Power Core Combiners Windburn with Darkray Toy Reviews

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

Power Core Combiners

General Information:
Release Date: November 2010
Price Point: $9.99
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Darkray Mini-Con figure, Helicopter rotor blades x 2
Image Gallery: Gallery of images featuring Windburn and Darkray

Text below from Transformers.com
WINDBURN is a master of modern warfare, able to hold a real-time image of even the most vast battle space in his head. Together with his partner DARKRAY, he manages troop movements across the battlefield, ensuring they go where they are needed most to guarantee a DECEPTICON victory.

Power up for the ultimate robot battles! Your WINDBURN figure is already a virtually unstoppable opponent in his vehicle and robot modes. But his strength gets doubled when you factor in your DARKRAY figure and his four modes! Convert this MINI-CON ally figure to weapon accessories for him when he's in helicopter vehicle mode or Commander mode. Then, convert your DARKRAY figure into an armor accessory for your WINDBURN 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 WINDBURN and DARKRAY figures. Ages 5 and up.

The end of 2010 is seeing the release of a wave of Power Core Combiners entirely made up of redecos both in the two and five packs. Instead of straight up redecos of previous figures being repackaged, there is a "mix and match" going on where Mini-Cons and Drones alike are being swapped around mold-wise with different Commander figures. This two pack is a redeco of Searchlight, but instead of being packaged with a redeco of Backwind, he is now matched up with a redeco of Caliburst from the Huffer two pack. Check those two reviews out for detailed reviews of those particular sculpts. This review will focus on the changes made to the figures for this release.

Darkray Review

I covered the Caliburst/Darkray sculpt's various modes extensively in design in Huffer's review so check that out if you want a blow by blow of how each mode works out. Let's just say overall they're pretty cool and this sculpt is one of the better Mini-Cons to come out in the first wave. My focus here will be on the color changes made to the figure (there are no sculpt changes) but for the sake of being complete I've included (slightly modified) transformation instructions below.

The color swap is pretty basic between Caliburst and Darkray, but the paint scheme is quite different. The light, translucent blue plastic on Caliburst has been replaced with a dark green translucent plastic. The silver parts are now black except for the "wings" which are translucent green on this figure. The tip of the cannon (now black) is translucent green. This is definitely a different color than the blue on Caliburst, and while it looks good, I prefer the lighter color of Caliburst. I find that if you go too dark on translucent plastic, you sort of lose the point of using translucent plastic at all since it looks almost solid under certain lighting. It's not a bad color mind you, it looks nice, it's just not my first choice.

Very little paint is used here. The face is painted black and the chest has some blue grey paint on it, but that's it. Overall, I still dig this sculpt a lot, but I think a more dynamic color would have been nice (perhaps a translucent red to go along with Windburn's colors).

Since Windburn actually has holes in his fists, you can use Darkray more like a conventional weapon by having Windburn hold him in his fists, instead of having to connect to his forearm like Huffer. This largely depends on the leg joints being relatively stiff and for the most part they are, but move the figure around too quickly and the weapon winds up flopping and pointing downward. You have to jolt it pretty strongly for this to happen, but it is worth mentioning.

Transformation to Vehicle Weapon Mode:

  1. Raise the left arm and turn the cannon around so it is pointing down towards the ground.
  2. Move the arm back down.
  3. Swing both "gear" sections up to cover the robot head and torso.
  4. Rotate both legs on the ball joints and the hips, the swing the lower legs forward.
  5. This can be attached to the Mini-Con peg on the underside of Windburn.

Transformation to Robot Weapon Mode:

  1. Raise the left arm and turn the cannon around so it is pointing down towards the ground.
  2. Move the arm back down.
  3. Swing both "gear" sections up to cover the robot head and torso.
  4. Raise the legs so they are pointed up, then bend them at the knees.
  5. Attach the pegs on Darkray's legs to either fist on Windburn.

Transformation to Power-Up Armor Mode:

  1. Rotate the cannon on Caliburst's arm so it points down.
  2. Swing the gear sections out to the sides.
  3. Swing the robot arms up so they angle with the edges of the gear sections.
  4. Swing the robot legs up against the torso to cover up the head.
  5. Attach Darkray to the peg on Windburn's chest.

Windburn Review

Robot Mode:
Searchlight had a fairly standard and "safe" color scheme with the grey and blue plastic colors. With Windburn, the designers seemed to decide that they wanted to go for something a bit more eye popping. The base colors of the figure are pretty muted. There is a blue grey colored plastic making up parts like his forearms and lower legs. Other parts are made up of a grey color with a pearl like shine to them (the chest is an example of this). A bit of black is found as well, most notably on the chest Mini-Con peg. Where the figure takes off in a different direction are several joint pieces along with the Drone Combiner sections. These sections are all made up of a combination of red with the requisite light blue ends. Now, add on gold weapons (the helicopter blades) and Windburn definitely has a visual "wow" factor.

There is not a whole lot of paint on the robot mode, but given the striking plastic colors used that works just fine. Paint applications are done up in red, gold, grey and black. A lot of the paint detail is on the head and chest. The head has red on the crest and his eyes. His nose and mouth section is painted gold with dark grey around the sides of the "helmet" area. This same grey is found on the rectangular piece on his chest. Black is used sparingly, primarily for the Decepticon symbol on his waist and the sides of his legs. It looks good and I like the contrast of the red against the muted grey colors.

All of Windburn's joints are tight and his rotor weapons spin just as nicely as they did on Searchlight. Darkray forms a perfectly good chest shield or weapon in this mode without obstructing arm movement too much unless you have Darkray's cannon sticking comnpletely out to the side.

I really like the color scheme used here. I think it reads a bit more out there than it really is. The red/blue/gold colors in particular have been used in other Transformers before (most notably Generation One Skyhammer). Indeed, I would be inclined to call this color scheme a Skyhammer homage except for the fact that he's a Decepticon.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the rotors.
  2. Swing the robot feet down.
  3. Swing the lower robot legs back.
  4. Rotate the panels that the arms are attached to around.
  5. Swing the left arm into the groove in the middle and swing it back, connecting the rear halves of the vehicle to that arm.
  6. Swing the right arm into the groove in the middle and close the halves of the helicopter over it.
  7. Attach the rotors to the two holes on the top. They will fit in either hole, but the one with three rotors is meant to go in the back.

Vehicle Mode:
The vehicle mode draws even more emphasis to the unexpected colors than the robot mode (if you can believe it). This is primarily due to two factors. First, the red pegs with the light blue ends are very prominant in this form along the sides and on the back of the vehicle. Then we have the red decos on the top sections right under the gold rotors. Not enough gold for you? Then check out the windows on the front of the vehicle which are painted gold in the front and sides with black outlines. It's probably safe to say that Windburn isn't exactly a stealthly warrior from the visual perspective. Again, I kind of dig this unusual color scheme, and this mode brings it out in full force.

The Mini-Con peg underneath the cockpit still fits Mini-Cons nice and snug. There is sometimes a possibility that pegs can change size just enough to cause them to become almost all but useless when a sculpt is reused. Fortunately that is not the case here.

Transformation to Power-Up Mode:

  1. Swing the robot head/chest section down.
  2. Rotate the head section around to reveal the Combiner head.
  3. Swing out the grey, angled panels out.
  4. Swing the chest piece back up.
  5. Swing the robot arms back.
  6. Swing the Drone connection arms by the robot arms down so they point out to the sides.
  7. Point the robot feet down.
  8. Swing the robot legs out to the sides at angles.
  9. Rotate the lower legs so the "2015" faces forward.
  10. Swing the legs up so the feet push up against the thighs.
  11. Attach the rotors back into the forearms.
  12. Attach Drones to each connection point.

Power-Up Combiner Mode:
There are three primary parts that qualify as "newly revealed" in this form. First you have the head sculpt, then there are the two panels that swing out of the chest piece. The head sculpt is the same as Searchlight's so no retooling this time around. The head is painted with almost the same colors as Windburn's alternate head. The eyes are red and the lower part of the face is gold. Gold is also found on the sides of each chest panel as well. Another neat feature of the Combiner Mode is found on the legs, where the Decepticon symbols that were facing the side before now face front.

Unfortunately, all the recoloring in the world won't help how odd the Combiner Mode is, especially with the placement of the arms and rotors. It would take pretty extensive retooling to do anything about it, and I doubt that's going to happen any time soon.

Final Thoughts:
I wasn't a big fan of the first iteration of Windburn and while the Darkray sculpt is a cool Mini-Con sculpt, it's not quite enough to justify the purchase of this two pack. I'd say go for it if the color scheme appeals to you and you really, really want another Mini-Con that becomes a gun/cannon/weapon but other than that, you can skip this one.