Sunday, 15 May 2016

CW G2 Silverbolt & Superion, Botcon Seaclamp & Predacus and Unite Warriors Cyclonus & Grand Galvatron

Generation 2 Silverbolt

Combiner Wars G2 Silverbolt is an interesting toy when you look at the details.

Original Generation 2 Silverbolt is a straight repaint of 1986 Special Teams Silverbolt with white becoming blue and gold chrome becoming red. Combiner Wars Silverbolt is not a straight update of the original, some of the colours have moved around a bit. Yet Generation 2 Combiner Wars Silverbolt isn't a straight up swap of the Combiner Wars colours, the red and blue are placed exactly where they were on the original G2 Silverbolt.

I'm struggling to get find much to say about the G2 Silverbolt repaint: given the mould they had they've got the details dead right. The only thing it could have done with is, like the original, a pair of additional missile launchers.

Generation 2 Superion

When I first looked at Superion I said:
There's two obvious routes I could see Hasbro going down for repaints here: The first is obvious Generation 2 Superion. I'd not be surprised to see this as this year's SDCC boxset.
On 6th May 2015 the artwork from a G2 Superion box, assumed to be the San Diego Comic Con exclusive, was leaked. It came as something of a surprise when the 2015 exclusive was announced as a Titan Devastator with an upgraded paint job, but maybe that shouldn't have been a surprise given SDCC Titan Metroplex two years previously. Instead the G2 Superion set was destined for a wider audience as the first in a series of online exclusive Combiner Wars boxsets and was itself officially unveiled on July 9th 2015 at the 2015 SDCC Hasbro Breakfast and released in late 2015/early 2016.

My supplier had a little delay with their stock: it appears a large quantity of the first run went to went to Amazon so I actually received it after the second set, Combiner Wars G2 Menasor. Maybe Menasor's colours being so mad and it not being actually released in Generation 2 has biased me, or that the original Combiner Wars Superion was such an amazing update, but of the first two Generation 2 Combiner Wars sets I prefer Menasor. Superion is good, very good, and a great translation of the G2 colours onto the Combiner Wars toys, and the inclusion of a Universe Ultra coloured G2 Powerglide is great but it isn't setting my world on fire.

Botcon 2016 Seaclamp

I think it's necessary to step through the decision making process here.

Combiners are in, it's Beast Wars anniversary, so let's make the Botcon boxset a Combiner Wars version of Beast Wars Combiner Tripredicus.

Fine so far.

The Beast Wars cartoon is really, REALLY popular so let's make the members of Tripredicus red like we saw them in the episode Agenda.

OK. Ish. There's some debate about if the redness is their colour or caused by the light in the camber and it's not the colour of the toys, but fair enough.

So Seaclamp, who was previously a Sea Scorpion, what shall we make him into? Cicadon as a jet makes sense and Ramhorn as a drill tank kind of makes sense. I'll admit my money was on Combiner Wars Scattershot.

Now Scattershot, for reasons of not originally coming with his team to combine with, having the same head as Superion in torso mode and generally being a quite lazy repaint, is not the most popular of the Combiner Wars torsos. He also has a big problem in relation to one of the previous decisions: he's mostly red.

So superficially Cicadon and Scattershot look very, VERY similar. So similar that you wonder if an all red Silverbolt or Cyclonus might have been a better choice of mould.

If anything Cicadon is even more red than Scattershot, with some moulded dark grey and painted silver detailing. Nice new head in robot mode. But far too similar to Scattershot: needed radically different colours or a different toy.

Botcon 2016 Predacus

The advantage of using a Silverbolt derivative as your Voyager is it does give you a nice solid body. He's the red used for the other two modes but wit a blue chest and grey waist. The red perfectly matches the red used for Ramhorn and Botcon 2016 Cicadon. Botcon 2016 Tarantulas and Ravage provide non matching but dark enough coloured for it not really to matter legs. The designated arms both have red Hand Foot Guns to match their bodies while those on the legs are painted black. A newly sculpted silver head tops the toy.

Here the red works, it makes the combined toy more cohesive and stand out from a crowd of other Combiners.

Unite Warriors Cyclonus

I'd honestly not expected to see Cyclonus in the Japanese line since he was a remould of Silverbolt. When the tease was released on Twitter there was some speculation about the identity of the central component, with an alternate Starscream paint job being a common theory, but a picture from a toy show seemingly confirmed it was Cyclonus from what little we could see of the colours and was confirmed by the team's full reveal.

Whereas the Combiner Wars Cyclonus is a deep purple the Unite Warriors version is more metallic pale blue with a colour scheme much closer to the cartoon. His gun is now clear orange plastic, with the stock, handle and shield painted silver, the reasons for which will become apparent in combined mode.

I want to like Cyclonus but he's really not doing it for me and the extent of the metal paintjob is scaring me slightly got future chips and scratches!

As with the rest of the Grand Galvatron set, here's a gallery of the toy.

Unite Warriors Grand Galvatron

As with the Cyclonus component, when Grand Galvatron's silhouette tease was released there was some speculation as to the combined robot's identity. This picture from a Japanese toy show seemingly sealed it with the clear orange cannon on his arm, aping the original Galvatron toy. The Grand Galvatron officially reveal gave us a closer look: Unusually for Takara they're going for a toy look here with the chest plate and head in original toy grey and a red stripe across the chest. Unfortunately that then makes the torso resemble Starscream, and the resemblance of the head to the crowned version of the Movie Starscream has already been commented on!

The composition of the combiner is somewhat eclectic compared to the themed teams of 1985-1992 or the newer Autobot gatherings of Combiner Wars:

Ghost Starscream - a post Movie version of G1 Starscream
Curse Armada Thrust - a remake of, shockingly, Armada Thrust
Zombie War Breakdown - Prime Breakdown
Wandering Roller - an interpretation of IDW Roller
But combined together..... Oh what wonderful madness! The set's default configuration is the jets for arms and the vehicles for legs, as you can see in this gallery gallery which, by a strange coincidence, means Grand Galvatron has the same legs as my spare parts Galvatron combiner. However here's a picture of the alternate combined mode.

Yes whichever limb is Starscream looks a bit odd due to being th only clear one but I don't care!I haven't seen Japanese repaint madness this good for some considerable time, possible since the glory days of Beast Wars II through to the Dimension X Minicons. There's something to recommend all five robots in the set and the combined form is just great. If you possibly can treat yourself to a set.

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