tempted to try a set, but I just never got around to it. Then I saw them roll out upgrades to the Combaticons spread out in different sets. These really caught my eye as the stickers would transform the characters to look more like their cartoon counterparts. I always loved the Combaticons and their animation models from the television show and I had longed wish that the toys better resembled their show counterparts. It's been close to 2 months now, but I saw a buddy selling the complete Combaticon upgrade sticker set over at TFW2005 for a mere $20.00 so I had to jump on it. After gathering up the toys and the needed accessories I finally got the stickers applied and photographed. This review is more on the sticker upgrades themselves than of the actual toys. Perhaps one day I'll go a proper Bruticus review. For now enjoy the pictures.
We'll start off with Blast Off. He probably benefited the most from this upgrade set. His stickers are part of the Upgrade Set #5. Primarily an olive green (such an odd color for a space shuttle!) Blast Off looked nothing like his show counterpart.
Wow! What a different a few stickers can make. The purple stickers are actually several different pieces, but are easily applied.
I like how the purple from the nose and sides of the space shuttle carry over into robot mode as it gives the upper body some much needed color. The large chest sticker is also a huge improvement. There are also two small purple stickers to be applied to the feet.
By far I think Blast Off's stickers are the best of the bunch. Not to be outdone though let's take a look at his fellow Combaticon member, Swindle.
Swindle's stickers are part of Upgrade Set #8. This is another fantastic set and should be a top priority.
Let me start off by saying Swindle's original stickers are horrible...very ugly. I removed just about all of the factory stickers - only leaving the ones on the legs. I love how the new stickers incorporate the front part of his jeep's alt mode.
If you are a fan of the rub symbols you may not like the fact that the purple hood sticker now covers it up. I however love the addition of the hood sticker and I'm glad they incorporated the Decepticon emblem into the sticker. The blue windshield is also a nice touch.
As an added bonus I suppose the guys at Reprolabels threw in a little dash sticker to apply in vehicle mode.
Brawl did get a small sticker sheet as part of Upgrade Set #7, but after receiving the stickers I just didn't care for them. One of the stickers would take the place of the large Decepticon sticker on the front of the tank / chest in robot mode. The others were so small I just decided to skip them.
Vortex oddly enough was shut out from the upgrade set. Not sure why, but at least his original stickers aren't that bad.
Onslaught also picked up a few upgraded stickers for both vehicle and robot modes. Some of them are small, but they all make a big difference in the end. His sticker sheet can be found in Upgrade Set #6.
For starters Onslaught received a split Decepticon symbol for the hood plus some small silver headlights.
On each side of the flat bed are small blue stickers with olive green "detail". The flash made the blue on the sticker stand out much more than it actually looks.
In my haste to finish up this review I totally forgot to take pictures of Onslaught before I applied his new stickers. Thankfully the awesome Resources section at TFW2005 (where I'm a contributor) had a good picture for me to borrow. The same style sticker applied to the sides of the vehicle are also applied to the knees. One of the more obvious stickers is the waist as it looks it stepped right out of the cartoon. The chest piece is now covered by one large blue sticker that matches the chest sticker w/ the Decepticon symbol. This large sticker on the chest piece does cover up the molded detail, but looks great in my opinion.
While Onslaught may not look exactly like his animated self the new stickers do a great job overall.
I know, I know - you want to see how all the stickers come together when the Combaticons are merged together to form Bruticus...right? Well wait no longer.
Wow! I love the new chest piece stickers! The Bruticus stickers are also part of Upgrade Set #6. If there was only one set of stickers you'd buy make it #6.
I forgot to point out one of Swindle's new stickers in robot mode. You can see it here in this rear shot. There is a spare tire sticker that is applied on the underside of the jeep's hood portion.
While this may be one of the smallest stickers in the set it's also one of the best as it pays homage to a big part of Bruticus as portrayed in the television show. As you may (or may not) remember Starscream is the creator of the Combaticons. He stole the personalities (or sparks if you will) of renegade Decepticons and inserted them into old war vehicles he found. His purpose of his new team was to take down Megatron to become the new leader of the Decepticons. He soon found out his new troops weren't all that willing to be good little soldiers and when combined as Bruticus it wasn't much better. I believe as a fail safe of sorts there were 4 small dots on Bruticus' back than one depressed would power down the gestalt. You have to remove Onslaught's cannon to really see this sticker, but it's small touches like this that help make the upgrade sets so worth it.
Buying all the needed upgrade sets can be sort of pricey, but at least most of them come with addition stickers for other Transformers. Since this mold has been used so many times now these stickers breath new life into the toy. I am so glad I decided to pick these up and will give the other upgrade stickers sets a good look over in the near future.
(Arkvander - I hope the wait was worth it!)