Power Core Combiners Darkstream with Razorbeam Toy Reviews

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

Power Core Combiners

General Information:
Release Date: October 2010
Price Point: $9.99
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Razorbeam Mini-Con figure
Images: Gallery with images of Darkstream and Razorbeam

Text from the official Transformers web site:
Even for most of the top DECEPTICON aces, low-altitude air combat is difficult and dangerous, but it's where DARKSTREAM excels. He prefers being close to the ground, where he can trick pursuing craft into a crash. His partner RAZORBEAM just makes him better at cutting dangerous maneuvers even closer.

Power up for the ultimate robot battles! Your DARKSTREAM figure is already a virtually unstoppable opponent in his vehicle and robot modes. But his strength gets doubled when you factor in your RAZORBEAM figure and his four modes! Convert this MINI-CON ally figure to weapon accessories for him when he's in fighter jet vehicle mode or Commander mode. Then, convert your RAZORBEAM figure into an armor accessory for your DARKSTREAM figure's Power Up Mode! And the action doesn't stop there. With this Power Core interchangeable robot combination system, MINI-CON figures and drone vehicles (sold separately) can attach to power up any Commander figure. Collect more packs and you can create tons of unique and fierce robot battler figure combinations!

Two-pack includes DARKSTREAM and RAZORBEAM figures. Ages 5 and up.

The third wave of Power Core Combiner figures was entirely made up of redecos from the previous waves. By mixing and matching several of the figures and Drones, "new" combinations of characters were created. This two pack takes the Skyburst sculpt from the Aerialbot five pack and places it in a two pack with a redeco of the Chopster Mini-Con sculpt. This review will focus on the changes made to the figures for this release. For a more detailed look at the sculpts, check out the reviews linked above.

Razorbeam Review

The changes made to the Chopster sculpt colors are fairly simple, but the transformation instructions have been included below for your reference. In short, the black parts from Chopster remain so, specifically the arms and thighs. The translucent orange parts have been replaced with a dark translucent blue. The black and red paint applications have been replaced with a single color: silver. This covers his face and paints the edges of the axe blades.

I have to say I definitely prefer Chopster's colors over Razorbeam's, but at the same time they do work well for the figure. He is meant to be a Decepticon and these dark colors mesh with that image very well. Plus, going into this part of the color spectrum truly differentiates him from Chopster in dramatic fashion. While my preference would have been for a red color to align with the red on Darkstream, on his own he looks cool and I understand the rationale behind the color scheme.

It sounds like I'm down on the figure but the Chopster/Razorbeam sculpt remains one of my favorite Mini-Con sculpts released in this line so far. I love how he has three distinct modes and how each one can be used in a different way. All of the joints on Razorbeam are just as tight as the ones on my Chopster figure so no worries about loose or droopy parts here.

Transformation to Blaster Mode:

  1. Swing each lower leg up into the upper leg.
  2. Swing the leg segments up against the sides of the torso, then swing the legs back.
  3. Swing the cannon barrel on his back down.
  4. Point the arms forward so they are on either side of the axe blades.

Transformation to Axe Mode:

  1. Swing the robot arms back a bit.
  2. Rotate each leg out to the side, then swing each lower leg up against the sides of the torso.
  3. Move the gatling guns so they point down.
  4. Swing the cannon barrel down.

Transformation to Armor Mode:

  1. Turn the legs out to the sides.
  2. Fold the lower legs in a bit so the axe blades are out to the sides.
  3. Point the robot arms down.

Darkstream Review

Robot Mode:
The color swaps between Skyburst and Darkstream are fairly straight forward. The black parts from Skyburst remain black here (including the upper arms and thighs). The blue plastic on Skyburst has been replaced with red (this includes his forearms and head). A majority of the jet mode pieces have been replaced with silver. The red is my favorite color on here. It looks great against the silver and black and also distinguishes this figure from its predecessor very well.

Where Darkstream does differ a lot from Skyburst is his color scheme. This figure uses a rather diverse set of colors including purple, black, silver, metallic pink and neon orange! The neon orange is the most prevelant color. You'll find it painting most of the front section of his lower legs and details along the edges of his chest and waist area. Silver is used on the face and his feet. Black is used a tiny bit on his face and purple is used a tiny bit on the triangle in center of his chest. The metallic pink color is used for the rather complex set of window details sculpted into the figure's jet cockpit cover. You'll find more of the neon orange on his back along with gold details on the air intakes. A Decepticon symbol is painted in black on the right side wing. Overall, it's a very striking color scheme and I like it a lot. In many ways, I find it stands out more than the one on Skyburst.

All of Darkstream's joints are tight, in fact, a couple are slightly tighter than the equivalent joints on my Skyburst figure. His Mini-Con peg on the back works fine too, but unfortunately one of the figures' primary weaknesses is put on center stage with this two pack. Namely, the figure has fists that can't hold anything. To me, this is a very odd problem since it's part of a line where everything is supposed to somehow interact with everything else. So, can he hold Razorbeam in his hand at all? Nope. Not in axe mode, not in weapon mode. So where do you put Razorbeam? The only place to really connect him is on the back as a weapon. Now, it is kind of cool to have a Transformer lugging an axe or a gun around on his back, but it would be neater if he could, you know, actually use the weapon in combat? I really think it was a bad idea to pair these two figures together, and really, it's just a flaw in the design of the Skyburst sculpt to begin with so this figure definitely loses a lot of points in my book for this particular feature (or lack thereof). Just to rub the point in, the instructions make you think you can have him use Razorbeam as an axe in robot mode, but you really can't. That's just really misleading in my opinion.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Swing the heel sections up into the lower legs.
  2. Swing the back section of the vehicle up.
  3. Swing the two robot arms together so the two fists meet each other.
  4. Swing the hip section back

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

Vehicle Mode:
All the detail that you see in the vehicle mode was plainly visible in robot mode so there are no surprises here. What I will say is that in this form a majority of the silver parts come together. This makes them the primary color features with the red mostly taken out of the equation unless you flip the figure over. Combined with the metallic colors and the neon orange this is a very striking looking vehicle and definitely jumps out at you visually a lot more than Skyburst does. It's also in this mode that Razorbeam is actually useful when attached to the vehicle!

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

  1. Rotate the lower legs outward so the feet point out to the sides.
  2. Swing out the combiner pegs out from the lower legs.
  3. Swing the legs out at angles, then point the lower legs straight down.
  4. Swing the back section up.
  5. Swing the forearms up against the shoulders.
  6. Lift the panel on the back of the vehicle and point the triangular piece down.
  7. Swing the combiner robot head up.
  8. Swing the wing sections down.
  9. Tuck the notch in the forearms into the top of the chest sections.
  10. Swing the sections with the angld stabilizers forward so the combiner pegs point out to the sides. Clip the holes in these sections to the tabs on the forearms.
  11. Swing the wings back.

Power-Up Combiner Mode:Power-Up Mode:
In this form you'll see more of the one to one color replacement from Skyburst to this figure. The Combiner's head is now cast in red instead of blue and several of the joint pieces that connect to the Drone connection points are black. The neon orange paint gets more exposure her ein the form of detailing on the chest section. Specifically this is what would be the underside of the forearms in robot mode. The pattern used is a thin line down the middle with three triangular details towards the top. This differs from the pattern used on Skyburst, which is the way it ought to be done with redecos. The head is painted with black eyes, a silver face and gold lines running up the sides of his "helmet" section. This in particular is a nice touch and when you see the head sculpt in these colors, it ties the theme of "fire" together very well with this figure. Between the red, neon orange and the flame like sculpting on the head sculpt, Darkstream very much looks like a mechanical embodiment of the fire element, which is a really cool touch in the figure.

All of the Drone connection points work fine and his joints are tight. I would just be careful when attaching Drones to the legs. Hold the legs firmly while attaching Drones or you may risk stressing the plastic.

Final Thoughts:
This set is a very mixed bag. Darkstream himself has a really nice deco pattern and it's a good (read: not awesome or great) basic sized figure. I love the sculpt used for Razorbeam, but the problem is these two figures in particular just don't go well together in a two pack. On their own they're good but together it doesn't work both conceptually and mechanically. The set's biggest failure is the inability to utilize the weapon in any meaningful way in robot mode, which is half the point of this toy line. Not recommended.