Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Transformers Power Core Combiners: Double Clutch with Rallybots

Bio: Double Clutch has always been a master of diversionary tactics. His entire team is built around the idea of confusing and disrupting Decepticon operations. The speed and noise of the Rallybots alone is enough to strain any robot's sensors. Add to that all the electronic countermeasures built into the team, and the Rallybots become the single greatest threat to Decepticon strategy.

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

Wave 2 of Hasbro's Power Core Combiners have been released to retail for some time now, but if your local store's shelves are still full of the Combaticons and Aerialbots like most places you may have a hard time finding this set or the Destructicons also released in this 2nd wave. Prices most places at the time of this posting have dropped $5.00 to $15.00. Does the price drop warrant a purchase? Let's take a look.

Double Clutch and the Rallybots come packaged in the now familiar gift set form large window box. Again there is some great box art of the combined form on the left side of the box that wraps around to the side.

The back of the box features (photoshopped) images of the toys in both their vehicular modes and combined form. Aesthetically the combined form looks pretty good from these images...but with Transformers there is always more than meets the eye!

Before we delve into the combined form let's take a look at the commander of the team, Double Clutch.

Double Clutch is a modern muscle car. I believe he is heavily modeled after a Dodge Charger, but unlike the older Alternators brand these vehicles are not licensed by any real world car manufacturer. Double Clutch's main color is a light metallic blue/silver and features a decent silver flame deco tampographed onto the car's good. The windshield and windows are painted black. I'm assuming this was done over using translucent plastic to better hide the robot bits. The back windshield has a stationary Mini-Con port.

Hasbro and the designers did a good job at containing the robot parts on the underside of the vehicle. You can also see the bright blue connecting ports hidden beneath the car.

The transformation process from car to robot isn't too intricate - on the level of your average deluxe size Transformer. Overall the robot mode isn't too shabby, but he is rather short and has a "dumpy" look. The car's back bumper forms the upper torso and chest of the robot and is just too big in my opinion. Legs are short and the arms are weak. The best thing about the robot mode is the head as it is a very nice sculpt. Articulation in robot mode is limited, especially in the arms. The elbows are ball joints, but the connector pegs hang off the back of the arms and hinder movement. With the legs being so short and stubby it almost doesn't matter that there is any articulation as it is hard to pull off dynamic poses due to the chunkiness.

The view from the rear doesn't get much better!  At least the lower connector pegs fold out at the feet and help stabilize the robot.

Transforming Double Clutch into his torso form is rather easy as all it entails is folding back the arms and rotating out the connector pegs, flipping down the head and replacing it w/ the larger head and finally folding the bottom portion of the legs around and flipping down the connector pegs. Now you are ready to attach the 4 included Rallybot drones.

The race car drone forms the right arm. It's blue and white with a bright red Autobot symbol on the hood - the flash was too bright on the white background so it isn't showing up. There is also a small white spoiler on the back. The connector port is located in on the top rear of the vehicle. When plugged onto Double Clutch or any other commander figure it makes a rather long arm with no distinct hand.

The left arm is formed by plugging in this very small tuner drone. It is by far the smallest of the Rallybot drones or of any other team's drones I've seen thus far. The connector port is located in the center rear of the vehicle. There is a large silver Autobot symbol on the top of the car. There is also a Mini-Con port on the hood that can be flipped up or down depending on your taste.

This is the drag racer drone. It is meant to form the right leg and foot. The connection port is located in the center rear of the vehicle. I had a hard time w/ the automorph feature when plugging this drone onto Double Clutch. The vehicle did not want to fold out enough to form a solid foot. I'm not sure if this is a widespread problem or if I just got a bum drone. Like most of the other drones there is a Mini-Con port on the spoiler that can be flipped up or down. The car itself is small and lightweight, but rolls well on a smooth service. I apologize for the whitewashed photo as it doesn't show off the metallic silver paint used on the sides and cockpit area of the car.

The street racer drone forms the left leg and foot. It has an equally interesting design and paint job. The vehicle is rather long as you may be able to tell by the distance between the front and rear wheels. That small red spot on the back of the vehicle has a Mini-Con port that flips up and down. There is also a stationary Mini-Con port on the roof. The connector port is located underneath the front hood.

The combined form is...well...not very good. I really really wanted to like this set of Power Core Combiners, but I'm just not convinced by it's combined mode. Bandai & Tonka pulled off a better combiner in the form of Go-Bots Puzzler! Neither drone makes a convincing arm. The fact there is no distinct hand is also a major drawback. The blue/white race car drone's "hand" doesn't even fold out towards the rest of the body! The arms in general are a complete disaster. The articulated shoulders are attached to Double Clutch's hands which peg onto the back by two small pegs. These pegs have a hard time staying in place when you try to move the arms or shoulders making the arms really floppy if you aren't careful.

I already mentioned the problems I had making the red drag racer drone form a foot and that issue hampers the rest of the figure as it makes it really hard to stand the combined figure. The street racer drone makes a better, but it can't support the weight of the figure alone. After some tinkering w/ the legs and hips I was able to slightly turn each leg to get a pose that would allow it to stand on it's own without my support.

The combined form's head is decent at best. I don't mind the 'horns' so much as the center crest. It is too big and gives the head a weird shape. The visor that covers the eyes is slightly darker than Double Clutch's main blue color.

All in all in disappointed with this toy. Going in I wanted to like it and I thought I would, but the moment I opened it and started to mess around I had buyer's remorse! This is one of the reasons it has taken me so long to post this review. I also bought Crankcase w/ the Destructicons at the same time and I'll have a review posted for them eventually. Double Clutch as a stand alone Transformer isn't bad. The Rallybot drones are very small and don't have a lot of detailing making them for the most part forgettable. I really can't recommend buying this toy unless you are a completionist. The Power Core idea in itself isn't horrible and there are several good sets (Combaticons and Dinobots come to mind immediately), this particular set just misses the mark on so many levels.