"Generations" Combiner Wars Decepticon Blackjack Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: 2015
Price Point: $9.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Amazon, Target etc.)
Accessories: Axe/Spoiler

*Images above and text below in italics is from Amazon.com:
Convert, arm and attack with all the Transformers action you can handle. Decepticon Blackjack is a fierce Decepticon who calculates the odds and hatches his evil plans. This Decepticon Blackjack figure looks just like him and he’ll be a match for any Autobot who tries to take him on. He converts fast from robot mode to speedy sports car mode, and no enemy can hope to escape him. He can also combine with other figures (sold separately) to form a giant Menasor figure. Keep converting him back and forth so he can handle whatever his foes dish out. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

The Legends Class of figures continues its run in 2015 in "Combiner Wars". The first wave of figures consisted mostly of redecos and figures that could act as weaponry for the larger Combined figures. With the second wave of figures, a new type of Legends Class figure comes into play (so to speak). Touted as the "sixth member" of the Stunticon team, Decepticon Blackjack transforms into a sports car and robot but also has a third mode: a chest panel for the giant Menasor! However, the name "Blackjack" is actually a callback to a Micromaster, not a Stunticon. In "Generation One", Blackjack was a member of the Sports Car Patrol, a team of four Decepticons who transformed into cars. The origin of this figure however is a tad more complicated, read on!

Robot Mode:
At first glance, it is easy to look at Blackjack and figure he's some type of wild new interpretation of the original character. However, there is something very familiar about him. While many fans first saw a similarity to the members of the Throttlebot team (which would make awesome redecos of this guy) he is in fact more influenced by another sub-group of Transformers: The Battlechargers! Blackjack's sculpt has three of the hallmark design elements of those G1 characters including car windows as part of his torso and a section of the car that is swung behind the head, almost like a hood that has been pushed back. However, the biggest give away is his head sculpt which features visor eyes and a mouthplate with a distinct notch that sticks out in the middle. These are all features found on the G1 Battlecharger head design, though this figure sports a much rounder "helmet" section.

Not all the design elements are slavish to the Battlecharger layout however. In many ways this is a very distinct sculpt. The chest panel is actually mad eup of only part of the windows from the vehicle mode, not all of them. The arms have a very different design including raised, "U" shaped sections near the shoulders. The waist, thighs and lower legs all have very distinct and intricate details including tubes in the mid-body area, raised rows of horizontal lines on the thighs and "V" shaped knee armor. I'm glad the design has some design elements all its own. It fits in nicely with the other Stunticons who also use G1 figures as a starting point, but have many contemporary design elements.

So how do you take a sculpt that was meant for one character and repurpose it as another? Why, you give it a totally different deco of course! Blackjack's G1 colors come into play in this mode. The main plastic colors on this figure are dark grey and purple. The original Blackjack was primarily black and purple, but the dark grey works very well. Paint colors help solidify the connection to G1 Blackjack. Gold paint is used on the chest, arms, knee armor and faceplate. The dark grey, purple and gold work together to make this an excellent G1 Blackjack homage. Additional colors include purple (which you'll find on the arms, head and feet as well as light blue which is used on the eyes. The deco looks fantastic and I'm happy to see such care applied to a Legends Class figure sculpt, especially one that's new.

Blackjack has eleven points of articulation in this form. This includes three in each arm and two in each leg. The leg and shoulder joints are all ball joints, so he has a good range of articulation. Each of his fists is designed to accommodate a 5mm peg weapon. He comes with an axe weapon cast in purple plastic. It's a very stylish looking axe because it also doubles as his spoiler in vehicle mode. You can sort of store the axe on his back, but the handle will wind up sticking out horizontally so it looks a tad awkward (unless you have him reaching back for it, in which case it looks kind of neat).

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the axe weapon and set it aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the robot arms and legs.
  3. Rotate the forearms out (lining up the car door panels with the wheels).
  4. Push the chest panel up and connect it to the back panel.
  5. Push the two lower legs together.
  6. Swing the panel with the car windows on it down and push it into place.
  7. Swing the robot arms up to form the sides of the vehicle. Connect the tabs on the forearms to the notches on the hip area.
  8. Attach the axe/spoiler by connecting the tabs on the weapon to the notches on the back of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
Getting quite an upgrade from his G1 Ford Probe vehicle form, this Blackjack is full of sleek styling. The vehicle is a combination of angles (mostly in the front and back) and curves (especially on the wheel wells). The axe/spoiler gives an extra dramatic appearance to the vehicle, but he actually looks cool without it. My favorite details include the headlights, which have very distinctive, angled designs and the extra large wheels that raise the curve of the wheel wells up, giving the vehicle an extra aggressive profile. And talk about aggression? His spoiler basically ends with a cannon pointed forward, which makes him a bit more like his fellow Stunticons who also have blasters in vehicle mode.

In terms of deco, this mode shows off a good combination of the dark grey, purple and gold colors. Most of the vehicle is dark grey but the spoiler and purple paint on the sides keeps the purple ever-present. The windows are all painted gold, which is a nice change from years past when one or two windows would be left unpainted. The headlights are painted silver, which really helps them contrast against the dark colors on the figure. Finally, ther eis a tampographed Decepticon symbol in the center of the hood in purple and silver. Overall the deco on the figure looks great and I'm very happy with it.

Chest Armor Mode:
The "Chest Armor Mode" is only briefly mentioned in the instructions and even then they don't completely explain it. If you look on the underside of the vehicle mode, there are two holes. These are meant to connect to pegs on the chest of Menasor (or Ultra Prime). To add detail, you can also take the axe weapon and connect it to the notches on the top of the cabin section. I plan on getting more photos of this once I have a Motormaster figure to attach him to. It's a neat extra bit of functionality and it calls back to G1 Motormaster who did have a little car accessory that became Menasor's chest armor.

Final Thoughts:
This is one of those "easy buys" for me. It's a really nice new sculpt that pays homage to not one, but two characters at the same time and the deco is really nice looking. I really like the way he looks in both modes and he's fun to play with. Highly recommended!

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