Tuesday, 12 January 2016

A Concise Combaticon Review of Combiner Wars Blast Off In 500 Words Or Less

Pricepoint/Vintage: Deluxe, 2015/2016.
Modes: Robot, Missile Helicopter, Arm, and Leg.
Transformation Style: CW deluxe limb, collapsible legs.
Play Patterns: Robot and aircraft, combiner, 5mm weaponry, a pack-in comic in the USA.
Points of interest: Redeco of the limited release Quick-Slinger toy, A.K.A the missing Aerialbot.

The Good
Blast Off retains all the strengths of the Aerialbots, and feels slightly nicer in hand due to plastic changes. The colour scheme is nice, the head having some nice paintwork and a grumpy expression. Robot mode articulation is typically solid, with 14 assorted joints, a flamer-thrower, and combiner gun. The flame-thrower is painted a gunmental black, with the combiner piece left unpainted grey, but both highlight detail the original obscured. His jet mode is similarly competent, with a 5mm port under each wing, landing gear, and nice wing decals. Limb modes meanwhile are functional if thin, and joint tolerances seem slightly improved.

The Bad
In addition to an absence of retooling, the designers probably used the wrong head here, Blast Off having a faceplate in all other depictions. As an Aerialbot, there's also a lot of exposed robot pits in jet mode, but colour choices downplay this. His tailfins also reportedly interfere with Shockwave's gun form.

The Mediocre
Blast Off was in his original form a space shuttle, hence the name, while this is a harrier jump jet. While I would say that this makes a great deal more sense in the context of a tank, anti-aircraft gun, jeep and helicopter, this will bother some.

The Alternatives
Blast Off is shaping up to be a repeat of the Groove controversy, with Takara doing a Space Shuttle version which makes this toy redundant, although details are unclear. Otherwise options are bit thin on the ground, with the all choices being essentially the same as the other Combaticons, the less than ideal Energon or FOC moulds. The Energon version lacks a direct equivalent, his FOC mould is however one of the nicer examples and a spaceship.

The Verdict
Let's not kid around here, even if you can get over the lack of a space shuttle mode, Blast Off feels a bit phoned in. He needed a different head at least, and if I was gonna re-purpose any Aerialbot, it would have been Air Raid, because he's the pick of the litter. All that being said, he does all of his modes well enough, and that's more that can be said for some Combaticons. Consider him a necessary and competent part of the team, but only buy him as part of the team.

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