Power Core Combiners Double Clutch with Rallybots Toy Review
Release Date: August 2010
Price Point: $19.99
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Drag Racer Drone, Race Car Drone, Street Racer Drone, Tuner Drone
Images: Gallery of images
*Images and text below from Transformers.com
DOUBLE CLUTCH has always been a master of diversionary tactics. His entire team is built around the idea of confusing and disrupting DECEPTICON operations. The speed and noise of the RALLYBOTS alone is enough to strain any robot's sensors. Add to that all the electronic countermeasures built into the team, and the RALLYBOTS become the single greatest threat to DECEPTICON strategy.
Power up for the ultimate robot battles! Your DOUBLE CLUTCH 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 RALLYBOTS 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 DOUBLE CLUTCH, Street Racer Drone, Race Car Drone, Tuner Drone and Drag Racer Drone figures. Ages 5 and up.
The first wave of Power Core Combiner five packs offered teams inspired by past teams such as the Aerialbots and Combaticons. While those teams had more military profiles, the second wave has a team that is decidedly grounded in civilian life: Double Clutch with the Rallybots. This team is comprised entirely of cars, each one inspired by the custom cars that have been a part of American pop culture for decades.
Drag Racer Drone
The Drag Racer Drone is based heavily on the design of the Toyota GT One race car. It has many of the distinctive features of that vehicle including the raised sides of the car, the oval shape of the cabin section leading to a spoiler raised in the back. It is a very classic profile for make believe race cars in and out of the Transformers toy line so it's quite appropriate for a team of Transformers vehicles. This vehicle is not the most highly detailed one in the set, but really it doesn't need to be. The GT One is known more for its smooth appearance than having tons of greebles all over it. Where there are details they are nice including an air vent in the center of the hood. sculpted lines running along the side of the vehicle and square shaped rear lights sculpted into the back of the car add more detail. Flip the vehicle over and you'll see bolts, lines, tubes and more. Overall I like the look of this sculpt a lot and it looks very close to the real life vehicle it is based on.
The color scheme on this Drone is quite interesting. It is primarily cast in red plastic with smaller parts set in silver and black. The silver parts are found towards the front and on the underside of the vehicle. Black is used for the wheels. Paint applications are done in silver, yellow and black. The silver is the most prominent color, starting at the front of the vehicle and running along the sides up to the back. Silver also paints the windshield, contrasting wonderfully with the red plastic. Yellow is used for circular headlight details on the front of the vehicle while the black is used for an Autobot symbol on the hood. All these colors combined remind me a lot of the Technobot from Generation One named Lightspeed. He too transformed into a race car type vehicle utilizing these exact same colors. In this respect, I really like the design of this Drone. The problem comes with the functionality of this Drone.
Located in the middle of the spoiler is a Mini-Con. Great idea and it blends really well in that slot. Here's the problem: it's loose. It doesn't quite flop all over the place, but the weight of a weapon or Mini-Con makes it difficult (but not impossible) to position something exactly the way you want it. The other problem? When you transform this Drone into its leg mode, the silver parts on the bottom are supposed to swing down to form a heel piece - they don't swing down. You have to manually pull them down to get them in place, then when you transform it back to vehicle mode you have to push that piece back into place, basically defeating the purpose of having a Drone with "auto transformation" to begin with. This was really disappointing to find out as I really like the aesthetic design of the vehicle.
Race Car Drone
The Race Car Drone is based on the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, a sleek looking vehicle launched in 2008 and still sold today. Like the real life car, the Race Car Drone has headlights with a sharp point on one end and a teardrop like shape. The front end slopes upward towards the back with a distinctive horizontal line that starts at the front wheel wells and traces all the way to the back. Smaller details are not neglected including door handles and rear lights sculpted into the back of the car. A bit of modification usually occurs to vehicles based on real life cars and here you have a large spoiler on the back that looks similar to those added to many "tuner" cars nowadays, with diamond shaped ends that poing downward. It's slick looking and I really like it.
The Race Car Drone is cast in dark metallic blue, black, orange and silver plastic. The blue dominates this form, with the black found on smaller parts like his wheels and the combiner port on the top of the car. The orange is found on the back, where it is used for the Mini-Con peg. Silver can be seen on the underside of the vehicle where it forms what looks like exhaust pipes leading to the back. Paint applications are done in white, red, black and silver. The white is the color used the most. It paints most of the hood, leading to the top of the car and ending at the spoiler. On top of the white section on the hood is a medium sized Autobot symbol in red. The windows are painted black and his headlights are silver. The color scheme on this figure looks fantastic and is very reminscent of Generation One Beachcomber in appearance. I'm particularly fond of the dark metallic blue plastic. It's a very rich color and strikes the eye in a wonderful way.
The orange peg on the back of the vehicle can be flipped up to attach weapons or Mini-Cons to the Drone. Unfortunately, its placement is awkward to attach most weapons and Mini-Cons since there's not a lot of clearance room on a car with such a short height. When transformed into its arm mode, this Drone looks really cool. In the middle there are details that look like a tread or chain linking the outer part of the arm to the top part of the vehicle. The aforementioned exhaust pipes wind up pointing forward here, right above a fist that is sculpted into the front of the car. Here, the orange peg winds up on the top of the arm, which is a great spot to attach Mini-Cons or weaponry.
Overall, the Race Car Drone is one of my favorites out of the set. It combines the elements of being visually striking, has weaponry built in and it actually has a fist designed into the arm mode. Its only failing is the limitation on using the Mini-Con peg in vehicle mode.
Street Racer Drone
The Street Racer Drone is an interesting vehicle. Looking at it for a while before writing this, I can't help but think "Batmobile" when I look at it. In many ways, it resembles the Batmobile vehicle from the 1989 Batman film. The front section has curved portions sticking out a bi tin the front, the sides curve in very tightly and then the back section flares outward. There are even small signs of "fins" or "wings" on the rear section of the car that stick up vertically. There are cool details that really look like they belong on a race car including vents on both the front of the car and the top of the car. The underside of the vehicle has tons of tubes and mechanical details. I really like the sculpt of this vehicle and can honestly say I'd like to see more repaints of this in future sets.
The primary colors used in this vehicle are black and red. Most of the vehicle including the wheels and the outer shell are black. The bottom has some red, as does the back of the vehicle where you'll find a flip up Mini-Con peg. The peg is set tightly, allowing you to attach Energon weapons or Mini-Cons and position them at an angle if you wish. Yellow and silver details are painted onto the vehicle. The yellow is used for lines on the edges of parts such as the sides of the hood section. The silver is found on his headlights with a tiny bit of orange on the sides. I notice that some of the red plastic on the underside shows through on the vent in the front of the vehicle, making this Drone almost look like KITT from Knight Rider as well.
In its leg mode, this Drone is much more successful than the Drag Racer Drone. When you transform it, the top of the vehicle folds out to reveal a foot with ankle joints and a Mini-Con peg in the front. The rear section of the car manages to form a good, stable heel piece and the section that folds out in the front forms the front of the foot really nicely. My only gripe is that the actual connection point is very tight. I had some difficulty fitting into the connection point on Double Clutch (I wound up switching the sides) and on Searchlight it fit on both leg connectors, but it was very tight, to the point where I was almost afraid I was going to break it. It's sad because I really like the way this Drone looks in both modes, but the tightness of the connection point is very off-putting.
Based on the Mini Cooper vehicle, the Tuner Drone is the smallest of the four Ralleybots. It has the small, compact appearance of the Mini-Cooper, complete with its roundish shape. The hood has cool looking angled headlights that lead to a grille in the middle with a grid pattern inside. There is a non-standard spoiler attached to the rear section of the vehicle and on the hood there is an engine sticking out in the center with six cylinders sticking out to the sides.
On top of the aforementioned designs, there are a lot of small details here. The engine on the hood has cylinders sticking out to the sides in addition to a nice engine block in the middle with a Mini-Con peg pointing forward that seems to double as some type of fierce lookin gpiece of equipment. There are sideview mirrors coming out the sides and details such as lights on the sides and rear of the vehicle can all be found. It's a cool looking vehicle and there aren't many Mini-Cooper inspired Transformers so it's cool to see another one added to the roster.
The Tuner Drone is made mostly of metallic orange plastic. Smaller sections are made of silver such as the spoiler and the underside of the vehicle. The wheels are of course cast in black. The paint applications are done up in silver, red, black and dark metallic blue. The red forms a really cool curved pattern on the sides of the vehicle towards the back. Black is used on the front of the car, painting in the small grille details. Silver is found on the front as well where it paints the headlights. The biggest silver detail however is a large Autobot symbol painted on the top of the cabin section. Set against the black plastic, the Autobot symbol practically shimmers and looks really nice. You'll also find silver on the engine mounted on top of the hood.
As mentioned before, the Mini-Con peg on this figure is worked into the design of the engine. This is a perfect place to put it as it is out of the way of other parts but integrates nicely into a major component of the vehicle. Sure it is a bit odd to have a Mini-Con or even a weapon stickin gout of the hood, but when combined in its arm mode this peg is in the perfect place, allowing you to give a giant additional firepower right on top of the shoulder.
In its arm mode, the Tuner Drone has several hinged sections (in black and silver plastic) that have mechanical detailing on them. Details include tubes and rectangles, all looking like the internal workings of the vehicle. At the end is a hand with three large claws. Personally, I would have preferred a more generic looking fist of some sort, but claws seem to be part of the Power Core Combiner aesthetic so I understand its inclusion.
For anyone who has had a hankering for an oddly proportioned Transformer, your wait is over. Double Clutch is one odd looking Transformer. While his alternate mode is a car (which generally gives one images of a fairly sleek robot) his robot mode manages to look bloated in some areas and tiny in others. Look at parts like his chest, lower legs and feet and he looks big and clunky. Look at parts like his head, forearms and thighs and you'd think these parts were meant to be on a much larger Transformer. Sometimes such odd design manages to work, but in this case it simply looks odd and really doesn't help with the actual functionality of the figure.
Before going into the figures' functional bits, let's take a look at some details. While I may not like how bulky some parts of the figure are, I do have to admit he has some cool detailing. On the platform where his head rests are some cool mechanical and tube details. His forearms have layers of details on them leading to four fingered hands (taking a cue from the movie universe) that are set with the fingers slightly curled. My favorite details can be found on his lower legs, which have raised sections that resemble the cylinders of a car engine. Look on the insides of the lower legs and you'll find additional details including beveled shapes and pistons on the ankle area.
Double Clutch is cast mostly in a metallic, light blue plastic. I do like the shade of blue used here a lot. I dig the metallic aspect but it's also a color you don't see very often in the Transformers universe. Black, silver and light blue are used on smaller parts. The black and silver plastic alternates on a lot of sections such as the arms, where the shoulder joints are silver and the forearms are black. If you've read my other Power Core Combiner reviews, you can guess that the light blue plastic is found on the parts that can connect to his Rallybot Drones, found on the arms and legs. Paint applications are done in silver, red, black, yellow and light blue. The silver is found on his face and his lower legs, where it is used to paint his engine details and the headlight/grille section on his feet. Red paint is used for the car lights on his chest while black is used for the bumper. Yellow is perhaps the most unexpected color on this figure. You actually have to turn his lower leg out a bit to see it. There, several sections are painted yellow, offering a nice contrast to the metallic blue. The light blue color is found on his eyes, continuing the tradition of Autobots with blue eyes (while Decepticons have red eyes). If there's one thing I cwon't fault this figure on is its deco, which really looks nice.
There are sixteen points of articulation on this figure. Many of them are articulation points that have a wide potential range of motion. Unfortunately, that articulation is obstructed by the bad design on this figure. For instance, his shoulder joints are ball joints, which theoretically should have tons of rotational capability, but he can't really move the arm back or forward very well, you have to move the arm out to the side a bit to get past the chest panel, which is so wide it obstructs the arms a bit. Another example is his waist articulation. Waist articulation seems to be a type of articulation that is falling out of favor with many current figures, but here Double Clutch has it, but you have to move his back panel out a bit so the waist can turn at all, and even then it can't turn really well. In this case, the best articulation is in the legs, which can turn at the hips, swivel out above the knees and bend at the knees.
Double Clutch does not include weapons, but he does have the capacity to interact with Mini-Cons and other Transformers weapons. On each hand is a hole that can accomodate a standard sized weapon (from a series like Energon) or a Mini-Con with a peg. He also has a Mini-Con peg on his back as well, which allows you to attach a standard sized weapon or Mini-Con there, giving Double Clutch some extra offensive capability.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Swing the panels on the back of the legs up and swing in the Drone connection pegs.
- Swing the robot feet back.
- Connect the two legs together.
- Swing the chest panel up.
- Swing the panel on the back down.
- Rotate the figure at the waist.
- Straighten out the robot arms and connect the panels on the lower arms to the upper arms.
- Swing the robot arms up so the wheels face out to the sides.
- Swing the Drone connection pegs on the arms under the car.
- Swing the car cabin cover section forward and connect it to the front of the car.
- Swing the black panel with the Mini-Con peg on it down.
- Connect the rear panel of the vehicle to the pegs on the arm sections.
Double Clutch's vehicle mode is a sporty looking one with elements of older, classic cars worked into the design. The front end is an aggressive looking one, with a tall and wide grille with a grid pattern inside. On either side of the grille are two circular headlights on each side. The somewhat angular front end that leads to a very curved middle and back section. The car is a two door, giving it an extra sense of being a racing vehicle.
Some of the cooler details include raised vent lines on his hood, a nice, curved spoiler on the back of the vehicle and horizontal rows of lines on his rear lights. He also has a handle for the trunk and two dual exhaust pipes on the rear section.
The metallic blue color dominates the vehicle form with black filling in several details including the windows and the panel on the back of the cabin cover. The newly revealed details in this mode is a cool flame pattern painted on the hood in silver. It is a simple, yet awesome design flourish for this figure. As much as I may have had reservations about the robot mode's design, the vehicle mode looks really good and I like the color scheme as well.
Transformation to Power-Up Mode (starting in robot mode):
- Swing the panel on the back out.
- Swing the black panel on the back panel out.
- Swing Double Clutch's robot mode head down.
- Swing the section of the back panel with the Combiner head forward and connect the two pegs on it to the pegs on the chest section.
- Swing the robot head forward.
- Move the trunk cover piece down.
- Swing the robot arms back and connect the holes on the forearm panels to the pegs on the back of the robot.
- Swing the panels on the back of the robot legs out and swing the Drone connection points out.
- Swing the robot legs up so the black clips on the hips fit into the rectangular notches on the thighs.
- Rotate the legs around and bend them so the yellow details face forward.
- The Race Car Drone and the Tuner Drone connect to the arm points.
- The Drag Racer Drone and Street Racer Drone connect to the leg connection points.
Power-Up Combiner Mode:
On a visual level, Double Clutch's Power-Up Combiner mode is a really cool looking torso section. The robot head is significantly different than Double Clutch's "Commander Mode" head. Curved, with three raised protrusions at the top with visor eyes leading to a small face section, this head design is highly reminscent of Generation One Jazz. A lot of other details are revealed as well including tubes underneath the head, crossing lines running along the waist piece and now the details from the insides of the lower legs now take center stage.
There are no new colors revealed, but previously seen colors do appear a lot more now. The yellow color on the legs is also found near the robot head. Silver is also used on the small waist panel. The head is black with light blue eyes, a silver face and a red detail painted on the forehead. Visually this mode looks great.
The problem with this mode is its functionality. The major weak point is found in the arms. Since Double Clutch's arms only connect to the main body with the holes on the door panel connecting to pegs, there is a huge tendency for the arms to disconnect, causing the Drone arms to slump as if Double Clutch were depressed or tired. Since the arms are not very tight in the shoulder joints, this also causes the arms to flop around a lot. This is also difficult to manage even when simply attaching the Drones that form the arms since that part isn't held in place strongly enough to bear the pressure of pushing the limbs in. When writing this review, I popped off the forearms about three times on each side before I got them to sit correctly with Drones attached. This is a huge disapppointment and I can't help but think that with so many awesome Transformers combiner designs from the past and some of the other Commander figures in this line, I'm really surprised that such a flimsy design made final production.
Another functional concern I have involves the legs, specifically the hip joint. The way you lock the leg joint in place is getting the tab on the side of the hips into the notch on the legs. The problem is, after I've done this about three times, the plastic on the leg connected to the hip joint is visibly warping because of the pressure. What this means is that over time your figure's condition will just worsen in this joint every time you transform it into this mode. I'm partially in disbelief that this even made it to production with such a flaw considering with other Power Core Combiner Commanders they've found ways to make the legs stable without resorting to this design, which works in theory but will not be good for the toy in the long term.
There are fifteen points of articulation on the torso section, allowing the arms and legs to move up and down and the knees to bend. Double Clutch has one Mini-Con peg on his back, allowing you to attach weapons or Mini-Cons.
As a combined form with the Rallybots, Double Clutch's stability is dubious at best. Part of this is because of the Drag Racer Drone not always transforming properly and the lack of proper flat areas for the legs to rest on at the foot. Moving his arms will almost always lead to either the peg coming loose from the back or the forearm of Double Clutch's Commander mode popping off. Overall, this guy is simply no fun to play with at all and his functionality is hampered by the bad design of the Commander figure.
I'm always kind of sad when I see a figure that I really want to like. At a distance at Botcon 2010 I really wanted to like Double Clutch and liked the way he looked in the display case. Unfortunately, this set simply doesn't deliver. Double Clutch is just a bad design overall and a couple of the Drones have nagging problems. He has a few redeeming qualities, as do some of the Drones, but overall if you pick this up you're in for a world of disappointment. Not recommended.