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Transformers Combiner Wars
by yo go re

Rather than provide a bio for the figure inside it, Silverbolt's packaging used its text space to describe Superion as "a single-minded force bent only on Decepticon destruction," and that's accurate: rather than try to blend five personalities into one, Superion just suppresses them, only allowing the hatred for the Decepticons to seep through. He can't even hold a conversation, or adapt to new tactics in the middle of battle. Poor guy.

click to embiggen

Superion is built from the Aerialbots - or, since "Combiner Wars" takes its cue from Scramble City and allows the limbs to swap about at random, is built from Silverbolt's torso mode and any four Deluxe Class figures you want. In fact, since the first shipments of product included three Aerialbots and a Stunticon, that's what the instructions showed. You had to be patient if you wanted a full, G1-style Superion.

Well, semi-G1. The original Superion had a black face with a normal nose and mouth, while the animation gave him a boxy mouthplate. Sometimes he was drawn with the mouth, but the face was silver. This toy splits the difference, giving him a silver face and a flat mouthplate. That's fine, it makes for a better contrast. He has two tall antennae for ears, but they're made from soft PVC, which makes it difficult to move them all the way forward: they flex instead of turning, and you can't push them past the final position.

The way Silverbolt turns into Superion's torso is really impressive. On the Generation 1 figure, you just slapped a chest plate on Silverbolt's robot mode and called it a day. This time, not only do you turn the entire robot upside down (Silverbolt's arms are what become Superion's [suprisingly skinny] legs), but the chestplate is actually built right into the design rather than being a separate piece. This is a very cool piece of design and engineering, and makes for a toy that perfectly homages the old days while at the same time showcasing why things are better now than they've ever been.

As we said, any robot can become any limb, so you have options in display. Like many anal-retentive nerds, I opted to duplicate Superion's "correct" layout from the olden days, which means Firefly and Quickslinger as arms, and Skydive and Air Raid as legs. (The instruction booklets suggest it should be the other way around.) The robots' hips and knees end up serving as elbows when they become arms, meaning there's a great range of movement, and that's before we even get into the fact that the waist serves as a bicep swivel, or that the wrists can turn as well. It's kind of lame the way the robots' arms just sort of tuck over the wings rather than actually going anywhere, but that's the only complaint up here.

One thing that's different is the way the legs are done. On the original Superion, the two bots that formed the legs faced the front - that is, their chests remained exposed, so the airplane kibble was on the back of the legs. This time, the airplaney bits go in the front. Thanks to the way the combiner pegs work, you could totally set it up the old way if you wanted to, but it looks nicer this way. Again, the blatant way Skydive and Air Raid's arms just hang there is annoying, but there's nothing to be done about it. The legs end up moving at the hips, knees, and ankles, and the joints are sturdy enough to support the weight of this massive robo.

Silverbolt's shield and gun combine into a single larger weapon that's reminiscent of the "stress fracture cannon" the original Superion carried. It fires a beam that locates and then overloads the natural fracture lines in any object it hits. The result can be anything from cracking open a peanut to causing a small earthquake. And probably hurts like hell if it hits a Decepticon.

Superion is the first Combiner Wars gestalt I've finished, and he's pretty impressive. The assembled robot stands 11¾" tall, and isn't lacking any important articulation. The pieces fit together securely, but come apart again with no hassle. Now that this guy is done, I can't wait to get started on Defensor.

Air Raid | Skydive | Silverbolt | Quickslinger | Firefly

-- 07/28/15

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