With the two “game accurate” (not counting downloadable content) releases being ridiculously expensive — the San Diego Comic Con version initially selling for a laughable $100 and the initial import prices for the TakaraTomy release putting it at $150 before shipping, I went with the $60 G2-themed BigBadToyStore/Amazon.com exclusive. Providing even more odd symmetry to my personal saga of Bruticus, the G2 version is most likely the only one I will keep in my collection. There is a retail version, but as I discuss later, I’m only picking up the rest of them if I find them discounted; in Onslaught and Brawl’s case, heavily discounted.
On that ominous note, how do these new incarnations stack up against the originals?
Onslaught is the biggest disappointment for a lot of people. Though most say he is a disappointment because he is a deluxe release, not a larger, perhaps Voyager release, I disagree. Him being the same size class as the rest of his squad makes perfect sense to me for a number of reasons, primarily the fact that he does not appear much larger than the other Combaticons in the game.
Most important for me, his arms lack shoulder articulation which is just inexcusable in a modern Transformer. Also, they missed an easy opportunity by not allowing his gun to attach to his back in robot mode, like it does in combined mode.
My own biggest complaint against Onslaught has to be his mess of an alt mode, especially considering how straightforward the original Onslaught’s alt mode was.
Chief among my complaints are that his robot mode arms and hands are just a little too visible and his alt mode is missing most of its mass in the back. With its missing rear middle section, this Onslaught clearly stole his alt mode from G1 Kup.
From my least favourite we move on to my own personal biggest disappointment. Brawl shares Onslaught’s issue of having way too much hanging down in the back in robot mode. Though the reason he is my biggest disappointment out of the set isn’t even the toy’s fault directly. He has two cannons instead of one, his head is all angles instead of the boxy helmeted look, and… yeah, there’s just nothing really Brawl about him at all. Given that Brawl is my favourite G1 Combaticon, this make me sad.
Also, in the War for Cybertron/Fall of Cybertron world the hover tank is done absolutely to death already. They managed to pick the most boring design of all to give to Brawl.
Moving away from the two slight disappointments, there’s the three designs I like the best in the set. Swindle is really good from the front and actually comes off slightly bulkier in the upper torso than his game model.
Much like his sleazy sales-based personality, it’s all a front. (Haha! See what I did there?) Turning him around reveals a robotic skeleton.
His alt mode is really well done, this is helped along tremendously for me by the fact that his alt mode is the basis of my second favourite level from Fall of Cybertron. In Chapter VII: Belly of the Beast, tearing along at breakneck speeds under the Autobot Energon Transport endeared this little “Assault Transport” to me.
I not entirely sure what it is, but there’s something I really like about Blast Off’s design. Unlike Brawl, Blast Off’s head is clearly an update of the original.
The fairing of his humongous engine forming his shoulders gives him a very distinct silhouette.
In fact, I liked him enough that, when I saw his retail release at a discount, I grabbed him so fast it would make your head spin.
I have to say, his alt mode being almost 50% engine is grand.
My favorurite of the Fall of Cybertron Combaticons is easily Vortex. Not so coincidentally, my favourite level in the game is Chapter VI: Death from Above a.k.a. “the Vortex level”.
As my favourite, it didn’t take much for me to buy his retail release.
The reason he’s my favourite, though, as I pointed out in my post about the game, is Vortex’s alt mode was the best thing about the game for me. The toy does a wonderful job of capturing that.
I wish there would have been some sort of alternate transformation that mimicked the video game’s booster flight mode.
The other thing I am wondering is why they gave two swords to the guy with four blades already permanently attached to his arm. I like to think that Blast Off and Vortex end up on missions together quite a lot (like the one in Chapter VI) so they swap weapons.
Overall, out of the five Combaticons, there aren’t really any I would call outright failures and as display pieces they all work.
All together, I can easily imagine them as an elite Decepticon squad. Well, assuming they all lived through that last battle that sent Bruticus spiraling off into space and potentially hurtling back to Cybertron from orbit.
Speaking of whom, next up, Fall of Cybertron “G2” Bruticus: is he big? is he bad? is he… battlin’? (What does that actually mean?)