Victorion, Transformer’s Fan-built Female Combiner is a Victorious Effort [Review]
Since 2013, Hasbro has hosted two different fan votes to create new robots in disguise for Transformers. The first figure created by the fans was 2014's Windblade, a female jet from Caminus who also got her own comic series from IDW Publishing. Last year, Hasbro opened up another public vote, this time for a Combiner Transformer. Fans were able to vote for each limb/vehicle separately, as well as once again determining the paint app, personality, gender and origin. Out of all those decisions came Victorion, the first ever female Combiner in Transfomers history.
Victorion made her debut at San Diego Comic-Con 2015, and though we knew what to expect from the results, the prototype shown off at the convention caught a number of us by surprise. It certainly wasn't because Hasbro altered the core format of the figure, but because that paint app was so wild compared the rest of the existing Transfomers line. I happen to love it, and outside of Devastator, there aren't many Combiners with nearly as much color coordination going on. That color scheme helps Victorion stand out, as she repurposes a lot of existing bots for her build. It doesn't make her any less impressive once combined though.
Pyra Magna is the Voyager Class figure that serves as the foundation for Victorion. A retooling of Hot Spot (the firetruck that serves as the base for Defensor), Pyra Magna is nearly identical save for the paint app and head sculpt. Pyra's head has a little bit of inspiration from Prowl, but has a thinner face beneath the helmet-like aspects. There's a hint of red around her eyes, giving Prya Magna a bit of a Pris vibe. The red really pops against the bright blue of her eyes too, making them look quite intense.
In her transformed state, Pyra Magna has some good articulation despite having a gigantic ladder strapped to her back. The other smaller figures in the set don't have the benefit of being as large, so some of their transformations leave a little to be desired with regards to articulation. With 18 steps to turn her from firetruck into robot, she's definitely one of the more intricate figures. That said, the only challenge comes from remembering the steps to turn her back into a vehicle. Like all the figures in this set, and Hasbro's Transformers figures in general, all the parts flip and fold old without any struggle, and you'll never feel like you're on the verge of snapping something inadvertently. If you do, it means you're definitely doing something the wrong way.
Pyra's vehicle doesn't offer up anything particularly unexpected, and for the most part you're likely to leave her in either robot or Combiner form. That said, I'm not wild about the fact that Victorion's head just has to permanently be attached to the end of the ladder. I understand why from a molding and construction standpoint, but it pulls out from the illusion that this is a functioning firetruck that turns into a walking, talking robot.
Jumpstream doesn't fare quite as well as Pyra Magna her robot form. That is if this actually is Jumpstream. The outside of the Victorion box and the press materials label this Lamborghini as Jumpstream, but the printed instructions inside the box call her Dust Up (which is another of the characters that makes up Victorion). It's a curious error, but one that doesn't actually effect the figures at all. The repainted version of Stunticon Breakdown doesn't offer much difference, though the hands on Jumpstream are open C-grips.
The figure is a little stout for the aesthetic, and the female head looks so small compared to the rest of the body. There's a bit of dissonance there, and standing with the rest of her Rust Sea sisters, Jumpstream looks just a tiny bit off. Obviously getting entirely new builds for the vehicles in this set wasn't something that was going to happen, but Jumpstream fares the worst out of the set when it comes to body builds.
Her Lamborghini form is certainly nice, and as one of the billions of '80s kids that had posters of the Countach plastered on his walls, there's a bit of a nostalgia pang. There was never a Lamborghini available in this kind of colorway either, so that bit of uniqueness almost makes up for Jumpstream's awkward body.
Now Dust Up here is rework of Stunticon Dead End, though she's got a bit of a Wheeljack/Nightbird head sculpt going on. Again, like the other figures making up Victorion, Dust Up has really bright blue eyes, and they contrast very well with the paint app used throughout the rest of the figure. Unlike Jumpstream, Dust Up's body has better proportions head-to-toe (or fender-to-fender), and has a slightly better range of poseability. It's still not great, as the lower legs are hampered a bit by the chunky wheel wells, but the ball joints in the hips and shoulders give some nice range.
Given how nicely Jumpstream transitioned to vehicle form, I expected the same to hold true for Dust Up, but that's not the case. While first glances would tell you nothing is wrong with Dust Up's car-poreal form, all four wheels don't touch the surface at the same time. While the other cars in the set all work and roll along just fine, Dust Up's build leaves a little of the robot body dipping too low, and it scrapes along the table or floor if you try to push the car. Now I know not everyone is going to be racing these things along, but for $100, I'd hate to have the paint app scuffed in any way by the figure not working as intended.
Aside from Pyra Magna, Dust Up has the most red throughout her paint app. The coral green does pop a bit more comparatively, but the red does allow for Dust Up's Cybertronix stenciling to stand out quite a bit. All of the Victorion figures have Cybertronix writing somewhere on their bodies, but I'm not quite savvy (or patient) enough to figure out which version it is and translate it all. There are numerous different phrases on each, and given somewhat religious nature of the characters, I'm willing to bet it has at least some connection to the Mistress of Flame.
Victorion also includes the helicopter twins, Skyburst and Stormclash. Both figures are identical in vehicle and robot forms, save for slightly different head sclupts and paint applications. If you have trouble telling them apart (and honestly, when they're in vehicle form, you will), you can figure out which is which by the location of the Autobot insignia on their chests. Skyburst's is on her right, and Stormclash's is on her left. Both use the same body as the previously released Alpha Bravo and Blades, though the sisters don't have missiles attached to their sides.
There are a lot of helicopters in the Combiner Wars series, but the fans voted for even more for some reason. While more jets would have been just as repetitive, that there is so little different between these two figures in this set and the other helicopters out there is a bit frustrating. Yeah, Skyburst and Stormclash have different heads than the others, but I've had my fill with Coast Guard rescue choppers. Almost any other helicopter design would have been welcome.
Those complaints aside, the figures are articulate, poseable, and have great proportions. I don't love how the chopper blades need to rest on their backs, but otherwise there's not much to take issue with structurally. Also, Stormclash has a cool visor. But please, Hasbro, please take at least a year off from helicopters.
Rust Dust is the runt of the litter, with her little motorcycle body standing out from her Victorion teammates thanks to a load of black. Rather than sticking to the red/coral paint scheme so strictly here, Hasbro incorporated a lot of black parts. There's actually very little of the red at all, and it helps Rust Dust have a visual impact despite the much smaller physical presence. Unlike the rest of the Rust Sea characters included in this set, Rust Dust doesn't get any new parts at all. She's entirely the same as Groove, right down to the head. All that separates the two is the colorway.
For being so small, Rust Dust does have some decent movement, but the articulation isn't anything to get excited about. If you've had any of the other motorcycle figures, you'll know what to expect. Rust Dust is more meant as a complement to the larger figure, acting as the chest piece, and doesn't bring much else to the table. Even in vehicle form, Rust Dust is a rather simple toy that doesn't do much compared to others in this set. She does look good though, so at least there's that.
When combined into Victorion, the set truly shines. The individual bots are all nice, but reforming them into the massive Combiner figure brings a satisfaction that can't quite be beat. The Combiner forms of all the Autobots do take a little reworking to get into the right positions, but the instructions included are quite clear, and make the transition from singular figures to a massive mech simple enough.
Where each of the Autobots stood out thanks to Victorion's eye-catching color scheme, the Combiner version really pops. Immediately upon seeing Victorion last year at SDCC, my eye was drawn right to it. That still holds true today as it's such a rare sight to see toys in these colors, you can't help but want to see it out amidst a collection of similar figures. Strangely, Victorion's hands in the box are gray instead of the red you see on the front of the box. There is quite a bit of gray/silver throughout the figure, so it's not something that clashes, but it would have been nice for some consistency in this aspect.
Victorion has some great articulation despite being made out of a bunch of smaller figures. Balance isn't really an issue either, as she stands tall in just about every pose you can think to arrange. Obviously you can't get to crazy with the contortions, but if you have at least one other Combiner set, you can definitely set them up to be battling on display with little worry about Victorion falling over and potentially breaking in any spots.
All of the individual weapons included with the figures also combine into a larger vibrating sword for Victorion to wield. Her hands to open enough to hold it, but there is also a hole in the wrist you can slide the base of the sword into for a firmer grip. That's not exactly practical for combat, and it does look strange in practice, but the option is there if you notice the sword slipping out of her regular grip.
In spite of every single vehicle being a rework of a previously released toy, Victorion is quite a piece of work. The massive Combiner looks spectacular when all put together, which is what you really want from a set like this. While I wish some of the single characters were a bit more impressive (and not helicopters), that issue fades to the ether once everything is all snapped together to form Victorion. I can only hope Hasbro is willing to get this experimental with other fan vote figures in the future, as having more unique builds like this would certainly go a long way in making a modern Transformers collection worth pursuing beyond nostalgic reasons.
The Transformers Combiner Wars Victorion set is available now for ~$100. This figure was provided by Hasbro for review.