Sunday, 13 March 2016

Prototype Watch: A Tale Of Two Computrons

News broke on Saturday of an official confirmation for Computron and the Technobots, a source of prolonged controversy in the fandom. As you may recall, Scattershot materialised in Combiner Wars wave 5 by himself, minus his team, as a somewhat uninspired Silverbolt retool, with a torso mode that was just Superion in red, named Betatron. Where were the rest of the Technobots, and their combined form, Computron? The disappointment was tangible, and I got it into my head that they'd never be released, but a succession of leaks confirmed the team would materialise as a boxset. What appears to be a package scan surfaced on Wednesday, and an official statement was considered a formality. Saturday's confirmation however came from the twitter account of TFYUKI, a TakaraTomy designer, rather than Hasbro. This reveal in the form of a silhouette(1), so its hard to judge at this time, but certain differences are obvious. Lets do a comparison, starting with the Hasbro.

Source: Seibertron

As you can see, its a repaint and retool job, although with some flair. Scattershot seems unchanged, aside from paintwork, although there is a lot of that. The rumoured Groove and Air Raid retools look good in arm form, although the two legs are a slight concern. I think everyone is tired of the DeadEnd/Streetwise mould, excellent as it is, and Nosecone is based on the flawed Brawl. Lets hope they fixed his waist. The famous hand/foot guns aren't present, replaced by a set of more visually pleasing if less functional bits. These seem similar to the Victorion set featuring ankle tilts and I would hope storage options. The show-stopper however is Scrounge in the Legend slot, a fairly obscure comics character and a retool of the excellent Cosmos mould, adding a UFO to a team of sci-fi vehicles. Not only have he and Afterburner been modified to dock, the shuttle/micromaster has been retained, so its now a team of seven. Lots of fun to be had there, and if this goes for a £90ish I'm seeing Combiner Wars boxsets go for, I'd be tempted. Now, lets look at the Japanese version.

Source: TFYUKI

There is only so much useful information that can be divulged from a solid black shape, but we can determine the following. 1) There's a new, and almost certainly 80's cartoon accurate, head for the combined form. 2) At least two members have new and/or additional weapons, as seen on the hips, possibly the drill, and being wielded in the right hand. 3) It looks like the hand/foot guns are retained. And 4) Scrounge isn't present, as expected, because Legend scale toys don't feature in Unite Warriors and he's not part of the original team. Otherwise, its pure speculation. Some think that the right leg is Wheeljack, and that left leg is a new mould. At this point, we just don't know, but I wouldn't dismiss these possibilities. This silhouette has however been enough to for many declare a preference for the TakaraTomy version, and in all fairness, they have a point. If TT can be trusted to do anything, its go full G1, and if they retain the hand/foot guns, functionality is going to be arguably superior to the Habro version. If you don't care about Scrounge, and the team proves to be easily obtained, its the better choice. Then again, it could be an exclusive, and therefore lot more expensive than the Hasbro, which looks fine and has more actual toys in it. Plus, we have yet to see either as individuals, so its all up in the air.

Both are better than this, mind you.

Source: Seibertron

Foot notes
1) Sigh.

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