Tuesday 15 March 2016

Nonnef Productions Combiner Wars upgrades

nonnef combiner wars upgrades

Owned and operated by just a single bloke, Nonnef Productions is the one man band of third party Transformer groups. Combiner Wars has already generated a ton of upgrade kits from a multitude of companies and now Nonnef has joined the fray, offering a piecemeal approach that might just take some pressure off your bank account and not leave you paying for excess parts you don't want.

Today we will be looking at foot upgrades, waist fixers and even pointier antenna that aim to make your toys better.

Keep reading after the jump to see the article.

nonnef combiner wars ratchets installation guide
Combiner Wars Voyager Optimus Prime suffered badly from poor spacing between his hip ratchets. Nonnef has produced a set of replacements that are easy to install and add extra ratchet clicks that greatly expand Primes leg movement.

Unscrew the back of Primes thighs, pull them apart, remove the old ratchet and replace with your new piece then all that is left is to reassemble. Sometimes this sort of procedure can be tricky with springs firing out and disappearing under sofas, or pieces exploding, but here the process is easy.

Seriously, it takes seconds. If I can do it - so can a three year old.

With their eyes closed.

nonnef combiner wars optimus prime ratchets

Once installed the new ratchets make a huge difference to blocktimus, allowing for finer degrees of motion at the thighs. No longer are you stuck with either straight legs (at odds with his slanted feet) or an extreme "A" stance, you now have much greater subtlety of movement and Prime can finally to stand in a way that looks natural.

nonnef combiner wars optimus prime ratchets

Are they worth getting?


If you have this particular flavour of Optimus then you will appreciate the difference they make. I went back and forth on buying them for ages and when I finally did I felt like an idiot for dawdling over making the purchase. This is the kind of small but functional upgrade that makes a big difference to the point that Hasbro did it themselves with later runs of Combiner Wars Motormaster and Battle Core Optimus Prime. This is not just cosmetic.

Optimus becomes a much better toy when not looking like a total berk performing an MC Hammer dance number.

nonnef combiner wars superion antenna

A common problem with Combiner Wars Superion is the soft rubbery antenna. Often they come out of the box bent or don't fully rotate into position due to being lathered in excess paint.

Nonnef has produced a simple plastic alternative which looks the same but takes away the potential for bent ears. They are no fuss to install and yes the colour is very slightly different but it's nicer if anything.

Do you need this upgrade? Probably not and there isn't much else to say about them because they only offer a small cosmetic change. But if you are reading this then chances are you are more than just a casual fan and the minutia involved in displaying your figures is important to you.

nonnef combiner wars feet guide

Nonnefs most anticipated upgrade has been his replacement combiner feet.

Made from injection molded ABS plastic, these come in multiple pieces (and multiple colours to match each combiner) meaning assembly is required, but lucky for us it's a fairly straight forward process.
A large ball joint sits in the big saucer shaped space, the top of the feet go over it and then you screw the pieces together. Easy peasy, but it does come with the caveat that some sanding may be needed if you are one of those mad people who would like to ball joint to move.
The working idea is to loosen the screws to alleviate pressure and adjust tightness - but this leaves a large unsightly gap along the feet. More sanding may be required to loosen it and avoid the risk of something snapping. You don't want to have done all that work and then the peg snap like one of Jamie Redknapps knees.

The combiner peg is slightly over sized to account for the baffling variances between peg sockets on some of Hasbro's figures - namely the Dead End mold vs everything else. Apparently that really is a thing. No problem, took a minute to sand the pegs down to fit in the aerial bots and we are golden.

Non of this is hard and the benefit is that you control how tight you want the ball joints to be, even if the negative flip side of that coin is that it requires work you wouldn't expect to have to do yourself.

nonnef combiner wars foot assembley

Included in the set is two lengths of rubber piping which must be cut to size and slid snugly into the 3 slots beneath each foot.

Pro tip - slide them into the groove first, then cut them to size. Otherwise you run the risk of making them too short and they may not stay in place securely without glue. The rubber produces a strong grip to prevent them sliding all over the place once the weight of the combiners is bought to bear upon them.

superion with nonnef upgrades

Once the hard work is out of the way, you have a pair of nicely proportioned feet for your combiner of choice. I already have the Perfect Effect sets stuck on Menasor and Defensor, but  I have been waiting for Nonnef's set to add some variety - plus I love the Hasbeo hand/foot pieces as hands. They make fine punching mitts.

nonnef combiner wars feet superion

The slimmer nature of Nonnef's upgrades over Perfect Effects blend so well on Superion, following the widths of each of the Jet limbs to make feet that look like they belong at the bottom of these folded up jet shins.
Sculpted details are understated and don't pull your attention from the body - providing exactly the right amount of detail. It's a much sharper look than Perfect Effect went with and it does feel like they were designed with Superion in mind rather than any of the other Combiner Wars gestalts.

There are bits of mold flash knocking around but that is easy enough to clean up and you have to keep in mind that Nonnef is just one guy and not a running an entire factory of people. As far as the finish goes, Perfect Effects are far nicer and much better produced pieces which goes back to Nonnef being one man doing everything I guess, and the way they are manufactured.

3 peg holes are present on each foot for weapons storage - if you want to give him an armoured snow shoe

nonnef combiner wars feet

What makes these feet such a tempting proposition is the added articulation and what that does for the combiners. Not only do they look better than the original hand/foot guns that came with each deluxe, but they have actual working ankle tilts which makes all the difference in the world.

Stiff, precariously balanced poses are out, and the all new, natural dynamic poses are in. The rubber piping on the bottom earns its money and works with the ball joint to give you a fantastic array of movement that keeps Superion securely planted.

If you are on the fence about getting these then I would say just go for them. Not only are they far better than the official option but you don't have the added cost of a pair of hands with the Perfect Effect set. For me these work great as big, punchy hands - but as feet they are just too small.
nonnef combiner wars feet

Are any of these must buy accessories? No. Most add on kits are superfluous by their nature, but they do make the sort of small improvements that make you feel a little happier with your figures. Or at least they do for me - these figures are now closer to what I want.

Everything here feels like they are legitimately improving things that Hasbro could have done to start with. For the price Nonnefs upgrades cost it's hard to say they are anything other than good value for money and I highly recommend them if you are a fussy sod like me.

If you are interested in getting your hands on some of Nonnef's upgrades you can check out his store here. Or if you are outside of the USA then go visit Gear 4 Geeks which is the official distributor for all Nonnef products outside of the US.

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Currently listening to: Junior Senior - D-D-Don't Don't Stop the Beat


  1. I love Nonnefs upgrades too- I found him for the Superion Antennae- his Blitzwing arm fix is superb

    1. His stuff is pretty good. It's nice to be able to just pick up the bits I want, rather than have to buy box sets stuffed with things I don't - like for example Perfect Effect.