Power Core Combiners Bombshock with Combaticons Toy Review

in 2010, Action Figure Review, Combiner / Gestalt, Decepticon, Generation One, Power Core Combiners

Power Core Combiners

General Information:
Release Date: June 2010
Price Point: $19.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: APC Drone, Armored Car Drone, Missile Carrier Drone, Tank Drone

Images:

*Images and text from transformers.com:
Stolen by DECEPTICON spies, Power Core Combination gives the evil robots a powerful edge. Those who have the power of combination are a dangerous threat to the AUTOBOTS and Earth!

BOMBSHOCK was once a member of the most elite unit in the Cybertronian military. He betrayed his comrades, and his reward was to become commander of a powerful DECEPTICON Power Core team. Even alone, each of his drones has as much firepower as the average AUTOBOT. Together, they are nearly unstoppable.

Power up for the ultimate robot battles! Your BOMBSHOCK Commander vehicle is already a virtually unstoppable opponent in his vehicle and robot modes. But his strength gets increased five-fold when you convert him to Power-Up mode and convert his COMBATICON drone figures into his limbs! And the action doesn’t stop there. With this Power Core interchangeable robot combination system, MINI-CONS (sold separately) and drone vehicles can attach to power up any Commander figure. Collect more packs and you can create tons of unique and fierce robot battler figure combinations!

Five-pack includes BOMBSHOCK, Missile Carrier Drone, Tank Drone, APC Drone and Armored Care[sic] Drone figures. Ages 5 and up.

During the Generation One era, a tradition formed where most combiners usually had some arch enemy or counterpart on the opposite side. The Protectobots had the Combaticons, the Technobots had the Terrorcons and so on. This tradition continues with the Power Core Combiner five packs. The first two five packs released were one Autobot set (the Aerialbots with Skyburst) and a Decepticon set: Bombshock with the Combaticons. Like the Aerialbots from the Skyburst set, these Drone vehicles are in no way meant to replace the characters from Generation One. Instead, they represent a new use of terms such as "Combaticon" as a sub-category of Transformers that can cover a wide range of characters, not just five guys that turn into Bruticus.

Bombshock Review

Images:

Robot Mode:
When one thinks about the leader of a team of Combaticons, thoughts of the G1 Combaticon leader Onslaught probably come to mind. Well, Bombshock here is not Onslaught but you can definitely see where some of Onslaught's design influences come into play in this new character. Bombshock is very rectangular in shape for the most part, from his legs to his arms and even portions of his head sculpt. Like his G1 predecessor, he also has two cannons mounted onto his back, solidifying the connection between him and his G1 predecessor.

Other elements differ significantly however. His chest and waist panels look like they came from a medieval suit of armor Tue chest armor in particular isn't blocky, but rather curved with a hexagon in the center of his body. Relative to his head and torso, his fists are huge and look like they could really give a pounding if he chose to do so.

There are lots of nice design flourishes on this figure that really show how detailed a Scout Class figure can get. Among my favorite designs are raised sections on the top portion of his chest with rounded "bolts" in them. His waist has a skirt cover over it that has line, circle and "bolt" details sculpted in the front. His head sculpt is quite different than Onslaught, with a helmet, nose, eyes and mouth, a much more traditional appearance than G1 Onslaught's visor eyes and mouthplate. The top portion of the "helmet" has two binocular type protrusions on it while the sides and the ends of the helmet have circular designs. I really dig the sculpt of this figure and am glad it is set up with

Bombshock is cast in dark green, metallic grey, black and light blue plastic. The grey makes up most of the torso and the waist plate as well as his forearms, feet and the guns mounted on his back. The green plastic is used on parts like his upper arms, sections of the back turret and his lower legs. Finally, black is used on smaller parts such as the robot head. This color combination is natural and also aligns with the "Onslaught" influence this figure has. In particular, I'm really happy to see the grey color is a metallic one as it gives it an extra visual punch.

Paint applications are done up in black, gold, red, yellow and metallic brown. None of these colors are used a lot in this form, and that's part of their beauty. By not using them too much, the parts they do use them on pop on a visual level. Perhaps the brightest example of this is the yellow, used on his upper arms as well as the legs and torso. Usually set against dark plastic, the yellow looks bright and is almost like energy "glowing" from his body. Black paint is found on his chest where it is used to paint a Decepticon symbol. Gold and red are used on his face and eyes respectively. The eyes of course continue the tradition of Decepticons having red eyes while Autobots have blue ones. The brown is used on the inside of the hexagon at the center of the body, adding a distinct visual element right at the center of the figure. Overall this is a nice color scheme that works very well.

Bombshock has seventeen points of articulation in this form. This includes ball joints on his shoulders and elbows as well as the ability for his back mounted cannons to move independent of each other. Bombshock has a two Mini-Con pegs on his back, one in the center and one attached to the cannons on his back (right in between the two). You can connect Mini-Cons from various series to these spots including those from Classics and Armada. All the ones I attached connected very tightly without a problem. Each of Bombshock's fists have a hold in them large enough to accomodate the Mini-Con Powerlinx pegs, and by extension many of the weapons from the Armada/Energon/Cybertron era. His joints are even tight enough to let him hold his own Drones as weapons!

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Raise the robot arms up.
  2. Push the robot feet up against the lower legs.
  3. Turn the turret around.
  4. Lift the "skirt" from the waist section.
  5. Rotate the lower body around.
  6. Connect the two lower legs.
  7. Swing back the flaps on either side of the legs.
  8. Bend the arms at the elbows and connect the two fists together.

Attach the holes on the insides of the lower legs to the pegs on the underside of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
I mentioned in Bombshock's robot mode review that there are influences from his G1 predecessor Onslaught in his design. This form is no exception. In his vehicle mode he is a flat truck with a dual barreled turret mounted on top. Unlike Onslaught however, his design has some asymmetrical elements in the front. The right side of the front end is mostly flat, while the driver/passenger section is on the left. Behind that are rectangular sections that connect together in an "L" shaped pattern. The rest of the vehicle is symmetrical, with matching line and bolt details on the sides of the vehicle. Among the other suclpted details are tubes and square shapes distributed along the front section of the vehicle mode.

Mounted on top of the flat part of the vehicle is a turret with two relatively huge cannon with a missile pod connected to it on either side of the turret base. It's a very intimidating looking piece of hardware and it befits a character who is meant to be a leader of a team. What's interesting is the curved design of the turret piece. The back section (which is actually the chest of Bombshock's "combined" mode) is curved with designs that look like windows leading to the front section and cannons which are more angular in design. This is a contrast with the bottom section of the vehicle which is quite boxy and rectangular, offering a nice visual balance.

Bombshock is one of those Transformers that does not really change a whole lot color-wise from one mode to another. The metallic grey color does show a bit more thanks to the cannons and the top of the front end, but the green is the primary color here. Black is used for smaller parts such as the Mini-Con port on the top and the six wheels on the sides. Unfortunately the super bright blue plastic used for the Combiner connection points stick out the back and subtract a bit from the vehicle's overall appearance.

Yellow appears as a heavily used paint application on the vehicle mode. It is found on the "L" shaped details, the sides of hte cannons, the missile pods and the curved section of the turret. Black paint is used for smaller details including the vehicle's windows and a hatch on the center of the cannon. The yellow offers a fantastic contrast with the darker plastic colors, and as robust as it appears in robot mode, it has this effect even more in vehicle mode since more of the color is used.

There are four points of articulation in this mode. The turret can turn around in a complete circle. Each of the cannons can be moved up and down separately from each other. At the base of the turret is a Mini-Con peg, as well as the section between the two cannons. The black Mini-Con peg is the easiest to attach a weapon or Mini-Con to since it is raised a bit. The one between the cannon barrels however are harder to work with because there are raised details on the cannons that restrict what you can attach. Some Energon weapons for instance will attach much better than some Mini-Cons. Still, I dig the opportunity to even have the option of having this play value.

APC Drone

Images:

  • APC Drone
  • APC Drone (Side)
  • APC Drone (Back)
  • APC Drone (Forward View)
  • APC Drone (Angle view)
  • APC Drone (Rear View)
  • APC Drone (Fetch attached)

    The APC Drone is based on military half-track vehicles that have existed since the early 1900's. Generally this looks like the front end is a truck with the middle to rear section made up of tank pieces including treads. The APC drone has both these features, with a front end that seems inspired by modern day vehicles such as the Hummer and a rear that looks like part passenger section and part tank. There are some cool design flourishes that I really like including vents on the hood, smokestacks mounted on the front of the vehicle and small details sculpted into the sides of the vehicle including tubes, storage compartments and vents. Above those details are rounded indentations representing bolts, a detail consistent across the various vehicles in this set. Mounted on the top of the vehicle is a single barreled cannon with two handles on the back. It's a really nice sculpt overall and I dig the use of a vehicle you don't see much in the Transformers line.

    The vehicle is sculpted in beige and silver plastic. The beige is the most prominent, making up almost the entire APC. The wheels and cannon are cast in silver, sharing a color with most of the other vehicles in the set. Silver, black and yellow paint are used for detailing, with the black found on the windows and a Decepticon symbol on the hood. The yellow is used for lights on top of the cabin section and stripes on the sides, offering another color link to the other vehicles in the set. The smokestacks are painted silver while the treads are painted grey, matching the silver plastic.

    Like the other Drones in this set, the APC has a Mini-Con peg on the top of the vehicle, right in the middle of the base of the cannon. The cannon is a separate piece however, so when it rotates, it locks onto notches instead of just moving in a smooth circle. While this restricts the positions you can put it in, the cannon still can turn in a full circle and it feels very secure.

    Armored Car Drone

    Images:

    • Armored Car Drone
    • Armored Car Drone (Side)
    • Armored Car Drone (Back)
    • Armored Car Drone (Forward View)
    • Armored Car Drone (Angle view)
    • Armored Car Drone (Broadside attached)

      While this vehicle is called an Armored Car, it really resembles more of a truck with weaponry. I can see influences ranging from SUV's and pickup trucks all fused into this vehicle. Overall the shape is very boxy, and relatively speaking the front end is pretty high (reminding me of an SUV). The middle section is very boxy, reminscent of some trucks and then the back end is not exactly a flatbed, but there is a relatively level section where a missile launcher is mounted on. Of the four vehicles included with Bombshock, the Armored Car Drone definitely looks like the fastest and the one closest to a vehicle you'd find in the streets (sans missiles of course!).

      The Armored Car Drone is cast mostly in beige and black plastic. Silver, metallic brown, black and green paint are all found on this car. The silver is used on the hood for a Decepticon symbol on the rigth side of the vehicle. The windshield is painted metallic brown while the doors are green. The missiles on the back are cast in black plastic while black paint is used on the lights on the top of the cabin section. Some yellow is used on the lights themselves, but it's a bit muted on the beige plastic. I find this to be the most plain looking of four Drones, but it still looks good on its own.

      The missiles on the back of the vehicle can turn in a full circle. Mounted on top of the post in the middle of the two missiles is a Mini-Con peg. I dig the idea of a fast moving member of the Combaticon Drone team having this type of weapon. Also, I should note that this guy gives me a "G1 Swindle" vibe as well, though I know the comparisons are extremely superficial.

      Missile Carrier Drone

      Images:

      • Missile Carrier Drone
      • Missile Carrier Drone (Side)
      • Missile Carrier Drone (Back)
      • Missile Carrier Drone (Forward View)
      • Missile Carrier Drone (Angle view)
      • Missile Carrier Drone (Rear View)
      • Missile Carrier Drone (Caliburst attached)

        Most of the Drones released for the Power Core Combiners line so far have some type of weaponry on them, but they are typically small to medium sized weapons. In the case of the Missile Carrier Drone however, the designers decided to throw that rule of thumb out the window and create a tank with two huge missile launchers on top and the result is a vehicle that just makes me laugh a little because it looks so ominous for a "Drone". The tank portion is relatively small compared to the missile launchers. Typical tank details are found on this section including treads with nine sculpted wheels showing on the sides, armor plating with circular "bolt" details and raised square and rectangular sections above the treads. In the front of the vehicle is a cow catcher type device with points on the ends and towards the middle. Mounted on top are two huge missile launchers with two large missiles sticking out the front which actually come out to the cow catcher, extending beyond the tank treads! The launchers are rectangular in shape with vent details and bolted armor plate details as well. What is really cool is the way the Mini-Con peg in the middle of the two launchers are integrated into the design of the launcher. The peg has a base that looks like some type of energy generator and beneath that are tubes leading to the front of the launcher. This helps the peg look like a much more organic part of the launcher rather than just being a peg slapped on top with no visual transition from one part to another.

        The Missile Carrier Drone is cast in silver, black and beige plastic. In this form you really can't see the beige (it's meant more for his arm mode) so the black plastic is the most prominent color, making up almost every part of the vehicle you can see other than the cow catcher. What this Drone does have however are a lot of paint applications to make up for this. The missiles are painted silver and the sides of the tank portion are painted pastel green. Two thin, rectangular sections towards the front are painted yellow. The silver and green colors appear on the launchers as well with the silver being used for a Decepticon symbol on the left side. It's a fantastic color scheme and works really well. I also like the way two of the colors on this Drone synch up with colors on Bombshock.

        The Drone moves on four small wheels under the treads, but the missile launchers don't move at all. This is mitigated somewhat by having the Powerlinx peg right on top, allowing you to attach additional weapons or Mini-Cons (which could have moving parts themselves). I like the design of this vehicle a lot, but I admit its play value is a bit limited without any launching missiles or moving parts.

        Tank Drone

        Images:

        • Tank Drone
        • Tank Drone (Side)
        • Tank Drone (Back)
        • Tank Drone (Forward View)
        • Tank Drone (Back view)
        • Tank Drone (Caliburst attached)

          The Tank Drone is an interesting design that seems to take cues from the Mark IX Tank, known as the world's first APC tank. This dsign has treads that run along the sides of the vehicle, leading up to a high part on the sides. There are tons of unique design flourishes of course. Mounted on top is a dual barreled cannon with sensor pods sculpted onto them. On the back are more guns sculpted into the sides and a raised section that appears to be where the troops would sit in. Other details include ladders on the sides and vents on the top. The sides have a ton of circular "bolt" details running along the side. The claw fingers from the APC's combiner arm mode are prominantly displayed on the back of the figure, but instead of looking intrusive they look threatening, almost like they are made to grab at any vehicles pursuing the APC or sweep the ground behind the APC of debris.

          The Tank Drone is cast in silver and black plastic, with silver making up most of its form. The combiner claws in the back and the cannons are cast in black plastic. Black paint i used along the sides of the vehicle while yellow is found at the base of the turret. On the front of the vehicle is a small Decepticon symbol painted in black on the left side. I'm glad the yellow color was used on this vehicle. Silver and black is a nice combination, but without a bright color to balance it, the combination can look very plain. Also, the yellow color helps visually link the vehicle with Bombshock.

          The turret on the Drone can be turned in a full circle, but they do not move up or down. A Mini-Con peg is found on the top of the cannons, allowing you to add some extra firepower to the APC Drone.

          The detail level on this figure is fantastic, and I love the sculpt. I also like the incorporation of a Mini-Con peg on top, and again I restate my happiness at finding out Mini-Cons from previous toy lines can attach to these pegs!

          Power-Up Mode

          Images:

          • Power-Up Mode
          • Power-Up Mode (Left Side)
          • Power-Up Mode (Right Side)
          • Power-Up Mode (Back)
          • Power-Up Mode (Close up)
          • Power-Up Mode (Focus on head)
          • Power-Up Mode (Angle view)
          • Power-Up Mode (Posed)
          • Power-Up Mode (Close up on Tank Drone hand)
          • Power-Up Mode (Close up on APC Drone claws)
          • Power-Up Mode (Focus on Missile Carrier Drone leg form)
          • Power-Up Mode (Focus on Armored Car Drone leg form)
          • Power-Up Mode (Caliburst attached)

            Transformation to Power-Up Mode (starting in robot mode):

            1. Swing the robot feet up, and then swing the combiner connection points down.
            2. Rotate the turret on Bombshock's back around so the cannon barrels are pointing down.
            3. Holding on to the turret section, push it forward to form the combiner robot chest.
            4. Move the robot arms up so the holes in the lower arms connect to the tabs on the turret piece.
            5. Swing the black Mini-Con peg on the turret up to reveal the combiner head, then rotate it around.
            6. Swing each of the legs up at an angle until they clip into place.
            7. Rotate the lower legs so the silver parts face forward.
            8. The Missile Carrier and Tank Drones can be attached to either shoulder joint to form arms.
            9. The Armored Car and APC Drones can be attached to the knee joints to form lower legs.

            Power-Up Combiner Mode:
            The design aesthetic behind this combiner is clearly inspired by the G1 combiner Bruticus. This can mainly be seen in the head design and the cannons mounted on his back. The head design looks like a mask with visor eyes over it, resembling masks worn by some types of strike teams in the military and law enforcement. On either side of the head are antennae. These details harken back to Bruticus who also had antennae on either side of his head along with a visor eyes/mouthplate head design.

            Several design elements are all Bombshock's own however. The chest is made up of the curved section from Bombshock's cannon turret, with two distinct breastplates that suggest armor plating that is layered. The "skirt" from Bombshock's robot mode is retained here on his lower body. My favorite designs are on the upper legs, which have wheels, bolts and other integrated details that hint at complex mechanisms controlling the giant.

            Each of the Drones reveals some new parts as well:

            • APC Drone: This Drone reveals clawed feet in the front, and we find that the smokestacks act as additional "toes" to stabilize the foot. The cannon from the top of the APC now faces forward, revealing some piston like parts underneath.
            • Armored Car Drone: The Armored Car folds out toe and heel pieces on its sides, so it's the sides of the vehicle that wind up facing forward. The front of the cabin section folds forward, revealing a series of hinges underneath.
            • Missile Carrier Drone: The Missile Carrier Drone reveals some really nicely sculpted detail inside in the form of hinges, joints, tubes and pistons that make up a bulk of the arm. They curve slightly where the elbows would be and at the end he has two claws on one side and four on the other.
            • Tank Drone: The Tank Drone extends out a bit, showing some mechanical detail in between the front and back portions of the vehicle. The claws also swing out here, giving him four claws on one side, and two on the other.

            Some minor paint applications are revealed here, mostly focused in the torso. Silver, yellow, brown, black and red paint all appear here. The head is black plastic with the face painted silver and red eyes. The chest has a combinatoin of yellow, silver and black painting over green plastic while the middle of the body uses brown and yellow. Silver is also used for the front of the upper legs, giving them even more of a mechanical feel.

            Several of the limbs reveal colors not seen in vehicle mode as well. The Missile Carrier Drone reveals black and beige hinged sections while the Armored Car reveals silver parts on the feet. Overall, this is the form where the colors have to come together to form a cohesive look, and I think in this respect this group works much better than Skyburst's Aerialbot team. While the colors are not all exact matches (for instance, the beige on the two leg Drones are slightly different), they're "in the family" enough that the cohesive visual is maintained.

            If you're going to name a group "Combaticons" and have them ocmbine into a single robot, they better look fierce and be heavily armed in some way. In this Power-Up mode, Bombshock fits the bill. Quite literally, every limb looks like it was designed to destroy something. Bombshock himself retains the dual barreled cannons on his back that can swing down onto either side of his head to point forward (or any angle in between). The Missile Carrier arm has its missiles sticking out the side making sure no one will surprise him from that side while the cannons on the Tank Drone can rotate around and cut down enemies in front, back, above or below him. The Armored Car Drone has its missile launchers which can point to the front, back or up (though he'd shoot his own arm off so maybe not). The APC Drone has its cannon pointing forward, but you can still swivel it from side to side.

            Each of the limbs and Bombshock himself have Mini-Con pegs that can be utilized in this form, and that makes him even more fun and potentially dangerous to Auobot enemies! Most of them are easy to utilize, with the APC Drone one being the toughest since there's not a lot of extra room on the leg (but it is possible as you can see in my photos). Bombshock's Power-Up mode has nineteen points of articulation. This includes two on each arm, waist articulation and the ability for the weapons to turn on three of the Drones. The claw hands look fierce, but aren't posable. They're on hinges that just let them rock back and forth freely so while they look great, they're not particularly functional.

            One word of caution. The spring on my Armored Car Drone appears a bit sensitive, so if I start whipping this figure around or trying to pose it a lot, the Armored Car has a tendency to jump off and turn back into vehicle mode. This really won't matter if you're tinkering with it and just displaying it, and I suspect in time the spring will weaken with repeated use, but out of the box it was something that surprised me.

            Final Thoughts:
            Bombshock's Combaticon team is the combiner I have been most looking forward to since Toy Fair 2010 (though now in this post-Botcon time frame I must confess the upcoming Dinobot combiner is the one that has my interest the most). I'm a sucker for a cool military vehicle team, and paying homage to the original Combaticons while coming up with some original design elements all fall into place nicely here. In terms of sculpting/design I am totally in love with this figure. I only had to bump it down to "Recommended" from "Highly Recommended" because of the spring issue with the Armored Car. This is probably a one off issue and not something that is necesarily widespread in the line, but I would be remiss in this review if I did not note it.