"Generations" Combiner Wars Decepticon Dragstrip 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, Sword

*Images above with asterisks and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Combine and convert for awesome Transformers action! This ruthless Decepticon Dragstrip figure brings his slashing sword attack in robot mode, and he converts fast to racer mode whenever his blazing-fast moves are needed. But he can also become an arm when the battle calls for you to build a truly hardcore Menasor warrior figure! (Other figures sold separately.) Whatever mode your Decepticon Dragstrip 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.

Decepticon Dragstrip (aka "Drag Strip") was one of the original G1 Stunticons. The five Stunticons were among the first Decepticons seen in the original series with alt modes that were ground based vehicles (this would become much more common later in the line). The Stunticons all combined into a giant known as Menasor, something that will repeat itself in "Combiner Wars" For trademark reasons his name was changed to "Decepticon Dragstrip" from "Drag Strip". For the purpose of this review I'll just stick with "Dragstrip".

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. Even though Decepticon Dragstrip is a Decepticon, the packaging features an Autobot symbol. 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 Menasor. 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 (using Dragstrip as an arm due to him being in the wave of figures) and features figures from the first wave including Alpha Bravo and Firefly.

The "Combiner Wars" figures all come with collector cards printed on thick cardboard. The artwork featured on the card is different than the artwork on the backing card for the toy. The backing card features artwork based on the toy itself. This card art is actually from the "Transformers Legends" mobile app card game, specifically from "The Thin Blue Line" event. Drag Strip has been used three times in the "Legends" game so far, and out of the three I think this is the most dynamic artwork so it was a good choice. I do find myself wishing that the cards had been used for tech specs (the back only features generic logo art) it is a nice "add in" and utilizes the amazing "Legends" art outside the game, something I've wanted to see for quite some time now. It's a cool way to reuse the artwork outside 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 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 the figure 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 purple with a red-brown color 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 Dragstrip. It is more squared off and angular than the ones included with the Aerialbots.

Mirroring Menasor's primary weapon, Dragstrip's other weapon is a short sword. It has two blades, a wide one and a thinner one that sticks out a bit at the end. There are two pegs on the sword, one serving as a handle and the other set at an angle near the hilt. This allows Dragstrip to hold it as a blaster (swords firing blasts is not outside the realm of possibility with Transformers). This piece is cast in purple.

Robot Mode:
Unlike Firefly, Dragstrip's design uses the G1 design as a starting point, but then takes into different territory. Structurally he's very similar to G1 Drag Strip. The front of the vehicle winds up on his back, the rear of the vehicle forms the legs and the sides become the arms. There are even some superficial similarities including mechanical details forming a bulk of the torso and wheels on the sides of his legs. Perhaps the strongest physical resemblance to G1 Drag Strip is the head sculpt. The head is round with large visor eyes and a nose/mouth arrangement on the lower part of the face. This mirrors some of the G1 animation design but even then it is taken up a notch with an interesting line running down from the eyes to the level of the mouth. He has a pronounced chin piece as well, which also calls back to G1 Drag Strip.

The rest of Dragstrip's design is very unique to this figure. Thanks to the contours of his vehicle form, most of his parts wind up being curved in shape. This includes his shoulders, torso, forearms and legs. The proportions on the figure are very dramatic. The shoulders have points that stick up and the arms can be posed to flare outward. The waist and thighs are narrow, but then the lower legs flare out wide to the feet. I dig the way this looks. It very modern looking and offers an alternative interpretation of the character other than a straight up recreation of the original figure.

Dragstrip is cast in mustard yellow, red, silver and black plastic. The red is a shade that looks like a red-brown color. The yellow is a darker shade (and does actually remind me of a mustard I've used in real life). These colors are inspired by those found on G1 Drag Strip, so they help make the character instantly recognizable. The yellow and red make up most of the body with silver and black used for smaller parts like the middle of the torso and the wheels respectively. It may not seem like it, but there's actually a good amount of paint on this figure. A red (almost purple looking) color is used on the arms, thighs and lower legs. Silver is found on the arms and lower legs. The head has light blue on the crest and face and the eyes are painted red. On the right side of the chest is a tampographed Decepticon symbol. The light blue and red on his head is a direct color callback to G1 Drag Strip. The colors are very clean looking and they match the character nicely.

There are sixteen points of articulation on this figure. This doesn't sound like a lot numerically speaking, but the types of joints allow for a wide range of movement. This includes ball joints on the shoulders and hips as well as swivel joints on the arms and thighs. He has a good range of motion and I'm quite happy with it. Dragstrip has four connection points for 5mm weapons in this mode. Two are on the shoulders and two are in the fists.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms, legs and head.
  3. Swing each robot fist into the forearm.
  4. Push the lower legs together.
  5. Rotate the lower body around.
  6. Push the legs up against the driver's section.
  7. Lift up the front of the vehicle from the back and rotate it around, then push it down over the robot head.
  8. Swing the robot arms back against the body to form the sides of the vehicle.
  9. The weapons can attach to the sides of the vehicle using the 5mm ports.

Vehicle Mode:
Dragstrip is an Formula One style race car, similar to his G1 counterpart's vehicle mode. Distinctive features include a thin, front "wing" piece, a single cockpit section in the middle, a raised engine intake system behind the cockpit and a spoiler in the back. It also has four, relatively large wheels and distinctive suspension rods connecting the main body to the wheels. This is where a lot of the curved designs come together, mostly focused in the middle and back section. The middle section starts with a curve in the front and then leads to the middle where curves slope upward right up against the rear wheels. It's a very stylish and classic looking vehicle that fits the character well. I really like the details on it including the sculpting on the sides of the wheels and even a steering wheel in the cockpit.

Dragstrip's colors carry over into this form, but this time most of the red-brown color shows in the form of painted detail. This shows on the front, the sides and the spoiler. Silver paint is used on the sides of the wheels and for the sections that connect the wheels to the vehicle. A Decepticon symbol is tampographed in the section right in front of the cockpit. The colors look good and evoke G1 Drag Strip very well.

The two 5mm ports from Dragstrip's shoulders wind up on the sides of the vehicle, flanking the cockpit section. You can attach his weapons to these ports, though I admit they wind up looking a bit odd. The had/foot piece looks a tad unwieldly on the side and the sword comes out at an angle, which is neat in a kind of "Mad Max" post-apocalyptic vehicle sort of way. All that said, if you really want to give Dragstrip a G1 feel, you can use the 5mm port on the hand/foot piece and attach it to the peg on the top of the vehicle. This calls back to the G1 Drag Strip toy which had huge double cannons that attached to the vehicle form. If you're going to do this, the best way to do it is have the thumb piece sit in the notch at the center of the spoiler. It helps keep it more stable.

Transformation to Arm Mode (Starting in robot 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. Push the lower legs together.
  4. Rotate the lower body around (as if you were forming the vehicle mode).
  5. Rotate each arm around, then bend the elbow joints at the top, curving the arms inward.
  6. Swing the silver piece in the chest up (this is where it connects to the larger figures).
  7. Attach the fist piece to the port under the feet.

Note: if you want to adjust the length of the limb, you can swing the section with the spoiler up, revealing another attachment port for the hand/foot piece.

Arm Mode:
The design of this arm mode takes a relatively thin vehicle mode and manages to make it look like a thick limb by having parts like the front end of the car against the torso and arms. The thinnest section is the middle (where the robot thighs are). The design is very smart. You can rotate the robot waist section around, and it allows the forearm to bend at the knees of the robot mode. Rotating the fist (and the thumb piece) allows you to easily transition the arm between a left or right arm. The joint that connects it to a Voyager Class figure locks in tightly and also has a joint where it can turn.

The fist piece has the dual blasters pointing forward, like a piece over the top of the hand. The side of the palm has a 5mm port allowing you to attach weapons. You can also attach weapons to the 5mm ports on the robot shoulders, though due to the angle they're set at it may look a bit odd. It makes for a good storage option however.

Transformation to Leg mode (Starting in robot mode):

  1. Detach all the accessories.
  2. Straighten out all the limbs.
  3. Push the lower legs together, then push them up.
  4. Rotate the lower body around (like you are forming the vehicle mode).
  5. Straighten out each arm, then push them into the sides.
  6. Rotate the robot head around, then push it back.
  7. Swing up the silver piece in the chest.
  8. Attach the foot piece to the bottom of the robot feet.

Note: if you want to adjust the length of the limb, you can swing the section with the spoiler up, revealing another attachment port for the hand/foot piece.

Leg Mode:
The leg mode is a solid looking piece. Condensing all the parts together helps make it look cohesive and not out of proportion with the Voyager Class figures. The ability to swing the spoiler section up or down to add length is brilliant and I'm very surprised (and happy) it was incorporated into the figure. I also like the use of the vehicle's front end as a major detail in this form.

The connection piece sticks up and can swing back and up, effectively giving any giant Dragstrip is connected to knee articulation. The shoulder 5mm ports are on the sides now, so you can attach weapons for storage or additional firepower!

Final Thoughts:
Dragstrip was a surprise as he is not very slavish to his G1 counterpart's design (animated or otherwise). It's an interesting reinterpretation of the character which retains elements of the original. I do find myself wishing he had a blaster (other than the hand/foot piece), but otherwise this is a cool figure to add to your collection.

Lightbox Gallery