"Robots in Disguise" (2015) Menasor Toy Review

in 2017, Action Figure Review, Combiner Force, Decepticon, Prime, Robots in Disguise (2015), Stunticon

Robots in Disguise (2015)

Menasor General Information:
Release Date: July 2017
Price Point: $29.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: Sword

Official images and text in italics below from Amazon.com:
Unleash the power of 5 Transformers figures at once and create a Menasor Team Combiner figure. Click each smaller figure together in one easy step to create this mighty Menasor super robot. Combine forces and join the battle with these figures based on the Transformers: Robots in Disguise animated series.

  • 5 Decepticon figures combine forces to create the sinister Menasor figure
  • Figures click to combine in 1 step
  • Mix and match with other Team and Crash Combiner figures (sold separately)
  • Scan the shield on the figure to unlock Menasor in the app (details below)
  • Be a part of the Transformers Combiner Force

This Menasor Team Combiner 5-pack features Motormaster, Decepticon Dragstrip, Wildbreak, Slashmark, and Heatseeker figures. Figures combine in 1 easy step: just click each additional figure to the correct portion of the main Motormaster body while it’s in robot mode. Figures convert between robot and vehicle modes in anywhere from 1 to 8 steps. Kids can scan the Decepticon shield when the figures are in combiner mode to unlock Menasor in the mobile app. Team Combiner figures work with other Team or Crash Combiner figures, so kids can build their own combiner super robot (additional figures sold separately).

A special team of Decepticons called the Stunticons burns rubber on Earth. Led by the loud, proud, and totally evil Motormaster, these Stunticons want to own the roads but the Autobots keep getting in the way. Now, Motormaster and his crew have a new plan: they’re going to combine. Together they form Menasor, a sinister super robot that towers over his foes. If Bumblebee and his team want to win against this Decepticon combiner, they’ll need to use all their skills - and maybe come up with some brand new ones, too.

The theme for late 2016 and 2017 in "Robots in Disguise" is "Combiner Force". Taking a page from "Combiner Wars", this line focuses on various gimmicks that involve "combining", though the definition is a bit loose. Mini-Cons attaching to larger robots is considered "combining" for instance. However in the most "pure" expression of combining Transformers, five packs of combining robots were released in mid-2017. One of these is Menasor, featuring a Combiner inspired by the classic Stunticons (who appeared in "Combiner Wars"). The Stunticons were featured as major villains in "Robots in Disguise" during the 2017 season, but this makes the first time the entire team was available as a combining set.

Normally my reviews start with whatever mode the figure is packaged in. However, Motormaster is basically packaged in "torso" mode with the other Stunticons in vehicle form near him as if they are in mid-combination. For the sake of simplicity, I will be reviewing Motormaster in a more traditional "vehicle to robot" layout. The individual Stunticons will each get their own brief reviews since they are very simple figures.

Motormaster

Vehicle Mode:
Motormaster is a truck in vehicle mode. Inspired by his G1 counterpart, this figure has both the cab and trailer sections of the vehicle in one complete figure. The vehicle is based on his animation model, but a lot of changes were made in order to accomodate the "Crash and Combine" gimmick that helps form Menasor. In general the shape is right. The cab section has a thin, sleek looking windshield, a large grille in the center and two sections that come to sharp points in front that look almost like horns or mandibles. The truck has ten wheels and the trailer section looks almost like the back of a tanker truck. Each of the wheel wells has a covering over it that angles downward in front. The trailer section has raised sections on top like the animation model, though they are slightly larger than the ones in the cartoon. The largest difference between the animation model and this figure are the sides of the trailer. Instead of having smooth panels running all along the side, there is a smooth panel that then connects to a more angled section. Given the constraints of this size class and type of figure, I understand the need for these design compromises, but the shame is that this is pretty much the only combining Motormaster toy we are getting so I wish we had say, a Warrior Class one that was more accurate.

Motormaster is cast in silver and black plastic, with silver making up most of the figure. Don't look for show accuracy in the colors here. There are only a few paint applications. The windshield is painted black. The sides have some black and purple line designs inspired by those seen on the cartoon. On the left side there is a scannable Decepticon symbol that unlocks Menasor in the "Robots in Disguise" mobile app. Some purple is used on the sides of the trailer looking almost like windows. This deco is not great. I really wish it featured more of the deco seen on the show including black on the cab, purple lines running the length of the trailer and red outlines on the wheels.

There is a 5mm port on the top of this figure, allowing you to attach weapons or a Mini-Con in weapon mode. The vehicle rolls on ten wheels (which are sadly, mosty clip on wheels with obvious clips).

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the rear, top half of the trailer up.
  2. Swing the bottom half with the wheels down.
  3. Swing the robot arms (formed from the top of the trailer) out.
  4. Swing the robot head panel back.
  5. Split the legs.
  6. Rotate the lower legs around.
  7. Swing the feet down.

Robot Mode:
Motormaster's robot mode is very roughly based on his animated appearance. Like the cartoon model, his head has a "helmet" section around it that calls back to G1 Motormaster's head design. He also features wide shoulder armor that angles out to the sides. The torso has windshield and grille details on it since it is formed from the front of the vehicle, but their proportions are very different than the animation model. The rest of the figure is more generic, with the forearms not even really looking like arms at all but more like unfinished bits of the vehicle mode.

Like the vehicle form this mode is mostly silver. The robot eyes are painted red but that's it. All the other details carry over from the vehicle mode such as the black and silver on the shoulders. Frankly the figure looks unfinished. The animation model has a lot of black, purple and red in this form and almost none of it appears here.

There are eight points of articulation on this figure, but I am sad to say none are meaningful. His arms can swing out along with the elbows (both due to the transformation scheme) but the arms cannot move forward and back. The legs can swing out at the hips and swivel at the knees, but they cannot move forward and back. Given the price point for this set, I would have hoped for at least arms that can move up and down.

Decepticon Dragstrip

Vehicle Mode:
Decepticon Dragstrip is one of the few members of the Stunticons who borrows his name from his G1 counterpart. Both the G1 and "Combiner Wars" versions of the character were F-1 style race cars, however this time out Dragstrip is a futuristic looking luxury car (or perhaps a sports car). This figure does a great job of representing the animation model. It features a front end that comes to an angle in the middle, wheel wells that lead to pointed headlights in the front and huge wheel wells in the back and spoilers with vertical panels on the ends.

This figure is mostly cast in a gorgeous metallic yellow color, black and silver plastic. The black is used for the wheels while the silver is used for the spoiler. The windows are painted metallic red while the edge of the front end is painted metallic purple. These colors are not terribly accurate to the show, and a good chunk of the vehicle is missing details (such as the hood and rear), but I cannot deny the colors that are there look great.

The vehicle features four wheels that roll. There is also a 5mm port on top of the vehicle that allows you to attach weapons or Mini-Cons in weapon mode. Because of the size of this figure, Mini-Cons look ironically huge when attached!

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the rear wheel wells out a bit to form the robot arms.
  2. Swing the front of the car down to form the robot feet.

Robot Mode:
The robot mode is, admittedly not the most impressive thing to look at, but this is the standard design for the limbs in this set. There are some nicely sculpted details including curved armor on the chest that comes down to points towards the mid-body and the head sculpt matches the animation model nicely. Other parts are a bit more generic looking such as the lower legs, which are just flat panels with bumps for the knee armor. This is a shame since the knee armor looks a bit like the top of the Decepticon symbol in the cartoon, so there is a missed opportunity here in terms of aesthetics. I am glad that smaller details such as his fists are sculpted into the figure. Even if those parts cannot move, it helps sell the fantasy of the figure being a robot in disguise.

This mode shows off more silver and black plastic. A silver panel forms the head, torso and waist while black plastic is used for the legs. This does not really match the animation model at all, but at this point I kind of expected that. The eyes are painted red and the chest armor is painted metallic purple. The splash of purple on the chest is not show accurate, but it looks great and the purple is a beautiful color.

Dragstrip has zero articulation. No kidding, he literally just stands there with his arms out to the sides and...that's it.

Heatseeker

Vehicle Mode:
Prior to the release of this set, Heatseeker was already released as a One Step Changer so you may want to check that review out for a better look at what could be done with this design in toy form. The vehicle sculpt is actually very accurate to the cartoon model. It includes distinct features such as the cage in front with teeth-like sections on top, a vent on the hood of the vehicle and two raised sections on the top of the cabin section. Even smaller details like the "L" shaped headlights are included. From a sculpting standpoint the vehicle looks cool.

This figure is cast in silver and black plastic. Metallic red paint is used for the front and side windows, but sadly not the back. There are however red details on the sides of the doors. Unfortunately the front of the vehicle has no deco. It would have been cool for the headlights to be painted or maybe even having a Decepticon symbol tampographed on the grille.

There is a 5mm port on the top of the figure allowing you to attach weapons or Mini-Cons.

Transformation to Robot Mode:
Swing the sides of the vehicle out and stand the figure up.

Robot Mode:
Like the vehicle mode the designers really worked hard to get as much detail into this mode as they could. The head features Heatwave's distinct targeting scope over one eye, the wide "Y" shaped panel on the chest, headlights on the shoulders and the distinct waist armor featuring what looks like a window in the middle and guards panels on the sides. The proportions are off of course since the figure is kind of "squished" into the underside of the vehicle, but it is cool to see the details there.

this mode mostly features silver plastic with black on the wheels and lower legs. Metallic red paint is used on the eyes and chest. Sadly that's it for paint applications on this figure. I was hoping there would be more on the chest or waist but alas, no dice.

Like the other smaller figures in this set there is zero articulation here. The figure just stands there.

Slashmark

Vehicle Mode:
Slashmark is a retool/redeco of Heatseeker. This is not just a toy cost-cutting mechanism. Both characters use the same basic animation model on the cartoon with some minor changes (and color differences of course). The vehicle form is exactly the same as Heatseeker. I do wish there had been some retooling (either the vent on the top of the hood or the front grille) to distinguish it a bit from Heatseeker.

It is also cast in the same plastic colors: silver and black. The paint colors are different however. Blue is used on the top of the cabin section and the windows in the front and sides are painted black.

Like Heatseeker, Slashmark has a 5mm port on the top of the vehicle.

Transformation to Robot Mode:
Swing the sides of the vehicle out and stand it up on the back of the vehicle.

Robot Mode:
Slashmark features two changes from Heatseeker's sculpt in this form. First, the head sculpt is different, featuring a helmet with a tall crest in the middle and a "Y" shaped opening for the face. The other part that is different from Heatseeker is the waist armor, which now features a row of three lines instead of a window-like panel. Both of these differences come right from the Slashmark's animation model and I am glad the designers did not just repaint Heatseeker with no changes.

Slashmark features a whopping two different paint colors in this form. His eyes are painted red and a lot of the chest is painted metallic blue. I really like the way the blue looks and it makes me wish Heatseeker had a similar amount of paint in robot mode.

Wildbreak

Vehicle Mode:
Wildbreak is a retool and redeco of Dragstrip. The vehicle mode sculpt is the same so in this form he is just a straight up redeco. Instead of metallic yellow, he is metallic blue. The wheels are still black and the spoiler piece is still silver. His windows are painted metallic red. Like Dragstrip, he features a 5mm port on top.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the rear wheel wells out a bit to form the robot arms.
  2. Swing the front of the car down to form the robot feet.

Robot Mode:
This mode features the same body design as Dragstrip, but the head is different. Featuring a square shaped crest and horns sticking out of the sides horizontally, some fans may find this design familiar since it is based on G1 Wildrider's head design which was seen not too long ago with "Combiner Wars" Brake-Neck.

Interestingly, the colors on this figure seem to have more in common with "Transformers Prime" Breakdown, who was blue and grey. This mode is mostly metallic blue and silver plastic with some black parts thrown in. His eyes and chest are painted metallic red. While these colors look cool, they are not exactly how he looks on the show, where he is more dark blue-grey and red (which fits more with G1 Wildrider's colors).

Transformation to Menasor (Starting in Vehicle Modes)

  1. Swing Motormaster's legs down.
  2. Swing Motormaster's arms out.
  3. Press the grille on the front of the vehicle to reveal Menasor's head.
  4. On each of Motormaster's forearms, swing out the connection piece, then swing the forearms over the shoulders, tabbing them into place on the grooves that flank the head.
  5. Rotate each of Motormaster's lower legs so the knee armor faces forward.
  6. On both Dragstrip and Wildbreak, swing up the hood, then swing out the lower legs to form Menasor's fists and then swing down the torso panels. Pull the two halves a bit to extend each arm and give it some added length.
  7. On Heatseeker and Slashmark, swing the lower legs down then swing the front of the vehicles up.
  8. Attach the legs by clipping Motormaster's legs and the clips in Heatseeker and Slashmark together.
  9. Attach the arms by attaching the clips under the vehicle forms into the clips on Motormaster's arms.
  10. The sword can be attached to either hand.

*Note: The pictured form on the packaging shows Heatseeker forming the left leg and Slashmark forming the right. Meanwhile Dragstrip forms the right arm while Wildbreak forms the left. That said, the arms can be switched and so can the legs, giving the combined form a bit of the G1 "Scramble City" feel.

Menasor:

*Note: The arms extend but I did not do so in the photos above. Totally my bad. I will do this in the future when I do another round of photos.

If you take a look at the animation turnarounds for Menasor from the "Robots in Disguise" cartoon, he is a a really bulky, scary looking interpretation of the G1 character. Unlike the look of G1 Menasor, this version of the character has the smaller vehicles forming actual limbs, instead of just attaching to limbs. This figure has many of the details from the animation model, most notably the distinct, G1-based head design featuring a long crest, horns and a grim looking face. The shoulders/chest area is wide, with the bottom section angling upward. Also the knee armor formed from the legs of Heatseeker and Slashmark is similar to the design seen on the animation model as well.

There are some definite differences between this combined form and the cartoon model. For instance, the center of the torso features the front of Motormaster's vehicle mode, but on the animation model the details are a lot more angled and sleek. Also the proportions are different. On the animation model the arms are much bigger, reaching down to below the knees with the fingers extended. Here they are a more "normal" looking length, reaching to the sides of the thighs. Despite these differences, the figure still looks very cool and represents the cartoon model well.

This mode of course features all the colors of the various limbs and Motormaster. The newly revealed parts include the head, hands and sword. The head is cast in silver with black and red paint on it. Meanwhile the hands are a combination of silver and black plastic. Thanks to the various colors used on the limbs and Motormaster this mode really helps bring together some nice visual appeal for Menasor.

There are ten points of articulation on this figure. However out of all of them, only a few are meaningful. The hands have a thumb piece that can swing up and down, allowing you to swap the arms to form a left or right arm. This also helps hold the sword accessory in place when you attach it to the hand. The shoulder joint allows the arms to move up and down. The knee joints do not bend back, but they do allow you to swing the legs out a bit, allowing for extra stability. Despite this relatively low amount of posability, I cannot say there is no play value. It is fun quickly assembling a Combiner together and he can stomp through your Autobot forces even without twenty points of articulation. If you want to store the sword away, it can attach to slots on the back of the figure behind the shoulder area.

Final Thoughts:
When I first purchased this item, I have to admit I was not super impressed. The individual robots are not that great (but the vehicle modes are good). Motormaster, arguably the most complex figure in the set, is not really that great on his own either. The combined mode is the true centerpiece, but by "Combiner Wars" or "Warrior Class" standards it too delivers only so much. All that said, I have to say I do like this set. Part of the reason is that this is a fun "pocket sized" Menasor (okay, maybe a side bag sized one). It's easy to transform, comes together easily and you can disassemble it just as fast. There are not a ton of fiddly bits at all, it does one thing well: combine. However, this set is not for many older fans. This is squarely aimed at younger fans who want a Combiner engineered for them. At best, older in general may enjoy this as a neat toy to keep on their desks to fiddle around with but that's about it.

Part of what turned my thinking around were two stories. If you don't want to read them, skip ahead to the pros and cons. First, about a week before I wrote this review I was in Toys R Us and a kid, perhaps no older than seven or so saw Menasor on the shelf and started losing his mind. "Look daddy! Five guys merge into one robot!" he repeated over and over. I do not know if he got the toy, but his excitement was infectious and I could not help but be amused. Then while hanging out at a Whole Foods working on this review, I had Menasor combined on the table and a couple kids (about five or six) had similar reactions. Gasps, looks of awe and general excitement. It helped me remember just who these toys were made for and I am glad I was presented with such reminders before I finished this review.

Pros:

  • Easy to assemble with quick transformations.
  • Some gorgeous plastic choices, especially the metallic colors.
  • Scales nicely as a "giant" with Legion Class figures.

Cons:

  • Individual robot forms are not very impressive.
  • Needs more paint applications.
  • Not a lot of articulation.