Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Transformers Power Core Combiners: Heavytread with Groundspike

QUICK INFO:   
Name: Heavytread with Groundspike
Line: Transformers Power Core Combiners (Hasbro)
MSRP: $9.99
Year: 2011


Horrible distribution on the last wave of various Transformers...I blame it all on the third movie, Dark of the Moon.  Retailers were so anxious (?) to put out the new movie line of Transformers toys that a lot of the last waves of other Transformers lines received poor distribution in the retail channel...if any at all.  Generations, Reveal the Shield and Power Core Combiners all had toys that were super scare at local retail.  Heavytread is one of those.  When I first saw the solicitations online I couldn't wait.  Not only was this a new PCC mold, but it was one that looked awesome.  Needless to say I never saw this toy in my area.  I had to resort to a good buddy on the message boards at TFW2005.com (thanks Big Filipino!) to get this toy.  It came in tri-lingual packaging...which I didn't care since I promptly opened it.  So here are my words & opinion on this hard to find piece.

Bio:
At his core, Heavytread is a gentle soul.  He enjoys the fragile beauty of Earth, appreciating it all the more because of the ease with which it could be ruined.  He is glad of the power he now wields, because it gives him the ability to defend the delicate creatures he loves.

Strength:  10  Intelligence:  6  Speed:  5  Endurance: 9
Rank:  7  Courage:  8  Fireblast:  9  Skill: 4

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I'm not sure where my forum buddy originally got this toy since it comes in tri-lingual packaging, but it didn't matter to me.  I had long given up hope that I'd ever find him locally and I wasn't quite ready to pay eBay prices for the guy.  I'm glad though that I finally broke down and picked him up however as he is a strong addition to the Power Core Combiners line.

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Heavytread's primary colors are beige with olive and dark green camo.  The tank treads are painted black.  Right out of the packaging you can tell that he has a nice hefty feel.  He's bigger than your standard scout class figure, but not quite as large as a deluxe.  Sorry I don't have any comparison pictures for you.  I feel lucky I was able to get this review posted alone!

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One of the things that stood out on this figure when I first saw pictures online was the head sculpt.  I love the boxy head.  It reminds me of Generation 1, yet it has a slight modern look to it.  I like Transformers that have visors for eyes and mouth plates.

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Heavytread looks pretty good from all angles.  Like most of the PCC Commanders the blue connector ports hang off part of the robot which detracts from the overall aesthetics.  Thankfully the figure is well proportioned allowing it to stand up freely without any assistance.

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One thing I've never been good at with my Transformers is pulling off cool poses.  This is about the best I could do without stealing someone else's poses.  For a chunky figure as such it has a good bit of articulation.  The head and neck are on a pivot joint allowing limited range of movement.  The shoulders allow the arms to be fully rotated 360 degrees.  The elbows feature a hinge joint.  A ball joint is used where the legs connect to the hips.  There is also a swivel joint in each thigh and a hinge joint in each knee.  The tank turret on the back can be rotated a full 360 degrees as well so the tank barrel doesn't have to point straight up as pictured.

Heavytread didn't come packaged with a standard hand held weapon, but his Minicon, Groundspike can double as a weapon.  We'll look at that later in the review when we take an indepth look at his Minicon partner.

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Transformation from robot to tank was fairly easy.  The instructions were easy to follow and I didn't have any real problems with any of the pieces folding the way they should.  I really like the overall look of the tank.  I still think he's a Decepticon when I glance at his tank mode.  I'm just not used to Autobots being tanks.  The turret does have a full 360 degree range of motion, but the cannon itself doesn't lift up and down.  I was disappointed to find this out.

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As with the robot mode you can see the blue connector ports hanging off the back of the tank.  I'm beginning to see why some seasoned collectors are painting these ports another color or removing them all together as they are really ugly.

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There is a good amount of detail molded into the plastic in this mode.  From the tank treads to the intricate metal panels and rivets on the armor plating.  The tank in whole could have probably benefited from a few more paint applications, but still looks solid overall.

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There isn't much robot kibble exposed in tank mode.  From the underneath you can see the 4 small free rolling wheels in the middle of the tank treads along with the Power Core Combiner combined form's head.  More on that later.

Let's shift our focus over to his included Minicon partner, Groundspike.


For whatever reason Hasbro decided to make all of these Minicons that are part of the Power Core Combiners line partially translucent.  I'm a huge Minicon fan (I can't wait to share my Minicon collection on this blog someday), but I hate this translucent look.  At least Groundspike was given blue plastic instead of a bright yellow or green as other Minicons in this line feature.  He's got a pretty cool robot form.  His arms are a little short and in a fixed position (no elbow articulation) and his legs are long, but it still pulls off a good looking robot form.  He has two Powerlinx ports on this chest.  One in the front and another one on the back.

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Another thing that about Groundspike that I don't care for is the lack of any paint applications to the head/face area.  It's super hard to see the head let alone the face.  I tried to zoom in on the face.  See how non-descript it is?

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Doesn't it look like he's got bird feet?  From the side you can see how the sides and back of the arms have a shovel like look.  I like how it gives Groundspike a tough and strong look.

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All of the PCC Minicons are essentially triple changers.  They form a vehiclular attachment as well as handheld weapon of some sort.  Groundspike forms some sort of shovel armor...that's the best description I can give you.  This fits onto the front of Heavytread's tank form giving him a beefier look.

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Groundspike in this mode can also be attached to Heavytread's chest in robot form.  I personally don't care the look.  It does however look better when attached to Heavytread's chest when he has combined with other PCC drones.

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I'm not exactly sure what kind of weapon Groundspike is supposed to be in this mode.  Some sort of hook melee weapon maybe?

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There is a single peg on the underside that allows Heavytread to wield him while in robot mode. 

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The whole appeal to the PCC line is the ability of each Commander figure to combine with small drone figures to form a larger combiner type robot.

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In this mode you get a new larger head for the combiner and Hasbro has hit a home run with this head sculpt in my opinion.

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Obviously Heavytread doesn't have his own set of drones to command, so I had him "commandeer" Bombshock's Combaticon drones for this review.  I figured they were the best fit since they share the same military theme.  Outside of the silver Decepticon symbols on the limbs, what do you think?  I think they mesh fairly well together.  The colors aren't quite a match, but does that really matter?

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Flip out the small Powerlinx port on Heavytread's chest again and you can attach Groundspike in his armor mode to the front of your newly created combiner.  There definitely has a Devastator vibe going on here!  Groundspike looks so much better attached in this mode, don't you think?

As with a lot of other toy lines some of the best figures always seem to come out towards the end of the line and Heavytread is a perfect example.  While I have enjoyed just about all of the PCC Commander figures Heavytread and his Minicon Groundspike just seem to be head and shoulders over the others.  From a solid robot mode to a great tank mode to a fantastic new combiner head this toy is a total win.  While it's not perfect it is worth the extra bucks you'll likely have to pay.

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