"Generations" Combiner Wars Menasor Toy Review
In May 2015 all the Stunticons were finally released to the mass market with the release of the online exclusive Brake-Neck. Although fans could create Menasor with the six Stunticons released previous to that, this allowed fans to have the option of using the "original" Stunticon team. This review will focus on the figures assembled together as the Combiner. If you haven't done so already, you'll definitely want to check out my individual Stunticon reviews before reading this one.
When "Generations" Bruticus was released, he was composed of five Deluxe Class figures. However, this caused some proportion issues where the main body wound up looking too small (or the limbs were too big depending on how you want to look at it). To prevent that issue with these new figures, the torso/head/thigh section is now a Voyager Class figure. The result is a Combiner figure with much better proportions than Bruticus with an impressive size. Menasor's measurements vary a bit depending on which Stunticons are forming which limb, but with Dragstrip and Breakdown as legs and Offroad and Brake-Neck as arms, he measures about 11.5 inches tall (approximately 29.2 centimeters) and 9 inches wide from shoulder to shoulder (approximately 22.8 centimeters). This is quite an improvement over G1 Menasor who was roughly the same height as many other Transformers released at the time (such as G1 Galvatron). The width in particular is really imposing looking since the Stunticons themselves are so wide individually that they can't help but add significant bulk to the combined form.
Menasor doesn't quite have the sheer amount of G1 styling that Superion does, but he still has a few. These include:
- The head sculpt features a rim above the forehead, horns and a regular face with eyes, a nose and mouth (no mouthplate or anything like that). These are all key features of G1 Menasor both in toy and animated form.
- There are two raised silver pieces that flank the robot head. These are based on similar details on G1 Menasor. These were very pronounced on the G1 toy and they were sized down a bit for aesthetics in the animation model.
- The chest has some vague stylings that could be inspired by the G1 version of the character including the angled lines that move down towards the center of the chest.
- The legs have some details at the top of the thighs and the knees that have vague analogs on G1 Menasor's legs, but I'm reaching a bit on this one.
Here's the thing about creating callbacks to G1 Menasor - he wasn't that exciting looking. A lot of his details were flat and when they simplified him for the cartoons and comic books he owed most of his detailing to the cars attached as limbs. Not so on this figure. He has a lot of cool styling on the thighs including grooves and line details etched into Motormaster's portion of the legs. The chest panels when closed provide some sleek, angled details, but open them up and you're greeted with an amazing amount of detail including techno-organic looking tubes and wires leading to a circle in the middle that you could interpret as Menasor's Spark Chamber. This is also very reminiscent of "Age of Extinction" Galvatron who had similar details on his torso. Indeed, some folks thought Galvatron was Motormaster from early leaked photos of the truck the character transformed into in the film. It's a very meta but appropriate connection between the two characters.
Menasor's colors lean towards dark shades. The grey, black and silver on Motormaster provide a nice contrast point for the brighter yellow and white colors on Dragstrip and Breakdown respectively. Guys like Offroad and Brake-Neck blend a bit more with Motormaster's colors while offering bits of bright color in the form of red details. Silver paint is used on the chest and face while purple is found on the shoulder area and waist armor. These are all colors found on G1 Menasor and they work really well in this form. While Superion is mostly bright colors, Menasor is mostly dark, offering a nice thematic counterpoint to the Aerialbot Combiner.
Menasor has thirty points of articulation, which is virtually unheard of in Combiners before "Combiner Wars". This includes a whopping eight points of articulation in each arm and six in each leg (counting the ability of the foot "heel" pieces to hinge and bend).
Unfortunately there are some functional issues with this Combiner figure. When using the shoulder joints to move the arms up, you are essentially pushing against Motormaster's robot mode forearm, which winds up swinging outward. Technically the articulation point still works, but not in the way it's meant to. Ideally there should have been a stronger lock mechanism for Motormaster's forearm to stay in place. The other issue are the hip joints. They are ratchet joints, and they work fine for regular "standing" poses, but if you try to get creative (like having him kick and stand on one leg) the Stunticons are generally too heavy for him to stay in that position. It would be incorrect to say the figure isn't stable, but I found Superion easier to pose in different ways.
There is another issue that is unfortunate: Blackjack forming the chest armor. Technically you can attach Blackjack to the two pegs on Menasor's chest - but he doesn't hold in place. This has been reported by many fans so this isn't an isolated instance. You can put Blackjack on as "chest armor", but move Menasor slightly and he goes flying off. My general preference is just to leave him unattached. Some fans have come up with unofficial transformations that utilize Blackjack's fists to hold on to the pegs instead and that works out much better.
Thanks to the 5mm ports on each Stunticon and Motormaster himself, you can actually attach every weapon included with the Stunticons to Menasor. I like the look of having the exhaust pipe weapons on the back or arms. Something about them adds an industrial look to the figure. Since many of the Stunticon weapons are melee weapons it's kind of fun to arm Menasor with them. I like connecting the blade weapons to the top and bottom of a fist to form a double bladed weapon. I also love the look of Motormaster's two weapons forming a giant blade for Menasor. It looks sharp and dangerous and fits in with the theme of melee weapons for the team. You can of course give him blasters or other spare weapons you may have lying around with 5mm pegs.
Menasor is a powerful looking update of a classic G1 Combiner. I love his design and how bulky his parts are. The nods to his G1 design are also very much appreciated along with the new details. Unfortunately the shoulder joint issue is a pretty significant one and for some folks that may be a deal breaker. For me the set is still worth picking up, not just because the individual figures are cool but the Combiner is neat too despite its flaws.