"Generations" Combiner Wars Lightsteed Toy Review

in 2016, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Combiner Wars, Generation One, Generations, Technobots

Generations

Lightspeed General Information:
Release Date: October 2016
Price Point: $99.99 (Suggested Retail)
Retailer: Limited Exclusive (Amazon, Bigbadtoystore, Entertainment Earth etc.)
Accessories: Hands x 2, Feet x 2, Rifle (Scattershot), Blasters x 2 (Afterbreaker), Shotgun (Lightsteed), Drill (Nosecone)

Official images are from Amazon.com. Official text in italics are from Bigbadtoystore:
In the Combiner Wars, teams of Autobots and Decepticons combine to form giant super robots and battle with the fate of worlds in the balance. Computron is never wrong. Of all the Combiner robots, he is the most successful at merging the different personalities of his component bots. The Autobot processes input from each of Technobots and evaluates all possible outcomes to identify the perfect plan of attack.

Join the battle and build a Combiner super robot with this 7-in-1 Combiner Wars Computron Collection Pack. Get 6 Technobots figures that combine to form a Computron Combiner figure in this 1 set. The Voyager Class Scattershot figure forms the torso of the Computron Combiner figure; the Deluxe Class Afterbreaker, Strafe, Lightsteed, and Nosecone figures form the arms and legs; and the Legends Class Scrounge figure becomes a Combiner weapon.

The Combiner Wars universal connection system means these figures work with other Combiner Wars figures. Combine the Scattershot figure with other Deluxe Class Combiner Wars figures or combine Afterbreaker, Strafe, Lightsteed, and Nosecone figures with other Combiner Wars Voyager Class figures to build more Combiner super robot figures. (Additional figures are each sold separately.) The pack also includes 12 accessories, a Cybaxx mini space shuttle figure, a Combiner Wars poster, and a collectible Computron character card.

The base sculpt for this figure began as the Stunticon Dead End. It would go on to be retooled and given new decos as:

Now, I don't expect you to read all the reviews above before this one (though hey, I'm totally cool if you do!). For the best reference, check out the original Streetwise review before checking this one out. This review will focus on the changes made to the base sculpt for this release.

While this character's name was "Lightspeed" in Generation One, trademark issues have forced the designers to give him a new name: Lightsteed. Close enough, I guess? Though using "steed" works and it implies "speed" but nothing about the character or his forms is particularly horse like so it's a bit odd.

Packaging:
The packaging for Computron resembles the one used for G2 Superion. It is a huge rectangular box with a black background. The side features a vertical "Transformers" logo with the "Generations" logo above it. Most of the box's front features Computron's poster art. The other side features the poster and card art that is packaged inside the box. Below that are photos of all six team members in vehicle mode. The back features a large, vertical photo of the character with a write up about him. The individual character names are broken out along the top of the box with cropped images of each team member.

Accessories:
Lightsteed's weapon is the same one that originally came with Streetwise. This triple barreled shotgun is one of my favorite weapons to come out of "Combiner Wars". It looks powerful and the detail on it is fantastic including a targeting scope on top. This piece is cast in red plastic, but everything except the handle has been painted a nice, glossy black. Painting accessories is uncommon in the Transformers line, so it is always welcome when I see it done.

The hands and feet on Computron are new parts and do not follow the "hand/foot/weapon" design used on most of the "Combiner Wars" figures. Instead the hands are just that, two distinct hands and the feet only serve as feet. The fists are thick, chunky looking ones with 5mm ports in them. The feet are also large and have ratchet joints that can move side to side to allow for Computron to pose. These are cool accessories, but they do wind up removing one weapon option for each individual figure in the set. Note: these are not the same pieces included with Victorion. They are unique to this set.

Vehicle Mode:
Sometimes when paying homage to a Generation One character, it is important to remember that not all G1 characters were exactly covered in intricate deco back in the day. In the case of G1 Lightspeed, he was fairly simple. Mostly red, with a huge white cabin section and some silver details. For the era he looked good, and his stickers went a long way in giving him much needed detail.

Fast forward to 2016 and Lightsteed's colors haven't changed that much. Like his G1 counterpart, Combiner Wars Lightsteed is mostly red plastic (though this time it is a red with metallic flake). His wheels are black and the rest of the parts are light grey (though under certain light I swear I see a greenish tinge). Red paint is used to "fill in" several parts such as the lightbar on the top of the figure (a carry over from Streetwise) and parts of the vehicle's side (which become the arms in robot mode). Silver is used pretty extensively, painting the sides of the wheels, the headlights and other details in the front. The sides each have a large, tampgoraphed Autobot symbol in red and silver. These last two details pay direct homage to paint and stickers on G1 Lightspeed and they look great.

Here's the problem: in trying to stay true to the G1 Lightspeed deco, Lightsteed winds up looking almost unfinished. There are two main factors at work here. First, the cabin section has some very distinct sculpted lines on it that our brains have been trained by eight previous releases to expect deco on, but here they are unpainted so there is an "unfinished" look to it. Also, the light grey color is often associated with prototypes of toys, so psychologically it lends itself to looking "unfinished". The shame of it is, it's not unfinished. This was absolutely intentional to pay homage to the G1 figure, so depending on your standard this may or may not work for you. For me personally I keep going back and forth between "Wow, they really tried to pay homage to G1 and did it!" to "That middle section really needs paint!".

The shotgun accessory still attaches to the side of the figure without a problem. It holds nice and snug to arm up your Lightspeed in vehicle mode.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon and set it aside for now.
  2. Swing the parts with the rear wheel wells on them out.
  3. Swing the rear of the vehicle back, then swing the wheel wells back into place.
  4. Rotate the rear half of the vehicle around.
  5. Swing the windshield piece up and down.
  6. Swing the front of the car back.
  7. Move the sides of the vehicle up to begin forming the robot arms.
  8. Swing each robot fist out.
  9. Swing the panel under the car's front section down to reveal the robot head. Tab the shoulder armor into the chest.
  10. Swing the front of the vehicle up, then down so the bottom of that section is pressed against Dust Up's back.
  11. You can attach the weapon to either hand or shoulder area.

Robot Mode:
While being loyal to G1 Lightspeed can explain a lot about the vehicle mode, the robot mode is much more problematic. First off, Lightsteed reuses Streetwise's head sculpt and well, it doesn't work. Most of the time if you have a redeco of a figure and you don't change the head, you need a design that at least approximates the character you're trying to represent. In the case of General Cicadacon for instance, Skydive's head was "close enough" to serve as the character's head. In this case however Streetwise's head design is so unique (especially the face) that it does not look like G1 Lightspeed at all. Given how great the new head sculpts on Strafe and Afterbreaker look, this is truly unfortunate.

The other unfortunate choice? Leaving the robot mode virtually unpainted. Much of the robot mode is made up by the light grey/green plastic seen in vehicle mode. The head, chest and lower legs are red plastic. Some red paint carries over from the vehicle mode on the arms while silver is used to paint the face, chest and lower legs. The silver on the chest and legs call back to G1 Lightspeed details and he has an Autobot symbol on the center of his chest. Finally the eyes are painted blue. And...that's it. I mentioned above that the grey color being unpainted gives the look of an unfinished prototype, and that effect is magnified in this mode. The robot mode winds up looking terribly unfinished, and worse, aside from the silver deco points it really does not call back to G1 Lightspeed at all.

After nine uses this base sculpt is beginning to show wear. The shoulder joints are much looser on this figure than they are on any previous iteration of it that I own. The head won't stay looking directly forward and instead it turns ever so slightly to the left a bit when you try to have it face forward, pointing to an issue with that connection point. The hip joints also feel a tad more loose on this figure than they do on previous versions I have. Don't get me wrong, he's still a fun figure to play with and you can pose it but be warned about the loose joints, especially the shoulders.

Limb Modes:
For posterity I am including the limb transformation instructions below. I will cover the functionality of the limbs in my Computron review where I review all the members of the team fully assembled.

Transformation to Arm Mode (Starting in robot mode):

  1. Detach all weapons.
  2. Take the fist/foot piece and fold the section with the thumb down, then swing the thumb up.
  3. On the left leg, swing the red piece down.
  4. Push the lower legs together.
  5. Rotate the waist piece to the side (either one is fine depending on which arm you are creating).
  6. Swing the robot fists into the forearms.
  7. Swing each robot arm down at the shoulder.
  8. Swing the robot head back into the front section of the car.
  9. Swing the front of the car and the head section back and down.
  10. Attach one of Victorion's hands to the red piece from step three.
  11. Swing up the connection piece in the robot torso.

Transformation to Leg mode (Starting in Vehicle Mode):

  1. Detach all the accessories.
  2. Push down a bit on the front of the vehicle.
  3. Swing the windshield piece up and back.
  4. Swing the front of the car up and back.
  5. Swing the robot head up and back so it rests in the piece that forms the front of the car.
  6. Swing the connection piece out from the robot torso.
  7. Attach the foot piece to the back of the car.

Final Thoughts:
Lightsteed is the most disappointing figure of this set. He needed some more details in vehicle mode and a lot more deco in robot mode. I'm also sad that some of the joints are significantly more loose than they were on previous versions of this sculpt. Finally, a new head sculpt would have gone a long way to make the figure better. Fortunately the other figures in the set are much better!