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Transformers Combiner Wars
by yo go re

Unlike Superion, who has to suppress the minds of his components in order to function, Defensor gets his own personality: he completely loves humans. Not the way Jazz is fascinated by their culture, but the way a puppy loves its owners. He considers himself one of them, and is always a little bit hurt when they don't return the sentiment. On the plus side, this does make him even more dedicated to human safety than Optimus Prime himself.

click to embiggen

The "Combiner Wars" branded figures take inspiration from the "Scramble City" toys of Generation 1, meaning that any limb can attach in any spot to any torso - but of course, there's still a right way and a wrong way to do things, and the right way to build Defensor is with the Protectobots.

The original Defensor was unique among G1 gestalts, in that his head was built right into the torso robot, rather than being a separate piece that you had to keep track of. That's much more common today, but that just means you don't even have to wonder if the head will be integrated or separate on this toy. This is a direct update of the original design, with a silver face inside a black helmet. The eyes are blue, like they were on the cartoon, rather than the red seen in the comics and on the old toy - probably because red eyes are usually reserved for villains.

His head may have been built-in, but the 1986 Defensor still relied on loose pieces to create his chest and waist armor. Not this time! There's a really neat bit of engineering where the fire truck's ladder bends down and wraps around the torso, creating the armor as it goes. Okay, so a lot of the waist work is done by sculpts on Hot Spot's legs, but the shapes are the same. And speaking of sculpts, the red stripey sections on the chest armor and the legs are fully molded here, but they represent bits that were just stickers on the original. The only flaw is that Hot Spot's one leg doesn't want to stay folded into place properly, making Defensor's hip loose. He stands fine, but moving him requires attention.

As mentioned, any of the Deluxe Class robots can become any limb, which works out well for our purposes: the instructions show Defensor being assembled one way, but if you want him to look the way he did in G1, you'll have to do it differently; see, the booklet shows Blades and Rook as arms, and First Aid and Streetwise as legs; but if we're considering Rook to be a replacement for Groove (who's only available as a Legends Class figure who can become more chest armor for Defensor), then he and First Aid need to switch places.

Defensor has kind of a weird color layout in this mode. The torso is blue, of course, though the giant chestplate really does make him look more black. Definitely blue thighs, though. But then look at the limbs: three are white and one is red. Now, when you're working with emergency vehicles, you're a bit limited by their color palette, but there's more in the world than just white. Cop cars come in black. Ambulances can be red. Rook's a SWAT van that's never been seen in any previous continuity, make him any damn color you like. Alternately, just put more white on Blades, and you'd be fine. Also, putting them all together like this makes it clear that Streetwise's white is a yellower shade than the others'.

Hotspot's two guns can combine into one long rifle, if you want. That wasn't a feature on the old one, so '80s Defensor just carried two guns. Obviously you can do whatever pleases you. He still has the various guns on his knuckles and toes, though unlike Superion, Defensor's don't come in nice pairs: he's got Gatling guns, double-barrelled cannons, some sort of zappers, and twin missiles. Lots and lots of firepower! If you want to use the 50-foot forcefield dome he can project around himself, you'll just have to pretend.

Where Superion was a very tall, angular robot, Defensor is shorter (just over 10¾" tall) and blockier - it makes him look like he'd be able to absorb a lot of damage, perfect for a robot who's a living shield for everyone else. The one red limb looks slightly out of place, but even with Groove being replaced by newcomer Rook, the Protectobots come together to form something good.

Blades | Rook | Hot Spot | First Aid | Streetwise

-- 11/10/15

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