Before I get to the toys and everything that is wrong with them, and there is a lot wrong with them, I have a few overall issues to address.
What drugs was someone on when they came up with the name Torchbearers? It sounds like a middle school punk band. It does not sound like a Transformers combiner team. Whoever came up with that understands nothing about Transformers.
Fan polls are a great idea in theory. I mean, that’s how we got Swindle and Erector as Transformers Hall of Fame finalists after all. (Just to be clear, that was sarcasm.) Unfortunately, in practice we get Victorion. Really Hasbro? You let fans vote on random elements of a combiner team thinking you would get something that made sense? While Windblade was en epically mediocre toy, it was one single deluxe toy. What is truly sad is what an all female combiner team could have been if serious thought was put into it instead of random ideas people voted on with no attention paid to the totality of what was being created. More on what Victorion could have been later.
The color scheme and mold choice. One of the cool things about combiners is that they are made up of different related pieces, but are not a single color scheme. The only exception to that was Devastator, and it makes sense since he is made up of vehicles that might very well share a color scheme. I will say that in person the colors aren’t as bad as I had thought. It’s not as teal as it looked in the stock photos. Red and teal would have been awful. The green is a few shades lighter than pea soup green I think. Doesn’t look awful, just doesn’t make any sense that a fire truck two helicopters, and two race cars would share a color scheme, which brings me to the molds. Two of the same mold with slight changes Really? Even if you could somehow justify the fire truck and helicopters being part of a rescue team, which really only makes sense if they are painted as rescue vehicles, adding two race cars to the mix makes no sense. There is no coherent logic to the choice of these molds.
The original photos had these with brown paint splotches, as the story was supposed to link them to the planet of Cosmic Rust from the episode of the same name. As a friend of mine pointed out, they were doing a female combiner team, and giving them all herpes, so it’s probably best they didn’t go with that. But honestly, I don’t care about the fiction, I care about the toy. The sword is meant to look somewhat like the lightning bug from that episode, so it doesn’t really make sense that they aren’t infected with Cosmic Rust. Clearly nobody knew what they were doing. Almost feels like a Fun Pub concept.
Lastly, the new weapons. They created a pretty cool looking sword for Victorion, but the component parts are either crap, or don’t look like they are transformers weapons. More on that later.
Okay, now on to the toys. God help me.
Dust Up has a new head, chest, and hands. The new head makes sense, and I guess I understand the new chest, but the new hands were unnecessary. The amount of remolding on this set pisses me off because we have had other Combiner Wars toys that really needed remolding and they didn’t get them. It sucks to waste it on such a poorly conceived set. The weapon is pretty lousy, I’m not even sure what it is supposed to be. The one thing about Dust Up that I love is the head sculpt, but it has nothing to do with this toy. That’s freaking Nightbird! This head sculpt has to be based on Nightbird from the G1 cartoon. This toy MUST be repainted as Nightbird. That is the only thing that justifies Victorion’s existence. I am hoping that it will be the seventh and final (YAY!) toy in the Botcon Subscription Service. Brian Savage sent a message out saying that the seventh toy would have a head not yet available at retail. Victorion has been found at retail, but given Fun Pub’s history of fraud and false advertising, my money is on the last toy being Nightbird.
Jumpstream also has a new head, chest, and hands. It’s an okay toy, but nothing particularly special. She has a shield, but no weapon, which makes no sense.
First off, Pyra Magna sounds like some kind of rash. As with the others, her head, hands, and chest have been remolded. All the remolding of hands is silly. Since Victorion does not use the standard interchangeable hands and feet, her feet, which are essentially high heel shoes, go on her back. As with the others, the weapon is pretty crappy, but better than the others. The really terrible part about Pyra Magna is Victorion’s head. When they designed Hot Spot, they did a really great thing, making Defensor’s head in multiple parts so it could fold down. It’s not perfect, but he doesn’t have a full head just sitting on the end of his ladder. Not only is Victorion’s head just sitting there at the end of Pyra Magna’s ladder, it’s fucking enormous. You might as well just turn it around and have her fire water out of Victorion’s mouth. Such garbage.
Previous Mold Reviews: Groove
Rust Dust has a new head. Not much to write home about here.
Skyburst and Stormclash
Previous Mold Reviews: Alpha Bravo
I’m not sure which is which, and I just don’t care. They remolded her hands/forearms. This makes me angrier than almost anything else about Victorion. Blades needed new forearms with no missiles since he is a rescue copter. Vortex should have head guns rather than missiles which would have made him look much more like G1. Instead, they remold this. Garbage. They also made two new chest molds that are mirrors of each other. Hey also mirrored the terrible paint jobs. The weapons look really cool, just not for a Transformer. The insect wing looking swords might work on certain Beast Wars toys, but not for anything else.
I’ve seen worse combiners, but the high heel feet suck and the tiny hands look ridiculous on such a big toy. Jumpstream is supposed to be her right arm, but that mold makes for a slightly shorter arm than the others, so it looks pretty stupid. The head sculpt is sort of ridiculous. The face looks fine, but she has an enormous melon head. The opposite painting on Skyburst and Stormclash gives it a symmetry that is completely ruined by the two different molds for her arms. It’s like no one could decide whether they wanted the two to be symmetric or not, so they went half and half and it looks stupid.
Overall: I don’t think I need to say at this point that I hate this toy. What makes me most angry about this is that they didn’t say, let’s make an all female combiner team. They made up some female characters and said, let’s make them into Transformers. A female combiner team sounds like a good idea, in so much as making up random combiners is a good idea. I don’t like random combiners, but if you’re going to do one, why on earth did they go and make up a bunch of meaningless characters that make no sense. We already have a team of female Autobots. Elita One, Chromia, Firestar, and Moonracer. Throw in Arcee to make five, even Blackarachnia to make six if you want, since either Chromia or Arcee could be the Legends Groove mold. This is what I hate about Hasbro. They keep trying to reinvent things without recognizing what we already have. You would think the success of Combiner Wars, a series built on bringing back the characters of the past, would give them a clue.
Thanks for reading!