Sunday, August 28, 2016

TFC Toys Hades - Liokaiser

Although I did individual write-ups of Minos and Thanatos, I'll just post the rest as a single group. Engineering and design are very similar across all six figures. I absolutely love combiners, but they are so much work.

Vehicle modes are mostly pretty successful. The jets look absolutely wonderful from above. From the sides and underneath, they don't quite have that robot with a jet backpack silhouette, but they are pretty sloppy and kibbly. At least the heads are somewhat hidden. Canopies and landing gears all work. Rhadamanthus' swing wings also work. Cerberus has a futuristic dune buggy look to him. Thanatos and Hypnos could have used some tiny wheels on the non-functioning treads, but are otherwise great representations of a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun and a drill tank. Line work, transparent plastic, and paint applications all come together to give all the vehicles a lot of visual interest.

Transformation of the various figures is not that difficult, except for the legs on Thanatos and Hypnos. Those ratchets on the combiner feet are pretty tight, and feeding them in and out of the legs is a required step. Cerberus' transformation to vehicle mode feels incomplete because nothing in the rear section tabs in securely. The jets and not-tanks have a very Combiner Wars feel to them. Unfortunately, a few hinges use transparent plastic.

As a group of robots, the set is pretty interesting to look at and fun to play with. Everyone has a slightly different expression. Everyone's light piping works pretty well. My only real big complaint is about the combiner pegs on Rhadamanthus's arms.

All except Cerberus have their heads on ball joints. They all swivel at the biceps, wrists, waists, and thighs. Every hand is fixed. All the jets have double jointed-elbows. Everyone has single-jointed knees. All hips are on universal joints. Only Cerberus has ratchets in his thighs.

Except for Minos, Aiakos, and Hypnos, the only accessories for each figure are the Breast Animals. These have varying degrees of success as creatures, are serviceable as breastplates, and all fail as weapons.

The four-legged creatures are nicely detailed. They are not quite as good as Masterpiece Ravage, Laserbeak, and Ratbat, but are better than the Fall of Cybetron minions and KFC Steel Jaw and Rhinohorn. My favorite is Bisonbreast. Hornbreast could have used larger horns. Lionbreast and Jaguarbreast are mold mates of each other and are similar to the previous two. Hawkbreast is like a poor man's Laserbeak. KĊmorobreast looks absolutely goofy and is the weakest of the set.

None of the Breast Animals make convincing weapons. They all have 5mm ports. Because of the short length of the pegs and the sculpt of the figures' forearms, KĊmorobreast barely stays plugged in Minos' hands and Hawkbreast doesn't fit at all in Aiakos' hands.

Minos comes with clawed combiner hands. Aiakos comes with normal combiner hands and weapons. Both sets of hands are typical of TFC hands. The paint is a little sloppy. Each finger articulates individually. The thumbs are on ball joints, with pins through the two knuckles. The rest of the fingers are pinned through their three knuckles. The combiner hands from Aiakos also transform into weapon pylons for under the jet wings, but are too heavy for the hinges of the wings. The two long rifles are identical. Although they use 5mm ports, these rifles are too large for the individual figures and can not be held by the combiner hand. Although they fit, they are too heavy to plug under the wings of the jets. They combine with the cannon, which has a hinged handle that switches between a normal 5mm peg and the one required by the combiner hands. Hypnos comes with a three-section staff, with chains linking the sections. It also forms into a large staff that the combiner hands easily grip. Aiakos also comes with some replacement combiner pegs.

Transforming each figure into combined mode is straight forward. The hardest part seems to be clipping them all together. You have to blindly force two pegs on Rhadamanthus into clips on Cerberus with an uncomfortably large amount of force. It doesn't help that there are very few places to get a solid grip on either figure. Then you have to get two small pegs into tiny ports. I had to use a screwdriver to widen one of the ports. It was also a pain to attach the limbs via their connector ports, but the connection seems solid when plugged correctly. For all the faults of the Combiner War figures, the one thing I wish that others would copy is their connector system. For Thanatos and Hypnos, I had trouble plugging them in until I realized that the half of the chest which stays up needs to be plugged into the robot mode port rather than the vehicle mode port.

Combined mode is where this set really shines. The head sculpt looks wonderful. Despite the hodgepodge of individual colors, Hades still looks cohesive. Unfortunately, there is a lot of play in the connector ports of the legs so he's a bit wobbly. He almost needs the large staff to use as a cane.

Officially his head can only achieve a nodding motion, but if you disconnect the peg in the back of his head, you get to use Rhadamanthus' ball jointed neck. You get ratcheted swivels and hinges from the connector ports for the shoulders and knees. Minos' and Aiakos' waist swivels provide the bicep swivels. The combiner hands swivel at the wrists. The integrated feet are composed of separate toes and heal spurs. Each has a swivel, an ankle tilt, and a ratcheted rocker. In all honesty, I find the fiddliness of combiners to make articulating them not so much fun. Hades is no different, but I'm satisfied having him tower over all the Voyager sized figures in my CHUG collection. Unlike most other combiners, Hades has no trouble standing stiff straight because the shin pieces don't knock into each other.

I will most likely leave this set in combined mode next to all the other Combiners in my collection. Despite a few aggravating transformation mechanics, this is a well made and fun set. Although I have sworn off their Old Soldiers line, I'm looking forward to completing TFC Toys' Poseidon set of combiners.


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