"Generations" Combiner Wars First Aid Toy Review
Release Date: June 2015
Price Point: $18.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Hand/Foot/Weapon, Axe
Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
First Aid is just as likely to be first on the scene to help a wounded bot as he is to show up to repair a broken dishwasher. To the Protectobot medic, the greatest enemy is malfunction. Human, bot, or machine – if it's broken, First Aid won't carry on until it's back up and running. Combine and convert for awesome Transformers action! This Protectobot First Aid figure wields his massive axe in robot mode, and he converts fast to combat vehicle mode whenever he needs to blast past his foes for a rescue. But he can also become an arm or leg when the battle calls for you to build a truly hardcore Defensor warrior! (Other figures sold separately.) Whatever mode your Protectobot First Aid figure is in, he’s going to bring maximum carnage to the fight! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
The theme for the "Generations" segment of the "Transformers" toy line in 2015 is "Combiner Wars". The focus will be on updated versions of Combiners from the past (with some new elements thrown in for good measure). The idea is to take lessons learned from the Bruticus released a couple years ago and create better Combiners featuring a Voyager Class central body piece with Deluxe sized limbs. To spice things up a bit, some of the Legends Class figures released for "Combiner Wars" will be able to serve as weaponry for the combined giants.
The first wave of "Combiner Wars" Deluxes included new team members for the Aerialbots and Stunticons. Later waves took on other characters from "Generation One" including the emergency rescue team known as the Protectobots. This figure represents the Autobot medic First Aid. While he was largely ignored over the years he has featured in the current IDW Publishing series and now he is part of the "Combiner Wars" toy line. This figure is a heavy retool of the Stunticon Offroad figure, so check out that review before reading this one. This will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release (and there are a lot).
The packaging for wave two of the Deluxe "Combiner Wars" figures is significantly different then the first wave. The first wave was a typical bubble on card, with the character art printed onto the card and a separate trading card featuring art from the "Transformers: Legends" mobile app. The back of the cards contained a ton of multi-lingual information with photos of the figure and a diagram of a Combiner made up of four Aerialbots and Dragstrip.
Later waves changed significantly however. The card now features a repeating pattern featuring "Combiner Wars" characters on it. The back of the card has a brief bio of First Aid with less legal information all over the place. Laid on top of the card is a comic book with First Aid's package art. Since the comic adds some extra weight and thickness, the bubble put on top of the card actually wraps around the edges and is taped onto the back to hold it in place. A sticker wraps around the edge of the bubble mentioning combining into Defensor. The figure is in a tray inside the bubble in robot mode. There is no more trading card included with the figure.
One of the most interesting points of this new packaging style is the back of the comic book. It features a full page bio of First Aid written from the perspective of the Autobot Rung. It really helps give more color to the character's personality and sticks with many G1 elements which is very much appreciated by this old fan. Overall the packaging for wave three of the Combiner Wars Deluxe figures is much more robust than the first wave.
First Aid's accessories are the same as Offroad's. This is fine for the foot/hand piece since it resembles a blaster and engine and First Aid should have both if he's going to be running around the battlefield. This piece is cast in black plastic with a red hinge piece. The slightly disappointing element is the axe weapon. Now, First Aid is not really a warrior so much as a healer, so the blaster is already kind of pushing it - but an axe too? I really wish the designers had found a way to give him a different weapon or maybe even a newly tooled "repair device" of some sort (maybe a welding torch or something). This piece is cast in black with the blade painted silver.
It would have been really easy for the designers at Hasbro and Takara to have just slapped a new head on this figure and call it a day (like they did with Protectobot Blades). However, First Aid received much more attention than that. This isn't a simple retool, it is an extensive retool on the order of Streetwise. Here's a rundown of what's been changed:
- The head is a whole new sculpt, based on First Aid's G1 comic book and cartoon model. This includes flat panels on the sides of the head, a crest in the center and a distinctive mouthplate design with a central section that sticks out a little and parts on the sides that angle back.
- The Torso panel that forms the chest, mid-body and waist area is all new. At first you may think it's the same as Offroad's, but the two actually have different shapes and the give away are the horizontal, ridged sections above the hip area (inspired by a similar design on G1 First Aid).
- The panels on the sides of each upper arm are completely different in design and shape than Offroad. There is a more severe triangular cut on top and the way the bottom of the panel angles is totally different.
- The forearms are all new pieces. This includes the panels on the sides of the forearms and the small details on the forearms themselves.
- The panels forming the lower legs are all new. The front panel is notable in that it has two rectangular "windows" on the knee area. These are inspired by "window" designs from the G1 animation model. The rest of the lower legs have really nice sculpted detail including a triangular section under the knees and a notch above each foot.
Overall these new parts add up to an awesome looking figure. First Aid has many influences from his G1 namesake, but he also has a lot of original details all his own. These range from the big details like the armor panels on his forearms to tiny details like the small, mechanical greebles right under his chest. The head sculpt is absolutely spot on and looks amazing. I'm very happy with the way the designers took the basic Offroad design and turned it into another character that looks very different.
First Aid is cast in white, metallic red and black plastic. White makes up a lot of the figure including most of the parts on his back, his forearms, arm panels and lower legs. The metallic red is a deep, gorgeous color and makes up the middle of the torso, upper arms, hip area and thighs. The black is used for the wheels (which are all visible in this mode).
A shade of red paint that is lighter than the metallic red plastic is used to paint several areas on this figure. You'll find it on the head, the panels on his arms and torso. This red color is also metallic, which echoes the die-cast metal torso plate on the G1 First Aid figure. In the right light, the two red colors really sparkle and give First Aid an extra shiny appearance. Silver paint is used for his mouthplate and chest. On the chest it not only fills in the large panels but also the small mechanical details underneath. Blue is used to paint th eyes and the "windows" on his knee armor. Finally, a red Autobot symbol is painted onto the left side of his chest. Of course some red shows on the sides and back, but I'll focus on those details in the vehicle mode review.
First Aid's color scheme is every bit as impressive as his retooling. The designers picked some beautiful colors that are all true to the character and the figure looks fantastic.
There are fourteen points of articulation on this figure. That may not sound like a ton, but consider that his shoulder and hip joints are ball joints, giving him a wide range of articulation in those areas. First Aid has 5mm ports in his hands, allowing him to hold both weapons. You can also attach his weapons to the 5mm ports on the sides of his lower legs. Unlike Offroad however, there are no ports on the sides of his forearms.
This is a very impressive robot mode retool from the Offroad sculpt, and the deco looks great to boot.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Swing the front of the lower legs down.
- Swing the back panels of the lower legs forward.
- Swing the robot arms down. I find the best way to do this is put your finger under the shoulder connection piece to brace it as you push down to prevent stress on the shoulder ball joint.
- Swing the front panels of the lower legs up.
- Swing the front of the ambulance and the windshield piece down, pushing it into place.
- The weapons can attach to the holes on the sides of the ambulance towards the back.
If you consider that Offroad was a pickup truck and that First Aid is an ambulance, it is pretty dramatic to see the amount of retooling that was done for this figure. Sure the robot mode had plenty of retooled parts to show off, but a lot of those wind up on the bottom of the vehicle form. However, this mode shows that the robot mode wasn't the only mode the designers focused on.
Indeed, the entire shape of the vehicle is different, with the front section looking angled and futuristic while the section starting with the windshield leading to the back of the vehicle slopes upward ever so slightly. This same progression can also be seen on the doors and wheel wells which have angled shapes on them. He even has sirens sculpted on top of the cabin section (making him a true emergency vehicle). On top of all this, the back area has been "filled in" (instead of being a flat truck bed). Rather than an ambulance that looks like a van, this looks more like a hyper stylized Humvee or SUV converted into an ambulance, and it looks very cool.
The vehicle mode is mostly white plastic with black tires, but there is a ton of paint on the figure. The sirens are painted dark red, similar to the dark metallic red from the robot mode. The windows are all painted light blue with the exception of the rear windows. The front end has silver on the grille and the section right under it. The biggest paint application on this figure is found on the sides where a series of stylized metallic red lines angle upwards starting behind the front wheel well all the way to the rear wheel wells. Inside the pattern are the words "Rescue" on the doors and "Emergency" towards the back. This is a very eye catching and dynamic detail and it looks awesome while evoking the red stripe that First Aid had running down the side in Generation One. The finishing touch to this deco is a tampographed Autobot symbol in silver and red on the left side of the hood. It may seem odd that the symbol is not centered, but this is a call back to the Autobot symbol on Generation One First Aid which was on the top of the vehicle to the left side. If I were to criticize one aspect of the figure it would be leaving the rims unpainted. There is something that looks terribly unfinished about a figure that doesn't have the rims painted and given the strength of the rest of the deco, it's a detail I miss.
First Aid features two 5mm ports on the sides of the vehicle to attach his accessories. You can also use the groove in the middle of the hand/foot weapon to attach to the tab on the top of the vehicle. I like this in particular because it reminds me of the Generation One First Aid figure, which came with a giant cannon to attach to the top of the ambulance mode.
Transformation to Arm Mode (Starting in robot mode):
- Detach all weapons.
- Take the fist/foot piece and fold the section with the thumb down, then swing the thumb up.
- Swing the forearms back at the elbows. There are grooves on the inside of each forearm, attach them to the tabs in between the two side windows from the vehicle mode.
- Connect the two robot legs together.
- Rotate the robot legs at the waist. Turn it to the right to form a right arm for Defensor and vice versa.
- Attach the hand piece to the hole on the bottom of the robot feet.
- Swing the center section of the torso out so the connection point for Defensor faces out.
While there have been many changes to the sculpt for this release, one thing remains true: it makes for one chunky and thick looking arm! First Aid's arm mode certainly looks like it has some power behind it. The top section and the forearm are both thick and formidable looking. Sure Defensor's primary function may be to save people, but you're not going to do that if you can't lift scrap metal off a fallen comrade. This mode also benefits from the deco on the figure since the colors wind up distributed from top to bottom. Nowhere on the limb does it look dull.
The arm has eight points of articulation (including the hand). The joints on my copy of this figure are tight enough that First Aid can hold one of Hot Spot's weapons up without a problem. A Legends figure like Powerglide make the arm droop ever so slightly but it doesn't totally collapse. The 5mm ports from the robot legs wind up on the forearms here, allowing you to attach extra weapons - but be warned, too much weight and the forearm just droops down so be selective.
Transformation to Leg mode (Starting in Vehicle Mode):
- Detach all the accessories.
- Swing the front of the vehicle and the windshield up.
- Swing the center section of the robot torso up.
- Attach the foot piece to the hole on the bottom of the robot feet.
The leg mode is basically the vehicle mode standing up on the back with the front section swung down. There's not much to it, but it serves its purpose well. It's worth noting that First Aid traditionally serves as one of Defensor's legs, so the thick, chunky look of the limb works perfectly for a body part that has to support a Combiner.
The connection piece on this limb allows the limb to bend at the knee and swivel in and out. You can also re-position the foot and heel piece to allow for different poses. This mode also allows you to use the 5mm ports from the sides of the vehicle mode to attach extra weapons.
Surprisingly, this is one of the few times where I'm rating a retool/redeco higher than the figure it is based on. There are many reasons for this. First, I really like the character of First Aid. What little focus he received in the G1 series showed a different kind of Autobot who was tired of war and wanted to help people. I liked that. Also, the sheer amount of parts that have been retooled is very impressive. I am very glad the designers didn't just give the figure a new head and call it a day. Add to that a good deco and this figure is a winner. Is it perfect? Not at all, but it definitely deserves a place in your collection.