Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hasbro Transformers Piranacon 2010

There's no getting around it. This is going to be a review with a LOT of pictures. I'm going to break up my style a little bit on this. Rather than going from photo to photo with commentary, I'm going to go from figure to figure. If I stop typing, scroll down to the next figure and you'll see more of my color commentary. As always, if you'd rather skip anything I have to say, just take in the photographs and feel free to click on them - it makes for much bigger pretty pictures instead of little pretty pictures.

I've talked about Transformers Combiners before when I took a look at my birthday gift, Menasor, and stated my appreciation for them. Done well, they are fantastic. Done poorly, they can look awful. There's really not a lot in-between. I'm thrilled to say that Piranacon is the former. As opposed to Menasor, he's formed from six robots, although one serves as a weapon.
Piranacon is a Scramble City combiner, which means that any of his robots can form any of his limbs, although some do work better in some configurations than others. Members of the Seacons form Piranacon, but they could also be used on Menasor or any of the other Transformer combiners. It's kind of cool that way, although I haven't really tried to take advantage of it yet, to be honest. Additionally, all of the robots have a third, weapon mode which makes them all triple changes. It's kind of awesome, and the reason why it took about 90 images to make this review.
The first bot to look at is Tentakil. This little guy is a.. uhm.. octopus thingie. But, not really. My wife is the marine biologist of the family and might be able to tell me what in the Hell this guy is actually supposed to be, but I will say he looks pretty awesome in both robot and squid-ish mode. He has some kibble on his back (left-over parts from the transformation) but not so much as to be distracting when looking at him from the front. Honestly, though, you're never going to display this guy in robot mode.
His beastie mode is just too awesome. He also has a mode as a weapon which is visually very effective. Some of the gun modes work better than others, but Tentakil's is one of the best. He also can serve as an arm or a leg of the larger bot.

Seawing is the manta ray of the group, with a personality best described as "vicious." I will say that in the pictures for his bot mode, I actually assembled him wrong. The black on the sides of his legs should have been pulled down, making his feet more distinctive and making him taller. Oops. Still, despite the kibble that is still pretty evident on his back, he's a fun robot with some nice details.

His beast mode is where the magic is, though. There isn't much of a difference between beast and gun mode, but there's nothing really wrong with that, to be honest. The swooping wings and yellow eyes add a bit of menace to his appearance, and the stickers add some much needed color. The stickers were pre-applied, so I wish they had turned out a bit more straight and accurate, but it is what it is.

Snaptrap is the leader of the Piranacons and a truly fantastic bot. If there is absolutely no other reason to get Piranacon, Snaptrap is the one argument that will win most over. And if you don't want the entire Piranacon package, you should still own Snaptrap.
Snaptrap is a turtle, and the torso of the larger robot. His bot mode is large and solid, with an air of strength and power exuding from it. For someone whose nickname is "Butcher of the Bogs," it's a good appearance to have.

As with all of the Seacon bots, the turtle mode is a bit of.. artistic license on reality. Still, there is a clever use of half of the shell that can also double as the front of the larger robot's torso, and I can't deny the appeal of a blue and pink turtle with giant lasers strapped to its back. The peg in the center in the photo above can be moved back and forth, causing the guns to move forward and back, simulating shooting.
With four legs, Snaptrap is very stable when in beast mode, and when not serving as the torso is absolutely my favorite way of displaying this figure. I've taken pictures of the transformation with and without the second half of the shell in order to show how it works. He definitely looks weird without that back half, though. I have seen more than a few for sale on ebay without that half of the shell, so make an educated decision when buying as to whether or not it is worth it.

With the helmet and shell attached, it's pretty easy to see the torso of Piranacon at that point.
Nautilator is the screw-up of the group, but tries to compensate by always having a scapegoat around to blame things on. As a bot, his mode is pretty simple with extremely rudimentary articulation, and it really isn't the best of the set. The legs do manage to hide a lot of the kibble on his back, and he has great proportions overall, but his strength is definitely in beast mode.

If you're wondering, Nautilator is supposed to be a lobster. Again.. artistic license. Regardless of what he's supposed to be, he looks absolutely incredible. The legs are very stable, the pincers on either side make him incredibly intimidating, and the unique coloring actually make him really pop on the shelf.

His gun mode is also really awesome. It just looks intimidating, with the legs curled underneath and the cannon ready to do some damage. Very nicely done. If you can forget the underwhelming bot mode, Nautilator becomes a very impressive Transformer.

The fifth bot to look at is Skalor, who I'm told is a coelecanth with arms and legs, because.. well.. of course he is. He's a walking fish. We'll just leave it at that. In robot mode, he can be transformed with the "flippers" either poised forward or back. I choose to go with back since I think it looks silly with them forward, but I've seen it both ways.
As with the others, there is a fair bit of kibble on the back. These are a group of bots that just plain look better seen from the front, and to be honest, it's a bit of a problem for all the combiner groups that were designed to be combiners. It's a limitation of the engineering of the time, and a fair price to pay for a big, complicated Transformer.

Walking fish mode is just fantastic. The sculpted scales, the fins, and the expression evident on the face is really appealing. It's just a bot you want to fiddle with. He's definitely another figure that you're going to spend your time displaying in his beast mode if he's not being displayed as a limb of Piranacon.

Gun mode is kind of a mixed bag. It can look impressive, but the head being tilted back really kind of breaks the imagery. There are better fun modes in this group.

Finally, we come to Overbite, the last member of the Piranacon team. It's not hard to tell that his beast mode is a shark.. with arms and legs. Look, he was designed by the Japanese. Don't ask me. They have very different traditions and legends than Western culture. Don't judge them! That's not to say that it isn't appealing, however. Robot mode has some of the least kibble on its back, and stands stable with arms that are visibly too long. It's not bad, but it isn't great. As with Skalor, you can decide for yourself whether the flippers should be forward or back on the feet. Obviously, I prefer to keep them back.

Did I mention the shark with legs and arms is actually pretty cool? What is surprising is just how stable Overbite is while on his legs. Reared up or lowered, he looks very intimidating.
Trust me, he's not reaching out to hug you.
Oddly enough, the shark is actually more articulated than the bot mode, with knee joints and arm swivels, as well as an articulated jaw. It's really odd that way, but with a fun beast mode like this, it's well worth not questioning too much.

The gun mode is.. well.. it's just an absolute mess. Let's not lie. The head is incredibly obvious and the joints don't hide very well, leaving to a jumbled heap of parts with a gun attached to it.

Altogether, they do make for a nice, impressive arsenal of weapons when in gun mode. Each of the figures has a stand.. which, oddly enough, also serve as perfect miniature tripods for my camera! Bonus value!!
All put together, with head, chest, and fists plugged in, Piranacon is a large and solid looking robot. The arms and legs are well proportioned, and he stands with a lot of stability. His hips are a bit too "H" shaped, and perhaps could have used an additional crotch-piece, but looked at as a whole it works pretty well.
The face is a bit basic and blocky, but it actually works for the bot. You're not going to Piranacon for conversation, but rather for hunting and killing. The chrome on the "wings" of the chest are fantastic and add a bit of regal flair to the figure. Put together, the face manages to not pull attention from the detail on the rest of the figure, and that's not a bad thing.
The legs can look spindly, depending on which bots are used to form them. Regardless of the bots used, he is still stable and not prone to falling down, thanks to the feet pads that plug into the bots' weapon ports.
I actually assembled Piranacon in what I think is probably the least efficient manner. I wanted to show that at his worst, he's still pretty darned cool. I'm honestly not entirely sure what the "canon" combination is, but traditionally I'll use Skalor as the right leg, Nautilator as the right arm, Overbite as the weapon, Nautilator as the left arm, and Seawing as the left leg. Your mileage may vary for your own preferences, but it tends to work for me.

All of these figures are made from the original molds from 1988. They've been re-released before, but they were cast in different colors, which certainly muted some of the flavor. This particular set was made for online stores. Unfortunately, it seems they might have had too many made, as I got this guy for $30 for all six bots, which is an incredible price. At that rate, and considering they are using the original molds and G1-inspired colors means that you're really not going to get much better than this. Piranacon makes for a second win for a Transformers Combiner. I'm not sure which I'll look into next, but I can only hope they work out as well as my first two!


Colbey Hopper on December 11, 2013 at 8:22 AM said...

Stupid mobile version didn't post my comment this morning.

While I like the Seacons, their combined form just do much for me. I prefer them in their individual forms. Abominus and the Terrorcons are my favorite Decepticon combiner.

I'm surprised that Hasbro didn't paint Snaptrap's robot head black like his G1 release. The pink just looks off...

I like how the Seacons were used in Masterforce. All but Turtler were basically just mindless drones. Speaking of Masterforce, I'm only one away from having my Japanese G1 MIB Seacon collection complete!

Wes Grogan on December 11, 2013 at 6:10 PM said...

Colbey, sorry about the mobile version not cooperating! This really is one group that might be better off solo... I can see the argument for that. The legs are a bit stilty and the hips are definitely in need of a bit of cover-up, but the overall theme works so well that it's hard not to want to display them all together. Heck, even their weapons modes are fun displays, though.

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