Blackjack's Review: Generations 'G2' Onslaught
‘Generation Two’ Bruticus Combiner Set
Some toys are great. Some toys are so-so. Some toys are flawed. And then there is Onslaught. Onslaught is one of those toys that are so bloody terrible you wonder what was going on in Hasbro’s designers when they greenlighted the dude. Oh, poor Onslaught. Fortunately (or rather, unfortunately for us collectors) Onslaught is redeemed by a single feature, that is his ability to form the central and therefore quintessential piece of the combiner Bruticus.
Hasbro’s first proper combiner where every robot transforms into an alternate mode as well as a part of the combiner ever since Transformers Energon, the Combaticons are a highly anticipated set ever since their debut in the Fall of Cybertron video game, where, to their credit, they look pretty awesome. After ROTF Devastator and the slew of Power Core Combiners, who were gestalts but were made up by vehicles that transform straight into a gestalt instead of having a robot phase, combiner fans were hungry for something like this, and Bruticus is an awesome toy. I have quite a bit to talk about Bruticus and the Combaticons in general, but for the sake of not repeating myself over six reviews, I shall lump all Bruticus-related stuff on the Bruticus review itself.
So let’s talk Onslaught.
Onslaught never appealed to me beyond ‘that dude that led the Combaticons’ until I got this toy
, which is a bloody awesome toy of Onslaught. And owning a toy of him made Onslaught shoot up among my favourite characters. Hey, he’s a competent Decepticon strategist! And he led his troops with efficiency! And he’s got these awesome turrets sticking out of his back! And he turns into a bloody awesome long missile trailer truck! (Or in the case of the Universe toy, an equally-awesome armored SWAT vehicle)
Come the War for Cybertron game, and Onslaught barely showed up as a DLC (Downloadable Content) character, and a multiplayer-exclusive one to boot. And he’s a horrid lumpy
design that does not look like the Onslaught we know and love. I mean, what is that? He got fat, his iconic back turrets got castrated, his body became lumpy, and his alternate mode is a squashed box. Since he’s DLC, however, no one cares about Onslaught.
Come Fall of Cybertron and High Moon Studios decided to include Bruticus as a combiner, so fatty Onslaught showed up. And despite Bruticus’ torso looking nothing
like what Onslaught could possibly turn into, High Moon insisted on using Onslaught’s old lumpy model anyway... after all, they can cheat during the game transformation itself. And thus this was translated into toy form.
A crap, non-toy-friendly design that has to triple-change between a robot, a vehicle and a gestalt torso, whilst still having to retain articulation and be stable enough to maintain its niche as a gestalt central piece without toppling over. Yeah, Onslaught has to achieve a lot. Unfortunately, he does not.
Disclaimer: my review of Onslaught (and the rest of the Combaticons) is of the G2-themed repaint of the set as opposed to the gaudy retail colours or the G1-accurate SDCC exclusive one. Basically the retail Onslaught is the same thing, only with uglier colours.
I have to start with the alternate mode, don’t I? As linked above, in the game Onslaught’s alternate mode is a lumpy four-wheeled armoured vehicle of some sorts. It’s one of the ugliest designs I’ve ever seen. It’s probably meant to evocate his Universe toy’s SWAT truck alternate mode, but it’s a poor and an eyesore of an interpretation.
The toy does not even try to replicate the alternate mode beyond the kibble that the robot mode already possesses. Hell, it does not even try
to be a decent alternate mode, and is merely Onslaught’s robot mode folded so that all the kibble detailing present in robot mode jut outwards, whilst pretending very badly that the things piled onto its back behind what barely passes as the truck cab. You slap the double-barreled missile launcher on top of the robot hands – which just sit above the ‘cab’ for G1 accuracy and to trick yourself into believing for a moment that he actually turns into some sort of ugly Cybertronian tank.
No he does not. His hands are very visible on top of the cab. The rear of the vehicle is just two legs with wheels jutting out, kind of like Kup’s vehicle mode but without the truck bed. And Bruticus’ head and codpiece just stick out. No effort is even made to conceal them or make them integrate into the alternate mode other than hoping that the weapon would somehow obscure them.
Nope, doesn’t work. It’s a folded-up robot with many kibble pieces.
As part of his G2 colour scheme, Onslaught is a nice shade of yellow with purple camo patches slapped liberally over him. His gun, Bruticus codpiece and robot hands are purple, and his wheels, Bruticus head and part of his jointing are black. His grille is silver. A G2-era Decepticon insignia adorns what would be his chest in robot mode. In vehicle mode, though, the entire ‘Kup altmode’ part is yellow, whereas all the robot kibble bundled up are purple, making the contrast pretty stark and calls out even more attention.
Thankfully this is the mode they sacrifice, though, since I don’t like Onslaught’s proper alternate mode anyway and am never going to transform him again. He will forever remain as Bruticus’ torso.
The robot mode at least looks like the lumpy WFC design, although Onslaught kind of slimmed down on the lower arms and legs. However, he keeps the huge wheel shoulders, only in toy form they are slumped downwards instead of jutting out proudly. Thus they took an ugly design and turned it uglier. I’m also not a huge fan of the head. Overall his silhouette looks passable, I suppose, but I personally still don’t like it.
His colours remain the same, except that it’s more evenly distributed instead of just being one huge chunk of yellow here and one huge chunk of purple there. Plus the optic band is painted vermillion. His colours are evenly distributed, making him more aesthetically pleasing to the eyes… which, really, is all Onslaught has going for him.
The Combaticons are all made up of slightly sub-par plastic, but I can feel Onslaught has it the worst, as if he doesn’t have enough problems already. I can already see stress marks on his rifle and robot mode hands.
And posability? Don’t even think about it. Onslaught has decent head articulation, but the rest of his articulation points are completely compromised. The shoulders can only rotate around because they have to be an anchor for Bruticus’ arms, so can’t be too flimsy. Onslaught’s lower arms, therefore, are. See, inexplicably each arm has a ratchet joint and a ball joint. The ratchet joint is very tight, but is the one you usually want to use to pose Onslaught’s hands, but every time you attempt to pose his arms, the ball joint will pop off. A combination of the ratchet being too tight and the ball joint being too loose meant that even looking at it wrong will cause Onslaught’s lower arm to pop off. And to top it off he doesn’t even have that much of a range of motion.
His legs? Well, his thighs and knees are super-tight and are definitely not meant for random posing… but to hold together when Bruticus legs are attached to it, so Bruticus can pose. It can be moved, it’s just that it’s very unnerving and again he doesn’t have much of a range of motion. Waist? He’s got the joint, but it’s meant for Bruticus. It’s effectively neutralized in Onslaught robot mode by the codpiece that pegs onto his back.
But at least he’s got the big double-barreled gun, right? It’s accurate to G1, so you can plug it onto his back and at least give him some redeeming qualities… nope, Bruticus’ head sticks out of his back at an angle, making attaching the gun impossible as Onslaught’s robot mode. And holding it straight down is impossible since the gun is big, so you’ll have to fiddle around with his hands. And they pop off. And the gun is heavy, making the arm droop. And pop off.
Yeah, he’s got a crap robot mode too.
Bruticus forms the torso, and in that aspect he does well… mostly. All the compromises earlier are done so that he is a stable torso that distributes weight well for a Bruticus that can articulate. The legs’ transformation is great, and the codpiece is well-detailed. He’s got a great Bruticus headsculpt as well; I like the silver faceplate and red eyes. It’s apparent this is what the toy is primarily designed for.
Of course, again, this mode is not without problems. He still distinctively possess Onslaught’s ugly grille chest instead of the winged G1-evocative one from the game model. There are two spikes that flip up that weakly attempt to mimic it, but it’s still very obviously Onslaught’s ugly chest staring back at me. And his robot hands are awkwardly folded backwards, even though it’s still pretty obvious. This gives you the option of displaying the hands as they are in robot mode, though, allowing some sort of insane four-handed gestalt like IDW Monstructor.
And the legs are held together by little pegs that again suffer from stress marks. These pegs are important for Bruticus’ stability, though, helping to lock the joints into place when you want him to stand, and having it break will wreak havoc with Bruticus standing.
His head and waist can rotate, as does his ‘shoulders’. And his thighs have some limited articulation. All in all he helps to give Bruticus the ability to dynamically pose. And thankfully the double-barreled gun can peg onto his back now that the Bruticus head is out of the way. Word of notice… when transforming Onslaught, do make sure the two heads are properly aligned or you’ll never be able to flip the headpiece thing.
Still, I actually don’t mind. Maybe it’s out of pity, or maybe Onslaught is a really serviceable Bruticus torso, but at least in this mode he’s sorta good.
Marks out of ten for the following:
1/10 Not so much transformation but kibble arranging. Both his robot and vehicle mode are horrid, terribly designed and are tacked on as an afterthought.
3/10 Ball joints popping off randomly, tiny pegs suffering from stress marks, rather flimsy plastic being used…
3/10 The G2 colours are my thing, and I like how deliciously neon he looks with yellow and purple. But other than Bruticus-torso (and even then he still looks mediocre) he does not look really that good.
2/10 All his articulation points are reserved, again, for Bruticus. Trying to pose him in anything but ‘standing’ and ‘standing with head cocked to one side’ will require patience and frustration.
3/10 As part of his group, yeah, Onslaught can be quite fun. On his own? You’ll shake his head at how horrid this toy is.
1/10 You kidding me? Hasbro has the gall to charge people deluxe class price for this shit? I mean, as part of a Bruticus set it kind of mollifies me a little since he’s a nice torso, but the thought of someone buying Onslaught on his own and discovering how horrid he is makes me very sad. The thought that our first Impactor toy is going to come out of this monstrosity of a mold makes me even sadder.
1/10 He’s not really that good as an individual. And by saying that I mean that he is utter and complete crap. As part of Bruticus, he ends up being quite decent, but not even being a great gestalt torso and sporting funky G2 colours can help disguise Onslaught from the fact that he’s a shit toy meant to be a torso and nothing more... his SDCC colours are kind of okay, but his retail blue-and-green is horrid. You could replace Onslaught with a non-transforming (but articulated) torso piece and they’d be the same. Nay, the hypothetical non-transforming piece would be better since it’ll have proper Bruticus chest wings. Onslaught’s just an embarrassment.