Transformers Combiner Wars: G2 Aerialbots Box Set by Hasbro, Part 1: Silverbolt and Powerglide

I was expecting to have the third wave of Titans Return Deluxes to start looking at today, but UPS had other plans and they won’t arrive until tomorrow. Not to worry… I’ve been saving the Combiner Wars Generation 2 Aerialbots box set for just this occasion. Hasbro unloaded a bunch of these sets off their website a little while back for the ridiculously low price of $30 shipped. And seeing as how much I loved the G2 Stunticon set, I simply couldn’t resist. My plan is to cover this set just like I did those G2 Stunticons, in four parts, but I’m not going to do it in a straight shot. I’ll just keep coming back to these when I’m hard up for content, so getting through this set is going to take a while. For today, lets kick it off with a look at the packaging, Silverbolt and Powerglide!

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The six figures come in an enclosed box with some beautiful landscape-oriented artwork on the front and lots of pictures of what’s inside. Primus knows, the Combiner Wars packages haven’t been my favorite, but this elevates it to a new level. You get a bitchin’ shot of G2 Superion shooting off his knuckle cannons with Cybertron in the backdrop. This feels like something special and it’s aces! On the other hand, unlike the Takara sets, there’s no opening flap or window, which makes it feel a little less premium. Open up the box and the goods are laid out on a clear plastic tray in their separate vehicle modes with their weapons and combiner parts around them. Considering I went the Takara route for the original CW Aerialbots, I like the idea of owning this set to represent Hasbro’s take on the packaging.

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Flip the box over and you get this portrait-oriented shot of G2 Superion in all his colorful glory as well as smaller shots of each of the four figures in both robot and alt modes. Fantastic!

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And wow, check out Silverbolt! His Concorde alt mode casts off its mostly white G1 body in favor of this blue deco with red accents. The body of the jet has a truly distinctive light metallic blue finish unlike anything I’ve seen before. It’s paired with the high gloss, deeper blue wings and tail fins with red showing up on the tail dorsal fin and in a few other spots. I’m not sure if they actually attempted to match the blue plastic with the blue paint and failed, but I really like the subtle two-tone effect here. Besides the impact of the color change, what strikes me most about this toy is how much work Hasbro put into the repaint. I was expecting something quick and dirty, but what we got shows some true care.

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Extra flourishes include the G2 Autobot symbol on the one wing and “5” on the opposite, both framed with a pair of silver triangles. There are also “5’s” printed on the dorsal fin and a white and blue checkered “V” stamped just behind the cockpit area. Finally, you get some high gloss black paint on the engines. It’s a gorgeous repaint of a very solid alt-mode, which brings out the sculpted panel lines in a way that the original white plastic didn’t. Again, the quality of paint here is just superb!

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Transformed into his robot mode, Silverbolt trades a lot of that blue real estate for more red, in this case bare red plastic that still has a bit of a glittery, metallic finish. Also thrown into the mix is more black and a little silver on his abdomen. It’s a pretty well balanced deco and it’s topped off with a G2 Autobot emblem stamped proudly on his chest. Obviously, I identify more with the G1 colors and those will always have a place in my heart, but I cannot deny that this is one damn attractive figure!

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I particularly love what the colors do for this head sculpt. The face is still silver with a very high quality look to the paint. His “helmet” is now blue, and his eyes are painted a gorgeous shade of red.

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You get the same rifle and “shield” combo, which will combine to form Superion’s gun. The rifle is a little too long for Silverbolt and the shield is pretty worthless, but otherwise, I love still love this toy and it looks fantastic in the new G2 colors. Unfortunately, I can’t say I have quite the same enthusiasm for Powerglide, though. I don’t have a lot to say about him, but let’s start with his alt mode.

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The original release of this Legends Class figure will go down as one of my favorites in recent years, so I have a lot of love for this mold, even if the alt mode is difficult to hold together. The G2 version is almost a palate swap of the original only here the light tan plastic is replaced with gray. It’s that gray swirly stuff, that I’m not all that fond of, but it’s not too bad in small amounts like on this little guy. That having been said, the deco here isn’t my favorite. I just feel like the smaller amount of red overpowers the silver. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it either.

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The robot mode is more of the same, although I think I prefer the deco in robot mode a little more than in alt mode. You get an extra little bit of paint on his crotch piece and that glorious G2 Autobot emblem stamped on his chest. Unless my Transformers history is off, I don’t recall Powerglide ever getting an official G2 release and I feel like these colors aren’t quite in the spirit of the rest of the G2 Aerialbots. Still, it’s a decent repaint of a cool figure.

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When it comes to this Powerglide, I can take him or leave him, but Silverbolt is a pretty great looking toy for what could have been a quick and dirty repaint. I’m extremely impressed with what I’ve seen so far out of this set and I’m looking forward at checking out the limbs in the future. But as I said earlier, that won’t be until next year, because next Thursday I’ll start on the third wave of Titans Return Deluxes, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I get a couple more of the bigger ones for Christmas.

Transformers Combiner Wars: G2 Stunticons Box Set by Hasbro, Part 4: Menasor!

 

Here we are at the final installment of my look at Hasbro’s Generation 2 Stunticons. I’ve already checked out Motormaster and the four Deluxe figures, but before we get to Menasor, let’s take a quick look at the runt of the litter: Blackjack!

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I was curious to see what they would do with the tiny Stunticon sports car, since Blackjack is the one figure that Hasbro didn’t have a G2 original to reference. They went for a purple and blue deco that matches Motormaster fairly closely and I think it looks fine. He sports a blue G2 Decepticon emblem on his hood and the windows are painted black. You can still plug his axe onto the back of the car to form a spoiler and what I like to think is a roof cannon, because… why not?

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The transformation here is still as simple and clever as always. The robot mode balances out the color scheme by exposing more of the blue. I still like the way the wheels are angled back on his shoulders and the bulk of the car’s top becomes his backpack. He’s a great looking little Legends figure.

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Plenty of ball joints makes for solid articulation and he can hold his axe in either hand. The only thing missing is a Decepticon emblem somewhere on his front. I like my Transformers to wear their faction symbols proudly. Based on the transformation, it’s easy to see why he doesn’t have one, and it was an issue common to the previous Blackjack.

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For a mold that’s been around the block three times already, I think this guy still holds up well. I’d put this one tied with the original Blackjack release as my two favorites and Hot Rodimus bringing up a distant third. But enough about Blackjack… let’s form G2 Menasor!

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So, some of you may recall that I wasn’t all that keen on Menasor’s combined mode the first time around and I’m sorry to say that this G2 version doesn’t do a lot to improve on that. Of course, my issues with Menasor had nothing to do with his paint job, so I wasn’t expecting a repaint to solve anything. With that having been said, this version feels slightly more stable to me. Just getting the previous release to stand beside him was a chore. Unfortunately, he still suffers from a host of problems, like the shoulders coming un-pegged every time I move his arms, and the fact that Blackjack will not peg into the chest on his own. I used heaping helpings of blue tack to get him to stick for the photos and even then he popped out a few times. This guy is just no fun at all to play with because he keeps falling down or falling apart.

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As for the coloring… it’s brilliant! The fact that they matched the coloring between Blackjack and Motormaster makes for a good looking chest piece, at least while he stays in place. My preferred combination here is the same as the other Menasor with Dead End and Wildrider making the legs. It works for this deco pretty well as it gives the upper half a more uniform color and makes the legs really pop. It’s a striking deco to be sure.

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In the end, I always knew this series of Features was going to be anti-climactic because Menasor remains my least favorite of the three Combiner Wars teams that I own (the others being Defensor and Superion). But just like the first time around, I bought these guys mainly for the individual modes and as a team, these figures did not disappoint at all. They look incredible on the shelf and owning them has convinced me to grab the G2 Superion set as well because I just really want a Generation 2 shelf in my modern Transformers display. With an MSRP of $99, the value here feels about right, figuring on four Deluxes at $16 a piece, a Voyager at $25, and a Legends at $10. I was able to grab these guys for $85 and that made the deal all the sweeter.

Next week, Transformers Thursday is going to go back into a short hiatus, so that I can work a three-parter into the middle of the week. It should return the following Thursday, but it’ll likely remain spotty throughout the Summer as I wait for Takara’s Unite Warriors teams to be released. 

Transformers Combiner Wars: G2 Stunticons Box Set by Hasbro, Part 3: Dragstrip and Breakdown

Transformers Thursday continues to chug along thanks to this multi-part feature on Hasbro’s Generation 2 Stunticons Boxed Set. Today I’m checking out the last two limbs in the box, Dragstrip and Breakdown. As I mentioned last time, these are straight repaints of the Combiner Wars Stunticons that I looked at when they came out, so we’re going to be focused mostly on the new coloring. We already looked at the packaging a couple of features back, so let’s dive right in and start with Breakdown and his alt mode!

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Awwww, yeah! This is the type of thing I think of when I think G2. Breakdown’s previous off-white and blue deco has been replaced with a glorious teal, accompanied by a black hood, purple trim, and gold painted windows. You also still get some nice silver paint hits for the headlights, front bumper, and wheels. The hood features a G2 Decepticon emblem and the windshield is engraved with “94 Racing” as opposed to the “15 Racing” of regular Breakdown. This is one rad looking ride that looks like it was plucked right off the streets of Liberty City in Grand Theft Auto.

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All of those colors translate well to his robot mode. The teal is more balanced out with purple and that lovely silver. To be honest, this mold hasn’t really held its appeal to me all that well, but I will say the crazy color palate here is at least a lot more interesting than the mostly off-white of his former incarnation. My only complaint here is that the tiny teal G2 Decpticon emblem on his chest is rather awkwardly placed and tough to make out. Breakdown comes with the same sword-gun combo, only this time painted maroon and silver. Moving on to Dragstrip…

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Hooooly shit is this some kind of awesome! To say that I was never a fan of the first Dragstrip’s coloring would be a Unicron-sized understatement. But this? The black and blue coloring on this car shouldn’t work, but it’s really tickling my retinas in every good way imaginable. Toss in the yellow interior of the cockpit and the touches of silver on the wheels and suspension and I am in love. Granted, the Mirage repaint of this car swayed me on the mold already, but this one does it again with a much stronger intensity.

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And that goes for the robot mode too! A figure that was mostly “blah” for me has been elevated to greatness with this new deco. The black and blue just looks so good together and the extra pop of that yellow from the cockpit is carried over in the form of his combiner port. Even the head sculpt, which I didn’t care for at all is now a thing of beauty. Dragstrip comes with the same gun/sword combo as his previous version. It’s not as cool as Breakdown’s but it’s not bad.

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So, I’ve looked at five figures in this set and each and every one has justified the purchase. These two, in particular, were my least favorite of the CW Stunticon molds, but a fresh coat of 90’s paint works wonders for them. I absolutely love the way these vehicles and bots turned out. Now, if you remember my look at the first releases, I loved these guys as individual bots, and not so much for the combined Menasor mode. Can these new paint jobs win me over on the big guy as well? Well, we’ll find out next week when I look at the last figure in the set, tiny Blackjack, and then put them all together and see what we get!

Transformers Combiner Wars: G2 Stunticons Box Set by Hasbro, Part 2: Dead End and Brake-Neck

It’s Transformers Thursday again and here we are at the second part of my look at Hasbro’s Generation 2 style Stunticons. Last time we checked out Motormaster and today I’m going to take a look at Menasor’s legs: Dead End and Brake-Neck, or Wild Rider, if you prefer. We already saw the packaging last week, so let’s jump right in with the alt modes! These are, of course, straight repaints of the original figures, so we’re mostly going to be talking colors here…

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So, straightaway I love the Sideswipe and Sunstreaker vibe that I get off of this pair. In the world of 90’s toy repaints that usually land somewhere between Swatch Watches and a Trapper Keeper, these guys are really not that outlandish. They are, however, blindingly bright. Dead End adopts a sumptuous candy-apple red and Brake-Neck a brilliant yellow. But just in case their colors aren’t crazy enough, they advertise their Generation 2 pedigree with the giant G2 Decepticon emblems on their hoods. Both emblems are in each car’s base color against a black backdrop and I really enjoy that they match each other.

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Dead End’s deco does mingle with the outrageous by having a bright blue front bumper. It looks like he needed to replace it and went to Wheeljack’s U-Pull-It and could only find a blue bumper from his make and model and will eventually get around to painting it later, but right now he doesn’t have the money for it. He also sports some totally bitchin flame streaks down the side and teeny tiny G2 Decepticon emblems on what looks like it could be his gas caps, but that doesn’t make sense because there are two of them and he’s not a Jaguar. Still neat, though. The coloring is rounded out by some relatively sedate silver painted windows.

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Brake-Neck’s deco is mostly just more yellow. He does have a little gradient orange trim behind the front wheel wells. He also has this crazy pattern on the roof that sort of reminds me of the cover of Pink Floyd’s The Final Cut. The rear window is black, but the side windows and windshield are painted with a very vibrant blue. Alright, let’s transform these guys and check them out, starting with Dead End…

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Again, he’s fairly subdued for a G2 coloring. You get more of that lovely bright red with a good mix of gray and black. The bright blue chest really makes the sculpted detail there stand out and the yellow, red, and blue paint on the head is just fantastic. I don’t recall being too smitten with this head sculpt when I looked at the original figure, but here I’m really digging it a lot.

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Brake-Neck is a little more surprising in that he sports some of that bright blue from his windows on his upper legs and fists. You also get some beautiful silver and his chest is black. The real treat here is the Wildrider head with the purple face. Man, do I dig that! I’ll also point out here that while Hasbro has been notorious for using some really shitty yellow plastic in the past, this stuff is actually really nice looking.

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Both Stunticons come with the same exhaust pipe truncheon, which can be held in their hands or pegged onto their vehicle modes. I’m slightly disappointed that they didn’t paint them different colors, but I suppose they were the same colors on the original releases too, so maybe I was expecting too much there.

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For two straight repaints, I’m surprised at how excited I am by this pair. The coloring just looks outstanding on every level and a lot of that is owed to the beautiful quality of the plastic and the way it holds the vibrant yellow and red. They really are a couple of beautiful figures and as bright as they are, I’d say the coloring on these could probably even win over those crazy people out there who are adverse to the whole G2 thang. Next time, I’ll wrap up the limbs with a look at Dragstrip and Breakdown!

Transformers Combiner Wars: G2 Stunticons Box Set by Hasbro, Part 1: Motormaster

Well, looks like I was able to get Transformers Thursdays kick-started a little early thanks to this big box of garishly colored plastic that arrived on my stoop earlier in the week. Lest you think Hasbro isn’t willing to take risks these days, I present to you the Combiner Wars Stunticons in those glorious Generation 2 colors that never actually saw official release here in the US. That is, until someone recently dropped an obscene amount of money on an un-circulated set via Ebay. It’s worth noting that this is actually the second G2-inspired Combiner Wars set Hasbro has sent to retail, the first being the Aerialbots, which I will probably get to eventually. Now, I was already out of buying Transformers and in college by the time G2 hit the shelves around 1991, but it’s impossible for me not to fall in love with the vivid coloring that the line used. Today I’m going to start with a look at the packaging and Motormaster…

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The box is somewhat reminiscent to the packaging Takara uses for their Unite Warriors giftsets, although this one is a completely enclosed box with no window or front flap. Still, it’s impressively large and features very nice artwork on the front and the back shows the combined Menasor mode. It doesn’t actually make the connection to the G2 homage anywhere on the box, so anyone buying this set sight unseen and expecting to get the regular Stunticons will be in for a delightful or horrific surprise, depending on their personal tastes.

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Inside the box, the six figures come packaged in their vehicle modes, just like the old G1 giftsets and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The weapons and combiner parts are laid out beside each figure. The box also contains an instruction sheet and a collectible character card for Menasor. Just look at these lovelies! They look like they would be right at home cruising the streets in GTA: Vice City. This is so damn cool!

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A far cry from his drab black and gray G1-style deco, Motormaster’s cab now sports snazzy purple and two-tone blue coloring with stylish red stripes running down the sides. You also still get some of that great silver paint on the front grill and the smokestacks and the wheels are still black. I’ll also point out that they did a fairly good job matching the purple plastic on the corners with the purple paint on the rest of the cab. Although, I still wish they could have painted in the rest of the windows to match, even if it meant bumping up the price of the set a little bit. I don’t have anything new to say about the cab mode itself. It holds together pretty well and I’m surprised the Third Parties haven’t come out with trailers for Motormaster yet. Right now, they could get two versions out of whatever mold they cooked up. Four, if you count the two Optimus Primes. GET ON IT, DUDE’S!!!

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Wow… he’s breathtaking! I mean, holy hell does he just pop! In robot mode, the new deco carries over from the cab with few surprises. You do get more blue showing than purple and the extra red paint hits really makes for a striking touch. It’s fascinating to see the profound differences that a drastic new color scheme makes, especially over a figure that was essentially just monochrome black and gray with a little purple. And the fact that there’s still a fair amount of purple and black means that this deco still works quite well for me as a Decepticon. Also, it feels like this figure was built off the updated mold with the more forgiving hip ratchets.

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The vibrant silver paint used on the face is as eye catching as ever and there’s that epic G2 Decepticon emblem stamped right in the middle of his chest. I’ve got to admit, I never thought I’d see it on a modern toy that wasn’t some kind of Con Exclusive. It’s so damn cool to see that this is a regular retail release.

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Motormaster includes the same two weapons that came with his original Combiner Wars release: His gun and sword. There’s really nothing new to be said about these. They feature the same brilliant silver paintwork and can combine with each other to form the larger Menasor sword.

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What can I say, other than I am smitten with this guy. Granted, this mold has had its ups and downs with me. I didn’t care for it as Optimus Prime, mostly because of the big arms and the unpainted corners of the cab. But when it was released as Motormaster, I was totally on board and it still holds up for me just fine with this new release. The larger arms suit Motormaster’s brutish nature and both of the color schemes work perfectly for me. Sure, the first release will still be representing on my Combiner Wars shelves, but I’m already planning a second shelf for these G2 re-releases. This is simply a gorgeous figure and a wonderful homage to that quirky span of Transformers that held the franchise together until something new came along. I really can’t thank Hasbro enough for bringing this out, and you know what’s great? I still have five more figures to look at! Next Thursday, I’ll be back to check out a pair of limbs!