While the core tenet of Combiner Wars is to tread old ground with very needed updates to the G1 combiners and very unneeded combiner updates to a whole bunch of non-combiner G1 Autobots, one welcome surprise has been the inclusion of brand new characters. There have been some other surprises here and there, like an updates of the Micromaster Blackjack showing up to take the roller car’s place as Menasor’s chest armor, but the new characters have been some of my favourite parts. Of those, the new character that almost wasn’t is Offroad.
I’m all for new characters in the franchise and new characters work best when they are their own, original mold. Offroad has that as well as the added bonus of being a wholly new concept. Imagine if a Combiner team were made up of more than just the base number of members needed to combine? How many times has a Combiner been sidelined because only one team member wasn’t available? Both Offroad and the newest addition to the Aerialbots, Alpha Bravo, serve in this back-up capacity. Both of their bios even point out this “newbie” status and highlight a need to prove themselves to their respective teams.
Like the rest of his team, Offroad wields a melee weapon, an axe.
Like Breakdown and Mirage, his melee weapon can also be held as a gun. I’ve seen a lot of people online with the gun held backwards, but with the crook in the handle piece, how would that even work?
Reminds me of something out of Looney Tunes.
Anyway, given the details on the weapon, obviously the side with the axe blade is meant to be the dangerous end.
I find it very interesting that while his robot mode is very dissimilar to Wildrider’s, his alt mode has essentially the same paintjob.
In this regard, the “Operation Status Update” on the back of his packed-in comic book has more questions than answers.
Especially given that “the fallen Stunticon”, Wildrider, is still around (though apparently extra crazy). Offroad’s pickup truck alt mode lends itself to his name as well as his function of “Extreme Conditions Warfare”.
It also integrates his hand/foot/gun/engine much better than most of the Combiner Wars molds.
Even then, just like mounting a vast majority of Transformer’s weapons on their alt modes, it still looks a bit silly from certain angles.
Of course, he can jump in when needed to be either an arm or a leg for Menasor.
So that’s Offroad. The all-new character that almost wasn’t– oh, yeah, I totally forgot that part didn’t I? How was he almost not? Turns out — as revealed by John Warden, one of Hasbro’s Design Managers, at Toy Fair 2015 — Offroad was originally meant to be an update of the G1 Triggercon, Ruckus. He gave two reasons for the change in direction. First, there was the ever-present trademark issue, but secondly, and my favourite reason ever for a Hasbro name change, they “decided it didn’t make sense for Ruckus to be a Stunticon anyway”. However, it’s where Offroad’s masterfully detailed, Ruckus-inspired headsculpt came from.
In the Stunticons focused Designer Desk video (hosted by John Warden), we actually get a glimpse of attempts to make Offroad’s alt mode a little more like Ruckus’ Baja Buggy alt mode. In the top right corner of the shot of Offroad’s design sheet.
It would be a pity to lose that Ruckus update. After all, Ruckus has one of the most fabulous colour schemes this side of G2. Luckily we have the Transformers Collector’s Club Subscription Service 4.0 to make sure we don’t miss out on that update.
So, that’s Offroad. Overall, a great addition to the toyline but also a great addition to the over-arching fiction.
I am very thankful for this too, because unfortunately at this point of saturation — and, thanks to the first BotCon 2016 reveal it’s a saturation with no apparent end in sight — I am mostly over the Combiner Wars molds themselves. The entirety of Hasbro’s deluxe class line consists of 29 separate bots but only 9 actual molds. Throw in the Transformers Collector’s Club’s Subscription Service 4.0 and the BotCon 2016 box set, that adds 10 more and most likely an 11th depending on who the surprise figure turns out to be. That’s 39 or 40 bots still only sharing 9 molds. Mind you, it’s certainly not all doom-and-gloom. Hasbro’s “Pulse” news channel just sent out a sneak peek of the upcoming NYCC 2015 reveals which hints at “many robots set to be revealed”. Most importantly to me, we have incoming ‘Masters toys!
So, yeah, the Combiner Wars might be starting to get a little stale, but there’s still plenty more awesome to come from the Generations part of the franchise.