Now, time for Combiner Wars. The Protectobots are released under the third wave of the line with different approach as before. Unlike the Aerialbots and Stunticons, all members of the Protectobots are all released in the same wave.

G1 Protectobots
Pic Credit : TFWiki

Aside from G1/G2 version (and comic books), the Protectobots (as a team) were never included in any other newer Transformers series unlike Constructicons, Aerialbots and Combaticons for instance, that made appearance (an iteration of them) in the Energon/Superlink series among others.

Some back stories of the characters and a third party version of them by TFC can be found below

In Package 

1 – Blades

The first of five, Blades. While the packaging of the Stunticons use purple highlights at the top of the packaging, the Protectobots use cyan. He comes in the same collector-style packaging just like second wave of Combiner Wars.

Back View

Character’s Bio

Comic Book and Instruction Manual
I need to come back and reconfirm which issue is the comic book

2 – Rook

Rook is the new member of the Protectobots, replacing Groove (just like Alpha Bravo and Offroad).

Back View

Character’s Bio

Comic Book and Instruction Manual

The Transformers : Robots In Disguise #30

3 – First Aid

Front View

Back View

Character’s Bio

Comic Book and Instruction Manual

I need to come back and reconfirm which issue is the comic book

4 – Streetwise

Front View

Back View

Character’s Bio

Comic Book and Instruction Manual

I need to come back and reconfirm which issue is the comic book

5 – Hotspot

Hotspot numbered 3 out of five in the 3rd wave and he’s 4th voyager in Combiner Wars line (5th is Cyclonus, or the other way around)

Back View

Character’s Bio

Unlike the Deluxes, Hotspot comes with an instruction manual and also a collectors card, instead of a comic book.

However, instead of using artwork based on the figure, it is based on GDO Voyager Hotspot (Inferno mold).

Alt Mode

1 – Blades

Just like what people expected once the knew that Hasbro will be recycling the previous combiner wars mold, Blades uses Aerialbot Alpha Bravo’s mold.

In alt mode, there’s no difference between Blades and Alpha Bravo aside from the color scheme. Blades’ alt mode in general suits him but he could’ve gone better without the missiles.

Comparison with Alpha Bravo

Both the gun and the combiner’s part are the same that came with Alpha Bravo before.

2 – Rook

The newcomer, Rook, transform into an armored SWAT vehicle, something that surprises me considering he should be part of a rescue team.

Rook’s alt mode is really solid and personally, I like him. The detailing are nicely done but with minimal to none paint application especially on the rims (as expected).

The alt mode feels solid albeit being a bit hollow, all the parts pegs in good and there’s almost no visible robot parts anywhere.

Rook comes with a clamp as a weapon while the combiner part seems new, not recycled from previous releases.

3 – First Aid

Next, First Aid. From the looks of his alt mode, it’s hard to see that First Aid is actually a retool of Offroad from the previous wave.

I’m used to see Hasbro releasing a variant figure with new head, weapons or minor detailing but they went all out with First Aid up to a point that you can’t see Offroad’s alt mode at all.

The overall paint apps are nicely done but as usual with Hasbro releases, they won’t pay any attention to the back part of the alt mode which in this case, no paint apps at all.

Comparison with Offroad

Like I said, despite sharing the same mold, First Aid has been massively retooled to almost not look like Offroad at all in his alt mode.

But the weird thing despite the amount of retool done, First Aid carry the same axe and combiner part as Offroad.

4 – Streetwise

My favorite alt mode of all the limbs, Streetwise, transform into a car that is based on R35 Nissan GTR police car.

Again just like First Aid, he was massively retooled from Dead End where the car shell is totally new.

Not sure how everybody elses Dead End but mine, the pegs for the legs/back part of the car is quite loose. Luckily Streetwise doesn’t have that problem and the alt mode is really solid.

Comparison with Dead End

As you can see, compared to Dead End, Streetwise is like a totally new mold rather than a variant of him.

However, based on my observation, the retools might be the reason why the Protectobots lack the paint apps and detailing compared to the Stunticons. 
From my understanding, there’s somewhat a fixed cost for every wave of releases. You can see from other lines, whenever there’s new mold introduced, there must be a simple figure (lower production cost) included in the set. So if my understanding is correct, due to the cost of retooling for this wave, the detailing is not that well done compared to the previous wave. But, this is just my stupid baseless theory.

Streetwise comes with the same combiner part as Dead End but with different weapon. Again, it’s quite surprising considering Hasbro didn’t bother to give First Aid a new weapon to replace the axe.

5 – Hotspot

The most anticipated of the set however, is Hotspot, the leader of the Protectobots.

I’m not sure whether the alt mode really exist but the front portion of it resembles a Rosenbauer Panther 6×6, the vehicle that was used as alt mode from Sentinel Prime in Dark of The Moon. The alt mode is quite light, not as I expected. The front part is quite hard to tab together properly so you need time to properly transform him without stressing the joints.

The black piece at the back of the alt mode is quite thin and not solid which is quite disappointing. Really hate thinking how low the quality and built of the figure now compared to CHRUG releases few years back. Hotspot’s hands can be seen clearly from the back as there’s no wrist joint and the hands are molded (see later in this review).

The base of the ladder can be rotated 360o and the ladder itself can be moved upwards but can’t be extended.

Group shots

Not sure how I’m going to say this but despite loving the group shots, there seems to be too many color involves that I don’t really feel that they are a team. If I had to guessed, it maybe because of the darker blue on Streetwise and Hook as they don’t match Hotspot’s shade of blue (minor nitpick).

Robot Mode

1 – Blades

Moving on, we start with the figure that interest me the least, Blades. Like I said, he is a retool of Alpha Bravo but since only the head was changed, I can’t really feel that he’s a different character.

Side View

For those who had problem with the rotor blades on Alpha Brave where they are quite loose making it hard to have them facing upwards, Blades is a lot better.

Back View

Hasbro gave him a new head, good! But personally, the head sculpt was done quite poorly.

Comparison with Alpha Bravo

Just like previous releases, the combiner part can be used as a handheld blaster but then again, don’t really like it.

In general, the joints are tight which make posing him quite easy. He comes with a ball-jointed head and shoulders, ratchet joint on the elbows, swivel joint on the waist, ball-jointed hips and ratchet joint on the knees.

2 – Rook

Despite not liking newcomer taking over, I personally like Rook. The transformation between mode is quite easy, much like any other newer figures nowadays.

He comes with a medium-size backpack which is not that bad and doesn’t affect his stability despite not having heels to support him.

Back View

The head sculpt is nicely done with clean finishing and detailing. It reminds me of an American Footballer’s helmet a bit (or protective gears worn by the police)

The hands is quite weird as the 5mm ports are not on his hands but rather in front of them (also 5mm).

Rook doesn’t come with any loose joints which is a good thing. He comes with a ball-jointed head and shoulders, ratchet joint on his elbows, waist swivel, ball-jointed hips, hinge on the knees and the best part, ankle tilts, something that doesn’t often exist in the new Combiner Wars line.

The hollow legs are quite a turn off however since it’s due to the transformation, nothing much I can say about it.

Since the 5mm port on the hands are facing forward, using the combiner part as handheld weapon looks a bit out there. Luckily, it can be properly stored on his back.

The clamp can be attached to the front part of the hands which is a unique way of doing it. And I don’t mind at all. But if this was done few years back, the hands must be able to be folded inside or the fists slid inwards into the arms.

3 – First Aid

First Aid transformation is straight forward and bears no difference to Offroad’s transformation despite the massive retooled that can be seen in his alt mode.

Side View

Back View

The head sculpt is nicely done, homaging G1 First Aid, no question. Before this, there was a conversion kit transforming TF:Prime Ratchet to First Aid. Now you have First Aid.

Comparison with Offroad

Despite the same transformation sequence, First Aid robot mode is also different from Offroad, not only his alt mode.

Not only the head, almost all parts of First Aid’s body are different from Offroad, head to toe, back to front.

Back View

First Aid comes with ball-jointed head and shoulders, ratchet joint on the elbows, waist swivel and hinge on the knees. He doesn’t have wrist joint nor ankle tilts.

4 – Streetwise

Next, Streetwise, retooled of my favorite Combiner Wars Stunticons, Dead End, which not only shows in alt mode but also in robot mode. The overall joints are a lot better than Dead End which really made me happy as Dead End was a bit disappointing.

Side View

Back View

Hasbro did great designing the head sculpt which almost homage G1 Streetwise to the letter with clean paint apps all over. His chest is painted black without any highlights or anything to resemble G1 Streetwise who had his windshield on his chest.

Comparison with Dead End

Streetwise comes with a new head, chest piece and also lower legs, enough to differentiate him from Dead End.

From what can be seen in alt mode, the hood is also different.

The mold itself has good articulation already but with better joints, the figure is really fun to play with.

Streetwise comes with a ball-jointed head and shoulders, hinge on the elbows and wrists (from transformation), waist swivel, ball-jointed hips and ratchet joints on the knees.

Streetwise comes with a shotgun which is fitting his police aesthetic.

5 – Hotspot

I remembered how excited people were when Hotspot’s pictures were revealed. Having him in hand, he looks even better. The shade of blue used resembles G1 Hotspot’s, a good homage to his G1 character. The transformation is quite simple aside from the ladder part as you need to be familiar with it first.

Side View

Back View

Again, Hasbro nailed the sculpt for Hotspot (although he was also seen in the G1 cartoon with mouth rather than mouth plate but I personally like this version better). Not only that, the red chest piece and the deco on the shoulders are actually based on G1 Hotspot’s toy.

Comparison with Silverbolt

Hotspot is half-a-head taller than Silverbolt which is still acceptable, not too tall him look out of place when put besides Silverbolt. Hotspot comes with 2 blasters homaging G1 Hotspot’s “Fireball Cannons”.

Articulation wise, he doesn’t disappoint.

Hotspot comes with a ball-jointed head (limited movement), hinge and swivel on the shoulders, double-jointed elbows, ratchet joints on the hips and double-jointed knees. It’s a pity however that he doesn’t come with any articulation on his hands (molded) and waist as that would’ve made him even better.

In general, Hotspot might feel a bit light and hollow but the overall figure is not bad. In fact, he’s my favorite out of the 3 team leaders so far. 

The Protectobots

One might not like the combiners of the line so far but I think it’s undeniable the individual modes look better than any 3rd party releases. I liked the Aerialbots and Stunticons before and now, I freaking love Hasbro’s Protectobots.

Despite the 2 fail points (1 unoriginal member and the fact that 3 out of 5 are retool figures), the Protectobots really feel like a nice update to the characters, balancing G1 homage and new design.

Autobot Combiners

The review of Defensor will be done in 2-3 days, hopefully. Sorry for the delay, hope you guys can be patient.
BTW, another reason why I like the Combiner Wars so far is that (excluding Leader class as they didn’t exist before in CHRUG lines) in just 3 waves, we already had 4 unique voyager class figures and 12 unique deluxe class figures as the only time previous release was included in new wave was in Wave 2 where included Silverbolt again. Whereas in previous lines, you’ll be seeing half of the figures included in other wave, sometime more than once.

Combiner Wars line will continue until 2016 but for this year, what else do we have coming? As far as being revealed, there are Deluxe Quickslinger (Slingshot) and Wild Rider (Break Neck),  Leader Class Thundercracker (in this wave also), Ultra Magnus, Titan Devastator and…..well, that’s it?