"Generations" Combiner Wars Protectobot Rook Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: May 2015
Price Point: $18.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Hand/Foot/Weapon, Two-pronged blaster

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
If you need a rescue deep behind enemy lines or deep beneath battlefield rubble, Rook can get it done. His durabyllium super-alloy armor can withstand punishing blasts and hold up under crushing weight, and his vast tactical knowledge can get him out of any jam. Combine and convert for awesome Transformers action! This Protectobot Rook figure wields his 2-pronged weapon in robot mode, and he converts fast to armored vehicle mode whenever he needs to rumble through the front lines for a rescue. But he can also become an arm or leg when the battle calls for you to build a truly hardcore Defensor warrior! (Other figures sold separately.) Whatever mode your Protectobot Rook figure is in, he?s going to bring maximum carnage to the fight! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

 The theme for the "Generations" segment of the "Transformers" toy line in 2015 is "Combiner Wars". The focus will be on updated versions of Combiners from the past (with some new elements thrown in for good measure). The idea is to take lessons learned from the Bruticus released a couple years ago and create better Combiners featuring a Voyager Class central body piece with Deluxe sized limbs. To spice things up a bit, some of the Legends Class figures released for "Combiner Wars" will be able to serve as weaponry for the combined giants.

Wave three of "Combiner Wars" brings back the Protectobots! While these characters have not exactly been ignored in fiction and the toy line, they haven't been a cohesive Combiner team in a long time. Some of the more recent releases of these characters (including the Protectobot Evac squad) were mostly redecos of previous figures without the ability combine. Rook is a new member of the Protectobot team, much in the same spirit of Alpha Bravo and Offroad being new members of the Aerialbot and Stunticon teams respectively.

The packaging for wave two of the Deluxe "Combiner Wars" figures is significantly different then the first wave. The first wave was a typical bubble on card, with the character art printed onto the card and a separate trading card featuring art from the "Transformers: Legends" mobile app. The back of the cards contained a ton of multi-lingual information with photos of the figure and a diagram of a Combiner made up of four Aerialbots and Dragstrip.

Starting with "Combiner Wars" wave two however, a lot changed. The card now features a repeating pattern featuring "Combiner Wars" characters on it. The back of the card has a brief bio of Blades with less legal information all over the place. Laid on top of the card is a comic book with Dead End's package art. Since the comic adds some extra weight and thickness, the bubble put on top of the card actually wraps around the edges and is taped onto the back to hold it in place. A sticker wraps around the edge of the bubble mentioning combining into Defensor. The figure is in a tray inside the bubble in robot mode. There is no more trading card included with the figure.

One of the most interesting points of this new packaging style is the back of the comic book. It features a full page bio of Blades written from the perspective of the the Autobot psychiatrist, Rung. It really helps give more color to the character's personality and sticks with many G1 elements which is very much appreciated by this old fan. Overall the packaging for wave two of the Combiner Wars Deluxe figures is much more robust than the first wave.

Rook comes with two accessories. The smaller weapon is a thin one with two prongs at the end. Along the sides are some intricate details including (non-working) hinges! While Rook can hold this weapon as a blaster or melee weapon, I believe it is also intended as a "rescue claw". I can imagine the "hinges" allowing the claw to extend forward and help rescue someone. There is a peg on the bottom and back of this piece, allowing Rook to hold it two different ways.

The other accessory is the hand/foot/weapon piece. Similar to the piece included with all the Deluxe "Combiner Wars" figures the piece has a curved piece which doubles as a thumb and heel and a front section with weaponry built in. As far as I can tell, this accessory is new to this wave and is not a reuse of similar accessories from other "Combiner Wars" figures. The front features what look like two rockets and on top of that are two cylinder shapes which I could imagine being anything from extra lights for rescue operations or even laser sights to use in targeting. This piece is sculpted in all black plastic.

Robot Mode:
Rook's write up paints him as a one robot rescue force, and by the looks of him I can believe it! His silouette is a strong looking one, with a wide chest, big shoulders, powerful looking legs and implications of a vehicle mode that is just as tough looking as his robot mode. Compare that to the other Protectobots who (for the most part) are rather sleek vehicles with smaller outlines and Rook definitely stands out visually among the Protectobots.

Rook isn't just about bulk however, this is one nicely sculpted figure. His chest has a distinct design, with angled armor panels overlapping angled sections underneath. His waist has a semi-circle pattern at the top while the section between his legs as a circle that looks almost like a headlight (echoing a design element on Movie Bumblebee). His arms have raised panels that resemble fuel tanks (but I prefer to imagine them as extra armor in this mode) and his legs have curved knee armor pieces and raised details under them with three rectangular holes. Since I first saw this figure at Toy Fair up close I could not help but think the head sculpt looks like Rook is wearing the Cybertronian equivalent of an Ushanka, a type of winter hat. The top of the "helmet" section looks like the high portion of an Ushanka and the panels on the side remind me of the flaps on that type of winter hat. The face however seems to draw inspiration from football helmets, with a cage sculpted over the middle of the face. This appearance adds to the rough and tough appearance of the character. It implies that he is ready for action under even cold and difficult conditions.

Rook is cast in white, black, silver and blue plastic. The colors are nicely distributed on the figure, with no color dominating. For instance, the upper arms and forearms are white plastic, but the elbows are blue. The torso and waist sections rely mostly on the black and silver plastic. Paint applications are done in blue, silver and black. Blue is used on the eyes, chest and the feet. Silver is used on the face and the raised panels on the shoulder. Black is used for the knee armor. Black text is found on the upper arms, spelling out the words "Police". A finishing touch is a silver and red Autobot symbol tampographed on the top of the head's "helmet" section. Rook looks great and I appreciate that his colors stay away from the red and white colors used on a couple of the other Protectobots. It helps to offer some visual balance while looking good on its own.

There are eighteen points of articulation on this figure. This includes three in each arm and five in each leg. The shoulder and hip joints are ball joints, so they allows a wide range of motion. He also has pirvot joints on his feet, allowing them to move at slight angles, offering more stability. Rook's fists are unusual in that they are not designed with a 5mm peg hole in them. Instead, there appears to be a serious looking blaster sticking out on top of each fist. It is this blaster that has a 5mm hole allowing you to attach his weapons. One fun thing you can do is use his hand/foot/weapon piece as a shield by connecting it to his wrist blaster. He also has weapon connection points on the sides of each upper arm. If you want to store his weapons out of the way you can do so using a hole on his back. Since there's only one hole on his "back pack" you will have to connect both weapons together to store them both in the back.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms, legs and head.
  3. Swing each robot foot down.
  4. Rotate each arm so it is pointing up.
  5. Swing each lower leg up against the thigh, then press the two lower legs together.
  6. Lift the "back pack" piece up.
  7. Turn the robot head around, then swing it back.
  8. Swivel each robot arm up.
  9. Rotate the forearms so the details with the "X" on them line up with the details that include an axe.
  10. Swing each arm forward, then push down the groove on the upper arms into the corresponding tab.p
  11. Swing the "back pack" forward and connect it to the section formed by the lower legs.
  12. The weapons can be attached to any of the three holes on top of the vehicle or the peg sticking out in the middle.

Vehicle Mode:
Looking over Rook's vehicle mode is a joy for any collector who is into detailed vehicle modes. From front to back this vehicle is choc full of details. In the front you have angled headlights and windows that give you a sense of how big Rook would be as a human vehicle. And then there are the panel doors and hatches everywhere. The top has three, the sides have two each. Then there are the "emergency equipment" details which amount to an axe and a hydraulic cutter tool reminiscent of the "jaws of life". In this form the "spare fuel tanks" from the robot mode make a lot more sense. This is one seriously cool vehicle with a ton of detailing.

In this mode Rook shows off mostly blue plastic on the top of half of the vehicle with some smaller blue parts towards the back and black in the center. Black is also used for the six wheels. The back reveals the silver from his robot mode's shoulder area. Yellow paint is used in the front for the headlights. Gunmetal grey is used on the windows in the front. Silver is used to paint the rescue tools and fuel tanks on the sides. The lower half of the vehicle has blue paint running along the edge from the front to the sides. The words "SWAT" and "POLICE" are printed on the sides of the vehicle as well as the top. Right behind the driver's compartment is a tampographed Autobot symbol in silver and red. This is a really nice deco and in my book it's only two deco applications away from being perfect. It would have been nice if the rear lights were painted as well as the rims on the wheels, but these are small concerns given how well the rest of the figure is painted.

Rook has four attachment points on the top of the vehicle for his weapons. There is a large 5mm peg in the center that you can attach the hand/foot/weapon to. Then there are three holes, two in the back an done in front. This allows you to attach weapons in several different ways which is pretty fun. He can also roll on all six wheels. Overall this is a very successful vehicle mode.

Transformation to Arm Mode (Starting in vehicle mode):

  1. Detach all weapons.
  2. Transform the fist piece into the hand. Flip out the four fingers that are sculpted together, then swing the thumb up to the side you want to form.
  3. Lift up the front section of the vehicle (the "back pack" from the robot mode).
  4. Swing each of the lower robot legs out and forward, then connect them together.
  5. Rotate the robot mode waist. Depending on which arm you want him to become the flat side of the lower legs should face up.
  6. Swing the robot head up.
  7. Swing the "back pack" against the robot arms.
  8. Swing the head back down.
  9. Swing the silver connection piece up from the torso.
  10. Connect the fist piece to the hole on the bottom of the robot feet.
  11. Any 5mm peg weapon can attach to the hole in the fist.

Arm Mode:
If there's one thing Rook has going for him in his arm mode it's bulk. Between his thick upper arm and wide forearm this looks like a Protectobot who can do some damage as Defensor's arm! The rockets built into his hands also adds a nice touch. Clearly this is arm is a powerful addition to Defensor.

If you want to be generous and count how many ways the fist pieces can move this arm has eight points of articulation on its own. I was really surprised by how tight the hip ball joints were. I would say of all the "Combiner Wars" figures I've opened so far Rook has the tightest joints in this area.

This mode offers two connection points for weapons. One on the upper arm and one in the fist.

There are no new deco reveals in this form, but all his vehicle mode deco shows in this form and it winds up distributed in such a way that there are really no plain looking sections of this mode, especially in the upper arm area.

Transformation to Leg mode (Starting in vehicle mode):

  1. Detach all the accessories.
  2. Swing out the palm portion of the hand/foot piece to flatten it out. The thumb piece should act as a heel.
  3. Swing the robot head up.
  4. Swing the "back pack" up and back against the robot arms.
  5. Push the robot head down.
  6. Swing the silver connection piece in the center of the torso up.
  7. Swing the robot feet up.
  8. Connect the foot piece to the bottom of the vehicle.

Leg Mode:
Just as the arm mode looks powerful, so does the leg mode. Indeed, with the front end of the vehicle mode placed right over the knee area it looks like Rook is designed to take some serious damage while approaching (and presumably kicking) enemies. You could of course also see the extra armor as protection during rescue operations requiring Defensor's great strength. Either way it looks really impressive. That said, the foot piece winds up looking rather small since the front of the vehicle mode actually sticks out a bit over the foot. All that said, the foot does keep the leg quite stable thanks in part to the extra support provided by the robot feet forming part of a stable base in the back.

This form allows you to connect a weapon to the knee armor area, but due to its position that would be more for weapons placement than anything else. You're probably better off attaching any weapons to Defensor's arms.

Final Thoughts:
Rook is an awesome figure. I know some fans had trepidation about a "new" Protectobot didn't sound like a cool idea, but the designers have come up with an amazing figure and a worthy member of the team. Rook is a fun figure and he looks great, you should go buy him, like now!

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