"Generations" Combiner Wars Strafe Toy Review

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

Generations

Strafe 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.

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 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.

Like many "Combiner Wars" figures, Strafe is a retool and/or redeco of previous sculpts. Previous releases of this base sculpt include:

This review will focus on the changes made to this figure so check out the reviews above if you want my original thoughts on the base sculpt.

Accessories:
If you were hoping Strafe would have some awesome weaponry in this set, he totally does not. For some odd reason the designers chose to excise the dual barreled blaster that came with Air Raid and Skydive from this set. He can use the blasters from any of the other Transformers in the set however. This was a big letdown in my book, but your mileage may vary.

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:
In Generation One Strafe's vehicle mode was intended to represent a futuristic fighter ship. The vehicle form made great use of angles and small panels to give him a distinctly alien appearance. This new version of Strafe heavily retools the Air Raid sculpt to recreate the look of G1 Strafe. Here is what has changed:

  • The front nosecone section has been replaced with a newly sculpted piece that features a cockpit section in the middle flanked by two blasters that extend to the front on the sides. This piece has a 5mm peg on it, allowing Scrounge to attach to that part when he is in arm mode for Computron.
  • The hinges towards the front which were used for the wings on Air Raid are now used to connect two small, newly sculpted wing pieces.
  • The hinges on the back used for the horizontal stabilizers on Air Raid are now used for the larger wings in the back. These wings have the distinct shape of G1 Strafe's wings where they sweep back and then angle down towards the end of the wing. They even have small vertical fins on them where they angle downward.

I am impressed by how significant these retools are. Between the wings, the smaller wings and the front of the vehicle over half of the vehicle has been redone. Between the retooled parts and the vertical fins that come from Air Raid the vehicle this definitely looks a lot like G1 Strafe.

In terms of sculpting there are some minor differences between the original Strafe and this one. The front has a distinct cockpit section whereas that area was largely left ambiguous with G1 Strafe. The cockpit section also has two small blasters on it which replace two small tabs on the front of G1 Strafe. These differences actually enhance the look of the vehicle and I'm glad they made the changes.

Strafe is mostly cast in light grey plastic. The rear wings are red and some orange plastic shows on the sides. Black paint is used on the windows of the cockpit. Orange paint is used for the forward facing blasters. Red paint is used on either side of the cockpit and the small wings. Finally, silver is used on the wings to create stripes and the outline of Autobot symbols. For the most part, the paint applications all help simulate sticker and plastic colors from the G1 Strafe's vehicle mode. However, there is one rather clever choice that was made that made me chuckle a bit. The black on the cockpit is actually a "stand in" for the black heat sensitive symbol that was placed in the same spot on G1 Strafe! I appreciated this call back the most and it really helped show how much the designers were looking at the original figure for inspiration.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the front of the vehicle up.
  2. Swing the sides outward.
  3. Swing the halves of the robot lower legs forward and back, then swing them down and bring them together again.
  4. Swing the vehicle wings back.
  5. Swing the front of the vehicle section up on the forward most hinge, then push the tabs on it into the corresponding slots on the back.
  6. Push the small wings behind the arms back.
  7. Move the arms down at the shoulder joint.

Robot Mode:
Combiner Wars Strafe features a brand new head sculpt. This head is based on G1 Strafe's head which was cube shaped with four distinct rectangular designs on the helmet section. Two flank the central crest while two feature small notches on the sides. His eyes are visor eyes that come down to a point in the middle and a mouth above a very pronounced chin. The head is painted light grey on the helmet section and a light red color on the eyes and face. This coloring is consistent with G1 Strafe's action figure.

Before I go on about the rest of the figure, I have to call out my one big disappointment with this figure: the complete lack of weaponry. At first I thought the two blasters in the front of the vehicle mode would detach and form his blasters but no, they are one solid piece with the cockpit. This set also does not include the blaster originally packaged with Air Raid and Skydive. For those not familiar with G1 Strafe, the character was one of the first to charge into battle with blasters firing away, so it is almost bizarre not to have him carrying any weaponry in robot mode. This is the biggest misstep on this otherwise excellent retool/redeco.

Aside from the wings from the vehicle mode most of the robot mode is the same design as Air Raid's. This includes the distinct shape of the torso and the pointed knee armor. The design works for the character since Strafe was largely just a bunch of angles and flat panels in G1. Since many of the details carried over from Air Raid are rather angular and include lots of shapes coming to points it fits the overall look of the character.

Most of this figure is cast in light grey plastic. Several parts are cast in orange including the Combiner connection piece and the parts of the arms. While G1 Strafe did not show much orange in robot mode (aside from his weapons), orange is very much one of the primary colors of the Technobots so it works having it appear in this mode. Red paint is used on the torso pieces that flank the Combiner connection piece. It's an interesting shade of red as it is darker than the one used on the G1 Strafe figure (or even the wings on this figure). A really interesting metallic color with a tinge of pink in it is used on the waist and knee armor. I'm not quite sure where the inspiration for this color came from but it works with the other colors on the figure nicely. Finally there is some red paint on the sides of the lower legs. These are fun color call backs to the hinges of the red wings on G1 Strafe. A finishing touch is a small Autobot symbol tampographed onto the right side shoulder.

With so many uses predating this release, Strafe shows some signs of wear on the tooling. His left elbow hinge feels noticeably more loose than the right side. He can still hold weapons up but they have to be the smaller weapons included with the Combiner Wars figures. The hip joints also feel more loose than they do on my Air Raid or Skydive. Again, the joint is functional. He can stand and pose, the joint just doesn't feel as strong as I would like it to.

Limb Modes:
For reference 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. Push the lower legs together.
  2. Bend the arms at the elbows, then rotate them back at the shoulders and connect the forearms to the tabs on the small wings on the back.
  3. Turn the waist to form either the left or right forearm.
  4. Push the robot head back to swing the Combiner connection piece up.
  5. Attach the fist to the bottom of the feet.

Transformation to Leg mode (Starting in robot mode):

  1. Push the robot head back and swing the Combiner connection piece up.
  2. Swing the halves of the lower legs forward and back, swing them up and press them back together.
  3. Push the arms down at the shoulder, and connect the forearms to the tabs on the sides of the lower legs.
  4. Attach the foot piece to the bottom of the legs.

Final Thoughts:
From the perspective of retooling and attention to G1 design Strafe is fantastic. I love the new wings, the new cockpit piece and head sculpt. His colors are vibrant and line up nicely with the "Technobot look" from G1. Unfortunately what would have been a "Highly Recommended" grade gets knocked down a notch due to the lack of weaponry and some joints that are showing the wear of this tooling.