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Skyquake87's Review: Combiner Wars Superion

Name : Superion
Allegiance: Autobots
Sub Group: Aerialbots
Function: Air Warrior

“To live is to fight; to die is to stop”

A fierce and frightful fighting machine, Superion suppresses the thoughts of the five Aerialbots that comprise him, directing his thinking to one purpose: destruction of Decepticons. He's a powerful, yet cold and aloof mechanoid as a result of his single-mindedness. With theAerialbots flight capabilities, Superion can achive speeds of 800 mph and has a range of 5800 miles. He has incredible strength and can demolish a battleship with one blow. He wields Silverbolt's electrostatic discharger rifle and has additional firepower available in his wrist mounted cannons. Keeping the jostling thoughts of the component Aerialbots supressed means that Superion lacks creativity and it can be difficult for him to adapt to new situations or be innovative in combat.

It was touch and go whether I'd end up with a complete set of Aerialbots, what with Hasbro rushing product to market before all the moulds were completed for these guys, and with the "Great News Chums!" decision made not to ship in Wave 2 of the Combiner Wars toys to the European market. Not a problem if you're a US citizen, but for the rest of the world that's at the mercy of the disappointing US 'Waves' system, it can be a bit of a nail biting ride wondering if you're if you're going to end being able to buy what's been produced. I go on about this a lot, but the problem is made worse nowadays by the local distribution wings playing silly buggers with which product ranges they are going to bring to market. Time was, you could rely on at least Waves 1 & 2 of most new Transformers lines showing up this side of the Atlantic, with usually Wave 3 being skipped and maybe Wave 4 showing up if sales were good enough. Anything after that would normally miss the boat and end up at discount retailers (the fate of Animated, HFTD, Prime, AOE, Kre-O, Bot Shots and lately Generations). These days, what you're likely to get in your domestic market feels like a random chance grab, like picking out the numbers out on Countdown “I'll have two big ones and three from anywhere else, please Rachel”. Its made collecting the various bits of Superion here a joyless slog which has sucked some of the fun out of the end product. It's not something you could imagine happening during the days of RID or Energon, which were the last time we had these types of sold separately combiners. The big difference then being that there was just one main Transformers toyline, rather than the fifty or so we have these days. As an amusing by-product of this current orgy of combiner-bots, suddenly all those non-combining homage versions of guys like Silverbolt from the various CHUG lines over the last 10 years have flooded the aftermarket like a pox. Who says fandom is fickle?

Robot Mode: The original Superion is one of the most poorly proportioned gestalts, with great long legs and stubby little arms. Whilst this new version is a massive improvement, there are still some niggles about his giant frame and it does boil down to the new gestalt hands and feet. For these new Combiner Wars limb figures, you get a set of cannons that double as hands and feet. Which is a good idea on paper, but because they've all been produced to the same size to fit with the interchangeable play pattern, it does leave your combined robot with really piddly (if stable) feet and huge great boxing glove hands. It's not the end of the world, but its a feature I find really distracts from the good work everywhere else once you notice it, although I have to say it is pretty cool having gattling guns on the knuckles! As in days of yore, the big advantage Superion has over his fellow Special Team posse is having a bunch of component robots with similar alt modes. This really helps with giving the gestalt mode better proportions and – with these all being aircraft – a much more streamlined and leaner looking appearance. He still packs plenty of beef, with his huge great arms and legs, and certainly looks the part of the silent, unwavering monolith he's generally portrayed as in various Transformers media. Another thing that makes Superion look good is the fairly uniform colour palette amongst the Aerialbots, which adds to the cohesiveness of the gestalt form. It stops him looking a a fella dressed up as a scrap yard and I do like the general spikitude that the various aircraft parts lend his giant frame. The detailing is also superb, with his shapely chest made up of vents and stuff, plus this grim and determined head and nicely detailed and shaped chest, which is on-point with the Animation model.

Marks Out Of Ten For The Following :

Transformation Design: The limb-bots do what you'd expect to form arms and legs. Aside from the elbows, they're not that far removed from their 1980s predecessors – they're just partially transformed alt modes. The combiner ports being made part of the chest design is mint though, being a well thought out way of doing the 'Scramble City' attachments without everyone having to have a uniformly square head. Most impressive is Silverbolt. A fairly average toy overall, he really impresses with a stonking set of moves to form the torso. In a moment of 'Oh my God, that's so obvious why did no-one think of this before?' forehead-slapping, Silvebolt does a handstand to form the body of Superion. It's a genius move and is equally matched by the clever flip out panels that form Superions impressive chest. What this does is give the gestalt some decent proportions and a proper waist, instead of ending up like those poor Energon fellows. The design does lack imagination though – this is just taking a bunch of old toys and sprucing them up for the twenty-first century, but then no one's looking for any great innovation or imagination in the Generations line. 8/10

Durability: In his combined form, Superion has already had to cope with a few tumbles around my house and survived in tact. He feels very sturdy and the limbs are well secured to the body. I'm not quite sure why Superion's antennae have been made out of soft rubber, which is bound to warp over time, but even so, its not a deal breaker and is only a very minor point of dissatisfaction. 9/10

Articulation: Superion turns out the kind of articulation you have on a deluxe – so hips, knees, shoulders, elbows, head. It looks impressive compared to his '86 predecessor, but its nothing really new for gestalts which in the Beast -era through RiD had equally as impressive (if not more so) articulation. Hasbro's collective amnesia about those lines since means that Superion here is the most well realised gestalt for some 14 years. So good articulation then, but nothing mind-blowing. 5/10

Fun: Oh great Scott yes, Superion is brilliant fun. I've not had him apart since I've managed to assemble him. He looks great, he feels nice and solid, has some decent articulation, you can do some good poses and the size - ! I have to say, the best thing about these new gestalts is the size – they finally look 'right' in a starting line up of 'bots, towering over everyone else, just like they should. These are hulking great Super Warriors and they shouldn't be standing just a head taller than Optimus and Megatron. Although this latter point is now hugely undone with the arrival of Combiner Wars Leader Class Megatron. Sigh. In terms of actually playing with him, he's brilliant and I like swapping the limbs about to see how each of the individual bots fares when pulling duty as an arm or leg. Splitting him down into his components is a quick and fun job and likewise slapping them altogether to bring the pain on any Decepticons that are up to no good is a joy. What hasn't been any fun is assembling the component robots to build Superion, just from what's available on general release, let alone exclusive 'proper' limbs like Quickslinger (who he?). 8/10

Price/Value: It's cost me 87 over 7 months to complete Superion. That's only a few quid shy of the fancy looking Takara giftset. Does he feel worth it? I feel mostly a mixture of relief and excitement about having completed Superion and that is perhaps swaying my judgement on the price. I think he has been worth it, despite the problems with distribution and Skydive easily being the worst out of the bunch of Aerialbots. He certainly looks great and Hasbro have done a very good job about making me interested and enthused about a bunch of characters I was previously indifferent about. 7/10

Overall: Superion then is pretty marvellous, all told. There's only really the hands/ feet issue that causes me any trouble, and to be honest, once you're in the thick of playing with him, those things are quickly forgotten. For the first Combiner Wars gestalt out of the gate, Hasbro have done a very impressive job indeed. It'll be interesting to see if the other Combiners turn out as well as this guy. 7/10
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