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Transformers Power of the Primes
by yo go re

In 2004, the company in charge of releasing Transformers on DVD in the UK created a two-part comic story called "The Beast Within," a comic most (ie, "only") notable for introducing the concept of a Dinobot combiner. Officially introduced. Fans had been coming up with their own versions for years, but this was an official(ish) product. It was also a complete mess in almost every regard, but as we've said before, sometimes when an idea gets out there, there's just no stopping it. And so, 14 years later, we get Volcanicus.

click to embiggen

Like 2015's "Combiner Wars" subline, the combiners in "Power of the Primes" are done Scramble City-style, meaning any limb-robot can attach anywhere to the torso. Want to be an arm? Okay. Went to be a left leg instead of a right leg? Well, if you insist. Want to sell out and join a different combiner altogether? Well, you're a traitor to your kind, but you can do that. You monster.

Since there's never been a Volcanicus before, there's nothing to compare this one to. The head looks rather regal, thanks to the big golden crest rising up off the forehead. It adds 50% to the height of the head. The majority of the head is a black helmet, though the silver chin strap is a pretty cool feature, making the helmet really look like a helmet and not just part of his head, like it's an extra piece of armor he wears for extra protection and not just a part of his mechanical anatomy. The overall design of the head - mostly black with big red eyes - definitely fits with the classic G1 Dinobot style.

The proportions of the combined robot end up feeling slightly "off," despite the fact that this is a new creation with no nostalgic basis. The problem is the torso: the waist is so narrow and the chest so small (compared to the size of the limbs) that the center of the 'bot comes across as "spindly," which is definitely not something you want from a combination of the Autobots' brute squad. There's a fanmode that bulks up the chest a little, by using Sludge and Snarl's hand/foot/guns plugged into Volcanicus' armpits instead of using them as feet, which does help somewhat. But then he's got incomplete feet, so you'd need to borrow a pair from Transformers you never plan to combine.

Grimlock does make a nice torso, it must be said. The T. rex head ends up centered in the chest, and you can raise it up to look forward (or to bite the included Enigma of Combination, if you so choose). The shoulders look massive, thanks to the way Grimmy's arms fold over themselves, and a silver plate that was unused in either of his previous modes becomes a crotch flap here. The arms have just enough dinosaur kibble hanging off them to make it clear who Volcanicus is built from, but you'll need to figure out something to do with Swoop's wing if you want the right arm to bend very far.

The feet are a different style for "Power of the Primes" than they were for "Combiner Wars," thank Primus. Back then, the feet were just the hands with the fingers folded away; tiny, and unstable. This time, the Prime Armor pieces that come with the Deluxe Class limbs joins together with the Prime Armor pieces that come with the Voyager Class torso, forming much bigger and more natural looking feet. That's why we said using the heels to bulk up the chest would leave things unfinished. And you'll definitely want Volcanicus to have all the foot he can have, because the design of the individual parts leaves the assembled toy leaning noticeably forward. Looming precariously, one might say. He hasn't fallen yet, thanks to those big feet, but you'll be better off using his articulation to come up with a pose other than "standing straight up." All the Dinobots' armor pieces hasve the same "spiky knuckle" design, so they look like they belong together.

Volcanicus has no weapons of his own, but you can have him hold any of his components' swords or guns. In his appearances in the Transformers: Earth Wars game, he's weilding a sword that is quite clearly just Fall of Cybertron Grimlock's, so if you have that toy, you could always choose to loan the sword to Big V.

I really didn't plan to complete Volcanicus - I was just going to get Slug, and that was it. But Swoop was right there on the peg with him, and then I found Grimlock at Target when I had some store credit, and eventually Sludge and Snarl showed up too... so now I have a Dinobot combiner. Well, a second one, really. Third if we're counting Kre-O. The fact that the entire team already shared a colorscheme means the gestalt form looks just as natural as any of the individuals do. It's just a shame they didn't bother to include Slash in the fun.

Slug | Swoop | Grimlock | Snarl | Sludge

-- 07/03/18

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