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with Chopster

Series: Power Core Combiners
Allegiance: Decepticon
Categories: Commander
Year: 2010

No one holds a grudge like Smolder. He plots elaborate revenge against his hundreds of enemies, and thanks to his combination with Chopster, he's got the power to see each of them through.

Robot Mode: Smolder is a very slim robot when it comes to his actual body, but with the massive shoulder pods he has, he looks a lot broader and more powerful than he actually is. I especially like his head, which looks like a mixture between a fire fighter’s helmet and an old samurai-style war helmet. Very nicely sculpted and just about the only thing about him (except for the Decepticon symbols on his shoulders) that makes him look evil (red normally being more of an Autobot color).

Smolder is reasonably posable for a Scout-class figure. There are more posable figures in this size class, but if you consider that he’s a triple-changer and supposed to interact with a Minicon to boot, that’s actually quite good. The only thing sticking out somewhat are the blue connector pins for the combination mode (see below), but apart from that everything integrates pretty smoothly and doesn’t hamper him at all.

For a weapon Smolder can wield his Minicon partner Chopster (see below) in ax mode or attach him to his chest as a shield/gun combination. Side note on that: The black pin on Smolder’s chest is for attaching Chopster and should probably be folded in when Chopster’s not there, but personally I like it better folded out, so you can imagine it as a separate weapon. So the bottom line here: A good, flawless robot mode. Not the best Scout-class robot ever, but a solid performer.

Alternate Mode: I believe this is actually the first time a bad guy transforms into a rescue vehicle. We’ve had bad guy police cars, but bad guy fire trucks? Not that I can recall. Anyway, Smolder transforms into a red SVU-type vehicle with fire department markings and a siren on top. Sort of the fire department version of the vehicle mode of Movie Ratchet, I’d say. The primary color is, of course, red, with white stripes, black details and an orange light bar on top. The detailing on the car mode is good, giving no particular grounds for complaint. On top of the vehicle you have a peg where Chopster can serve as vehicle-mode weapon (see below). So all in all a good, solid vehicle mode. Not spectacular, but good.

Partner: Smolder’s Minicon partner is Chopster, which has to be one of the coolest names ever for a Transformer. Now the package labels Chopster as a quadrochanger, having four modes, but that’s a bit of an overstatement. Chopster just folds together in slightly different ways to become a) an ax for Smolder’s robot mode, b) a chest shield/gun for Smolder’s robot and/or combiner mode, c) a roof-mounted cannon for Smolder’s vehicle mode and, of course, d) a robot. Despite this forced versatility, Chopster still manages a pretty decent robot mode (I’ve seen Minicons a lot worse) and all three of his alternate modes manage to look different, even if none of them can really disguise the fact that we’re dealing with a tiny robot here.

Combination Mode: Like all Power Core Combiner figures (or those who aren’t Minicons or drones, at least), Smolder can also form the torso of a larger, combiner-style robot, and use any four of the assorted PCC drone vehicles as limbs. In the pictures above he uses the Combaticon drones (as these are the only ones I currently own). Now while I’m not a hundred percent fan of the PCC combiner style (I prefer actual robots combining, not a single robot with drones), I have to say that Smolder looks very spiffy as a torso. The combination of new head and the very broad shoulders works very well. So thumbs up for the gestalt mode. Might just need to buy a few more drones just to outfit him.

Remarks: The Power Core Combiners are a nightmare in terms of continuity right now, as no one quite knows where to put them story-wise. There is no accompanying media, only the figure bios, which remain uncommitted on whether or not these characters belong to any of the established Transformers continuities (G1, Movie, etc.) or are a class all by themselves. They are certainly part of Hasbro’s larger Transformers (2010) brand, but as their packaging differs in color and has its own heading, I’ve decided to put them separately here on my site.

As far as Smolder goes, he was the first PCC figure I bought. I have a certain fondness for fire fighters (my late grandfather was a life-long fire fighter) and Smolder makes a good-looking evil fire fighter. And, of course, I just had to own the Minicon named Chopster who turns into an ax. No way around that. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a must-have figure, but if you’re down with the basic concept of the Power Core combiners, Smolder is a good choice to start your collection with.

Rating: B
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