"Timelines" Botcon 2015 Oilmaster Toy Review
Release Date: June 18, 2015
Price Point: $309 (In a set with Megatron, Flywheels, Packrat and Stepper)
Retailer: Botcon exclusive
Accessories: Sword, Blaster, Micromaster figure
The theme of Botcon 2015 is "Cybertron's Most Wanted". This doesn't just refer to the story where the boxed set had a group of criminals in it, it also refers to toys that represent characters that fans have wanted for a long time - with a new spin of course. One of these figures is Oilmaster, a character first semi-introduced at Botcon 1996 when Hasbro revealed an unproduced Pretender figure. The shell looked like an armored gorilla. This was largely forgotten by fandom and relegated to a footnote in Transformers history until 2013 when a Japanese comic book featured Oilmaster as a bounty hunter going after the Decepticon Magnificus. This reintroduction of the character prompted Fun Publications to examine the idea of creating an original Pretender shell for this year's set, bringing another "unproduced figure" into the Botcon 2015 set! Like "Timelines" Scorponok, this ups the ante for Botcon exclusives by introducing new types of engineering that had not been used previously in the "Timelines" series.
For the robot inside the Pretender shell, Fun Publications chose the duo of Swerve and Flanker. What's interesting to note is that all three figures represent the same character: Oilmaster. So the Swerve and Flanker redecos inside the shell are both Oilmaster sharing a united mind. That makes the character a Double Pretender! This was inspired by the unproduced toy from "Generation One" which would have featured two robots inhabiting the Pretender shell.
Oilmaster was one of the figure sincluded with the Botcon 2015 boxed set. Like all the Botcon sets since 2005, this set was packaged in a large box. The top/cover of the box features artwork that looks like someone's desk with several "Wanted" posters on it featuring the team of characters inside. Lift up the top and the figures themselves all sit in a large tray inside foam.
Oilmaster comes with two accessories and a Micromaster figure representing Oilmaster's aerial form. The two weapons are 5mm peg weapons repurposed from Construct-Bot sets. One is a sword and the other is a blaster. Both weapons are cast in black plastic. I'll go more into the Flanker redeco below, but it's worth noting that since Flanker becomes a weapon with a 5mm peg both the inner robot based on Swerve and the Pretender Shell can both use it as a weapon.
The Oilmaster Pretender Shell was this year's way of creating something for the Botcon set that had never been done before. This is a similar effort to the one that gave us Scorponok at Botcon 2014, pushing the envelope in terms of what can be offered as part of a boxed set. It is important to keep in mind that Oilmaster already had two prototype Pretender shells created back in the day, so Fun Publications did not work in a vacuum. Instead, they took those photos of those abandoned prototypes and focused on making it look more up to date.
Based on photos of the original prototype from G1 this new version of Oilmaster carries over a lot of the same features. These include:
- The shell has a heavy "gorilla" based theme including a gorilla face (in a helmet), huge arms with relatively shorter legs and huge organic looking hands.
- The shape of the helmet is very similar to the G1 prototype complete with tubes on the sides and a thick "chin strap".
- On the right side of the shell is a bandolier that wraps over its armor.
- The belt on the shell has a series of grenades sculpted into it.
- The forearms and the top of the hands have gauntlet type pieces on them, though this version makes them much thicker than they were on the G1 prototype shell.
- The shoulder armor is curved with smaller, circular designs.
The rest of the design is unique to this figure. This includes armored lower legs and feet that have "toes" on them. The organic parts that show through the armor (including the face, upper arms and parts of the thighs) all have a fur like pattern sculpted into them. Also whereas the G1 prototype had rounded armor sections around the lower legs, this iteration of the character has more angular armor in that area.
There were two prototypes of the G1 Pretender shell, one with a red, gold, grey and brown pattern. The other was darker, with more dark silver and dark brown colors. It is the second version that this deco is based on. The parts of the figure that are supposed to represent organic parts are painted dark brown. The eyes are blue (a detail calling back to the G1 prototype) and he has gritted teeth showing in white. My favorite part about this aspect of the deco is the way the fur is painted on. It's not just a flat, uniform brown. Instead the way the paint wound up getting distributed some parts are a bit lighter than others, giving it a more interesting texture.
There are gold, red and black decos on the armor pieces. These colors are based on the G1 Pretender shell prototype. Some of my favorite details include the black outlines on the red knee armor and silver bits on the head and arms. I also appreciate the use of some gold on the triangles on the backpack.
Oilmaster's Pretender shell is sculpted in a crouching position with his arms bent slightly at the elbow. The shell has shoulder and head articulation, which is about right for a shell based on a G1 Pretender (those didn't even have head articulation). His hands are sculpted to accommodate 5mm peg weapons. The figure holds two of these weapons: a blaster and a sword, both cast in black. These weapons are "borrowed" from the now defunct "Construct-Bots" line of figures that allowed you to build your own Transformers.
Being a Pretender Shell, this piece relies mostly on its back pack for functionality. The back of the back pack has two 5mm ports to allow for weapon storage. The back pack it self is on a large hinge. Swing it up and you'll see two compartments. The back pack itself has a slot to fit Oilmaster (the Swerve redeco) in vehicle mode. On the other section is an area for the Micromaster. The back pack closes just fine with the figures in there. There are no space issues to worry about. While conceptually simple, this "double Pretender" gimmick is a very cool and executed nicely on this figure.
Oilmaster's inner robot (which I like to think of as his "primary" robot form) is a redeco of the "Generations" Legends Class Swerve figure. This isn't his first appearance in "Transformers" lore however. He appeared in the e-Hobby exclusive comic book "Badlands" and even had an "inner robot" form that vaguely resembled G1 Pretenders. It is from that comic book that this figure derives its colors.
This time out this sculpt has been cast in grey, metallic purple and black plastic. The grey and purple make up most of the body with black used on the wheels (which are visible in this mode). Similar to the character shown in the "Badlands" comic book, most of the purple is used on the torso and thigh area whereas the grey is used on the rest of the figure.
Paint deco includes red, white, silver, black and metallic purple. The eyes are painted red (a classic Decepticon trope) and his mouth is painted white, emphasizing his odd grin. The chest panels with the horizontal lines are painted black with silver outlines. Black is also used on his lower legs. A generous amount of metallic purple can be found on the face, lower legs and feet. Silver appears on the rims of the wheels, something that is hardly done nowadays with Transformers figures. Rounding out the details on this figure is a small, tampographed Decepticon symbol in the center of the chest. On my copy the symbol is tilted slightly to the side. It's not obvious at first. I only noticed it because I was staring at it so much for this review. Of all the colors on this figure, the purple paint is my favorite. It is absolutely gorgeous and really pops.
All the joints on my copy of this figure are nice and tight. His hands are 5mm ports so he can hold his Micromaster component in weapon mode (yes, I know how odd that sounds). He can also hold the weapons included with this set for the Pretender shell.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Swing the back panel out and up.
- Swing each robot arm up, tucking the front wheels under the hood panel.
- Swing the torso section forward a bit in the middle, the waist and legs will move with it.
- Straighten out the legs and swing the lower legs up.
Oilmaster's vehicle mode focuses on grey as its primary plastic color. The wheels are black but the purple plastic from the robot mode only peeks through here and there. There is a lot of deco on this figure for a Legends Class. You'll find metallic purple on the front, over each wheel well and on the top of the vehicle. Black is used to paint the windows and designs on the doors that look like liquid oil splattered on the sides. Silver is found on the front and the rims on each wheel. The finishing touch is a tampographed Decepticon symbol on the hood (larger than the one in robot mode). Overall this is a really strong deco for a vehicle mode and I think it looks great.
Oilmaster's Micromaster form is a redeco of Flanker from the Swerve and Flanker set. There has been no retooling of this figure, it's purely a redeco. Now, I may be off on this but to me this figure seems to scream that it's a homage to the G1 Micromaster Airwave. The torso, thighs and head are painted white. The armor on the back, lower legs and arms are red. Cementing the homage is the face which is painted blue, the same color as Airwave's face! Airwave was always one of my favorite Micromasters (I loved his "airport base") and it's really awesome to see a homage to him. There are no loose parts on my copy of this figure.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Swing the arms down to the sides.
- Swing the wings on the back out to the sides.
- Swing the nosecone section at the legs down.
The jet mode has some blue lines on the wings, similar in color to the stickers on G1 Airwave. Each wing has a large Decepticon symbol tampographed onto it. Overall this little figure looks fantastic and it's neat to see another G1 character given an indirect homage. I say "indirect" since this isn't meant to actually be Airwave.
Transformation to Weapon Mode (from Vehicle Mode):
- Swing the wings up.
- Pull the red peg down.
- Pull the chest section out, this swings out the entire torso to leg area and reveals the weapon mode's barrel.
- Swing the weapon section forward and push it up into the groove that represents the rear thruster (over the robot head).
The weapon mode winds up showing off more of the section that forms the torso and thighs. The weapon barrel has also been painted white. The handle for the weapon is grey. I noticed during transformation that it wasn't too hard to accidentally pop off the wings, so be careful.
Oilmaster succeeds on many levels as a Botcon exclusive. First it provides fans with an updated version of a figure that was once cancelled in the form of the Pretender shell. Then it gives us a really strong deco on two out of the three figures (the Micromaster could have been better). The reuse of Construct-Bot weapons was inspired. Overall this is a solid offering from Fun Publications.