"Generations" Combiner Wars Protectobot Blades Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: May 2015
Price Point: $18.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Hand/Foot/Weapon, Blaster

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Blades can take his alternate form – a chopper – a little too literally. Sure, he carries plenty of firepower. But he'd much rather shred enemies with his rotors, bringing them down with a whirling flurry of copter kung fu. Combine and convert for awesome Transformers action! This Protectobot Blades figure fires his hardcore blaster in robot mode, and he converts fast to helicopter mode whenever his whirling combat tactics are needed. But he can also become an arm when the battle calls for you to build a truly hardcore Defensor warrior! (Other figures sold separately.) Whatever mode your Protectobot Blades figure is in, he’s going to bring maximum carnage to the fight! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

The theme for the "Generations" segment of the "Transformers" toy line in 2015 is "Combiner Wars". The focus will be on updated versions of Combiners from the past (with some new elements thrown in for good measure). The idea is to take lessons learned from the Bruticus released a couple years ago and create better Combiners featuring a Voyager Class central body piece with Deluxe sized limbs. To spice things up a bit, some of the Legends Class figures released for "Combiner Wars" will be able to serve as weaponry for the combined giants.

Wave three of "Combiner Wars" brings back the Protectobots! While these characters have not exactly been ignored in fiction and the toy line, they haven't been a cohesive Combiner team in a long time. Some of the more recent releases of these characters (including the Protectobot Evac squad) were mostly redecos of previous figures without the ability combine. This makes the Protectobot wave particularly exciting for fans who have wanted true updates of these characters.

Protectobot Blades is a retool and redeco of the Alpha Bravo figure. Check that review out for a detailed look at the sculpt. This review will be focusing on the changes made to the figure for this release.

The packaging for wave two of the Deluxe "Combiner Wars" figures is significantly different then the first wave. The first wave was a typical bubble on card, with the character art printed onto the card and a separate trading card featuring art from the "Transformers: Legends" mobile app. The back of the cards contained a ton of multi-lingual information with photos of the figure and a diagram of a Combiner made up of four Aerialbots and Dragstrip.

For this wave however a lot has changed. The card now features a repeating pattern featuring "Combiner Wars" characters on it. The back of the card has a brief bio of Blades with less legal information all over the place. Laid on top of the card is a comic book with Dead End's package art. Since the comic adds some extra weight and thickness, the bubble put on top of the card actually wraps around the edges and is taped onto the back to hold it in place. A sticker wraps around the edge of the bubble mentioning combining into Defensor. The figure is in a tray inside the bubble in robot mode. There is no more trading card included with the figure.

One of the most interesting points of this new packaging style is the back of the comic book. It features a full page bio of Blades written from the perspective of the the Autobot psychiatrist, Rung. It really helps give more color to the character's personality and sticks with many G1 elements which is very much appreciated by this old fan. Overall the packaging for wave two of the Combiner Wars Deluxe figures is much more robust than the first wave.

Blades comes with the same accessories as Alpha Bravo. This includes a serious looking blaster with large bullets sculpted into the sides and a targeting laser sculpted on the right side. This piece is molded in black, the same as Alpha Bravo's. The other piece is the hand/foot/weapon accessory featuring a distinct pair of weapon barrels that look like gatling guns. This piece is also molded in black, however the hinge piece connecting the thumb/heel to the rest of the accessory is silver instead of white. Both weapons hold in Blades' fists without a problem so I don't see any mold degradation here.

Robot Mode:
Blades utilizes the Alpha Bravo body with a new head sculpt. The new head is designed to evoke the head sculpt of the G1 Blades figure. The design features two flat panels making up the sides of the head, a section on the top with a large crest and a face consisting of two eyes, a nose and mouth (no mouthplates or anything here). The panels on the sides have horizontal ridges on the top and the crest has a five sided shape similar to the same area on G1 Blades. The face sculpt is much more expressive than his G1 counterpart. Blades was described in his tech specs as the more violent warrior of the Protectobot team and his face is set in a grim expression that echoes this personality. I think the head sculpt looks great. It carries over key elements of the G1 head design but adds a few extra details to make it look more modern.

The main plastic colors on Blades are red, white and silver. In robot mode red makes up most of the body including his back, torso, forearms and lower legs. White is used on the head, the middle of the torso and the thighs. Silver is used on some of the joints like the knees and the shoulders. The red making up most of this mode is consistent with the colors on G1 Blades. Silver paint is used on the torso, waist, fists and the rockets on the forearms. The silver is a bit of a callback to the stickers used on G1 Blades. A red Autobot symbol is on the right side of the chest. Standing out against all these other colors is a gorgeous metallic blue on the face. Darker blue is used on the eyes. This is a nice way to call back to G1 Blades' face, which is all blue with no distinction between the eyes and face. Some other colors form the vehicle mode carry into this mode such as white and black on the lower legs and feet respectively.

All sixteen points of articulation on this figure are nice and tight. He has no issues holding his weapons up or being put in various poses.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms, legs and head.
  3. Rotate the robot head around.
  4. Swing the back piece (with the rear rotor) out and then up over the head.
  5. Straighten out each of the rotor blades on the back.
  6. Rotate the lower body around at the waist.
  7. On each leg, swing out the back half of the lower legs.
  8. Swing the legs up, connecting the tabs on the front half of each lower leg to the corresponding slots on the upper body.
  9. Swing up the rear halves of the lower legs.
  10. Push the leg halves together.
  11. Rotate the halves of the cockpit section out, then together in the middle.
  12. Swing down the top cockpit piece (these were the robot feet pieces).
  13. Push the arms to the sides and attach them to the tabs on the sides of the vehicle.
  14. The blaster weapon can be attached to the holes on either side of the vehicle (above the arms).
  15. The hand/foot piece can be attached to a 5mm port on the bottom of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
In vehicle form, Blades has traded up his old vehicle form (based on a Bell UH-1V Iroquois helicopter) for one resembling a Dauphin Eurocopter, complete with no landing skids, a very curved front end section and a stylized tail/rotor section. At this point it's pretty obvious this guy could easily be given a new deco as Vortex in the future (using Alpha Bravo's head), but it totally works for Blades too. The Dauphin is often used as a rescue helicopter so it fits with the character's function. For those who joke that it seems odd Blades has rockets on the side as a rescue helicopter, it is important to remember that G1 Blades was the "warrior" of the team and he too had blasters mounted onto the sides of the vehicle mode.

Not only does this vehicle mode echo the Dauphin, but it also borrows the rescue version's colors. The vehicle mode is mostly red plastic with silver parts on the side and rotors. White paint is used to paint a strip running along the sides of the vehicle. Under the rotor is the word "Rescue" on the sides as well. The windows are painted black and the rockets are painted silver. There is a beautiful tampograph on each of the vertical fins on the back. Each has a white stripe, then on top of that is an anchor icon with an Autobot symbol in the center. In a circle around the symbol are the words "Autobot Coastal Rescue". It's a really intricate detail that adds character to the vehicle mode.

All of the weapons connect to Blades without a problem. They're nice and tight and the black color contrasts nicely against the red plastic.

Transformation to Arm Mode (Starting in vehicle mode):

  1. Detach all weapons.
  2. Transform the fist piece into the hand. Flip out the four fingers that are sculpted together, then swing the thumb up to the side you want to form.
  3. Swing the helicopter rotors in.
  4. Swing the robot arms out to the side.
  5. Split the front end and swing them back to the sides.
  6. Lift up the panels that formed the top of the cockpit section.
  7. Swing the bottom panel of the front end down.
  8. Lift up the rotor section.
  9. Swing the top half of the vehicle's front end out, then extend it forward.
  10. Push the top and bottom halves of the vehicle's front end together.
  11. Rotate the lower half of the body around so the legs can bend as the Combiner's "elbow" joint.
  12. Swing the robot arms back down and push them into the tabs on the sides.
  13. Lift up the rear of the vehicle and push it up and then down (as if you were forming the robot mode).
  14. Swing the robot head down to reveal the Combiner connector piece.
  15. Attach the fist to the end of the arm.

Arm Mode:
Given his role as the more violent warrior of the Protectobot team, the arm mode really pushes the point. Between the rotor blade on the outside of the arm, the gatling guns on the fists and the rockets on the upper arm Blades doesn't even need to have a weapon in the fist to look threatening! I dig the way the arm mode fits the character so well.

Thanks to Blades' solid joints, the arm holds up well in various poses and he can hold up Powerglide in weapon mode without drooping down.

Transformation to Leg mode (Starting in vehicle mode):

  1. Detach all the accessories.
  2. Swing out the palm portion of the hand/foot piece to flatten it out. The thumb piece should act as a heel.
  3. Swing the back of the vehicle up and back down, just like it would be set in robot mode.
  4. Swing the top part of the cockpit section up.
  5. Split the cockpit itself and swing the parts out against the sides.
  6. Swing the rotor blades up.
  7. Push in the robot head to reveal the connection piece.
  8. Attach the foot piece to the 5mm port revealed in the cockpit area.

The tail/rotor piece can turn so if you want you can rotate it around or at an angle if you don't like it sticking out. It's really an optional feature and not 100% necessary.

Leg Mode:
Like Alpha Bravo, Blades is solid as a leg. Thanks in part to how streamlined the vehicle mode is, the leg looks less thick than some other Combiner Wars figures in this mode. His connection piece is nice and tight and he connects just fine to any torso piece.

Final Thoughts:
Blades is hardly a surprise, but he is a great update of the original character and he looks cool in each mode. I love how heavily armed he is, rivaling his G1 counterpart. He's a cool retool and redeco and worth adding to any "Combiner Wars" collection.

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