Power Core Combiners Skyburst Toy Review

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

Power Core Combiners

General Information:
Release Date: June 2010
Price Point: $19.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Recon Plane Drone, Chopper Drone, Combat Helicopter Drone and Fighter Jet Drone

Images:

*Images and text from transformers.com:
Thought lost long ago, Power Core Combination has recently been rediscovered on Earth. It creates a new breed of powerful AUTOBOT warriors to destroy the DECEPTICONS!

To be given command of one of the first AUTOBOT Power Core teams is a great honor – one that SKYBURST isn’t sure he deserves. He uses his enhanced abilities to execute search and rescue operations in conditions too dangerous for human crews – or even other AUTOBOTS. Together with his drone companions, SKYBURST protects the skies from the DECEPTICON threat.

Power up for the ultimate robot battles! Your SKYBURST Commander vehicle is already a virtually unstoppable opponent in his vehicle and robot modes. But his strength gets increased five-fold when you convert him to Power-Up mode and convert his AERIALBOT drone figures into his limbs! And the action doesn’t stop there. With this Power Core interchangeable robot combination system, MINI-CONS (sold separately) and drone vehicles can attach to power up any Commander figure. Collect more packs and you can create tons of unique and fierce robot battler figure combinations!

Five-pack includes SKYBURST, Recon Plane Drone, Chopper Drone, Combat Helicopter Drone and Fighter Jet Drone figures. Ages 5 and up.

Combiners have long been one of the favorite types of Transformers for fans of the line. Whether it's the classic G1 guys like Devastator and Superion or more modern incarnations such as the 2010 movie Devastator, the concept of having several Transformer entities combine into a larger one holds a ton of appeal for its play and story value.

In 2010, Hasbro launched a new line of Combiners which took two forms: two packs with a Scout Class figure and a Mini-Con and five packs with a Scout Class figure plus four "drone" vehicles. Skyburst is one of the first of the five packs released with four aerial drones, appropriately named "Aerialbots". Hasbro made it perfectly clear at Botcon 2010 that these Aerialbots are not in any way meant to repalce the G1 Aerialbot characters. Rather, terms such as "Aerialbot" and "Combaticon" are now more generic terms referring to sub-sets of Transformers. While each of the drones transforms into a limb of the combined robot, they do not have individual robot modes and are not really meant to be individual characters.

Skyburst Review

Images:

  • Robot Mode
  • Robot Mode (Side)
  • Robot Mode (Back)
  • Robot Mode (Posed)
  • Robot Mode (Angle view)
  • Robot Mode (Posed)
  • Robot Mode (Holding Caliburst)
  • Vehicle Mode
  • Vehicle Mode (Side)
  • Vehicle Mode (Back)
  • Vehicle Mode (Forward view)
  • Vehicle Mode (Angle view)
  • Vehicle Mode (Caliburst attached)
  • Vehicle Mode (Caliburst attached, side)
  • Vehicle Mode (Caliburst attached, back)

    Robot Mode:
    Scout Class figures have come a long way over the years, some with rather complex transformations. Skyburst is a Scout Class figure, but there is the extra burden of design challenge of making him one that can be a combiner body as well. His design is rather simple, and he wears his alternate mode on his proverbial sleeve. His chest has most of the neck and nose of the vehicle mode on his chest and wings on his back. He also has the standard head, two arms and two leg design. I think under most circumstances I'd find this rather perfunctory, but in recent time there have been so many Transformers made with the movie aesthetic and some wacky designs that sometimes I like to see a good old fashioned Generation One-esque design.

    There are some nice design flourishes however. On his head and knees are pointed design elements including triangles and curved sections that remind me of ancient Roman armor. While the jet elements of the figure are angled and sharp looking, his robot mode parts are curved and rounded off instead. This includes his shoulders and head design. The head design is interesting, with a curved helmet section and line design elements around his mouth that remind me of some of the movie aesthetic. He also has a lot of angled line designs running along his chest and legs. There's nothing revolutionary about this design, but it's a good, solid one.

    Skyburst is cast in three plastic colors: metallic flake blue-grey, blue and black. His head, forearms and lower legs are blue. The plane parts are blue-grey while his upper arms, upper legs and joints are black. Paint applications are done in silver, gold, black and red. The colors are used sparingly but effectively. The windows on his nosecone, his feet and vents on his back are painted black. His face is painted silver while his fists and knees are gold. Red is used on a triangle on the top of his chest as well as an Autobot symbol around his waist area. I do like the use of silver and gold instead of just one or the other. The red also gives some nice brightness to the color scheme.

    There are thirteen points of articulation on this figure. This includes ball joints on his shoulders, elbows and hips. The way that his upper body looks, it seems almost like the head can't move, but it can actually turn from side to side. The fists have holes in them that can accomodate Mini-Con pegs (such as Caliburst in weapon mode) as well as weapons from other Transformers. For the purposes of this review I tested out various figures including Classics Optimus Prime and Prowl's and they fit tightly in his fists. He also has a Mini-Con peg on his back that you can attach Mini-Cons to or some weapons such as those from Universe 2.0 Dropshot.

    Skyburst may be a fairly "standard" Transformers figure, but I like him. There is an elegant simplicity to the design and I really like the fact that he can use a weapons from figures in other lines since he does not have weapons of his own.

    Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

    1. Swing the heel sections up into the lower legs.
    2. Swing the back section of the vehicle up.
    3. Swing the two robot arms together so the two fists meet each other.
    4. Swing the hip section back

    Attach the holes on the insides of the lower legs to the pegs on the underside of the vehicle.

    In Generation One, Silverbolt was the leader of the Aerialbots. He was quite distinct from the other Aerialbots in that he was based on a passenger type vehicle instead of a military plane. Skyburst is modeled on the concept of an Aerialbot leader having a long nosed aerial vehicle, but this time he's based more on a stealth bomber type plane than an airliner. Whereas the robot mode has a lot of curved sections, the jet mode has a lot of angled and triangular sections. This goes all the way down to parts such as the vents on either side of the jet's neck and the shapes of the wings. There are tons of angled lines etched into the figure that reflect the overall design of the vehicle. I really like the design a lot. It looks futuristic and fast all at the same time.

    In this form most of the vehicle is metallic blue-grey. Gold paint is used for designs such as the edges of the wings, the front of the vents and stripes on the side of the neck/nosecone section. Black paint is used for the windows and vents on the back. An Autobot symbol is painted in red on the top of the cockpit. I like the color scheme, but I do wish there were some more details painted in such as some gold on the vertical stabilizers, but it looks nice.

    There is a Mini-Con peg on the top of the vehicle. This is the same peg that is on the back of the vehicle mode.

    Final Thoughts:
    Skyburst is a nice basic figure. Perhaps if he were just released on his own I would be less generous with my opinion, but considering he's meant to be part of a larger combiner (and technically a triple changer to boot) I think he's pretty cool.

    Chopper Drone

    Images:

    • Chopper Drone
    • Chopper Drone (Side)
    • Chopper Drone (Back)
    • Chopper Drone (Forward View)
    • Chopper Drone (Angle view)
    • Chopper Drone (Rear View)
    • Chopper Drone (Caliburst attached)

      The Chopper Drone is based on a rescue helicopter. He reminds me a bit of Cybertron Buzzsaw, with his rounded front end and yellow color. The front end is bulbous, with a large rounded window. Unfortunately the design is a bit marred by the connection point used to combine it with Skyburst. On either side of the helicopter rotor are pods that can be interpreted as thrusters or vents of some kind. The tail extends back with rotor details sculpted into the sides. The claw designs from Skyburst's combined form do show through here. It's actually a bit of a cute design and I like the thought of having a rescue helicopter among the more combat based vehicles that make up the rest of the team.

      The Chopper Drone is cast in black and yellow plastic. Yellow makes up most of the vehicle while smaller parts are cast in black such as the rotor blades. Paint applications are done in borwn, white, metallic blue, red and silver. The windows are painted brown while the pods are painted white with a metallic blue band in the middle. Silver paint is used for the rotors in the rear along with the claw underneath it. A red Autobot symbol is painted onto both sides of the vehicle towards the bottom. For what basically amounts to an accessory, these are more paint decos than I expected and they work well together. The yellow color also emphasizes the "rescue" aspect of the vehicle and it looks cool.

      The top of the helicopter drone has a Mini-Con peg on it, allowing you to attach weapons and Mini-Cons as necessary. It is funny to attach a Mini-Con and spin the rotor around as if it was blitzing the area with weapons fire, but it does add some cool play factor to the vehicle.

      Combat Helicopter Drone

      Images:

      • Combat Helicopter Drone
      • Combat Helicopter Drone (Side)
      • Combat Helicopter Drone (Back)
      • Combat Helicopter Drone (Forward View)
      • Combat Helicopter Drone (Angle view)
      • Combat Helicopter Drone (Rear View)
      • Combat Helicopter Drone (Caliburst attached)

        Whereas the Chopper Drone can serve rescue purposes, this drone means business with firepower. The Combat Helicopter drone is reminscent of the design of G1 Whirl, with angled windows in the front and weaponry mounted onto the sides and undersides. There's a lot to look at here in terms of detailing. Right under the angled rotor blades are two pods with thrusters sticking out on the sids. Underneath those are missiles. On the underside of the cockpit are two wicked looking guns as well. There are some nice details including raised sections on the thrusters and line details etched into the sides of the vehicle. The guns under the cockpit have some great detailing, looking like gatling guns. I really like the design of this drone, it looks totally fierce.

        Part of what reminds me so much of G1 Whirl in this vehicle is not just the design, but also the colors. The primary plastic color used here is blue, with some black parts as well. G1 Whirl was mostly blue as well, so the association is probably not accidental. Gold, yellow, silver and black paint are all found on the vehicle. Gold is used for the windows (giving it some color connection to Skyburst) while silver is used for the thrusters on the sides. Yellow triangles are found on either side of the cockpit while black Autobot symbols are painted on both sides towards the back. I dig the association of this color scheme with G1 Whirl. It's one of those things that doesn't mean a whole lot to those who don't remember the toy, but it adds a layer of coolness if you do.

        Fighter Jet Drone

        Images:

        • Fighter Jet Drone
        • Fighter Jet Drone (Side)
        • Fighter Jet Drone (Back)
        • Fighter Jet Drone (Forward View)
        • Fighter Jet Drone (Angle view)
        • Fighter Jet Drone (Rear View)
        • Fighter Jet Drone (Caliburst attached)

          Like the previous two vehicles, the Fighter Jet Drone seems to be designed with a Transformer from previous generations in mind. In this case, the Fighter Jet Drone seems modeled after G1 Ramjet (you can check out the review of Classics Ramjet here). His main body seems largely modeled after that of an F-15 jet, the base design for most of the Generation One "Seeker" jets such as Starscream and Thundercracker. Like Ramjet however, he has wings that angle back and then come out to the sides a bit along with vertical stabilizer fins that come up high. Each of the fins and wings have cylinders with point forward along with missile details sculpted on the underside of the wings. There are some cool sculpted details on the vehicle as well including vent lines on the angled sections on either side of the nosecone and shapes like rectangles etched into the top of the vehicle. Like Ramjet he also has two thrusters in the back and a cylindrical nosecone. This design is wonderfully retro while sleek looking all at the same time.

          The vehicle is cast in grey and black plastic. Grey makes up most of it with black used on the nosecone and wings. Keeping consistant with colors used on Skyburst, the paint applications on this figure are done in gold and silver. Gold is used for the cockpit and the edges of the wings. Silver is used for Autobot symbols on his wings. These colors really pop off the black parts and work well with the grey. I'm kind of amused that a Ramjet homage wound up being an Autobot vehicle first, though I'm quite sure in the future we'll be seeing a Decepticon redeco of this vehicle.

          The Fighter Jet Drone has a Mini-Con peg right behind the nosecone. The peg does seem a bit out of place, but it's understood that each of these drones is meant to function with a Mini-Con (or some weapons) so there's some latitude there in the criticism department.

          Recon Plane Drone

          Images:

          • Recon Plane Drone
          • Recon Plane Drone (Side)
          • Recon Plane Drone (Back)
          • Recon Plane Drone (Forward View)
          • Recon Plane Drone (Back view)
          • Recon Plane Drone (Caliburst attached)

            The Recon Plane Drone rounds out the assortment of vehicles in this team very well. He's not a helicopter, nor is he a sleek jet, rather he is a fighter plane similar to an A10 Thunderbolt (though I'm sure there's a fighter that's even closer in appearance out there). Like the Thunderbolt, he has a cross shape with two vertical fins in the back that connect to horizontal posts. The wings angle down then out to the sides and there's a large radar dish on top towards the rear. Mounted on the underside of each wing are serious looking guns that extend almost to the front of the nosecone. Underneath the nose of the vehicle are two smaller guns. Of the four vehicles, this one looks the most imposing, and I love the way he has a radar dish on top as well. The dish has a Mini-Con peg on top and perhaps out of every one of these vehicles this is the one that seems least out of place. I also have to give a lot of credit to the sculptors for the detail work on the radar dish. They look fantastic along with the details on the wings and the central body of the plane.

            The two plastic colors used on this vehicle are off-white and black. White makes up most of the figure with black used on the wings and weapons. The paint applications are done in red, black, white, yellow and metallic blue. Again I am really impressed by how many color applications this vehicle has considering it doesn't even have a robot mode. The white is used on the tops of the wings while the red is found on the edges of the vertical stabilizers and the Autobot symbol on the nose. The cockpit is painted metallic blue and black is used for the letters "AM-5" on the stbilizers. The edge of the radar dish has a yellow band on it. Overall it's a fantastic color scheme and reminds me of Cybertron Wing Saber's vehicle mode design. This is easily my favorite of the four drones.

            Power-Up Mode

            Images:

            • Power-Up Mode
            • Power-Up Mode (Left Side)
            • Power-Up Mode (Right Side)
            • Power-Up Mode (Back)
            • Power-Up Mode (Close up)
            • Power-Up Mode (Focus on head)
            • Power-Up Mode (Angle view)
            • Power-Up Mode (Posed)
            • Power-Up Mode (Close up on Recon Plane Drone hand)
            • Power-Up Mode (Close up on Chopper Drone claws)
            • Power-Up Mode (Focus on Fighter Jet Drone leg form)
            • Power-Up Mode (Focus on Combat Helicopter Drone leg form)
            • Power-Up Mode (Caliburst attached)

              Transformation to Power-Up Mode (starting in robot mode):

              1. Rotate the lower legs outward so the feet point out to the sides.
              2. Swing out the combiner pegs out from the lower legs.
              3. Swing the legs out at angles, then point the lower legs straight down.
              4. Swing the back section up.
              5. Swing the forearms up against the shoulders.
              6. Lift the panel on the back of the vehicle and point the triangular piece down.
              7. Swing the combiner robot head up.
              8. Swing the wing sections down.
              9. Tuck the notch in the forearms into the top of the chest sections.
              10. Swing the sections with the angld stabilizers forward so the combiner pegs point out to the sides. Clip the holes in these sections to the tabs on the forearms.
              11. Swing the wings back.
              12. The Recon Plane Drone and Chopper Drone can form either arm, push them into the slots to auto-transform them into arms.
              13. The Fighter Jet Drone and Combat Helicopter Drone each form legs. For the Fighter Jet, you can push the wings down, then swing the stabilizers forward a bit to keep them in place.

              It seems a bit odd to have a "combined mode" that doesn't have an identity of its own. Unlike many generations of Combiners from previous series of Transformers, this "combiner" form is still Skyburst, just enhanced with extra parts and presumably, power. In some respects, this is a smaller version of Energon Optimus Prime, who retained his identity while having his powers enhanced by additional vehicular parts. Each part of this vehicle winds up getting new parts revealed in the final form:

              Skyburst
              The underside of the forearms and the various jet components from Skyburst form a torso section that shares the angular shapes from the vehicle mode. The head sculpt looks like an upgraded version of Skyburst's regular robot head. It has a helmet with layers of design all curving upwards with a central crest. His face is has two eyes, a wide nose, mouth and chin piece. Like the smaller Skyburst head, there are extra design elements on the cheeks and chin. The head is cast in blue plastic with gold and silver paint details. The top part of the helmet is gold, the face is silver. His eyes are painted light blue, following the tradition of Autobots having blue eyes. On the chest there are gold details on the sides of his chest that generally can't be seen in robot mode since they're on the undersides of Skyburst's forearms.

              Skyburst makes up a majority of the new details introduced in this form. The head sculpt is fantastic and very different from the typical Transformer design. I like the way the angles of various jet bits come together to form a chest plate that is somewhat reminscent of G1 Superion's chest (which looked almost like a futuristic vehicle in its own right).

              Chopper Drone
              The Chopper Drone extends quite a bit, with several joints revealed to be cast in black plastic. These extended parts have a lot of detailing including tubes, cylinders and claws. The use of primitive looking claws instead of fingers or a fist is interesting considering how modern the vehicles that make up this combiner are. The placement of the Mini-Con peg on the top of the rotor blade now winds up on the shoulder here, offering lots of possibilities to attach Mini-Cons as weapons to give the combiner more offensive capability.

              Combat Helicopter Drone
              The Combat Helicopter is probably the least changed of the four vehicles. Essentially the middle section extends up and the cockpit folds forward. The front guns act as heel like pieces that stabilize the figure. You can attach a Mini-Con to the peg on the rotor blade. Now this peg faces forward so you may have to be a bit creative with how you attach Mini-Cons to this figure. A Mini-Con such as Makeshift from the Armada Emergency Team that can point its guns forward is ideal for this peg.

              Fighter Jet
              The Fighter Jet becomes a leg here and is probably the weakest of the four vehicles as a limb. The top panel from the vehicle swings forward, revealing some type of mechanical looking pods painted in silver. I'm not sure what they are. They don't look like guns, they look more like sensors of some sort. The weak point comes with the wings. They are spring loaded and don't stay swung back really well, even with the stabilizers to keep them in place. I find the figure more stable if you leave the wings as they are in vehicle mode.

              Recon Plane Drone
              The Recon Plane Drone wins out as my favorite limb in this form. The wings wind up swinging up and forward to form fingers. There are three fingers underneath each wing, giving him six fingers on this arm. The fingers look mechanical and scary all at the same time. They have tubes and hinges sculpted into them with claws at the end. They're painted silver in a brushed metal type pattern that adds to their scary appearance. The huge guns from the vehicle mode are quite prominant here, forming cannons mounted to his arms. The radar dish's Mini-Con peg allows you to add some shielding or firepower to the combiner.

              There are sixteen points of articulation on this figure, mostly owing to Skyburst's articulation points. Each of the Combiner pegs can swivel allowing the legs to swivel out and in and it allows the arms to move up and down. on the left arm his single claw swings up and down. What sets this figure apart from many past combiners is the stability of this form. You can shake it around and move the parts around and no parts fall of or go flying. I will say however that the use of spring loaded mechanisms could lead to instability if the springs aren't torqued properly, but on my Skyburst they're all perfectly stable.

              Final Thoughts:
              Skyburst is an interesting design and fun to boot. Sadly it's hard to appreciate the figure unless you get to play with it. It is fun connecting the vehicles to various Commander figures and coming up with different combinations. Adding Mini-Cons into the mix makes it even more fun. This is a promising start to the five packs and makes me look forward to more of them down the road. Highly recommended!