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First Aid

Transformers Combiner Wars
by yo go re

For maximum effect, we should write this entire review in reverse, so it can be accurately read in a rear-view mirror.

First Aid is just as likely to be first on the scene to help a wounded bot as he is to show up to repair a broken dishwasher. To the Protectobot medic, the greatest enemy is malfunction. Human, bot, or machine - if it's broken, First Aid won't carry on until it's back up and running.

It's great that First Aid will repair a Transformer or a washing machine, since those are fundamentally the same thing, but does that really mean he's qualified to repair humans? Would you trust a guy who took a correspondence course in TV/VCR repair to perform your open heart surgery? Still, he's skilled in both the controlled environment of a formal operating theater, and in the chaos of an active battleground. Ratchet may be the most famous Autobot medic, but it's possible that First Aid is the best.

First Aid's head was surprisingly consistent among all different media in Generation 1 - the cartoon model and the comic both looked just like the toy, which didn't happen often. The head is mostly square, as was the style at the time, and has an angled silver mouthplate beneath blue visor. There's something about the design that makes him look very youthful.

Below the neck, the connections to the old toy are not as strong - but that's only because the old toy was pretty much undetailed crap, while this one has a really nice sculpt. About the only things this one has in common with the 1986 figure are the ribbed sections on the sides, and the bump on the center of his waist - everything else is a new invention. The big silver panels on his chest are just begging to be repurposed as faux-windows on some future repaint, while the technological detailing in the "crack" beneath them makes it look like an expansion joint or something. The first First Aid had legs that were smooth and featureless, so all the cool shapes on his shins come from the imagination of the sculptor - though the squares on the knees are similar to elements on the animation model.

First Aid's articulation is plentiful. Like most of the "Combiner Wars" figures, he has a balljointed head, shoulders, and hips; swivel biceps, waist, and thighs; and hinged elbows and knees. The armor plates on his shoulders bump into the kibble behind his back, limiting the range of the arms sometimes. You'll have to pose around them. His weapons include an axe ("cyber cleaver") and one of the hand-foot-gun combos ("crystallizer cannon"), neither of which seem like things a medic would use. They're the most improbable things since Blades' "rescue missiles."

The original toy's altmode was an ambulance. This new one, not so much. First Aid is an extensive reshelling of Offroad, the new member of the Stunticons. Offroad turned into a fratty racing pickup truck, so there was no way First Aid could become a real ambulance. Actually, we don't have a lot of real ambulances, do we? It's really just Prime Ratchet - everything else is a conversion.

None of First Aid's car parts are shared with Offroad, which is why we referred to this as a reshelling and not just a resculpt or a repaint. The engineering is the same, and the robot limbs, but everything else is different. And yet, because of the limitations of the form, First Aid is a sleek, angular vehicle. Where's he doing his ambulancing, Dubai? The (unpainted) rear window is sculpted with a windshield wiper, but I'm still not sure there would be enough room inside to transport any injured humans.

The handfootgun is designed to plug onto the roof of the vehicle, making it even less ambulancey than before. There's a tab on the roof that fits into a slot between the fingers - if you got the right weapon. There have been several reports of folks getting a gun with no slot, and therefore completely useless in this regard.

The theme of 2015's Transformers is "Combiner Wars," so no surprise that First Aid can become a limb of Defensor, just as he did in the '80s. Also, just as in the '80s, any limb can become either an arm or a leg, "Scramble City"-style. The packaging shows him serving as the right leg, but his place in the '80s was the left arm. Put him wherever you want! Whereever. You. Want.

First Aid also includes a comic - apparently Combiner Wars #12. It's a fun issue, with a lot of action and history, but doesn't feature any Protectobots in the slightest. That's the downside of including random comics, I guess.

First Aid makes for a nice-looking robot, though he has a lot of unfortunate kibble. And honestly, Hasbro, look at some pictures of real ambulances before you release your next one; they're not just trucks that happen to be painted red and white.

-- 09/29/15

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