"Generations" Combiner Wars Protectobot Streetwise Toy Review
Release Date: May 2015
Price Point: $18.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Hand/Foot/Weapon, Shotgun weapon
Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Fully capable of wiping out any target, Streetwise would rather track 'em down and let justice take its course. Of course, that justice starts with heavy damage to a few of his enemy's key systems. They can't do any harm if they can't function. Combine and convert for awesome Transformers action! This Protectobot Streetwise figure fires his hardcore blaster in robot mode, and he converts fast to sports car mode whenever his speedy recon tactics are needed. But he can also become an arm or leg when the battle calls for you to build a truly hardcore Defensor warrior! (Other figures sold separately.) Whatever mode your Protectobot Streetwise figure is in, he?s going to bring maximum carnage to the fight! 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 will be on 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" will be able to serve as weaponry for the combined giants.
Wave three of "Combiner Wars" brings back the Protectobots! While these characters have not exactly been ignored in fiction and the toy line, they haven't been a cohesive Combiner team in a long time. Some of the more recent releases of these characters (including the Protectobot Evac squad) were mostly redecos of previous figures without the ability combine. This makes the Protectobot wave particularly exciting for fans who have wanted true updates of these characters.
Protectobot Streetwise is an update of the G1 toy of the same name. The figure is a retool and redeco of the base sculpt used for both Dead End and Brake-Neck (aka Wildrider). However, this is not a simple head swap. When I use the term "retool" here, I mean this is a heavy retool replacing many parts (detailed below). I do recommend checking out the reviews for Dead End and Brake-Neck, but this review will make sure to go into detail on what is different about this sculpt as compared to Dead End and Brake-Neck.
The packaging for wave two of the Deluxe "Combiner Wars" figures is significantly different then the first wave. The first wave was a typical bubble on card, with the character art printed onto the card and a separate trading card featuring art from the "Transformers: Legends" mobile app. The back of the cards contained a ton of multi-lingual information with photos of the figure and a diagram of a Combiner made up of four Aerialbots and Dragstrip.
For this wave however a lot has changed. The card now features a repeating pattern featuring "Combiner Wars" characters on it. The back of the card has a brief bio of Blades with less legal information all over the place. Laid on top of the card is a comic book with Dead End's package art. Since the comic adds some extra weight and thickness, the bubble put on top of the card actually wraps around the edges and is taped onto the back to hold it in place. A sticker wraps around the edge of the bubble mentioning combining into Defensor. The figure is in a tray inside the bubble in robot mode. There is no more trading card included with the figure.
One of the most interesting points of this new packaging style is the back of the comic book. It features a full page bio of Blades written from the perspective of the the Autobot psychiatrist, Rung. It really helps give more color to the character's personality and sticks with many G1 elements which is very much appreciated by this old fan. Overall the packaging for wave two of the Combiner Wars Deluxe figures is much more robust than the first wave.
Streetwise's hand/foot/weapon piece is a redeco of the same piece from Dead End and Brake-Neck (aka Wildrider). Instead of purple, most of this piece is now cast in black, with red plastic used for the hinge. His other weapon is brand new: a shot gun. Not a whole lot of Transformers come with a weapon like this, so it really stands out. The shotgun has three barrels at the end in a triangular arrangement. There's a targeting scope on top and the back section angles downward. It's a really cool looking weapon, perhaps my favorite out of all the Protectobots! The shotgun is cast in white plastic but painted gunmetal grey which looks gorgeous.
In the previous waves of "Combiner Wars" figures, the most dramatic example of a redeco and retool was perhaps turning Optimus Prime into Motormaster. However as the line has progressed the retools have become more significant, and Streetwise is a prime example of this. While he uses the same basic frame, transformation scheme and joints from Dead End and Brake-Neck, a ton of parts have been swapped out for new ones. Here's a breakdown:
- The head sculpt is all new, featuring an updated look at Streetwise's G1 head design. It's a rather unique one among the Combiners since the G1 toy did not have a "square peg head" for combining. He has a large central crest, a round "helmet" section on top with flat panels on the sides. On top of the flat panels are two more smaller panels. The face has layers to it, looking more like a mouthplate with an open area for the mouth in the middle (think Optimus Primal from "Beast Wars").
- The upper arms and forearms are made up of new pieces. The The shape of the pieces are different and some of the smaller details such as the lines on the outside of the forearms and the mechanical looking "box" with tubes on the top of the forearms. The upper arm/shoulders look the same as the previous releases at first glance, but the outside of the upper arms curve in a different way and the shape of the piece is different.
- The chest plate has been replaced with one that has vague design elements that resemble the hood of a car including an air intake in the center (represented by a raised panel), but it also looks like armor panels from the front of the car have expanded, revealing intricate machinery underneath. It's really a gorgeous piece of sculpting.
- The torso piece behind the chest panel is a different piece than the one found on Dead End. It features different shapes on the area surrounding the combiner connection piece.
- The piece on Streetwise's back that forms the front of the car is completely different than Dead End's. More details on this in the vehicle mode review.
- The panels that form the lower legs and feet are all new designs. The most obvious is the front of the lower legs which feature three layers of armor leading down to the feet.
- The knee armor is a different design on this figure than Dead End. It is a bit shorter and wider with a raised "Y" shape design on top.
As you can tell by the list above, the designers really worked hard to give Streetwise a distinct looking head and body. Since Brake-Neck and Dead End both share the same body sculpt, it would have been a bit repetitive to get another sculpt with the same exact body. There some parts shared between this figure and the Stunticons however. The waist, thighs and wheels are all the same as the parts used on the Stunticons, but so much is different you may not even notice at first. From a retooling perspective, this is a Grade A job by the designers.
Streetwise is cast in grey, red and black plastic. The grey is really more of a very, very light shade. There's definitely a more "Earthy" feel to the tone and it works nicely since the G1 Streetwise figure was also a light grey color. The red is used on smaller parts like the waist, knee armor and the connection piece in the torso. Black is found on the wheels which are clearly visible in this form. The grey is the most heavily used color. On their own these colors contrast nicely against each other, but the paint applications really add a lot of visual appeal to the figure.
Pain applications on this figure include blue, red, gunmetal, black and silver. That's a lot of colors to throw on one figure and the designers do a nice job of using those colors. The color scheme on this figure pays homage to G1 Streetwise. These details include the black on his chest panel (a callback to G1 Streetwise's windshield forming his chest) and a dark gunmetal color in the middle of his legs (a callback to G1 Streetwise's vehicle windows winding up on his leg in robot mode). Like his G1 counterpart his eyes are painted blue, but here's where extra deco comes into play. The head has red on the crest and the panels on the sides. The face is painted silver. Each upper arm has a blue section on the sides with the word "Police". Each forearm has red on the top. His chest has a tampographed Autobot symbol in silver and red in the center. Overall this is one fantastic color scheme. Every section contrasts with something else near it and some of the colors (such as the red on the forearms) help to bring out sculpted details.
Streetwise has sixteen points of articulation in this mode. The shoulders and hips are ball joints, allowing for a wide range of articulation. His feet are wide, so he's stable and can hold a variety of poses. All the joints on my copy of this figure are nice and tight. Each of his fists has a 5mm hole, allowing you to attach his weapons to them. He also has 5mm holes on his upper arms, allowing you to attach additional weaponry. I especially love how Streetwise looks with his shotgun weapon.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
- Straighten out the arms, legs and head.
- Swing out each front panel on the lower legs.
- Swing the legs up, then connect them together in the middle.
- Rotate the waist around.
- Swing each fist into the forearms.
- Push each arm down.
- Swing the lower leg panels closed.
- Swing the front of the car forward.
- Swing the robot chest panel up to cover the robot head.
- Swing the windshield piece down.
- The weapons can be connected to the sides and/or top of the vehicle.
Like the robot mode, Streetwise uses the same basic engineering as Dead End and Brake-Neck, but almost all the parts in this form are different than those two Stunticons. Only the wheels on the vehicle are the same parts. Everything else is new. In this form Streetwise looks like a futuristic police car. He has lines and curves reminscent of a Lamborghini. It's profile is low, it's super sleek and sporty looking with a front end that slopes down really nicely. Some of the details are rather exaggerated including the light bar on top shaped kind of like a boomerang and thin, triangular headlights in the front. The center has a cage protecting the front of the car with additional lights sculpted into it. Behind the light bar are two thin air intakes which lead all the way to the rear of the car. Overall this is one awesome looking police car and I love how different it looks from Dead End and Brake-Neck.
This mode shows off mostly grey plastic, but you'll see some red showing in the back. The wheels are black and left unpainted. Blue paint figures prominently in this form. It's all over the hood and the sides. You'll find the word "Police" in all three places. The center of the hood also has a large Autobot symbol in silver and red. The light bar is painted red. The headlights are silver while the front cage and lights are gunmetal grey (a lighter shade than what is seen in the robot mode's legs). Streetwise's windows are painted black, including (much to my surprise) the back window. Could the vehicle use more paint? Sure. The rear lights are left unpainted but there are sculpted details there representing them. I would have also liked to see some silver on the rims. Other than that however I think this is a very successful deco.
Streetwise has three 5mm holes in this form. One is found on each side and the other is on top behind the light bar. This is enough to allow you to attach both his weapons and an additional one on top of that.
Transformation to Arm Mode (From Vehicle Mode):
- Detach all weapons.
- Take the hand piece and swing the fingers and thumb out, bending the piece so it forms a fist.
- Swing the panels on the back of the vehicle out.
- Swing the robot legs out and then split them apart in the middle.
- Rotate the red piece to connect the fist down.
- Swing the panels back into place.
- Swing the windshield back.
- Swing the front of the vehicle up and back.
- Swing the robot head and chest plate back.
- Depending on which arm you want Streetwise to be, rotate the robot waist left or right.
- Attach the fist to the end.
It sounds contradictory, but emergency vehicles in general are not tiny things. Fire trucks, police cars etc. can all be fairy substantial and this arm mode represents that theme. I commented in my Dead End and Brake-Neck reviews that this arm mode winds up being very wide (or wider than the Aerialbots at least) and that is also the case here. This gives the impression of power and strength, something I like in the context of a rescue team. There are no real new details or colors revealed in this form, but it looks good with the colors of the other Protectobots (several of whom use red and white as primary colors).
In terms of functionality, the ball joints on the robot hips really determine how strongly he can hold his forearm up while holding weaponry. With my copy of the figure he can hold a small weapon like the shotgun without a problem, but Powerglide causes the arm to droop down a bit. I wound up doing the old "clear nail polish on the ball joint" trick and that helped make it stronger and it was much better. Since the sides of the vehicle wind up on the upper arm, you can attach extra weapons to them to give Defensor extra firepower. This mode allows seven points of articulation. I'm counting the ability of the fingers and thumbs in the hands to move.
Transformation to Leg mode (Starting in vehicle mode):
- Detach all the accessories.
- Swing the windshield back.
- Swing the front of the car back and down.
- Attach the foot piece to the bottom of the vehicle.
The leg modes of most "Combiner Wars" Deluxe figures are generally the most solid form since everything is compacted with all the parts connected together. It's hard not to basically see a car standing on its end since well, that's basically what this is, but it's also a strong looking leg and the parts hold up well combined to a Voyager Class figure. The foot piece could be bigger from an aesthetic point of view, but it is functional and thanks to the heel piece, it can be put into various poses as it can be moved side to side.
Functionally the leg can bend at the knee and turn on the connection point. The foot can be turned too since it just pegs into the bottom and the heel piece can move both side to side and be bent to help support the combined giant. The sides of the vehicle wind up on the sides of the leg piece here, so you can attach weapons to the sides.
I really liked the Dead End and Brake-Neck figures, but Streetwise really elevates what a retool and redeco can be. Retools and redecos are often seen as a bad thing among some fans, but this figure proves it can be a very good thing if done right. Highly recommended!