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with Waterlog

Series: Power Core Combiners
Allegiance: Decepticon
Categories: Commander
Year: 2011

Undertow was stupid and mean even before the Power Core process turned him into a Combiner. He hates folks who think they're smart, and now he has more than enough power to smash those guys to pieces.

Robot Mode: Transformers that are built around a certain gimmick – in this case the Power Core gimmick where each robot needs to become the torso of a combiner robot as well – are oftentimes hampered by it. Thankfully in Undertow’s case this is not the case. Or mostly not. My one beef with this figure’s robot mode is shared by most of the other PCC figures as well, the bright blue connecting ports for the Power Core link-up seem out of place on this otherwise black, grey and gold figure.

In all other aspects, though, you barely notice that this robot has been built around a gimmick. Undertow is a very nice-looking robot with his black and grey paintjob nicely accented by the golden and blue-green highlights. His partially obscured face, the golden pipes / guns on his chest and the golden gatling guns on his arms make for a very nice visual, so I have little to complain about in terms of looks.

Undertow is also nicely articulated and can pose with the best of them, despite his rather massive legs. The protrusions on his shoulders (with the glaringly blue Power Core connecting ports) restrict his head movement a bit, but otherwise he is unhampered and can strike all sorts of poses. The guns on his arms can be turned around in order for him to have his hands free and he can hold his Minicon weapon (see below) without problem (which isn’t a given, sadly). So bottom line: an excellent robot mode that would have worked just fine for a stand-alone figure as well.

Alternate Mode: There aren't that many Transformers with naval alternate modes, so I'm always glad to see us get a new one. Undertow transforms into a jet boat, bearing certain similarities to the alternate mode of G2 Manta Ray (though without the big propeller). The boat looks very cool from most angles; just don't look at it from the back too much, because there you can clearly see Undertow's robot hip and fists. The arms with the big guns only loosely click into place here, too, so the whole thing is a bit fragile out back.

Despite my complaints, I do like this mode. It looks cool, it's heavily armed, and even though you see the bright blue Power Core connector ports in the middle, they don't really bother me as much here as they do in robot mode. The boat can be armed even more heavily by powerlinking Waterlog on top. So overall, not a perfect boat mode, but still pretty good and bonus points for the rarity, too.

Partner / Add-On: Undertow's Minicon companion is Waterlog, a translucent blue-green figure with brown/gold limbs. I very much like Waterlog's design, from the fighter-pilot-helmet head to the wings and the big guns on his back. Makes him look like a flying infantry soldier from some Science Fiction B-Movie. He’s also as articulated as you can expect from a little guy like this, able to bust a lot of moves. Only problem is that he’s quite back-heavy, so you always have to make him bend forward a bit.

Like all PCC Minicons he is advertised as having four modes: robot, gun for the robot, gun for the vehicle mode, and armor for the robot. It's really just three modes, as the gun modes for robot and boat are pretty much the same. Waterlog looks cool as a gun, though, so no complaints here. The chest armor mode on the other hand isn’t the greatest, as you either have the wing tips or the gun barrels point down, both of which doesn’t look that great. Bottom line, though, a very decent Minicon.

Power Core Mode: Like all non-Minicon Power Core figures, Undertow can transform into the torso of a larger robot that can then use the drones available in the Power core 5-packs as limbs. Undertow is... strange, as a torso. I love the fact that they gave him an old-style diver's helmet as a secondary head for this mode and the fact that his gatling guns now rest on his shoulders is very nice, too. Articulation is as good as with most of the Power Core torsos, not perfect but fully sufficient. Overall, though, I'm not really into this mode. Not sure why, but I don't like his proportions here and he just seems very awkward. No objective things to complain about, I just don't like this mode.

Remarks: I have a very up-and-down relationship to the Power Core Combiner line. When it was first announced, I very much liked the concept. When the first figures came out, though, I was disappointed due to the lack of robot modes in the drones / limbs (hot on the trail of the similarly disappointing Supreme Devastator from ROTF). Recently, though, fellow TF-Fan BlackZarak loaned me his complete Power Core Combiner collection for review purposes and I came to recognize that many of the PCC figures were, if not spectacular, quite decent Transformers.

Undertow is among the best of the PCC figures. He has a great robot mode, a nice alternate mode, and while the Power Core torso mode isn’t the best ever, it’s fully serviceable, too. Plus, a nicely done Minicon as well. Personally I’d have preferred Undertow as a “normal” figure without the PCC gimmick, but either way, he’s a pretty cool toy and a good deal even for those who don’t like and don’t intent to use the PCC gimmick. Thumbs up.

Rating: A-
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