Best of BotCon: New Generations In-Depth
This year’s Hasbro product preview panel at BotCon brought a veritable tidal wave of new toy reveals, with essentially three waves worth of figures unveiled. Now that all is said and done, we’re taking a detailed look back at what was revealed, and what might be to come.
2015 Wave 4
With preorders already listed, sans images, at various online retailers, and packaged samples of the Legends and Leader already out in the wild, everyone could have predicted that these figures would turn up at BotCon. The centrepiece of these fourth waves is Optimus Maximus, the new Autobot combiner who made his debut in the Combiner Wars comic tie-in only weeks ago.
All six components are new-head-only retools of previously released toys, but there are plenty of touches that make the characters feel at home in these moulds. For instance, the giant axe of the Blackjack toy was most likely devised to give Rodimus his iconic spoiler in vehicle mode, whilst the hand/foot/gun of the Breakdown figure is designed to attach as Sunstreaker’s trademark giant engine. The chest flap of the Streetwise figure is even sculpted as a fake car bumper for Prowl’s purposes.
The combined Optimus Maximus figure looks good, though fans after a more colourful combiner might want to swap out Battle Core Optimus for his regular counterpart.
The other two toys in this wave of product are Legends Skywarp and Leader Starscream, both of whom had been seen before BotCon. Skywarp rounds out the three original Seekers from the Thrilling 30 Legends mould, whilst Starscream takes us two-thirds of the way for the new Leader Class mould.
With the release of all these toys so close, it’s likely that what we’re seeing in stock photos and the display case will be what we get on shelves.
2016 Wave 1
We’ve known they were coming ever since we saw that Alpha Bravo was essentially Vortex. And finally, the Combiner Wars Combaticons have been revealed!
Vortex is the redeco everyone was predicting, whilst Swindle takes form of a “reshell”-style retool of this year’s Protectobot Rook. Blast Off is a redeco of Quickslinger (AKA Slingshot), which has led many to question why that mould’s faceplated Firefly head was not used instead, for better resemblance to Blast Off’s traditional depiction. Onslaught, meanwhile, is a heavy retool of Hot Spot, cleverly reversing the vehicle mode for a different look. The two wholly new moulds for Bruticus are Brawl and Legends Class partner Shockwave, who joins the team as a gun, in homage to “The Revenge of Bruticus” from the Generation 1 cartoon.
During the Hasbro panel, it was revealed that Onslaught will be released in two variants – one will feature olive plastic for an accurate look as Onslaught, whilst the other will feature silver/grey plastic for a more accurate Bruticus torso. This reporter predicts that plenty of fans may well end up picking up both…
Looking at the Combaticons on show in the display case, we can notice several deco differences with the CG rendered stock photos. Brawl appears to be a dull olive, close to his G1 cartoon appearance, rather than the dark green of the stock photos, whilst Shockwave has significantly more bare transparent plastic. As wave 1 2016 product, these figures will likely see release in November or December, and as such there may well be deco changes between now and then.
Several other 2016 wave 1 figures were revealed that are not part of Bruticus – in Legends Class we have Pipes, Chop Shop and Buzzsaw, and Skywarp completes the Leader Class Seekers. The panel also suggested that Onslaught will have an as-of-yet unrevealed wave-mate in Voyager Class.
Pipes has seen popularity in recent years thanks to his time as a supporting character in IDW’s More than Meets the Eye, although fans may be a little disappointed that he reuses Huffer’s head and thus lacks his visor-and-faceplate look. Chop Shop is a new-head retool of last year’s Skrapnel, whilst Buzzsaw is perhaps most interesting of the bunch. He transforms from condor to a bulky smartphone, whilst also sporting an intriguing buggy mode. In the Titan Wars art that we’ve seen, Blaster is a Headmaster with a base mode – it doesn’t take a huge logical leap to assume that we’ll also get a similar Soundwave, into whom Buzzsaw could fit, and whose Headmaster figure could ride the buggy mode through a base.
2016 Wave 2
For the second wave of 2016, we got a less complete picture, with no Leader and just one Legends figure revealed. The six figures that were revealed are the components of a brand new combiner – Sky Reign!
Like Optimus Maximus, here we have six Autobots with no history of combining brought together to make something new. Smokescreen is (naturally) a redeco of Prowl, Hound and Wreck-Gar are new-head retools of Swindle and Groove, whilst Wheeljack is a reshell of Breakdown. Trailbreaker, meanwhile, takes the Offroad toy and replaces not just the head but also the forearms, giving him a G1 style gun-hand. Whilst Trailbreaker only just received a Generations figure in 2013, this new toy is set apart from that IDW-inspired release by drawing from the character’s G1 animation model. The real star of the team is Sky Lynx, a new mould figure of everybody’s favourite egomaniacal puma-bird-dinosaur thing!
Their combined form as Sky Reign cleverly uses Sky Lynx’s feline head. Though it was lacking from early reports, Hasbro did actually confirm at the panel that this head can tilt upward, allowing a make-shift Lynx mode. Noticeably, the stock photos and displayed samples seem to disagree on whether Smokescreen will be cast in primarily blue or red plastic. We’re also yet to learn just how Wreck-Gar will become part of Sky Reign – Groove attached to Defensor’s chest, but Sky Reign’s chest appears to lack the same connection points.
It’s worth noting that leaked computer listings from retail stores suggest that Wreck-Gar’s wave-mates will be Rewind and lesser-known cassette Stripes, continuing the theme established with Buzzsaw.
A final mystery to consider is the silhouette below, displayed briefly during the panel as being Spring 2016 product.
This enigmatic combiner appears to have the F1 racer mould as its left leg, whilst the wheel and foot of the right leg suggests the Breakdown/Wheeljack figure. The long-barrelled gun, meanwhile, calls to mind the Silverbolt toy. This reporter’s best guess is that this could be Computron, with Afterburner having been replaced with or turned into an F1 racer. There had been speculation that Afterburner might be produced from the Legends Groove mould, but the existence of the similarly orange Wreck-Gar from that figure probably nixes that possibility.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this in-depth look back through the new Generations product from BotCon. Our next batch of toy reveals will likely come at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con – a full reveal for aTitan Wars seems likely, along with a proper look at Victorion and her six components.
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