The Transformers action figure toyline theme this coming year is Combiner Wars, which means most everything combines with other things. Everything in the Deluxe and Voyager size classes become limbs and torsos, respectively, and a few things in the Legends size class become weapons or armor for the combined robot.
Which is super great if you have more than just four Deluxes! I got too clever for myself this past week or so. Amazon.com got in the Combiner Wars Voyagers, and so I ordered them and got them shipped to myself... in California. It's Christmas, y'see, and so we visit the in-laws down in San Diego most every year. Maggie goes out there earlier, while I stay behind a few extra days to finish up work. And so I thought I was being super crafty, getting those toys to myself on the other side of the continent. Until I got super sick and couldn't fly out to California. It was just me and the cat this year. Well, me, the cat, a turkey, and the Combiner Wars Deluxes I had preordered from Big Bad Toy Store, which arrived here while I was stuck in Ohio as the torsos arrived in California.
No torsos. But some limbs.
There's three aircraft (which belong to Superion) and one car (which belongs to Menasor), and they all transform basically the same. You fold the arms up alongside the vehicle, collapse the shins around the thighs, and cover the head with the front of the vehicle. The legs of the aircraft sort of accordion into themselves after opening up the shins, rather than the literal collapsing of the car's legs, but it's all the same formula. No actual shared pieces, but very similar engineering. And it sort of makes sense -- these are all based on guys from 1986, who all transformed fairly similarly then for the same reason they do now: they all have to become limbs that are exactly the same size and proportion. You can't have a combiner robot guy with one leg longer than the other. And each guy can become any of the four limbs, so there has to be a common pattern between them at some denominator.
Each guy also comes with a rifle and a second much bulkier double-barreled weapon that also transforms into either a foot or a fist. It's a step up over the original versions of these guys, who came with extra foot or fist pieces you just sort of set aside when not in use. Here at least the feet/fists have something they can do when they're not being feet or fists.
My favorite of the four is Alpha Bravo. He's a replacement for Slingshot (who was the only Aerialbot I owned as a child), partly because "Slingshot" isn't a trademark Hasbro owns anymore and partly because four Deluxe-sized jets who all transform nigh-identically is kind of overkill. Three (Air Raid is in wave 2) is kind of pushing it already. Alpha Bravo's a helicopter and so he's also super obviously just the Combaticon Vortex in Slingshot's colors. I like Alpha Bravo best because he's a new character who's a little orange and also because he makes a better helicopter than the two other aircraft are jets. Jets are flat things and don't lend themselves well to robots (unless you open up like a cootie catcher akin to live-action Starscream) or combiner robot limbs. Helicopters are taller and rounder and can contain robot parts better. ...even if Alpha Bravo's arms just peg onto the sides and hope they hide themselves behind those missiles sculpted on his arms.
Drag Strip's a pretty good car, sure, but Alpha Bravo's weapons integrate better into his vehicle mode than Drag Strip's. And maybe Drag Strip also needs to get drawn by Sarah Stone before I pay attention to him.