"Generations" Combiner Wars Motormaster Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: March 2015
Price Point: $24.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Sword, Blaster

*Images above with asterisks and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Motormaster punishes enemies and allies alike with the brute force of a tyrant, breeding fear and hatred in all who encounter him, even his Stunticon teammates. The Combiner Wars are heating up and your 2-in-1 Motormaster figure is on the warpath one more time. This powerful leader of the Stunticons is a terrible powerhouse in robot mode, launching his blaster attack against the Autobots. But he's just as scary in rumbling semi truck mode. He’s also got the power to combine with other bots (sold separately) to form a massive Menasor figure. Convert, combine and attack with your awesome Motormaster figure. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

Almost as soon as the Voyager Class Optimus Prime was announced for "Combiner Wars", fans speculated that this sculpt would be repurposed for Motormaster, leader of the Stunticons. Fan speculation was eventually proven correct as it was revealed Motormaster would be a retool and redeco of the Autobot leader. Much of the initial reaction was negative but that was before early photos revealed just how extensive this retool/redeco would be. This isn't a simple head swap but rather a heavy duty change. You should still check out my Voyager Class Optimus Prime review to get a sense of how this sculpt works. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

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 on the right side of the box. Above that is an Autobot symbol with the word "Generations" indicating the segment of the line. The figure itself is on display in robot mode through a window. On the lower left side is artwork of the figure with the words "Combiner Wars" below it and the name "Motormaster" below that. This is significant because for the longest time the character had to be called Motorbreath due to trademark issues. It's great to see the character's "real name" back!

The back of the box features the toy in both modes with a small write up in multiple languages. There are sadly no tech spec stats, just a brief bio. The right side shows a schematic of Menasor. Unlike wave one of the "Combiner Wars" figures, there is no odd mix of characters. Instead, only the Stunticon team is shown.

Motormaster includes a collector card printed on thick cardboard. The artwork featured on the card is different than the artwork on the backing card for the toy. The box features artwork based on the toy itself. This card art is actually from the "Eagle Eyes" campaign from the "Transformers Legends" mobile app card game. 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.

Motormaster does not come with the same weapons as Optimus Prime. Instead, he has a blaster and a sword weapon. This mirrors G1 Motormaster's weaponry, but the design of these weapons is very different than the G1 aesthetic. The sword has open areas in the middle with uneven blades on the sides that come up to the top in a triangular shape. The design of this weapon is reminiscent of the sword designs seen in "Age of Extinction". The other weapon is a blaster that also has blade like designs on it with a blaster barrel at the end. Why? Because this weapon can attach to the sword via a tab on the side for storage in vehicle mode or you can slide the handle of the sword into the back of the blaster forming a larger sword weapon. Motormaster can use this larger sword, but it's really meant for use by Menasor. Using two weapons to form a "size appropriate sword" for Menasor is awesome and I think it was a great idea.

Each of the weapons have 5mm handles. The blaster technically has two, one being the weapon barrel and the other being the blaster handle. Each has been cast in silver plastic and painted silver except for the handles. Whether they're separated or combined, these weapons look great!

Robot Mode:
In order to make this sculpt into a believable interpretation of Motormaster, the designers knew they had to do more than just take a new head and slap it on top of the Optimus Prime body. Instead, they decided to retool a large chunk of the figure. Here's what's been changed:

  • The head is a new sculpt. It features a trapezoid "hood/helmet" section over a robot face. The shape of this piece echoes the G1 animation model for Motormaster including the "hood" piece around the helmet section and the design of the helmet section that is set over his forehead.
  • The chest panel is different from Optimus Prime's. It doesn't feature two windshield windows but instead has an angled pattern flaring out to the sides with an arrlow shaped design in the center.
  • The waist area is also distinctive to Motormaster, including a lot of layered armor detailing and even exhaust pipes sculpted in.
  • The shoulders on this figure are different than Optimus Prime's, featuring a sculpted armor piece over the shoulder and flaps on top that form part of the vehicle mode.
  • The middle of the arm has an armor piece on it formed from half of the vehicle mode's grille.
  • The "doors" on the back of the robot are a completely different design than the ones on Optimus Prime. The function is still partly the same, hiding the Menasor head giving him some added bulk.

Not everything has been replaced. The legs are still the same sculpt as Optimus Prime's, and while it's understandable it's not ideal since the design of two wheels on the sides and the "vents" on the front of the lower legs is a design very much associated with Optimus Prime. However, given how much was done I'm willing to put this aside and roll with it. Overall the figure's sculpt looks awesome. He's bulky, powerful looking and his details look like a modern update of a classic character.

Motormaster is mostly cast in dark silver and black plastic - both key colors of the original Motormaster toy. The dark silver makes up most of the figure, with black used on parts like his feet, thighs and back panels. Paint applications are done in black, purple, silver and lavender. The black is most prominent on his chest, but can also be found on his head as well. The purple is used for smaller detailing such as his knee armor, the middle of his shoulder armor and the center of his chest. Silver is found on the grille panels on his arms while lavender is used for the face. A tampographed Decepticon symbol can be found on his chest in silver and purple. While it's a fairly simple deco layout without tons of tiny details, I have to say that aside from perhaps having a couple more silver details on bits like the thighs or perhaps the wrists, I don't think there's a lot more than needs to be done here. He looks good and true to his G1 counterpart.

All twenty points of articulation on this figure are nice and tight. This is in part thanks to several joints such as the hips being ratchet joints which are designed to be strong when combined with other Transformers in "Combiner Wars". You can fit his weapons into the slots in his fists or store them separately using the holes on the back of his lower legs. Just attach the two weapons together and plug them in on one side.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Swing both feet down.
  3. Push the lower legs together.
  4. Swing the legs up.
  5. Swing the waist section back
  6. Swing the lower legs back.
  7. The robot head rests on a panel that swings on a center hinge. Push one side in and rotate it then lock it into place.
  8. Rotate the lower arms around.
  9. Swing each of the arms forward and push the two shoulder sections together.
  10. Swing each forearm section back towards the legs.
  11. Swing up the panels from each forearm.
  12. On each of the knee sections, there is a small tab. There are small sections of the forearms that can fit over those to help keep the vehicle mode more cohesive.
  13. Swing the wind vane panels back.
  14. The weapons can be attached to the 5mm ports on the rear section of the vehicle. You may have to flip up the panel on the back first to reveal the ports.

Vehicle Mode:
Sometimes when there is a retool/redeco of a figure you see significant changes in robot mode, but then you get to the vehicle mode and it is almost exactly the same as the previous version of the toy except for the colors. Not so with Motormaster's vehicle mode. While he does still transform into a flat front end truck cab, there are some significant differences between his vehicle mode and Optimus Prime's. These include:

The top of the vehicle has a different shape thanks to the panels in the back and shoulders being different. Instead of a flattened top section like Prime's, Motormaster has wind vane panels that curve upward, and the panels in the back section also curve upward, giving him a distinctive profile.
The grille is a different shape than Prime's and has different details. Instead of being rectangular, this one is a trapezoid shape with cross hatch marks on it instead of horizontal lines. The center also has a small area for a tiny Decepticon symbol.
The sections in the front with the headlights feature rectangular headlights that curve to the sides and under those are (non-working) clams sculpted into the toy.
Motormaster's sides have thin, angled style lines that are indented from the back to the area near the side windows. These do not appear on Optimus at all.
The Menasor waist panel (which sits on the back of the truck in this mode) is a completely different sculpt than Prime's, featuring a section in the middle that angles outward then down.

As you can see from the list above, the designers made it a point to change details both large and small to make Motormaster distinctive from Optimus Prime. Sure you can still tell the two sculpts are retools of each other. They share design aspects like the wheels and smokestacks, but I'm impressed at just how much was changed for this release.

Color-wise there are no surprises here. Most of the vehicle is silver with black on parts like the wheels and the back panels. Silver paint is used on the grille and the sides of the rear panels. Gold is used for the headlights and the windshield windows are a beautiful metallic purple. A deeper purple is used for the indented lines on the sides of the vehicle. Oddly, a tiny bit of the metallic purple is found on the back of the side mirrors, but the rest of it isn't painted. I like the deco in this mode, but here I would have wanted a few more bits of deco - specifically in the area between the front and rear wheel wells. There's some nice detailing there and I think some silver paint would have helped those details pop a bit more. I'm also going to risk sounding like a broken record but I really wish the sides of the wheels had some silver paint on them.

You can store Motormaster's weapons on the back of the vehicle. Connect them together and use the blaster peg to slide into the trailer hitch section on the back. Technically you can flip the Menasor waist panel up and attach them to the holes from the back of the lower legs too.

Transformation to Torso Mode (Starting in robot mode):

  1. Detach all weapons.
  2. Push the robot head in.
  3. Rotate the lower arms around.
  4. Swing up the forearms and make sure the small tabs on the forearms fit into the corresponding notches on the shoulders.
  5. Swing the blue panel on the back down.
  6. Swing open the panels on the back, revealing the Menasor head.
  7. Swing up the Menasor head. The chest piece will swing up with it. You may have to rotate the horns on his head up.
  8. Rotate the waist piece around.
  9. Swing up each leg at the hip. The joint is a ratchet joint. I recommend you move it up three "clicks".
  10. Rotate each of the lower legs so the wheels face back.
  11. Bend each of the lower legs down at the knee joint.
  12. The inside of each lower leg has a black panel. Swing it out and push it against the tab on the thighs to lock it into place.
  13. Swing the black waist panel down.
  14. Limbs can be attached by sliding the connector pieces into the slots on the shoulders and legs.

Torso Mode:
Motormaster's torso mode is the central part of the Combiner known as Menasor. Motormaster winds up forming the head, torso, waist and thighs of Menasor. You can take any of the Deluxe figures from "Combiner Wars" that form a limb and connect them to the shoulder area or the knees. Each limb snaps into place using a spring loaded mechanism that helps lock the limbs into place. The black tabs inside each connection point actually push against the limb connectors, helping create tension and stability.

This is a modern day interpretation of Menasor, but many design elements are borrowed from G1 sources. The most prominent is the head sculpt, which features a scowling face surrounded by a helmet that comes out to the front a bit with a rim over the brow. On either side are two horns curving up at angles. The other G1 element comes in not so much with the actual design of the chest but what you can do with it. Open up the panels on his chest and you'll see two large pegs. These are 5mm and allow you to attach the Blackjack figure to the chest in vehicle mode. This mimics the ability of G1 Motormaster to attach a small car accessory to his chest as part of his transformation into Menasor.

Moving past G1 references, there are some incredible details on this figure al its own. Open up the chest panels and you'll see a ton of details, some that resemble wires and machinery leading to a circle in the middle. This is very reminiscent of the design of "Age of Extinction" Galvatron's chest, and he too transformed into a sleek, modern truck cab. To me, the design resembles a Spark Chamber. Even if this connection is coincidental, it's a cool one! Other cool details include a series of raised circles and lines on the hinge piece that connects to the waist piece.

At first glance it may seem like there isn't a lot of difference between this torso mode and the "Ultra Prime" torso mode (other than the head), but there's actually a lot of changes:

  • The chest panels are totally different both inside and out. On the outside they have a much more angular design than Optimus Prime's and on the inside the have a different set of raised details.
  • The chest itself is different, featuring the aforementioned "Spark Chamber" instead of the Energon homage design on Optimus.
  • The sections that connect to the arm limbs is different, using a completely different windshield and grille pattern.
  • The vertical hinged piece that connects the upper body to the waist panel is a different sculpt than the equivalent piece on Optimus.
  • The waist panel is a different design than Optimus', featuring a more angled shape on the sides and a different set of designs on the raised areas.

The torso mode itself has six points of articulation including the head, waist and thighs. The head is on a ball joint so it has a wide range of motion. Some fans have found the formal method of transforming the thighs sets them too far apart, giving Menasor a "squatting" appearance. There's absolutely no issue with bringing them closer together. I think it does make the combined giant look better and it's still stable. Keep in mind in this form you connect the two weapons to form a large sword, a callback to G1 Menasor who also wielded a large sword as one of his primary weapons.

Final Thoughts:
Motormaster is a fantastic retool and redeco of Optimus Prime. I think the designers did a great job of integrating some classic design elements while offering up a whole new set of stylings that really add to the overall look of the figure. He's fun to play with and he forms the torso of one of the most iconic Transformers around. If you're collecting "Combiner Wars" at all, this guy is a must to have in your collection!

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