You know what I hate? I hate it when a cool character is introduced into a comic or cartoon series, the whole point of which is to market a corresponding toy line, and then that character doesn’t get made into a toy. It’s a silly thing for a 35 year-old man to be complaining about, I know, but it bothered me even more so when I was a kid. Kwinn the Eskimo and Dr. Venom are prime examples. Both of them were created by Larry Hama specifically for the G.I. Joe comic in the 80s. They played a pretty significant role in those early stories before the book was flooded with Hasbro-mandated new characters. I wanted to play out the stories I was reading in the comics but I couldn’t because those key characters never had toys. Arcee, the female Transformer, is another good example. Luckily toy companies nowadays realize that nostalgic toy collectors make up a large part of their consumer base and so they, every now and again, give us toys we’ve been waiting decades for. Kwinn, Dr. Venom, and Arcee all have action figures now. Mattel has been doing a great job with their Masters of the Universe Classics line giving fans figures of characters who may have only appeared once in the old cartoons but left lasting impressions; Icer is a good example.
But it’s a slow process and I doubt I’ll ever own all of the characters I want. Cobra Commander’s son Billy remains elusive, and in a recent issue of IDWs Real American Hero book the Red Shadows appeared which left me wanting them in action figure form too. On the flip side, sometimes toy companies are right on the ball with releasing figures of characters created for other media. Wraith from the Devil’s Due G.I. Joe book and Agent Helix from the movie-based Joe video game are good examples. And Hasbro was pretty quick about getting a Drift figure out once he was introduced in the IDW Transformers comic.
The figure that I’m reviewing today is an Autobot who was created by writer Simon Furman for the UK version of the Transformers comic book way back in 1986. I had already stopped reading the American Transformers book by that time so I was most certainly out of the loop with European Transformers. I’m sure some British Transformers fans have been clamouring for an Impactor figure since the 80s but I wasn’t introduced to the character until I read IDWs “Last Stand of the Wreckers” mini-series which came out in 2010. I know I praise the Transformers comic books a lot but it was this particular mini-series that solidified for me that IDW was making the best Transformers comic books ever. It told the epic story of (as the title clearly states) the last stand of the Autobot’s elite task force known as the Wreckers. Impactor was the leader of the Wreckers. He was big, strong, loaded with weapons, and just had a very cool overall appearance. His head was designed in such a way that it looked like he was wearing the helmet of a roman gladiator.
At the time, I thought he was a newly created character, as I wasn’t aware of his 1980s UK appearances, so he seemed an unlikely candidate to be made into a toy. And yet Hasbro threw fans of the Wreckers a bone recently by releasing the “Fall of Cybertron” Combaticon figures repainted to look like the legendary Autobot team. Between the new heads and new the color schemes you can barely notice that the Wreckers are practically identical to your Combaticons. Hasbro even came up with a new combiner (Ruination) for the Wreckers to merge into, something they never did in the comics.
The leader of the Combaticons, Onslaught, was the base figure used to create Impactor. The entire figure sculpt is identical to Onslaught except for the new heads. Impactor has a newly tooled head which captures the helmeted gladiator look perfectly. He’s got a nice little sneer too which seems appropriate since he’s such a hardass. Because he forms the torso of Ruination he also has a larger additional head “hidden” on his back which can be flipped up to replace the standard head when in combined mode. The Ruination head is also a brand new piece, not just a rehashing of Bruticus’s head.
Impactor comes with two large guns, a double barreled cannon and a projectile firing launcher. He can hold them while in robot mode or they can be attached to his vehicle mode as well. In the comics Impactor was shown to transform into some sort of drilling vehicle but since this toy is a repaint of Onslaught he transforms into a Cybertronian truck identical to the alt mode of his Decepticon counterpart. I really don’t care that his alt mode isn’t comic book accurate because I never transform my toys into vehicles anyway.
I’m very glad to get an action figure of Impactor but there is a quality issue here. I was quite disappointed with the Combaticons when I opened them up this past Christmas. Vortex and Blast Off were decent but Swindle, Brawl and Onslaught felt really cheap and fragile. All 3 of those toys looked like total crap from behind, like no thought went into it at all; and unfortunately Impactor has inherited all of Onslaught’s design problems. His back is really hollow, the Ruination head is clearly visible, and his arms have really wonky articulation. Another odd choice that Hasbro made was flipping his colors. He’s orange and purple like he’s supposed to be but the colors are the reverse of his comic book appearance. All those problems aside, I really like this character so I’m going to give this figure a 7 out of 10.