Transformers Power Core Combiners: Icepick and Chainclaw by Hasbro

In case you haven’t noticed, Hasbro has killed off the Power Core Combiner line. I don’t think this will come as a great shock to many TF fans out there, as the product seemed to be rotting on the shelves, particularly the five-packs. I’ve reviewed a fair number of these figures here, both the two-packs and the larger sets and they have admittedly been quite the mixed bag. None of them have ever lived up to the first Combaticon set, but I’ve had very few complaints about the Commander and Minicon two-packs. Yesterday, I grabbed one of the newer Commander sets on clearance, so let’s check out Icepick and Chainclaw.

The packaging is ok. I like the big Decepticon insignia under the Transformers logo. Both figures are carded in robot form and they fill out the bubble nicely. The back panel shows off the toys in both of their modes. I’m kind of surprised they gave Icepick here an Intermediate Level of Transformation. He’s basically a Scout sized toy and fairly easy to transform into all his different forms.

As his name may suggest, Icepick’s alt form is an arctic halftrack. That right there makes him stand out because after decades of Transformers releases, there have only been a few arctic themed Transformers. His vehicle mode is pretty cool and includes a big plow on the front and molded simulated treads in the back. This mode holds together really well and rolls along thanks to hidden wheels under the fake treads. There’s a Minicon port on the top to attach his buddy Chainclaw in his weapon mode. One of my ungoing complaints in this line has been Hasbro’s unwillingness to hide the power combiner pegs on the vehicle and robot modes, but here they just don’t look too bad.

Like I said earlier, transforming Icepick is really quite easy and the resulting robot is really cool looking. He’s got pretty massive claws for hands and excellent articulation for a Scout sized toy. Once again, Hasbro doesn’t do a lot to hide the combiner pegs in this mode either. There they are just hanging off his shoulders, but like the alt mode, they don’t bother me a lot here. In fact, I really dig everything about Icepick’s robot mode.

Chainclaw is my favorite kind of Minicon, as he’s basically a Targetmaster. He transforms into a double rack rocket launcher pod and he looks pretty good on Icepick or really any other Transformer with a Minicon port. His robot mode is nice and clean and even sports good articulation for a Minicon. He’s almost worth buying the set on his own if you can find it for a good enough clearance price.

Unfortunately, Icepick’s combiner form isn’t all that great. I used the Combaticon drones to illustrate his combined form, as that’s the ones listed on the instructions. It doesn’t look too bad, but I think Icepick holds together the worst out of all the Commander figures I own. There’s really nothing to lock him together and his torso mode is very flat. What’s worse is that his leg joints aren’t strong enough to hold him up. As a result, you really just need to blow on him and he’ll double over and fall apart. On the plus side, I do like his combiner head. It’s very distinctive and looks like it has ice crystals coming out of his head. Why would he have ice crystals in his head? No logical reason, but it still looks cool.

You should have no trouble finding the Power Core Combiners on clearance now, and I would recommend this set strictly on the merits of the figures alone. You can forget all about their combiner abilities and still add a couple of nice and certainly unique Transformers to your collection. From my experience, you can’t really go wrong with the Commander two-packs, and I know I’ll be hunting down the ones I’m still missing whenever I can.

Transformers Power Core Combiners: Double Clutch with Rallybots by Hasbro

I’m really busting chops to get in a couple extra reviews this weekend before I start on my week long DC Universe extravaganza tomorrow. Looks like I have time to slip in one more… how about some Transformers loving? So far my experience with the Power Core Combiners has been pretty good. I liked all the single carded Commander figures from Wave 1, and I really liked Bombshock and the Combaticons. The Skyburst and the Aerialbots were really the only ones I was lukewarm on… until now. Folks, I was really, really excited about getting this Rallybots set. Based on early pics, I thought the drones looked pretty good and the whole thing just gave me warm fuzzy nostalgic feelings that harkened back to the Go-Bot combiner, Puzzler. Well, I finally picked up this set and, well, it sucks. Or, to be fair, Double Clutch sucks. It’s been a long time since I’ve really given a Transformers figure a pasting, so here we go.

The package is the exact same type of window box used for the two Wave 1 Power Core Combiner sets. It shows off all four drones and, I’ll give credit where credit is due, Hasbro had the balls to show you Double Clutches crappy robot mode. I know. Why the hell did you buy it if you hated his robot mode? I guess I thought I would warm up to him once I had the figure in hand. But then I also thought his combiner form had potential. But we’ll get to that later on. The cardboard tray insert has a cool circuitry pattern drawn on it. Was that on the other sets? Did I just miss it? I’m too lazy to go back and look at my own reviews, so let me just say I like it and move on.

Despite the fact that he’s packaged in bot form, I’m going to start out with Double Clutch’s vehicle mode, so I can open with some nice things to say. His car mode is pretty good. The paint job is kind of boring, and the flames are too similar to the overall blue body to really pop like they should. Apart from that he’s a nice looking car and rolls along fine. But, hey, where’s his Autobot insignia? I really, really dislike it when my Transformers don’t show off their insignia in their vehicle modes. I realize doing so isn’t really helpful to them being robots in disguise, but I like it nonetheless. Double Clutch doesn’t have one showing at all. Boo!

Transforming Double Clutch is way more annoying than it should be, considering just how poor his robot mode is. You shouldn’t have to work this hard to get this kind of result. He’s short and squat, with a huge chest and crappy arms that interfere with their own articulation and legs that are ridiculously useless. I also hate the way his combiner posts just hang off his elbows. And oh, look! Double Clutch proudly wears his Autobot emblem on his right knee!

It’s not that Double Clutch is that complex a Transformer, because he’s not. The problem is the ball joints on my figure pop out just by looking at them. There’s nothing more fun than having parts fall off your Transformer a thousand times when you’re trying to convert him. At one point I had to get down and fish both his arms out from under my couch while spouting out a cacaphony of swear words. Oh yeah, I also hate that backpack thing that extends up behind his head and looks fugly.

The Rallybots, on the other hand are all pretty cool. Unlike some of the past drones they don’t look superdeformed or have unsighly springs showing (I’m looking at you, Aerialbot helicopters!). They also all show off Autobot insignias, so right off the bat, I like them more than Double Clutch, even though they don’t transform.

Just when I thought I hated Double Clutch with every ounce of hate I could muster, I went through the process of converting him to his torso combiner mode, and low and behold, I found more hatred to hate him with. HATE! The problem here is getting his arms/doors to bend back and peg into these two pegs behind each of his shoulders. It’s flipping impossible to do it and every time I try, his ball joints in his elbows pop out, the parts go flying, and I cry. After about thirty minutes of fiddling with this thing and muttering to myself like a lunatic trying to solve The Hellraiser, I finally just pegged the pieces in with the ball joints detached. It was the only way I could make this mode work. I should also note that the red drone doesn’t really autoconvert like he should. I have to pry part of him apart to make it work.

That’s what you get when you’re done. It’s not terrible, but the fact that the shoulders aren’t secured right means that the arms pop off whenever you try to move them. Folks, I will never combine anyone with Double Clutch again. In fact, I may just bury him in the backyard. Fortunately, I have another street worthy Power Core Commander who can make use of these cool drones… Huffer!

Ah, that’s much better. I love Huffer and these cars go really well with him.

Fortunately, I got this set at Walmart while they have their Rollback in effect, meaning I got it for $15 instead of $20. It’s still a lot to pay for four drones and a figure I will never touch again, but they work so well with Huffer, I’m not really too upset that I bought the set.

Transformers Power Core Combiners: Huffer by Hasbro

Here we go, the last of the Power Core Combiners from the first assortment. The new ones are starting to hit online retailers and will probably soon be showing up on the shelves and pegs, if they haven’t already. Of course, apart from the Rallybot and Destructicon sets, the new figures are going to be a mix of new and repaints from the current assortment, so this initial run will likely be the last wave of completely original toys in this line. Today, we’re looking at Autobot Huffer and his Minicon pal Caliburst.

Huffer is one of the single pack PCC Commander figures, and that means he comes mounted on a simple card, in robot form, with his Minicon beside him. It also means you won’t be able to take advantage of his combination gimmick unless you have either the Aerialbot or Combaticon drone sets, or one of the new sets, if you happen to stumble upon them. The card features some nice artwork and has a little bio blurb about Huffer on the back. Nothing special, but it gets the job done.

G1 fans will recognize the intended homage here to the original Minibot, Huffer, although apart from his name, and the fact that he’s an Autobot and a truck, I don’t think the connection is all that strong. For starters, the coloring is pretty different, with the old Huffer being orange and this Huffer being more of a mustard color. Also, this new Huffer is an extended cab, as opposed to the original Huffer’s cab form. I’m not complaining, mind you, I know this isn’t the Generations line, just making some observations. Overall, Huffer’s truck mode is quite nice, in fact, I’d say this is my favorite alt form of any of the Power Core Commanders thus far, with Smolder taking a close second. You can still see two of his combiner pegs, but they aren’t as out of place as they have been on some of the other Commander figures.

Huffer converts very easily. You’re basically just standing him on his end, pulling out his legs, splitting the cab and folding his arms into position. In fact, the hardest part is splitting the cab in half, which really wants to stay pegged pretty tightly on mine. Still, he has a really nice, clean and pretty unique robot form. Like his alt form, Huffer’s combiner pegs don’t stick out and detract from this mode, which has been a recurring complaint of mine with these figures. In robot form, Huffer looks like he was heavily inspired by Energon Stongarm.

In robot mode, Huffer’s articulation includes a rotating head, ball joints on the shoulders, elbows with both balljoints and a double hinge, universal movement at the hips, and hinged knees.

Caliburst is a pretty solid Minicon and his Targetmaster style gimmick works quite well. His robot form is decent and his cannon form is quite good. I particularly like the side pieces that look like the elevation gears on a large piece of artillery and this form mounts nicely on the back of Huffer’s truck mode. Caliburst’s gun form for Huffer’s robot mode isn’t too bad either, although it has to clip onto Huffer’s arm, rather than have him hold it in his hand. Forget about the power armor mode, it’s crap. But then again, none of the PCC Minicons have managed to get this third mode right.

Huffer’s torso combiner form is pretty good, although it is very similar to his robot mode. The larger head swings out from the back and has a pretty cool sculpt. I didn’t think Huffer would look so great combined with the Aerialbot drones, so I went off the reservation and forced him to combine with the Combaticon drones instead. I think the results are pretty good despite the fact that it is an unholy union of Autobots and Decepticons.

Huffer and Caliburst sell for around $9.99. He is a neat enough little figure that you might consider picking him up, even if you don’t want anything to do with this line. If you disregard the whole combiner gimmick, he still stacks up pretty well against the Scout figures released in the Energon andCybertron lines. I like him a lot.

On a side note, I know a lot of people aren’t really clicking with this curious little line, but I have to say I’ve been pretty satisfied with it. If you go back and read my posts on the initial assortment of these figures, you’ll find I’m definitely lukewarm on some of the them. There’s definitely a few things Hasbro could have done better. And as I’ve said before, I’m probably going a lot easier on this line because I know that there are also Hunt for the Decepticons and Generations figures out there as well. I think it comes down to this: A lot of the action figures I collect just stand on the shelves (or lay in bins) waiting for me to take them down, admire them a bit, maybe put them in a different pose, but in the end, I see them ascollectibles. Transformers have always been toys I enjoy fiddling about with, converting them back and forth, and whatnot. You can actually play with them without actually playing with them, if you know what I mean. These Power Core Combiners jive with that feeling really well. They’re just fun to play around with, and I’m looking forward to picking up more drone sets to mix and match with my Commander figures.


Transformers Power Core Combiners: Searchlight by Hasbro

So far the Hasbro’s PCC line of Transformers has been pretty hit and miss. I loved the Combaticons set, didn’t much care for the Aerialbots set, and I was pretty happy with Smoulder. I wasn’t going to pick up Searchlight and Backwind at all, because the early promotional shots of him looked bad, but when I saw him in person today, I thought better of him. I’m not sure if he was mistransformed in the pics I saw, or if he’s just one of those figures that looks better in person, but either way I picked him up.

Searchlight is one of the Commander figures that is bundled with a Minicon, as opposed to the larger sets that come with four drones. You can treat him like a stand alone Transformer, and he can interact with his Minicon, but unless you already have one of the drone sets, you won’t be able to take advantage of his combination abilities. The figure is packed in robot mode, alongside his Minicon on a pretty attractive card. The back panel has a little bio blurb about how Searchlight is the Autobot’s number one guy for search and rescue ops.

Searchlight’s alt mode is a twin rotor style rescue helicopter. For a Scout Class sized toy, his chopper mode is not too bad and I get a bit of a G1 vibe from it. On the downside, there’s a few unsightly parts exposed on the top and bottom, where you can recognize what will be his arms and legs. You can also see his combiner pegs hanging off the back. For some reason Hasbro has done a rather poor job concealing the combiner pegs on some of these Commander figures’ alt modes. The coloring here is gray and blue with black painted windows. He’s got Autobot emblems on his sides as well as a registry number printed on his rear stabalizers, and he’s got a single Minicon peg located on the chin of the cockpit. Yeah, Searchlight’s alt mode doesn’t stack up to the Scout sized figures we’ve been seeing from the movie lines, but considering this line is designed more for kids, I think it’s perfectly serviceable.

Converting Searchlight into his robot form is a little complex for a Scout and I actually like his robot mode pretty well. He does have a good deal of alt mode backpack kibble going on, but it doesn’t really interfere with the articulation or balance of the figure too much. In fact, the only thing that really bothers me about his robot form are the combiner pegs sticking out of his knees, which look horribly out of place. Apart from that he’s pretty sharp. You can leave his rotors pegged into his arms as weapons, or remove them if you feel they get in the way. I kind of like leaving them where they are so he can chop up Decepticon fools.

Searchlight has a good deal of articulation. His head is ball jointed, as are his shoulders and his elbows feature both ball joints and a double hinged joint. His legs have universal joints at the hips, as well as hinged knees and ankles.

Searchlight’s Minicon is Backwind and Backwind sucks. Ok, he’s actually a pretty cool little robot but as a Transformer he’s got nothing. He supposedly converts into weapons for Searchlight’s robot and chopper modes, but they both look awful and detract from Searchlight’s modes. The handgun looks like some kind of squished energon frog and while the chin-mounted chopper component looks a little better, it’s still way too ungainly and awkward looking. Backwind also converts to a power armor chestpiece, which is the best of his three alt modes, but that’s not saying a lot.

I don’t expect a lot from these quadruple changing Minicons, but at least Smoulder’s Minicon converted into a fantastic energon axe and a decent cannon. I really have no use for any of Backwind’s alt modes. It’s a shame, because I love this revival of the Targetmaster gimmick and Backwind’s robot mode has plenty of attitude, but I think Hasbro is just trying to do way too much with these simple little figures.

As a Power Core Commander, Searchlight forms a pretty decent torso for the combiner drones that come with any of the larger Combiner sets. I combined him with the Aerialbot drones that came with Skyburst and I think he actually looks pretty damn good. The yellow helicopter arm is still pretty nuts, but apart from that this combined form works a lot better for me than it did with Skyburst, and that defintely made this figure worth picking up.

Searchlight and Backwind ran me $9.99 at Walmart and considering what the single carded Scout sized figures are selling for, this price seems about right. All in all, Searchlight is a decent figure and considering I was going to avoid getting him, he actually turned out to be a nice surprise. I’m glad I picked him up, even if his poor Minicon is a well-meaning mess.

If you’re still on the fence over these PCC figures, I doubt Searchlight will win you over. I think I’m more forgiving of this line because it’s taking a backseat to Generations and Hunt for the Decepticons, so I can get my fix on the more collctor orientated lines, I don’t have to take these Power Core figures quite so seriously. Anyway, the last Commander figure I need now is Huffer, but what I’m really looking forward to are the two new drone sets, which look pretty sweet.

Transformers Power Core Combiners: Skyburst by Hasbro

Not long ago, I took a look at the Combaticons Power Core Combiner set, now its time to check out the Autobot competition: The Aerialbots, led by Skyburst. In case you missed out on the Combaticon post, here’s a quick breakdown on how these Power Core Combiner 5-packs work. You get one Commander figure (roughly Scout Class size) in this case that’s Skyburst, who transforms into a robot. He comes with four smaller drones that don’t transform into robots, but do automatically convert into limbs when plugged into the Commander figure’s combiner pegs to create a larger combined robot. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the Aerialbots.

The packaging is the same as the one used on the Combaticon set. Its colorful, exciting, and pretty pleasing on the eye. The front panel of the box has a large window to show off the toys inside. Skyburst is mounted in the center in his robot form and flanked by his four nameless drones in their vehicle forms. There are two helicopters and two jets. The back panel shows the combined figure and there’s a description on the side panel about how the whole Power Core Combiner system works. All in all, its a serviceable package and its fairly collector friendly if you wanted to return your Transformers to the box. I do, however, disagree with the conversion level at Intermediate. There’s nothing even remotely challenging about transforming Skyburst.

On my last trip to Toys R Us, I specifically left this set on the shelf and bought the Combaticons instead, just because I thought this one was the lesser of the two sets. That assessment, of course, was based just on quick initial impressions, but boy was I right. While the Combaticon set pretty much sold me on this whole iffy drone combiner idea, this Aerialbot set makes me start questioning it again. There’s just very little to like about it.

Skyburst is a pretty average figure. His jet mode looks like it was inspired by G1 Silverbolt. Its not a bad looking jet, although I’m not thrilled about the drab gray and gold colors. There’s some decent sculpting of the panel lines, the landing gear works, and unless you turn it upside down, you won’t see too much robot kibble. The minicon peg on the back of the jet is unsightly, but I guess its part of the line’s gimmick. One nice thing is that he doesn’t have any of his combiner pegs hanging off of him like Bombshock’s truck mode does.

His transformation is pretty simple even for a Scout Class, which have been getting remarkably sophisticated these days. But even compared to the Combaticon Commander, Skyburst comes up severely lacking in robot mode. He wears most of his jet mode as an enormous backpack, which apart from giving him the illusion of height, just looks ugly. Apart from that at least his articulation is fairly good, with ball joints in the shoulders, elbows and hips, and hinges in the knees. Even still, Skyburst’s robot mode just doesn’t hold up all that well to today’s standards. I’ve certainly seen worse, but its just average and uninspiring.

I wasn’t terribly impressed with the Combaticon drones, but they were ok for what they were. The Aerialbot drones don’t fare quite so well. The blue helicopter gunship is just a mess. The yellow (rescue?) chopper is ok, but it almost looks like its supposed to be superdeformed. The black and grey jet would be passable if it weren’t for the huge and unnecessary minicon peg towering up from behind the cockpit and the massive hole between the wings. At least the white electronic survaillance jet is a pretty cool little Autobot jet. I really don’t have anything bad to say about that one.

At least the combined robot form is solid right? Eh, no. While I expect combiner robots to have a hodgepodge element to their aesthetics, Skyburst’s combined form really goes too far. The white jet makes for a pretty good arm, but look at the yellow helicopter’s limb. What the hell is going on with that thing? Its just awful. And both of the legs are wobbly and unstable and I had to do quite a bit of fiddling to get him to stand up right on these legs, even though they are supposed to auto-transform. The chopper leg doesn’t offer a lot of support and I’m still not sure what the jet leg is really supposed to do to be correct. I also had a real tough time getting the grey jet pegged into his combiner port without transforming it manually first. Skyburst’s torso form is actually not too bad. Its a clever transformation and pegs together well. I do, however, hate the head as it seems to be inspired by the Bayformer heads, whereas Bombshock’s was clearly a G1 homage.

In the end this Aerialbot set is an epic fail for me. I could forgive certain things about Skyburst and his drones, if they added up to a really cool combined form, but they don’t. This set just doesn’t really succeed at anything. If you were on the fence over whether or not to embrace these Power Core Combiner sets, this one will likely make up your mind against the idea. Bombshock’s set made for a pretty cool and solid combiner, whereas this one is just not very well executed and not a lot of fun. I’m glad TRU was having a sale on it, because at least I saved $2. My recommendation is to invest your money in some of the other awesome Transformers figures showing up right now, and leave this set on the shelf.


Transformers Power Core Combiner: Smolder and Chopster by Hasbro

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.

Transformers Power Core Combiners: Bombshock by Hasbro

Hooray… in the Transformers aisles, The Revenge of the Fallen figures are finally subsiding in favor of some new, more original material. I’ll be the first to admit that I bought a lot more ROTF figures than I had planned to, so I’m not hating on them, but the movie has come and gone so long ago, its about time we get some more original stuff before Transformers 3 rolls out and we have to start this all over again. So what does Hasbro have in store for us between movies? They’re called Generations and Power Core Combiners. Truth be told, I was hoping to find some of the Generations figures, but I had no such luck, so today, we’re going to look at one of the later.

When I first heard about the Power Core Combiners gimmick, I was pretty skeptical. The idea of having one true Transformer combining with either minicons or non-transforming drones gave me fevered flashbacks to the days of Energon Optimus Prime. But then I saw some pictures of the figures, and I was willing to give them a chance. The transforming figures are called Commanders, and they come in two types of sets: One type pairs a Commander with a minicon, and another bundles a Commander figure with four drones. Today, we’re going to take a look at the first of the Decepticon sets, which consists of five military vehicles and are called… what else? The Combaticons!

The packaging is similar to the type Hasbro used for those exclusive repackage sets of the Energon Aerialbots and Combaticons a little while back, only smaller. The Commander figure, Bombshock, comes in his robot mode and is flanked by his four, nameless drones: An armored car, an APC, a rocket truck and a tank. The back panel shows the toys combining into their gestalt form. All in all, its ok packaging, only a little more derivative of the Revenge of the Fallen design then I would have liked. Its fairly collector friendly too.

The first thing I noticed about Bombshock is that he’s smaller than I thought he would be. I was expecting the Commander figures to be Deluxe sized and the drones to be closer to Scouts. As it turns out the Commanders are definitely Scout classes and the drones are even smaller. Bombshock actually fits in really well with the Energon Combaticons, check him out standing beside Energon Blackout.

Size aside, there’s definitely an homage going on here, as Bombshock has a few similarities to the G1 Combaticon leader Onslaught, particularly with the way his two cannons sick up behind the back of his head. The colors are a solid military mix of green and gray with some yellow thrown in to brighten things up.

Bombshock is a little stocky, particularly in the legs, but he does have decent articulation, with ball joints in the shoulders, elbows, hips and hinged knees. You can also position his back cannons forward to give them a more functional position for his robot mode. As far as robots go, he’s nothing amazing, but he is a solid figure. He reminds me a lot of an Energon-era figure, which is not a bad thing and I’m happy to see the more boxy G1 style coming back over the bionicle-styled Bayformers.

Bombshock’s vehicle mode is a sort of artillery truck, much like his predecessor Onslaught. It rolls along on six wheels and has a rotating turret with guns that elevate. I think his robot form took priority over this form, because some aspects of it are a little sloppy, like the way the combiner pegs hang off the back bumper. Still, for a Scout sized vehicle, it isn’t bad.

I don’t have a lot to say about the four drones. They look decidedly less detailed and more toyish than Bombshock’s vehicle mode. They do have some decent paint apps, and each one has a Decepticon logo. As expected, they also don’t do a whole lot, except roll along and some of their weapons turn. They’re certainly more interesting than the drones that came with Energon Optimus Prime, and I can imagine that kids could have some fun with these.

Surprisingly enough, the combination feature works extremely well with this set. Getting Bombshock into his torso mode is pretty easy and once that’s done, all you have to do is peg on each of the drones to their appropriate spot. The rocket truck and tank form the arms and the armored truck and APC form the legs. You can switch them off left or right, but you can’t make a leg into an arm or vice versa like you could with the old Scramble City style combiners. The drones all have spring loaded mechanisms that transform them automatcally as you peg them in. It works well, so long as you aren’t holding any of the parts that need to transform.

The Combaticon’s gestalt mode (Bruticus? Ruination??) is pretty good. Yeah, his limbs look somewhat like cobbled together junk, but he’s much, much better than the Energon combiners and he doesn’t look any worse than most of the G1 combiners either. His head is definitely inspired by G1 Bruticus. What’s most impressive is that the gestalt mode doesn’t require any additional pieces, which is pretty much a first for Transformers combiners, and the result is a very solid figure. You can play around with the combined form without having to worry about bits falling off or limbs coming loose. Its very cool.

This set retails at $19.99. Considering that Scouts are going for around $7.99 at some retailers, I don’t think this is a bad deal. Sure, four of the pieces in the set don’t transform into robots, but I think the set is pretty well designed and comes across as one of the better combiner toys we’ve seen out of Hasbro in a while. I was iffy about it when I made the purchase, but I have no regrets after playing around with it for a while and I’m looking forward to picking up the future releases.