Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Perfect Effect Perfect Combiner PC-05 Combiner Upgrade Set G1 White Version

I honestly think Hasbro/Takara Tomy had the right idea in turning the Combiner Wars hands and feet into secondary weapons for the Deluxe class components of each team. After all, the G1 characters all had their secondary weapons, most of which had to be simply removed and set aside for gestalt mode, making them a bit of a waste of space.

By combining these secondary weapons with the hand and foot requirements of each gestalt, the became more efficient in design, and the potential was there for something very good.

Unfortunately the execution left a lot to be desired. The hands all had massive, protruding knuckledusters - theoretically quite cool and useful, but ugly and unwieldy in plastic form - while the feet ended up being far too small and, with no real ankle joint, they rarely presented a stable footprint. Together with frequently loose hip joints, they conspired to make the completed gestalt wobbly on his feet, and the poseable thumb/heel had no discernible benefit.

This is normally where the Third Parties step in, and so I was very pleased when Perfect Effect announced their 'Perfect Combiner' upgrade sets, which take the idea to a whole new level of brilliance.

Weapons Set:
Taking cues from FansProjects' Crossfire sets, to upgrade Energon/Superlink Bruticus, the feet and hands became more like proper TransFormers themselves. Each foot splits in half and becomes a heavy-duty Gatling-style gun, while the hands reconfigure into double-barrelled blasters.

The feet are nice and bulky, with fairly tight ball-jointed ankles offering excellent range - probably more than the hips and knees of most CW gestalts can handle - and large, flat bases for good standing stability. The guns are a little bit obvious, protruding from the heels, but still rather more subtle than Hasbro/Takara Tomy's efforts. It is easily apparent that Perfect Effect have engaged in some cost cutting of their own, with both halves of the feet having the same ball sockets for their ankle joints. The one that isn't used in each case is simply covered over with a small cap. A ridged section in the middle of each foot is painted a dark silvery colour - same as the guns - to break up the otherwise monotonously white plastic.

The hands seem comparatively small, but suit the gestalt arms very well. Each one has pinned knuckles and mid-finger joints, while the thumb is ball jointed at the root, with a pinned joint in the middle. The wrist relies on its peg for rotation, but also has a pinned joint (partly for transformation into gun mode) with allows for some tilt, though I rather wish it worked the other way, to allow the gestalt to have its hands in a sort of 'taunt' position, or held palm-out.

The 'handguns' are pretty neat, and ideal for any of the Deluxe class Combiner Wars figures (particularly for those components of Defensor and Menasor who don't come packaged with proper guns). The thumb ends up looking a bit out of place - neither like a sight nor a handle - and the lower pair of fingers just sort of folds round onto one side of the guns, making them look less effective, but they're at least as good as the guns packaged with the toys. Made with standard 5mm pegs for all connections, it's even possibly to have one hand wield the other in its gun mode.

The Gatlings are impressive - much too large to suit any of the Deluxe class figures, but ideal for any of the Voyagers. It's disappointing that the six barrels of the gun itself don't rotate - that sort of thing should be a legal requirement for toy Gatlings of a certain size - but the molded detail more than makes up for that omission.

One other thing worth noting is that the plastic used for the 'White Version' here is closer to Silverbolt's pearly-white than the stark, true white used on the likes of Alpha Bravo, Air Raid and Firefly. It's not a perfect match, however, and the plastic has a more matte finish than Hasbro/Takara Tomy's toys.

Upgraded Gestalt:
This is undoubtedly Superion as he was meant to be seen! While the combined mode's proportions seem a bit off using the standard hands and feet, Perfect Effect's upgrade fixes it completely.

While the hands seem tiny compared to the feet, they suit the arm modes of the Aerialbots perfectly. The pinned joints allow for some good gesturing, and the 5mm peg slot in the hand allows him to hold Superion's long rifle far more securely than the standard Combiner Wars hands. I did find the thumb slightly tricky to position well, and the hands don't quite close naturally, but they're pretty much on a par with FansProjects' hands for Bruticus and Intimdator.

The feet still seem a little large, but they suit the lower leg Deluxes very well. Superion always seemed a bit gangly - certainly in his G1 form - due to his skinny thighs, so the more cartoon-like proportions of this upgraded version make Combiner Wars Superion look more like a single, coherent robot, despite being made of five separate robot components.

With such a solid footprint, it's even possible to get Superion standing on one foot but, due to the weight of the lower legs and feet, the hips can't quite support a high-kicking stance. What he can do very well is crouch, kneel and adopt all manner of dynamic stances, making this Combiner Wars gestalt into the kind of large-scale action figure we G1 fans could only dream of back in our youths.

Overall, this is a highly recommended set - it feels sturdy and fulfills all its functions admirably. I might have tweaked the relative proportions slightly - making the feet smaller and/or the hands larger - but the parts are cleverly designed and offer marked improvements in both stability and poseability for Superion. The only downside is that they highlight the relative weakness of Silverbolt's stock shoulder ratchets... but even those can now be replaced with Third Party components.

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