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with Aerialbots

Series: Power Core Combiners
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Ultra
Year: 2010

To be given command of one of the first Autobot Power Core Teams is a great honor - one that Skyburst isn't sure he deserves. He uses his enhanced abilities to execute search and rescue operations in conditions too dangerous for human crews - or even other Autobots. Together with his drone companions, Skyburst protects the skies from the Decepticon threat.

Prelude: Many thanks to fellow TF-Fan BlackZarak, who loaned me his Skyburst for this review.

Robot Mode: Skyburst is a Scout-sized robot that kind of reminds me of the G1 Predator Falcon a bit. He is basically a big jet folded in half with arms and legs sprouting from the jet’s big undercarriage. He carries about 80 percent of the jet on his back, while the cockpit forms his chest. He carries no weapons, like most (all?) of the PCC figures that come with drones, and ball-jointed limbs give him quite a bit of articulation.

It’s not a bad robot mode, but it’s not hard to notice that this figure isn’t primarily intended to be an individual robot. It does a decent job as one, but everything from the big rucksack to the design of the forearms tells that there is more to him. So bottom line here: a decent robot mode, but little more than that.

Alternate Mode: Skyburst transforms into a grey jet of no particular model. The jet suffers from a common jet-former ailment, a large undercarriage that basically comprises most of his robot mode. Apart from that, though, the jet looks pretty good. It has a working landing gear, nice paint detailing, and just looks good. Certainly not a revolutionary jet mode, but fully workable.

Partners: Skyburst comes with four drones that can form the limbs of his combiner mode (see below). The Aerialbot drones are all aircraft, naturally, though there is little in the way of resemblance to the original G1 Aerialbots to be found here. We have a white jet with an AWACs dish on top, a grey and black jet that reminds me of Ramjet, a blue helicopter that is an almost spitting image of G1 Whirl, and a yellow helicopter that doesn’t resemble any Transformer I know. All four are nice-looking vehicles, but their play value is pretty much restricted to the combiner mode.

Combiner Mode: It’s easy to see that Skyburst was mainly designed as a torso for a Power Core Combiner, with his actual robot mode more of a secondary concern. Skyburst looks pretty great as a torso, I especially like how his robot mode arms form his pretty ornate chest. No resemblance to Superion at all, but that’s about the only bad thing I can say here. Skyburst’s legs give the combiner full lower body articulation and most of the drones make for nice limbs, the only one I don’t particularly like is the yellow helicopter drone that becomes one of the arms. Otherwise, though, a very nice combiner mode and clearly the main attraction of this figure.

Remarks: In early 2010 my wife and I were at the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg and - among other things - we saw a small display of the new Transformers Hasbro intended to release that year. The Power Core Combiners featured prominently and Skyburst here was on display. Two of him, one in package, one assembled in his combiner mode. Later that day I wrote in several online forums about what I saw (we weren't allowed to take pictures) and I wrote - fully believing I was correct - that the limbs of the combiner had robot modes of their own. Looking back, I realize there was no way for me to tell either way from the brief look I got, but the very idea that Hasbro would release a series of combiners where the limbs weren't robots never even occured to me, especially considering how many people were still upset about ROTF Devastator the year before. But that's what happened and I think - in my mind at least - the PCC line never really recovered from that initial disappointment.

Skyburst was in the first wave of PCC figures and as such he kind of epitomizes the problems of the line entire. He isn’t a bad toy, mind you, but he is quite a bit less than most people expected, I think. A nice combiner mode in a so-so Transformers figure isn’t the best way to start a brand-new toy line, especially if that line tries to get by without any of the big names (no Optimus, Megatron, Bumblebee, Starscream, etc.). So my final verdict: Skyburst isn’t bad. But he wasn’t nearly good enough to give the PCC line the kind of initial boost it would have needed to be a success.

Rating: C+
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