"Generations" Combiner Wars Pyra Magna Toy Review

in 2016, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Combiner Wars, Generations, Torchbearers, Voyager

Generations

Pyra Magna General Information:
Release Date: April 2016
Price Point: $99 (In a boxed set with Dust Up, Jumpstream, Rust Dust, Skyburst & Stormclash)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc. - Sales were primarily online)
Accessories: Hands x 2, Feet x 2, Swords x 2, Axe, Shield, Crescent Blade

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Victorion is the first Fan-Built Combiner. Through voting in the Transformers app, fans voted on whether the team would be Autobot or Decepticon characters, their vehicle modes, what the Combiner robot's special power would be, and the name of this Combiner character. Bring home a piece of fan-made history and build a Combiner super robot with this Combiner Wars Victorion collection pack. In the Combiner Wars, teams of Autobots and Decepticons combine into giant super robots and battle with the fate of worlds in the balance. Laws don’t apply in the Sea of Rust, the unstable area of Cybertron where the Rust Renegades learned to work together and survive. When it’s time to stand tall, the team combines to form Victorion, the most relentless and resourceful Combiner.

The helicopter twins Skyburst and Stormclash make Victorion the only Combiner able to fly, and her extreme adaptability makes Victorion the only Combiner who can change her configuration to meet any challenge. Get 6 Rust Renegades figures that combine to form a Victorion Combiner figure. The Voyager Class Pyra Magna figure forms the torso; the Deluxe Class Dust Up, Jumpstream, Skyburst, and Stormclash figures form the arms and legs; and the Legends Class Rust Dust figure becomes Combiner armor. These figures work with other Combiner Wars figures! Combine the Pyra Magna figure with other Deluxe Class Combiner Wars figures or combine the Dust Up, Jumpstream, Skyburst, and Stormclash figures with other Combiner Wars Voyager Class figures to build more Combiner super robots! (Additional figures each sold separately.) The Pyra Magna figure converts from robot to fire truck. The Dust Up and Jumpstream figures convert from robot to sports car, the Skyburst and Stormclash figures convert from robot to helicopter, and the Rust Dust figure coverts from robot to motorcycle. Comes with 5 accessories, a poster, and a Victorion character card. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

In 2015 Hasbro held a poll on its web site to give fans a voice in planning out the next Combiner figure to be released. Fans were able to decide on the figure's gender, name, molds, color scheme, special power, place of origin, rival and personality. This extensive poll was much wider in scope than previous fan built Transformers since its results would affect not just one or two characters but an entire team and Combiner robot. The result of this poll was Victorion, the first "Scramble City" style Combiner with all female components. This represents a huge shift for the Transformers toy line. Once upon a time, a team of all female robots at this price point would have been unthinkable from a marketing perspective. However giving fans a say clearly helped push this idea through.

The base sculpt for this figure began as the Protectobot leader Hot Spot. It would go on to be retooled and given new decos as the Combaticon leader Onslaught. Check out Hot Spot's review for a detailed look at the sculpt. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

Packaging:
The packaging for Victorion 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 Victorion'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. This figure has the distinction of being called "Fan Built" above her name and the "Combiner Wars" logo. The back features a large, vertical photo of the character with a write up about her. The individual character names are broken out along the top of the box with cropped images of each team member.

Accessories:
Pyra Magna's weapon looks like a cross between an axe and a scythe. The handle is long (partly because it forms most of the center of Victorion's sword) and the end has two blades extending out to the sides. The edges of the blades have what look like serrated teeth, making the weapon look extra fierce. Pyra Magna can hold this weapon in either hand. The weapon is cast in all silver plastic with no paint details.

Vehicle Mode:
Pyra Magna is a fire truck in vehicle mode. She features mostly the same sculpted details as Hot Spot, with two exceptions:

  • Ladder: Specifically the front of the ladder. This is where Victorion's head is located. Since it is a fairly large piece, and it doesn't fold the way Defensor's head does, it kind of sticks out a bit and it's very obvious.
  • Ladder Base: The end of the ladder is attached to a base piece with two panels on the sides. These panels are new pieces, not the ones found on Hot spot. The parts are less angular and more curved, looking like machinery with tubing running along the top.

While significant, these changes do not affect the overall appearance of the figure too dramatically. It still looks like a vaguely futuristic emergency vehicle.

Of all the Torchbearer figures, this is the one most dominated by the bright red plastic. It makes up most of the vehicle itself. The wheels and the base of the ladder are black plastic and the ladder itself is silver. Some green shows in the form of Victorion's head (with a bit of Pyra Magna's robot mode peeking out in the back).

Now, I'm not a huge fan of this particular shade of red, but out of all the vehicles in this set I would say this is the one where the red works the best on the vehicle. Since Pyra Magna is an emergency vehicle, it makes sense for her to be an eye catching color. The black and silver help offer some contrasting color, helping to break up a potential sea of red.

Most of the deco on this vehicle is focused on the front end. There silver is used to paint the windows and the panels on the sides of the vehicle. There are also tampographed Autobot symbols on the sides. running along the side are green stripes, matching the shade of green plastic used on the Torchbearers. Other than the Cybertronian writing (addressed below) that's it for deco in this mode, and I found myself quite surprised by that. I had thought like some of the other members of the team perhaps the sides of the wheels would be painted or something, but nope. Overall the color scheme on this mode is average. Not bad, but not great either.

The writing on the sides of the vehicle are Cybertronian glyphs. These are part of a poem spoken by an ancient Autobot hologram in the G1 episode titled "Cosmic Rust". In that episode the Decepticons come across a planet that has been destroyed by a substance known as "Cosmic Rust". Since the fans voted for the Torchbearers to be from the "Sea of Rust" the designers thought it appropriate for the Torchbearers to each have a piece of this poem "tattooed" onto their bodies as a sign of defiance against something as deadly as Cosmic Rust. For those curious, the poem goes like this:

If Cybertron be your home, far away never roam.
Hear my message, listen and fear.
Danger comes, the end is near!
Just like us, you soon will rust.
All shall be turned to dust.

Some artistic interpretation of the Cybertronian symbols was done for this set, so I'm not exactly sure which character has which part of the poem on them. That said I think it's really cool that this part of G1 history found its way onto the deco of these figures.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Raise the ladder to move it out of the way.
  2. Split the front end of the vehicle to begin forming the robot legs.
  3. Swing up each half of the vehicle's front end.
  4. Lift up the front halves of the vehicle and swing them forward.
  5. Rotate each of the lower legs around.
  6. Split the rear end of the vehicle to begin forming the robot arms.
  7. Swing the arms out to the sides, then rotate them so the shoulder sections face forward.
  8. Swing the elbows/forearms down.
  9. Swing the panels at the base of the ladder out.
  10. Swing the ladder up, then swing the panels back in place. They each have pegs that fit into corresponding 5mm ports on the ladder's bucket.
  11. Swing the ladder down and push it against the back of the robot.
  12. Swing the chest panel up, swing the head up, then push the panel back into place.

Robot Mode:
Like most of the figures in this set Pyra Magna features several newly sculpted parts:

  • Head: The head is a very traditional "Transformers" head design. There is a helmet section with a large crest in the center and "horns" sticking out on the sides. She has a face with thin eyes, a nose and mouth. In many ways, this head design is reminiscent of G1 Prowl, but highly stylized.
  • Chest: The chest panel is an all new piece. Instead of Hot Spot's symmetrical design, this one is asymmetrical. On the left side is a flat panel with a coil above it, meanwhile the right has a flat panel overlapped with a piece that looks like a strap. Below that section are flat sections with horizontal lines etched into them. I like the look of this piece and I've always appreciated the use of asymmetrical designs on Transformers.
  • Forearms: At first glance, the forearms on Pyra Magna appear to be the same as Hot Spot's, but a closer inspection reveals they are actually new pieces that share design aspects with Hot Spot. The two design elements that seem to have been inspired by Hot Spot's arms are three openings in a vertical row on top and springs sticking out on the sides. However the springs and these three openings are different than Hot Spot's. Also, the hands are not solid, chunky fists but instead are open hands with the fingers curled. I like this more as you can actually see individual fingers sculpted instead of just one lump of plastic as a fist.

Overall the new parts really help distinguish this figure from Hot Spot. The figure doesn't look like "Hot Spot with a new head", it actually looks like its own distinct character and that's what you want from a retool.

Red is the dominant color in this form. The green plastic is found on the head, chest, shoulders, forearms and thighs. The green helps break up the red quite a bit. You'll see some small black parts peeking through on joints such as the elbows and hips. I do wish the designers had used some of the darker red plastic seen on Jumpstream. I think it would have helped balance the look of the figure out.

I will admit, when I took an initial look at the deco for this mode I wasn't impressed. It felt like the designers had held back quite a bit. This impression mostly came from the middle section, especially the waist area where flat red just overwhelms everything else around it. However, on closer inspection I found there to be some really nice deco choices.

First up, the head has a really intricate deco. The "horns", the sides and the area around the eyes are painted red. The face is painted silver, no shock there, but there are also cool silver details on the sides and edges of the helmet area. The head's deco is rounded out with blue eyes. This is a really nice, intricate set of details and I found myself impressed.

The rest of the deco is fairly standard. Silver is used on the shoulders and hands. Red is found on the armor on the lower part of the shoulders and on the chest. There's also silver on the lower legs that helps break up the red plastic color. Taken as a whole the deco on this figure looks good and the head in particular looks fantastic.

The joints on my copy of this figure are all nice and tight, especially the ratchet joints. I have heard tell that the knee joints on many copies of this figure were mis-assembled, preventing the knees from locking in place. On my copy of this figure the knees seem fine and are able to hold poses without a problem.

Pyra Magna can hold pretty much all the accessories in this set, though Dust Up's crescent blade doesn't quite hold that tightly in her hands. I have seen an interesting transformation online where folks have taken Victorion's foot pieces and attached them to the sides of the ladder on her back. Most official photos and renders of the figure don't show that, but it does give her an interesting and almost regal appearance. The instructions show her using the foot pieces this way in an illustration, but no mention is actually made in the instructions themselves. Go figure.

Transformation to Torso Mode (from Vehicle Mode):

  1. Raise the ladder up.
  2. Swing the front half of the vehicle up and forward.
  3. Split the front of the vehicle and rotate each half outward.
  4. Swing each lower robot leg piece up over the thighs.
  5. Swing the robot feet up.
  6. Split the rear of the vehicle and swing the robot arm pieces out to the sides.
  7. Be sure the base of the ladder is up against the back of the robot mode.
  8. Swing the ladder down, between the robot legs, then up. The hinges will swing accordingly. Lock the end of the ladder in place and rotate the Victorion head around.
  9. Rotate the robot arms so the back of Pyra Magna's shoulders face the same way as Victorion's head.
  10. Swing Pyra Magna's forearms out and around, pushing them up against the front of Pyra Magna's shoulders.
  11. Swing Victorion's torso panels against the back of Pyra Magna's shoulders. There are tabs on the shoulders that connect to the panels.

Torso Mode:
Victorion's torso section features some new parts:

  • Head: The head is an all new sculpt. It is a tall design that is larger than Defensor's. The "helmet" section is really beautiful with a high crest and several angled designs sweeping up that look almost like feathers or a crown. She has a face with small eyes, a nose and mouth, but over the eyes is a translucent blue visor. The head is cast in green with red, silver and black paint details. This head sculpt is very unusual looking and I appreciate how intricate the paint job on it is.
  • Torso Panels: The panels that form the opposite sides of the front torso. These panels are less angular tha Defensor's and instead feature a curved tube on the outer part with small machine like parts connecting everything together. I really like the sculpt on these parts, but sadly they are cast in red plastic with no deco. I would have loved to see some black and silver used on these parts to help accentuate the detailing on them.

The rest of the deco in this mode includes silver on the sides of the shoulder joint, the waist/hip area and the thighs. Overall, the colors on this mode work very well because the green is kept to a minimum and even the red is broken up by the black section in the center of the torso.

Final Thoughts:
Pyra Magna is a cool centerpiece for this set. The retooled parts are all well done and this particular sculpt has not been used half a dozen times. The deco could be a bit stronger, but overall this is a solid figure.

Update: A correction on the above. Thanks to some folks at Talk Transformers and this reference guide I now understand the "knee issue" more. It turns out my Pyra Magna is assembled incorrectly, however I'm fortunate enough to not have it affect my figures' functionality. However, if yours is not functional, check out this link for a fix.