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.