Posts Tagged Power Core
Power Core Combiners was an interesting, yet ultimately flawed toyline. Containing some pretty awesome and some remarkably yawn-worthy entries, there’s really nothing too out of the ordinary about the toyline as a whole. Unfortunately there’s no single fiction to tie them to, causing some consternation amongst the fans — we do so like our clearly delineated continuities. I don’t quite understand where Hasbro was going with this line. Was it some kind of experiment in what the franchise would tolerate? Was it someone’s pet project? It’s hardly the first line to happen concurrently with another, fiction-driven line. Machine Wars, Alternators, Universe (2008), Dinobots, Classics/Generations are all examples of lines that existed alongside another line for which there was a cartoon or a movie, but Power Core Combiners showed up when the 2010 Movie toys were sitting on shelves right next to the Generations stuff. Granted, the 2010 Movie stuff — especially the “Reveal the Shield” and “Hunt for the Decepticons” stuff — and the Generations were more-or-less the same line, but it seems like a bad idea to try to run three differently packaged lines at the same time. For whatever reason, Power Core Combiners ran its course and has been put to bed, but it did give us some pretty great brand-new molds, as well as a slew of new, translucent Mini-cons and that’s earned it a place on my shelves.
Searchlight, one of the first of the line that I got my hands on, happens to be one of those pretty great ones. He shares a name and a paintjob with the G1 Throttlebot Searchlight, but that’s pretty much where the connection ends. Rather than the silent spy with a rally car for an alt mode, PCC Searchlight has a tandem-rotor, Chinook-like helicopter alt mode to assist him as “the most skilled search and rescue operative the Autobots have.”
As one of the 2-pack Power Core Combiners, he came with a Mini-con partner. Combined with his Mini-con, Searchlight’s alt mode gains additional searchlights, a winch, and a gun.
Just like the other Power Core Combiner Mini-cons, Searchlight’s Mini-con partner, Backwind (the “wind” being pronounced [wahynd] like the action of winding a rope, not [wind] like the movement of air), has four total modes. This brings us to my favourite part of Searchlight, his robot mode. I particularly like his headsculpt, like a lot of the Power Core line, it is very unique looking.
Backwind’s last mode is “Armor Mode” where he forms an armor chestplate for Searchlight, who — as a Power Core Commander — has a Power Up mode for combining with any of the Power Core drones. I personally think Searchlight looks better with the Aerialbot drones than their actual Commander, Skyburst.
Searchlight’s Power Up mode head reminds me a lot of Animated Ultra Magnus or even Animated Sentinel Prime, but that might just be that humongous chin of his.
I left off the last post with “here’s hoping we have better luck with Grimstone and the Dinobots”. The answer is an emphatic yes… mostly.
Grimstone himself, is wonderful. His colour scheme — and that of his Dinobot drones — is patterned in the grey, red, gold, and silver of the original Dinobots.
Likewise, the Dinobot drones all look pretty dangerous, despite three of them being herbivores and one not even being a dinosaur at all.
First, the non-dinosaur of the bunch, which was also mislabeled on the packaging. The Dimetrodon drone, mistakenly called a Spinosaurus, is the one predator of the group, and is actually a synapsid. I’m assuming, seeing as all the other drones have visible weaponry, that the protrusions below his chest are guns of some sort.
The Dimetrodon forms one of the two arms of the combined mode, with his head making the hand. Due to this, he is the only drone that can open and close his mouth. The other arm is the Parasaurolophus drone, my favourite of the drone designs. There’s just something really cool looking about him.
Much like the dimetrodon, another staple of “dinosaur” Transformers is the ankylosaurus. The Ankylosaurus drone follows in the Parasaurolophos drone’s lead by bringing some heavy weaponry. His design reminds me of a mix of Gairyū and Doryū of Dinoforce from the Japan-only series Transformers Victory.
Lastly is a fun dinosaur, the thick-skulled Pachycephalosaurus drone.
These have jumped straight to my favourite set of drones and my favourite commander of the entire PCC line.
Where the “mostly” comes in is his combined mode. Don’t get me wrong, I like it a lot, and it has taken it’s place as my favourite PCC Autobot — a spot previously owned by Double Clutch and his Rallybots. It wasn’t enough to bump Bombshock and the Combaticons off my number one overall favourite PCC combined mode.
Grimstone’s crest forms a skull-like chestplate and the unified colour scheme really makes this an awesome combined mode. Beast Wars long ago made me perfectly fine with heads/mouths as hands, so the hand formed by his Dimetrodon drone is cool with me. However, rather than a hand formed from his Parasaurolophos drone, he ends up with a giant pincer of sorts. Just looking at it, the designers really missed an opportunity. By having the tail fold down rather than up, he could have had a three clawed hand, rather than two awkward-looking pincers. It’s still not enough to throw the whole design off, so I am quite happy with this guy. There’s a good chance he might be the only PCC Commander and drone set to be displayed in alt mode because, let’s face it, robot dinosaurs still rule.
When the concept of the Power Core Combiners was announced, it was met with mixed reaction by fans, myself included. In some cases, such as the wonderful Bombshock and his Combaticons, the commander didn’t suffer; he had three very solid modes.
However, Steamhammer doesn’t live up to this. His robot mode is an odd-mishmash; basically a small robot carrying the combined mode’s head and shoulders like an awkward backpack. To up the awkward factor just a bit more, the front part of his treads – which, oddly enough, have detailing that looks like they could serve as guns, but have no way of being positioned that would allow them to be used as guns — protrude far out and up from his shoulders. But wait! It’s gets even better, the sides of his alt mode’s cabin area extend backwards from his forearms, awkwardly hindering his arm range-of-motion.
I don’t know, maybe we’ve just had too many Constructicon permutations? His alt mode is a bulldozer, and… well, that’s really all I can say about it.
The paint applications on the shovel are a nice touch, just not enough to save the whole thing from mediocrity. One thing I can say is, though there have been a good assortment of “Constructicon” vehicles over the years, by utilizing a drill, a plow, a steamroller, and a front-end loader, the choices of vehicles for these Constructicon drone units is definitely unique.
The combined mode is definitely where most of the design went. Steamhammer’s drones — at least two of them — do something that none of the rest of the Power Core Combiner sets has done: thumbs. Steamhammer’s combined mode has two actual, well-defined hands. Of course, he continues the awkward random pieces jutting out and up from both of his upper arms, but that’s pretty common to Constructicons in general.
Those hands, with their clawed fingers, really make it, though. Varied and detailed drones makes for a pretty decent combined mode with actual hands; thereby managing to salvage what is otherwise a snooze-inducing commander figure.
Oh well, here’s hoping we have better luck with Grimstone and the Dinobots. We have to, right? I mean… it’s robot dinosaurs. Robot dinosaurs are always cool.
a person who drives a motor vehicle too fast, esp. habitually.
Seriously, one of the best names to ever come out of Transformers. I mean, what else do you call a robot who actually is a motor vehicle that habitually drives too fast? Leadfoot isn’t all about speed, though. He’s also a master of infiltration with a minicon partner that actually renders him invisible to sensors. In personality, alt-mode, and name, he is an homage to the original Leadfoot, one of the G2 Autobots.
Anothe little bit of detail is that his alt-mode is apparently sponsored by “Blackrock”. Blackrock Industries/Enterprises was the oil company and defense contractor that showed up throughout the original Marvel comic book. Luckily Leadfoot doesn’t homage his G2 counterpart’s colour scheme, replacing the overly vibrant yellow and blue with a nice, calm, orange and white with gold highlights. The translucent yellow on his minicon partner, Pinpoint, goes perfectly.
Pinpoint himself is a bundle of homages. First, his name and the fact that he has a weapon mode harkens back to the Targetmaster partner Pinpointer.
Second, his transformation and engine details perfectly mimic the G1 Powermaster partners.
This makes Leadfoot a PowerTargetmaster — or rather, PowerCoreTargetmasterCombiner, I guess.
Speaking of the “Combiner” part of PCC, even more luckily for this Leadfoot he doesn’t homage the original’s gimmick either. As a member of the “Rotor Force”, G2 Leadfoot had a large, spinning rotor that could be launched, presumably in the general direction of the bad-guys, I mean, have you ever tried to aim one of those things before?
As a Power Core Combiner Commander (say that five times fast), Leadfoot has a third mode. He transforms into a torso with the universal connectors to attach any of the other Power Core drone limbs. Despite having a third mode, his other two modes don’t really suffer at all. Naturally, being a race car, I attached Double Clutch’s Rallybots to him.
When I first saw Leadfoot’s Combined Mode head, the first thing I thought of was not actually a Transformer, but a G.I. Joe character. For some reason, and maybe it is just me, I see the Cobra B.A.T. when I look at it.
The best part? I can’t think of a thing to complain about with this guy! In fact, he has quickly advanced to the top of my favourite Autobot PCC Commanders.
You don’t want to know what I did to get a command position (Mwahaha!). Bombshock and the Combaticons!
I had to qualify my previous post with “Double Clutch is my favourite of the Autobots released so far.” This guy is the reason for that qualification. Of the 5-pack Power Core Combiners released so far, Bombshock and the Combaticons are by far my favourite. He just looks mean and he is bristling with weaponry. His bio states that he “was once a member of the most elite unit in the Cybertronian military. He betrayed his comrades, and his reward was to become commander of a powerful Decepticon Power Core team.”
One thing that sets him apart from others is that for having three modes, none seem to suffer. Double Clutch has very solid alt- and torso modes but his robot mode suffers; with a large, wide chest piece that hinders arm articulation and a very large back piece awkwardly protruding well over his head and shoulders. Bombshock doesn’t have any of these problems. His robot mode has a good deal of articulation in the arms. For being what is ostensibly a Scout-class figure on his own, he looks pretty intimidating. Hasbro seems to be going to great lengths to add detailing to headsculpts these days. Bombshock’s headsculpt brings to mind a goggled helmet, something you might expect a nazi tank driver to be wearing in the movies. In a wonderful piece of homage, he harkens back to the G1 Combaticon Commander Onslaught, with his twin cannons situated on his back.
Hasbor’s new idea– that we first heard at Botcon 2010 — is that, rather than “Combaticons”, or “Aerialbots”, or “Protectobots”, being five very specific robots, there are multiple squads of these groups, some full 5-robot Combiners, some Power Core Combiners, and some not Combiners at all. It’s a great expansion of the fiction, allowing Bombshock and his Combaticon drones to exist right along with Onslaught, Brawl, Vortex, and the rest of the G1 Combaticons. Bombshock’s alt-mode takes Onslaught’s Anti-aircraft Truck and updates it. The two forward-facing cannons are replaced with an actual turret, to allow swiveling. In effect, even his alt-mode has great articulation!
I was disappointed in my first Power Core Combiner purchase, as much as I like Bombshock and the Combaticons, his series-mate, Skyburst and the Aerialbots is just a mess of awkward protrusions and arms that end in not-quite-hands. However, Bombshock and the wave 2 5-packs has rekindled my excitement for the line. Especially Bombshock and the Combaticons.
Though I have no interest in wave 3 — nothing but mix-and-match repaints of 2-pack Commanders and previously released drones – the future wave images of Steamhammer and the Constructicons and Grimstone (thank you, Hasbro, for not using the name Grimlock) and the Dinobots look like the best may be yet to come.
So, I’m cheating this week… sort of… but not really. I set out to do one combiner a month, during the last week of each month. This week, however, I’m sticking to the letter, if not the spirit of that idea. I really meant it as five (or in Devastator’s case, six) days of the individual bots, and then the last day of the week would be the combined form. I can’t really do that with the newest line of Combiners, the Power Core Combiners. Hasbro’s take on combining this time is you have a central robot, the Power Core Commander, and then you have four limbs, drones with neither autonomy nor robot modes. As a kid I would have absolutely flipped out on how awesome this play pattern is. Sold in 2-packs with a Commander and a Minicon, or sold in 5-packs with a Commander and four drones, all combining points are universal and all Commanders have a third “torso” mode. This means any Commander, 2- or 5-pack, can combine with any combination of legs and arms. Additionally, the drones all have “Auto-Morph”. The act of connecting them to a Commander makes them automatically transform into a limb. Understandably, this means that a drone can either be a leg or an arm, not both. So, since each Power Core Combiner only comprises one post worth of robot, this week, I will be bringing you my two favourites of the 5-packs that have been released so far: Double Clutch and the Rallybots; and Bombshock and the Combaticons.
Double Clutch is my favourite of the Autobots released so far. He doesn’t go in for the quiet, sneaky approach. Following in the footsteps of his G2 Namesake he is a specialist in speed and obfuscation. His four drones are loud, speedy, and contain electronic countermeasures to screw with Decepticon sensors. Imagine going into battle against a dizzying, sensor-baffling, stunt-driving mess of cars, and when they finally stop moving, it’s to combine into a large robot that then pummels you into the dirt before you have a chance to reboot your senses.
I read of many reports of his first run having a number of problems. Loose combined-mode head and elbow joints, and poorly designed pegs. Later releases of Double Clutch apparently addressed these issues, leading me to believe that mine must be one of these later releases. I have never had any issues with Double Clutch himself. My only complaints are aesthetic and lie with the arm drones. They lack a defined hand. Actually, come to think of it, that seems to be a very common problem with combiners in recent history — the Energon combiners were really, really bad about this.
Also, they lack any elbow, which greatly hinders poseability. Double Clutch’s alt-mode is a cool muscle car of vaguely indeterminate model. Not much else to say about it than that. The Commanders are all a little larger than the Scout class, not quite a deluxe, which is why the 2-packs exist as a Commander and a Minicon.
Up next: Why race around things when you can just blow stuff up? Bombshock and the Combaticons!