August 4, 2010 02:01 am
Power Core Combiners are Hasbro's new push for combiner team toys. The problem with combiners in the past is that they cost a lot to collect all the guys, and so kids rarely manage to get a whole team. So Hasbro's trying a smaller kind of combiner where you get the whole set for $20. This means the limbs are just drones instead of separate robot guys, but it at least gives kids what they want for an affordable price. Toy interchangeability is also the rule of the day, so there's smaller Power Core Combiners two-packs with just a torso and a Mini-Con partner. The idea is that the more guys you buy, the more ways you can swap an increasing number of limbs around an increasing number of torsos.
Smolder is one of those sold-separately torsos. What initially hooked me was his basic character conceit. He's a Decepticon fire engine. A villainous rescue vehicle. That's pretty fun, and has been done exactly once before in Transformers as far as my memory allows. (Barricade.) His name, Smolder, sweetened the deal. That's new, great name, not recycled from anybody previous.
And his Mini-Con partner is an axe.
An axe named Chopster.
See how the layers of awesome are being set before us, one by one? This veritable house of awesome? Yeah, I see it too. Part of my brain is demanding of me that Smolder, the emergency officer with an axe, be characterized as Axe Cop. It kinda works! Except for the whole "he's a bad guy" thing. And the "he's the wrong colors" thing. Well, maybe Shattered Glass Smolder would be Axe Cop...
Anyway, the toys themselves... they're okay! It should come as no surprise, looking at him, that none of Chopster's modes are particularly fully-realized. He has four of them, after all! He transforms into an axe, a robot, a flame cannon, and chest armor for Smolder. All of them look like a dude folded up, save the dude mode. Chopster is saved by the awesome name and the whole being-an-axe thing.
Smolder's much better, but not fantastic. He has a pretty conventional transformation from vehicle to robot, and it leaves him with super-long and massive arms. Either you position his hands down by his knees or you put his elbows up at his collarbone. Those are your choices. They're really, really long arms.
Since he's a Power Core Combiner torso, Smolder combines with the limbs that come with the $20 full-combiner toys. This means he has a third torso mode with a second, bigger head that flips out. He's not terribly stable in this mode, but it's fun to put together. When you plug in the vehicles for his limbs, they automatically convert into arms or legs. It's pretty neat to see.
In a weird convergence of reality, the "Cyber Missions" episode with Smolder and Chopster went online today. Chopster screams like a little girl and runs away.