Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Transformers Combiner Wars Generation 2 Stunticons Review

combiner wars g2 stunticons

It was the 90's. Hyper colour t shirts and Spandau Ballet were out, Bermuda Shorts and Right Said Fred were in. Hasbro took this time to launch a reboot of it's flagging Transformers brand with Generation 2 which subsequently became notorious for flipping the colour schemes of existing characters into crazy, bright, Skittle like affairs.

With repaint options for 2016's Combiner Wars line slowly being exhausted, it was inevitable that Hasbro would cast flirtatious glances towards G2 in an effort to squeeze as many extra pennies from our pockets as possible. G2 Aerialbot and Stunticon sets were announced much to the surprise of no-one - but delight of everyone.

After debating buying it for several weeks, Morgan from Masterforce kindly borrowed me the Generation 2 repaint of the Combiner Wars Stunticons to review, which is an homage to the planned Stunticon set which never made it to market.

So put the sunglasses on, sit back and check out the full Combiner Wars G2 Stunticons review after the jump

combiner wars transformers g2 stunticons

Look at that picture above and tell me you would not love to see a MASK themed repaint of this team? Motormaster as Rhino, Dead End as Thunderhawk...heads remolded to look like the Masks....Hasbro - I have money I wish to chuck at you.

Garish, gaudy, call it whatever you want but it is impossible to overlook how pretty the United Colours of Stunticon look. The colours are all so bright and vibrant I am surprised nobody at Hasbro thought to rename each one after E numbers - it would have saved them some trademark money.

Many of the paint apps are different or absent entirely, this is not a painstaking reproduction of G2 - it's feet are firmly planted in homage territory.
For example, many G2 Transformers had their names, or random words, boldly emblazoned on their bodies as the 90's bought the Autobots and Decepticons a more carefree attitude to disguise. Hasbro have dumped this particular aspect for this set and a little part of me is disappointed.

Who doesn't like the bold approach of telling everyone exactly who and what they are - screw being in disguise.

combiner wars g2 blackjack

Blackjack did not have a G2 counterpart, he was only added to the team in Combiner Wars - but he looks like Motormaster vomited him up. He shares the same colour scheme to a fault and could easily be mistaken for MM's child.

Already one of the best Legends class figures we have seen, this may just be the nicest deco it has worn so far. Lacking the over the top, lurid colours synonymous (often unfairly) with G2 - this deco has a nice post 86 movie G1 feel to it.

He still has that ridiculous axe which I imagine he uses to fan the other Stunticons and feed them grapes.

combiner wars g2 breakdown botcon

The Transformers Collectors Club have frequently used G2 Breakdown as an unofficial mascot and he is the only G2 Stunticon who's vintage figure actual got an official release- albeit a very limited one.

Mint biscuit here may be based on the G2 iteration of Breakdown, with an exuberant use of teal, but the actual deco is quite different. This 2016 update drops Breakdowns name from his sides (with no replacement) and he also loses the blood spatter sticker from the top of his roof.
I suppose in 2016 toys shouldn't imply that they have brutally ran someone over.

In a sly, knowing nod, his "15 Racing" windscreen sun strip from the standard Combiner Wars Breakdown toy has been replaced with "94 Racing"  referencing the year his vintage toy made an appearance as a Botcon exclusive. Covering most of the windscreen means any driver would have his view significantly obscured - which would explain the blood soaked sticker from the original...

combiner wars g2 breakdown

The most striking change from the planned G2 Breakdown is the secondary colour the figure uses is now dark purple instead of pink. I can see why someone would be unhappy about that, it is not truly accurate, but this whole set is an adaptation of an idea rather than a 1:1 reproduction. What you have is a 2016 paint job taking it's cues from 1992 or so.

In case you were wondering, yes he does still has those awful, awful hips and even this delicious looking colour scheme can't save them.

combiner wars generation 2 dead end

Combiner Wars G2 Dead End has arguably the least egregious palette swap of the whole team. His G1 incarnation was a dark red and his revamped colour is...red. Yes it is a much more vibrant, Playskool red, but the rest of the team all come with completely different looks.

The G2 toy had a flame sticker on it's door which moves to the rear of the Combiner wars toy, and there is the massive Decepticon symbol on the hood which is a trend across the G2 Stunticon cars (or 3 of them). Generation 2's Aerialbots each got numbered (I've already made an E number joke) so I assume this is the Stunticons own G2 motif.

Dead End's vintage G2 roof sticker is disappointingly absent, but a blue bumper and Silver lights give him an amazing shark face that I wholeheartedly approve of.

combiner wars g2 dead end weapon

It's a nice looking set of colours but there's nothing that really pops or stands out, except for the head which looks beautiful.

An interesting change that is visible on both Dead End and Brake-Neck that can be spotted on the side of the car door and the bicep in robot mode is the removal of the oddly coloured, unpaintable plastic that was present on both versions of the original mold. Hasbro have taken car for this set to match the colours so you no longer have to pay reprolables to try and hide it.

His Akira bike gang style pipe accessory is again included - this time in blue.

combiner wars g2 drag strip f1 car mode

Generation 2 Transformers have an undeserved reputation for bright, neon colours that could sear your eyes. In reality people often cite neon, when what they actually mean is brightly coloured. Some G2 toys bore reasonably normal colour schemes -they were just a big departure from what we were used to.

Originally clad in yellow and red back in G1, Drag Strips G2 toy was supposed to replace that with dominant black and some additional blue and gold detailing. No neon or gaudy colours in sight. For his second Combiner Wars figure, someone at Hasbro decided to make blue a far more significant part of the deco and dump the gold entirely. It works.
Far from being brash, the black and dark blue give him a stealthy look.

Perhaps it is because we are used to seeing F1 cars in all sorts of colour schemes, but this is the one figure from the group that looks completely natural in these colours.

combiner wars g2 drag strip sword

At the core of his body is the yellow combiner peg that gives off the impression that this could just be a stealth outfit with his traditional yellow underneath. IDW have recently taken to giving their characters "stealth paint" so that is what I choose to think is happening here.

He gets a little G2 Decepticon badge on his right lapel, which makes me think it's either his birthday, or he's just donated some money to charity.

combiner wars g2 brake-neck

Brake-Neck, Wildrider, whatever you want to call him -  he's a rolling glass of orange juice. Perhaps we should call him OJ? Or do we need a Bronco for that? Oooh imagine these colours on Off Road...

Popping on his Sacred Spirit CD, Brake-Neck throws a hippie throw rug over his roof whilst his sides feature extra paint apps that make even less sense. It isn't something you can just write off as "another madcap G2 design" because someone clearly thought deeply about it.
Look at the gradiating orange that goes halfway across the bottom edge of the doors - someone took the time to think it out and position it. I need to know what it means.

An impression is being given off that Hasbro have tried hard to match the original idea, but in a confusing way that has seen them just throwing paint apps on there simply to ensure something is there to represent a detail - even if it makes no sense in the context of this new mold.

combiner wars g2 wildrider

Continuing the scatter gun of strange choices this figure brings us, Brake-Necks front and side windows are blue but the one painted on the rear is black. Sigh. Least it's a bonus paint app that the regular release Brake-Neck didn't get - even if it makes no sense at all.

That renegade black moves from the rear window to the chest whilst his hands and thighs go blue - thanks to a healthy dose of Smilex. A wicked purple face makes me think this particular version of the character has a back story where he has visited Willy Wonka's chocolate factory and got to the three course meal bubble gum.

Perhaps we could get a Wildrider with Violet Beauregarde Headmaster?

combiner wars motormaster g2

Now this is exquisite.

Motormaster rolls right out of your local Early Learning Centre and straight into a Crayola purple and blue outfit.  As Motormaster was always portrayed as a brutal tyrant who revelled in inciting fear, I can only imagine how upset he would have been to have these bright and cheerful colours inflicted upon him. Black and grey is out, and what you get here reminds me of a pair of Bermuda shorts I had in 1991.

Without the trailer the blue has been moved to bottom of the truck. Red slashes are apologetically painted on each side of the truck to try and reference the red stickers that  would have been emblazoned over the sides of the trailer had the original toy been released.

Putting to one side that this is intended as a Generation 2 homage, this captures all of the signature  G1 Decepticon colours. I would love to see Boldforms Lonewolf painted up like this.
combiner wars g2 motormaster robot

Part of what made G2 so interesting was the stark contrasts of colour, but the very heavy red is one overly saturated colour too far. Shouting so loudly over the lovely purple and blue does the red no favours. It is a small gripe, and the red does work in the context of it being used in place of stickers the unreleased vintage toy would have had,  but with black and silver already breaking up the deco this feels like Hasbro adding an unneeded exclamation mark.

Still it's another lovely robot mode that grabs your attention in a positive way and the fact I am grumbling about paint apps they have actually added tells a story of how spoilt we are with this set.

transformers combiner wars g2 menasor combination

Absolutely nothing has changed when combining the Stunticons, other than a feeling of being in the midst of an exploding rainbow.

It's a shocking burst of colour, it really is and it makes me giddy and happy with all the joyful enthusiasm of a 5 year old. Regular readers will be aware of my tendancy to particularly love figures that acknowledge that they are toys - this is exactly that.

transformers g2 combiner wars menasor

Despite the beautiful melding of colours that were never designed to go together, Combiner Wars G2 Menasor still suffers from all of the same problems of the original, from the awkward arc du triomphe hips to the abdomen that is more myth than reality.

His existence is a painful one.

Blackjacks colours were a real strength in his solo mode, but shove him into Menasors chest and he becomes absorbed into a large mass of purple with Motormaster. At least the cyan highlights on Blackjack, help to add some contrast and his axe finally makes itself useful at the same task.

Hasbro did not take the chance to fix the obscenely loose connection between the two toys which is even less secure than before - it just falls right off. If you are looking at the pictures and wondering how it is attached, well let me take you behind the magic and introduce you to my friend Blu-Tak.

Even then it fell off 876 times.

transformers combiner wars g2 menasor feet

Fortunately there are ways to adjust Menasor to improve his looks and once you do, you can look past his maladroit appearance because the mixing of colour is something truly special to behold.

The cyan hands and feet are so on point for that era and point in time and on a G1 themed figure would feel hideously out of place but here they belong and despite being tiny as feet the colours are so bright you don't notice.

Combiner Wars OG Menasor needed many kits to make him look acceptable but this guy, well it all feels like its kinda the point - it's a toy that isn't supposed to make sense. Adding upgrade kits to make it look more normal goes against the inherent sense of madcap fun that this toy exists to promote and the time it is trying to take us back to.

combiner wars g2 menasor sword

Matching the colours on his horns to his helmet gives them a much needed coherence that was lacking on the original release. Based on how good this looks, I'm tempted to take a sharpie to my other one. He also gets his sword and this time it is molded in the same blue plastic as Motormaster....but painted silver for accuracy. Unwelcome accuracy in a set that frequently switches up details and colours.

The colours work so nicely together with each of the limbs (except Breakdown) and having dark blue somewhere on them helps to give the gestalt a sense of integration. A side effect is that the more I look at the blue on his legs and chest, the more I am convinced he's wearing dungarees.

combiner wars g2 menasor head

This particular variation of the Stunticons strength is all in how they look in their individual modes, and each has been done with a fair amount of love and care from Hasbro. Are they perfect? No. Many of the sticker details are missing and colours are different but their is some mind bending trickery going on for a set of colours I should dislike, but inexplicably adore. The amount of paint apps are an example of just how good Hasbro can be when they are not trying to cut costs by lowering the amount of paint a toy gets. The details here may seem nonsensical and random - but they bring the toys to life.

Car and robot modes done this well, with such bold and unique colour choices, do not deserve to spend their future squished into a gestalt form that focuses so much on trying to force a commonality between them.
Put them together as a group of individuals and something magical happens.

Just think, in 2016 we have a set of G2 Stunticons at retail for a reasonable price. Whoever thought we'd be saying that out loud?

Thanks to Masterforce for providing this set for review. Please check out their online store which is filled to the brim with awesome toys.

Please check out and like the Toybox Soapbox page on Facebook where you will find a much larger image gallery of the G2 Stunticons amongst extended photo galleries of most of the toys on this blog

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Currently listening to: Prince - Batdance


  1. You did it. You bastard. I would have got away with it, if it wasn't for you enabling kids...

    Sassenfrassenrassen, last TF purchase in the US, and it's all your fault (and on its way from Amazon, can't wait!)


    (Great review, wicked photos, hole in wallet but it's not like American money is real, right? Um....ramen's just as cheap in the UK, no? And now I sound like Death's Head, yes?)

    Anyway cheers, yes?

    1. I am totally hoping you are sat in Deaths Heads cosplay, eating a bowl of cereal.

      Cheers mate.....yes....my enabling powers grow...muhahahahah

  2. Oh dude, Acid Stunticons are AWESOME!

    I am so glad you enabled me on them, cornflakes and all, yes?

    It's been a continuing disappointment to me that my favourite ever transformer, nature-loving Cybertronian Attenborough Jeepchap, never gets anything to do EVER.

    Also, after nearly three years in this abominable icehole, I have FINALLY found a rum worth drinking.

    (Lacking lines lacking beans lacking tabs, rum is what I could do should do shall do am doing!)

    It is called Goslings. It cost me 16 dollars from the Goverment liquour store which was open until nearly 8PM (you'd really hate it here!) It tastes *just* like Captain Morgan....and nothing else here does, even faintly!

    Rum....Stuntitrips....also, SERENITY!

    I am getting my London bones out of here, and I have rum and bots and the (third) best movie ever!

    Also a homicidal animal named Broomcat and a ticket to fly!

    And the nights watch the days and the days are melting in the sun!

    See you on the funny side mate!