It's July and San Diego Comic-Con is next week! We're taking an early look at Hasbro's exclusive Transformers Generations Combiner Wars: Combiner Hunters Arcee, Windblade, and Chromia. It's a ridiculously long name, but it features repaints of the Autobots' leading ladies with massive weapons designed to take down combiners. Well, not entirely, the weapons are repaints, too, but pretty decent ones. To be honest this was the exclusive I was looking forward to the most from SDCC so let's see if this set is worth the money or a colossal disappointment!
Figure Name: Transformers Generations Combiner Wars: Combiner Hunters
Figure Maker: Hasbro
Retail Price: US$74.99
Available at: San Diego Comic-Con - Hasbrotoyshop.com booth #3329
I love this box art; it'll likely be my favorite of the year (though the Transformers D-Style model kits have really cool art). The girls are all upfront and angry, and if you look closely at Arcee's sword you see Devastator's reflection. Strangely, the weapons are much smaller in the art than the figures. And for some reason, Wingblade is holding her regular sword instead of her special Spectrospear. The art is a slip cover and there's a window box underneath. Note that it just says Transformers and Generations on the front: no mention of Combiner Wars or Combiner Hunters.
Back of the slip cover. For some reason, this is where they stuck the Combiner Hunters logo, right on the back; rather strange place to put it. While the back of the box looks like glossy black if you hold it under the right light, it's got the faint texture of a star chart with coordinates and a huge Transformers logo scrawled across it. The star chart is a running theme in this set: I'll be pointing it out a few more times. Hunting combiners means a lot of traveling apparently.
The Combiner Wars logo finally makes an appearance on one side. Again, a strange place to put it.
I really don't like this logo. They started using it with Age of Extinction I believe and it usually appears on all of the major collectibles. But what is it? A fireball? A meteor? I really don't get what they were going for and I'm kinda tired of seeing it. It's also on the top of the slipcover. Joy...
Here's the set with the slip cover off. It's a nice, large window so if you don't want to open the box but still want to enjoy looking at the figures, it's a great alternative way to display them. One couldn't do that with a box flap, but you'll be stuck with a homeless slip cover. The Combiner Hunters logo finally appears on the front, but you'd already have to own and open it to see it and by that point you already know what it is so, yeah, strange to not put it on the outside front of the box. OK, fine, you probably wouldn't buy these blindly anyway, but it still seems strange.
Also, inside the box as the backdrop is line art for the three girls and Devastator. You'll also find more of those star charts from the back of the slip cover.
The back of the box features the same art from the front of the slip cover, just not zoomed in and layered up. I'm still not sure why Windblade isn't shown with her new weapon. Devastator is still present in Arcee's sword. Of course, that's supposed to be the SDCC Devastator since Hasbro is trying to cross-promote their Transformers exclusives this year.
Inside the box you're greeted by this. What is it?
It's a poster! On one side you've got the instructions for all three figures, on the other is a poster of the three with the fully realized star chart. On it is information for each of the special weapons, various planets with listings of which combiner is found on them, their threat level, and the story for where the weapons came from. Interestingly one of the planets is Unicron and the combiner found there is listed as "unidentified". No doubt it's Galvatronus. I'm not sure why they didn't just come out and say it as the figure has been out for a little while now. Still, it's a neat, unexpected little bonus.
OK, enough with the packaging. We've got a lot of figure stuff to talk about.
Since I don't own a regular Arcee thanks to short supply, we're going to give her the first look. I'm pretty happy with the way the colors turned out. They could have easily just used the same paint pattern as the regular figure, just in black. Thankfully they didn't so we get some neat applications here. The paint is also much more extensive than on normal retail figures with a ton of special patterning. Expect nothing less from an SDCC exclusive.
Her head is really interesting with the bright blue eyes, face paint, and the Autobot faction symbol. This might have been a little bit over ambitious though, as they were only able to get the line down one side of her face instead of both to make room for the symbol. The symbol already throws off the symmetry so I don't really mind. The problem is her actual face: it's too cute! She's supposed to be angry and hunting giant robots, but she's so bright-eyed it's hard to picture her being mad at anyone.
The condensed version of the figure mold's story is that one of Takara Tomy's designers really wanted to see a proper Arcee figure made so they made one on their own. Hasbro liked it and ran with it. The problem is she was sculpted to look like her G1 cartoon self: she's got that cute, kinda happy face. Meanwhile, Hasbro is basing all of their figures off of the IDW comics where Arcee is tough as nails and always angry, so her figure doesn't quite fit with the actually angry looking Chromia and Windblade figures. She's also modeled differently from the other two by having ratcheting elbows that the other two (or most Generations figures for that matter) don't have, and lacks the wrist articulation that the other two do have. The figure mold also originally had her fingers connected to her thumb in an O, but a running change opened the hands up to look more like the other figures. Good stuff, the elbow ratcheting comes in very handy for her huge weapon.
Speaking of her huge weapon, here it is on the right. It's called Combiner Slayer which feels a bit generic. It's a repaint of the sword that came with the massive Beast Hunter Optimus Prime. Maybe repaint isn't the word for it since the original wasn't painted. The new one is molded in a more rigid plastic, probably to take the paint. I don't know if it was intentional, but the new plastic actually feels lighter than the old one, which is great for being held by a figure that was never meant to hold it. The pink gradient is really nicely done and the black parts are covered with sparkles so there's a nice contrast there.
Can you spot the difference? On the new version the peg has a grooves facing towards the front and back of the blade while the old one has a groove facing the tip and handle. No idea why it was changed since the peg doesn't have any use to Arcee. Later this year Takara Tomy and e-Hobby are releasing Unite Warriors Grand Scourge which also comes with this same sword in all red called the Matrix Breaker. Not sure what the story is with exclusives and this sword. Incidentally the original version of the sword was called the Dragon Hunting Sword, though that could just have been a description.
A lot of people were wondering if she could actually hold a pose with the sword and the answer is yes she can, even free standing like this. That's partially thanks to tight joints, but also those elbow ratchets. Nicely done.
She also comes with her swords from the standard figure. I would have rather she came with her guns since she already has that giant sword, but these are basically her default weapons from the comics so I guess it's fine. You can also stick them into the slots on her arms near her elbows.
Car mode is just like from the original cartoon and movie, just, you know, black. They really put a lot of extra work into the paint that makes it stand out against most other Transformers figures. There aren't very many black Autobots, so it's a nice change. Lots of really cool details inside like seats and a steering wheel.
There are a bunch of places you can store her swords and even turning them in different directions make them look like something different.
Time to move on to the repaint of Fan Built Bot 2014 Windblade!
Combiner Hunters Windblade now features an entirely new color scheme of bright red, blue, gold, and dark gray. It's a really nice look, like a variation on the primary colors so they all compliment each other nicely.
Like with Arcee, the paint pattern is entirely new for this figure. Her chest has been painted to look like ribbed armor which I didn't care for at first, but up close it looks pretty good. The paint is excessive in a very good way on her torso between the red, black, gold, blue, and dark gray.
The face paint is a lot less kabuki/geisha this time around. Where the original was mainly white, black, and red, the new one is in stark contrast with silver, red, and blue. Plus her more traditional "hair" has gone from black with blue and gold "hair pins" to a very nontraditional red, gold, and blue, looking more like the helmet it really is. Plus her big hairpiece/fan in back has gone from gold(-ish) to translucent orange. I really like this look.
Am I the only one who sees a little bit of inspiration here?
The same shade of gray and gold, a different shade of red, but red nonetheless. No? just me? We'll come back to this.
Here's her special weapon, the one that's missing from the box art: the Spectrospear. The spear is repurposed from a weapon that comes with the Robots in Disguise 2015 12-inch electronic Titan Heroes Bumblebee. It's not bad, though I think it would have been better without the gradient: it looks a little cheap this way. The real problem with spears is that they're hard to make look cool on Transformers without the proper wrist articulation. They just sort of hold them out and wave them around like a giant baton.
You might actually be better off going with her sword. Here's something people often miss: there are two different places to mount her sheath. This is the first and most obvious spot on the side of her leg like a proper samurai. It looks good there, but is a little in the way if you're doing a lot of posing.
This is the less obvious spot, on the side of the cockpit at her back like a ninja. It's out of the way and easily blends in. This is my preferred spot, mainly because I'm constantly knocking it off her leg.
The new figure features a translucent blue blade its entire length while the old blade was purple and fades at the end. I like the the purple sword more to be entirely honest. We'll also take a moment to compare the two figures in bot mode. I like the red and black of the original, but the new figure is definitely more ornate and interesting.
Jet mode is not quite as interesting as bot mode. No special paint apps or anything, just red, gray, and gold. It has a little problem with the tail fin splitting, but that's a mold issue since it does the same thing on the original retail figure. I wish they would have found a way to clip the halves together, but it is what it is.
I didn't bother doing this with Arcee since you don't usually see the bottom of cars, but jets are a different story. This is what you're getting yourself into. I've certainly seen worse and aside from the arms the rest changes intricately enough.
They look pretty similar to me. Of course not perfectly the same, but I really feel like there was some inspiration here.
You can store the sword by plugging it in underneath. I'm not too crazy about this and the way it hangs off the back, but it serves a purpose.
Red, gray, and gold versus red, black, and white. It's hard to say which is better. I do like the translucent turbines. The old figure also has translucent turbines, but they've been painted white. Oh well.
You can also do this, making her a proper VTOL jet. Yay play features! You can spin the turbines too, but there's too much friction for them to do so for any amount of time if you flicked them with your finger.
Moving along, let's see how Arcee's original wave mate from the Generations line turned out.
Chromia has an unusual new color pallet. You don't see silver and white matched together like that very often. It actually works pretty well with the metallic blue. However, this isn't quite as creative as the other two. It's like they did the crazy stuff with Windblade first, followed by a black Arcee with a lot of interesting pink markings, and then lost steam with Chromia so they replaced the light blue with silver and mixed all of the colors around. I think they could have done a bit more here.
By the way, I'm not too crazy about the gun storage here. I wish there was a peg on the side so she could play RoboCop or something.
This is rather strange and interesting. Do you know who the wrestler the Ultimate Warrior is? Tell me that doesn't look like someone on the Transformers design team's strange tribute? I actually like it, it really stands out compared to pretty much every transformer ever made. She's a tough cookie so she's certainly the best fembot for it.
A look from the side. I wanted to show that there are two ways to configure the kibble on her back. The new figure is showing the default positioning with the lower part just hanging off the back. I'm not crazy about this since it prevents the legs from moving properly. With the original Chromia I've moved the piece up and under the clear part on her upper back. This moves it right out of the way, though it also makes it stick out a little bit further from the back. It's all a matter which compromise you're OK with. I prefer it tucked up and out of the way so that's how I'll have it for the rest of the review.
Time to look at her giant sword! This one is the Primeon Blade and it's pretty nice. It's a repaint of the sword that came with the Robots in Disguise 2015 Titan Heroes Optimus Prime. It has a lot of color with only the blade being a gradient at the tip, while there's a sharp division between each section of the sword just like with Arcee's Combiner Slayer (which makes me dislike the Spectrospear all the more). But that's not the best part of this sword.
There's a tally of Devastator chest wings on the side. I don't know if it's a tally of how many combiners she's taken out, how many times she's beaten Devastator in battle, or how many of the six Constructicons she's taken out. Doesn't really matter, it's a neat detail.
She can also hold a pose with the sword. Although, I did find she has a bit of trouble with her grip. If it isn't held well and at the right angle, it falls out of her hand sometimes. It's not a big deal for me though, because I actually like her holding it with both hands over her head like in the first shot more.
Here's her primary weapon from the original release. Actually it's her only weapon from the original release. They had initially advertised her as coming with two guns, but they realized the second gun was actually Arcee's so Chromia got left with just the one. Pretty annoying because she gets just one little gun while Windblade has her big sword and bigger sheath and Arcee gets two swords and two guns. Talk about a bum deal.
Alt mode! It's hard to really nail down exactly what it is. In the G1 cartoon she turned into something that looked like a two wheeled van while this is often referred to as a motorcycle. Personally I like to look at it as a two wheeled car considering its size. It's a little more interesting in this mode, unlike Windblade who got a little blander in jet mode. She has some sort of design on the front on both sides, plus she's got some nice translucent red going on. Overall it looks really good.
She can be propped up by a kickstand on her side. Just wanted to point that out.
Removing the light blue makes quite the difference in the overall look. I wouldn't buy a car in that many different colors, but it's definitely interesting to look at. I like them both, but in this mode I'm leaning towards the Combiner Hunters version. I think it's the translucent red that sells me on it.
And that's the end of this very long review of one nifty box set. Normally unusual repaints like these don't get a lot of attention, but between the extensive details, huge weapons, and comic appearances, this is a pretty great way to make characters worth getting a second time.
Now have at it!
[A combiner sized thanks to Hasbro for providing Tomopop with this review sample!]Photo Gallery: (75 images)
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