Friday, 9 September 2016

Unite Warriors Computron

Unite Warriors Afterburner

Of all the Combiner Wars Technobot Limbs, Afterburner is the closest to being the same in both sets. Even then there are major differences: Afterburner is red & white, to match the cartoon, which to my eye just looks odd. His canopy is clear blue plastic as is the lightpipe on his head. He comes with two new black plastic weapons, painted with red, which resemble the original's Incendiary Missile Launcher & Plasma Pulse Cannon.

Afterburner is pictured with the Unite Warriors Lightspeed Hand Foot Gun. I can't see any reason why the toys should play musical HFGs in this set but I can good reasons for Lightspeed, Strafe and Nosecone to have theirs so Afterburner gets the same one Groove does, the dual Gatling first seen with Alpha Bravo, which the box & publicity pictures think Nosecone should have!

Takara have gone down the cartoon accuracy route, and it's not working for me here. Afterburner is orange. So I think Hasbro wins this round.

Unite Warriors Lightspeed

The rounded passenger compartment, pointed front and passenger compartment chest of Combiner Wars Wheeljack make him an obvious candidate for a red repaint as Technobot Lightspeed. However Leaked images suggested that a version of the Streetwise mould may be used instead for the Combiner Wars version while the artwork was non committal showing the Lightspeed leg bent back and out of sight! The boxback graphic was leaked on 9th March confirming the use of Streetwise.

Takara however revealed their Lightspeed as the mould we thought should be used, Wheeljack, who at this point hadn't appeared as Wheeljack in Japan.

Lightspeed is shown on the publicity material as using the Unite Warriors Blast Off/Unite Warriors Strafe mould HandFootGun. However this means it can't do the "over the spoiler" supercharger trick that previous versions of this mould can. So Strafe gets his HFG back and in turn Lightspeed's co-moulded HFG is taken back from Afterburner.

Takara have got this one dead right, a lovely mix of red & burgundy in both modes. A new head in robot mode helps complete the appearance. There's a lovely little touch in vehicle mode where the positioning of the small Autobot symbol on his chest means you can see it through the bumper grill on the front of the car.

Hallelujah! The sword is gone! Lightspeed comes with an identical pair of guns, cast in caramel coloured plastic. Thin tabs on each side of the gun lets them be tabbed into the sides of the car while 5mm holes on the rear allow them to form part of Computron's combined weapon.

They've nailed it here, got Lightspeed right. Not just as good as you can get using Combiner Wars components, they've got it looking like an updated version of the original. Top Marks, and a clear win for Takara in the Hasbro vs Takara Technobot stakes.

There's one small problem though....

I looked at Lightspeed and thought "this is a red version of the CW Lambo toy" and mediately mourned for the Combiner Wars Sideswipe which doesn't exist :-(

Unite Warriors Nosecone

I had thought that a remould of the front of Rook, together with a plug in drill would make a decent Nosecone but was slightly disappointed when Combiner Wars Nosecone was revealed to be a remould of Brawl. Takara however thought the same as me but too the concept a few stages further....

At it's heart Unite Warriors Nosecone is Rook. He's lost all; six of his wheels which have been replaced by moulded track sections, with small wheels built into them. Gone too is the large piece that forms the top of the vehicle front, replaced by a series of panels down the spine of the toy which are shaped to resemble Nosecone's cockpit. Onto the front of this is pegged a MASSIVE DRILL. The drill, painted silver for most of it's length, does spin but the motion is a very stiff one. The pointed end is spring loaded and retracts. The drill is moulded to fit over the front of Rook's vehicle and, if you fold up the 5mm peg it's attached to the spine by it will fit onto the original Rook courtesy of a raised ring surrounding a 5mm peg hole at the rear.

There is a large number of 5mm holes on the toy, 1 on each track, one on the rear of each side, one on the front of each fist and one on top of the cockpit, plus a concealed one behind the drill. This is a good thing because Nosecone is significantly tooled up: a pair of gun barrels/missiles fit into the front of of his exposed fists, plus a yellow handgun which need mounting on the toy. All three parts are moulded in the same caramel plastic used for the tracks, spine, drill and Lightspeed's guns.

Nosecone is illustrated with the HandFootGun which is co-moulded with Afterburner The HFG that is used with the Rook mould is packed with Strafe.. I've swapped them all round so everyone has the HFG their mould is associated with because Lightspeed, Strafe and, to a lesser extent, Nosecone need their usually associated weapons at some point. To symmetrically mount Noscone's weapons the HFG needs to be plugged into the cockpit and the handgun into the HFG. The Strafe/Blast Off gun will let you do this as it too has a 5mm hole in the palm but since Strafe wants to pull the same trick, he should nave his original weapon and thus so should Nosecone.

There's a lot of things done right with the vehicle mode, the drill and the tracks especially. I can see what they're getting at with the robot arms representing the large raised area towards the rear of the vehicles but they're a bit flat for that and not yellow. The cockpit too feels a bit flat not projecting up terribly much from the new spine piece. The front of the spine looks like a big silver splodge at the front. But the worst problem is the massive space between the spine and the majority of the deck of the toy formed by the existing Rook legs.

The Transformation is essentially the same as Rook's: start by folding the head back and the arms out to the sides then transform the legs as per Rook.

The problem is with the robot mode is it's essentially a repainted Rook. Yes it's got a new head and track replace the wheels at the side of the chest but it's still just Rook repainted. Most of the colours are vaguely the right place, thought the arms could do with being darker. In fact the whole toy could do with having the predominantly caramel colour a lot darker brown, it's just not right for either toy or cartoon. Looking at it front on it's a big solid lump of white on the chest, which indicates that Takara is aiming for the cartoon like they usually do, but I do think he would have been helped if the Combiner Connector could have coloured yellow to match the original toy and break up the solid white of the chest, which also could have down with some silver painted detail. The missile/gun barrel weapons are usually shown on the shoulders but I think they make better sense mounted on the sides of the legs. The hand gun, as well as the 5mm peg handle which Nosecone/Rook can't use, has a 5mm peg on the back of it, which he can. In fact of all the weapons in the Computron set only Afterburner's don't have 5mm pegs in the rear. The Drill can be held by him, but won't attach centrally on his arm without the aid of a 5mm peg adaptor which is a bit of a shame. I wonder why they didn't put a peg there as it fits over a peg hole in vehicle mode?

I love Rook, I think he's the best Combiner Wars limb. But somehow this version just doesn't quite capture Nosecone right. The colours are off, for either toy or cartoon version. I've seen a digibash in both sets of colours and both look better than what we got.

He might not have such a large drill but, for me, I think it's a narrow win for Hasbro's Nosecone here!

The one thing this toy does so is prove the concept of a tracked Rook. I saw Brawl originally as a Rook remould and, with a new front top of vehicle, I could still see that working.

Unite Warriors Strafe

No toy better illustrates the difference in priority between Hasbro and Takara's Combiner Wars Computron sets than Strafe. Combiner Wars Strafe is a remould of Air Raid who in turn is a remould of Skydive. Takara, on the other hand, have remoulded their thus far exclusive Blast Off to be Strafe.

On the face of it there's very little of Blast Off in Strafe. There's a new nose, top of the jet, new separate removable tails, new wings, new guns. The only hint at Blast Off are the robot arms down the sides of the spaceship and even then they're the other way up to the arms on Blast Off as we discussed at the time. All the new parts are moulded in white plastic and unfortunately it shows on the mid wing hinges which are insufficiently painted in red.

Strafe is pictured with the HandFootGun that's usually with Rook/Nosecone. Strafe/Blast Off's HFG is pictured with Unite Warriors Lightspeed so a big move round is necessary to get everyone's HFG with the right toy. Strafe's can mount on top of the space ship with his hand gun plugging in the top of the HFG.

Transformation is nearly exactly the same as Blast Off. The only difference is the engines now fold to the opposite side of the leg and it's the reverse of the toy to Blast Off's standard transformation that faces front. The new tail fins fold against the front of the legs.

In robot mode Strafe looks like a missing Aerialbot with lots of white and red on the chest & upper legs. It's a dead on likeness for the original in toy or cartoon form. The back of Blast Off's robot mode makes for much better robot than the front with much cleaner lines. He comes with a handgun that can be held or plugged into the end of his fists. In addition the guns for his spaceship mode are also removable and, again, can be hand held or plugged into the ends of his fists. Put together with his Hand Foot Gun he has FOUR possible hand weapons which allows for you to use a large number of the 5mm ports on this toy ..... or so I thought until I totalled them up two under each arm (4) one on the end of his hand (6) one on each fist hole (8) one on each side of the chest (10) one on the front of each leg, used by the tail fins (12) one on each of the wings (14) one on each side of the space ship nose (16) and one on his back making a total of 17!

Very good toy, far better than Blast Off. When it comes to vehicle mode it's a toss up between Hasbro & Takara as to if you prefer the toy or cartoon Strafe. But the robot mode it's a win for Takara both in likeness and in beating the Hasbro version by having removable weapons.

Unite Warriors Scattershot

My expectation was that Unite Scattershot would be similar to Combiner Wars Scattershot. We knew from when a new Computron chest was teased that there would be some remoulding but I thought it would just be to the combined mode. Scattershot's grey prototype reveal told us otherwise: we've got a new chest and new twin guns, with a 5mm post on the back, corresponding hole on the back and a 5mm peg on either side for combination purposes.

His 8th April colour revealshowed some minor differences including white hips and red forearms, with the back panel painted white for the purposes of the combined mode upper legs. The only change to the Voyager's head is the face is painted silver now.

The chest is closer the original, the deco is a variation on a theme but the real winner here is the new guns.

Unite Warriors Computron

Some notes are necessary on assembling Computron: ll the limbs & the torso transform & assemble as before. Computron's gun is formed by combining weapons from the individual toys: Scattershot's guns combine front to back, with the rear gun's 5mm peg handle facing down and the front one facing up. The holes on the side of Lightspeed's guns fit onto the posts sticking out the rear Scattershot gun. Nosecone's gun mounts on the handle of the front gun. Nosecone's missiles then mount on the side of Computron's upper legs. Strafe is shown keeping his weapons, but I then mount the the gun in the front of the combined Computron gun. That the leas the rather cumbersome Afterburner guns. The suggestion is the dual barrelled one mounts on his wind shield peg hole but I can't see where the other one goes: I've mounted it on the outer edge of Nosecone.

The remoulding to the Scattershot elements of Computron are a major reason for getting the Unite Warriors set. Gone is the Superion head that both Combiner Wars Scattershots had, albeit in different colours, replaced by a new head modelled after the original Computron. We also get a new chest. In fact the entire front panel of the toy is new, with the section between waist & chest looking rather odd as it pokes in like some giant belly button.

The problem with the toy is the colour. There's no hope of getting the Strafe arm looking as red as the cartoon arm does so we'll let that go but there is far too much white up the top of Computron, over the shoulder's, formed from Scattershot and into Afterburner. Afterburner is a major problem: they went for his cartoon robot colour, red, but that makes his arm mode red and even the cartoon thinks Computron's Afterburner arm should be orange. Afterburner's lower arm just refuses to stay together on mine when you do anything drastic like bend the arm! In physical form Unite Nosecone makes a better leg than Combiner Wars Nosecone but, as I said in the individual robot's review, the colours just aren't right. I'm happy with the new chest but somehow the head of the new Computron just isn't right. Proportionally I think the face should be a bit bigger and the forehead a little smaller. I'm not sure the gold works for the face either, it was varying shades of orange on the toy & cartoon. I'd almost have been tempted to stick with the existing Computron head but remould the faceplate into a face.

Slightly disappointed in the Takara Computron if I'm honest. It's not light years ahead of the Hasbro version as I was expecting it to be and on some ways, Afterburner and Nosecone, it's missed the mark somewhat. The colour choices on both bring down the combined form. Afterburner's Groove remould doesn't feel good enough on either toy except in robot mode, so Hasbro's wins as a combiner component by virtue of being orange. Hasbro's Nosecone has got the colours much much better so wins there. Takara's Lightspeed looks better as a leg, no white, and is a more solid leg. The Strafes are probably a dead heat limb wise. Takara's Scattershot should be a better torso with the remoulding but to my eye the Hasbro colours look nicer. Going to have to call that another draw. So 2 points for a win, 1 each for a draw: 6 to Hasbro, 4 to Takara. A surprising Hasbro win for the combined robot, even without Scrounge's contribution taken into account. A combined robot of Hasbro's Nosecone & Afterburner, Takara's Lightspeed and take your pick from the other two might be interesting to see.

A fascinating experience to see one combiner done two different ways though!

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