"Generations" Combiner Wars Computron Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: October 2016
Price Point: $99.99 (Suggested Retail)
Retailer: Limited Exclusive (Amazon, Bigbadtoystore, Entertainment Earth etc.)
Accessories: Hands x 2, Feet x 2, Rifle (Scattershot), Blasters x 2 (Afterbreaker), Shotgun (Lightsteed), Drill (Nosecone)

Official images are from Amazon.com. Official text in italics are from Bigbadtoystore:
In the Combiner Wars, teams of Autobots and Decepticons combine to form giant super robots and battle with the fate of worlds in the balance. Computron is never wrong. Of all the Combiner robots, he is the most successful at merging the different personalities of his component bots. The Autobot processes input from each of Technobots and evaluates all possible outcomes to identify the perfect plan of attack.

Join the battle and build a Combiner super robot with this 7-in-1 Combiner Wars Computron Collection Pack. Get 6 Technobots figures that combine to form a Computron Combiner figure in this 1 set. The Voyager Class Scattershot figure forms the torso of the Computron Combiner figure; the Deluxe Class Afterbreaker, Strafe, Lightsteed, and Nosecone figures form the arms and legs; and the Legends Class Scrounge figure becomes a Combiner weapon.

The Combiner Wars universal connection system means these figures work with other Combiner Wars figures. Combine the Scattershot figure with other Deluxe Class Combiner Wars figures or combine Afterbreaker, Strafe, Lightsteed, and Nosecone figures with other Combiner Wars Voyager Class figures to build more Combiner super robot figures. (Additional figures are each sold separately.) The pack also includes 12 accessories, a Cybaxx mini space shuttle figure, a Combiner Wars poster, and a collectible Computron character card.

The packaging for Computron resembles the one used for G2 Superion. It is a huge rectangular box with a black background. The side features a vertical "Transformers" logo with the "Generations" logo above it. Most of the box's front features Computron's poster art. The other side features the poster and card art that is packaged inside the box. Below that are photos of all six team members in vehicle mode. The back features a large, vertical photo of the character with a write up about him. The individual character names are broken out along the top of the box with cropped images of each team member.

In the Generation One era Combiners were often portrayed as relatively dim-witted giant engines of destruction. Some of the early G1 Marvel write ups on the Combiners chalked this up to the imperfect science of merging five or more different minds into a single one. Computron was a very different character. Instead of being a roaring, conflicted giant, Computron was cool headed, logical and basically a walking calculator who could pummel Decepticons into scrap. The cartoon showed him considering situations carefully, performing complex calculations and then acting, usually to devastating effect. As a kid I loved this contrast between him and other Combiners. Computron was also the second Autobot Combiner I was able to complete for many years in my collection (Superion was the first) so I have a fondness for the Technobot toys as well. As you can imagine, I was very happy to see Hasbro come out with a new version of the character for Combiner Wars.

It may sound odd, but the hand and foot pieces included with this set were one of the biggest selling points for fans. While the hand/foot/weapon pieces included with most "Combiner Wars" figures did a fine job for what they were, many fans lamented that there were not pieces that were purely hands or feet. Like the Victorion set, the designers decided to give this set new hand and foot pieces. Both are new sculpts, not reuses of the Victorion parts. Each of these parts is cast in maroon plastic, matching nicely with the maroon on Scattershot.

The fists are in a closed position with 5mm pegs in them. The feet are large, thick foot pieces that actually have an ankle joint where the Technobot limb attaches. This joint allows the foot piece to move side to side, allowing for more stable poses. When you are not using these parts, the hands can be stowed away by attaching them to the bottom of the foot pieces. Overall I was very impressed by these pieces. They made me wish that Hasbro had put them out in other colors for the other Combiners! These are definitely a highlight of this set.

 When I reviewed the first release of the Scattershot mold I commented on how the torso mode was way too similar to Superion both in sculpt and in color to really be separated as a different character. Unfortunately if you were hoping for an awesome new Computron head sculpt and new torso armor panels you're going to be disappointed. From a sculpting standpoint Computron's torso remains the same as Betatron's. That means the head sculpt is still Superion's head sculpt and the torso armor panels are based on Superion's designs, not Computron's. These are two very big missed opportunities. Indeed, I would have been happy with one or the other (though I lean towards a new head sculpt). I mean, they could have even cheated it and only resculpted the face and it still could have worked but sadly from a sculpting perspective there were no changes made.

Where I will give the designers credit are the colors. The perimeter of the torso is mostly the dark, maroon plastic from Scattershot which matches up nicely with the G1 character. The torso armor is red, which also matches nicely with G1 Computron. The head is also cast in the maroon color, again like G1 Computron. The designers also borrowed from G1 Computron for the colors on the head and torso. On the head the eyes are gold with red on the mouthplate, matching the G1 Computron toy. On either side of the chest are tampographs with a grey background and a circular red detail and a blue, angled detail under it. These tampographs are directly inspired by stickers on G1 Computron's chest. At least in this respect the designers tried to make a visual connection with G1 Computron.

 If you want to combine this set to match the traditional limb layout of the Technobots, it would go like this: Afterbreaker (right arm), Strafe (left arm), Lightsteed (right leg), Nosecone (left leg). Despite my reservations about the lack of a new head and/or torso armor sculpt, when you connect the limbs to the torso in this configuration the figure really does scream "I am Computron!". The outline is very distinctive including details like Afterbreaker's wheel hanging off the right shoulder area, the blasters on Strafe sticking up, the drill on Nosecone near the left knee and a segment of Lightsteed's vehicle mode hanging right under the right knee. In this respect the designers did really well with making Computron evoke his classic configuration from Generation One.

If you want to switch things up and have Lightsteed and Nosecone act as the arms you totally can. It really shakes up the profile but be warned, the result is Computron looking very top heavy. I prefer the classic arrangement mostly because it streamlines the figure and gives Computron a rather sleek appearance on the top part of his body.

 In the "classic configuration" Computron has twenty one points of articulation (I'm being generous and counting the ability of the hands to rotate in their slots). If you want to have all the accessories included in this set attached, I found it works best to have Afterbreaker's blasters connected to the 5mm ports on the sides of the thighs. Also, due to the way the ratchet joints at the hips are designed, Computron leans forward ever so slightly when combined. My solution to this is bending the Scattershot elbow joints slightly so he stands up straight. Since the forearm sections kind of hide the joint, it does not look odd in any way. Outside of this all the joints are relatively tight, with the ratchet joints of course being the strongest while some of the ball joints being just tight enough to hold up Scattershot's rifle, but not necesarily a Legends Class figure in weapon mode.

There is of course the new "sixth" Technobot we need to consider: Scrounge. The designers found an interesting way of incorporating the figure into Computron. Scrounge and Cybaxx attach to Strafe in vehicle form via a peg on the top of Strafe's vehicle mode cockpit section. Thanks to the shape of the flying saucer mode Scrounge winds up looking like a shoulder mounted shield in this form, though you've really got to feel sorry for a guy whose job it is to be a shield and take weapons fire for a bunch of other guys!

Final Thoughts:
Computron is a mixed bag. Overall the designers really tried to do their best (within, I assume, a limited budget) to produce a Computron set that calls back to the G1 character. In many ways they were successful. Afterbreaker's heavy retooling, Strafe's retooling (despite the lack of weaponry) and of course the inclusion of Scrounge are all highlights of this set. That said, you cannot ignore the Takara Tomy Computron which produced a set much more faithful to the original character. However, it will also cost you significantly more than this set. My best advice would be to do your best to get this set on sale. I purchased it for $64 on sale from Amazon during the "Black Friday" shopping season of 2016 and for that price I think it is well worth it. I would not go full price. If you're going to shell out $100+, just save up some more and go with the Japanese version.

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