Sunday, 21 December 2014

Generations Combiner Wars Dragstrip


It turns out I have a favourite original Stunticon and it's Dragstrip. This may have happened by accident: I came by a spare in a parts box and he's spent the last two years standing on my bookshelf looking at me so maybe I've grown to love him that way. Or it might be because he's the Stunticon you're most likely to see so he crops up as a Mirage/Racecar repaint quite often: see the classics version or even the Power Core version which is blatantly Dragstrip even though they couldn't get the name right even when forced into a second attempt!

Combiner Wars Dragstrip is the sole Stunticon in the first wave of toys: he has purple accents on his card to denote his team and is numbered 1. He comes in robot mode with a double barrelled cannon and a sword. The Sword is a bit of an oddity since the original 1986 toy didn't have one. There again neither did the other original Stunticon limbs but all of Combiner Wars Stunticons do. Watch out for the peg sticking out the sword at an odd angle which looks like it might be a handle to use it as a gun: it isn't and is slightly too big for 5mm peg hole hands. So bye bye hand gun, with the dual cannon now used in all modes substituting.

The robot itself actually does Dragstrip really well: mainly a mustard yellow colour, with the lower legs being the rear of the race car, the nose on his back and a purple head, a colour also used on the shoulders, waist, upper legs and hands. The main difference is the chest: previously it was the car's cockpit filled with the engine block, now it's the back of the car but the visible grey Combiner Wars connector makes an adequate stand in for the engine block. Articulation is good: bending knees, ball jointed hips, rotating waist, ball jointed head & shoulders, bicep swivel and bending elbow.

Transformation: Straighten the legs pegging them together. Rotate 180 degrees at the waist. Slide the upper legs into the lower legs! Lord be praised, a sliding limb joint, I thought they were extinct! So many times Hasbro's done all sorts of rubbish when a simple sliding joint would have sufficed! Anyway make sure the two tabs on the back of the cockpit have sunk into the rear of the vehicle. Fold the hands in. Straighten the arms and fold into the side of the car: a slot on the wrist has a tab near the rear wheel. Unpeg the node of the car from the figure's back, rotate it forward and push into place making sure the two small tabs sticking out the rear of the nose recess into the car body: they are slightly too widely spaced on my example. Take the dual cannon and use the 5mm peg on the top of the toy to fit the cannon to the car: there's a 5mm peg hole between the two cannons.

The car feels nice and big compared to some recent deluxe offerings but is exactly, and as simply, as you imagine it: a yellow car with purple accents and a big cannon on top. Gone are Dragstrip's two pairs of front wheels replaced with the more conventional one. Wheels turn OK: it is a typical Transformers race car. My only problem is that there's nowhere to store the sword! Non weapons storage in a recent release is such a rare thing it makes me think I've missed something!

Dragstrip can also serve as a limb for a Combiner Wars Combined Robot.

Leg Mode: Take the care mode: move the nose onto the Car's back in it's robot configuration. Fold the head back into the nose. Fold the very rear of the car up and forward onto the top of the rear, exposing another combiner peg socket underneath. Fold the chest connector out so it sticks out the front of the car. Fold the back of the weapon out to form a heel spur, put it on the ground and peg the rear of the car into it with the barrels facing the same way as the top of the car. Slot into a combining slot on a Torso.

The leg mode is solid, which is what you want, and provides the larger robot with a thigh swivel, bending knee and an ankle swivel.

Arm Mode: Take the robot mode and peg the legs together. Fold the hands in and fold the arms so the wrists touch above the head. Fold the gun barrels on the cannon down 90 degrees, fold out the fingers and peg into the robot's feet. Rotate the combiner wars connector out the chest 90 degrees and slide into a shoulder socket. Rotate the waist so the back of it faces forward. Rotate the hand so the fingers are on the outer side of the arm.

Unlike the leg, where all the articulation is provided by the Combiner Wars connector and foot, here Dragstrip is actually doing some work. The shoulder rotation and flexing to the side IS still provided by the connector, and the hand gives us the wrist swivel but the rest is Dragstrip's legs with the waist becoming a bicep swivel, the hips an upper elbow hinge and the knees a lower elbow hinge. All do their job just fine.

Overall: Decent solid toy in all modes. The lack of a location for the sword in vehicle mode and it's odd side handle is a bit of a head scratcher!

Future Repaints

Leaked computer listings reveal an upcoming Combiner Warts Mirage which is probably a Dragstrip repaint. Original Dragstrip has a cancelled Generation 2 repaint which would make a nice convention exclusive down the line.

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