Release Date: April 7, 2016
Price Point: $399 in a boxed set with Primus registration, $299 for a bagged set
Retailer: Fun Publications (Botcon Exclusive)
Accessories: Hand/foot/weapons x 4; Rifle (Sea Clamp); Sword/Blaster (Ravage); Drill (Ramhorn) and Claw weapon (Tarantulas)
The theme for Botcon 2016 was the "Dawn of the Predacus", riffing off the "Beast Wars" Combiner character known as Tripredacus. The story told the tale of the fall of the Decepticons and the rise of the Predacons, featuring many Maximal and Predacon characters in their "pre-Beast Wars" forms. Botcon had played with this theme before in 2006 with the "Dawn of Future's Past" set, featuring vehicular forms for many Beast Wars characters. Interestingly this year's set seems more aligned with Hasbro's mass release figures, being labeled as "Combiner Wars" instead of "Timelines". That places this set of figures under the "Generations" banner instead.
Predacus is the combined form of all five characters in the Botcon 2016 boxed set. The character is based on "Tripredacus", the Predacon Combiner formed by the three members of the Tripredacus Council. Check out these previous reviews for a look at the parts that make up this Combiner. Pay close attention to my review of the "Torso Mode" for Sea Clamp since it covers much of what I have to say about the Combiner:
The Predacus set was available in two forms. The main packaging was a boxed set similar in style to those from past years. However instead of the "Timelines" label the set is under the "Generations" banner instead with "Combiner Wars" boldly printed on the front and sides. The right side (facing the box) has a list of "Special thanks" listing many names that have had a hand in Fun Publications over the years including Karl Hartman and Pete Sinclair. Inside the figures are in vehicle mode couched inside foam. Underneath are the tech specs, instructions and accessories. The cover features gorgeous box art by Marcelo Matere in the style of other "Combiner Wars" giants.
Pre-registrants could also order a "loose" set during the registration process. This set included all the figures, accessories and paperwork from the boxed set (minus the pin) sealed in a large plastic bag.
For almost twenty years, my image of the Combiner formed by the Tripredacus Council was a winged, freaky looking creature with a toothy smile. Now in 2016 Predacus looks much more like a conventional Transformers Combiner figure. Thanks to the sculpts chosen for the limbs, Predacus looks bulky and powerful no matter who you choose for the arms or legs. Predacus' head sculpt is really different than any other Combiner in the line so far and that makes this sculpt fun and unique.
From a color perspective I have to say the "official" combination used on the Botcon 2016 page makes the most sense thematically (all the Tripredacus Council members wind up on top) but the red/grey/black/silver colors wind up being too uniform on top. To me the best combination is to place Tarantulas and Ravage as the arms or mix and match them. The blue on Tarantulas and the black on Ravage help break up the red and silver colors.
The joints on my copy of this figure are good, but I can tell the swivel joints at the hips and the clips that keep the limbs in are slightly more loose than they are on my Scattershot figure but it's not significant. The strength of the limbs vary depending on each individual figure, so check out the reviews of the individual limbs to see which have tighter joints than others.
Predacus is a cool Combiner but it largely relies on the head to sell its "Beast Wars" connection. I do find myself wishing some of the "Beast Wars" era colors (green, translucent brown etc.) had made it into this figure. It would have helped solidify the connection between Predacus and his "future" self Tripredacus. That said as a toy this is a fun set of figures and the Combiner gimmick has not lost its charm. Given its premium price I would say you need to either be a huge "Beast Wars" or "Combiner Wars" fan to go after this piece.