"Generations" Combiner Wars Scattershot Toy Review
Release Date: January 2016
Price Point: $24.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Rifle, Shield/wings
Official images with asterisks and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Scattershot can form Combiner robots that aren't slowed by the conflict that comes from merging five personalities into one. He's the secret weapon the Autobots call on when they need to quickly form and re-form new Combiner robots during battle. The Combiner Wars are heating up and this 2-in-1 Scattershot figure is ready to lead the way one more time! This powerful Combiner is an unstoppable force in robot mode with a huge Decepticon-pounding cannon, but he's just as scary in screaming fighter jet mode! He’s also got the power to combine with other bots (sold separately) to form a massive Betatron figure. Convert, combine and attack with this awesome Scattershot figure! 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 was on creating 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" were made to serve as weaponry or armor for the combined giants.
The theme for 2016 is "Titans Return", a new play on the old "Headmaster" concept. However early 2016 saw a continuation of "Combiner Wars". One of the Voyager Class figures released in late 2015/early 2016 (depending on region) was Scattershot. In Generation One, Scattershot was the leader of a team of Autobots known as the Technobots. The Technobots could combine into Computron, who was basically a super computer Combiner who you didn't want to mess with. The weird part is, unlike most "Combiner Wars" releases, this figure does not have a corresponding team being released as limbs. As of the day I'm writing this review (late January 2016) there are rumors of a boxed Computron set. Indeed, the reveal of Botcon 2016 Ramhorn greatly suggests the sculpt could be used as Nosecone, one of the Technobots who formed a drill vehicle. I would not be surprised if by summer 2016 there was a Computron set either announced or released.
Scattershot's base sculpt is Voyager Class Silverbolt. This same sculpt would later be heavily retooled and recolored for its release as Voyager Class Cyclonus. Check out those reviews for a detailed look at this figure. This review will largely focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
The packaging for "Combiner Wars" creates a very clear delineation between the main "Robots in Disguise" toy line for 2015 and the more collector oriented "Generations" segment. While the packaging uses the same basic "Transformers" logo as the "Robots in Disguise" line, it is set against a black background instead of white on the right side of the box. Above that is an Autobot symbol with the word "Generations" indicating the segment of the line. The figure itself is on display in robot mode through a window. On the lower left side is artwork of the figure with the words "Combiner Wars" below it and the name "Scattershot" below that. The side panel shows Betatron (Scattershot combined with Autobot limbs including Mirage) and designates Scattershot as "3 of 5".
The back of the box features the toy in both modes with a small write up in multiple languages. There are sadly no tech spec stats. The right side shows a schematic of Scattershot in torso form. The name "Computron" is not mentioned anywhere on the packaging. Instead his combined form is called "Betatron", a suggestion that he is the second or "fallback" torso for "limb" Combiner characters to merge with. In this case his cosells are the "Autobot" wave including Sunstreaker and Prowl.
The "Combiner Wars" figures all come with collector cards printed on thick cardboard. The artwork featured on the card based on the toy itself, not a reuse of artwork from the "Transformers Legends" mobile app card game.
Scattershot comes with two accessories, though they appear as one out of the box. Both come together to form his weapon, a long rifle with a base section with a raised section in the middle and wings on the sides. The base looks like two wings with a central fin on top. This piece can be used like a shield. Both parts of the weapon are cast in grey plastic, but are painted metallic silver except for the handles (a smart choice). I do find myself wishing the designers had come up with a new weapon for this figure since both previous releases already used this weapon design, but it's still a fun weapon and sized appropriately for Betatron.
Using Silverbolt's body as a base is not too far fetched for a Scattershot figure. Both characters had somewhat blocky robot forms with lots of rectangles and squares. Indeed, some elements of this design that are really meant to represent Silverbolt work perfectly for Scattershot. This includes the chest panel, which has two raised sections on either side, a feature that both Silverbolt and Scattershot shared to some degree (though the particulars of the designs varied of course). G1 Scattershot also featured thick, blocky arms and legs, features which this toy has in abundance.
Of course, if you want to nit pick there are a lot of design elements they could have changed such as the left hand wrist (which had a dual barrel blaster on the G1 design) and the mid-section of the torso, which still has the distinct "U" shaped piece from Silverbolt. It would have also been nice to somehow mold blasters into the elbows (though some re-engineering would have been necessary to make it work). Given that Cyclonus featured a ton of new parts, it is slightly disappointed to see this figure not get the same treatment. That said, I found myself liking the look of this robot mode a lot more than I had expected.
Of course, this isn't a straight up redeco. Scattershot features a couple of modified parts in this form:
- The head is an all new piece. Its design is based on G1 Scattershot's design which includes a crest and thick panels on either side of the head along with thick visor eyes.
- The wings on the back are new pieces featuring a more open design with gaps in the middle and blasters on the ends of the wings.
- The small panels on the back of the lower legs are different than those on Silverbolt, designed to accommodate the new wing and nosecone pieces.
While his sculpt may not be dramatically different than is predecessors, the colors sure are! Scattershot is cast in three shades of red plastic and light grey. The three red colors are meant to emulate the shades of red used on G1 Scattershot, and to a large degree they succeed. One shade of red is rather bold with a metallic shine. This red is found on the chest, sides, wings and the panels on the sides of his legs. The darker red is more flat and deep in color. You'll find this mostly on the legs. A "middle" ground shade between the two other reds is used for parts like the forearms and fists. In between the light grey plastic helps to break things up. This is used on the head, upper arms and thighs. I've always been fond of this color combination. It's not one you see often in the Transformers toy line so it really stands out.
there are two paint colors used on this figure: light blue and light grey. The light blue is used on the chest, waist and face. I'm particularly fond of the blue on his chest and waist as they call back to blue sticker details on the G1 figure. The light grey is used to break up the red on the torso as well as the thighs. The deco is topped off with a tampographed Autobot symbol in silver and red in the cneter of his chest. I do find myself wishing a bit more paint had been used on the forearms and lower legs which are unpainted.
All the joints on this figure are mostly just as tight Looking around at the various parts I don't see any indication of mold degradation (keep in mind between Unite Warriors and Combiner Wars this tooling has seen three uses already). His weapon and shield hold securely to his forearms or fists.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach the weapon/shield and set them aside for now.
- Straighten out all the limbs.
- Swing the chest panel forward, then swing the head back behind the chest panel and swing it back into place.
- Swing the plane's cockpit section up.
- On each leg, swing the panel on the back of out, then collpase the heel pieces into the feet and swing the feet into the opening. Swing the panels back.
- Rotate the lower legs inward, then swing them up, connecting them to form part of the vehicle's rear section.
- Rotate the robot arms inward, then bend them at the elbow. There is a notch on each forearm that connects to a corresponding tab on the underside of each wing.
- Swing the vertical stabilizer fin up.
- The rifle can be attached to the underside of the cockpit section or to the holes on the forearms.
In Generation One Scattershot's vehicle mode was a futuristic fighter ship with a very distinctive cross shape. Now Silverbolt is a flat plane so the designers tried to take elements of G1 Scattershot and use them as an inspiration for the new parts in this form. This is the mode where the most retooling happened with this figure. We're talking Cyclonus level retooling. Here's what's new:
- The landing gear is a new piece. Instead of an airplane's landing gear with wheels, this one has several tubes and a flat panel at the bottom looking more like landing gear on an X-Wing Fighter than an Earth plane.
- The entire front section of the vehicle is a new piece. In G1 Scattershot had a small cockpit window with a giant cannon in front of it. History repeats itself but this time out the design is much more flatened and sleek, though the front still has a giant cannon barrel stickin gout in front. This section also includes two horizontal fins which are callbacks to similar designs on G1 Scattershot. Of interest are the smaller details which includes a small door. If that door is meant for human beings that would make Scattershot a huge ship and not just a futuristic looking jet fighter.
- Each wing piece is a new sculpt and forms part of the bulk of the vehicle's middle to rear section. The designers used this opportunity to call back to several elements of G1 Scattershot's vehicle design including blasters at the end of each wing, dual barreled blasters at the base of the wings and triangular arrow shapes on either side that look like a small runway.
- The vertical fin on the back of the vehicle is a new piece featuring a thick blaster at the end with a targeting scope on top. This is a homage to the weapon that attached to the top of Scattershot's vehicle mode.
Overall the new parts are really nicely done. In many respects the design evolution reminds me of the way the Starship Enterprise went from a slightly "bulkier" looking design in the original series to a very trim and streamlined design as the Enterprise-E. Basically a lot of G1 design elements were flattened out, smoothed out and curved more to form this vehicle and I think it looks spectacular.
The same color scheme seen in the robot mode is used here, except this time out the colors are much more clearly separated. The light grey plastic is focused in the front of the vehicle while the red colors make up the middle and back. Red paint is used on the vertical fin/blaster and the sides of the nosecone. The "runway" like details near the middle are painted silver. Silver is also used on the barrel at the end of the vehicle. The cockpit windows are painted black. The finishing touch on the deco are Autobot symbols on the wings (another G1 Scattershot callback). I do find myself wishing there were some blue decos in this mode or just a bit more silver. G1 Scattershot had a ton of color detailing thanks to stickers so seeing some of that emulated would have been nice.
For G1 fans, you can kind of recreate G1 Scattershot's "Cannon Mode" by basically giving the vehicle mode legs and swinging the wings up. This is by no means an official mode but I thought some fans would find this a fun mention.
Transformation to Torso Mode (Starting in robot mode):
- Detach all accessories and set them aside for now.
- Swing the panels on the back of the lower legs out, then swing the robot feet and heels together and swing them into that slot.
- Swing the chest panel forward, swing the robot head back then push the panel back into place.
- Rotate each robot arm up, then swing the fists back.
- Swing the panel that forms the mid-body and waist out, revealing Betatron's head. Swing the head up.
- Swivel each lower robot leg in, then swing the lower against the central body. There is a tab on each of the lower legs that slides into a notch on the central part of the vehicle mode.
- Swing the knee armor panels on each lower leg down.
- Swing the panel that forms the center of Scattershot's chest up.
- Push the two halves of Betatron's torso armor together.
Betatron Torso Mode:
So far so good right? Good robot mode, good vehicle mode...and then we get to this form. After the very successful redeco/retool that is Voyager Class Cyclonus this mode winds up falling very flat. See, while G1 Combiners all used similar gimmicks during the "Scramble City" era of guys like Menasor and Superion, they all had a very distinctive appearance. In this case however nothing new has been done to this form. No new head, no new chest panels, nothing. Superion has a very distinctive head design, so when you look at this figure in torso mode you'll have Superion's face staring right back at you. They can call him "Betatron" on the box, but between the head and torso panels he screams "Superion". Hasbro is capable of and has done better with this sculpt so this came as a disappointing surprise when early pictures of this mode were revealed.
Color-wise it still feels very "Superion". Red and grey still show and both those colors appeared on Superion as well. The head is cast in black with yellow antennae, red eyes and silver on the mouthplate. The various parts of the torso showcase the three red plastic colors, but there's very little paint. There's blue on the waist area from the robot mode chest and an Autobot symbol on the left and...that's it. Even if we were to say "okay" to the lack of new head sculpt or torso panels he looks terribly unfinished in this form.
From a funcitonal perspective Betatron is solid however. All the joints are nice and tight. "Combiner Wars" limbs attach without a problem. Looking at him purely as a toy and not a character, there are no functional issues.
I almost gave this figure a "not recommended" right off the bat, but after reviewing it I can't say no love went into this figure. The robot and vehicle mode clearly show that G1 Scattershot was firmly on the minds of the creators, then for whatever reason the Torso mode just drops the ball right before the goal line. As a stand alone toy this figure is fun and looks really cool. As an update of G1 Scattershot, it almost succeeds but ultimately comes short. Whether you purchase it or not will largely depend on what you're looking for in this toy.