Review: Transformers Combiner Wars Deluxe Wave 5 (Combaticons)

Titans Return may be on the horizon, but Combiner Wars is still going strong in the Transformers Generations line. After a break for some Autobot repaints, we’re back to the classic G1 Combiner teams with the Combaticons: Blast Off, Vortex, Swindle, and Brawl! These guys have been available online for a while now, and I was initially going to hold off on them until Onslaught came out, but after stumbling upon the whole wave unexpectedly at a Walmart, I just couldn’t help myself. No Bruticus yet, but how do the individual Combaticons fare?

Blast Off


Vehicle Mode

Well, this sure is a weird looking space shuttle. Blast Off is easily the most controversial of the Combaticons, and it’s not hard to see why. To be fair, a fighter jet is much more fitting with the theme of military vehicles, but… I’ve just got so many Combiner Wars fighter jets (with at least two more on the way), two of which this exact mold. At least the colors are spot-on and properly dull, and I like the paint apps on the wings. It’s certainly not perfect, but it’s a serviceable altmode.


Robot Mode

Oh hey, Quickslinger! Why are you dressed like Blast Off? Like pretty much everyone, I don’t quite get the logic behind using Quickslinger’s head rather than the much more Blast Off-looking Firefly head, but honestly it doesn’t look all that bad. I mean, if you squint, it kinda looks like he has a faceplate, right? 


Blast Off really does suffer most in robot mode, since he’s essentially identical to two of the Aerialbots. That being said, he’s still a fine toy, and at least he’s in the right colors. Some amount of mold degradation is to be expected at this point, and he feels about as semi-loose as Quickslinger did, but Blast Off’s waist is a little tighter.


One definite plus for Blast Off is that he got a new weapon… paint job. It’s gunmetal and not bare plastic, so I guess that’s new. It may be the same flamethrower-ish gun that came with the other two guys, but at least it looks fancy. Shame that his HFG is the exact same, just grey. At this point, though, you can’t really expect too much.



Vehicle Mode

Finally, what we were all expecting ever since the first pictures of Alpha Bravo came out. This helicopter mode worked great for Alpha Bravo and okay for Blades, but for Vortex I think it really kind of fails. This just isn’t a military helicopter; it’s too long and passenger-looking, and aside from the giant yellow missiles there’s nothing remotely threatening about this vehicle. The yellow missiles and big green blocks definitely stand out, but they’re indicative of a problem that’s more evident in robot mode…


Robot Mode

Yep, that’s Alpha Bravo in colors that are… kind of Vortex’s colors? The grey and purple are right, and the paint on the torso looks pretty close to the G1 toy, but man, that green. It’s really bright. The yellow missile pods seem to be referencing G1 Vortex’s big yellow arm stickers, but it’s just too much, and those bright green shoulders don’t help. I’m all for G1 accuracy, but I think the cartoon might’ve been a better choice here.


And yeah, colors aside… he’s Alpha Bravo. He has Alpha Bravo’s articulation, his head, and his weapons, just in light grey, which really don’t compliment his colors at all. Even with those ugly colors, Vortex really isn’t bad, he’s just entirely unimpressive. If Alpha Bravo hadn’t stolen his thunder with his headsculpt, maybe my feelings on Vortex would’ve been different. Sorry, bro.



Vehicle Mode

Finally, something different! Well, sort of different, anyway. Though it’s hard to tell at first glance, Swindle is actually a remold of Rook with almost every piece changed so that he’s a big armored military Jeep rather than an APC. It’s not perfect (those are definitely giant robot fists in the cab), but that’s a pretty impressive retool!


He has a peg on his roof that can fit either his machine gun or HFG as a turret, or the 5mm ports towards the rear can hold them as well. This is definitely more of an armored combat truck than your standard WW2 Humvee, and I’m not too sure how I feel about it. It’s a fine altmode, but I feel like it’s almost too… intimidating to be Swindle, the smooth-talking arms dealer. 


Robot Mode

As you can see, Swindle has definitely bulked up. The big, bulky sculpt worked great for Rook, but I’m having a hard time accepting it for Swindle. When I think of Swindle, I think of a fairly unimpressive (if a bit slimy) guy who can talk his way out of anything, but can fight if he has to. This Swindle looks like he’ll beat the slag out of you if you don’t buy what he’s selling. Not bad, just different.


What’s not different is that beautiful headsculpt that is perfectly Swindle, particularly the big square purple eyes. The only thing missing is a sly smile like the Animated toy, but I won’t complain. His chest even has sculpted detail to resemble the front of a jeep, which doesn’t match his own altmode, but is a neat reference to the G1 cartoon model.


Despite looking almost entirely different, Swindle is still the same basic toy as Rook, and has the same articulation. However, he has a brand new gun as well as a new HFG! It’s the same dull grey as those of his teammates, but it’s got a (mostly) unique design with engine block detailing. Get excited!



Vehicle Mode

Now it’s time for someone new! Despite everyone’s predictions/fears, Brawl is not a remold of Rook, but a brand new mold. He’s a pretty sweet looking tank that probably resembles a lot of real-world tanks that I’m not thinking of right now, but I’m sure it’s spot-on to something! It’s suitably big and, uh, tank-like, but there’s something off about the colors. He’s just not green enough, looking more brown than anything. What gives?


Unfortunately, this tank mode is severely hindered by the immobility of the turret; it can’t rotate at all. The barrel can move up and down a bit, but that’s it. You can mount the HFG via a flip-out peg, which looks pretty much exactly like you’d think it does.


Robot Mode

Oh… oh, dear. Something went very wrong somewhere along the road of Brawl’s design process, because he literally has no guts. He has a chest, a waist, and pretty much nothing in between. What’s worse is that his waist doesn’t even lock in properly. It’s supposed to lock with the black hinged piece diagonal, but the clip to his chest just isn’t strong enough to stay connected, resulting in his entire upper body flipping backwards. Adding onto that, the lower waist hinge is not very tight, which results in his body flipping forward


There are ways to kinda-sorta remedy this issue. You can just flip his crotch all the way forward, which eliminates his gut-gap (with his crotch), but makes him a bit shorter and eliminates his waist articulation. You can alternatively flip down his combiner peg to form more of a gut, but it also impedes the waist joint and doesn’t look quite right. I don’t know, man. Brawl just didn’t turn out right. He’s not Prime Airachnid bad, but he’s just not good.


Crippling design flaw aside, Brawl doesn’t look all that bad. His headsculpt is pretty great, he’s got proper tread shoulders and his tank turret pointing up on his back (which can be removed and used a handheld weapon, if you so choose). His articulation isn’t too shabby, either: ball-jointed elbows and hips, (semi-)universal shoulders, swivel neck, thigh, and waist, 90-degree knees, and even ankle tilts!


Honestly, I kind of like Brawl. His forearms are a little stubby, but that’s all I can really fault him for. Aside from, y’know, that one crippling design flaw. It sucks, but I think I’ve forced myself to look past it and just accept Brawl for what he is, loving him for his positives and not hating him for his flaws. That being said, Brawl is seriously, seriously flawed, which is a real bummer considering he’s the only new mold of the Combaticons.



Well, this sure is a mixed bag. The Combaticons are my favorite G1 combiner team (with Bruticus being my favorite combiner), so I’ve been waiting for these guys since Combiner Wars was announced. Did I get what I wanted? Eh, sort of. Two of them I’ve basically bought twice before, two are the wrong colors, one’s the wrong altmode, one doesn’t quite fit my view of the character, and one plain doesn’t work in robot mode. That being said, they’re still recognizably the Combaticons, and all but one of them are technically good toys, and even then I still like the one that isn’t. Honestly, they are what I expected them to be: nothing special. If you can live with another wave of, well, Combiner Wars, definitely go for the Combaticons. If you’re sick of pretty much buying the same toy, I really can’t blame you.

Now I just need to find myself an Onslaught! I’ve got these four limbs with no torso to use them. If I’m not careful, someone else might appropriate them…



Where to Buy



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