GeneralsJoes Reviews Boss Fight Studios Vitruvian HACKS

There were times I wasn’t sure this was going to come together this week.  Every time I thought I was done with images, I came up with something else, which is a testament to just how feature packed and revolutionary these action figures are.  Whether you’re a Greek Mythology fan, or a customizer, there is a LOT to love in almost every part of these spectacular figures.

I have posted reviews for all the character based toys now (the Blanks are coming soon).  Check the links below for all the review action.  I have posted a quick dio-story in the “Overview” section, so don’t skip it!  :)

Boss Fight Studio Virtuvian HACKS (Overview)

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Transformers: Combiner Wars Bruticus

This review brought to you by the fine folks at Entertainment Earth!

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The Combiner Wars theme, I’m happy to say, has had far more “hits” than misses, and I feel comfortable saying that Bruticus is another solid home run. Using the same connection template as the previous combiners, the limbs all say firmly secure, yet offer very nice poseability, as the other combiners do.

Perhaps what puts Bruticus over the edge is that he is a combiner team I actually owned part of when I was younger (as a G.I. Joe fan back then, I naturally gravitated towards the military theme) along with the Stunticons and Aerialbots. Unlike the Stunticons and Aerialbots, however, I don’t believe I ever owned the entire set of Combaticons, so this is like a new world for me, and it’s one that I like.

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Britucus’ very distinctive head sculpt is translated perfectly with this combined figure, and I love the broad, triangular chest plate. He looks imposing and powerful, and unlike Menasor, he doesn’t feel like he exists just to topple over. The wide stance of his legs (like Defensor) holds him in poses really nicely, and even though the individual Combaticons have some pretty different, distinctive colors, he still makes for an awesome combined character.

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Bruticus is great, all things considered. I think I may still like Superion the most (well, unless you count Devastator), but Bruticus is a close second, followed by Defensor. Menasor needs to rethink his outlook on life.

Transformers: Combiner Wars Onslaught

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It’s amazing what some minor changes can do to change one character into another, and those minor changes work wonders for Onslaught.

Obviously based on the Hot Spot tooling, Onslaught has just the right changes to completely redefine the figure into a different, more effective character. The elaborate hook and ladder system on his back in vehicle mode is now a triangular mount for his two cannons, and not only does it look more potent and deadly in vehicle mode, but the it converts nicely into an effective chestplate for Bruticus.

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The vehicle itself is narrow and sloped, like the fire truck, but still makes for an excellent military type vehicle, although not especially vintage accurate. Like Hot Spot, transformation is relatively intuitive and easily accomplished, and as cool as the vehicle is, the robot mode is even better. Articulation is spectacular, with great movement at all necessary joints. I love how imposing the armored shoulder pads look, and the intricate lined sculpting in robot mode is seriously impressive.

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Sculpting in the new head is nearly flawless, and it’s amazing to me how a featureless robot can express such emotion with the different positions of his head and body.

The twin cannons can stay attached to the back like you might expect, but are also removable and can be held as robotic guns, too.

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Like the rest of the Combaticons, Onslaught’s colors are based more strongly on the classic toy than the animation, but work well in that regard, and as a lifelong G.I. Joe fan, I’m extremely attached to the military angle of all these Combaticon toys. Onslaught is a great vintage update and makes for a fantastic centerpiece to the Bruticus combiner.

Transformers: Combiner Wars Swindle

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Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve always understood Swindle to be probably the most famous of the Combaticons, and one of the characters that has somewhat transcended his role as merely one part of the larger whole. That might be just because of my fascination with Transformers: Animated and the fact that he had such a distinct role there, but that’s the impression that I get.

Hasbro does a good job of taking the classic elements of Swindle and integrating them a bit more into an effective “combat” vehicle, using a healthy helping of Rook, but adding some very nice tweaks with some rollbars and more identifiable “Jeep” parts. The result is a bulky, armored combat jeep that manages to maintain all the hallmarks of the vintage original, yet plenty of more modern power while they’re at it.

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One of the best parts of the figure is the new head sculpt, which is chock full of that Swindle arms dealer character. With his trademark purple “sunglasses” and grimace, the head and face definitely resemble the Swindle that we know and love. He’s got a very unique head that is translated quite nicely to plastic form here, and I love it.

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With a nice mixture of orangish/brown, Hasbro takes some queues from the vintage version and both the vehicle and robot look the part. It certainly helps that Rook is one of my favorite base figures, too, and I’m really glad they’re leveraging him for both Swindle and Hound. It makes for a great base, and with just the right tooling tweaks, they look separate enough to work nicely.

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Swindle is pretty great. I daresay he’s the highlight of this wave of Deluxes for me, easily pushing aside Brawl, who I just assumed would be my odds on favorite.

Transformers: Combiner Wars Brawl

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Out of all the deluxe Combaticons, Brawl was probably the one I looked forward to most, simply due to his alt mode. As a G.I. Joe fan, I really dig seeing Transformers geared up as true military machines, even though I break out in hives thinking of the twisted up scale of some of these vehicles.

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Brawl is the one completely new figure amongst this crew of repaints, and in vehicle mode, I love it. The tank looks cool and distinct, standing out among the crowd, impressing with its armor and cannon when intermingled with repainted pick up trucks, scrawny fighter jets and sports cars. Brawl means business.

Unfortunately, once you get Brawl into robot mode, it starts to feel like maybe Brawl is going out of business. At first glance, he looks great. Broad shouldered, stocky, and very aggressive looking. Pretty much how you’d expect a tank that turns into a robot to look. But once you start posing him, you run into some annoying problems. His shoulders are connected at a very restrictive shoulder joint, connecting stubby arms directly to his torso, and limited his arm movements by a considerable margin. The result is a figure that can do little more than flap his arms or rotate them very close to his body. At the waist, there’s no real connecting joint either, so the top half of the figure just kind of floats there and doesn’t hold together, so he’s constantly pulling apart and is tough to move into a really nice pose. It’s disappointing, because these are two pretty key issues that, from a design standpoint, Hasbro has overcome, at least until now.

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Throughout the bulk of the Combiner Wars line, they’ve (almost magically) been able to mesh design with articulation, and give us two very effective modes without sacrificing play factor. In the case of Brawl, they don’t quite succeed, which is all the more frustrating since this is the only newly tooled figure of the wave. The hope would be that this one newly tooled figure would be great enough to rise above all the repaints, when in fact, it ends up drawing the rest of the wave down a bit.

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I love the colors, I love the concept, I desperately want to enjoy Brawl, but the fact remains that he’s the wave’s greatest disappointment, which is extremely unfortunate.

Transformers: Combiner Wars Blast Off

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Sometimes, when you’re an avid, nostalgia-fueled fan, certain decisions by modern toymakers can drive you up the wall. Even if you know the reasons (more often than not financial) these choices can be infuriating.

At times like this, sometimes I’m glad I was mostly a fringe Transformers fan in the 80s, so when Blast Off is represented as a fighter jet instead of a space shuttle in the Combiner Wars line, I can kinda shrug it off and say “makes sense to me”. I mean, after all, what kind of “combat” vehicle is a friggen space shuttle?!

Granted, the Takara version of Blast Off does look pretty friggen sweet.

As mentioned, this rendition of the Combaticon air support member is a jet instead of a shuttle, a repaint of several previous releases within the Combiner Wars line, including Quickslinger. In fact, this figure is a direct repaint of Quickslinger, included the head sculpt, which has caused some understandable consternation among Transformers fans. Even if you’re not going to give folks the full blown space shuttle experience, it feels like a new head would have at least been a good bone to throw to the fans out there.

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Because Blast Off is such a straight repaint, it’s tough to find a whole lot more to talk about with the figure itself. I still really love the base figure here, and it was one of these fighter jets that got me interested in Combiner Wars in the first place, way back when. The transformation is really straight forward, easy to pull off in both directions, and the figure is very nicely articulated, something that’s especially important to a long time G.I. Joe fan like myself.

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Blast Off is colored in much the same way as the vintage version, with a metallic gray and purple mixture, both complimenting each other remarkably well. The small hints of yellow add some nice color, without being too intrusive.

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No, Blast Off is not a space shuttle, but in my opinion, he fits much better with his peers in this form. I can certainly understand the complaints of the long time fans who want a G1 update to go along with these others, but from a practical standpoint, I’m cool with the version we got.

Transformers: Combiner Wars Vortex

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In a way, when Hasbro first released Alpha Bravo back with their first wave of Combiner Wars figures, fans everywhere immediately knew that Vortex was just a matter of time. Not only was Vortex the same distinct kind of helicopter that Alpha Bravo was, but even the head sculpt was pretty unique to that Combaticon. With Quickslinger’s release, Alpha Bravo became the odd man out of the Aerialbots, so at this point, even though Vortex is a straight repaint of that figure, it doesn’t feel like a big deal, because the original version of the helicopter combiner has been rendered more or less extraneous.

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I’ll admit Alpha Bravo was never my favorite of the first run of Combiner Wars, and that opinion is maintained with Vortex. The transformation feels a little clunkier and the robot isn’t quite so fluidly articulated as some of the others. That being said, looking at the Vortex source material, Hasbro did a pretty spectacular job of updating that character to a modern version, while maintaining much of the spirit and uniqueness of the original.

Most of Vortex is gray, like the original, with just the right hints of that nice shade of green. Even the yellow painted missiles are a nice mimic of the yellow stickers adhered to the side of the original G1 Vortex.

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Even with the transformation being not as intuitive as other releases, it is still relatively easy and accomplished quickly, allowing for much more enjoyable “play time” for those of us who are Transformers novices.

I love the colors, really like the character now that I know him better, and consider this a pretty great update to the G1 original.

Marauder “Gun Runners” reveals test shot of Stedi-Cam Gunner

Okay, I think I’m in love.

Alongside their latest Kickstarter for the Marauder Task Force Valkyries, Marauder “Gun Runners” also included  a great stretch goal for the “stedi-cam gunner” an excellent looking tweaked version of the Marauder Task Force figure with rolled up sleeves, different lower legs, a fantastic new helmet, webgear, and really cool looking new stedi-cam heavy weapon.

Today over on the Marauder Gun Runners Facebook page we get a first look at an early test shot of this set and frankly, it looks amazing.  Even better than I thought it might.  The same fantastic design work that we’ve come to expect from Boss Fight Studio, all working flawlessly within the Marauder customizable figure system.  Really great stuff.  Check out the mirrored images below.

Marauder Task Force new colors available on the web store

During the Kickstarter for the Marauder Task Force Valkyries figures, we were all pleasantly surprised by the appearance of more deco choices for the existing Marauder Task Force figures.  Many folks took advantage of the Kickstarter to buy these new colors, and now those new colors are available in the Marauder store!

The following email communication comes from the folks at Marauder “Gun Runners”:

Hey 814 Valtaskers!

The remaining Orange Hazard Ops, Brown Terra Ops, Yellow Shock Ops, Gray Tech Ops and Yellow/Green Strike Ops figures and accessories are NOW live on www.marauderinc.com We received several questions about when the new deco figures and new colored gear would be available…so wanted to let you all know!

Thanks again for your support!

MJ & Team

www.marauderinc.com

 

Transformers: Combiner Wars Defensor

This review brought to you by the fine folks at Entertainment Earth!

Entertainment Earth

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The combined form of the Protectobots team stands against the Decepticons!  To date, I’ve had some mixed feelings about the actual combiners within the context of the Combiner Wars, in some cases the result feeling like less than the sum of its parts.  While I love Superion, Menasor left me a bit high and dry to the point where I wasn’t sure I was even going to get the Protectobots.

As a kid, I enjoyed the combiner teams, and was a massive fan of the Aerialbots and Stunticons, so I felt a certain nostalgic attachment to getting those updates in the Combiner Wars.  The Protectobots, not so much.

But a constant flood of peer pressure from my so called “friends” (you know who you are) convinced me to put the Protectobots on my Father’s Day “wish list” and my lovely wife grabbed me a few of them.  I filled in the gaps pretty quickly, and I’ll be honest, I’m very glad I did.  Defensor is straight up awesome.

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He’s easily a match for Superion in my Combiner Wars love fest, and a good deal above Menasor.  The combined form stays together nicely, is aesthetically pleasing, and moves well without completely falling to pieces with every slight motion.

Hot Spot as the torso is a fantastic first step.  The way the ladder swings up underneath and plugs Defensor’s head into his shoulders is inspired and works amazingly well.  I also love how the framework of the ladder separates into a great looking elaborate chest plate, leaving Defensor looking pretty great even without Groove (who I will get eventually, but don’t own yet).

I chose to go with the Hasbro recommendation for the limb arrangement, which is Blades and Rook as the arms with First Aid and Streetwise as the legs.  If you go by the G1 iteration, Blades and First Aid would be arms with Rook (replacing Groove) and Streetwise as the legs.  Either way, the “Scramble City” format allows for a bunch of customization.  Personally, I like the Hasbro suggested design.  Both Blades and Rook function very well as arms with good range of motion and some nice bulk, especially with Rook on the left side.

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First Aid and Streetwise are both great looking legs, too, transforming in much the same way as their Stunticon predecessors.  The beauty, of course, remains in the torso, since it provides great hip joints to allow for stable poses, unlike Menasor, whose clugey hip joints almost single handedly bring that figure from great to “meh” in my mind.

Defensor’s head sculpt is fantastic, and the combination of color schemes blends really well, looking very “combiner-esque” but also creating a pretty nice flow of colors from one part to the other.  Hot Spot’s two laser weapons plug together to form a somewhat rudimentary larger weapon, and the end result is one heck of a great looking Combiner that happens to be made up of some equally great individual figures.

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I find it hard to believe that I was going to pass up the Protectobots only a month or two ago, but I’m really glad I let myself get pushed around by friends, as this team is fantastic and was a joy to put together.

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