"Generations" Combiner Wars Windcharger Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: 2015
Price Point: $9.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Amazon, Target etc.)
Accessories: None

*Images above and text below in italics is from Amazon.com:
Convert, arm and attack with all the Transformers action you can handle! Windcharger is a fierce Autobot who captures and controls his targets with ultra-powerful magnetic fields. This Windcharger figure looks just like him and he’ll be a match for any Decepticon who tries to take him on! He converts fast from robot mode to speedy sports car mode, and no enemy can hope to escape him! Keep converting him back and forth so he can handle whatever his foes dish out! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

The Legends Class of figures continues its run in 2015 in "Combiner Wars". The figures are still roughly the size of a Commander Class figure (but bigger, with more complexity) but this year the Micromaster partners have been removed from the packs. In some cases this works out since the figures like Bombshell have three modes, however other figures are simple redecos/retools of previous Legends Class figures. One such figure is Windcharger.

In Generation One, Windcharger was one of the original Autobots on the crew of The Ark with Optimus Prime. Later, the G1 Windcharger toy would be retooled and given a new deco as Tailgate. In recent years, Tailgate has become one of the stars of the IDW Publishing comic book series, so last year we were fortunate enough to get a new toy of the character. Now history has reversed itself, with a redeco and retool of Tailgate being released as Windcharger! This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release, so check out Tailgate's review for my detailed thoughts on the base sculpt.

Robot Mode:
Windcharger received an update back in 2011, but that figure has been out of production for quite some time now. This time out, instead of an original sculpt all his own, he shares the same body as Tailgate. His head however is a new sculpt based on his appearance in the IDW Publishing comic books. Unlike his G1 counterpart who had a wide, blocky looking head (influenced by the wide, blocky head on the G1 toy), this modern interpretation of Windcharger gives him a more "normal" looking Transformers head complete with a "helmet" section and a face. The top of the "helmet" area comes to a point in the center and the panels on either side of the face end in a triangular pattern. Overall the sculpt looks great and while different from his G1 counterpart, he is still recognizable as Windcharger.

On G1 Tailgate, the chest piece from Windcharger was swapped out with a new one to give him a more distinct look. That didn't happen here, but it works out since the chest piece was designed to have elements of Windcharger's design on it including a raised section in the middle in a rectangular shape. His legs have the same "window cover" panels as Tailgate, but it also acts as a call back to his G1 incarnation who had similar details on his lower legs. His arms are bulkier than G1 Windcharger, but they help give the figure an extra tough appearance. In a weird way, given that his primary "power" is magnetism via his arms, this is also appropriate if you imagine these huge magnetism generators built into them.

Windcharger is primarily cast in a really beautiful, metallic red plastic. The rest of his parts are grey and black. The grey is used on smaller parts like the thighs and the joint that connects the arms to the torso. Black is seen found on the vehicle mode wheels, which are visible in this form. Windcharger's paint colors are a combination of black, gunmetal grey, silver and blue. At first glance it may seem like he doesn't have a lot of paint, but a closer inspection shows that the entire panel on his chest to the mid-body is painted gunmetal grey. Then on top of that you have black and silver on the chest itself. The face is painted silver with blue eyes and his lower legs are painted black under the knees to the ankles. Overall I think this deco looks fantastic.

There are eight points of articulation on this figure. Each fist can hold a 5mm peg weapon. All the joints are still nice and tight as well.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Rotate each of the forearms so the insides of the arms face inward.
  2. Straighten out the legs.
  3. Swing each of the feet back.
  4. Rotate the lower legs so the front of each lower leg faces the other.
  5. Swing the back panel down.
  6. Swing the central hinge down.
  7. Move the legs up, tucking the legs in the middle section.
  8. Swing the arms up, connecting the shoulders in the middle.
  9. There are tabs that connect to slots on each foot, these help add stability.
  10. Push the rear wheel well panels in (attaching the tabs to the corresponding slots).
  11. The tabs on the sides should fit under the rear wheel well panels.

Vehicle Mode:
If you read my Tailgate review you'll know that I really love this vehicle mode. It has some great "muscle car" design elements, looking both sleek and powerful all at the same time. The four large lights on the front, the engine sticking out of the hood and his four tailpipes really give you the sense of a car that can hold its own in a race!

On top of its cool sculpt, the red color really pops. Sure Tailgate's white color was true to the G1 character, but something about a red sports car is mighty cool in my book. Silver is used to paint the engine and the headlights in the front. Black is used to paint the windows (even the rear one!). I like the way he looks but I do wish the sides of the wheels were painted. This is one detail that's been left out of a lot of Transformers in the past couple years and it still irks me when I see it.

The engine section on the hood has a 5mm port in it, allowing you to attach a weapon. While I get the economic realities of not including another figure with this one, I do wish that perhaps even a non-transforming weapon had been included.

Final Thoughts:
Windcharger himself is a cool update of the original character and a great retool/redeco of Tailgate. What works against this figure the most is the lack of any accessory. I get the economic reality of not including a transformable Micromaster, but even just a small gun would've been cool (though no doubt would've added another dollar to the price point). Still, if you're a G1 fan and enjoy updates of characters from that era, this figure is for you!

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