Power Core Combiners Crankcase with Destrons Toy Review

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

Power Core Combiners

General Information:
Release Date: October 2010
Price Point: $19.99
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Assault Vehicle Drone, Missile Carrier Drone, Attack Helicopter Drone and Spy Plane Drones
Images: Image Gallery of Crankcase with Destron Drones

Text below 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!

CRANKCASE didn't start off as a bully. He started off bitter, mean and small-minded, and the strength granted by the Power Core process made him capable of taking his misery out on others. His few moments of happiness all occur when he uses his incredible might against someone unable to fight back. Then he's right back to being miserable.

Power up for the ultimate robot battles! Your CRANKCASE 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 DESTRONS 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

The third wave of Power Core Combiner five packs is made up completely of redecos. From the beginning the intention of the line was to take the base "Commander" figures and use them as a basis for multi-packs with various Mini-Cons and Drones with new colors in different combinations. Crankcase with the Destrons represents this idea. The cental figure is a redeco of Power Core Combiners Huffer. Meanwhile, the Drones actually come from two different sets. The Assault Vehicle and Missile Carrier Drones come from the Bombshock with Combaticons set while the Attack Helicopter and Spy Plane Drones come from the Skyburst with Aerialbots set.

This review will cover the changes made to the figure and vehicles for this release. Check out the previous reviews cited above for a detailed look at the mechanics of each figure/vehicle. I will call each one out as this review progresses.

Destron Drones Review

Backing Crankcase up with his newfound power are the Destron Drones. The name holds significance in Transformers history as the term "Destrons" was used in Japan for many years to refer to Decepticons. This term has entered the lexicon of Transformers fiction outside of Japan in recent time, but this is one of the few toys to acknowledge the term outside of Japan. There are no transformation instructions for the Drones as they auto-transform by attaching them to a Powerlink point on Crankcase. For reviews of the Armored Car and Missile Carrier Drones, check out the Bombshock with Combaticons review. For a detailed look at the Combat Helicopter and Recon Plane Drones, read the Skyburst with Aerialbots set review.

Assault Vehicle Drone
The Assault Vehicle Drone has a very different set of colors than its predecessor. This time around, the vehicle is cast entirely in black, from the missiles on the back to the wheels. Paint applications are done up in three colors: red and two shades of metallic green. The red is used on the windows and windshields, giving him a "Nemesis Prime" vibe. There are circuit detail patterns running along the side of the vehicle in the brighter green color while the darker green is used to paint the edges over the wheel wells and the "step" in between them. A silver Decepticon symbol can be found on the left side, behind the side view mirror.

The rocket turret on the back of the vehicle still rotates around nicely without being too tight or loose. The vehicle also transforms smoothly when attached to Crankcase, and there does not appear to be any issue with the springs beint too weak or strong.

Attack Helicopter Drone
Unlike the Assault Vehicle Drone, the Helicopter Drone is cast in two plastic colors. The first is a silver color that dominates a majority of the vehicle. Smaller parts such as the tail, the guns under the cockpit and the rotors are metallic blue. Silver and red are used for paint details. The silver paint used is a different shade than the plastic, allowing it to stand out. The cockpit windows are painted silver, with small red patches on the sides. On the top of the cockpit is a silver Decepticon symbol. You'll also find more "circuit" like patterns in silver on the side of his turbines. In his leg mode you'll find more metallic blue plastic on the inside of the leg, underneath the middle section of the helicopter. Overall, this Drone looks great in these colors and I wouldn't mind if the vehicle was used again in the near future.

Missile Carrier Drone
The Missile Carrier Drone has one of the nicest base colors out of all the Destron Drones. Most of the vehicle is made up of a metallic, dark blue plastic that looks really sparkly when held up against the light. To a lesser degree, the vehicle also has black plastic on the underside and the front shovel/scoop. The blue is a really rich color and it looks fantastic on its own, but of course there's more!

Paint applications for this figure are done up in metallic green, silver and red colors. The green is the most intricately used for circuit board like patterns along the sides near the treads and the launchers. I enjoy this continuity between the various Drones and think it looks great. The red paint is used for raised rectangles on the sides, offering nice contrast between the dark plastic and the red paint. Silver is the most prominant color. It is used to paint both missiles and Decepticon symbols on the sides (nicely boxed off by the green lines). I really like this color scheme, and I dig the way the color is unique in the group, but still fits with the theme of the set.

When you transform the Drone into its arm form, you reveal two more colors of plastic inside. The inner arm joint and the elbow joints are made up of silver and black plastic respectively. I really appreciate the use of a different colored plastic in here. Not only does it offer visual contrast, but in terms of the theme of Combiners, it emphasizes that these parts are meant for the larger Combiner unit and not the individual Drone.

Spy Plane Drone
The Spy Plane Drone takes a color theme from many of the other Drones and reverses it. Here, black is not the primary color, but it is very present in the form of the wings and guns on the plane. The primary color is metallic light blue, with a bit of silver plastic thrown into the mix. The cockpit is painted red, similar to the Armored Car Drone and it has several circuit board inspired designs on the wings and the body of the vehicle painted in metallic blue. You wouldn't think metallic blue paint on a metallic blue plastic would work very well, but the effect it creates is a subtle but noticable one that makes the Drone look like its crackling with energy. Silver paint is used for a Decepticon symbol right behind the cockpit, which is a bit tough to see. It may have worked better to have that symbol be a darker shade of silver.

In its arm form, the silver plastic becomes more prominant in the form of arm joints for the Combiner. The Recon Plane Drone arm form is one of my favorites in the line thus far. It looks like an arm, it has fingers and its bristling with weaponry, making it almost the perfect Power Core Combiner limb in my book.

Crankcase Review

Robot Mode:
When the original idea for Power Core Combiners was discussed at Botcon 2010, it was stated that Huffer was the only "legacy" character from Generation One in the line. Check out Huffer's review to see the various ways the toy pays homage to its G1 roots and acts as an updated version of the former Mini-Bot. In the case of Crankcase, arguments can be made that he too is an updated version of the Generation One character, especially if you read about his rather unpleasant personality in his tech specs, a feature he shares with the G1 version of the character.

Unlike Huffer however, there is no real direct color correlation between this Crankcase and the previous version. The primary plastic colors of the robot mode are black, silver and light blue. In a very interesting way, these base plastic colors actually make him look more like the Generation One Stunticon team leader, Motormaster (more on that later in this review). The black and silver plastic pieces are distributed fairly evenly throughout the body. Black is used for parts such as his torso, waist, forearms and head while the silver is used on the upper arms and the legs. Both silver and black can be found in smaller pieces such as the Mini-Con connection point in the chest and the neck. The light blue plastic is used on the Drone connection points, which (for the most part) are out of the way in this form.

Paint applications are done in metallic colors including green, blue, gold and silver. From the front, you'll see all of these colors except the green (that's on the back). A non-metallic red is used for his visor eyes, contrasting nicely against the black plastic that makes up the head. Silver is found on the nose/mouth area as well as triangular details on the waist. Gold is used for very fine detailing on the torso and waist at a level of detail that I found to be a pleasant surprise. Pointed, angled details on the chest are painted metallic blue. The only flat color on this figure is black which you'll find on his feet. I like this touch in particular as there are already multiple colors on the front and they could have easily left the foot unpainted, but by doing this they use paint to help bring out sculpted details.

Crankcase's joints are tight, but I did find his Mini-Con connection point in his chest feels slightly less tight than the one on my Huffer figure. It's not floppy by any means, but I thought I'd mention this in case readers were wondering about it. While this set does not include any Mini-Cons, you can still attach Mini-Cons to the point on his chest or right arm and they'll hold nice and snug.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Swing the robot head down.
  2. Swing the robot arms up, then rotate the forearms around so they are facing front.
  3. Connect the robot legs together.
  4. Swing the heel pieces on each leg back.
  5. Swing the arms out to the sides including the panels they are attached to and connect them together to form the top of the cab section and part of the back section of the vehicle.
  6. Attach the holes in the robot fists to the pegs on the back of the truck.

Vehicle Mode:
Crankcase's vehicle form is mostly black with some silver parts in the back and sides. As I mentioned int he robot mode review, these colors seem more like the colors of G1 Motormaster, but in this form some of the paint application colors also align him with the colors of Nemesis Prime, a character archetype that has been used across many continuities including Armada and the Alternators continuity. The use of metallic blue, silver and green paint is where I'm drawing this connection as those colors (especially the blue) were quite prominant on Nemsis Prime. The silver is found on the front end including the grille, the smokestacks and a Decepticon symbol on the back section. The windows are painted green while some intricate circuit like designs on the hood and back are painted metallic blue. It's a really cool looking design and uses a different pattern than Huffer's. While the two are the same sculpt, the colors truly make this look like a completely different character.

You can still use the peg on the back to attach a Mini-Con, but it looks fine even without one.

Transformation to Combiner Mode (starting in robot mode):

  1. Swing the robot head down.
  2. Open the vehicle hood panel on the back and swing out the Combiner head, then swing that entire piece forward.
  3. Swing the forearms up against the upper arms, then attach them to the chest using the rectangular tabs connecting to the rectangular holes on the forearms.
  4. Swing each lower leg out to the sides, then connect the holes on the insides of the yellow pieces to the peg on the silver pieces.
  5. Swing out each of the light blue connector pegs and attach Drones. The helicopter and armored car become legs while the recon plane and missile carrier become arms.

Combiner Mode:
I mentioned in the robot mode review that there was yet another tie to Motormaster in this figure, and this is the mode where you see it: the head sculpt. As I mentioned in Huffer's review, the head suclpt looks just like Generation One Menasor, the combined giant formed by the Stunticons. With so many dark colors surrounding the figure with its blacks and silvers, he really does look evil and I can say that the head sculpt now totally fits the personality of the character.

Deco wise there is more silver revealed on the robot head. Translucent green plastic is used for the light piping eyes, though it is rather dark so the effect is rather muted. Here you'll see the details inside of the lower legs are black and my favorite detail is found on the chest, where the metallic blue lines on the robot forearms wind up on the chest, giving it nice detail along with the Decepticon symbol on the left side.

All of the Combiner related joints are tight here, and all of the included Drones snap on without a problem. Combined, I have to say that having two aerial vehicles and two ground based vehicles looks very cool. I'm also happy the designers picked one of each type of vehicle on his upper and lower bodies. I also dig the way all the colors of the Drones are slightly different, but they work within the same theme of a dark color contrasted by a metallic color, which gives the overall Combiner a nice visual flow.

Final Thoughts:
By himself, Huffer was a recommended figure, but with this new color scheme and teamed up with some of the best Drone sculpts out there, this set is a fantastic example of how well the redeco/mix n' match philosophy of the Power Core Combiners can work. Also, having seen a few waves of these figures now, I can honestly say the Huffer/Crankcase sculpt reamains one of the most solid Power Core Combiner Commander figures in all its modes. Nothing is rickety or loose on it in any mode. If you don't mind redecos (since this team is entirely composed of them), this guy is highly recommended.