Transformers: Combiner Wars Menasor

Combiner Wars is in full gear, with two waves of product at retail, and considering the main goal of this line was to provide toys that combine and interact with each other, the question must be raised…are the Combiner Wars gestalts as good as their individual pieces? Could the total be greater than the sum of its individual parts?

Unfortunately, in Menasor’s case, the answer is no.

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Transformers: Combiner Wars Breakdown

Seriously, what kid in the 80s didn’t love the Lamborghini?

Lamborghini’s were prevelant in the Transformers line in those first few years, with both Sideswipe, Sunstreaker, and Breakdown all bearing the proud shield of the famous car maker. Even back then, Breakdown was my favorite of the three. My memory is hazy after all these years, and maybe it was just because of the size and feel of Breakdown, but he just felt like a more solid, better car than the two twin brothers. I recall Sunstreaker being obnoxious to transform, and Breakdown was right for my smaller hands.

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Transformers: Combiner Wars Off Road

Unlike the other Stunticons and Aerialbots, I don’t have a real nostalgic attachment to Off Road, and even the package proclaims him as the “newest” member of the Stunticons. Truth be told, when the news about Wildrider/Brake Neck was revealed, part of me wondered if I really needed this one. But, as usual, my need for a pseudo-complete Menasor overwrote all common sense, and I bought this guy anyway.

You know, I’m kinda glad I did.

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Transformers: Combiner Wars Dead End

Dead End was always that Stunticon I kind of forgot about back in the day, ironic because that kind of matches his melancholy attitude. A sports car, to be sure, but less colorful than Drag Strip or Breakdown, and less flashy than Wildrider, Dead End always just became “the other one”. That kind of remains true in this case, even though the toy is still a pretty great one.

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Transformers: Combiner Wars Drag Strip

Unlike his Stunticon brothers, Drag Strip was actually a part of Wave 1 of the Combiner War deluxe figures, standing out like a yellow and magenta sore thumb among the planes and helicopters that made up most of Superion.  He was pretty out of place sitting there as an oddly colored right arm on my Autobot gestalt, but now that Wave 2 has hit my display shelves, all is right with the world.

Check out the full review below.

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Masters of the Universe Classics Oo-lar the “Jungle He-Man”

In 1982, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe took over the lives of American children, mostly due to the Filmation cartoon, which introduced the world of Eternia to kids everywhere.  I had become interested in He-Man before I saw the series, largely due to the amazing mini comics that appeared in each action figure package.  Within the pages of those first few mini comics, there was no Prince Adam, there was just He-Man, a savage member of a barbarian tribe hand-chosen to wear the mantle of the most powerful man in the universe.

Click below to read the entire review…

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Transformers: Combiner Wars Powerglide

Damn you, Combiner Wars!

When it comes to Transformers, the Deluxe scale figures are my sweet spot. I buy Voyager from time to time, though they’re getting expensive. I only buy Leader very rarely… Deluxes are really what interests me. Complex and interesting enough to be fun, but not outrageously expensive. The Legends figures always seemed far too simplified and uninteresting.

Then there were the Combiner Wars.

Click the Continue Reading link below for the full review.

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Transformers: Combiner Wars Megatron

I have no idea what the deal is with Megatron.

Here he is… the top bad guy in the Decepticon armada, and one of the most fearsome villains in pop culture history. But Hasbro just never seemed to be able to get how to make him cool in toy form.

His original Walther P38 in 1984 obviously defined the look and feel for the evil leader of the Decepticons, but it was really the animated series and comic that took his design aesthetics and made them a bit more robust.

Hasbro has revisited Megatron dozens of times over the years and never seemed to be able to capture the look of that classic villain. Of course I think it’s accepted that they can’t use a realistic pistol as his alt mode, a fact that should surprise and disturb no one by now…so why not something else?

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Well, they finally did it. They looked past the “pistol problem” and went into Megatron’s past… his second Generation past, to be specific, where he appeared as a tank. Using the tank as his alt mode, and some striking colors and real working rubber treads, Hasbro managed to do multiple homages at once and give us a pretty great looking offensive vehicle, and a robot mode that is amazingly reminiscent of the familiar Megatron we all know and love.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been some good Megatrons along the way… I have about 4 – 5 Beast Wars, Animated, and Prime versions that I absolutely love. But they weren’t the classic Megatron… that G1 iconic look of the Decepticon overlord. Well, now that’s changed.

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I’ve read some complaints about the figure, mostly with his leg poseability, and yeah, I can see some of those issues. His range of motion in his legs could be a bit better, but at this point, just looking at him on the shelf, I love this figure so much. This is the first time I’ve dropped $40+ on a Transformers figure in a very, very long time, and I have not a single ounce of buyer’s remorse. He is awesome.

I will say the articulation is a little…  funky?  Is that the right term?  The joints feel somewhat springy, and don’t hold especially well.  He’s got enough articulation to make him poseable, but when he’s posed, he’s forced to stand at somewhat awkward angles.  He has ball joint hips, shoulders, and neck, with some level of elbow joints and knees, though you do occasionally have to shift around his fusion cannon to get him to move how you want him to move (yes, it’s permanently attached).

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The perfect combination of silver and black really brings the evil Decepticon to life in all the right ways. That long, cylindrical torso shape, those blocky arms, and slender black legs connect all the right dots to bring us that classic G1 Megatron many of us have been waiting for. I do wish that maybe his fusion cannon was a bit better and not so restrictive, but for a figure I’ve been waiting 30 years for, it’s tough to pick nits.

As a leader toy, I anticipated some complex transformation steps, but like the other Combiner Wars toys I’ve bought, it was relatively straight forward and simple to get from one mode to the other. The tank feels a bit floppy and not quite as “put together” as some other vehicles I’ve seen from the Transformers line, but he looks good and is functional enough to work.

The small sticker sheet that Megatron comes with is a neat touch, and based on IDW continuity, you can even make him an Autobot if you so choose.  I don’t so choose, but more power to those who want to, it’s nice that Hasbro gave that as an option.

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I never thought I’d ever say this, but now Hasbro needs to make another Optimus Prime that can stand toe-to-toe… this hulking Megs needs a sparring partner.

Check out my video review of Combiner Wars Megatron below… with some assistance from my 5 year old…

Transformers: Combiner Wars Blackjack

Yeah, I don’t even know who the heck Blackjack is (hint – it’s this guy), but once I started building Menasor I decided he looked incomplete enough that I needed to finish him off… so dammit Hasbro your “Combiner Wars” strategy just hooked me in.

Blackjack is a Legends scale Decepticon, a scale that doesn’t normally appeal to me, as I prefer to stick with Deluxe and above. In this case, though, I took the plunge, and I was exceptionally surprised by how much I love this toy.

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He looks really good in car mode, and even though he’ll be a little smaller than his Stunticon brothers he still blends in pretty well. His transformation is quick and easy, and the figure is really poseable, a fact that is a deal breaker to me with Transformers. One of the reasons I never really dove in head first to Transformers as a kid was that the stupid robots could barely move. I don’t have to worry about that these days (at least not much).

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Ball joints are prevalent everywhere on this figure, and he looks really great in all the various poses.  Shoulders are ball joints, hips are ball joints, neck is a ball joint, his flexibility is remarkable, and fun for a small guy like this.  There are great knee and elbow joints as well, only adding to his poseability.

But I got this toy for pretty much a singular purpose… he had to fit that vacant chest cavity on Menasor, and unfortunately he very nearly fails to do that single task. Because of the way the legs click together, that second hole is loose enough that Blackjack doesn’t stay real well where I want him to stay. Thanks to the immortal advice of my friend (and former Hasbro designer) Matt, I took some thin paper and filled the holes, then pressed Blackjack down onto the pegs, and he stays much better that way. Better enough that I’m happy with the way Menasor looks (even though he does basically just look like a full car is strapped to his chest) and don’t feel like Blackjack is going to come springing off at a moment’s notice.

I bought Blackjack for a very specific reason, and even though that reason needed a little encouragement, I found myself pretty happy with the figure over all. Both modes are a lot of fun, straight forward transformation, and just a great looking toy to boot.

Transformers: Combiner Wars Motormaster

I go through phases when it comes to my love affair with Transformers, and typically those phases follow along the track of a particular animated series. This started in the 90s with Beast Wars, then resumed with Transformers: Animated, then Transformers: Prime.

Interestingly, however, is that while I am once again aggressively buying retail Transformers, it’s not because of Robots in Disguise now, it’s because of Combiner Wars. No, there’s no cartoon to draw me into that universe, but I’ve always loved Combiners, and yes, I know Hasbro has done plenty of them in the past, but they’ve always seemed somewhat hacked together and an afterthought. I thought that maybe, just maybe, an entire line devoted to the combiner concept might get some of the ideas right.

Oh yeah. They did.

I hesitated to pick up Skydive a couple of weeks ago, using a gift card left over from Christmas, and I was immediately hooked. It was a great figure with a pretty basic transformation that functioned really well in both modes. Considering Superion was one of the only combiners I actually owned every piece of in my childhood, this was a no-brainer.

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But I just couldn’t leave Drag Strip on the pegs, and so once I got Drag Strip, I knew I’d get all the Stunticons, too, which was okay, because everyone knows that a Superion needs a Menasor. It’s just how it’s done.

I haven’t gotten my hands on any limbs beyond Drag Strip yet, but I picked up a Motormaster from Amazon and I have to say, he’s pretty awesome. I still use Classics Optimus Prime as my default Prime, so I felt no need to pick up the new Combiner Wars version. As such, Motormaster is a brand new experience for me, and even though he doesn’t very strongly resemble the full semi truck of the old days, he’s a great, fun toy nonetheless. He has his familiar new head, and just the right amount of scattered tooling changes to make him feel new, even if you have Optimus. Like the other Combiner Wars figures, his transformation isn’t overly complex, a fact that I love. I don’t want to have to have an engineering degree just to play with my toys.

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I love this figure in truck form and in robot form, and even though I only have one of his limbs, he looks good so far in Menasor torso mode, too.

Now, one thing I didn’t realize is that Menasor would look horrifically incomplete without Blackjack, leaving a large cavity in his chest, which didn’t look entirely right to me. But that will be the subject of a different review.

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I don’t always buy Transformers, so when I do, it’s because Hasbro is doing something right…normally it’s the aesthetics of the animation models that hook me, but this time it’s straight up awesome looking toys that did it, and I’m glad for it.

Menasor looks woefully incomplete and Motormaster stands somewhat alone at the moment, so I’ll be eagerly anticipating the other Stunticons to arrive.