Here’s another one in my early obsession with combiner teams from the knockoff series Quick Change Robot Fighter. This time it’s the Toolbot set, a series of tools that turn into robots and combine into a larger robot. I’ve seen these packed in sets like this. one just on a flimsy card, and individually. I’m pretty sure mine came in a package like the one above because I don’t remember seeing them on the card. This is also one I reviewed back in the alt.toys.transformers days but since I plan to basically plagiarize from myself (at least I’m honest about it and it’s from my own previous review) due to time (six robots that in the original review I grouped based on sharing transformations and similar alternate modes) and the fact that my opinions are pretty much the same, all you’re getting here is updated information, photos, hopefully less typos, and me not going on about a sneaker hunt or discussing sets I have yet to review for The Clutter Reports.

A few things I want to note before heading into this. If you have a habit of losing accessories, or your pets/kids eat them all, avoid this set, or at least this version, as the carded one I saw during research seems to lack individual weapons. This thing has more bits and pieces, including two I can’t see even being usable, than some entire lines in my collection, and that’s counting missiles separate from launchers! These guys are part re-configures and part reassemble. Thrown into the mix are swords, one for each one, and only a couple of them are obviously meant for a certain tool bot. Also, I’ll be reviewing these guys in teams, not just to save time, but because each limb transforms exactly the same ways. The two bodies, plus the two arms and two legs have their own style. Finally, because Quick Change didn’t come up with their bad renames, like the Animal Robot set, it’s up to me to give them something to put on their driver’s licenses.

“You’re not really going to hold me to that ‘hammer in the morning, hammer in the evening’ thing, are you?

THE HAMMERS: Slam (red) and Bash (black)

Our two hammers will form the body of our combiner. Not much to say, really. Slam is a red hammer with gold bits and his robot head on top for all to see. He actually does remind me of the hammers from the original Donkey Kong game, which is where the above lunatic raving came from. The gold on the handle is just the usual paint while the bits on the hammer proper is vac-metalised. The same is true for Bash, including the robot head, only the red is replaced by black and the gold is replaced by silver and a couple of gold and red spots. They both have stickers in different spots, and while Slam has a more square-shaped hammer-head, Bash is more rounded, more like a mallet. His handle no longer stays on very well, since my first attempt to transform him caused one of his tabs to break, but it’s still displayable enough for me not to trek back for a new set.

No new colors in robot mode, except for Slam’s green eyes. You can also see the combiner’s head in Slam’s unileg. Our hammers have different molds
for their bot heads, and the thingies (highly technical term) that act as part of the feet, but are mostly for the designs in combiner mode, are also
different. Outside of the combiner head, due to Slam forming the upper body and Bash the lower, there wasn’t any need to do any extra changes really, but I’m glad they did, whomever Quick Change stol…um…obtained these from. Their handles have to be removed to put them in robot mode, but the bots can hold one of the six swords and two daggers that come with the set, as can the other tools. There are also some red and black pieces in their primary colors that hide the robot head in hammer mode. I’m not sure how long it took me to figure that out back in the old days though. Sadly the hammer tops do nothing in the other modes while the handles form the upper legs of the combination mode.

The only way I could have these tools standing was to hold them by hand. So those chunks out of the pliers’ handles are where my fingers were.

THE PLIERS: Grab (green) and Snip (yellow)

Yeah, I’m reaching with those names, let me tell you. Grab is just your typical pliers, while Snip I originally thought was a pair of scissors but quickly realized were needlenose pliers. Don’t try to use them as real pliers (but I’m sure you knew that), even though they do “work”. There’s actually a joint that allows them to open and close like real pliers but without the tensile strength to be useful Both pliers ends are vac-metalised silver, as are their visible robot heads. Grab has an extra set of “rings” on his ends, vac-metal red, while Snip has a black area on his needlenose, same paint style. Grab’s got more silver in his chest with a gooey red center, both vac-metalised. Snip’s design is vac-metal gold with red insides. Stickers on the handles (which have a black area on both) look out-of-place, and are blocked in robot mode anyway, so why bother?

More leftover parts, since you have to remove the pliers’ noses and replace them with the handles. (I did see one showing where they put those parts on their hands but they do have swords to hold in my set.) Now you have the hands where the handles were and the handles form feet. While you can have separate legs, due to the working pliers requirements, you end up with the robot head slightly off-center, so you have to lock the legs together and get a semi-unileg anyway. (Wait, what are you talking about, past me? I see tabs but I don’t see any way to lock them together.) Nothing new is added colorwise, but since this is the robot section allow me to report that Snip’s head looks like a tophat. Maybe he was manufactured in Lidsville? (For you diehard Sid & Marty Krofft fans out there. I think the show was airing on TV Land or something at the time.)

This came out the best of the three edited pictures. It almost looks like they’re all there together.

THE..OTHER TWO: Screw (white) and Cutter (orange)

First dirty joke maker gets it! Enough said. Screw is a screwdriver and Cutter is either a chisel or some kind of electric mini hand saw. There actually is a button on Cutter that can be pressed, but obviously nothing happens. The button vac-metal gold with some goldish paint highlighting the orange. His blade is also vac-metal but silver. This is also true for Screw’s flathead (remember, I warned you!) which back then I always confused for the Phillips head, and button, although this one doesn’t work. Guess he’s not an electric screwdriver. His goldish is replaced by red. Frankly, you could interchange theĀ  screwdriver and chisel and not notice the difference. Not sure how well the screwdriver would actually work and I’m not about to try, but it’s safe to say the chisel is useless. These are also the only two tools where you can’t see the robot head. One picture I saw researching this updated review showed these two with a big “X” sticker on their chests but my version didn’t come with them. The stickers here are better than on the Animal Robot team and thus far haven’t fallen off.

Notation for transformation: You not only remove the tool head, but the like-colored ring it connects to, or your robot will be blind. The biggest unilegs I’ve ever seen, they remind me of the Wendy’s (later Kool-Aid) GoBots figures. You can see the stickers on the arms better now, but that’s pretty much it. I know these two form the lower legs and feet of the combined robot but that’s just ridiculous. Also, I kind of obscured Screw’s sword (shut it!) but it’s the only one that looks like a flathead screwdriver, so I sadly blocked probably the most appropriate sword of the team. Too bad none of these weapons can be used by the combiner form.

I did take my own picture but I didn’t notice he was missing his horns. It was this pic that even reminded me he had them.

COMBINER MODE: Grunt

I wanted a “Tool Time” vibe to his name, and outside of “Bindford” this was the best I had. (Tim’s signature response, in case you didn’t get it.) Grunt forms by first linking up the two hammers, keeping the handles off and remembering to unfold the combiner head before locking Slam’s legs in place. And I just broke one of the plastic things that holds the combiner head in place. Geez! Should still hold on the other one, though. The two daggers slide onto the head to form a set of horns. Why bother?

Oh that’s why. The head looks too small without them. I didn’t realize that when I did the original review and forgot the dagger horns in this one. Speaking of which, only the hammers can really do anything with those daggers. They’re rather loose in anyone else’ hands. And speaking of the hammers, remember the tab I broke on Bash? The remaining tab on Slam is the only thing holding these two together now. I can’t really win here, can I? Now, while Slam’s head is hidden by Grunt’s head, Bash’s is visible in just the wrong spot.

The pliers form the arm, and unless you want to flip the legs around to form better hands for Grunt, that’s it. Just slide the arms into their tool mode spot and you have two robots hanging off Grunt’s shoulders. Really, the lamers of the bunch, these two. They can use Screw and Cutter’s tool heads as swords by using the little rings that hold them in place. These two form the legs by using the hammer handles to connect to Bash. The handles slide in so Grunt’s not too tall, but there’s a piece of the handle that links to Screw and Cutter like their tool heads do, and when I did the original review red handle keeps popping off at that ring. I didn’t have that problem while studying them for this review. Grunt has gold head, with silver horns formed by the daggers. All of that, including the red visor and blue design on the horns are vac-metal. Not much else to comment on, except that he looks rather cool, if you ignore Grab and Snip’s obviousness and Bash’s head, which is easier if you have him looking towards the back. Not exactly eyes in the back of his head, but whatever works. Actually, with the pliers looking to the side, Grunt is difficult to sneak up on.

DECISION: Stays

Part of me wants to replace the black hammer because of the broken tab but the combination and the black hammer handle stay on well enough for display. The combined form is nice, only the leg robots suffer due to their position, and it’s not a bad figure for a cheap knockoff series. Plus I like the idea of tool transformers. And without their tool parts I can sort of imagine them as some kind of vehicle, although the hammers still have heads popping up without their hammer tops. If you want a cheap transforming robot set this isn’t a bad one; just be careful how you disconnect the black hammer from his parts.

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