Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Combiner Wars Motormaster & Menasor

See the Combiner Wars Optimus Prime Review for more on the first version of this toy.


I'll get the big bugbear out the way first: an evil Optimus Prime is not Motormaster. An Evil Optimus is Scourge or Nemesis Prime, which I prefer. The Evil Optimus is Motormaster thing started in 2007 with Classics Legend Menasor and continued with Generations Legend Motorbreath, both names used when Motormaster was unavailable but we know what they mean. The Classics Legend is a repaint of Legends of Cybertron Optimus: If they'd have done it using the full size Cybertron Optimus Prime I could have just about managed with the smaller robot being Motormaster and the larger powered up one Menasor.

My main objection for using Optimus for Motormaster is that the originals are different toys. Optimus' robot is formed from the cab, Motormaster from the cab and trailer. Motormaster's cab is black but the bulk of his body is silver grey, from the trailer, with the black cab forming the feet. The look of the two robots is totally different.

However in this world of extensive mould reuse I could see why they'd want to do it. The problem is I look at the toy and just see Optimus. The Truck cab is a dark silver grey and generally is the same shape as Optimus. There's some newly moulded panels on top and the shape of the radiator and side panels has slightly changed but side by side it's obvious they are the same toy.

Transformation between both of Motormaster's modes is the same as Optimus Prime's.

Robot mode is a little better but the head used for Motormaster is terrible, a block with a face on it! It might be his cartoon appearance but it looks rubbish. The major concession to the original Motormaster design is a new chest swapping Prime's fake windows for some sculpted detail panels. The problem is the general shape of the toy is exactly the same even down to some of the Prime details like the distinctive vented panels on his legs. He's got a new gun and a new sword in this mode which look distinctly odd with an odd latticework sculptured quality. They tab together and can be placed on the truck mode.

Your mileage may vary but in my opinion this is just a bad Optimus repaint. I'd prefer a white Prime as Ultra Magnus' inner robot or a black Nemesis Prime any day.


Motoromaster's Transformation to Menasor's chest is identical to Optimus Prime becoming Ultra Optimus. The sword and gun peg together to form a new larger sword which Menasor can hold using what was the gun's barrel.In chest mode we get a new black head, with poseable grey horns, a new opening chest and a new waist plate. Unfortunately the problems Prime had with his thigh plates not holding the legs stable in combined mode are much worse here and to compound the matter Motormaster's shoulders are very reluctant to stay locked together in Torso mode: the connection is very weak and they easily pop out when you move an arm. No attempt has been made at correcting the ratchet settings so the legs can point straight down in combined mode: you're again holding them under tension to keep them parted at the correct angle.

Menasor introduces a new element to the combined body transformation in the form of the Legends car Blackjack, an updated version of Motormaster's drone car which takes the name of a Micromaster Sports Car Patrol team member. Unfortunately what looked like a nice idea in the pictures turns into a nightmare when you have the toy in hand! Blackjack doesn't fit properly onto the the pages sticking out the combined robot's inner chest: the pegs taper at the end and Blackjack's holes to accommodate the pegs aren't that deep so as a result there's very little contact between peg and hole and he easily falls off.

Very disappointed.

This toy needed to be good for me to like it but it amplifies the flaws in the earlier versions and introduces some new ones as well. You'll buy it because you need the core for Menasor but it isn't as good as the original Optimus version. http://www.tfu.info/1986/Decepticon/Menasor/menasor.htm http://www.tfu.info/2007/Decepticon/SDCCMenasor/menasor.htm

Optimus Maximus

I had said I wouldn't be surprised to see some of the Combiner Wars limb bots being repainted as 1984/5 Autobots to accompany Optimus, with Dragstrip as Mirage is an obvious one, and sure enough in December 2012 Wal*Mart's computer has leaked the names of four toys that look like they fit this bill: Mirage, Sunstreaker, Ironhide & Prowl. At that point they were assumed to go with the existing Optimus Prime toy but in mid January this piece of toyfair promo art emerged seemingly showing a white Optimus Prime redeco. At that point rumours had been circulating for a while of a new Ultra Magnus toy for 2015 and everyone knows that a white Optimus Prime is Ultra Magnus. However at the start of March a new name appeared: Optimus Maximus and shortly after a larger version of the promo art showed up on the Entertainer's website showing the white Prime combined with the Autobot repaints.

The name Optimus Maximus isn't new: it was used before on a Transformers Prime battle mech for Optimus Prime. The Maximus suffix does have combining connotations though. During Energon three combiners bore it: Superion Maximus, Bruticus Maximus and Constructicon Maximus and it was also later used on the poorly named club exclusive Nexus Maximus.

So why a different name for a white Prime instead of Ultra Magnus? The main reason would appear to be that there is another Ultra Magnus toy due out at the same time. Personally I think this is a big missed opportunity to do a white Prime cab that when transformed forms the core of a Combiner with Ultra Magnus' super mode head. Throw in a new shield for the Voyager robot to use that then became a new red chest plate for Magnus and you're on to a winner. 3P companies take note: I have money for you for these items to convert my Optimus Maximus into Ultra Magnus.

As can be seen by the combined mode images Optimus Maximus has his own version of Blackjack, Legends Rodimus. I await to see if the connection between the two has been improved but don't hold out much hope.

Grand Scourge

This may take some explaining.....

Energon Optimus Prime, the most combiner orientated Optimus before the Combiner Wars Voyager, was released in Japan as Superlink Grand Convoy. Superlink Grand Convoy had a model kit version and that in turn was recoloured into Grand Scourge, which you can see a gallery of here. It's this version of Scourge that provides the inspiration for this toy.

Now I'll be honest: I was expecting this mould to get Scoured/Nemesis Primed but the version I thought they'd do first was the more familiar Car Robots/Robots in Disguise version. I didn't expect this slice of Japanese repaint madness!

As this gallery on Autobase Aichi shows, Prime's red and blue both become black while the grey becomes gold. The gun is now cast in lavender while he comes with an extra red sword, previously available in grey with Beast Hunter Ultimate Optimus Prime, which appears to be a nod to the sword wielding Car Robots/RiD Scourge. To complete the cacophony of colour the truck has metallic teal stripes!

Due to be available from E-Hobby in September 2015 this toy is a bit too busy colourwise for my liking but it's a Japanese exclusive recolour and was easy to pre-order from HLJ even if it wasn't cheap!

Future Repaints and Add Ons

Although a repaint of this toy as Ultra Magnus is probably ruled out by the existence of Optimus Maximus, I can see no reason why this toy shouldn't return again as the more familiar Car Robots/RID Scourge, swapping Grand Scourge's gold for grey and doing the guns in black. Some way to hold both guns side by side in one hand would be nice to mimic Scourge/Laser Prime's dual cannon.

The Motormaster remould could be redone as his unreleased Generation 2 variant, recently glimpsed at auction.

I'd pay money for a version of Menasor's Blackjack being repainted in blue as Roller to accompany the original version of this toy.

Energon Optimus Prime offers some intriguing possibilities for limbs to accompany Optimus Prime: We've already got a Helicopter limb in Alpha Bravo, how about making Fire Engine, Sub & Drill Tank limbs to homage Energon Optimus? The Drill Tank could almost certainly be reused as Nosecone and Drillhorn as well as effectively being an upgrade for Rescue Force Mole. A new version of Energon Wing Sabre would go nicely with this toy too.

Cybertron could give us Leobreaker which would be a useful mould if Hasbro went down the Predaking route with this combiner system and I see no reason why they shouldn't.

There's plenty of scope for doing things with this Optimus for some while yet. If Hasbro don't I can see third party companies eagerly stepping in.

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