Toy Review: "Robots in Disguise" (2015) Crash Combiners Beeside

in 2017, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Combiner / Gestalt, Combiner Force, Crash Combiner, Prime, Robots in Disguise (2015)

Robots in Disguise (2015)

Beeside General Information:
Release Date: January 2017
Price Point: $14.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: None

Official images and text in italics below from Amazon.com:
What happens when you crash and combine forces with Transformers: Robots in Disguise Bumblebee and Sideswipe figures? No, not a traffic jam. You get a 2-bot Beeside Crash Combiner figure! This Crash Combiner 2-pack features one Bumblebee figure and one Sideswipe figure. Crash these figures together in one awesome step to form a Beeside combiner robot. Crash these figures with other Crash Combiner figures to form different 2-bot combinations. The Bumblebee figure and Sideswipe figure each convert from robot to sports car in 3 steps. Scan the Autobot shield in combiner mode to unlock the Beeside character in the mobile app. When Bumblebee and Sideswipe combine, they battle Decepticons as an even more powerful robot, Beeside. Watch out Decepticons! Beeside in pursuit! Combine forces and join the battle with these figures based on the Transformers: Robots in Disguise animated series. Crash and combine, it’s Beeside time! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

Concept:
After thirty plus years, it is not easy to come up with anything "new" when it comes to Transformers play patterns, but that does not keep the folks at Hasbro from trying. In early 2017 fans were introduced to a new sub-group in "Robots in Disguise": the Crash Combiners. Crash Combiners borrow a bit from the past but add some new functionality into the mix. They feature two characters whose vehicle modes can "crash" into each other and thus activating a transformation that combines the two into a single robot. Similar concepts have existed in past lines such as G1 and "Energon". In both cases there were pairs of robots that could combine with each other to form a larger robot. Crash Combiners are different in that they only combine one way (meaning not every character can be the upper and lower body, they are one or the other) and their combination mechanism is spring loaded.

Packaging:
Crash Combiners are packaged in a bubble attached to a card. The card has a vertical "Transformers" logo with the "Robots in Disguise" logo above it. Off to the other side is artwork for Optimus Prime and Strongarm. Both pieces of art are pieces of promotional art used for the characters since the first season of the show. Each of the characters is in vehicle mode set at angles inside the bubble. Inside the bubble is also an insert with artwork of Primestrong, the combined form of Optimus Prime and Strongarm. The insert also features the "Combiner Force" logo, connecting this to the theme of "Robots in Disguise" in 2017.

The back of the pckaging features pictures of both figures in robot and vehicle mode as well as their combined form. Off to the side is a cosell for "Beeside", the two pack featuring Bumblebee and Sideswipe. Below that is legal information and info on the "Robots in Disguise" app.

Bumblebee

Vehicle Mode:
Bumblebee's vehicle mode is a shrunken down version of the vehicle mode used for his other "Robots in Disguise" figures including the Warrior and One Step Changer figures. The front end is long with angled designs on the hood. The windshield section has a wide "V" shape and that leads to pointed sections on the back behind the rear wheel wells. Where this figure differs a bit are the proportions. The rear of the vehicle is designed with the "Crash Combiner" mechanism on it, so it is a bit shorter than other versions of Bumblebee. Also, the back section where his spoiler and rear window would normally be is covered with a panel that forms the chest of Beeside, the combined form of Bumblebee and Sideswipe. That said, it looks like an attempt was made to make the panel look like a spoiler, so I will give credit where its due. Overall the vehicle mode looks fine, it's just a bit different than what we have seen until now.

This vehicle is mostly cast in a metallic yellow plastic with the wheels cast in black. I really like the metallic look of the yellow. It adds a bit of visual appeal to a figure that does not have a whole lot of deco on it. The windows are painted black with a matte finish. And...that's it. Sadly the wheels have no paint on them, which I think they needed. The way the wheels are designed, they clip on and they look a bit cheap without any attempt to paint them and make them look better.

The top of the cabin section has a 5mm port on it which allows you to attach weapons and Mini-Cons with 5mm pegs. This adds some play value to the figure and depending on what you attach, it helps the look of the vehicle as well.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Flip the vehicle over.
  2. Swing the robot arms out.
  3. Swing the torso panel forward, swing the head up, then swing the panel back in place.
  4. Flip the feet out.

Robot Mode:
Bumblebee's robot mode has many of the requisite details for this form including his oval shaped head with a large crest on top, designs from the front of the car mode on his chest and the layered vent panels on his lower legs. Many parts such as his large shoulder armor have been shrunken down by necesity. One consequence of the "Crash Combiner" design is that Bumblebee winds up with a significant portion of his vehicle form on his back. This is one of those things you kind of have to accept if you're going to enjoy this set of figures but I can see how some fans may not like it.

This mode shows off mostly metallic yellow plastic, but black is used on a large portion of the lower torso and the thighs. His face is painted silver with blue eyes. Unfortunately that is all the paint used for the robot mode. The other parts wind up looking terribly unfinished, especially the chest which has clear sculpted details that could have used color to bring them out.

If you want to be generous and count his arms swinging in and out Bumblebee has two points of articulation. Unfortunately that's it for this form so you really have to use your imagination when playing with the figure. It is also a reminder that for the most part if you get this figure, it is for the main combining gimmick.

Sideswipe

Vehicle Mode:
Sideswipe's vehicle mode sculpt does a really good job of looking like the futuristic sports car he transforms into in the animation. Many of the key details are there including the angled lines on the sides, the spikes sticking out on the sides and the way the lines curve to the back spoiler. Indeed, the only real change is the front section where the "Crash Combiner" clip/mechanism is situated. This winds up taking out a chunk of the front of the vehicle, but in a weird way it looks good because it almost looks like he has added in some type of high powered engine to his front end.

Sideswipe is cast in metallic red and black plastic. The red makes up most of the vehicle with black used on parts like the wheels and the "Crash Combiner" mechanism in front. The windows are all painted black and there is some green on an arrow on the "Crash Combiner" mechanism. Unfortunately there are none of the Japanese symbols fans have come to know from the character's deco. I won't repeat my comnplaint about the wheels, but let's just say what applies to Bumblebee applies to this figure as well.

There is a 5mm port on the top of the cabin section that allows you to attach weapons and accessories with a 5mm peg.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Flip the vehicle over.
  2. Swing the robot arms out.
  3. Swing the torso panel forward, swing the robot head up then push the panel back in place.
  4. Swing the robot feet up.

Robot Mode:
Sideswipe's robot mode used the animation model as its foundation but adapts it to the limitations of the "Crash Combiner" design. He has the head design with the pointed "hair" like helmet, arms with spikes on the sides and a chest thta looks like it is formed from the front of the vehicle form complete with headlights on the middle of the torso. Aside from the "car on my back" syndrome all these figures suffer from Sideswipe actually looks good from a sculpting perspective.

This mode has the same base colors as the vehicle mode. Silver is used to paint the face and his eyes are blue. The waist/pelvic area is painted black and that's it for paint applications. While I would have liked a few more paint applications on the torso Sideswipe benefits from the fact that he is mostly just red with some smaller black parts so it does not look like he is missing a ton of paint.

Aside from his arms swinging out to the sides, there is no posability to speak of. Also aside from the 5mm port on his back there is no spot to attach weapons.

Beeside

Transformation:
Point the front of Sideswipe's vehicle mode to the back of Bumblebee's. Push the two clip mechanisms together and a few things should happen: the front/sides of Bumblebee's vehicle mode should swing down and out to the sides forming the Beeside arms. This will also reveal the Beeside head. The panel on top of Bumblebee will also flip up to form Beeside's torso. To finish the transformation swing the robot feet up and separate the legs.

Combined Form:
Beeside's design integrates features of both Bumblebee and Sideswipe into a combined robot. That sounds obvious at first, right? Bumblebee forms the upper part and Sideswipe forms the lower part, but the integration of details actually goes beyond that. the head design for instance has Bumblebee's distinct crest and eyes, but the sides of the helmet section have panels that angle forward in a similar fashion as Sideswipe's "hair". Beeside also has a mouthplate that resembles Sideswipe's "battle mask". The torso panel also has elements of both Bumblebee and Sideswipe's designs. Look carefully and you'll note there are two sets of headlights sculpted into the layered panels, suggesting that both Bumblebee and Sideswipe's vehicle front ends merge to form his torso armor. I really like the idea of having both characters integrate beyond forming arms and legs.

From a color standpoint having the two metallic colors of yellow and red together really offers a bright, powerful contrast. Black parts such as the feet, mid-body and waist help to balance the colors out. Beeside's face is painted silver with blue eyes. The chest panel has red details on it. Thanks to the way Sideswipe forms the legs, the black paint apps from his vehicle mode give the legs some extra deco. The finishing touch is an Autobot symbol on the chest that you can scan with the official "Robots in Disguise" app. Doing so unlocks the character in the game.

Beeside has two points of articulation: the forearms. They can swing up and down. Each has a 5mm port in it for you to attach weapons with 5mm pegs. Thanks to wide feet that are really nice and tight Beeside can easily hold up a weapon or Mini-Con without tipping over.

Final Thoughts:
The Crash Combiners as a concept are not aimed at older, discriminating collectors who want super detailed, articulated figures paying homage to G1 characters. Instead, this is a fun play pattern that is a nice change of pace from the flurry of One Step Changers and Warrior Class figures in the "Robots in Disguise" toy line. With Crash Combiners, it's all about the gimmick and in my book that's okay. I do suggest trying to get these on discount and not pay full price if you can help it.

Pros:

  • Both vehicles look good, with more points going to Sideswipe.
  • The base plastic colors chosen are really nice.
  • The fusion of details from both characters when combined is a nice touch.
  • Fun gimmick.

Cons:

  • Barely any articulation in any mode.
  • Needs more paint deco.