The Transformers spending spree continues, this time with the third of the Decepticon's combiner teams after Devestator and Menasor, the
Combaticons and their combined form of Bruticus. Well, I say it continues when perhaps I should say that it began with Bruticus. The Combaticons
were the first team where all of the members hit retail at roughly the same time. Evidently that, along with the release of Sky Lynx whose
design I always loved was enough to set off this massive buying spree. So I can only hope that now that I am finally getting around to actually
opening them, that they don't prove to be a disappointment.
Packaging - Onslaught 7/10, Others 8/10The packaging remains the same for the fifth combiner team as it was since the second series. And that's not a bad thing. As someone whose main interest is the combined form of each team, I wish they gave more focus to Bruticus. But other than that, the packaging is attractive and shows off the toys well.
Sculpting - Shockwave & Onslaught 7/10, Others 8/10The Combaticons have three recycled figures, one partially recycled and two new sculpts. Starting with the two straight reuses, there's Blast Off and Vortex who reuse the Firefly and Alpha Bravo sculpts from the Aerialbots respectively. I have no problems with Vortex reusing the Alpha Bravo mold. Changing Blast Off from his Generation one form of a space shuttle is a bit lazy. Though to be honest, a jet makes more sense than a shuttle so I don't mind. Swindle uses the same basic body as the Protectobot Rook, but with new parts on top to create his vehicle mode. It would be nice if the passenger cabin area was more open instead of being stuffed with his forearms. Instead his vehicle mode looks more like a combination of a jeep and armored Humvee. Brawl is a completely new design. It takes a bit of effort to get all of the parts aligned for his tank mode, and it still leaves the back open and obviously hollow. His robot mode has a nice bulky look to it. Onslaught reuses much of Hot Spot's mold. In vehicle mode they just turn him around and create a new cab on what was the back of Hot Spot. It works a lot better than I would have expected. They managed to vary things enough for both of his modes that it took me a few minutes to realize that he was a recycled mold. (Of course, that may also be due to the fact that I bought Onslaught before getting Hot Spot.) Finally there is Shockwave. He is a new mold of course. And he does look like classic Shockwave in both his robot mode and space gun mode. I wish they had made his gun mode a bit more streamlined. Instead there is a lot of unnecessary detail on it as well as his feet sticking out on the sides. It's not bad, but I would just prefer a cleaner, more streamlined look.
Paint - 8/10The paint work for the Combaticons is pretty much what you would expect for a group of military vehicles, various shades of greens and gray with a few highlights where appropriate. It works reasonably well. There's also no issues with sloppiness or quality control.
Articulation - 8/10The articulation for the Combaticons is pretty much the same as the Aerialbots, Protectobots and Stunticons that preceded them. That shouldn't be too surprising since most of the figures use molds from those figures. All of the figures have at least the equivalent of three or four points of articulation per limb which gives them a decent range of motion.
Accessories - Shockwave 2/10, Onslaught 4/10, Vortex & Blast Off 7/10, Swindle & Brawl 8/10There are no great surprises when it comes to the accessories for the Combaticons if you have any of the previous combiner groups. Each deluxe figure comes with a basic weapon for them to use, an accessory pack that becomes either a foot or hand for Bruticus and a comic. There is a slight improvement with Onslaught, Swindle and Brawl as all three are designed to incorporate their regular weapons into their vehicle modes as well. That's a very welcome improvement since it means those weapons are close at hand when you transform them. The four comics included with the Combaticons all come from early in IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise: issues 8, 9, 11 and 12. It's kind of a random selection of titles. But I really like the inclusion of a comic with each figure. They are certainly a lot better than the cards included with Onslaught and Shockwave. The card, which has the Transformers logo on the back and an image of the character from the comics on the front. There's no other information, character background, stats or anything else. It makes the cards fairly pointless. And as Shockwave's only accessory, it's quite underwhelming. Onslaught at least comes with a couple of weapons as well, the same pair of guns that was included with Hot Spot. They are a bit underwhelming for a robot of his size though. And their combined form simply entails sticking them together into one really long gun. But that makes it seem less intimidating, much like a regular hunting rifle verses an assault rifle in the real world.
Menasor - 8/10Menasor ends up being my favorite of the Combiners so far. He is very well proportioned overall. Swindle and Brawl make nice large, beefy legs. Vortex and Blast Off make decent arms without being too thick. He really only has one significant shortcoming, a lack of a proper weapon. Onslaught's two guns are comically small for Bruticus. And even in their combined form, it's not very threatening. But that issue is easily solved with the addition of Shockwave who serves as a worthy weapon for a combiner team. Other than the need for the extra weapon, I wish that they had chosen better colors for the hands and feet as the silver/gray color is pretty generic looking.
Value - 7/10The Combaticons include Legacy (Shockwave), Voyager (Onslaught) and Deluxe (all the others) figures. Shockwave sells for $10. Onslaught sells for $25. and the other four sell for around $15 each. That's a fair price for each of the figures given their size and complexity. And it is nice that for once, the optional Legacy class figure can really add something useful to the combiner team. So it looks like my patience was rewarded as the Combaticons are the best overall set of combiners so far.
Happy Hunting:The Combaticons members are all shipping currently, or they were when I first bought them back in February. I don't see Shockwave quite as often in stores. But I still see Onslaught and the other Combaticons quite regularly at all of the usual local stores such as Target, Toys R Us and Walmart. Oddly they seem to be harder to find online, perhaps due to the fact that Hasbro changes up assortments so often. What ever the case, buying them locally was certainly much easier in my case. And it saves on shipping charges.