Monday, August 31, 2015

Toy Review: Transformers Generations Combiner Wars Offroad

Review:  #264
Name:  Offroad
Brand:  Transformers
Allegiance:  Decepticon
Line:  Generations - Combiner Wars
Year of Release:  2015
Size Class:  Deluxe (Wave 2)
Variations:  repainted into TFCC 2.0 Ruckus; heavily retooled into First Aid


Offroad's comic is Robots in Disguise #14 (or Combiner Wars #6).  Continuing straight from the previous issue of Megatron's return, the details of Prowl's plan, including his intentions, has been revealed.  This was a great issue in that it explained a lot of things, such as how Prowl could rationalize betraying his fellow Autobots.  The revelations were satisfying, the intricacies of the plan, and how it involved Megatron and played out against everything, was cleverer than expected.  The cliffhanger ending was just what was needed as the final cherry on top.  Seriously, some of the things here will make you stop and think at how it all works and intertwine together.


Offroad transforms into a grey pick up truck with a partially gunmetal hood and some red squiggle marks on the sides.  The crimson windows are a nice touch.

This is generally a good figure, unfortunately like with a few of the other Combiner Wars figures, the robot feet don't fold in and so it makes the back a weird shape.  Furthermore, there are no painted details on the rear of the vehicle, which is a shame.

Offroad is a Deluxe figure and he feels very solid and a good size, even when compared to the Deluxes of yore.

You can plug in all the robot weapons onto this mode, one nice thing is that there is a dedicated tab on the bed to attach the combiner piece (as an exposed engine block I suppose).  Offroad's only play value here is his rolling wheels.

A decent vehicle mode and a unique type of vehicle for a Stuncticon...


Offroad transforms in a very similar way to the Wave 1 Aerialbots.  His legs are formed with exactly the same engineering, the hood folds onto his back and the arms pull out from the sides.  A bit underwhelming and boring but the transformation scheme works and makes for a fun conversion between modes.


Offroad's robot mode is unique and looks fantastic.  As the newest Stunticon, he looks the part, sharing the primary color with Wildrider, while having his own flair with the teal and yellow.

He wears the hood on his back and it sticks out like a sore thumb.  While it adds to his uniqueness it's still kibble at the end of the day.

The head sculpt is nice, and is situated on a balljoint.  Note that the face sculpt looks very similar to Ruckus, and that is because it was originally supposed to be that character.

Offroad is shorter than Drag Strip but he is bulkier and still feels solid.  Ruckus has the combiner port as his torso, which is somewhat bland with the unpainted grey.

Poseability is your standard affair, although the large shoulder pads are Offroad's biggest flaw, they get in the way of the hood on his back.

Proportions are good except for his forearms which are too skinny and oddly shaped due to where they sit in vehicle mode.

Offroad's main weapon is a purple ax, which looks quite nice.

He can hold the ax in either hand (naturally) and it is a suitable weapon for a bot like Offroad.

The ax can also plug into one of the peg holes on the outside of his arm to add some variety.

His other weapon is the combiner piece which doubles up as a four barreled gun.

It is a bit big so it passes off as somewhat unnatural.  It is also a heavy-ish piece and can sag the arm.

A solid robot mode.  He can feel a bit too generic at times though with nothing that stands out as great about him.


Offroad is a nice figure and an acceptable replacement for Wildrider.  His own unique robot design as well as a different secondary color really goes a long way in separating him from who he is replacing (unlike Alpha Bravo who is basically Slingshot with a different vehicle mode).  The only thing against Offroad is his generic-ness, there's just nothing about him that screams awesomeness.


For other Trasnformers reviews, check out this page.


As mentioned, Offroad is a part of the Stunticons, who can combine to form the mighty Menasor.  Menasor will be covered in his own review but here's a taste for now.

Offroad can transform into an arm which is basically the robot mode with the arms tucked away and the combiner hand attached.

His normal place is as the left foot of Menasor though, and Offroad provides a kneecap in this mode.  Note that while the combiner piece looks too big to be a hand, it's too small to look good as feet.

Combined into Menasor, Offroad's color scheme melds well with Motormaster himself.  Although having one leg having a kneecap while the other doesn't makes it somewhat lopsided.

He holds together well in combined mode and you can also attach the ax in this mode to prevent losing it.

He looks better as an arm though, providing some nice layering effect due to how the robot arms are placed.  His robot knees and hips act as elbows for combined mode.  That's all for now, thanks to looking!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Book Review: Divergent

Review:  #512
Title:  Divergent
Series:  Divergent Trilogy - 1st book
Author:  Veronica Roth
Read Before:  no
Comments:  Divergent doesn’t jump out and grab you but by the time you’re halfway into the book, you realize it has subtly sucked you into its story.  The way Divergent’s world is structured doesn’t scream originality or uniqueness; it is a world of five factions, each focusing on an attribute like braveness or selflessness.  Certain factions are already have their relationships strained and throughout the course of the book, treachery and betrayal happens.  It just doesn’t feel believable enough, especially the fact that all people within a faction must follow the single attribute.  The story tells of Tris, who is doesn’t fit into a singular attribute and thus called Divergent.  Tris meets characters who say she must keep it a secret and that it was dangerous to be a Divergent but it’s only until the very end until we finally find out what it was.  The plot mainly tells the journey Tris goes through as she is put into Dauntless, the faction emphasizing courage and how she copes with it.  It involves a series of initiation tests which was brutal, intense and makes you question the pureness of the Dauntless’ intentions.  As the grand scheme of things is unraveled near the end of the book, it becomes gripping and fantastic.  A love story is sprinkled in there for good measure but it doesn’t take up a lot of focus.  The ending was lacking though in that it was deliberately set up for a sequel.  A good read overall.
Rating:  7/10

Friday, August 28, 2015

Chicken Run

Chicken Run is a stop-motion animated comedy with a very unique premise.  It follows a bunch of chickens on a farm who must escape before they are given the chop.  They're forced to lay eggs day in day out, however, all their previous attempts to escape has been foiled by the farmers.  One day, Ginger, the lead chicken, sees Rhodes "fly" and the rest of the movie revolves around the chickens learning how to fly and escape. Obviously, they succeed in the end but not in the way you would have expected.  The movie manages to fill in 80 mins of time with interesting scenes so it never feels boring.  The results from the teamwork at the climax of the movie was fantastic and gives you a sense of achievement.  The action sequences towards the end of the movie was great with some surprising twists.  The animation and voice acting was top notch and all in all, a very enjoyable film with good story sequences.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Toy Review: Transformers Generations Combiner Wars Dead End

Review:  #263
Name:  Dead End
Brand:  Transformers
Allegiance:  Decepticon
Line:  Generations - Combiner Wars
Year of Release:  2015
Size Class:  Deluxe (Wave 2)
Variations:  retooled with a new head as Wildrider; TakaraTomy version has slightly different colors; heavily retooled into Streetwise and Prowl


Dead End comes with Robots in Disguise #16 (or Combiner Wars #8) which is the last issue in the Superion/Prowlastator arc.  Ironhide and the Dinobots come to help out the battle against Devastator.  The way Devastator was defeated was to be expected since they can't have too much violence in this area, however, it was still somewhat anticlimactic.  The best part of the issue was the ending, and how everything finalized itself.  The way it ended felt natural and made sense, especially considering how Starscream and Bumblebee were thinking throughout the arc.  Megatron's involvement and his defeat was disappointing too.  Overall, the story was decent, artwork was good and it was engaging throughout.


Dead End transforms into a maroon sports car resembling a Ferrari 458, this is a very nice and sleek powerful looking car.

Due to the plastic placements and parts used, there are two unsightly grey pieces that stick out like a sore thumb at the back.  The rear is also unpainted but in an interesting twist, the pin used for transformation is in the exact place as where taillights would be, so it manages to look decent.

In terms of size, he is a Deluxe and not actually that bad at all, he's with Universe Drag Strip in the above photo.  Note that there are some slightly weird proportions since Dead End is very wide.  There are also some plastic left grey on the sides that Hasbro didn't bother painting (could be unpaintable plastic).

You can attach all the weapons in this mode, with the club acting as a side exhaust.  Since the port is shallow, the weapon on top can be loose-fitting.

A fantastic sports car mode with barely any flaws, and most are due to a color scheme that could be improved upon.


Dead End has a nice transformation, his feet are interesting and breaks the generic transformation scheme of the other Combiner Wars deluxes (i.e. rear of vehicle splitting in halve to extend and then combine again).  While a bit kibbly and lazy in terms of what they did with the hood (a useless bit of plastic sitting behind the robot back), it's hard to fault since it's so easy and fun converting him between modes.


Dead End's robot mode is a clear winner too, he looks amazing and a very nice update to his G1 self.  What's even better is that the designers made a great decision in covering up the combiner port in his chest with a chest plate.  It gives him more personality and detailing.

He wears the windscreen as well as the hood of the vehicle on his back as kibble.  Since it is hollow and sits very close to his body, it doesn't cause any balancing issues or get in the way of anything.

The head sculpt is sublime.  It captures the character perfectly and also a suitable face for a Decepticon.

He is a decent height in this mode as well, stacking well against the Deluxes of yore.  While he still has hollow parts, Dead End feels solidly built in your hands, and able to withstand heavy amounts of play.

Articulation is fantastic, he has all the joints you would want, including a waist swivel.  His large legs allow him to balance well in a wide range of poses.

The only negative here are his elbow swivels, which feels weird since his arms are the sides of the vehicles.  There's nothing wrong with the execution, just feels slightly odd, that's all.

His first weapon is an exhaust pipe that he can hold as a club (as shown in the comic artwork.

He can hold the club in either hand but I find that it looks quite stupid as a weapon, it does not look menacing at all.

Unfortunately, Dead End cannot hold it with both hands since he is not articulated enough and the club's handle isn't long enough.  No dice for replicating the awesome artwork then.

Dead End can loosely hold the weapon as a tonfa, but because of the pieces jutting out from his flip out fists, it doesn't fully peg in.

The other weapon is made from the combiner piece, which acts as a dual barreled gun (despite the barrels looking weird).

Once again, he can hold it in either hand.

You can also peg it in such that it acts as a shield, which is actually cooler.  In the end, this is a very versatile robot and heaps of fun to play with, as well as looking awesome.


Dead End is undisputedly my favorite figure of Wave 2.  Both modes are epic and linked by a simple but effective transformation.  The color scheme is spot on and he feels very solid.  Dead End is a figure that's to be recommended even if you don't have the intention of forming Menasor, plus, this is the first real update to the G1 character.


For other Transformers reviews, have a look at this page.


As a slight teaser to Dead End's combined modes, here are some shots for when he is combined.  Menasor will be featured in his own proper review soon.

Dead End's normal place is the arm of Menasor.  The combiner piece can act as a fist or a foot, with the thumb being able to swivel depending on which side you want Dead End to be.

Dead End's foot mode is basically the car stood up, with the hood folded down.

As a part of Menasor, note that as a necessary evil to give the arm proper elbow joints, the forearm is proportionally too wide to look that great.  However, if you have the side of the vehicle facing the front as the forearm, then it becomes too thin and you get the awkward inward bending elbow.  You can't win either way...

Still, Dead End attaches very securely and gives Menasor shoulder hinges and swivels, as well as a double hinged elbow (the robot hips and knees) and wrist swivels (since it's just a piece pegged into a port).

Too bad he loses a lot of the vehicular elements when as foot, and folding the hood down this way gives you an unsightly view of the combiner ports.  If only the designer found a way to keep the hood partially up as a knee pad.  Anyway, that's it for this review, thanks for reading!

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