Power Core Combiners Icepick with Chainclaw Toy Reviews

in 2010, Action Figure Review, Combiner / Gestalt, Decepticon, Power Core Combiners

Power Core Combiners

General Information:
Release Date: September 2010
Price Point: $9.99
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Chainclaw Mini-Con figure
Images: Gallery with images of Icepick and Chainclaw

The second wave of Power Core Combiner Commander two packs bring about a trio of three new characters in the Transformers universe. One of them is Icepick, a Decepticon paired up with Chainclaw, a Mini-Con. Both names may sound familiar to some fans. Icepick was first used way back in the latter days of Generatione One for a Pretender Monster (part of the team that formed Monstructor) while the name Chainclaw first belonged to a Pretender with an outer shell that was meant to look like an organic bear. This new pairing is definitely not organic in nature, but instead is a pair up of a rarely seen snow vehicle and a Mini-Con with a distinct weapon mode.

Chainclaw Review

Robot Mode:
Chainclaw strikes me as one of the more generic looking Mini-Cons among those released with Power Core Combiners. His general body design is symmetrical with a very straightforward design. His head and arms have curves sculpted into them and his face has a triangular face. The arms have rounded shoulders and tube shaped arms leading to big, round claws. His torso, waist and legs however are all very angled in design with the legs being very blocky. I don't want any readers to think that the word "blocky" or even 'straightforward" is a negative. Indeed, Chainclaw winds up standing out from the crowd in a group of Mini-Cons who include guys with axe blades on their legs and gatling guns as arms. It's nice to have a variety like that.

There are some nice details worked into this figure despite its basic design. The forearms have details that look like springs connecting the elbow joint to the claws. The sides of the arms show a variety of shapes that come together to form the arms including circles, triangles and raised ovals. The legs have raised knee armor that leads to tubes which then connect to his feet. Chainclaw has a good design. There's nothing amazing about it, but it looks really good and solid.

Chainclaw is cast in translucent blue and dark blue plastic. Most of his body is translucent blue (following the theme of translucent plastic representing power in the Mini-Cons) while the thighs are dark blue. Paint applications are done in red, silver and black. The arms are painted silver (but a look at the shoulder joint reveals they are cast in translucent blue) as well as his chest. The raised details on the legs are painted black and his face is red. I like the combination of the translucent blue and silver. The red offers a nice burst of color and the black helps to ground it all and bring it together visually. I was surprised to see just how much was painted since the first wave of Power Core Combiner Mini-Cons were, for the most part, left translucent. I think this is a good combination of clear plastic and paint applications.

There are six points of articulation on this figure, with four of them being ball joints on his shoulders and hips. His knees also bend as part of his transformation.

Transformation to Weapon Mode:

  1. Connect the two lower legs together.
  2. Swing the legs back and bend them at the knees.
  3. Swing the robot arms back and connect the claws to the small pegs stick out the sides of the legs.

Weapon Mode:
Unlike previous releases such as Chopster, Chainclaw's weapon mode is dual purpose, meant for use in his robot and vehicle modes. This may seem lazy, but in fact it makes perfect sense. The weapon mode is a cube shaped missile pod, with four missiles sculpted into each of the robot legs, now pointing forward. See, I have no problem with this because this mode is one of those modes that has a lot of use and it looks exactly like what it is: a missile pod. I prefer a Mini-Con that becomes one thing well rather than one that becomes two half-formed modes. In that respect, Chainclaw is very successful. I also confess I'm a sucker for cool missile pods because it's not a weapon you see often in the Transformers design aesthetic. You have the Macross fan in me to thank for that!

The newly revealed portion of this figure are the missiles. The four missiles are painted yellow, with the background painted black. This jives well with the black paint on the top of the missile pod and stands out very nicely.

Chainclaw has a Mini-Con connection port on the underside in this form. This allows you to attach him to the shoulder peg in Icepick's robot mode and the same peg on the top of the vehicle in his "Snow Cat" mode. It looks great in both of these modes and holds on nice and tight. Since the missile ports are actually Chainclaw's legs, you can move them up and down as if he was targeting an enemy. Doing this also reveals a peg on his back that you can attach other Mini-Cons or Energon weapons to.

Transformation to Power-Up Armor Mode:

  1. Move the arms back a bit so the claws are pointing down.
  2. Swing the legs out to the sides.
  3. Rotate each leg so the feet point down.
  4. Swing the lower legs up against the arms and the side of the body.

:Power-Up Armor Mode:
I think it's fair to say that this mode is very much a "because we say so" mode. Nothing about it seems very "armor" like except for it being a rectangular block you can attach to the peg on Icepick's chest. There's nothing particularly wrong with the way it looks, it's just very different in design from the earlier releases of Power Core Combiner Mini-Cons. There seems to be little effort made to cover a wide spread of the robot's upper body, so perhaps it's best to think of this as chest armor more than torso armor.

It is in this mode you get a good look at the Mini-Con peg on Chainclaw's back. Here, if you're feeling adventurous, you can attach another Mini-Con on, but it will probably throw off Icepick's balance significantly in robot mode.

There are no deco surprises here. Most of the translucent blue plastic gets to shine but most of the front facing paint applications are all but hidden in this mode.

Overall, as a Mini-Con Chainclaw is successful, if not somewhat more "plain" than the previous releases. I personally think he's really cool and love his weapon mode.

Icepick Review

Robot Mode:
Icepick is a Transformer whose alternate mode is fairly obvious in robot mode, that of a "Snow Cat" type arctic vehicle. For instance, his torso is very much an angled cabin section for a vehicle. His blocky legs have treads on the back of his calves and the claws that form his hands clearly come from a vehicle that can dig into something hard like ice. That said, his robot mode has a fairly unique profile. His head is relatively tiny compared to the rest of his body, which draws your eye to larger details such as his wide shoulder armor, his large claw hands and thick legs. It also gives him the impression of being a very powerful robot, something I always appreciate in a Transformer.

Icepick is not the most highly detailed Transformer out there, but he still has plenty to offer. His head sculpt is an interesting one. Instead of the usual crest in the center of his head, he actually has a tube on the top of his forehead that sticks up, looking almost like he has a smokestack on the top of his head. These are flanked by antennae on either side of his head and the sides of his face have designs overlapping them, leading to his nose and mouth. Moving down to the neck, he has a collar with studs on it, making it look almost like he is an animal being chained up. It's a very different and interesting head design for a Transformer and I like it a lot. This studs on his collar seem to be a theme in the rest of the figure. His shoulders, waist armor and legs all have either raised circles or indented circles that echo the design of the collar. Combined with his claws, it gives him a savage appearance befitting a warrior. The other details that caught my eye are the springs on his forearms. I like details that one can imagine as being functional pieces of the robot's inner workings, and these certainly qualify.

There are three primary plastic colors in this mode: light grey, blue-green and silver. The light grey and blue-green work really well together nd you'll find plenty of parts sculpted in both colors. Neither seems favored. For instance, his shoulder armor is mostly light grey, but his lower legs are mostly blue-green and so on. There is of course the requisite light blue plastic, found on the ends of his Drone connection points. Icepick has quite the variety of paint colors in this form. Light grey, red, purple, gold, silver and black paint are all visible in this mode. The light grey paint is used to balance out parts of the blue-green plastic such as the lower legs. The red and purple are found on the robot face. Gold is used for the windows of the vehicle mode, found here on his chest while silver is used for his waist armor pieces and parts of his shoulder armor. The black paint is most prominent on his shoulders, where it is used to paint two Decepticon symbols.

This figure has twenty six points of articulation in robot mode. A lot of these points offer a good range of motion including the swivel joints on his shoulders and the ball joints on his wrists. These points include six points of articulation on each arm and five on each leg. To combine with Mini-Cons, you'll see a peg on his right shoulder. In particular, this is a really effective place for any Mini-Con that can become a weapon such as Chainclaw. His chest has a peg that can flip down as well, allowing you to attach a Mini-Con in Power-Up armor mode.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Swing the Drone connection points on the shoulder armor out to the sides.
  2. Starting with his arms hanging down his sides, swing them up against the shoulder armor.
  3. Push the feet into the loer legs.
  4. Rotate the lower legs around so the treads face front.
  5. Rotate the shoulder armor so the top of the shoulders face forward.
  6. Swing the shoulder armor pieces back.
  7. Connect the lower legs together.
  8. Swing the robot hips back on the hinge joint at the center of the figure and connect the rectangular holes in the legs to the tabs on the arms.
  9. Swing the cage piece on the front of the vehicle up.

Vehicle Mode:
True to his savage and destructive looking robot mode, Icepick's vehicle mode also looks like it's quite capable of handling itself in combat. The front section looks like a gigantic claw, complete with spikes on the underside and nice looking horizontal lines running across the panels that make it up. The rest of the vehicle has several angled lines, giving a sleek appearance despite the overall bulky look of the snow vehicle. Instead of being only a wheeled vehicle or one on treads, this vehicle mode has both. The front section is set on round wheels while the rear section has treads sculpted into the sides. This mode gives us a good look at the fantastic detailing job done on the treads from the raised sections on the outside of the treads to the wheels and mechanical systems inside of them. The rear of the vehicle is where the huge claw hands from the robot mode wind up, and you can easily imagine them causing some damage to anyone trying to get behind him! Other cool details includ windshield wipers sculpted into the windshield (a must in snowy environments!) and a raised, curved line running from one side of the vehicle to the other right behind the cabin section. I enjoy the continuity of the details and "personality" of the sculpt from one mode to another.

All of the same colors seen in the robot mode appear here, and neither of the primary blue-green or light grey colors dominate. Instead, you'll find the top part of the vehicle is largely light grey while the bottom is mostly blue-green. The front end has several parts cast in silver, in particular the panels that form the clawed sections. Silver paint is seen here on the aforementioned curved line on the top of the vehicle as well as the top, middle section. While there are no huge color surprises in this form, it is cool to see that some details from the robot mode come together so smoothly in this one. The Decepticon symbols are the best example. In robot mode they're in a prominent position on his shoulders, and here they are highly visible on the sides of the vehicle.

In this form, Icepick's Mini-Con peg winds up on the top, center section of the vehicle, a perfect place to put a missile pod. He rolls on his two front wheels and two smaller wheels on the undersides of the tread. You can also use the Mini-Con peg that swings up on the top of the front section to attach Mini-Cons or Energon weapons. You can move his claws in the back around, but since they're supposed to form a line of claws, it looks a bit odd when they're positioned say, sideways or something to that effect. Overall this is a cool looking and fun vehicle to play with.

Transformation to Power-Up Combiner Mode:

  1. Flip the robot feet up.
  2. With the arms down to the sides, swing them up against the shoulder armor.
  3. Swing the hip armor up.
  4. Swing the legs out to the sides.
  5. Swing the Drone connection points out of the legs.
  6. Rotate the legs so the sides of the treads face forward.
  7. Swing the lower legs down.
  8. Flip the chest plate down.
  9. Swing the robot head down to reveal the Combiner head.
  10. Turn the Combiner head around.
  11. Swing the chest panel back up.
  12. Rotate the claws hands so the claws are pointing down and the top of the claw hands are facing front.
  13. Swing the forearms in so the claws wind up against the chest.
  14. Swing the Drone connection points on the arms up.

Power-Up Combiner Mode:
When I first picked up Icepick, I wondered just where certain body parts would go for his torso/Power-Up Combiner mode. Sure it's easy to figure out the front of the vehicle would be on the chest, and his legs would form the upper legs of the Combiner, but it was the arrangement of the arms that I was concerned about. Fortunately, the way Icepick comes together in this form is excellent. The shoulder armor (which is rather wide in the Commander robot mode) winds up being just the right size here. They're wide and give enough clearance to properly attach Drones as arms. His legs also form a good, solid pair of upper legs. The arrangement of the claw hands from the robot mode was unexpected but it works really well. I like the way they are set at angles acting almost like an extra armor layer on top of the top of the body.

The only newly revealed sculpted piece in this form is the Combiner head. The design is rather interesting. Instead of your more traditional "head with a crest and stuff on the sides" design, it looks more like several pointed crystals all around the face, sweeping back at angles. There is a crest, but it looks like the pointed crystals that make up much of the head. The face has two eyes, a nose and mouth that is flanked by vent like details. The head is cast in translucent blue plastic, and much of it is unpainted, making the light piping effect look amazing. Black paint is used for the area around the face and the face itself is painted silver. Put simply, the head sculpt looks fantastic and it is quite unique in the Power Core Combiner line thus far.

Icepick has fifteen points of articulation in this mode. This includes the ability for his arms to swing up and down as well as backwards and forwards along with similar articulation on the legs. The Mini-Con peg from the shoulder armor winds up on the same place here as it does in the robot mode, making it ideal to attach a Mini-Con. The peg on the chest is also available to be flipped down to attach a Mini-Con. In concert with the Drones, Icepick is one impressive looking powerhouse!

Final Thoughts:
Icepick and Chainclaw are two awesome figures. Though a bit simpler than the previous releases in some respects, it's a solid figure in all its modes and Chainclaw is just awesome by himself. Highly recommended!