LAST TIME ON THE TRANSFORMERS… “The Protectobots are dispatched from Cybertron and arrive on Earth to aid the Autobots in their never-ending war against the eeeeevil Decepticons!”
Prime: “Welcome, comrades. It’s good to see you all aga… Wait…”
Prime: “Who the hell are you?”
Groove: “It’s me, Prime! I’m Groove!”
Prime: “The hell you are!”
Prime: “Ahhhh, There’s Groove! Help me get him out of his stasis pod!
Blades: “Holy Primus! It’s like the Alpha Bravo incident all over again!”
Prime: “What was that?”
Blades: “Nothing! I didn’t say anything!”
Yup, better late than never! The Deluxe Class Groove that made his debut in Japan has finally come Stateside, so we can all finally throw away our Legends Class Grooves or awkwardly keep him as part of the team as Mini-Groove. Although, Deluxe Groove is still pretty tough to find at a reasonable price. He turns up on Amazon every now and again for retail and quickly sells out. Me? I paid $25 for him. A lot of dough for a Deluxe, but it was an amount I was comfortable paying in order to get him and be done with it. Besides, it’s only a couple of bucks more than if I bought him at one of those swanky rich folks Toys R Us stores where they jack up the prices 20% based on the surrounding demographics. The packaging is typical Combiner Wars fare, although for some reason they showcase him combining with Sky Lynx rather than Hot Spot and the rest of the team. I’ve been waiting a while for this guy, so let’s get him open and check him out!
Motorcycle Transformers… don’t get me started! The modern Transformers aesthetics have allowed a finer balance between alt mode and robot when it comes to these two-wheeled convertobots, but if you’re shooting for a robot mode that’s a little more boxy to match the glory days of the Transformers, you’ve got to sacrifice a little in the alt mode to get the job done. Groove’s motorcycle mode does that and I think it’s just enough to get the job done. I can point out all sorts of nitpicks about this mode. The hands are obvious, the windshield is so undersized that it would be useless, and the overall body is pretty big and boxy. But you know what? I don’t care about any of those things. This is an overall solid motorcycle that does what it needs to do in order to get me Groove as a limb for Defensor.
The deco is pretty simple with a whole lot of white, some black, and a little bit of gold and silver. The white plastic they used on this guy looks outstanding. It’s very bright and crisp and has a nice quality feel to it. You get a bright blue translucent windshield with an Autobot emblem stamped on it and some sharp looking translucent red lights on the front. “POLICE” is printed on both sides near the back of the seat. I really dig the way the guns attach to the lower back of the bike to form exhaust pipes. They also have translucent red lights as well. The alt mode is rounded out by a little kickstand that folds down to hold the bike upright. Transforming Groove is fairly straight forward and makes use of some common Combiner Wars engineering, like the way the legs extend out and retract back into themselves.
The result is a super solid robot mode that uses a lot of the design tropes we’ve seen in the Combiner Wars Deluxes, but also introduces enough new stuff to make this figure feel almost fresh. Yup, you still get the hinged combiner port exposed in the chest. That’s something that bothered me a lot when this line debuted, but I’ve mellowed on it a lot and now I don’t really mind it at all. The overall design is a beautiful blend of boxy G1 with modern streamlining. The rear wheel splits in half to preserve symmetry on his legs and the silver engine parts look great as his arms. The mostly white and black deco adds a lot more gold to the mix.
From the back, Groove wears the front assembly of the bike as a backpack. It’s bulky, but it’s also fine by me. Much the way the Aerialbots wear most of a jet on their backs, this is something that I just find endearing.
Groove’s head sculpt is packed with personality. Although, I’ve got to be honest, I don’t remember a lot about the personalities of the G1 Protectobots. There wasn’t a lot of it in the cartoon to really imprint on me at a young age. I’m getting a major Beast Wars Dinobot vibe off this guy, but flipping back through some of my Marvel comics shows a pretty good likeness to the comic art. He does looks like a cop that you do not want to be pulled over by. Still, I’m maybe just a little disappointed that Hasbro didn’t opt to give him a motorcycle cop porn ‘stache. Oh yeah… he’s also got some epic light piping.
Articulation is what you would expect out of the Combiner Wars limbs and that means a nice assortment of ball joints and hinges. These may be very simple Deluxe figures when it comes to the transformation engineering, but I think that makes them a lot more fun to play with in robot mode. Groove is solid, sturdy and fun to pose.
Of course, we already got a peek at his weapons on his alt mode. They are twin guns, which make him the second best armed Protectobot next to Hotspot. OK, maybe if you count Blades’ arm rockets he could be in the running too. These are great looking weapons and the translucent red lights on the tops make them look all the more distinctive.
You know, I started getting some major Combiner Wars fatigue when Hasbro started putting out the limbs based on the G1 Autobot cars. That and my decision to wait for Takara’s Combaticons meant that I’ve been sitting out this line for the last few waves. But that shouldn’t come as any kind of indictment against Combiner Wars as a whole. I’ve really enjoyed this line a lot and Groove here has reminded me of that. He’s a great figure and well worth the extra ten bucks or so that I had to kick in to get him. Also, I was just kidding about tossing away Legends Groove earlier on. He’s still a fine little figure for my Legends collection. I just don’t have a place for him in my Defensor. Wait? What’s that? Did I forget something?
Awww, yeah. As with all the Combiner Wars figures, Groove is capable of forming a leg or an arm, but screw that. He’ll always be a right leg in my Protectobot gestalt. And a damn fine leg he is. While I appreciate the whole “Scramble City” flexibility, I’m set in my ways and I like to stick with my favorite configurations. In this case, it’s Groove and Streetwise as the legs and Blades and First Aid as the arms. Don’t get me wrong, Rook is a fantastic figure and he made for a serviceable limb, but it just ain’t the same without Groove in there. Getting him into the mix really elevates Defensor even further in my esteem and he comes close to rivaling the Superion as my current favorite Combiner Wars gestalt.
Indeed, even in their individual bot modes, these guys are absolute aces in my book. Now bring on Unite Warriors Bruticus!!!