"Generations" Combiner Wars Skyburst Toy Review

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

Generations

Skyburst General Information:
Release Date: April 2016
Price Point: $99 (In a boxed set with Dust Up, Jumpstream, Pyra Magna, Rust Dust & 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 mold for Skyburst began life as Alpha Bravo, an Aerialbot. Later it was given a new head and released as Protectobot Blades. More recently the base sculpt was released as the Combaticon Vortex. This figure however represents a significant retool, so check out the Alpha Bravo review as a point of reference before reading this review. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

Packaging:
The packaging for Superion 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:
Skyburst's weapon is a large sword that is almost the height of the figure itself in robot mode. The sword is a gorgeous design and resembles a wing of an insect or a bird's feather in shape. It has a 5mm handle at the bottom with a hand guard over it leading to an angled hilt. The blade is the part that looks most like a wing or feather with lines that curve downward. The sides have tabs on them that are used when combining this weapon with the others to form Victorion's sword. One side of the sword has a 5mm peg that allows it to attach to the vehicle form.

The sword is cast in translucent blue plastic. The hilt, hand guard and back edge are all painted silver. The sword blade is painted white with a beautiful blue gradient from the side to the edge of the blade. I love the look of this weapon and it contrasts well against Skyburst herself.

The hands and feet on Victorion 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. While that means Skyburst does not have an "extra" weapon as most "Combiner Wars" figures do, Victorion winds up having all new hand and foot pieces that are distinct from the rest of the line. The only unfortunate result of this is that when the six team members are separated they can't really use the hands and feet as weapons, so you just have to stow them away somewhere.

Vehicle Mode:
Skyburst is not just a redeco of the Alpha Bravo sculpt. There is significant amounts of retooling, but most of those parts are shown off in robot mode. In this form the main new parts being shown off are on the sides. Instead of the rocket launcher parts found on Alpha Bravo these parts have bene replaced with horizontal fins. This means the entire forearm piece for the robot mode has been replaced. More on how that affects the robot mode later, but for this form it makes Skyburst look decidedly less militaristic than previous iterations of this sculpt. The rest of the parts on the figure all remain the same as the initial release.

The color scheme for this figure was voted on by fans, though in a case of iterative development the actual colors revealed on a hand painted prototype at San Diego Comic-Con 2015 was much brighter than most fans expected. Later the Photoshop style renders also showed these bright colors. However, at Toy Fair 2016 Victorion was shown in a final form in much more muted colors. The bright red was now more of an even tone red and the bright green was now more of a light, dull green color. Credit goes to the awesome Dave Van Domelen for realizing that this green is basically a Copper Patina color! Given that the Torchbearers team reside in the Rust Sea this makes total sense.

All that said, Skyburst is primarily cast in red, green and black plastic. The black is used for the rotor blades. Paint colors on the figure are red and silver. The red is used in an interesting way. It is used to paint some of the parts you'd expect such as the tail and the sides. However if you look at the figure from the top or sides you'll notice that there is red on the front and rear of the vehicle, but the other side it is unpainted, leaving green plastic exposed. This asymmetrical design is intended to be a mirror image of Stormclash, who has this same pattern but with the red on the left side. This is an interesting design choice and I like it. It helps give the figure a distinct appearance. The silver paint is found on the front end and the rotor on the tail. Rounding out the deco are Autobot symbols on the vertical tail stabilizers. Overall the deco is nice, but I did find myself wishing that this many iterations in there would be more fine details. For instance it would have been cool to have the windows painted in with the silver color.

The vehicle still has three 5mm ports to attach weapons including two in the middle of the helicopter and one in the bottom. The rotors on my copy of this figure still spin without a problem. Skyburst's sword can be attached to the side or bottom ports.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the sword and set it aside for now.
  2. Lift up the helicopter rotor.
  3. Swing the sides of the vehicle out (these are the robot arms).
  4. Swing up the top of the cockpit section.
  5. Split the front of the vehicle and rotate each half up to the sides, pushing in the tabs into the corresponding gaps on the sides.
  6. Swing the bottom of the vehicle's rear half out.
  7. Swing the top half of the vehicle's rear section up then down.
  8. Connect the two halves you just flipped out together, then split the legs.
  9. Rotate the waist around.
  10. Swing the tail section of the helicopter back and down, then push it against the back of the robot.
  11. Turn the tail rotor section to the side.
  12. Swing the rotor section down, then swing up the rotor blades.
  13. Attach the sword to either hand.

Robot Mode:
Skyburst features three significant changes from the Alpha Bravo iteration of this sculpt:

  • Head: The head is a completely new sculpt. It features a "helmet" section with panels on the outside that curve at the top. The center of the "helmet" features a thin crest and beveled sections right over the brow. The face is relatively narrow with rectangular eyes. Perhaps the most "feminine" aspect are the lips, which are sculpted like human lips instead of the usual "thin line" used on most Transformers figures. Of course, some traditionally "male" Transformers figures have lips like this too such as Universe 2.0 Inferno, but it's uncommon.
  • Forearms: The forearms are entirely new pieces. Instead of the bulky arms with rockets on them, these have the horizontal fins from the vehicle mode on the sides. Also the forearms are curved rather than being blocky and the hands are in a slightly open position instead of being closed fists.
  • Chest: For the most part, the torso piece on Skyburst is the same as Alpha Bravo's except for the left side of the chest. Instead of being a mirror image of the right side, this side has a rectangle near the shoulder and a flat panel with a circle in the middle on the chest panel. This definitely makes it more distinctive looking than Alpha Bravo's sculpt.

This is the most extensive retool of this sculpt to date and for that I'm glad. Having fans buy essentially the same sculpt over and over became a sore point for many fans with "Combiner Wars" and these new parts really do help make it more worthwhile. I would have been disappointed if this figure only had a new head.

The same colors from the vehicle mode carry over into this form. The upper arms, the center of the torso, hips, thighs and knees are cast in red. The outer part of the torso, forearms, head and lower legs are all green. Red paint details are found on the head, chest, waist and lower legs. Silver is used on the head, face and feet. The eyes are light blue and an Autobot symbol is tampographed onto the left side of the chest. Some of the nicer details are the red on the raised details on the chest and the asymmetrical red designs on the legs. That said, I'm not the biggest fan of these particular colors. I acknowledge the deco is done well, it's just that the red/green combination just doesn't appeal to me personally.

The joints on my copy of Skyburst are all nice and tight. Indeed, the elbow joints on mine are tighter than those on my Vortex or Alpha Bravo. The hands can hold weapons with 5mm pegs without a problem. Even though the hands are partly open, Skyburst can hold blasters just as well as her own sword.

Transformation to Arm Mode (Starting in vehicle mode):

  1. Detach all weapons.
  2. Swing the helicopter rotors in.
  3. Swing the robot arms out to the side.
  4. Split the front end and swing them back to the sides.
  5. Lift up the panels that formed the top of the cockpit section.
  6. Swing the bottom panel of the front end down.
  7. Lift up the rotor section.
  8. Swing the top half of the vehicle's front end out, then extend it forward.
  9. Push the top and bottom halves of the vehicle's front end together.
  10. Rotate the lower half of the body around so the legs can bend as the Combiner's "elbow" joint.
  11. Swing the robot arms back down and push them into the tabs on the sides.
  12. Lift up the rear of the vehicle and push it up and then down (as if you were forming the robot mode).
  13. Swing the robot head down to reveal the Combiner connector piece.
  14. Attach the fist to the end of the arm.

Arm Mode:
The arm mode is pretty much the same as the other versions of this figure. However, I've found if you want to bend it at the elbow it's best to move the forearm of the robot mode out of the way, which is done easily enough just be swinging it back. The new hand piece is interesting. It is designed to look like it is holding something with a slightly open hand, but in reality there is a 5mm port on the hands that you insert the weapon into. I think this was for the best as just hoping a weapon would stay sandwiched between the fingers and palm probably wouldn't have worked out very well. Interestingly the fingers are on a hinge, allowing them to swing in and out so you can try having Victorion hold other weapons.

The joints on the elbow and forearm are not loose by any means, but they're also not quite tight enough to hold up a Legends Class weapon. Indeed, when it was hot enough in my apartment the arm sagged down just holding Victorion's sword, so be warned. Some nail polish on the ball joints may be in order here.

Transformation to Leg mode (Starting in vehicle mode):

  1. Detach all the accessories.
  2. Swing out the palm portion of the hand/foot piece to flatten it out. The thumb piece should act as a heel.
  3. Swing the back of the vehicle up and back down, just like it would be set in robot mode.
  4. Swing the top part of the cockpit section up.
  5. Split the cockpit itself and swing the parts out against the sides.
  6. Swing the rotor blades up.
  7. Push in the robot head to reveal the connection piece.
  8. Attach the foot piece to the 5mm port revealed in the cockpit area.

The tail/rotor piece can turn so if you want you can rotate it around or at an angle if you don't like it sticking out. It's really an optional feature and not 100% necessary.

Leg Mode:
The leg mode is nice and stable. Keep in mind that technically the very bottom of this figure splits apart to transform into its other modes, so it's great to see that the tooling is still in good shape after so many uses. The new foot piece is bigger than the "hand/foot/weapon" pieces included with most "Combiner Wars" figures. It looks kind of like the foot piece from medieval armor. The toe section is pointed with a hinge that can swing the front of the foot up and down to allow for different poses. Even better, the peg that attaches to the leg piece is on a ratchet joint hinge that can swing side to side, adding to the stability of the figure and allowing for more posing possibilities.

Final Thoughts:
Skyburst is a cool figure, I'm just not a huge fan of the color scheme (you will see this theme repeat itself as I review the various members of the team) but your mileage will vary on that point. I really do like the new parts added onto the figure however and the new foot and hand pieces are awesome. I also really like the sword weapon created for this release. This is definitely one of the more successful figures in this set.