Like many UK fans the source of my Transformers fiction pre Beast Wars comes mainly from the comic so I had no idea who Moonracer
was. I thought I vaguely recognised her when the toy was revealed but I was probably confusing her with one of the many repaints of Energon Arcee
like Superlink Paradon Medic
or Botcon Chromia
, both of whom have a similar colour scheme to Moonracer's mint green and white. Research revealed that she appeared in one episode of the cartoon's second season, The Search for Alpha Trion
, which wasn't broadcast in the UK or released on video, and was part of a group of Female Autobots
. The later point will become relevant later.
Robot: She feels very Arcee, different colour, new head even though there's never been a Combiner Wars Arcee, though if TFCC were still going I'd lay money on that being done as an exclusive. The robot mode feels very tall & thin but she's the same height as her wavemate Snarl so I guess that's her thinness emphasising her height. Beyond her almost generic female Transformer body the dominating feature is her backpack formed from large parts of her car mode folded up: it's HUGE, about twice the size of her Prime armour which is the same mould as Jazz's but in mint green with white thumbs and a clear blue gun/cover. The Prime armour attaches to her chest with slots in the chest's sides fitting the tabs on the Prime armour thumbs. In addition to the Prime armour she comes with a black gun with a 5mm peg handle and 5mm peg rear.
Articulation: ball jointed neck, shoulders, elbow, and hips. The ball joint on the neck on mine is very loose on both the copies I hve. The neck also folds forward & back at it's base. There's a turning waist joint, actually two waist joints as we'll see from the transformation. Double bending knee and a very odd ankle joint which has a bar at the side of the foot & leg which swings up at the top where it joins the leg, but no further back than a 90° angle with the leg. Where the bar meets the foot the foot can pivot sideways giving her the equivalent of an ankle rocker joint.
Slightly worryingly the ball joints on the shoulders are made of clear plastic as is the entire chest, which folds forward as part of the Transformation. Clear parts that move and take stress have a habit of breaking
Can't say the robot is thrilling me, sorry!
Transformation: bring the feet together then rotate the feet forward and up so the slot near the toes fits over the tab sticking out the side of the leg. Rotate the waist joint 180° and fold the clear par of the backpack down over the legs, locking the feet into it. Rotate the upper waist joint 180°, lift the chest up, fold the head back into it, and fold the chest back down. Bend the elbows 90°, rotate the arms at the shoulders so the lower arms point up. Fold the white sides of the backpack up, making sure tabs on them fit slots on the shoulder and that tabs on the robot's lower arm panel meet slots in the rear of the white back panel. Fold the hands in.
Car mode is long and thin, which is vaguely what you'd expect from the robot. Unfortunately it looks little like her Cybertronian vehicle mode which she had in the cartoon which may be a black mark for some people. It's also the first Combiner Wars deluxe to be moulded as a a Cybertronian vehicle rather than an Earth based one although several, notably the Technobots, were adapted from Earth vehicles. There's a single Prime Master footpeg on the top of the vehicle, enabling them to use the car as a giant skateboard! A 5mm hole is on either side of the vehicle at the back and they're the best place to mount the gun and the Prime armour: She's got a 5mm hole at the front of the car, but that points down slightly allowing insufficient clearance for either item at the front of the vehicle. The hole at the rear also doesn't point directly back, it's slightly pointing up meaning the gun looks at an odd angle and the Prime armour needs it's peg hinge bent. As a further complication the hole at the back has a cut in it severely reducing the clutch between it and anything placed in it.
So neither of the stand alone modes has set my world on fire. Nothing disastrous in either of them, just nothing wildly interesting. The limb modes however, and their transformation in particular is a different story:
Arm mode: bring the feet together then rotate the feet forward and up so the slot near the toes fits over the tab sticking out the side of the leg. Rotate the upper waist joint 180°, lift the chest up, fold the head back into it, and fold the chest back down. Bend the elbows 90° then rotate the arms at the shoulders so the lower arms point forward. Fold the white sides of the backpack up, making sure that tabs on the robot's lower arm panel meet slots in the top of the white back panels. Fold the hands in. Fold the combiner connector out. Transform her Prime Armour into hand mode and place into the hole in her robot mode feet/front of the car.
Does what you'd expect though th part of the robot's backpack that covers the legs in car mode either needs to hang off the arm or be folded up and gets in the way in either case.
Leg mode: This proved interesting! I thought it was move the arms forward, fold the combiner connector out and stick a foot in the 5mm peg hole on the front of the car, but that produces a leg that's far too long. Useful paired with itself or a longer leg made from her repaint Novastar maybe. I haven't experimented to see if any of the other hidden socket limbs, Rook I'm looking at you, match her in length!
The actual transformation to leg mode is much more complex than any other Combiner Wars style combiner: Fold the front section of the car, containing the front wheels, forward 180° under the car so that the tabs on it's underside recess into the holes on the robot's legs:it's a bit fiddly and you'll need to use both knee joints. Raise the part of the robot's backpack that covers the upper legs in car mode and fold out a mint green piece with a 5mm socket in it from the front. Fold the backpack flap back into place, locking the 5mm socket between the robot's knees. Fold the white car sides containing the arches for the rear wheels out to the sides, unlocking the robot arms which you then swing up 90°. Fold the car sides back in with the tab on the upper arm panel fitting in a slot on the top of the car sides. Fold out the combiner connector out and push a foot into th hole at the bottom of the leg.
OK when you get there but the lock between the robot's knees and the piece holding the 5mm hole isn't good, it feels like it's more reliant on the stiffness of the hinge to the piece than the connections between the piece and the knees.
Then we have the thorny issue of who to combine her with. To reiterate, in The Search for Alpha Trion Moonracer was part of a group of six Female Autobots with Firestar, Chromia, Greenlight & Lancer which was led by Elita One. Power of the Primes has toys of Elita-1 and Firestar, renamed Novastar but no other members of the group. Since Chromia has been done in Generations and has gone on to have a reasonably independent fictional existence you'd expect Greenlight & Lancer to be filling the roles of the two remaining limbs for the combiner? No. Unless they show up as exclusives, Hasbro has shown no signs of doing them. I suppose, given that they're Cybertronian vehicles, they might show up in the next toyline War For Cybertron. There aren't spare female Autobots in Power of the Primes, or Combiner Wars for that matter, to complete an all female combiner like Victorion or Megatronia. Of course it needn't be an all female combiner: mixed sex combiners were established twenty years ago in Beast Wars II with Scylla forming part of God Neptune. There aren't even enough spare Autobots in the main line with just Jazz being not definitively assigned to a team, although his packaging artwork does picture him as part of Elita Infinite alongside a grey/black Jazz repaint. The remaining unassigned deluxes in the line, Dreadwind & Blackwing, are both Decepticons which seem to gravitate more naturally to being used with Starscream and I don't have Elita-1 down as having the cross faction combining powers that Galvatronus and maybe Grand Scourge seem to have. The exclusive Wreck-Gar seems the best bet to complete the team but then it doesn't quite have the coherency that a robot formed from the all female group in the cartoon would seem to have. The solution I've reluctantly gone for is to buy doubles of Moonracer & Novastar to act as stand ins for Greenlight & Lancer temporary limbs for Elita 1nfinite until better alternatives emerge.
So yeah. OK but not thrilling robot and vehicle but the some very interesting transformations.
Moonracer is sold at 1 per case in Power of the Primes Wave 2 alongside 2 each of Snarl, Sludge & Rippersnapper and one of Blackwing. Blackwing and Rippersnapper return in Wave4, the wave which introduces Moonracer's repaint Novastar, but wave 2 is the only place to get Moonracer making her statistically the hardest to find Power of the Primes deluxe. Why not continue her into Wave 3, alongside the remaining Terrorcons, instead of bringing the unwanted Jazz back again?
The Female Autobots
group member Firestar
is renamed Novastar for Power of the Primes, presumably not to infringe any trademark Marvel has on the name through the super heroine seen in Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends
To make the new toy everything green becomes red. The white piece in her body becomes grey. The white of her upper legs, hands and Prime Armour thumbs turns orange. The rest of the white turns red. The gun and head are replaced with new ones to further distinguish her from Moonracer.
. Let me finish my Female Autobots
Wouldn't be 100% surprised to see this back as either Arcee or Chromia either.