Friday, July 30, 2010

LEGO Mini Figure Collection Series 1

The idea of blind packaging exclusive LEGO mini figures and selling them a $1.99 a pop is sheer genius! When I first saw some blurry pics of the figures on-line I just new I had to own a few. Then they were released without a lot of hoop-la and I had no idea they were sitting down at my local Toys R Us store - only being bought up by people to re-sell them on eBay for outrageous prices. Here's a look at 2 of the figures that I frustratingly paid $5 each for.


The figures come packaged in small foil bags that show several of the different figures possibly in the bag. It didn't take long however for someone to figure out that the non-UPC bar code on the back of the packaging can be used (with the proper info) what figure was inside. Boo, what fun is there in cheating?!


Each pack contains a catalog of sorts depicting all 16 figures in series 1. Now let's take a look at the first figure....THE ZOMBIE!!


First off let me say how hard it's been for me not to buy several of this figure. I love zombie movies (esp. George A. Romero's flicks) so when I first heard there would be an actual LEGO zombie figure I freaked. This is so awesome, though the inclusion of the chicken leg accessory is a little weird. We all know zombie's don't eat chicken...they eat flesh! Yup, no zombie's yelling "braaaaains" here. I also love the little black stands included. I don't think I knew about those going in so that was a nice little surprise when I opened the bag.

The facial design and the clothes are spot on. I love it. Now I don't have to take the head & hands from my Castle goblin figures and to make zombie townsfolk. I only have one at the moment and with the high prices it's made it easier to resist buying multiples, but I know I'll probably end up w/ multiples at some point in the near future.


The other figure I picked up is the nurse. While I love the Castle/Kingdom themes I grew up with the Town/City theme. I don't own many medical sets anymore so I chose to pick up the nurse over the cheerleader. It was a hard choice, but I feel I made the right one. The nurse comes with a brown pony tail hair piece, nurse outfit, a chart and 2 syringes. Excellent. On second look perhaps she is a EMT and not a nurse. Whatever the case may be it's a great mini figure with great accessories. Now if only those older medical sets weren't so dang expensive!

I believe my next purchases will include the masked wrestler and the cheerleader. Stay tuned for more!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Transformers Power Core Combiners: Bombshock with Combaticons

Tech Spec: Bombshock was once a member of the most elite unit in the Cybertronian military. He betrayed his comrades, and his reward was to become commander of a powerful Power Core team. Even alone, each of his drones has as much firepower as the average Autobot. Together, they are nearly unstoppable.

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

I'm back with a look at Hasbro's new Power Core Combiner sub-line of Transformers. Today we'll look at the Decepticon Bombshock and his squad of Combaticons.

We'll start off by taking a look at the packaging. The Power Core Combiners are sold in two different varieties. The commander size figures are sold individually with a Mini-Con as well as packaged in a giftset form with 4 drones. Bombshock here comes with a set of 4 military themed drones aptly called the Combaticons. The toys are displayed in a removable plastic insert tray. The drones are in a light blue plastic while the commander figure comes in a clear tray. For all of those who hated the plastic & wire twisty ties rejoice! They have been replaced with a paper like tie that is much easier to remove. I'm guessing this is a move on the part of Hasbro to be more green as they say. The skill level for the toy is marked a 3 for intermediate, but in my opinion it could easily be a 2. More on that later.

The back of the box depicts the commander figure and each drone separate as well as in their combined form. Interestingly enough the combined form isn't given it's own name. One would think since the drones are called Combaticons the merged robot would be called Bruticus. Nope. The box just refers to this form as Bombshock's power-up mode. At first I thought that was lame, but the more I think about the lack of name it makes sense. These are mindless drones that each commander controls so whether they are separate or combined together each respective commander has complete control. Back in the days of G1 a combiner robot would be comprised for 5-6 individual sentient robots that would share control basically of the combined robot.


Since Bombshock is the only sentient robot there is only one tech spec for the toy. Instead of it being printed on the back of the packaging as they are normally it is packaged in the left side of the box. I trimmed the photo down, but above the bio is the rest of the packaging artwork that wraps around to the front of the box. Very nice art by the way.

The right side of the box presents a vague story behind the Power Core technology. It also depicts how the toys are sold and how you can mix and match the toys to create your own combinations.

The bottom has a cross sell section showing 2 other commanders that are sold individually (Searchlight w/ Backwing and Smolder w/ Chopster) along with the only other Power Core giftset released at the moment, Skyburst w/ Aerialbots.

Now let's take a closer look at the actual toys by starting off with the drones.

This is the missile carrier drone. The packaging depicts the toy in a olive green color, but it's actually a pale green. It has a bulldozer like shovel on the front of the tank and two large immovable missiles on the top. Note the Mini-Con port on the top. The drones as a whole don't do much by themselves, but this one has good free rolling wheels underneath. This drone forms the right arm/hand.

Simply called the tank drone. Like with the other tank drone the packaging depicts the colors as gray with olive green down the sides. The green is actually a dark gray or black. The turret can be rotated a full 360 degrees and it too has free rolling wheels underneath. There is also a Mini-Con port on top of the turret. This drone forms the left arm/hand.

This is the APC drone. It's mostly a desert beige color with splashes of gray. There is a small gun mounted on the top of the vehicle, but it isn't movable. The Mini-Con port sits on top. The front wheels roll while underneath the tank treads is another set of free rolling wheels. This drone forms the right leg/foot.

Finally we have the armored car drone. It featured a black missile launcher on the rear portion of the vehicle with a Mini-Con post. It does rotate 360 degrees, but not up and down. All 4 wheels roll well. Does this remind anyone of Swindle? This drone forms the left leg/foot.

The commander of the group is Bombshock. He resembles the G1 Combaticon Onslaught which I'm sure was no coincidence. Mostly olive green with splashes of gray and yellow. The commanders are slightly larger than your average scout class figure if you are wondering. Features 6 free rolling wheels. The double cannon turret does rotate 360 degrees and the cannons are able to be moved up and down. My only gripe about this vehicle form is the back. The blue combiner pegs jut out from the back making it look really odd. I know you can't tell from the angle of my picture, but I really wish the designers were able to do something different. Overall though it's a solid vehicle form.

Bombshock's robot mode is pretty good as well. To me he's a little stubby and short, but still looks menacing. The cannons can be positioned in a variety of ways. I like them over the shoulders since he doesn't have a hand gun to wield. The robot seems to be a little top heavy and wants to lean forward. There isn't a whole lot of posesability in the legs so I had to try a few different poses before I was able to have Bombshock stand on his own. If you'll note the left arm you'll see the glaringly blue connector port just hangs off the back of the arms. Disappointing, but I can live with it.

This is Bombshock transformed into his torso mode just waiting for the drones to be attached. it has a very clever transformation from robot mode to this form. Basically the upper half of the robot is the back of the turret. The new head the lifts up from the turret is excellent. It's just the right size for the combined form and the red eye visor is a great touch. Now as to why Hasbro/Takara/Tomy decided to go with blue for the connector ports I have no idea. Thankfully once the drones are attached it isn't much of an issue.

Finally we have the combined mode. I think it's a very convincing Decepticon combiner. While it doesn't feature the standard hand/fist and feet the G1 combiners had the Power Core combiners do have better hands and feet than the Energon combiners Superion Maximus & Bruticus Maximus did. The whole robot stands at about 7 inches tall. It's very light weight too which can be a good thing or a bad thing. When each drone is attached to the connector port it auto transforms into the limb. At first I thought this was a rather cheesy gimmick, but after combining the toy myself I think these have the potential to be fun little toys. It's nice that you don't have to worry about adding additional parts when combining the toy. I can see how this adds a lot of play value as it doesn't slow down the play pattern and there isn't any fear of losing that all important combiner part.

There is some articulation in the combined form which surprised me. Each arm can be rotated a full 360 degrees. The head rotates as well as the cannons on the back. There is minor articulation in the hips and full 360 degree rotation at the knees.

The only fault I can find with this form are the legs and feet. Since the drones featured spring activated transformation the springs may get weak with continuous transformation and cause the feet to fold up under the weight of the combined figure. I had to slightly rotate each leg out to get a good stance on my figure.

Here are some additional pictures of the combined form.


All in all I am very pleased with my purchase. While I don't plan on buying all of these Power Core toys I do like the gimmick - though until you see the combination and hold the toys in your hands I can see how some fans and collectors would be skeptical. As one the podcast host on stated these Power Core toys are very reminiscent to Bandai's Machine Robo Rescue toys - only on steroids. I was a fan on that MRR line and I could agree more on a better comparison. These aren't your traditional Transformer combiners, but then again they aren't designed to be. If you're looking for a new twist on the combining robot toy gimmick then do yourself a favor and at least pick up the Bombshock w/ Combaticons set.