Unite Warriors Superion and Defensor is looking mighty damn nice too!

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