"Generations" Combiner Wars Alpha Bravo Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: December 2014
Price Point: $15.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Hand/Foot/Weapon, Blaster

*Images above with asterisks and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Combine and convert for awesome Transformers action! This Alpha Bravo figure brings his 2-fisted blaster attack in robot mode, and he converts fast to helicopter mode whenever his airborne special ops tactics are needed. But he can also become an arm or a leg when the battle calls for you to build a truly hardcore Superion warrior! (Other figures sold separately.) Whatever mode your Alpha Bravo figure is in, he's going to bring maximum carnage to the fight! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

The theme for the "Generations" segment of the "Transformers" toy line in 2015 is "Combiner Wars". The focus will be on updated versions of Combiners from the past (with some new elements thrown in for good measure). The idea is to take lessons learned from the Bruticus released a couple years ago and create better Combiners featuring a Voyager Class central body piece with Deluxe sized limbs. To spice things up a bit, some of the Legends Class figures released for "Combiner Wars" will be able to serve as weaponry for the combined giants.

Alpha Bravo is a new character recently introduced in the IDW Publishing comic book series. When the Aerialbots lost a member, he stepped up to make sure Superion could still be formed to defend Cybertron. He is the only "new" member of the team. All the other Aerialbots in this set are based off original G1 characters.

The packaging for "Combiner Wars" creates a very clear delineation between the main "Robots in Disguise" toy line for 2015 and the more collector oriented "Generations" segment. While the packaging uses the same basic "Transformers" logo as the "Robots in Disguise" line, it is set against a black background instead of white. The words "Combiner Wars" are set across the top and dramatic, painted artwork is heavily featured on the card. The figure is set against it in a bubble, showing off the figure in robot mode and its accessories. The bubble features a sticker showing Superion. Overall, this look is very akin to the "Star Wars" Black Series line of figures, also aimed at older collectors.

The back of the packaging features photos of the figure in both modes with a very brief note on the character. Sadly, we have lost tech specs for the most part. There are no statistics or much of a personality. I suspect part of this is due to the multi-lingual packaging which features four languages now. To the right of the packaging is a drawing of Superion with photos of Skydive, Silverbolt, Firefly and Alpha Bravo himself.

The "Combiner Wars" figures all come with collector cards printed on thick cardboard. Unlike other figures in this assortment, Alpha Bravo's card has the same artwork as the backing card he is packaged with. Whereas other figures have used package art from the "Transformers Legends" mobile game for their cards, Alpha Bravo doesn't have art from the game.

The "Combiner Wars" Deluxe figures include a weapon and a piece that serves three purposes: a weapon, a fist and a foot. This piece is rectangular in the middle and angles down to the front. The front has two barrels with fins on top. The barrels are the main difference between this piece and those included with the other Aerialbots. The back has what is clearly a thumb which doubles as a heel piece. The top has a 5mm peg that allows you to attach it to a figure as a weapon and of course allows it to attach to Firefly when he is in "limb" mode.

Flip the piece over and you'll see a piece with four fingers sculpted into it. Swing it out, then swing in the thumb and you form a hand. The thumb swings up and down so this piece can serve as a left or right hand. This piece is sculpted in black with silver used on the thumb joint. The piece is a tad smaller than one might expect, but it works well in all its functions. It is worth noting that among the first wave of "Combiner Wars" Deluxe figures, this piece is unique to Alpha Bravo. The pieces that come with Skydive, Dragstrip and Alpha Bravo are similar in design, but have different barrels. Alpha Bravo's weapon barrels have several smaller tubes, giving it the look of a dual machine gun.

Alpha Bravo's blaster looks like some serious military hardware. The barrel is fairly long and the area right above the handle has several large bullets sculpted into it that look like they would really put the hurt on any Decepticons!

Robot Mode:
Alpha Bravo (terms used by the military as "stand ins" for the letters A and B respectively) may be a unique character, but his design has some very familiar echoes of another character: Vortex. The Combaticon Vortex had several design elements that are similar to Alpha Bravo's. These include:

  • The head sculpt has Vortex's distinct design including two flat panels that bookmark the crest, visor eyes and mouthplate in between.
  • The chest has two distinct tube shaped designs near the shoulders, this resembles a design found on G1 Vortex's animation model.
  • The center of Alpha Bravo's chest has a raised design on it that echoes a similarly shaped design on G1 Vortex.
  • The rotor blade from the vehicle mode winds up on the back of the figure, similar to G1 Vortex's toy and animation model.
  • The forearms each have missiles sculpted into them. This seems to be a call back to G1 Vortex's forearms in the cartoon which had blasters mounted onto them.

If you were to ask just why the designers would make an Autobot look like a Decepticon, the answer is most likely that this sculpt will be given a deco later as Vortex (possibly with new parts, but he wouldn't really need them). Since the Combiner connection points on the "Combiner Wars" figures are universal, it would be very easy to just repaint this guy and have him serve as a member of a hypothetical Combaticon team in "Combiner Wars". Time will tell.

Alpha Bravo is cast in white, black and silver plastic. The black and white make up most of the figure, with the silver found on parts like the middle of the torso and the thighs. Paint applications are done in orange, gold and light blue. The orange is used heavily on the torso, where it paints almost the entire front panel. It's also used for the top of his head and the mouthplate. Gold is used for the missiles sculpted into each forearm. Light blue is used for his eyes and some details on the lower legs. A red and silver Autobot symbol is tampographed onto the left side of his chest. It's a solid deco and very clean looking. It's not super flashy or complex, but it does look cool.

There are sixteen points of articulation on this figure. This includes three in each arm, four in each leg and even waist articulation. The shoulder joints are ball joints, allowing for a wide range of articulation. The elbow joints are ratchet joints, allowing Alpha Bravo to hold slightly heavier weapons with more stability. He can use both of his accessories as weapons by attaching them to the 5mm ports in his hands. Having the rockets sculpted into his forearms gives him additional firepower. If you want to store his weapons away, they can both fit in 5mm ports on his back, located on the sides behind his arms.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms, legs and head.
  3. Rotate the robot head around.
  4. Swing the back piece (with the rear rotor) out and then up over the head.
  5. Straighten out each of the rotor blades on the back.
  6. Rotate the lower body around at the waist.
  7. On each leg, swing out the back half of the lower legs.
  8. Swing the legs up, connecting the tabs on the front half of each lower leg to the corresponding slots on the upper body.
  9. Swing up the rear halves of the lower legs.
  10. Push the leg halves together.
  11. Rotate the halves of the cockpit section out, then together in the middle.
  12. Swing down the top cockpit piece (these were the robot feet pieces).
  13. Push the arms to the sides and attach them to the tabs on the sides of the vehicle.
  14. The blaster weapon can be attached to the holes on either side of the vehicle (above the arms).
  15. The hand/foot piece can be attached to a 5mm port on the bottom of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
In vehicle form, Alpha Bravo appears to be a variation on a Dauphin Eurocopter, complete with no landing skids, a very curved front end section and a stylized tail/rotor section. Unlike the Dauphin, the main body of the vehicle is very long, making it look almost like a passenger vehicle to transport more than just two to four people. Indeed, if you look at the details along the sides of the vehicle, there are several windows indicating four potential rows of seats on top of the cockpit. This is no luxury vehicle however (at least, that's not all it is). The rockets from the forearms in the robot mode wind up on the sides here pointing forward. If you add on his other weapons this is one heavily armed helicopter! There's plenty of sleekness here however. Not only is the front nice and low, curving upward but the rear section also has vertical stabilizers set at angles. He looks very futuristic in this mode.

This mode is mostly white in color, with only a couple black parts on the sides towards the back and black rotors. Blue is used for a stripes on the sides going from the front all the way to the angled vertical stabilizers. The windows and nose in the front are painted black. On each of the stabilizers there are red and silver Autobot symbols. Like the robot mode, it's a very clean and looks good. The white color enhances the semi-futuristic look of the vehicle.

As mentioned earlier you can attach the weapons to the 5mm ports behind the rotors. The rotor can be spun by pushing it and you can attach the hand/foot weapon to the bottom of the vehicle.

Transformation to Arm Mode (Starting in vehicle mode):

  1. Detach all weapons.
  2. Transform the fist piece into the hand. Flip out the four fingers that are sculpted together, then swing the thumb up to the side you want to form.
  3. Swing the helicopter rotors in.
  4. Swing the robot arms out to the side.
  5. Split the front end and swing them back to the sides.
  6. Lift up the panels that formed the top of the cockpit section.
  7. Swing the bottom panel of the front end down.
  8. Lift up the rotor section.
  9. Swing the top half of the vehicle's front end out, then extend it forward.
  10. Push the top and bottom halves of the vehicle's front end together.
  11. Rotate the lower half of the body around so the legs can bend as the Combiner's "elbow" joint.
  12. Swing the robot arms back down and push them into the tabs on the sides.
  13. Lift up the rear of the vehicle and push it up and then down (as if you were forming the robot mode).
  14. Swing the robot head down to reveal the Combiner connector piece.
  15. Attach the fist to the end of the arm.

Arm Mode:
Alpha Bravo's arm mode is a pretty fierce looking one thanks in part to the rockets mounted onto the upper arm. Couple that with his machine guns and it looks like he's ready for combat even before he merges with Ultra Prime or Superion! I also like the way the forearm looks less like "robot legs that form a forearm" and more like a smooth, cohesive piece thanks to the way the helicopter parts come together.

Thanks to the waist and leg joints, the arm can bend at the "elbow" and swivel in and out. The piece that connects the arm to the larger robot also turns, allowing the arm to move up and down. The piece has a ratchet joint so it locks in place nicely. The fist has a 5mm port in it allowing you to attach Alpha Bravo's blaster or other weapons with 5mm pegs.

Transformation to Leg mode (Starting in vehicle mode):

  1. Detach all the accessories.
  2. Swing out the palm portion of the hand/foot piece to flatten it out. The thumb piece should act as a heel.
  3. Swing the back of the vehicle up and back down, just like it would be set in robot mode.
  4. Swing the top part of the cockpit section up.
  5. Split the cockpit itself and swing the parts out against the sides.
  6. Swing the rotor blades up.
  7. Push in the robot head to reveal the connection piece.
  8. Attach the foot piece to the 5mm port revealed in the cockpit area.

The tail/rotor piece can turn so if you want you can rotate it around or at an angle if you don't like it sticking out. It's really an optional feature and not 100% necessary.

Leg Mode:
Alpha Bravo's leg mode is a solid looking one. Like the arm mode, much of this mode is made up of the cohesive looking body of the vehicle mode condensed together so it forms a solid piece. I also really like the way the top part of the cockpit slopes down gently into the foot piece itself.

The attachment point to the larger torso piece allows for knee articulation in this form. The knees are ratchet joints so the combined giant should be stable. The weapon storage ports are plainly visible here so feel free to stash away extra 5mm peg weapons in this form.

Final Thoughts:
Alpha Bravo is going to get a lot of flak because most fans would prefer to have Slingshot (the "missing" member of the team) instead. I totally get this and find myself a bit disappointed we don't have Slingshot either. That said, as a standalone toy he's pretty cool and as a limb he looks good and has good functionality. Recommended!

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