Power Core Combiners Steelshot with Beacon Toy Reviews

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

Power Core Combiners

General Information:
Release Date: November 2010
Price Point: $9.99
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Beacon Mini-Con figure
Image Gallery: Gallery of images featuring Steelshot and Beacon

The third wave of Power Core Combiners is made up exclusively of redecos, taking Commander figures and mixing them up with either different Drones or Mini-Con partners than they had been teamed with previously. Steelshot is a redeco of Bombshock from the Combaticon combiner set. His partner is Beacon, a Mini-Con using the sculpt first used for Backwind from the Searchlight and Backwind set. This review will focus on the changes made to these figures for this release. For a closer look at the Steelshot and Beacon molds, check out the reviews of Bombshock and Searchlight.

Beacon Review

When the first two waves of Power Core Combiners were released it seemed the idea was to primarily utilize translucent colored plastic for the Mini-Cons, perhaps as an expression of the power they add to the Transformer they combine with. With this wave however, Beacon shows up in solid colors instead. This expression of the mold shows off a classic color palette: black, red and silver. The figure is now mostly red plastic, including the arms, torso and lower legs. Black plastic is used for other sections such as the upper legs and shoulder ball joints. I've always loved the black and red combination of Transformers (and robots in general). While I do love seeing translucent plastic on Transformers, this is a cool choice for a solid color combination.

Paint applications are done up in two colors: gunmetal grey and silver. The gunmetal is used on his face and the cannon arm. The silver paint is found on his knees, where the lights for his alternate modes are located. The red and black plastic combination of colors lends themselves to the use of these colors for paint applications, and I think they look great. They offer a bright contrast to the darker red and black plastic.

All of Beacon's joints are nice and tight, which is quite important as he is a bit unusual in structure with his ape like arms. Relatively speaking, a lot of the balance depends on the joints being tight, otherwise the ball joints would cause him to flop all over the place. I was happy to see this was not the case with Beacon.

Since there were no mold changes, I won't go into each and every mode, but suffice it to say with his tight joints, each mold is perfectly functional. For the sake of completeness however, I have provided the instructions for his various modes below.

Note: All transformation instructions below begin with Beacon in robot mode.

Transformation to Power-Up Armor:

  1. Swing the forearms up over the upper arms.
  2. Swing the arms out to the sides.
  3. Rotate the lower legs so they point out to the sides.
  4. Rotate the hip joint so the legs can swing up.
  5. Swing the lower legs up into the thighs and tuck them right under the robot arms.
  6. Use the Mini-Con port on any compatible Commander figure's chest to connect him to a compatible peg.

Transformation to Robot Weapon Mode:

  1. Move the right arm so it is pointing up.
  2. Swing the right leg out to the side on the hip joint.
  3. Rotate the right leg so it faces down.
  4. Rotate the lower right leg so the foot now points up.
  5. Tuck the right lower leg into the upper leg against the torso.
  6. Turn the left lower leg so it faces out to the left.
  7. Swing the left lower leg up against the right lower leg.
  8. Using the Mini-Con peg on the left leg, you can connect Beacon to any compatible Transformer.

Transformation to Vehicle Weapon Mode:

  1. Swing each arm back, then bend it at the elbow to point the forearms down.
  2. Swing each leg up into the thigh.
  3. Attach to the underside of top of Steelshot via the Mini-Con port on the robot chest.

Steelshot Review

Robot Mode:
Whenver you have a very obvious military vehicle and you want to give it a new color scheme, one of the easiest ways to go is to give it a "desert camo" pattern, and that's what was done with the Bombshock mold to create Steelshot. It's a smart move. It maintains the integrity of the mold's original purpose while making it look so different that it appears to be a different character altogether on first look.

Steelshot is cast in five primary plastic colors. Brown and beige are the primary colors, making up the "desert camo" look. The brown is focused on the torso, feet, the panel that covers his waist, lower arms and part of the cannon on the back. Beige is used for the main turret section on his back and his lower legs. Other parts are cast in black and dark grey including the upper arms and head respectively. The fifth color is, you guessed it, the light blue that is found on all the Drone connection points on the Power Core Combiner Commander figures. The blue aside, the colors work perfectly together to distinguish Steelshot from Bombshock.

Considering Steelshot's status as both a redeco and a Scout Class sized figure, I was a bit surprised when I counted just how many different colors were used on this figure for this new iteration. Altogether there are seven different paint colors used on Steelshot. The most obvious ones are silver and beige. Silver is used on the robot face and the edges of his chest and waist plate. You'll also find silver on an Autobot symbol located on the left forearm. Beige forms camo patterns on his chest and waist plate. In a bit of an inverse play on colors, the back section is beige plastic with brown camo patterns painted onto it. Gunmetal grey is used to paint the cannon barrels mounted on his back, and they look fantastic. The dark color looks appropriately metallic and ominous at the same time. A couple of tinier paint details come into play in the robot mode as well. The circles on the sides of his head have been painted gold and there are two circular details on his torso that are painted orange.

I expected a different color pattern from Bombshock, but I had not thought they would be so detailed about it, and for that I applaud the designers. Steelshot looks great and despite the lack of retooling, stands on his own as a new character very well.

All of Steelshot's joints are nice and tight. I had no problem using the Mini-Con peg on his back either. Functionally this mold appears to still be in good shape!

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Raise the robot arms up.
  2. Push the robot feet up against the lower legs.
  3. Turn the turret around.
  4. Lift the "skirt" from the waist section.
  5. Rotate the lower body around.
  6. Connect the two lower legs.
  7. Swing back the flaps on either side of the legs.
  8. Bend the arms at the elbows and connect the two fists together.

Vehicle Mode:
Steelshot's vehicle mode is a nice visual play on the general desert camo colors. Whereas the darker brown color dominated the robot mode, in the vehicle mode the beige color gets a chance to shine. Here, the beige makes up much of the vehicle including the turret base, the sides and most of the front section. Brown is still present of course, but it takes a back seat, mostly making up smaller parts such as the rear of the vehicle, bits of the front and a relatively smaller portion of the turret. This mode still shows bits of black and of course light blue as well. A bit of gunmetal colored plastic is found on the turret base as well. Grey is also used for ech of the wheels. I like the flipping of the emphasized colors in this mode, it reinforces the idea that this is a robot in disguise, down to the dominant colors between modes.

The paint applications in this form are mostly visible in robot mode, but a few will catch your eye. The first are the brown camo patterns on the base of the turret, along with silver paint filling in the missile/rocket launcher holes. A really nice design are beige camo lines on the top of the driver's section at the front of the vehicle. That particular detail is notable as in robot mode that detail actually winds up being the bottom of Steelshot's foot! I like the idea of "hiding" a paint detail like that and then revealing it in vehicle mode. Very nicely done.

Functionally, Steelshot's wheels roll find and the turret turns while still having a nice and tight rotating joint. You can still attach Mini-Cons onto the pegs and they'll fit nice and snug. This is one of my paramount worries with redecos of anything with Mini-Con pegs as any shrinkage or over-expanding of the plastic will lead to unusable pegs. Fortunately Steelshot does not have this problem. I have to comment that the choice of Beacon's sculpt for this form makes perfect sense since he acts as a spotter for Steelshot. His "headlight" details could easily be interpreted as long range scanners of some sort, helping Steelshot target enemies from far away.

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

  1. Swing the robot feet up, and then swing the combiner connection points down.
  2. Rotate the turret on Steelshot's back around so the cannon barrels are pointing down.
  3. Holding on to the turret section, push it forward to form the combiner robot chest.
  4. Move the robot arms up so the holes in the lower arms connect to the tabs on the turret piece.
  5. Swing the Mini-Con peg on the turret up to reveal the combiner head, then rotate it around.
  6. Swing each of the legs up at an angle until they clip into place.
  7. Rotate the lower legs so the parts where you can see the screws face forward.

Power-Up Combiner Mode:
The Power-Up Combiner mode does not feature many parts that were not revealed in previous forms, and there was no retooling of the Combiner head. That said, it's still a very neat looking figure. As I harped on before, it is pretty cool how different this figure looks from its predecessor, and this mode is no exception. With the turret base now forming the chest, the beige and brown colors take center stage again. The camo pattern is in full force on the chest and surprisingly, on the Combiner head! The mouth plate is colored with brown and beige camo patterns while the eyes are blue. Even as I'm typing this I confess this sounds terrible, yet somehow it works. It looks almost like Steelshot is a desert warrior wearing some type of cloth over his face to protect it while matching his "uniform" at the same time. Very well done. The final bit of color is found on the legs, which would be Steelshot's inner legs in his robot mode. There you'll see a small section painted gunmetal grey, emphasizing the sculpting of the machinery in that section.

The most crucial bits of functionality for this mode are the Drone connection points and the tabs that hold his arms and legs in place. I am happy to report that both still work very well. The clips on his leg/hip section work perfectly and the tabs on his robot arms connect nice and tight to the rest of the torso. This is definitely one of the more solid Power Core Combiner base sculpts. All this and he has waist articulation too!

Final Thoughts:
Steelshot is a solid sculpt, and I don't just mean that in a metaphorical way. All his joints are nice tight and he has real play value in each mode. Most impressively, his Power-Up Combiner mode works very well without parts becoming disconnected easily or loose joints. The places where Mini-Cons can connect make perfect sense and he can hold Mini-Con and Energon weapons to boot. These are all qualities you want in a Power Core Combiner and Steelshot has them. Having a cool Mini-Con sculpt to go with him is a bonus! Highly recomended.