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ganon578
2017-01-25, 08:43 PM
Name: G2 Menasor
Function: Big Neon Guy with No Real Objective
Subgroup: Combiner Wars
Size Class: Combiner

Menasor could be the ultimate weapon. Until the Stunticons can set aside their rivalries, heís best unleashed to demolish what he can in fits of fearsome unfocused rage.

Menasor is a figure (or rather a set) that I never figured I would lay my hands on. The original run of mass retail (G1) stylized figures floated along without so much of a thought from me. The only combiner I owned in my adolescence was Devastator, so I had no nostalgic ties to Menasor. And growing up, I never even knew G2 existed! So this set is quite an oddball for me to say the least. Even looking at stock photos of the set, the figures seem ratherÖ EYE BURNING. As I understand it, G2 Menasor (the original, that is) never made it to retail, so someone decided to hand paint a recreation of those cancelled figures... for fun? This Combiner Wars version is based on a digibash of that hand painted set. One thing of note that differs from the recent mass retail CW release: Off-Road has been replaced with the more traditional Wildrider (thankfully). Wildrider was retooled from Dead End for the Unite Warriors version and later adopted into a US release. The other figures are straight forward repaints of their original CW incarnations. Talk about a convoluted backstory!

For the life of me, I canít quite figure out why Habsro would make this release, save for getting a little more mileage from the molds, tidied up in a nice little gift set to sell online or whatever. Seems like a lot of trouble to go through, but at least they did a great job with this ridiculously obscure (absurd?) set of racers that canít get their stuff together.

Name: Motormaster
Function: Stunticon Leader
Subgroup: Combiner Wars
Size Class: Voyager

Motormaster punishes enemies and allies alike with the brute force of a tyrant, breeding fear and hatred in all who encounter him, even his Stunticon teammates.

Alternate Mode:

Motormasterís alternate mode is that of a snub-nosed Ďstuntí semi-truck. I donít recall too many Ďstuntí semis in my time, but whatever. The alternate mode is done rather well with great molded detail and vibrant colors. The vast majority of the coloration is done in purple (which is actually purple metallic flake plastic), with light blue, silver, black, and red dotted around here and there. The colors are done tastefully (as tastefully as that palette can be) without being a rainbow spray everywhere; the detail colors are kept to a minimum. Some parts of the windows arenít painted in light blue, which is a shame since Hasbro did such a nice job on the detailing overall. It leaves the mode feeling somewhat incomplete. Compare the lack of window paint to the front of the grill, where a miniscule G2 Decepticon logo is found. Such a minor detail, yet the windows couldnít be fully painted.

There isnít a ton to do in the truck mode, but the wheels roll well, and you can store Motormasterís weapons on the back of the semi. It doesnít work as well as Optimus Primeís and Battle Core Optimus Primeís guns do, since those tend to look like some serious exhaust pipes. With Motormaster, you just get a Ďguní and a sword sticking out of the back.

Overall the semi-truck mode is OK, but definitely not noteworthy.

Robot Mode:

A simple transformation that wonít trick you in any fashion is featured with Motormaster. The legs unfold from the back and the arms and shoulders swivel around and out. The head flips out from the chest and thatís really about it; at least it's quick. Molded detail is done well again where most of the robot does not have any large flat areas. The base color palette is the same in robot mode, but youíll find quite a bit more red this time around, especially in the chest, shoulders, and legs. Thereís a nice tampo-style silver and black G2 Decepticon symbol in the middle of the chest. Overall, I canít stress with Motormaster (or the whole set for that matter) how well the paint apps have been applied.

Motormaster features a great range of movement, and nothing is significantly hindered. The only issues stem from a somewhat loose hip on the right side, and blocky feet that donít tilt. You can position him around quite a bit, but some wide-stance dynamic poses are a chore to achieve. Motormaster also comes with two weapons: a rifle and a sword. They are painted in a bright silver, and luckily, the handles are left unpainted. These weapons can also combine into one giant sword for Menasor to wield.

Again, Motormaster has a decent robot mode, but nothing noteworthy.

Name: Dead End
Function: Stunticon
Subgroup: Combiner Wars
Size Class: Deluxe

Most Decepticons would say the Autobots are doomed. Dead End is the only one whoíd say the same thing about the Decepticons. Heís convinced the end of the universe is right around the corner, and heís going out with blasters blazing.

Alternate Mode:

Dead Endís alternate mode resembles a Ferrari 458 Italia. Itís a direct repaint of the G1 CW Dead End. If youíve been collecting any of the CW figures to date and already own the other Dead End, Wildrider, Streetwise, Prowl, or Smokescreen, you wonít find anything new or fancy. The car mode looks really nice though, and I like the molded detail everywhere, especially in the headlights. The color palette on G2 Dead End works really well for a stunt car. Itís a nice metallic red plastic with tons of paint apps all around - small details, like the tiny Decepticon logos on the side paint apps can be found on all of these cars. All the paint apps have been applied incredibly well, and it makes me wonder why Habsro canít do this for all of their Transformers. The one thing that sticks out the most (to me) is on the hood: it has a black paint app that covers most of the hood, but the giant G2 Decepticon logo in the middle is not painted Ė itís actually just red plastic underneath. The coloration/paint apps on all of these figures is just fantastic!

Other than aesthetics, the car mode doesnít do a whole lot. The wheels roll well, and thereís a couple spots to peg the weapons in on the top, back, and sides of the car. Overall, this one is a solid average.

Robot Mode:

Dead Endís transformation is very simple, and if youíve seen the aforementioned figures as well as Titans Return Chromedome or Getaway, youíve seen this before. Once in robot mode, the same crisp paint details can be found, as well as the nicely molded parts all around. Thereís a little more grey plastic in this mode, as well as some more blue paint detailing. A small G2 ĎCon logo is smack in the middle of his chest. The head mold is of note, as the detail is great, and the paint apps applied are superb! All of the little nooks and crannies are painted crisply, without any paint fudging on the lines. Bravo!

For articulation, Dead End is pretty standard. The arms and legs have a great range of motion, and achieving various poses is smooth and easy. The arms get a little clunky at times, but for the most part you can get whatever pose you choose. Dead End comes with two weapons (sort of). One is the hand/foot/gun combiner part (which I usually set aside for play), and the other is an tailpipe/club that could also double as a... gun? I'm not sure if the side handle of the weapon is intended for the car mode exclusively, because if Dead End holds the thing like a gun, his fire blast is only going straight up into the air. The other sad part about the club is that itís fully painted blue, which makes it just a tad tight in his hand. Why they couldnít have just used blue plastic is beyond me. At least the paint is durable and hasnít scratched off yet.

Overall, Dead End has a couple decent modes, but if youíve seen any of the other incarnations before, you wonít find anything surprising.

Name: Breakdown
Function: Stunticon
Subgroup: Combiner Wars
Size Class: Deluxe

Breakdown is always worried that he is being watched. The Decepticons take full advantage of his need to remain unseen and mobilize him as a scout. Paranoia comes in handy when youíre trying to avoid detection.

Alternate Mode:

Breakdownís alternate mode resembles a Lamborghini Diablo Ė but in teal! Wow, if this figure isnít the epitome of 1990ís coloration, I donít know what is. The main colors are teal and purple, with a little silver, gold, and black thrown in. As mentioned with the other figures in this set, molded detail is good, and any paint apps you see are sharp and well done. The Lambo mode is pretty straightforward, and there isnít anything other than the color that is worth noting (as far as aesthetics are concerned).

The wheels roll well, and Breakdown has just enough clearance underneath to make it work. There are only two 5 mm peg holes for weapons to reside, which looks rather stupid when you get them in: the top can hold the hand/foot/gun combiner part, but the sword/gun pegs into the back, leaving a giant blade sticking out of Breakdownís rear end. Luckily, the maroon gun-sword can be tabbed into the side of the car mode using a small tab part of the way up the back of the blade and a corresponding slot on the door of the Lambo. The weapon looks pretty good in this spot - much better than sticking out the back! You just need to take care, as the weapon is painted, and some wear can occur by putting it on and off. As for the hand/foot/gun part, this can also be hooked onto the top to act as an engine of sorts; the underside of the thumb and knuckles have some tiny tabs that hook into the back and top of the car, leaving the 'intakes' of the knuckles pointed forward. It's a neat feature, and it works much better than using the 5 mm peg hole.

The Lambo mode is fairly awesome (and very TEAL)...

Robot Mode:

Breakdown maintains the same mold (and therefore the same transformation) as G1 CW Breakdown, Sunstreaker, and Wheeljack. If you own those, you wonít find much interest here. The hood/head assembly shifts nearly identical to that of Dead End and Wildrider, but the legs are a little different. The legs unfold and swivel akin to something like Thrilling 30 Trailbreaker, Hoist, and somewhat similar to Titans Return Hardhead. The arms simply unfold, and the only frustrating part is getting the chest plate down and the arms/shoulders rotated up in the right order as to not bump everything together. Otherwise, the transformation is fairly straightforward.

Once in robot mode, Breakdown is quite chunky Ė much more than I expected. The lower legs are incredibly boxy, and so is the chest, but the arms are spindly. The proportions seem off to me; Dead End and Wildrider are comparatively proportional, but Breakdown is an oddball. That said, at least the color aesthetics work quite well, and much more purple and silver are featured in robot mode. The paint apps and detail are again crisp and well done.

Articulation is average with Breakdown. The major issue is the legs are so chunky, theyíre a bit hampered with movement. Conversely, the spindly arms are jointed fantastically and can accommodate a wide range of movement. Luckily, Breakdownís feet are pretty big, so he can balance all of this well. As for weapons, Breakdown features the standard hand/foot/gun, and also a maroon and silver gun/blade. I prefer the weapon to be used as a sword, as the other figures in the set all have melee weapons. This gives the set some consistency (aside from the parade of Ď90s colors), but if you choose to use it as a rifle, it will work better than the tailpipe/club things that come with Wildrider and Dead End.

Breakdown has a decent robot mode, and a pretty good Lambo mode. However, this figure is probably my least favorite of the set.

Name: Wildrider (Break-Neck)
Function: Stunticon
Subgroup: Combiner Wars
Size Class: Deluxe

Brake-Neck has no respect for the rules of the road, or anything on it. Autobot or Decepticon Ė it doesnít matter. Any bot that gets in his way is in line for repairs once Brake-neck is done with them. Even the unpredictable Stunticons see him as an out-of-control wild rider.

Alternate Mode:

As is with Dead End, Wildrider resembles a Ferrari 458 Italia. Everything I mentioned with Dead End holds true here, so I will spare you the text. Just know that the paint apps are super crisp Ė the top of the car has an intricate design that will baffle you as to how clean it was applied. The plastic used for Wildrider is a semi-metallic yellow that looks good and is very bright. Otherwise, the same comments I used for Dead End apply here.

Robot Mode:

Again, I will spare you the text, as Wildrider is the same as Dead End, save for a different head - all other comments apply. The new head is done rather well, but isnít really noteworthy. The paint apps have been applied with great care, but the final product is quite dark. I wish they had chosen something slightly lighter for the face, but at least itís a metallic purple that they used, so it looks a little shiny in the final product.

Overall, Wildrider is a solid figure, but it's nothing special if youíve seen the mold before (or several times over, if you've got a CW collection like I do).

Name: Dragstrip
Function: Stunticon
Subgroup: Combiner Wars
Size Class: Deluxe

Nasty and underhanded Ė would rather be scrapped than lose. Prone to overheating, but possesses the greatest pure speed of any Stunticon. Adopting the alt-mode of an advanced Formula One race car gives him a sixth gear the Autobots cannot match, but leaves him with a slightly fragile vehicle mode.

Alternate Mode:

Dragstripís alternate mode is an F-1 Racer, and itís probably my favorite of the bunch. While not a Ďstuntí car per se, the F-1 mode is pretty awesome. Itís sleek and well designed, and mostly colored in black and blue. Dragstrip is not as eye-burning as the other cars, but he does have some nifty details like the silver vents on the back and the checker flag-type design on the spoiler. Thereís a nice G2 Decepticon logo on the front of the cockpit which is also painted in a nice yellow color. The F-1 mode probably has the most Ďflatí molded detail on the car compared to the other figures in this set, but that doesnít make it boring.

The wheels roll really well, and thankfully, the rims are in silver paint like the rest of the figures in the set (except for Motormaster and Blackjack). There are a few spots to peg in the two weapons that come with Dragstrip (hand/foot/gun and sword). The combiner part is best pegged on the top, since it doesn't fit anywhere else. Likewise, the sword is mostly suited for pegging into the very back like on Breakdown, as the side peg of the sword is set at a 45 degree angle which limits where it can go. Usually I just set these parts aside anyways, so this isnít a deal breaker.

Dragstrip has a pretty cool alternate mode, and is my favorite of the set (which maybe due to the fact I don't own any other versions of this mold).

Robot Mode:

For me (and maybe since I own quite a few CW cars now) Dragstrip has the most interesting transformation of the bunch. The arms pop out of the sides, and the front of the F-1 racer hinges and swivels to peg onto his back. The legs slide out and lock in place, much like a lot of the old G1 toys used to. Itís a cool nod to older times, and I was really surprised at this feature; most, if not all, of the other CW cars do not transform in this fashion. Twist his waist around and heís ready to go!

Dragstrip has a nice robot mode, one which I think works better on him than Mirage. The coloration is mostly black and blue, with a little yellow thrown into the mix. Thereís a nice, clean G2 ĎCon logo on the side of the chest, and the head mold is painted with fantastic sharpness. Dragstripís head is my favorite of the set, right up there with Dead End. Dragstrip is proportioned well, and has a good amount of articulation. Nothing is hindered, and he ends up as the most dynamic figure of the entire set (with the possible exception of Blackjack). The included sword is done in light blue plastic, and it pegs in nicely to his hands. The sword can also be used as a gun by utilizing the 45 degree angled peg on the side. I much prefer the weapon to be used as a sword anyways, so the option is a wash for me.

Dragstrip is, without a doubt, the star of this set. I really love all he has to offer, and he looks great in both modes.

Name: Blackjack
Function: Stunticon
Subgroup: Combiner Wars
Size Class: Legends

Clever warrior calculates the odds and hatches his plan.

Alternate Mode:

Blackjack is a straight repaint of CW Blackjack that was released as a standalone figure. All of the features in both modes have been covered previously by TF Archive's very own Blackjack, and I wholeheartedly agree with the assessments in his review. The main difference here is the color palette, so I will stick to that for this review.

Blackjackís alternate mode is a sports car of sorts, and the coloration is nearly identical to Motormaster. I really wish they had found another set of colors to differentiate the two when combined. The main color is metallic purple plastic with some teal detailing and black wheels and windows. Otherwise, the car isn't special but it is quite fun.

Robot Mode:

A very simple transformation to get to robot mode is found here, but that doesnít mean it isnít joyful - it's rather the opposite! Blackjack is a super fun to flip quickly back and forth. Once in robot mode, youíll find a ton of metallic purple with teal and black detailing, and a red visor on his teal head. There's a good mix of paint apps and molded plastic here, and the colors work well together.

Blackjack has a great range of movement and good joints everywhere for such a small figure. Getting him into some good dynamic poses comes with ease. Blackjack also comes with his own weapon Ė a double bladed axe Ė which is teal and looks really good as he wields it.

Thereís not too much to comment on with Blackjack - just know heís a really solid figure from every aspect, and fun in both modes.

Combined Mode:

Menasorís combined mode is just what you would expect: big and hulking. The downside is that he suffers from the same issues as other combiners in this line (balance) and one particular one that carries over from sharing the mold with the two versions of Optimus (weak hips). While snapping photos of Menasor, I had a horrible time trying to get an Ďactioní shot similar to his box art. His feet kept sliding all over, and his right hip kept moving all around, causing him to topple over on multiple occasions. The stability is better on carpet, but not so much that you could put him in a running position. Itís sad that more fun canít be had here, but if you leave his legs static you can do a few posesÖ just donít move the arms out too far or heíll fall over.

One other issue is with BlackjackÖ or rather the pegs that Blackjack is supposed to peg onto. Theyíre a bit too big, and Blackjackís peg holes arenít that deep. Trying to get the two to stay together is like trying to mix oil and water. With some finesse you can get it to work, you just have to refrain from blinking or Blackjack will tumble to the ground. Itís a shame too, since Menasorís closed chest isnít all that appealing - it looks much better with Blackjack plugged in.

Aside from these problems, G2 Menasor is kinda fun. He's a hulking rainbow of neon colors, but on the whole the aesthetic of the combined mode works. His giant sword is a pretty cool weapon, and it looks good too. His face is detailed well, and I dig the Ďangry mouth opení look. Iím quite glad they didnít give him a stoic face!

Overall, you'll find some fun to be had with Menasorís combined mode, but the issues really drag him down. The set as a whole is pretty neat, and you wonít find any better paint detailing than on these figures. Is this something that you should hunt down? Definitely not. I came across this one for $40 USD with spare cash in my pocket. Itís an interesting set based on a rare and unreleased bunch of figures, so itís got that going for it.

Marks Out of Ten for the Following:

Transformation Design: 6. Typical CW fare for each figure. A couple minor fun parts are Dragstripís legs and Breakdownís arms. Otherwise, really straightforward and to the point.

Durability: 8. High quality materials were used, and I havenít seen any stress or wear on anythingÖ yet.

Fun: 7. I want to rate this higher, but the combined mode has too many issues. The individual figures are pretty solid on their own, and they're all really BRIGHT.

Aesthetics: 8. Eye burning colors aside, the metallic plastics used and the paint apps really set the bar high. If you can get around all the neon, then youíll find some really well done figures.

Articulation: 8. Each figure has great range, and only a few things are hampered. Each figure, I think, could use some minor improvements.

Value/Price: 10. This is completely based on my experience. The list price is $100 USD Ė which is not a good deal at all. The sale prices I have seen are in the range of $67 USD Ė which isn't terrible, but still rather pricey. I managed this set for $40 USD Ė for 6 decent figures (barring the bright color scheme) thatís a heck of a deal. You get 1 Voyager, 4 Deluxes, and 1 Legends class for less than $7 per figure!

Overall: 6. The color scheme wonít be for everyone. Each figure has minor issues. The combined mode has a couple problems that limit the fun. The ease of finding one on the cheap could be difficult. However, for the kind of price I was able to get this at, this is an incredibly solid set of figures. The CW designs are done well enough that you can find some good fun, and they all combine to boot. On top of all of that, you get an awesome collectible poster (but oddly of the G1 set). Youíre actually getting 7 figures, an artwork card, and the poster for the cost, and if you liked the '90s this one is your set!

ganon578
2017-01-25, 08:46 PM
WHEW. What a doozy. Anyways... PHOTOS!

ganon578
2017-01-25, 08:51 PM
The big guy and the little guy!

ganon578
2017-01-25, 08:52 PM
The DE/WR combo!

ganon578
2017-01-25, 08:53 PM
Woohoo! The last two!!!

Tantrum
2017-01-27, 02:23 AM
Good review, as always. FYI, Breakdown's sword does mount on the side of the car. That bit of plastic jutting out about 1/3 the way up the blade fits in a slot on either side of the car. The HFG has nubs on the thumb and knuckle that fit in slots in the car's rear and roof, respectively. This lets it mount as an engine, peg up. Notches on the HFG side let it slide into the underside of the hood for a bot mode backpack, peg out. This was meant for the Sunstreaker version of the mold, but looks good with Breakdown as well.

G1 deco Dead End and Wildrider's blowpipe weapons are different shades of grey, which match the different greys used in the figures. I'd guess the pipe is molded with parts of the main figure, so they share a plastic color. That might not have worked so well with G2 colors, and painting was easier than mold changing. On the plus side, since they match, you can give them both to the same bot to use as tonfas.

Blackjack
2017-01-27, 02:57 PM
Dang that's a pretty set though! I'm not sure about Motormaster and Dead End, but the rest of the Stunticons look pretty cool.... it's just personal preference, though, and it does fit the general spirit of G2's insane paint schemes. I think my favourite is Drag Strip, though. S

ganon578
2017-01-27, 03:26 PM
Good review, as always. FYI, Breakdown's sword does mount on the side of the car. That bit of plastic jutting out about 1/3 the way up the blade fits in a slot on either side of the car. The HFG has nubs on the thumb and knuckle that fit in slots in the car's rear and roof, respectively. This lets it mount as an engine, peg up. Notches on the HFG side let it slide into the underside of the hood for a bot mode backpack, peg out. This was meant for the Sunstreaker version of the mold, but looks good with Breakdown as well.

Thanks!

Right on, man. You know, I looked at that part of the sword and that exact plug before, thinking that it might fit. The sword is painted, so when I initially tried to peg it in, it was too snug. Plus, the other ball joints in the area (elbow) have the same type of gap, so I let it be and never tried it again... until you mentioned it. With a little finesse it pegged right in. Hopefully the paint won't wear off!

And I never noticed the tiny tabs on the HFG before, so thanks a million for mentioning it! I tried it out last night and you're right, it does look pretty decent. A lot of these little touches aren't obvious, and photos of this set that I have seen didn't show these features either.

It's somewhat frustrating that Hasbro doesn't make good mention of these little features. Luckily we have some helpful people (like yourself) on this site to point these kind of things out. I'll be adding a couple sentences to the review to fix this. Thanks again!

On the plus side, since they match, you can give them both to the same bot to use as tonfas.

I had never considered that before. Good call!

Dang that's a pretty set though! I'm not sure about Motormaster and Dead End, but the rest of the Stunticons look pretty cool.... it's just personal preference, though, and it does fit the general spirit of G2's insane paint schemes. I think my favourite is Drag Strip, though. S

To be honest, I think the neons work better for a stunt car set than the original colors. The G1 paint style seems rather dull and dark to me. I just don't think most people will really dig the neon, and I would have balked if this set (colored as it is) was sitting there for $100.

Tantrum
2017-01-29, 02:04 AM
You're welcome; glad to help.

Hasbro may have explained things better in the stand alone toys. At least, Breakdown's comic cover shows him wearing the HFG as a backpack, Sunstreaker-style. The box set instructions don't even explain that the limbs are interchangable.

Since Wildrider and Dead-end share a mold, and one's instructed as an arm and the other as a limb, most should figure out that those figures can be used as any limb. That might inspire some to experiment with Breakdown and Dragstrip. But, a lot of kids might miss the joint around Dragstrip's rear axle which makes his leg mode the correct length. I missed it the first time I played with G1 Dragstrip, and the black makes it even harder to notice.

ganon578
2017-01-29, 03:45 AM
Yep. I double checked the included instructions and they are bare-bones; actually they are a single, double-sided sheet that goes over all six figures. No mention of Breakdown's functionality in any shape or form.

And they only specify Dragstrip's arm mode. That 'ankle' joint isn't shown in any form. It's akin to Brawl's leg mode, for those that would know. All these figures really take some fiddling to find out all the little intricacies missed with the instruction sheets.

Skyquake87
2017-01-29, 02:26 PM
Started reading this and remembered 'oh yeah, I do proofing now...' (!).

Good review. I have the CW G1 set but couldn't pass this version up when it was on sale either (and I love a bit of G2 repaint funtimes). I like it about the same. The inclusion of Wildrider isn't a big 'Wow' for me either. I think if it was a new mould, like Afterburner/ Groove, then I might be a bit more interested. The colours are fab, but I echo the feeling the Blackjack could have done with being done up in different colours, so as to distinguish him a bit more - unless the intent was to mimic the drone from the original Motormaster toy.

I'm quite pleased that Hasbro did G2 versions of the gestalts (well, except for Defensor for....um, no idea....) and especially the Stunticons. I appreciate being able to own versions of these characters in their G2 liveries, something that's previously been the preserve of people with very deep pockets indeed :)

ganon578
2017-01-31, 04:18 PM
Thanks! I hope the review didn't come off as though I don't like the colors, because I really do. They're just so out of the 1990s that they're a little garish to the common consumer. :D

Does anyone think it's worth posting a group robot pic? I realize I left that one out, and I suppose it would help 'complete' the review. I should be able to take one tonight, anyways.

Skyquake87
2017-01-31, 07:49 PM
Group shot for the full Starburst Fruits experience :)

ganon578
2017-02-01, 02:59 PM
Group shot for the full Starburst Fruits experience :)

TASTE THE RAINBOW!!! (I know, that's Skittles, but it's all I got).

Skyquake87
2017-02-01, 08:25 PM
I <3 Stunticons