I was going to make such a big deal about having new arrivals for Transformers Thursday, but then I see so many pictures of Titans Return figures in peoples’ hands and suddenly I don’t feel so special. But I do have a holdover from Combiner Wars… or, excuse me… Unite Warriors, in the form of the Japanese Combaticons box set! I can’t tell you how hard it’s been to keep passing up the Hasbro Combaticons on the pegs, knowing that I had this on pre-order. Thank Primus, it’s finally here! I’m going to use the same formula here as I used for the G2 Menasor set. Today I’ll look at the packaging and Onslaught, next week I’ll tackle the limbs two at a time, and we’ll wrap it up the following week with Bruticus.
The box design is very similar to the one used for the Unite Warriors Aerialbots, so if you’re a stickler about matching sets, you should be very happy to sit them next to each other on a shelf. There’s some absolutely bitchin’ and gritty artwork on the front of the box showing Bruticus stomping through a city and there’s a front flap that lifts open to reveal a window showing the goodies inside. Seeing the toys all laid out in their vehicle modes really takes me back to the glory days of the G1 giftsets. I never owned any of those, but they sure were pretty to look at! The back of the box has a large photo of Bruticus as well as photos of the individual figures in their robot and alt modes. The set is collector friendly, although getting everything back in place can require some patience. An instruction booklet is also included in the box. Let’s start with the alt mode!
Onslaught is obviously the Voyager Class figure in the set and he’s built off of the Protectobot Hotspot mold. I don’t think that’s as apparent in his alt mode as it is his robot mode and the use of shared bodies here seems like a good choice. The alt mode is pretty true to his G1 roots, at least in the sense that he’s a military truck. The cab is more modernized and he lost a pair of wheels along the way, but I still have little trouble identifying the homage here. He features two large cannons, but don’t look too closely or you’ll see Bruticus’ head peeking back out at you trying to not be noticed. It’s not one of the most outrageous alt modes out there, but all things considered, I think it’s pretty solid even with the combiner head sitting up there like he’s on a parade float.
Unfortunately, Unite Warriors Onslaught’s alt mode is not as versatile as his G1 namesake. I’m sure I could work out some iffy fan modes, but he’s not really designed for much else besides being a truck. With the pegs on the top of the cannons and the multiple peg holes on the bottom of Blast Off, I was hoping there would be an official way to make Onslaught carry him, but it looks like I’m out of luck unless I want to balance him up there. There’s sort of a flatbed area on the back, but it’s not really big enough to comfortably carry any of his chums. Ah well, sometimes a truck is just a truck… and a robot… and a torso. Never mind.
The coloring here is quite nice, with the blue and brown doing a fine job of representing the G1 toy’s deco. I’m not going to spend a lot of time comparing the coloring between Hasbro and Takara on the limbs, but I will do it here because Takara’s Onslaught is just such a huge improvement over the Stateside release. The blue is much darker and richer here than on the Hasbro version, I like it better, but that’s really just a matter of taste. The biggest difference in paint, however, is the beautiful work Takara did on the package of torso parts that sits on the vehicle’s back. These parts were left as bland off-white plastic on the US release, whereas here you get some beautiful coloring, along a very striking shade of silver paint. The same goes for the guns. It really looks fantastic here, and as we’ll see in a few weeks, this will make an even bigger impact in the combined mode.
Transforming Onslaught should be very familiar if you’ve spent any time with Combiner Wars Hotspot. If anything, Onslaught is a little easier because all those extra torso bits just stay where they are and are worn as a backpack. And obviously there’s no ladder to mess with. Yes, it’s always worth pointing out that despite the need for add-on hands and feet, these combiners are otherwise self-contained. The only other thing worth noting are the knees. As with Hotspot, there’s a trick to locking these in, and if your Onslaught’s knees keep buckling, it’s probably because he isn’t transformed properly.
In robot mode, it isn’t too difficult to pick out the parts shared with Hotspot. The forearms and the legs are most obvious to me, although he does have new feet and the new deco helps fool the eye a bit, particularly around those knees. Regardless of the recycling, however, I think he works quite well as a send up to G1 Onslaught. Some high points for me include the detailed sculpt and paint in the chest panel, the painted coils in his arms, and the crisp Decepticon logo on his chest. The two circles painted on his pelvis area are also nice nods to the Sunbow animation design.
All looks pretty good from the back too. Yeah, his lower legs are hollow, but I do like how all that combiner stuff packs neatly into a backpack. I also get a chuckle out of the fact that he wears Bruticus’ head on his ass. The guns store nicely on his back and help hammer home the homage of having the twin guns rising up behind Onslaught’s shoulders. Onslaught is a bit back heavy, and while those heel spurs help a bit, he’s still prone to toppling backwards. Now is as good a time as any to mention that Onslaught suffers from the same rather unforgiving ratchet joints in the hips. There isn’t a lot of finesse there, so posing him and getting him to balance in those poses can be an exercise in frustration.
The head sculpt is pretty straight forward, and he has a painted visor instead of light-piping. I will say that it’s a toss up for me as to whether I prefer the black head on the Hasbro version or this blue one. It’s too close for me to call. Here you can also get a better look at the distinctive paintwork in the chest panel. The colors on this guy really are beautiful!
Of course, Onslaught can dual wield his twin guns in his hands in order to live up to his name. Since these serve as Bruticus’ weapon too, they can be connected together to form a bigger rifle, and it isn’t too big for Onslaught to use. Ironically, the extra paint apps on the guns make it really apparent that the larger weapon is just two of the same gun stuck together. For that reason, I think the combined guns worked better for Hotspot, as those are all black.
Onslaught has a few issues, but overall I like him a lot. In my mind, he’s definitely the best modern version of the character that we’ve seen from either Hasbro or Takara, but then I suppose that isn’t saying much. Nevertheless, it’s easy for me to overlook some of the flaws while admiring the fact that he’s a partially shared mold and a pretty clever one at that. To me that’s even more impressive when you see him in his torso mode. Ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Next week, we’ll bust into the Deluxe Class figures and check them out, starting with Blast Off and Vortex!