"Generations" Combiner Wars G2 Blackjack Toy Review
Release Date: March 2016
Price Point: $99.99 (in a boxed set with Brake-Neck, Breakdown, Dead End, Dragstrip and Motormaster)
Retailer: Limited Release (Amazon, HasbroToyShop, Target, Toys R Us etc.)
Official images and text below in italics are from HasbroToyShop:
Menasor is driven by one thing and one thing only: a desire to obliterate the enemy. He attacks Decepticons – on the ground or in the air – with all-out force.
Convert, attack and destroy with this incredible 7-in-1 Menasor Collection Pack! There’s a whole force of Decepticons in this pack and they’re spoiling for a fight with their Autobot enemies. Whether these sneaky Decepticons are in robot mode or vehicle mode, they’ll attack with everything they’ve got! And when that’s not enough, they’ll combine to form a massive, unstoppable Menasor figure! Maybe the Autobots could defeat Motormaster, Decepticon Dragstrip, or Dead End alone. Maybe Breakdown, Brake-Neck and Blackjack won’t be enough to stop the Autobot advance. But when they combine, Autobots beware! Dominate the Transformers battle with your Menasor Collection Pack!
Includes 6 figures, poster, collector card, poster, accessories, and instructions.
Back in the 90's Hasbro made an attempt to revive the then-failing "Transformers" toy line be re branding it as "Transformers Generation 2". This line took old sculpts and new sculpts and mashed them up into one line of figures. However, "Generation 2" only lasted a few years before Transformers took a sharp left turn and was reimagined as "Beast Wars". Along the way several figures that were solicited were never released. However in some cases the figures did make it to the production sample stage, and that's where the "Generation 2" Stunticons come in. At Botcon 1994 attendees received a carded Breakdown figure from "Generation 2", part of a set that would never see mass release. To illustrate how excited fans have been for this set, a 2015 ebay auction featured a complete set of these Stunticons out of package and wound up earning over $26,000!
For those not looking to spend the price of a car to buy a set of Stunticons, it was announced last summer that the "Combiner Wars" Stunticons would be relased in G2 colors! Retailing around $99.99 this set was most readily available at online retailers such as BWTF sponsor Bigbadtoystore and other stores such as Target and Toys R Us. Some stores such as Toys R Us in Canada had these at physical retail locations as well.
While this set did come in one big boxed set I've decided to divide up my reviews of this set into digestible chunks by team member. I think this is a bit more organized and also keeps you from having to scroll forever through one gigantic review.
The sculpt used for this figure was originally released as a G1 themed Blackjack. It was later retooled and given a new deco as Rodimus. In Japan the sculpt was released as Runabout in the "Transformers Adventure" line. Back in November 2015 it was also announced that this sculpt would be given a new deco as the Million Publishing exclusive Runamuck. Check out the first Blackjack review for my detailed thoughts on the figure. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
Blackjack is unique in this set in that he was not originally released as a Stunticon or as part of Generation 2. Instead the designers used the small car accessory included with G2 Motormaster as the inspiration for this figure's new deco.
The "Menasor Collectors Pack" is a really impressive looking set. The box is large and rectangular, intended to be displayed horizontally. The front uses the black background seen on most "Generations" packaging with the red "Transformers" logo set vertically on the right. The middle section has new artwork featuring Menasor in his G2 colors. This is not the same art used for the first "Combiner Wars" release of this character, it is new art. Overlaid on top of that are small thumbnail images of all six Stunticons and the words "Combiner Wars Menasor" below that. The back of the packaging features a large photos of Menasor fully combined with a brief write up on the character.
Open up the box and you slide out a huge, clear plastic tray with all the Stunticons in vehicle mode. The accessories are all placed near the member they belong to. Also included in the package is a cardboard envelope with the instructions and a print inside. Unlike Superion, the print included for this set does feature the G2 based artwork. I love the presentation of the figures on a big tray and the idea of including a print is really cool.
Blackjack has the same spoiler/axe weapon included with previous versions of the figure. This time out the axe is cast in teal blue plastic, intended to visually align with the teal blue accessories in this set and some of the teal on other figures such as Breakdown. The handle still fits nice and tight into Blackjack's hand and for the vehicle mode it attaches without a problem to the back of the vehicle.
While not well known, the original G1 Motormaster toy included a small accessory that was a car/drone. This was included with G2 Motormaster as well using purple as its main color. In paying homage to that accessory, Blackjack's main plastic color is metallic purple, matching nicely in tone with the Motormaster figure included with this set. Since this vehicle can attach to Menasor's chest, the connection is appropriate. The other plastic colors on this figure are black (mostly used on the wheels) and teal blue (most prominently seen on the spoiler). While the purple isn't a bright color, it certainly isn't one you see very often making up most of a Transformer nowadays. The teal is really the uncommon color and I love how it's all over this set, even on this smaller figure.
Paint colors on this figure include black and teal. The black is used on all the windows, even the rear one. The sides are painted teal blue on the top half of the doors. A bit of silver is used for the headlights and finally teal blue is used for a G2 Decepticon symbol on the hood. The deco looks good but it's not perfect. I would have preferred the sides of the wheels be painted given the special nature of the boxed set.
This mode can still be used as chest armor for Menasor. However this version doesn't hold any tighter than previous ones meaning if you attach him to Menasor's chest, all you need to do is tip the figure and Blackjack will slide right off. This is just an unfortunate flaw in the design of this base sculpt so I got over it after reviewing the other versions. It's unfortunate, but hardly a deal breaker for the sculpt overall.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Detach the axe/spoiler and set it aside for now.
- Holding the front wheel wells, swing the sides of the vehicle out.
- Swing the hood piece and cabin section up, then back.
- Swing the rear window section down to reveal the robot head.
- Separate the legs.
- Rotate the forearms so they can move up and down.
- The axe weapon can be held in either hand.
All the colors from the vehicle mode carry over into Blackjack's robot form. Several parts including his back, chest, upper arms and lower legs are all metallic purple. The remaining section of his torso and thighs are teal blue plastic. Teal blue paint is used on the forearms, head and feet. These paint colors really help break up the darker colors and it adds the bright splash of color fans have come to expect from something inspired by Generation 2.
Smaller details include the eyes in red and mouthplate in silver. Some black detailing is on his shoulders. Teal blue paint is used for the G2 Decepticon symbol on his right shoulder. Overall the deco looks great and this figure very much feels like something that would have come out in the 90's.
The joints on my copy of this figure feel good, but they are not as tight as my original Blackjack (or Rodimus and Runabout). In particular the hip and knee joints feel slightly more loose, but they're not floppy by any means.
Blackjack looks really cool in both modes and I appreciate the amount of deco on this figure. I also dig the homage to Motormaster's car accessory. I'm really glad the designers included this with the set and found a nice way to make the homage fit.