Remember when we went over a few figures from the first Robots In Disguise line? For those of you who missed that, it was taken from a formerly Japanese exclusive line called Car Robots. Well for the bad guys they made an odd decision, at least to me. While the Autobot* Combiner teams were all new the lone Decepticon* Combiner was a reissue…of a team from the original series. Sure, most of the Decepticons (except for the leader) were also reuses of old molds, but except for Scourge they came from a more recent line. (Scourge’s counterpart was from Generation Two but his articulation held up better than most original line toys.)

The figures they used were the “Combaticons”. I don’t know what the mold was prior to Transformers but in this incarnation they were also Decepticons, They got a new color scheme and some minor remolding but they really didn’t fit in with the advancement in transforming robot toy engineering. And then Hasbro gives them a whole new color scheme (at right) for some reason. I guess the added faction symbols wasn’t enough to set them apart from the Japanese toys (so that eBay sellers don’t claim they’re the more expensive Japanese import versions to scam people I think) so they got new colors. I just couldn’t justify the price for G1 toys at modern price points unless they were proper reissues or the original toys of the Combaticons. Plus they didn’t have the right colors and this was still during my “whomever is on the show or just looks cool” phase, which interestingly enough this line was one of the reasons I started to break from that.

Then I came upon the Quick Change Robot Fighter version. Now I don’t know what the set was actually named because I found nothing on this one compared to even the other Quick Change Combiners. But they were cheaper and in the right colors so this is the rare occasion where I chose the knockoff over the original. How did that turn out for me?

*To my fellow Transformers fans: yes, I know they’re called Cybertron and Destron in Japan. I don’t think most of the people reading this blog cares.

Because I’m dealing with three different potential names per character and their group name I’ll be using their vehicle modes to describe them instead. It will be less confusing.

The gun truck or whatever the official name is serves as the leader of the group. It looks a bit longer than it needs to be unless the actual truck is supposed to be able to carry another vehicle. This would appear to be necessary for combination mode but it really isn’t.  The back end flips up in every other mode except the base mode, and I don’t think anybody ever used the leaders’ base modes anyway. I can see the narrative benefit but nobody ever really bothered to use it in comics or cartoons. I do like the camouflage deco, although the loud orange and yellow bits kind of ruin that.

That green piece on his chest is used here and nowhere else. It makes less sense than on not-Silverbolt.

His robot mode is actually pretty cool. While the orange still messes with the camo effect the rest of it is rather solid. The head actually does turn (which also allows the Combiner head to turn since for the “scramble” type so many of them had the leader wearing the combination head like a helmet, including the not-Aerialbots from a couple of weeks ago), which is one up on some of the Scramble Combiners, and some shoulder articulation. Mostly a good figure of his time.

“Is there a purpose to my being here?” “To make sure my skidplate doesn’t get shot from behind.”

This time we actually get a ramp for the base mode. I think it’s supposed to be a surface-to-air gun emplacement with a way for one of the others to drive onto it, but really it’s kind of pointless. Most base modes were to be honest.

I forgot the tank’s extra guns when I took this picture.

He’s joined on the ground by a jeep and a tank. The jeep is okay and matches up with the truck, but the tank is decoed for desert action rather than the forests and jungles of his fellow ground vehicles. At least he has a turning turret. The jeep also has an oversized gun like he scanned his vehicle mode from a G.I. Joe vehicle. I know there were and are jeeps with a gun emplacement but I’m not sure how anybody would sit in there.

“How come I don’t get a gun?” “You should have stolen one like I did.”

It is odd that the tank in this set doesn’t have a hand weapon. It’s not like his turret or rear cannons cross over into robot mode. The jeep has a small gun that attaches to his big gun, which I left in because he’s a bit back heavy. I think the stubby legs should hold him up but they don’t. His arms also move better at the shoulders (again, all you’re getting for articulation) than his tank pal.

And here I forgot to put the gun onto the helicopter. This is why I’m not hired by toy companies. Although I know a few web stores that don’t seem to care about those details. I need work.

But our military unit also has two air vehicles, a helicopter for EVAC and that most feared of military aircraft…the space shuttle? Seriously, this choice never made any sense, less so if you saw his cartoon origin episode. The set doesn’t come with the extra cannons the helicopter had on his side and the space shuttle had on its wings, which I would think would be a problem for him carrying that extra weight to go into space. The helicopter is also supposed to have four blade but two of them broke off. It was a problem with me and helicopter blades if they weren’t properly enforced, which at the time was difficult for the size. I haven’t had that problem with modern helicopters and since this set I got as an adult you can’t blame me as a child.

“No, you idiot, fire in THAT direction!”

Speaking of things breaking on these, there’s a plastic piece connected to the arms on the shuttle that broke off while I was trying to remember how to transform him. Quick Changers suffer from no instructions and cheap plastic. The shuttle also lacks actual hands. I think the guns he didn’t come with would go into the big holes where his hands should be. The helicopter at least has molded hand designs where hands would be and you can plug the gun into his arm so it looks like he’s holding it.

And now it’s time to combine them. While all four limbs still plugged their head into certain spots on the core robot for the feet, the helicopter and the jeep are the only ones who do this for the hands. The tank and shuttle both have extra pegs that open up for the arm connector, which helps add some variety to the combination and allows variety in vehicle mode options.

Two different shots, showing each limb as an arm or a leg.

With the not-Aerialbots you may remember that my problem with the combination is that it didn’t matter which plane was which limb, limiting the possibilities. The military group is slightly better at this. The helicopter in theory allows for it’s blade, but it’s so far up the shoulder that it’s pretty much useless as a melee weapon. At best it could be a protective shield if it spins fast enough and has all four blades…at least in theory. Otherwise all they really add are their weapons, which the shuttle and helicopter don’t come with their extra weaponry. The ground vehicles are a bit beefier and might have a stronger punch I guess, but that’s it.

Thanks to some mold tinkering (these are based on the Car Robots version) the various weapons can combine into two guns, but while trying to figure out how the tanks guns connect to the jeep cannon I think I broke that peg and due to the lack of instructions I don’t know how the copter’s hand gun is supposed to link in. So ultimately it was kind of useless and to be honest a large rifle with little handguns on it isn’t as menacing as you’d think unless you’re actually being shot at. But the robot himself looks nice and powerful.

Decision: Stays

While I’m bummed that the shuttle broke during this review the set overall overcomes it’s flaws to become decent toys. I stand by my decision that I don’t think it was worth what Hasbro was asking at the time all things considered (especially the advancements in engineering–they look rather pathetic compared to the Autobots’ TWO Combiner teams in this line) but this set was worth the money, cheap materials and lack of instructions notwithstanding.

This is also the last of the Quick Change Combiners, but not our last trip to the world of Quick Change. We’ll see more in the future, but I’m hoping to get back to some actual projects next week, depending on what happens to me next. This week I had a dentist appointment, my uncle passed away, and we had a power outage. Some things you just can’t prepare for.