Hasbro Transformers Power Core Combiners Undertow with Waterlog Hasbro, 2011
Day #492: September 21, 2012
Undertow with Waterlog
Transformers Power Core Combiners Deluxe
Item No.: Asst. 98443 No. 28631 Manufacturer:Hasbro Includes:Waterlog Mini-Con Action Feature:Transforms from boat to robot Retail:$9.99 Availability: Early 2011, no real retail distribution until late 2011/2012 Other: Nice boat
Starting in 2011, Hasbro's toy distribution went from how it's always been-- spotty, but the stuff makes it out there-- to "did this even get released?" Toys like Undertow spent almost the entire year as de facto online/overseas exclusives, as the big three US toy stores didn't get them. (For your foreigners or future students of the toy world, that would be Toys R Us, Walmart, Target, and also Kmart, which really doesn't count as they're a little less relevant these days.) Usually you could count on the odd grocery store with an above-average toy section, a closeout shop like TJ Maxx, or a drug store like CVS. It didn't happen, so numerous toys from various Hasbro lines are, in the imaginations of many collectors, effectively unreleased. (Some did eventually trickle down to these channels near the end of the year.) 2012 seems to be experiencing a little more of this, although it's not quite as bad so far.
Sadly the Power Core Combiners concept was incredibly solid but didn't get much time to live. The first figures in this line showed up around July/August 2010, and the line was effectively dead at retail around January/February 2011. Undertow was one of the later releases, so short of getting some crazy Black Friday bundle or Toys R Us closeout, you probably never saw it, although it was sold online for most of 2011. The boat is a pretty simple toy with no real features to speak of, it looks OK and has a couple of cannons on the sides. You can also slap a Mini-Con on top, which it includes in the form of Waterlog. I rather like the little clear green guy because I'll buy pretty much anything Targetmasters-esque if the price is right.
The robot ain't bad. It's chunky and solid, it holds together well and in the year or so since I got it it's never fallen apart. The joints really do stay as they should, and this one makes a better toy for that very reason. The helmet looks nifty, and the toy's big fists might remind you of some of the better Energon/Cybertron releases. You'll probably like this one a bunch if you dug Energon Strongarm from 2003. I mean this as a compliment, I was really keen on those guys.
The jumbo mode is pretty cool because instead of a normal robot head, he has this Octopunch-esque diver's helmet. It's quite nice, but it's only as good as the limbs you select for it. The combined, brute mode sadly does not have any water-themed limbs as of yet, and probably never will unless a fan group makes them.
As a boat, it's a boat. It has two big guns on it and no action features to speak of, so it's sort of like the toys you probably grew up with, except with more bits and pieces. There's a Decepticon logo on one side and it's a sleek, mean looking water-based vehicle. It also feels more or less on par with the recent 2012 Generations Deluxe toys in terms of heft, which shows just how far we've fallen in terms of bang for the buck compared to how Asian manufacturing costs are catching up.
Aquatic Transformers, particularly good ones, are far and few between. I don't suspect you'll see a repaint of this mold in the USA, and it seems that so few of these got out that they may show up again somewhere someday. (That's just a hunch, and "somewhere" may be overseas.) Keep your eyes peeled for more of this one, if you can get it for $15-$20 (or less) I think you might enjoy it. Just remember that it's more "fun" than "cool" and as such I can't really find a major fault with it. It plays well with others.
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