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Transformers Power Core Combiners
by yo go re

The Transformers Power Core Combiners were an experiment, and like many experiments, they failed. The line's done, a lot of planned toys aren't going to reach stores and the leftovers are on clearance. On the plus side, that means good deals!

Icepick believes that he represents the next generation of Decepticons. According to him, all those not gifted with the ability to combine are obsolete, and should be destroyed. He's willing to start with the Autobots, but he won't hesitate if an older Decepticon strays into his line of fire.

PCC is a standalone continuity. It's not a spin-off of G1 or the movieverse or the Unicron Trilogy or anything else - it's just its own little world. But that's not to say they're entirely unconnected. Icepick's personality, for instance? It's a direct reference to the original 1989 Icepick, who believed things should be destroyed today so they can be built into better things tomorrow.

Amazingly, the original Icepick had nothing to do with cold weather, but this one fixes that. He's white, blue and silver, and nothing says "wintery" like that. He's got a bit of red on his wee little head - the eyes, of course - and the Decepticon logos on his shoulders are black (a color matched by the pistons in his forearms).

The robot mode isn't the most detailed toy Hasbro ever put out, but it's got a good level of sculpt. The chest and waist are clearly kibble, and he has tank treads on the back of his legs, but the rest of his is all robot. As we said, there are pistons in his arms, so they look like they'd provide power to his big clawed hands. His actual feet are very small, but the bulk of the leg behind them give the impression of thick snowboots - perfectly appropriate! There are clearly gears within the shoulders, and he appears to be wearing a studded collar, perhaps a subtle throwback to the name's monstrous origins. The shoulder armor is very wide, but overall you've got a decent-looking bot.

Converting Icepick is simpler than the other Power Core Combiners we've reviewed, but that's not an indictment, just a statement of fact. It's easy to get the hang of the process, but there's still enough twisting and folding to keep things interesting.

Icepick's altmode is a rather intimidating snowplow vehicle. It's 4¼" long, 2¼" wide, and at minimum 1¾" tall. The front wheels roll, and there's a hidden set of wheels beneath the rear treads. All the same colors from robot mode are visible here - even the light blue PCC connector nubs blend in!

The details in this mode are just as good as the robot. The plow on the front looks more like an armored battering ram, with heavy rivets, thick beams and even small spikes along the lower edge. Sure, you could claim those are for breaking up hard-packed ice, but come on: it's a weapon. The windshield is golden, which suggests polarized glass to prevent snow glare, and it's even been sculpted with tiny windshield wipers. Neat!

Icepick comes with a Mini-Con partner, Chainclaw. It seems likey that the two had their names switched at some point: while the name "Icepick" works fine for either robot, it's the big one who has the claws, not this little guy. He stands 2¼" tall, and is cast mostly from translucent blue plastic - the back of the packaging showed him in a more pleasing purple, but the icy blue is still fine. He has silver arms and a silver plate on his chest. His face is too small for much detail, but it is painted red - the only use of that color on this bot. Chainclaw's legs have structures on the front similar to the ones on Icepick's arms, and his hands are big, round clamps. His shoulders and hips are balljointed, and he has hinged knees.

Changing Chaincla into his weapon mode is as easy as you'd expect from a Mini-Con: push the legs together, wrap them up over his back, and hook the hands onto his knees. There's a Mini-Con port in the robot's chest that allows you to mount him on any appropriate plug. The weapon mode is a missile rack with eight yellow missile-tips poking out. Most of the PCC Mini-Cons have two weapon modes, but Chainclaw only gets the one.

He does also have a "Power-Up Armor" mode, but it's pretty ridiculous. You tuck his arms behind him and spread his legs out to the sides, then plug him onto Icepick's chest. It hovers noticeably away from the body, so it doesn't look like it would provide much protection. Imagine a police officer holding a bulletproof vest at arm's length in front of his chest, and you'll see why it might be a problem. It should be closer to the body.

Like all the PCC Commanders, Icepick has a Power-Up Combiner mode, designed for use with the drones available in the various five-packs. It basically turns him into a giant torso, and if you've been looking at his main robot mode for a while, with its big blue claws, you can't help but see him as holding his own boobs. He's awfully demure for a giant killer robot!

The coolest feature about this mode is the new head. The Power Core Combiner Commanders always have a second, fold-out head to help the powered-up mode look distinct from the normal mode. Icepick's secondary head is covered in icy spikes. This is a unique look for a Transformer, but it really works perfectly with the "cold weather guy" character mandate. This looks a ton better than the normal head - in fact, my Icepick will probably default to this head at all times. It's just that awesome.

Icepick and Chainclaw are both decent Transformers - nothing too special, but well-made and fun to play with. It's almost worth paying the full price for. Almost. After we got five-packs for $10 on Black Friday last year, paying the same for one figure and one Mini-Con just didn't cut it. But for half price on clearance? This unusual TF is a winner!

-- 05/17/11

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