Saturday, 29 August 2015

Combiner Wars Ironhide


In early 2015 a rumour emerged that both Prowl & Ironhide would feature in Combiner Wars. When Off Road was released his comic featured a version with Ironhide's head. Meanwhile First Aid's comic showed a version of his toy with a Prowl like head which ties in with his appearance in a recent issue of the comic formerly known as RID.

In early May 2015 this version of the Optimus Maximus image escaped resolving the dilemma by revealing that Ironhide would be a red version of Off Road. While the original Ironhide was a van but he's been a pickup truck quite frequently since his G2 Gobot version and most younger fans would probably think of Ironhide as a truck due his Movie toys which, although usually black, have occasionally been red. The problem here is that Ironhide's classics toy, Universe Ironhide, is generally held to be one of the worst in the entire classics range and sorely in need of a second go to get it right. Many will see this as a wasted opportunity to achieve this but I'm not sure using the First Aid version of the toy would have quite hit the spot either, lacking the smoother lines inherited from his Diaclone Onebox Cherry Vanette ancestor. Diaclone itself does have it's own red pickup, a version of the Hilux wrecker that became Hoist. I'd also be failing in my duty if I didn't point out that it was a red Hilux pickup that Top Gear tried to destroy but failed and has been adorning their studio ever since!

If you've got Off Road, and of all the Combiner Wars toys I'm most familiar with him since he's stood on my desk since his divorce from the Stunticons, this is that toy in red with a new head. The new head concerns me: I've accidentally popped it off it's ball joint twice now transforming it something I don't remember doing with Offroad or First Aid. Apart from that there's no remoulding but the panels on the sides of the chest have been sympathetically repainted to evoke the chest covering window the original had. He comes with the same axe and hand weapon which turns into combined mode foot/gun as his predecessors: he could really have done with a gun but you'll probably have a redundant Alpha Bravo in your collection by now so steal one from him.

If you can get over this not being a van and not having a windscreen across the chest this is a pretty good Ironhide, a better toy than the Universe version by a long long way.


The same story that revealed Swindle also listed a Trailbreaker which could be have been made from this mould. Which version depended on if you want a pickup or something approximating his camper element. Botcon 2015 solved this one by revealing Trailbreaker is the Offroad mould with a new head and a retooled right arm that looses the fist for and end of arm connector like the original Trailbreaker had to attach his fists and missiles.

Now Trailbreaker is a personal favourite and having waited for ages we've now had two decent deluxe versions in 3 and a bit years!

Future repaints

I had thought that the most obvious repaint for Off Road would be Swindle and that would explain where that peg hole on the original Off Road's flatbed came into play. A Combiner Wars Swindle was found in compute listings in April 2015 but we were somewhat surprised at Botcon 2015 when Swindle was revealed to be an extensive remould of Rook. I'd also thought that if you're trying to do the original 18 Diaclone Autobots in Combiner Wars then recolouring the Swindle version of the toy as Hound is a possibility. Well I got it right that Swindle became Hound!

If you do Trailbreaker from this mould then Hoist is an obvious choice but would need something put onto Off Road's flatbed to approximate his towing gear. However I've seen it suggested that the combined mode foot can be used as towing gear.

Longer term I could see Offroad serving as Kup or possibly Hoist & Hubcap in a Machine Wars themed set. Another tow truck possibility is Towline in a Robots in Disguise set with the First Aid version of the toy repainted as X-Brawn.

First Aid MIGHT lend itself to being used as Ratchet if Combiner Wars goes for broke and tries to do all 16 Diaclone car Autobots. However the same comments I made in relation to Ironhide with the design not fitting with smoother lines of the Diaclone design apply here too. And, bar a new head, I'm not sure how to repaint First Aid to make it different enough but still Ratchet.

Combiner Wars Mirage


Many years ago Classics Mirage was repainted as Universe Dragstrip: now the favour is returned with this blue and white repaint of the Dragstrip mould! At the start of March 2015 The Entertainer used a promotional banner on their website, a larger version of UK toyfair promo art seen in January, which showed the Autobot combiner with what appears to be the a Mirage coloured Dragstrip limb as the left arm. Interestingly the repaints of Dragstrip and Breakdown appear to have effectively swapped their colour schemes to become Mirage & Sunstreaker!

This isn't without it's problems though. To date every version of Mirage has had it's car nose on it's chest: here the nose is on the robot's back. Given that Mirage was the obvious repaint for Dragstrip I'd have thought this feature might have built into the original design? Or, given that Mirage appears to be Dragstrip's only repaint in the main Combiner Wars line, he might have got some retooling budget to make it possible? They've done their best to disguise it by making the combiner connector down the centre of his chest blue but that in turn means his the only member of the team not to have a grey combining peg which looks odd too in the combined form!

A really good go at a Mirage repaint given the toy mould. However could have been so much better with the right remoulding or different initial deign choices.

G2 Dragstrip

Original Dragstrip has a cancelled Generation 2 repaint which would I thought would make a nice convention exclusive down the line. Turns out he's going in a G2 Menasor set which is an internet shared exclusive.

Future Repaints

Not a repaint as such, more a missing repaint. Two Stunticons are reused in Victorion, with Breakdown becoming Jumpstream and the overused Dead-End, in his eight appearance, being turned into Dust Up. Surely another outing for the underused Dragstrip would be in order instead?

There's been a few Generation 2 version planned in Combiner Wars but I'd be surprised to see a G2 Mirage on the shelves! The only other real, non Mirage, Autobot race car I can think of is RID Skid-Z though I suppose pulling double duty as Mirage & Prowl in a Machine Wars themed combiner set might also be possible!

Combiner Wars Sunstreaker


The first mention of a Combiner Wars Sunstreaker was in December 2015 when his name popped up on a set of store computer listing. At the start of March 2015 The Entertainer used a promotional banner on their website, a larger version of UK toyfair promo art seen in January, which showed the Autobot combiner with what appears to be the Dragstrip from Mirage limb as the left arm. Interestingly the repaints of Dragstrip and Breakdown appear to have effectively swapped their colour schemes to become Mirage & Sunstreaker!

It's been a while since I last had Breakdown in robot mode: inevitably combineritus has struck and he's been Menasor's left leg ever since Menasor was assembled. I'd forgotten quite how much I disliked the robot hips until I opened Sunstreaker up! He comes in robot mode and as you'd expect his colours are mainly yellow and black with the traditional dab of red paint on each shoulder. The only new piece here is the head, which isn't a bad Sunstreaker. I feel he could have done with a new chest as the one he's inherited from Breakdown isn't screaming Sunstreaker roof at me. If anything the chest details look more like lightbars suggesting Sunstreaker's Police Car repaint. On the reverse of the bonnet, now Sunstreaker's back, is a 5mm peg hole which allows you to mount the combined mode hand//foot there to act as Sunstreaker's jet pack. He comes with a silver version of Breakdown's sword: an odd choice to start with and still an odd choice here. Sunstreaker benefits from not having a defined G1 handgun here so you could use it with him without feeling it's substituting for something else but equally he's never felt like a Swordsman. My only other real complaint is that he doesn't feel quite tall enough and could benefit from longer legs.

Sunstreaker's car mode is the expected yellow not quite a Lamborghini. However they've gone a bit mad with the red paint here going right round the rear wheel arches with it. I'm convinced the red stickers on the original Sunstreaker are a mistake, and should have been yellow so this annoys me hugely here. The spoiler is also grey, a moulding necessity as it appears to have been cast on the same frame as his upper legs. A pity it wasn't on the body frame and thus could have been yellow. The combined mode weapon mounts on the back of the car, via a tab in the thumb meshing into a slot on the rear of the spoiler to form his Supercharger which is a nice effort but looks somewhat oversized here.

Sunstreakers are always welcome as there's been plenty of occasions when he's missed out when his brother Sideswipe has got a toy. This isn't the worst try I've seen either.

Generation 2 Breakdown

Having got a Breakdown, I thought it an inevitability that the Transformers Collectors Club will repaint it as G2 Breakdown like they did with the universe version. However it appears an entireG2 Menasor set will be released in 2016 as a shared internet exclusive!


The Breakdown mould also returns as Victorion member Jumpstream where it receives a new head, chest plate and weapon.

Future Repaints

Most of the time a remould on a toy is to change it's appearance. However a remould to how this toy transforms would make the world of difference. I'd have the bonnet hinged at it's base, connected to the neck plate which is then connected to a hinge at the top, slightly covered by the windscreen. Result: a bonnet that will still fold back, for combined mode, but one that will also fold forward onto the chest to make Sideswipe. If you're doing Sunstreaker, you HAVE to do Sideswipe. That would then give us Red Alert as an EASY repaint and also things like G2 Sideswipe, Deep Cover and Clamp Down. Part of me thinks that Tigertrack wouldn't be worth doing but the thought of having TWO almost identical yellow Lambo that turn into different robots is quite tempting! See also red Diaclone Countach LP500S Super Tuning and Police Car Diaclone Countach LP500S Super Tuning.

Combiner Wars Prowl


It's probably fair to say that by this stage of the game you know what you're going to get with a version of the Dead End mould. The problem with Prowl is that he and Streetwise are both Police Cars. Usually a Police Car repaint is easy: paint it white and slap some lightbars on it: How do you repaint a police car as a police car? It turns out the solution is to think clearly about how you're painting the first version. Streetwise was an off white colour, with red and blue detailing. By doing a pure white police car this time, with black detailing, you're automatically off to a good start. Then there's the head: they've got Prowl spot on. This was a head worth doing right because it's VERY important to the original character and, if Hasbro play their cards right, there's a few more reuses of it to come. The head being right also helps draw your attention away from the chest: normally a Prowl chest if the front of the car, sticking outwards. Here it's a flat panel, admittedly moulded to look like the front of the car, flat against the body and covering the combiner connector. It does the job but I'd have quite liked to see a further set of mods that allowed the car bonnet to fold forward over the head and become his chest.

Prowl functions just the same as previous versions of this toy as a limb. However his release does mean the the Dead End mould is the first Combiner Wars limb to FOUR versions meaning you can make a combiner with just Dead End limbs!

The Dead End mould will also be the first to TWO combiners with the same limbs when Smokescreen, Victorion Dustup, G2 Dead End & G2 Brakeneckare released!

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The release of Prowl with Battle Core Optimus Prime means we're also in a position to produce an all white combined robot!

I'd thought Prowl's gun would both me but it doesn't..... yet. I have researched 3P versions of the original Prowl gun with a 5mm peg though! I'm liking what we've got a lot. Probably the best of the Autobot wave.

Future Repaints

There's a massive FOUR versions of this toy coming we already know about: Victorion Dustup, G2 Dead End, G2 Brakeneck and Smokescreen!

Beyond that.... There's always Prowl & Smokescreen's Fairlady Z brother Bluestreak and I wouldn't put it past Hasbro doing all silver, Anime and blue versions of him at some point. Design wise the Dead end mould is probably the closest thing we have for making a Combiner Wars version of Jazz and is also a contender for making the potentially difficult Skids. Then, given we know G2 Superion & Menasor are coming, it's pretty likely we might see a G2 Defensor with Groove. So by the time we're done we could be well on our way to a third all Dead End limb combiner!

Combiner Wars Battle Core Optimus Prime & Optimus Maximus

Battle Core Optimus Prime & 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 leaked the names of four toys that looked like they fitted 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.

However at Botcon 2015 it was revealed that the Voyager itself was called Battle Core Optimus Prime while the combined form was Optimus 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.

The Botcon pictures also revealed the toy had a new head: a traditional Optimus sculpt with a crest on it, not unlike Star Convoy, but put the crest together with the colours and I'm reminded of Brave Police J-Decker. And since I'm now thinking Police Trucks Energon Checkpoint, another robot with a crest, also pops into mind.

Pictures don't tell the whole story as I found out when I got the toy. I had a suspicion that the new head might be fix the problems moving the head on the original version of the toy. It wasn't something I had noticed at the review stage but yes it the original Optimus head is very stuck and I'm told likely to break if you turn it. The new head turns freely though. Functionally he seems identical to the earlier Voyager robot with only the guns, which now have painted handles over white plastic, catching my eye.

The combined mode is where the changes in the toy become noticeable and they're all functional ones. Firstly the ratchets in his hips have been retooled to give a better range of movement. Where before the lower legs pointed inward in their neutral position they now point nearly straight down. This makes posing the combined robot, even in neutral positions, an awful lot easier. See This thread on the 2005 boards for pictures including comparison with the original.

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As can be seen by the combined mode images Optimus Maximus has his own version of Blackjack, Legends Rodimus. In an earlier version of this review I said

I await to see if the connection between the two has been improved but don't hold out much hope.
Well colour me surprised but the connection is a LOT better here, to the point where I've been able to attach the Legend figure, tip the toy so the chest points down, shake it and the Legend has remained attached.

I've found myself liking Battle Core Optimus a lot more than I suspected I would, but that's mainly down to him having a load of fixes to problems the previous moulds have had. Take that away and he's a white repaint who really should have had some extra work to become Ultra Magnus.

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