"Generations" Combiner Wars Dust Up Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: April 2016
Price Point: $99 (In a boxed set with Jumpstream, Pyra Magna, Rust Dust, Skyburst & Stormclash)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc. - Sales were primarily online)
Accessories: Hands x 2, Feet x 2, Swords x 2, Axe, Shield, Crescent Blade

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Victorion is the first Fan-Built Combiner. Through voting in the Transformers app, fans voted on whether the team would be Autobot or Decepticon characters, their vehicle modes, what the Combiner robot's special power would be, and the name of this Combiner character. Bring home a piece of fan-made history and build a Combiner super robot with this Combiner Wars Victorion collection pack. In the Combiner Wars, teams of Autobots and Decepticons combine into giant super robots and battle with the fate of worlds in the balance. Laws don’t apply in the Sea of Rust, the unstable area of Cybertron where the Rust Renegades learned to work together and survive. When it’s time to stand tall, the team combines to form Victorion, the most relentless and resourceful Combiner.

The helicopter twins Skyburst and Stormclash make Victorion the only Combiner able to fly, and her extreme adaptability makes Victorion the only Combiner who can change her configuration to meet any challenge. Get 6 Rust Renegades figures that combine to form a Victorion Combiner figure. The Voyager Class Pyra Magna figure forms the torso; the Deluxe Class Dust Up, Jumpstream, Skyburst, and Stormclash figures form the arms and legs; and the Legends Class Rust Dust figure becomes Combiner armor. These figures work with other Combiner Wars figures! Combine the Pyra Magna figure with other Deluxe Class Combiner Wars figures or combine the Dust Up, Jumpstream, Skyburst, and Stormclash figures with other Combiner Wars Voyager Class figures to build more Combiner super robots! (Additional figures each sold separately.) The Pyra Magna figure converts from robot to fire truck. The Dust Up and Jumpstream figures convert from robot to sports car, the Skyburst and Stormclash figures convert from robot to helicopter, and the Rust Dust figure coverts from robot to motorcycle. Comes with 5 accessories, a poster, and a Victorion character card. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

In 2015 Hasbro held a poll on its web site to give fans a voice in planning out the next Combiner figure to be released. Fans were able to decide on the figure's gender, name, molds, color scheme, special power, place of origin, rival and personality. This extensive poll was much wider in scope than previous fan built Transformers since its results would affect not just one or two characters but an entire team and Combiner robot. The result of this poll was Victorion, the first "Scramble City" style Combiner with all female components. This represents a huge shift for the Transformers toy line. Once upon a time, a team of all female robots at this price point would have been unthinkable from a marketing perspective. However giving fans a say clearly helped push this idea through.

Note: Dust Up's name has been presented in two ways. Her toy packaging shows it as "Dust Up" (which is why I am using it that way here) but the name has also been typed out as "Dustup".

The base sculpt for this figure began as the Stunticon Dead End. It would go on to be retooled and given new decos as:

Now, I don't expect you to read all the reviews above before this one (though hey, I'm totally cool if you do!). For the best reference, check out the original Dead End review before checking this one out. This review will focus on the changes made to the base sculpt for this release.

The packaging for Victorion 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 Victorion'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. This figure has the distinction of being called "Fan Built" above her name and the "Combiner Wars" logo. The back features a large, vertical photo of the character with a write up about her. The individual character names are broken out along the top of the box with cropped images of each team member.

Dust Up's weapon is a crescent shaped blade. This forms part of the hilt of Victorion's sword so there are distinctive curves in the middle. The blades have several layers of detail which look really cool, giving the weapon a segmented appearance. The weapon has a 5mm peg in the center. What's neat is that the blade can also be attached to the top of the vehicle form in the back to form a cool looking spoiler!

The hands and feet on Victorion are new parts and do not follow the "hand/foot/weapon" design used on most of the "Combiner Wars" figures. Instead the hands are just that, two distinct hands and the feet only serve as feet. While that means Dust Up does not have an "extra" weapon as most "Combiner Wars" figures do, Victorion winds up having all new hand and foot pieces that are distinct from the rest of the line. The only unfortunate result of this is that when the six team members are separated they can't really use the hands and feet as weapons, so you just have to stow them away somewhere.

Vehicle Mode:
Dust Up's vehicle mode is the same as Dead End's in terms of sculpting. She's a sleek looking sports car with very modern (almost futuristic) looking curves and lines. Among my favorite details on this sculpt are the headlights, which look almost like narrow eyes, giving the vehicle an aggressive appearance. I also like the the way the sides of the vehicle's front end sweep up at angles and then curve towards the front.

This mode is mostly made up of green plastic (the same green found on other members of the team) and black plastic for the wheels. Some red plastic shows in the middle of the door sections, but a lot of the red you see in this mode is actually painted on. That means a surprising amount of red paint has been used on this figure. The red literally starts at the front of the vehicle and wraps around all the way to the back. The other paint color used on this mode is silver, and there's quite a bit of it! The silver starts in the front of the vehicle where it is used to color in the grille section, headlights and windshield. As you progress along the sides to the back silver is used to paint the sides of the wheels and all the car windows, which is surprising since more often than not, the rear windows are left unpainted nowadays. My only wish is that something had been placed on the hood. It's just a plain green color and it seems empty somehow. I feel like even a small Autobot symbol towards the front would have made a nice finishing touch for the deco.

If you look at the sides of the vehicle over the rear wheel wells, you will see several Cybertronian glyphs. These are part of a poem spoken by an ancient Autobot hologram in the G1 episode titled "Cosmic Rust". In that episode the Decepticons come across a planet that has been destroyed by a substance known as "Cosmic Rust". Since the fans voted for the Torchbearers to be from the "Sea of Rust" the designers thought it appropriate for the Torchbearers to each have a piece of this poem "tattooed" onto their bodies as a sign of defiance against something as deadly as Cosmic Rust. For those curious, the poem goes like this:

If Cybertron be your home, far away never roam.
Hear my message, listen and fear.
Danger comes, the end is near!
Just like us, you soon will rust.
All shall be turned to dust.

Some artistic interpretation of the Cybertronian symbols was done for this set, so I'm not exactly sure which character has which part of the poem on them. That said I think it's really cool that this part of G1 history found its way onto the deco of these figures.

As mentioned above, you can attach the crescent blade weapon to the top of the vehicle to make it into a spoiler. Dust Up still has the 5mm ports on the sides of the vehicle to, so if you want to loan Dead End's weapon to her it will fit nicely.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon and set it aside for now.
  2. Swing the parts with the rear wheel wells on them out.
  3. Swing the rear of the vehicle back, then swing the wheel wells back into place.
  4. Rotate the rear half of the vehicle around.
  5. Swing the windshield piece up and down.
  6. Swing the front of the car back.
  7. Move the sides of the vehicle up to begin forming the robot arms.
  8. Swing each robot fist out.
  9. Swing the panel under the car's front section down to reveal the robot head. Tab the shoulder armor into the chest.
  10. Swing the front of the vehicle up, then down so the bottom of that section is pressed against Dust Up's back.
  11. You can attach the weapon to either hand or shoulder area.

*It is worth noting that the chest panel tabs into the chest very tightly. There have even been reports of it not being able to connect to the chest at all, so be warned.

Robot Mode:
Dust Up features three key sculpt changes from the previous versions of this sculpt:

  • Head: This figure features an all new head sculpt that many have remarked looks a lot like Nightbird from the G1 cartoon and I'm in total agreement. The "helmet" section is round with three lines on top. The face has thin eyes and a mouth covering with horizontal lines running across. In addition there are circles on the sides of the head. All these details scream "Nightbird" to me.
  • Hands: The hands are all new pieces. Instead of the closed fist of Dead End these are hands in a curled position so they are slightly open. Both still have 5mm ports so you can have her hold weapons. Both hands are cast in silver plastic.
  • Chest: The chest panel from previous versions of this figure has been replaced with an all new panel. This one is a bit reminiscent of Silverbolt's with segmented sections and small vents on top.

The same red and green plastic color used on the other Torchbearers appears here. The arms, head and lower leg are mostly green while the rest of the figure is red. The red is still too bright for my tastes and the green, while fitting with the theme of characters from the Sea of Rust just doesn't appeal to me very much. Paint in the same green and red colors are used mostly on the arms, head and lower legs. Most of this paint is red however, so Dust Up winds up with a lot of red from head to toe. I wish there was a bit more balance, perhaps with some green or black in the middle area breaking up the red. The head has red paint on the top of the helmet, the sides, the brow and the faceplate. Here face is painted silver and her eyes are blue. I do wish there were some more silver details, perhaps on the chest or waste area to help break up the red. I love the sculpting on this figure, but the deco could have been much better.

All the joints on this figure are about as tight as the ones on some of the later releases of this base sculpt (such as Streetwis). That is to say, the arm joints are all nice and tight, but the ball joints on the hips feel a tad more loose than those on Dead End. For this mode it really doesn't matter since she can pose just fine, but in her arm mode it becomes an issue with holding heavier weapons. Interestingly the hinge joint for the hands is very tight, probably owing to those parts being new. The crescent blade weapon can fit nicely into her hands, however the peg is slightly too small to fit snug in the shoulder ports. Interestingly other weapons from the set such as Skyburst's sword can fit into it and hold without a problem.

Transformation to Arm Mode (Starting in robot mode):

  1. Detach all weapons.
  2. Take the fist/foot piece and fold the section with the thumb down, then swing the thumb up.
  3. On the left leg, swing the red piece down.
  4. Push the lower legs together.
  5. Rotate the waist piece to the side (either one is fine depending on which arm you are creating).
  6. Swing the robot fists into the forearms.
  7. Swing each robot arm down at the shoulder.
  8. Swing the robot head back into the front section of the car.
  9. Swing the front of the car and the head section back and down.
  10. Attach one of Victorion's hands to the red piece from step three.
  11. Swing up the connection piece in the robot torso.

Arm Mode:
The arm mode largely shows off the red color with some green showing on the upper and lower parts of the arm. In this form none of the new parts are really visible so it basically looks like Dead End in different colors in arm mode.

As mentioned above, the ball joints on the hips are not as tight as those on my Dead End figure. Holding one or two weapons is no problem, but Victorion's sword for instance is a tad heavy for the arm and I did find I needed to re position it now and then for it to hold the sword up.

Transformation to Leg mode (Starting in Vehicle Mode):

  1. Detach all the accessories.
  2. Push down a bit on the front of the vehicle.
  3. Swing the windshield piece up and back.
  4. Swing the front of the car up and back.
  5. Swing the robot head up and back so it rests in the piece that forms the front of the car.
  6. Swing the connection piece out from the robot torso.
  7. Attach the foot piece to the back of the car.

Leg Mode:
Throughout the Combiner Wars line I've generally preferred wider vehicles as legs, so this is my preferred limb form for Dust Up. The width of the leg helps make it look strong, especially when connected to the new foot pieces which have a nice hinge in front to allow for different poses.

Final Thoughts:
Dust Up is one of my preferred pieces out of this set, mostly due to the cool sculpt. I'm not crazy about her deco, partly because I think she needs more detailing in robot mode (the vehicle mode is fine overall). However from a retooling and sculpting perspective I really like the Nightbird inspired head, the new chest and hands. I also dig her unique weapon. If this figure had more details (perhaps more silver and black) I would definitely be more effusive about it.

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