Release Date: April 7, 2016
Price Point: $49.00
Retailer: Fun Publications (Botcon Exclusive)
Accessories: Hand/Foot/Weapon, Shotgun
The theme for Botcon 2016 was the "Dawn of the Predacus", riffing off the "Beast Wars" Combiner character known as Tripredacus. The story told the tale of the fall of the Decepticons and the rise of the Predacons, featuring many Maximal and Predacon characters in their "pre-Beast Wars" forms. Botcon had played with this theme before in 2006 with the "Dawn of Future's Past" set, featuring vehicular forms for many Beast Wars characters. Interestingly this year's set seems more aligned with Hasbro's mass release figures, being labeled as "Combiner Wars" instead of "Timelines". That places this set of figures under the "Generations" banner instead.
"Unit-3" was featured in that story as Tigatron's partner. The name "Unit-3" is a play on the name of the toy he is based on. Back in the "Beast Wars" era, there was a McDonalds toy intended for younger kids named "Under 3". This figure looked like a lion head that folded open to reveal an Optimus Prime/Primal-esque robot inside. It is that figure which inspired the colors of this one.
The base sculpt for this figure was first released as Dead End, then retooled and given a new deco as Brake Neck (aka Wildrider). Around the middle of last year the tool underwent a significant rework and was released as the Protectobot Streetwise. Then late last year the Streetwise sculpt was given a retool and new deco as Prowl. More recently the base sculpt appeared as the G2 themed Dead End. Check out all the other reviews (especially Streetwise) to get a good background on this sculpt before reading this review.
Unit-3 is packaged in a sealed plastic bag along with tech specs and weapons. He is labeled as the "Botcon 2016 Souvenir Set #2". The figure itself is in an additional plastic bag inside the larger bag.
Unit-3 includes the same two accessories as Streetwise. The smaller accessory is a tri-barrel shotgun, one of my favorite weapons out of all the Combiner Wars blasters. This weapon is now cast in black plastic. The other accessory is his hand/foot/weapon piece now cast in silver with a black hinge piece at the base of the thumb. The hinge at the thumb is a bit more loose compared to the accessory on my Streetwise figure, but it's not floppy by any means. Both accessories still fit nice and snug into the 5mm ports on Unit-3 himself.
Unit-3 does not feature any tooling changes. He is a direct redeco of Streetwise, which actually fits the character since he was in some type of law enforcement when partnered with Tigatron. The vehicle mode also fits since he was a sleek, futuristic looking car in the 2006 Botcon comic book. In many ways this mode looks like a large upgrade of his previous form.
The original Under 3 McDonalds toy was all yellow plastic in its "beast" form, so Fun Publications used that as the starting point for this figure. Most of this figure is a bright yellow plastic. Black plastic is used for the wheels and some of the bits showing in the back. Where this figure stands out however is the deco, which is really fantastic.
Starting in the front the vent areas on the sides are painted black. The center section is also painted black, with the four lights painted red at the ends. The headlights have a beautiful black and red pattern on them, taking full advantage of the sculpted detail. The hood has a tampographed Maximal symbol in the center in red and black. Black paint is used on all the windows (yes, even the back one) and the light bar on top. Running along the sides are stripes that look like they're from a tiger (close enough to a lion I guess). The raised vent sections on the top of the vehicle's rear section have red tampographs with black outlines. The finishing touch is silver paint, which you'll find on the front of the vehicle as well as the sides of the wheels. Not shockingly, the back of the vehicle is unpainted, but that is typical for this line.
If you've read my other "Combiner Wars" reviews, you'll know that this is a lot of deco for one of these figures. It also matches the theme of the original figure he was based on very well. Add on his accessories and he really looks amazing.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
- Flip the vehicle over and swing out the panels on the rear section.
- Swing the rear of the vehicle out and straighten out the legs.
- Swing the leg panels back in place.
- Nudge the front of the vehicle up a bit, then swing back the windshield/windows piece.
- Swing the front of the vehicle back.
- Swing the panel with the robot head on it forward and swing the chest panel down.
- Push the front of the vehicle down.
- Swing up each of the robot arms.
- Swing out the robot hands.
- Rotate the waist section around.
- The weapons can fit in the hands or attach to the 5mm ports on the shoulders.
If you thought all the good deco would go to the vehicle mode leaving little for the robot mode I'm happy to report that is not the case. Unit-3's colors are largely based on the McDonalds toy, which had copious amounts of black and red in robot mode. On the original "Under 3" toy the yellow plastic made up the outer edge of the robot with the red and black inside. In a way the same has been done here. The arms and lower legs are yellow plastic, but the rest of the plastic on this figure is black. This is a great start, but now the paint colors come into play.
The paint colors used on this figure all carry over from the vehicle mode: red, black and silver. The red is found on his eyes, a Maximal symbol on his chest, the mid-body, the forearms and his lower legs. Black paint is found on the forearms and the lower legs. Finally silver is used for his head, chest and forearms. Among my favorite decos are the ones on the forearms which starts with black on the outside, has silver in the middle and then red towards the inside. I also love the way red is layered over the black on his legs. Overall the deco is gorgeous.
There have been no tooling changes made to this figure for this release. It is a straight up reuse of the Streetwise sculpt. Surprisingly the joints on my copy of the figure are about the same as my Streetwise.
Transformation to Arm Mode (Starting in vehicle mode):
- Detach all weapons.
- Take the hand piece and swing the fingers and thumb out, bending the piece so it forms a fist.
- Swing the panels on the back of the vehicle out.
- Swing the robot legs out and then split them apart in the middle.
- Rotate the piece to connect the fist down.
- Swing the panels back into place.
- Swing the windshield back.
- Swing the front of the vehicle up and back.
- Swing the robot head and chest plate back.
- Depending on which arm you want Prowl to be, rotate the robot waist left or right.
- Attach the fist to the end.
I really love the way the deco works out on the arm mode. There's just so much deco and yellow is such an atypical color in "Combiner Wars" that he stands out and in a good way. The elbow joints (or rather the robot hip joints) are tight enough to hold a weapon up, but holding a Legends Class figure like say, Powerglide up in weapon mode requires moving the joint in a bit, so the elbow is tucked in (and giving the arm extra support). The fist piece connects nice and tight to the port at the wrist so that is not a concern.
Transformation to Leg mode (Starting in vehicle mode):
- Detach all the accessories.
- Swing the windshield back.
- Swing the front of the car back and down.
- Attach the foot piece to the bottom of the vehicle.
Pretty much everything I said for the arm mode goes here, except the only joint you have to worry about is the knee/ratchet joint and that is nice and tight.
Unit-3 has one of my favorite decos from the Botcon set. Also from the perspective of the "Combiner Wars" line as a whole he is the only one who uses this specific color palette. I'm also a huge fan of the red/silver/black colors on a robot and the homage to the "Under 3" toy makes the fanboy in me very happy. I already love the base sculpt so the deco is just icing on the cake. This is one of the best pieces to come out of the Botcon 2016 set.