Monday, 29 August 2016

Combiner Wars Computron

Combiner Wars Scattershot (Boxset)

We'll come on to why this toy exists bellow when I talk about the combined form.

The Scattershot in the Computron box has had a number of changes made to him compared to the general retail version. Generally red has become a darker, almost burgundy red, but the red of the forearms is now white, to make them white in combined mode. However the fronts are still bright red thanks to a paint application. The bright red of the combined mode chest plates is now a cerise/cherry red. Most of the white parts have stayed white but the knee caps, upper arms, neck, hips, nose hinge and gun plastic colour have gone from white to burgundy red as has the combined mode head & antennae. The gun has a new paint colour becoming metallic cerise. Both vehicle wings and robot chest appear painted to me

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Robot mode in general looks much darker but the head is light years better than the original Voyager just by only having the visor instead of the whole face painted. Vehicle mode looks too dark too, and I'm not liking the red paint applications on the nose, and the flashes of white towards the rear which cause it to look a mish mash of colour. This is the only mode where the Voyager wins but it's a begrudging win because I have trouble with this being Scattershot's vehicle mode.


However you've not bought the Computron boxset Scattershot to have him in robot or vehicle mode have you?

Combiner Wars Lightsteed

Lightsteed, a name substitute for Lightspeed is probably the most controversial element of the Combiner Wars Computron Boxset. It's the only straight repaint of a retail toy in the box. By my count it's the 11th use of the Dead End mould, 5th of the Streetwise variant and 3rd of the Streetwise head so there is a distinct element of familiarity here. The feeling was in the run up to a number of pieces of artwork and pictures of a toy prototype being leaked that if an existing Combiner Wars toy was to be used for Lightspeed then Wheeljack was the best choice and indeed Takara agreed.

So as a toy by itself this doesn't feel like Lightspeed. However I like what I see. The red and white works as a sort of Fire Chief deco, more heavy on the red than Red Alert, who doesn't yet have a Combiner Wars version. My only complaint with the flat white moulding of the windscreen & roof: I think the roof and windscreen supports needed to be picked out in red.

Combiner Wars Afterbreaker

In the same way that Combiner Wars Brawl becomes Nosecone, because he's the only tracked vehicle in Combiner Wars, now Groove becomes Afterburner, because he's the only Motorbike. Even more so than Nosecone, I'm not sure it really works here. Groove is recast in the orange used for Afterburner's toy, with the top of the bike painted beige to simulate his canopy. Over that goes a new, more angular canopy piece to try to make you think of the original's enclosed Tron lightcycle mode but it doesn't really work as you can see the handlebars projecting out the sides! Since the canopy now covers the saddle hole for the Hand Foot Gun there's now a hole on the top of the canopy which in turn makes me think that either the bike alterations were designed by Takara, it is after all the only limb in both Hasbro & Takara's Computron giftsets, or they originally intended the HFG's to be in this set too. Afterburner comes with Groove's guns. They're painted white but are cast in clear green like the canopy, and that makes me think the Afterburner design work was done with Groove!

For all my moaning about the vehicle mode the robot seems to work well and, bar the upper arms being the wrong colour, isn't a bad match for the original Afterburner toy.

Passable. Very much an "it'll do" toy for the reasons outlined above, and that disappointing given he's in BOTH Computron sets and should have been the one the real effort was made on. There's been better lightcycle vehicles recently, Chromia. I'm even left to wonder if, given the money, Dragstrip could have been retooled into a better futuristic bike. No, hear me out: The robot modes are a very similar shape: mount a thick wheel in the centre of a new front piece and alter the legs so there's a wheel in the middle.

Combiner Wars Nosecone

The drill tank version of Brawl was first seen during January 2016 a number of pieces of artwork and pictures of a toy prototype were leaked that appeared to show a Computron whose boxback graphic was leaked on 9th March but it took till Botcon 2016 in April before Computron was officially unveiled, by which point some people had Ramhorn in hand. It's obvious to me that Nosecone was the intended use of the mould from the start. The tank mode looks quite simple with a brown body and yellow turret to which the same cockpit & drill piece used with Ramhorn is attached to. Transforming the toy reveals more of the yellow and some of the burgundy used on Scattershot & Computron. I've not seen burgundy & yellow used together since Universe.

I'm torn. This is the only tank treaded vehicle Combiner Wars has so it's obvious it was going to be Nosecone. But the problem here is original Nosecone is a big favourite of mine. They've done their best but it's not really Nosecone.

Combiner Wars Strafe

No toy better illustrates the difference in priority between Hasbro and Takara's Combiner Wars Computron sets than Strafe. There's a hint of it with the toy orange of Combiner Wars Afterbreaker vs the cartoon red of Unite Warriors Afterburner but with the new versions of Lightspeed & Nosecone it's more an argument of which toy better represents the character as a whole. However with Strafe Hasbro and Takara have chosen two totally different toys to remould to represent the different versions of the character.

Hasbro have started with the Air Raid Aerialbot limb, and it is the Air Raid version as certain detail on the robot chest & jet underside confirms even before we look at the pictures of a toy prototype leaked during January 2016 which clearly show Air Raid's black with new parts attached. We loose the nose and the wings which are replaced with new wings, large red ones at the rear and smaller off white ones at the front. The nose isn't quite as flat as the original toy and a little liberty has been taken modifying the black patch occupied by the rubsign on the original Technobot Strafe into an angular cockpit. Forward of the cockpit we have the twin orange guns, sadly fixed in place on this new version. He retains the peg hole in the middle of the plane's back and, somewhat oddly given he's got no extra weapons, also gains one under each wing. There's also a 5mm peg hole just behind the cockpit and in vehicle mode this can be used to mount Scrounge on him, almost as a AWACS disc (my thanks to my plane expert, The Kaptain, Karl Thurgood for pointing this one out!). Where Afterbreaker's vehicle mode was a bit of a poor effort, Strafe's is superb work.

Robot mode transformation is just as per Air Raid and, with the plane parts folded back, the robot modes are very, very similar. Most of the robot is an off white with the lower portion of the upper arms, crotch & combiner peg orange and the chest sides painted burgundy red. The big surprise here is a new head, with a visor and open face, which looks great. The head is painted white, with a red painted face, but the evidence of some slightly paint blemishes is that all the new pieces are on a red plastic sprue, the colour of the rear wings, which has been painted and then the toy assembled. Alas the robot has no weapons: like Titans Return Brainstorm he could really do with his guns being removable from his jet nose.

His limb mode is again nearly identical to Air Raid. The nose, cockpit and 5mm peg form kibble on the shoulder which can be further added to by adding Scrounge's saucer mode if I was brave enough to ever push his head down again, with the Cybaxx shuttle attached. The only problem with the arm mode is that the holes on the painted small wings are a little small for the tabs on the sides of the arms to fit into. Blame is firmly on the new wings: the tabs probably fitted snugly in the unpainted part but don't with the extra layer of paint added.

Bar the lack of removable guns, or any guns at all, and the slight problem with the tabs in arm mode this is a very very good toy. Air Raid was always my favourite of the Combiner Wars Aerialbot limbs and they've done a fantastic job modifying him to Strafe here.

Scrounge & Cybaxx

Scrounge as a character features in one issue of the Marvel Transformers comic where his role is to die and provide endless remorse for Blaster for evermore. The same issue, US 17/UK 66, also introduces fan favourite Decepticon villain Straxus and he got a toy in 2010. Despite being a relatively minor character Scrounge has developed a loyal fan following who frequently suggest him as a repaint of other toys.

Since Scrounge is shown partnered with Blaster it would almost have made sense to do Scrounge as a yellow Autobot tape warrior especially when the Fall Of Cybertron version of those turns into a disc, similar to Scrounge's alternate mode in the comic.

When Cosmos came out in 2014 some people, faced with the lack of potential repaints, suggested Scrounge as a repaint but I suspect even his most loyal fan didn't really believe it would happen. When rumours of a Legends Scrounge from Cosmos began to spread in late 2015 even then some people had trouble thinking it was actually going to happen so when Computron's boxset artwork was leaked fans were stunned to see a yellow saucer on his arm!Over the course of January 2016 a number of pieces of artwork and pictures of a toy prototype had been leaked but there was no sign of a Cosmos repaint. The boxback graphic was leaked on 9th March showing the toy in full but it took till Botcon 2016 in April before Computron was officially unveiled.

Since Scrounge is yellow, that's what Cosmos & Payload's green & white parts are recoloured as resulting in a rather monochrome pair of toys broken only by some red detailing and an even smaller amount of blue & silver on the front of the UFO mode & robot chest.

Scrounge gets a new head, accurately modelled after his comic appearance but the head is a nightmare to reveal for robot mode, worse than Cosmos' which at least had a recessed panel in the back you could get a tool in to lift it albeit at the cost of scraping the paint. n the end I tipped the toy upside down and used gravity, a pair of very sharp scissor blades and long nosed pliers to get the head up. It won't be going down again!

Because Scrounge's base can fit on the peg on Strafe's cockpit roof it follows that the hole in Scrounge's base can take other 5mm pegs. This means you can peg Cybaxx into him as a UFO Death Ray cannon. This is good thing.

It also emerges you can do the same thing with Cosmos and Cybaxx. With a bit of force you can persuade Payload to mount on Cosmos the same way.

But will Cosmos mount on Strafe?


From eye it looks like the hole on Scrounge's underside has been made slightly, only very very slightly, larger resulting in a thinner rim but a socket that will fit solidly on a 5mm peg made from firmer plastic.

I'm of the school that thought we wouldn't see Scrounge in a million years and that Satan would be ice skating to work before we did so I'm really pleased to see his plastic incarnation. I know some people are less pleased to see him packed in the Technobot boxset as, surprisingly, there are some people out there who are not fans of Computron. But I think his speciality fits the team and the spaceship mode integrates well into the combined form. The only real downside is the head: I suspected t would be a problem due to difficulties with Cosmos but I didn't expect it to be out.

But still, I'm glad this toy exists.

Now what about Xaaron, Rack'n'Ruin & Skater?

Combiner Wars Computron

It would be fair to say that Transformers fans were not happy with the decision to release Scattershot without the Technobots. Over the course of January 2016 a number of pieces of artwork and pictures of a toy prototype were leaked that appeared to show a Computron, a position that was reinforced by the drill tank version of Brawl used there also showing up in the Botcon 2016 boxset and leaked images of Liokaiser. The boxset artwork was leaked on the 12th Febuary, and then the boxback graphic was leaked on 9th March but it took till Botcon 2016 in April before Computron was officially unveiled.

We probably should talk about the feet & hands, both of which are new to this set and cast in a slightly rubbery burgundy plastic. The feet work on the same principle as Victorion's with a stiff ratchet joint to each side. On Victorion it didn't make a lot of sense since the design of the toy all but fixed it in an upright pose since the the tops of Pyra Magna/Hotspot's legs form the waist of that combiner torso. Here, with the benefit of the shoulders formed from Scattershot/Silverbolt's shoulders this torso can make better use of the joint. Unfortunately it probably needs more finely graded cogs in both hips and ankles to make it worthwhile: the first click out to the sides positions the leg 1/16th of a turn, 22.5 degrees, resulting in a terribly wide stance. While the sideways ratchet on the ankle is solid the peg projecting from it is the only point of contact between foot and leg limb which can cause problems with the likes of Lightsteed/Dead End, whose peg hole isn't that secure in the structure of the leg. The added contact between the base of the leg limb and the foot does help. However I like the big chunky moulding design on the new feet, it suits the combiner.


The hands are probably not going to win many friends in the "we want more articulation" brigade. Where Victorion's new hands had moving fingers Computron's are big non articulated lumps with a 5mm peg hole. Very nicely sculpted lumps but there's less articulation here than on a Hand Foot Gun!

As with Victorion the hands can be stored in the feet, though getting them in isn't intuitive. Blacklai shows how it's done in his review: the front of the fist goes into the underside of the foot with the outer side of the fist towards the front. That then leaves a 5mm peg facing out of either side of the combined hand/foot for you to mount on any vehicle or robot in the set. As with Victorion, this feature is undocumented.

Assembly should be easy by now and since you've got a Silverbolt torso you're in for one of the better combiners. Scattershot's torso looks completely different in a new colour scheme: it's nearly all burgundy now with a cerise chest plate and white upper legs. In the midst of this the bright red painted crotch looks out of place. The sides of the chest have acquired some new tampograph detailing designed to look like details on Computron's chest. The head is still the Superion head but looks much much better in the burgundy distinguishing it from the original. Not repainting the head on the original Voyager was one of the biggest mistakes they made there. Yes a new head would be better but we can't have everything. I may have been inclined to buy a third party head for this but for the forthcoming Unite version but as it stands this colour head is probably the best we're going to get with this head mould.

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The default configuration is Afterbreaker(Afterburner) as his right arm, with his guns being mounted on the sides of Computron's upper legs. Strafe forms his left arm, with Scrounge plugged onto the 5mm port on Strafe's cockpit roof and Cybaxx plugged into Scrounge. Lightsteed (Lightspeed) & Nosecone form his right & left legs respectively which is a bit of a problem as both have relatively weekly supported 5mm sockets for the feet to plug into.

In robot mode any deficiencies the individual limbs have as their characters fade somewhat and it's a decent interpretation of the original Computron. The chest colouring no longer makes it look like hate plague Superion and the kibble sticking out of the shoulders of each of the arm limbs balances each other out. Mine's personally going to be displayed without Scrounge & Cybaxx. I like the way they attach but due to the nightmare that it extending Scrounge's head he's staying in robot mode for evermore.


A very, very good combiner. Probably the best Hasbro boxset so far. It'll be interesting comparing it to it's Takara counterpart in a few weeks time.

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