Cliffbee.com Combiner Wars Hook Toy Review

Individual Review




Name: Hook
Series: Combiner Wars
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Crane



CRANE MODE
Height: 6cm Length: 18cm Width: 6cm

   A green truck-mounted cane with a purple block in the centre, underneath the arm. Hook has six black tyres (two at the front, six at the rear), a silver painted hook assembly at the front of the crane arm and silver painted headlights at the front. The driver's cab is on the front right while the operator's cab is on the back right. Both feature purple painted windows, while there's a Decepticon logo stamped on the roof of the driver's cab. This certainly looks like Hook, from the shape of the vehicle to the colours (even if that purple lump under the arm is new).

   There's good and bad here. There's a gap at the back... open for the transformation. The purple block is pure kibble - Devastator's head is concealed within (the price we pay for integrated gestalt features). There's less play value here than the small G1 toy (more on that shortly). On the upside, at this scale, Hook feels more like a rather large vehicle (which these things are) than his small G1 toy did. The sculpt isn't all that detailed for a toy of this size, but there's more detail here than on the small G1 toy.

   I'm actually quite disappointed with the play value here. The arm lifts, revealing a hollow underside. Unlike G1, it doesn't extend and the hook itself is sculpted - not a seperate piece that can actually swing. He can roll on his tyres but there's almost no clearance. The crane rig at the back doesn't rotate, which is a by-product of the transformation and again, a regression from G1. There's no obvious attachment point for any of the Devastator pieces here, so no "attack" mode. There's a small hole on the purple block that looks like a gun could plug in, but the posts on the guns are too large for it.

   A large crane mode with a decent amount of detailing, but the play value is a letdown. There's no good reason (other than cheapening cost) for the crane arm to not extend; and this along with a couple of other aspects are less than we got in G1 Hook. The purple lump in the middle feels like the kibble it is, but it's fairly non-descript, which helps lessen the visual impact. Overall, this crane mode is disappointing - and it didn't need to be.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Pull out and pivot the footpads underneath, split the front and pivot out to form his calves; clip the shins into his calves. The feet unclip during transformation fairly easily, but also clip back onto the ankle joints easily enough. Unclip the rear sides to form his arms and pivot out. Flip out his hands. Pivot the cane assembly base on his back down to form a backpack and fully reveal his head, and you're done.

   It's a very simple transformation for a voyager sized toy - especially considering how little play value the crane mode has. Much of the transformation jointing in this toy is dedicated to forming Devastator's upper torso.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 19cm Width: 10cm (depending on pose)

   Hook's layout closely matches his G1 toy here - the boots aside. The arms and boots are green while his torso is purple and thighs silver. His head is black with a silver face and red eyes. There's detailed paint apps on his chest that closely match the G1 toy and cartoon - and a Deception logo in the middle of the torso. The main divergence is that there's no sign of the characteristic driver's cab on his left boot. Aside from this it's a very faithful Hook, and looks pretty good.

   While I'm personally disappointed that Hook's asymmetrical feet didn't make it here - it's one of the few distinctly asymmetrical-due-to-alt-mode features in G1, but visually, he gets away with that. I like how they've given him the boxy head with the panel on top (an artefact of the G1 transformation), even though it didn't need to be that shape on this toy.

   Poseability is good, but not perfect. His head is ball jointed while his waist is fixed. The shoulders and hips swing and lift out to the sides, although the shoulders can only lift out so far due to the green panels above them (which are faithful to G1, just inevitably in the way here). His knees are hinged with rotators at the top of his thighs. His ankles are hinged with rockers - the feet can pop off as in transformation... but not as easily as in the transformation. His elbows rotate and have hinges - slightly lower than than where they should be. The inside of his arms and boots are hollow, which means some of the more dynamic poses don't work as well visually as they could - the hollow insides of the boots don't look so good. He can hold the Devastator parts as weapons - notionally, Hook holds the front half of the gun as a handgun, and this works pretty well.

   A visually appealing robot mode, and aside from the cabin absent from his left foot, it's very G1 accurate. His head, torso and arms are all faithful to the character. The poseability works, even if there are some limitations (notably the elbow joint locations, which is actually fairly minor). This is easily Hook's stronger mode.

VARIATIONS

   There's an "exclusive" version with chromed purple elements. The Unite Warriors version has some paint changes and - most notably - a extra set of hinges in his elbows. It also comes with a G1 style handgun.

OVERALL

   Hook's vehicle mode suffers from some changes to the transformation & integration of Devastator's head into Hook... but also simplification of the crane arm, which I can only put down to a decision to reduce complexity. On the other hand, his robot mode is good, aside from missing the signature cabin on one foot. He _looks_ good in both modes, but the lack of play value in his vehicle mode holds back what should be a very good toy - 7/10

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