Toy Review - Transformers Robots in Disguise: Combiner Force Menasor, Galvatronus and Ultra Bee
I’m a sucker for a lot of things, but there are three that pertain to this review:
I’m a sucker for Combiners.
I’m a sucker for Stunticons.
I’m a sucker for Combiners that stray from the standard Scramble City approach.
Each bot here falls under number 1 and with Galvatronus, it’s the only criteria it meets. Menasor, of course, checks off number two and Ultra Bee ticks off that number three. But as for a review for these guys, well, maybe it’s best to say that what you’ll get from these guys depends on where your expectations fall. If you’re looking for anything approaching Combiner Wars quality, you’re better served looking elsewhere. If you’re a parent looking to buy your 5-year-old his or her first combiner, then yes, these are a good first step to leading your child down the path of plastic-filled financial ruin. If you’re said parent that needs something to fiddle with in your cubicle in a dull office job, then these should keep you out of trouble.
Let’s start with Menasor because of my aforementioned weakness for the Stunticons (you can read up on that more HERE). Each of the limb vehicle modes are fine on their own…almost about the size of Matchbox or Hot Wheels cars. Dragstrip (yellow) and Wildbreak (blue) are the arms while Heatseeker (gray with red highlights) and Slashmark (gray with blue highlights) are the legs. Each car transforms from vehicle to robot the same way: rotate the front of the car down to form the robot feet, stand up the car and pivot the doors open to form the arms. The SUVs, Heatseeker and Slashmark, are even simpler: just stand up the vehicle and pivot the doors open. While part of me accepts that there’s a certain charm to this (growing up poor with not many Transformers when they first came out, I’d do something similar with my toy cars to simulate a ‘robot mode’), the fact remains that this is pretty weak. I understand that with the new Robots in Disguise line that most of it is geared toward younger paws, but there’s simple transformations and then there’s this. Motormaster has a transformation that’s a bit more involved and what you get does look like an actual robot mode but with pretty minimal in the way of articulation…which, all things considered, is fine. Sometimes the distinct lack of hands bothers me though. Can’t say it’s anything rational and, as such, shouldn’t affect anyone’s enjoyment of the figure. Transformation into combined mode is, as one would imagine, extremely simple…the cars are the arms, SUVs are the legs. It’s not strictly a Scramble City transformation, as the SUVs can’t become arms nor can the cars become legs, but it’s close enough. What you get in the combined mode looks neat on a shelf but with its minimal articulation…well…it’s just going to look neat on the shelf. Basically all you get here are rotational swivels at the shoulders and legs that can do the splits…and that’s it.
Galvatronus is pretty similar. This time, we have two jets, Cyberwarp (blue with yellow trim) and Skyjack (blue with green trim) as the arms and two monster trucks, Treadshock (purple with green trim) and Riotgear (purple with red trim). The jets have a slightly more involved transformation: stretching out the legs, folding the wings back, rotating the tip of the nose to become feet and leaning the back of the ship back slightly to reveal the tiny head. The monster trucks transform in exactly the same simple way as Menasor’s SUVs…so that saves on the review word count. Cyclonus himself, like Motormaster, is a bit more involved and while the conversion from robot to vehicle and back again is interesting in theory, there’s something about it that just doesn’t work for me. While you can get everything to line up…it just doesn’t feel like everything’s lined up right, and in jet mode, the rear of the jet is prone to popping loose. Combined mode is very similar to Menasor, both in combination and in points of articulation…and once again, he’ll look neat on a shelf…but that’s about it.
Ultra Bee offers us a combiner that doesn’t adhere to the same formula as the other two, comprising of only four members compared to the others’ five. [It’s said that Drift forms the sword, but if you don’t have a robot mode…or a vehicle mode…no…just no. – Ed.] Sideswipe transforms in the same way as Menasor’s cars do (both for arm mode and for robot mode) while Strongarm actually mixes things up a bit, transforming like the cars for arm mode but like the SUVs/trucks for robot mode. Bumblebee forms the torso and like other torso bots is a bit larger but with limited articulation. Grimlock is similarly sized and forms the feet and legs. [You just did an unintentional Voltron reference there, didn’t you? Begrudgingly, you get points for that. – Ed.] His robot mode is about what you’d expect from a torso bot, but his dino mode is…well…not pretty. Just having the legs stick out as the tail…and…well, I’ve had the figure for a while now and I STILL have no idea what the hell to do with his feet in this mode…no solution looks even remotely good. The combined form has articulation identical to the other two. [Who knew the splits were so vital in the war for Cybertronian supremacy? – Ed.] The edge that Ultra Bee gets is the unique look that Grimlock provides as the only bot forming the legs…and as such, yep, you’ve got another neat shelf piece.
As I said in the opening, if you’re looking for involved transformations, it’s best you move on, nothing to see here. But as something to fiddle with briefly or to give to a younger Transformers fan, they’re kinda fun. For me, I’d have liked a little more in the way of transformation here…especially from the limbs…but for what they are, I’m okay with ‘em. But, then again, I AM a sucker for combiners.