"Generations" Combiner Wars Blast-Off with Megatronus Toy Review

in 2018, Action Figure Review, Amazon, Combaticon, Combiner Wars, Decepticon, Deluxe, Generation One, Generations

Generations
Combiner Wars

General Information:
Release Date: July 2018
Price Point: $24.99 USD
Retailer: Amazon Exclusive
Accessories: Hand/Foot/Weapon, Blaster, Megatronus Prime Master figure

Blast-Off

Official photos above and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Celebrate the Prime Wars Trilogy with this special edition Combiner Wars Decepticon Blast Off figure. It’s built with updated Combiner Wars molds and decorated in new colors. Plus, it’s the only Transformers figure that includes the clear Megatronus Prime Master figure. During the Prime Wars, Decepticon Blast Off knew he was superior to the Autobots. With the Megatronus Prime Master, the gap between him and other bots has widened. Now he can imbue his laser rifle with a fragment of the power of the Requiem Blaster, the weapon of Megatronus himself. This Deluxe Decepticon Blast Off is a 5.5-inch scale figure and comes with a 1.5-scale Megatronus Prime Master figure. The Decepticon Blast Off figure converts from space jet to robot mode in 15 steps. The Prime Master figure converts between robot and spark in 1 step. Transformers all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

Back in 2015 the "Combiner Wars" segment of the "Generations" toy line was rolling along and with it, a release of the Combaticon Blast-Off. However, many fans were rightfully disappointed to find Blast-Off was just a redeco of Quickslinger (aka Slingshot) with no retooling (not even a new head). However, fans continued to demand a Blast-Off that transformed into a space shuttle, and in early 2016 Takara Tomy revealed a "Unite Warriors" Combaticon set complete with a brand new Blast-Off figure that transformed into a space shuttle!

That said, there was a catch: this Blast-Off was only available in this boxed set, which on average cost over $100+ USD. Fans quickly turned to Hasbro in whatever medium they could and asked if the "Unite Warriors" Blast-Off could be released outside of Japan, and finally in July 2018 Transformers fans were able to purchase him as an Amazon exclusive! However, Blast-Off did not show up alone. Instead he was packaged with a redeco of the Prime Master Megatronus!

Packaging:
Between Summer and Fall of 2018, Amazon released three exclusive Deluxe Class figures: Blast-Off, Repugnus and Punch/Counterpunch. Instead of just slapping these figures onto blister cards and calling it a day, Hasbro created special packaging for each. Each figure was boxed in packaging that featured a flap with character artwork on it. Open the flap and you would see the figure in robot mode inside along with its exclusive Prime Master. There is a "Prime Wars" logo at the top with the familiar "Generations" and "Transformers" logos on the right. The side of the box features artwork that is meant to connect to the other two boxes to form one giant scene featuring the exclusive figures in one crowd scene!

In Blast-Off's case, the side of the box features him in robot mode, while the front flap features him in vehicle mode. The side also has the "Combiner Wars" logo, indicating which segment of the "Prime Wars Trilogy" he hails from. The back of the packaging will be familiar to "Combiner Wars" fans, featuring the figure in both modes against a grey grid background and a short bio. His transformation is called out as having 15 steps. On the upper right hand corner is a callout for Megatronus. Overall this is beautiful packaging with gorgeous artwork and a very fan/collector oriented design.

Accessories:
Blast-Off includes two accessories and one mini-figure, a redeco of Prime Master Megatronus. This section focuses on the two accessories. You'll find more on Megatronus below.

The first accessory is a smal hand-held blaster. At first I thought the design was based on G1 Blast-Off's weapon, but aside from having a barrel and a rectangular section in the back the two weapons are rather different. This one features a distinct cylinder towards the back and lacks the targeting sight found on the original. It also does not have the distinct "clip" that stuck out the side of G1 Blast-Off's weapon. This weapon iscast in the same brown plastic as the Blast-Off but most of it is painted a shiny black color.

The other accessory is a "Combiner Wars" style hand/foot/weapon piece. This was created specifically for this Blast-Off figure by Takara Tomy. It features two blaster barrels on the sides and a "toe" like section in the front. This piece is cast in silver with brighter, metallic silver paint on a majority of the middle and weapon barrels. Blast-Off can hold this as a weapon or you can attach it to the bottom of the vehicle mode wings (which double as the sides of his legs in robot mode).

For those curious, Blast-Off does not include a "Prime Armor" piece. In all honesty, I prefer the "Combiner Wars" hand/foot/weapon piece. It has more uses and is not stuck to just being a foot or hand. Plus it only has one thumb!

Megatronus

Megatronus is the same figure released with the Bomb-Burst Decoy Armor at mass retail, which is to say he is a redeco of Liege Maximo, making this the third use of this sculpt. No tooling changes were made, though this figure uses a screw to hold the torso and back plate together like the Megatronus with Bomb-Burst Decoy Armor.

Megatronus has been cast in translucent red and black plastic. The head, arms and thighs are painted grey and the face is painted black. The translucent red plastic really shows on the back, where the "Megatronus" symbol is painted orange with a black outline. I really like this color combination and it is reminiscent of the Megatron figure from the "Platinum Edition" One Shall Stand, One Shall Fall set.

Blast-Off

Robot Mode:
The Combaticons were an interesting group from a design standpoint. Almost every team member's design was altered significantly between the original G1 action figures and their animated counterparts in the G1 cartoon. For instance, while G1 Blast-Off's action figure used the bottom of the vehicle mode to form the torso, the animation model seemed to use the front of the vehicle mode to form the torso. Also, the thrusters from the back of the vehicle mode formed his feet in the cartoon while on the figure they formed the bottom of the feet and heels.

When creating their "Unite Warriors" line of figures, Takara Tomy aimed for cartoon accuracy, so their Blast-Off figure was designed to resemble his animated counterpart. That included features like the thrusters forming his feet and the front of the vehicle mode forming the chest. The proportions wound up being a bit odd here and there, but overall given the trickery you can pull of in animation (but not in an actual, physical toy) the design compromises were understandable.

When Hasbro decided to release this figure, they decided to take a step back (or around, or to the left if you prefer) and base their Blast-Off release off the original action figure! How, you may ask? Simple: swap the arms and then change the transformation instructions! To achieve this more "G1 toy oriented" transformation, you wind up rotating the lower body around and turning the head. Since the arms are swapped at the factory level, you just need to swing them up. That said, if you want to do the "Takara transformation", you totally can! Just (carefully) swap the arms (they slide out right under the shoulders) and turn the head and waist around. In a weird way, Blast-Off may be one of the few Transformers toys that can transform into two distinct robot forms representing the same character's animation and toy designs! (Note: after I posted this review some fans noted that you need to swap the shoulders as well to achieve the "true" Takara form. If you want to do that go right ahead, but I think my way looks just fine).

So, all that said, just how does this Blast-Off do in the G1 homage territory? Very well, actually! Here are some of the design elements that come right from his G1 counterpart(s):

  • The head design features a squarish "helmet" design with a mouthpalte and visor style eyes.
  • The torso is blocky with the Combiner connector piece in the middle. This is reminiscent of the way many G1 Combiner limb torsos were designed.
  • Like the G1 cartoon model, the forearms feature a curved section leading from the wrist area to the outside of each forearm.
  • If you do the "Takara transformation" the shuttle's front section becomes the chest, complete with the three distinct ovals seen on the animation model. You can also detach the stabilizer fin halves to attach to the back to make him look even more like the animation model.
  • Like the G1 animation model his feet are formed from rear thrusters.

Blast-Off is cast in brown, purple and black plastic. These colors are inspired by the G1 toy with a touch of the animation model thrown in for good measure. The same, shiny black paint used on the blaster is used on the arms, face and legs for additional detailing. A nice, light lavender color is found on his forearms and eyes. Perhaps the most impressive deco detail are tampographs on the torso. G1 Blast-Off had a series of machinery-like designs in robot mode. These tampographs take those designs as inspiration, giving him a visually interesting and somewhat retro appearance all at the same time. Overall I am very h appy with the deco on this figure.

There are sixteen points of articulation on this figure. This includes three in each arm and four in each leg (though the foot articulation is limited). Each fist has a 5mm port, allowing him to hold his weapons. He also has 5mm ports on the sides of his legs.

You will note that the chest has two 5mm ports on it. The original intent of these was to have places to attach the halves of the stabilizer fins when this was the back of the robot mode. However, since this is the front now, it serves a different purpose. You can instead attach Prime Armor to it, and of course Megatronus to the Prime Armor! It is funny how this feature wound up working out this way even if it was not planned.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms, legs and head.
  3. Swing the wings out to the sides.
  4. Rotate the stabilizer fin halves around.
  5. Swing the feet back.
  6. Raise the robot arms up to the sides.
  7. Swing each lower leg up over the thighs and push them together.
  8. Swing the arms down at the shoulders, then push the arms into the sides using the tabs on the insides of the forearms.
  9. Swing the back piece up, then swing the nosecone out.
  10. Swing the nosecone section forward, clipping the side panels into the slots on either side of the head.
  11. The weapons can be attached to the fist holes or the back of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
Blast-Off's vehicle mode is a space shuttle. The G1 version was based on an Earth space shuttle, but this version is more of a variant on the animation model. It has details such as the three ovals towards the front, a "V" shaped cockpit window and a single stabilizer fin in the back. The wings also have distinct line details along the edges. There are some really nice panel and line details on this mode that look really cool. Perhaps the part that does not work very well are the robot arms, which wind up sticking out on the sides. They are very obvious thanks to the robot hands. It is not a deal breaker, but it is something you should be aware of.

This mode still mostly shows off brown plastic, but there is some shiny black parts on the stabilizer fin and wings. Black paint is used for a lot of the detailing including the nosecone, the three ovals over the cockpit area and of course the fin. There are a whopping five Decepticon symbols in this mode including one on each wing, one on either side of the fin and one near the cockpit section. There are also purple and silver line details on the wings based on stickers from the G1 figure. The finishing touch is light, lavender paint on the windows.

Thanks to Blast-Off's hands sticking out in this form, you can attach weapons with 5mm pegs to them. You can also attach a weapon to the 5mm port on the top of the vehicle.

Transformation to Arm Mode (Starting in robot mode):

  1. Detach all weapons.
  2. Push the robot legs together, being sure to press the stabilizer fin halves together.
  3. Swing the cockpit panel on the back out. Swing the robot head back.
  4. Swing the cockpit nosecone piece out,then swing the panel back into place.
  5. Swing the arms down at the shoulders.
  6. Swing the forearms up, then rotate the arms back.
  7. Rotate the waist (you choose the direction based on which arm you are forming).
  8. Transform the hand/foot/weapon into a fist and connect it to the port on the bottom of the figure.
  9. Swing out the Combiner connection piece.

Arm Mode:
Blast-Off's arm mode is a very typical "Combiner Wars" style arm design, with the robot legs forming the forearm, the upper body forming the biceps and shoulders and of course, the thighs and waist joints forming the elbow joints. The key details that link the design to G1 Blast-Off are the shuttle nosecone forming the top of the arm while the wings from the vehicle mode form the sides of the forearms. Any G1 fan would pick up on the design right away. The only issue that may bother some fans are the robot arms being so obvious in this form, but other "Combiner Wars" limbs suffer from the same issue so to me it's not a huge deal.

Transformation to Leg mode (Starting in robot mode):

  1. Detach all the accessories.
  2. Swing the cockpit panel on the back out. Swing the robot head back.
  3. Swing the cockpit nosecone piece out,then swing the panel back into place.
  4. Swing the Combiner connection piece up.
  5. Rotate the stabilizer fin halves around.
  6. Swing the arms up to get them out of the way.
  7. Swing each lower leg up over the thighs, then connect the halves together.
  8. Swing the arms down to the sides.
  9. Attach the foot pieces to the port at the bottom.

Leg Mode:
While he was never shown in this form during the G1 animated series, even the original G1 Blast-Off figure was designed to be either an arm or leg for Bruticus. That said, I actually like the look of this one more than his G1 counterpart. I like the way the cockpit section looks almost like knee armor for Bruticus. I also imagine his wings and stabilizer fin can cut into enemies if Bruticus kicks them!

Another fun bonus of this mode (and something you can do in arm mode too) is attach extra weapons to the wings, giving Bruticus additional firepower.

Final Thoughts:
In the past few years the Hasbro team has shown through many releases that they are willing to listen to fans and release some items aimed more towards hardcore fans (I mean, for real we got a domestic version of Liokaiser!). The release of this figure in "Generations" is more proof of that. This is not the best figure in "Combiner Wars" ever but it is certainly one that fills a gap in the "Combiner Wars" collection. Recommended!

Pros:

  • Beautiful packaging.
  • An original sculpt and not a retool/redeco of previous "Combiner Wars" releases.
  • Pays homage to G1 Blast-Off's animation model and toy.
  • Fantastic deco.
  • Fulfills a fan request many fans have made over the past couple of years.

Cons:

  • The shuttle mode is a bit flat and wide looking.
  • The robot arms kind of mess with the aesthetics of the alt-modes.