"Generations" Combiner Wars Needlenose Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: April 2016
Price Point: $297 (for the Transformers Subscription Service 4.0 with a total of seven figures)
Retailer: Fun Publications Exclusive
Accessories: Hand/Foot/Weapon; Blaster; Sunspot Targetmaster figure/weapon; Zputty Targetmaster figure/weapon

In 2016 Fun Publications began to ship the action figures for the "Transformers Subscription Service 4.0". The theme of this series of figures was a new Combiner known as "Thunder Mayhem". Comprised of five G1 Decepticons, this series focused on Transformers introduced in the latter half of "Generation One". The first of these was the Decepticon known as Needlenose, who was one of the G1 "dual Targetmasters" who included two Targetmaster figures that could become individual weapons or combine into a super weapon.

For this release, Fun Publications worked hard to make the figure a premium release. The base figure for Needlenose is the Firefly sculpt. The figure was then given a new head sculpt and deco for his release as Quickslinger. More recently Quickslinger was given a second release as G2 Quickslinger. This isn't just a redeco however. It also includes the Targetmasters that came with Scoop. The same Targetmasters were previously used for the Botcon 2015 exclusive Sgt. Hound figure. Check out the Firefly and Scoop reviews for a detailed look at the base figures in this set. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

Needlenose comes inside a cardboard box with a foam tray inside. The instructions and tech specs are inside a plastic bag underneath the foam. The figure is stored in vehicle mode with the accessories laid out around it. The box has three stickers holding the flaps together with "TFSS 4.0 1" on it.

Needlenose includes the two accessories that came with Firefly. Both pieces have been cast in light grey plastic wit no paint applications. The joints on the hand/foot/weapon piece are nice and tight. He also includes the two Targetmaster figures which are discussed in more detail below.

Sunbeam is a redeco of Caliburst (originally included with Scoop). No mold changes were made to this figure for this release. Since the Targetmasters have a fairly generic "humanoid in a mechanical looking suit" appearance, there really isn't any retooling needed. Using the G1 version of Sunbeam as reference, this figure is cast in purple plastic. The waist and lower legs are painted white. The mid to forearms are painted red along with the face. Overall the deco looks great and really does help sell this as a modern day version of Sunbeam.

While the joints on Sunbeam are tight, his right arm has a tendency to pop off when moved up and down. The handle for this weapon mode still works without a problem, but if you push on it too hard it can detach from the figure. It's easily reattached however.

Zputty is the new name for "Zig Zag", most likely due to trademark reasons. I'm not 100% sure where the term comes from (when I think of Putty, I think of an SSH client but the term "Zputty" itself might be referring to enemies of the Power Rangers. Either way it's a very unique name in the pantheon of Transformers characters.

There were no mold changes made to this figure for this release. Zputty is cast in black plastic with yellow and white paint roughly matching up with his G1 deco. The mid-lower arms and legs are yellow while his waist and face are white.

Unlike Sunbeam, there are no issues with Zputty's sculpt. His joints are tight and no parts fall off unless you push too hard.

The combined weapon form still connects together without a problem. I did hear from at least one friend that the handles in between the legs of the individual figures can be loose or floppy, so be careful with those and understand your mileage will vary.

Vehicle Mode:
Needlenose's vehicle mode in G1 was based on the F-16XL jet fighter so having him turn into another model of jet fighter isn't that much of a stretch for this release. What's impressive however is how well Fun Publications managed to recreate the G1 deco on this vehicle mode even though it has a different overall shape than G1 Needlenose.

Like his G1 counterpart, this new Needlenose is cast in light grey, blue and lavender plastic. Grey makes up most of the vehicle with blue plastic on the front and vertical fin in the back. The lavender shows from the sides. The tip of the nosecone is rubbery blue plastic. Right off the bat these colors call back to G1 Needlenose. However it's the paint and the tampographs that really make this deco shine.

Red paint is used on the cockpit. Black is used on the vents that flank the nosecone section. The wings and his stabilizer fins in the back all feature beautiful metallic green stripes along with white ones. The rear edge of the wings have black and gold line details. The metallic green color does a great job of replicating the green foil stickers used on the G1 figure. There are Decepticon symbols that overlap the green and white details on the rear horizontal stabilizers. On the G1 toy similar details were found on the wings. The deco is relatively simple, but it's beautiful and pays homage to the G1 version of the character very well.

Thanks to the design of the wings, you can attach any of the accessories to the underside of the wings. This includes the Targetmasters. Just be careful when you attach the Targetmasters. Push too hard and the connection points can pop out. They snap back on easily enough.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Swing the vertical fin up.
  3. Swing the horizontal fins up.
  4. Swing the wings up.
  5. Flip the figure over and swing the robot arms out and up.
  6. Swing the nosecone back, then forward, bending it at the hinge.
  7. Swing the front and rear halves of the legs down and connect them together.
  8. Split the legs apart to form both legs.
  9. The weapons can be attached to the fists or attached to the wings in back for storage.

Robot Mode:
Needlenose's robot mode is a direct redeco of Firefly with no retooling, yet it works remarkably well as Needlenose thanks to a coincidence of design and the colors. The head sculpt for instance features a face with a determined/mean expression and a mouthplate. Over that face is a helmet section with intricate designs and a central crest. This is similar in design to G1 Needlenose's head which also had a mouthplate but that head was arguably more distinct, looking like the helmet of a medieval knight. G1 Needlenose's body was fairly generic with blocky parts and line details on raised sections of the torso. Given that, Firefly's design works as Needlenose thanks to the vent-like designs on his torso and the angled designs on his arms and legs.

The same colors featured in vehicle mode appear here. The light grey is used for the head, torso, shoulder joints, thighs and lower legs. The arms are lavender and the waist and knees are blue plastic. These colors match up very well with G1 Needlenose to a remarkable degree. It doesn't stop there however. A lot of deco is used on this figure to make it match up even more with the G1 version. That includes yellow on the face, blue on the legs and even some metallic green on the lower legs that calls back to a sticker on the G1 version of the figure. His feet are painted lavender, matching up very well with the arms. Blue paint is used on the lower part of the torso section and it matches up very nicely with the blue form the cockpit. Some additional detail comes in the form of red on the eyes and black on the knee armor. Overall this is an awesome deco and I'm very happy with how well it came out. Fun Publications did an amazing job on this guy.

All the joints on this figure are relatively tight, though the hip ball joints are a tad more loose than the ones on my copy of Firefly. He has no problem holding any of his accessories or storing them on the wings.

Transformation to Arm Mode (Starting in vehicle mode):

  1. Detach all weapons.
  2. Swing the vertical fin up.
  3. Swing the horizontal fins up.
  4. Swing the wings up.
  5. Flip the figure over and swing the robot arms out to the sides.
  6. Swing the nosecone back, then forward, bending it at the hinge.
  7. Swing the front and rear halves of the legs down and connect them together.
  8. Transform the hand/foot/weapon piece into a fist and attach it to the bottom of the feet.
  9. Swing the lower arms back against the wings.
  10. Swing the Combiner connection piece up.

Arm Mode:
The arm mode has a nice combination of colors. With the light grey making up most of the figure, the colors work really well against other "Combiner Wars" figures. The blue and lavender colors offer good contrast against the grey, but they're not overwhelming in any way with other colors mixed into a larger Combiner.

The ratchet joint on the Combiner connection piece is nice and strong. However because the ball joints on the hips are not very tight he can't really hold heavy weapons up.

Transformation to Leg mode (Starting in vehicle mode):

  1. Detach all the accessories.
  2. Swing the vertical fin up.
  3. Swing the horizontal fins up.
  4. Swing the wings up.
  5. Transform the hand/foot/weapon piece into the foot and attach it to the bottom of the feet.
  6. Swing the Combiner connection piece up.

Leg Mode:
This mode concnetrates the colors together more, making it much more visually interesting. Everything connects nice and tight so no worries about stability. That said, I think because of the angled shapes of the wings and relatively thin design of the legs I prefer the arm mode over the leg mode for this figure.

Final Thoughts:
Needlenose is really impressive. It's not just the deco, but the decision to include the Targetmasters and how well a straight forward redeco works for the character is really amazing. This is an awesome start to the fourth iteration of the Collector's Club subscription service.

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