The Combiner Wars brought back a love of gestalts to the Transformer franchise that other lines like the Power Core Combiners failed to do. Despite the main line having moved onto Titans Return, we expect to see more combiner teams as part of the 2018 Power of the Primes toyline.
The Decepticon combiners characters were – lets face it – always a lot more interesting and popular than the Autobot ones. The likes of Superion and Defensor were there so their Decepticon counterparts had someone to ultimately be beaten by. In recent years, as well as in Combiner Wars, we’ve seen a lot of those Decepticons crop up in other lines. We had Devastator in Revenge of the Fallen, Bruticus in Fall of Cybertron and even Abominus in Beast Hunters. Well now it’s Menasor’s turn with the Stunticons making their debut, both in the cartoon and toyline, as part of the Robots in Disguise Combiner Force franchise.
Now RID(15) has had some pretty damn underwhelming toys. Most figures seem to suffer from cheap construction and overly simplsitc mechanics and transformations. And sadly, the Stunticons continue this trend.
Only Motormaster and Drag Strip are present from the original lineup. They are now joined by Slashmark, Heatseeker and Wildbreak. Having Wildbreak instead of Breakdown is kinda forgivable, considering this is the same universe as the Prime cartoon in which Breakdown died several years ago. However having Heatseeker and Slashmark feels lazy. Heatseeker is so close in looks to the Combiner Wars Offroad that Hasbro missed a great opportunity to cement him as a new character in the classic team. Likewise Slashmark is just Heatseeker with blue highlights instead of red. This spot could easily have been filled by Dead End, Wildrider or the other new Stunticon from CW – Blackjack.
All limb characters are sadly simplistic, requiring only 1 or 2 minor moves to go from Vehicle to Robot – both modes looking quite average. Articulation is non-existent. Motormaster however has been a bit better engineered and I quite like his alt-mode, very remincient of RID(01) Ultra Magnus.
But like his smaller partners, articulation is a quality sorely lacking in his robot mode.
And speaking of his robot mode, lets take a look at his bonce. Oh they got the square helmet just right but look at the face within…
That’s bloody Megatron! WTF?! That’s Megs from the Prime cartoon – my oath it is! Once you realize this, it makes a lot of the similarities in the head and shoulders of Menasor to Magatronus all the more apparent.
Menasor’s combined mode looks ok, though a big gangly. Here we have the only bit of articulation in any of the figures, that being that Menasor can raise his arms (which sorely lack elbows) which allows him to hold his sword up.
Now some of these characters have also been released separately to the main group. I’ve seen Heatseeker as a 1-step changer in the shops, though personally I always find them to be poor toys so I passed. But I did grab the Drag Strip/Wildbreak 2-pack.
Now these characters really are no better enginnered here than with the main pack. Also somewhere in the process they have confused the characters. Wildbreak was obviously supposed to be Drag Strip considering he has a Drag Strip’ish alt-mode. My suspicion of this was confirmed when I checked out the instructions.
This is really just an unforgivably lazy mistake by the manufacturer. But then these are lazy toys. These figures also have no articulation in robot mode and their vehicle modes, particularly Drag Strip, are very uninspired.
Whilst their combined form of DragBreak looks pretty cool, his static pose does not offer much play value.
Now I’ve been pretty hard on these toys and it’s hard not to be. However in fairness they are no worse than most of the RID line so one should know what they are getting into with their purchase. The prices are much better too if you are buying for kids – you can get a whole Menasor here for the same cost of two limb characters from CW. Their combined modes have a certain style and unlike many of the other CF figures they actually do combine. But unless like me you are a complete Stunticon nut these toys are an easy pass for your average collector.
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