Over the last few years, I’ve enjoyed branching out evermore into the Takara design back-catalogue, rather than just collecting Transformers branded items.  This has opened the door to my love of big, bulky Brave toys from the nineties, and to the early 1980s Diaclone and Micro-Change figures that were not utilized in the Transformers line.

As a subline to the New Microman line, Micro-Change figures avoided all mass-shifting complications by existing in a 1:1 scale.  Hence they were real world objects such as cassettes, guns, microscope, and Penny Racer deform toy cars.  Only Browning held this scale over into the TF line, transforming into a tiny robot sidekick in the Japanese cartoon.

A quick look at a catalogue reveals some familiar faces, the shot below is of the 1984 Gig Trasformer releases.


Not pictured in the catalogue above are Perceptor and Blaster, and a few more releases that didn’t make it into Transformers.

I could write articles about each of these releases quite easily, and spend weeks just discussing some of the other Diaclone toys that never made it to the Transformers line, but today, our focus is on these two:


MC17 Con Combinazione

This guy is a working combination lock, known as Dial Man in Japan.  I wouldn’t want to use it to secure any valuables because I imagine it wouldn’t take much force to tear it open, and I’d be more concerned about the damage to the toy than most “valuables”.


Packaged in alt. mode, it’s another one of the Micro-Change “common things beside you”, an every-day household item that also transforms into a robot defender.  The combination for the locks varies, but due to its transformation the middle number is always 8, reducing 1,000 possibilities down to a mere 100.  Like I said, you shouldn’t really be using it as a lock anyway, but as a kid I’m confident I totally would have.  The “secret” combination is stickered on the back, and for the sake of completion and minty freshness that is where it will stay.



Shush! Don’t tell anyone.


The transformation is great fun, starting with unlocking it which pops up the robot head in the process.  From there, it’s a few familiar twists and turns to get this into that familiar Takara bipedal form.  It works exactly how you want it to.  The metal hoop is very obvious, but Takara try to mitigate this using it as a missile holder (unshown, as I am keeping my missiles on the sprue).



He’s a lot of fun.  He does come with a stickersheet (unapplied), but the simply factory-applied chest sticker screams early Transformer to me, and he’ll absolutely fit in with the rest of my curiosos and unreleased figures, squeezed in with the e-hobbies somewhere.

MC18 Magnetico

Released in Japan as Magneman, Magnetico is a working key lock, with a magnetic twist (the name might have given that away).  Again, I would want to use the lock to secure a factory full of Aston Martins, but as a kid I would have had great fun with this.  The lock mechanism is actually quite strong, with a metal lock coming up out of the foot into the hoop lock, put to the stress, I think the plastic would fail long before the metal mechanism.



No, he’s not just a Mini-Blaster.


Unlike MC17, this guy comes with a little handgun which can be stored in his opening chest cavity in either mode.  The magic comes when you open the foot panel and jam the handgun into the open hole, this allows a release on the lock mechanism meaning you can pop it back down into the unlocked position.  Quite genius, and like a lot of the Micro-Change, feels very ahead of it’s time (considering it’s now 33 bloody years old!).


Free to transform him, you’re in for a treat, transforming like a slightly more intricate Blaster.  He makes a fun robot, and again the metal hoop can be used as a missile holder.  The slide-down hands are similar to what Astrotrain nearly received before Hasbro cost-cutting nixed that idea.  You can see the hole with magnet reactive metal in his right shin, and the magnet in the end of his handgun; this is what is used to unlock him in lock mode.

No doubt had they been released as TFs they’d have been Decepticons due to the way Hasbro / Marvel split the 1984 range, but I like to think of them as classic enemies to each other rather than a sub-group within a faction.  If I was in charge of naming them I would have made MC17 a Decepticon called Lockout, and MC18 an Autobot called Secure. But I’m not and they aren’t.



I’m no expert on the Micro-Change line at all, and I’m still collecting them and discovering more about them every day, but for my money there is no better collection of Micro-Change than in Ras’ collection.  Check it out if you want to see some amazing bits.


In conclusion; these are not the most expensive toys in the world, nor are they the hardest to find.  I bought these in the last five minutes of Botcon this year on a complete whim, offering a dealer much less than he was asking for on my way out of the dealer hall and to my surprise he said yes!  Score.  On tone with what I was saying above, they’re not the most expensive toy I bought at Botcon, or the rarest, but man are they fun!

Two original Takara molds from 1984 I have had no prior experience with, how could I say no?  Easily my favourite purchase of the show.

Thanks for reading,

-Sid / CZH / Ceno / Another name I made up for no reason.

I am very pleased to show two new acquisitions, two bits I’ve been trying to hunt down for ages for my Brave collection.

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Released in 1997 for the final series of Brave TV shows; King of Braves Gaogaigar, we have two great looking robots; HyoRyu and EnRyu.

Although not many figures were released in the final year of Brave, and given that it’s arguably the most popular of all of the series, with several licensed releases of Gaogaigar released by several different companies, these guys have been some of the HARDEST figures I have ever hunted for.  Harder to find than most mainline Transformer release (but nothing like some of those early Diaclone figures!).  It’s easier to find a Big Powered boxset, Darkwings, Grandus, than it is to find these, and trust me, I have hunted for them on Yahoo Auctions, various ebay sites, lots of dedicated giant robot forums, and even on foot looking around Hong Kong.  It’s a testament to Transformers how easy even the rare figures can be to find, as everyone knows what they’ve got now.  Not so with some of the Brave figures.

They’re not particularly expensive though, when I finally found them, the guy accepted a reduced Buy It Now offer for the two, and the only annoying part of the transaction was that he would not ship to the UK, so I had to send these to a very good mate in the US who is very patient and doesn’t mind me taking the mickey with proxy shipping.  Thanks Kev.

Now bear with me with these, as I don’t watch the TV show, and I don’t understand Japanese, and I don’t actually know that much about the world of Brave itself.  I just love the Brave toyline for one reason; they were made by Takara, and you can see the influence of some of those early G1 designers in these figures.  I often look at these figures as a parallel universe where the Takara designers kept working on the G1 aesthetic with a heavy emphasis on fun and chunky toys with Giant Robo combination play patterns, while the Hasbro guys went their own way with Beast Wars.  Essentially, this is what they are, but with zero official Transformers crossover, as these were designed for Sunrise, a famous animation studio who work with legendary mecha designer Kunio Okawara.


In their own way, Brave figures contribute, borrow from, and add to the world of Transformers, sometimes in ways people don’t expect.


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G1 Inferno, EnRyu, and Maketoys Hellfire.

In the bright, primary colour of red, with an obvious firetruck mode and a huge ladder to go with it, it’s obvious to see the Inferno parallels with this guy.  In all honesty, he feels more like Fire Convoy from Car Robots, or maybe Galaxy Convoy.  Above, I show him with G1 Inferno and Maketoys Hellfire, just for a bit of context on the size of these toys.  His elemental powers are reflected in the head on his forehead symbol.

*Updated with show info from the Wiki in italics*

GGG Super-AI Vehicle Machine, model number GBR-3. His vehicle form is a fire truck, and he attacks with a handgun and an infrequently used chest-mounted flamethrower, the “Chest Warmer.” EnRyu also carries a Mirror Coating-equipped shield on his left arm, which is capable of returning attacks if it can fully absorb them. After the initial Primeval attack, EnRyu is retrofitted with the ability to fire Ul-Tech beams in place of heat from his handgun. When first charged with “THE POWER”, EnRyu instead fires bolts of the mysterious energy from his handgun. There is a running gag focusing on EnRyu’s inability to land correctly after aerial deployment – although he actually lands properly in vehicle mode once and later as the pilot of Liner Gao, suggesting it is his construction (or the weight of his Mirror Shield) that throws him off. He eventually gets used to it, and in FINAL he manages to save a falling elevator car while crashing.

His name means “Fire Dragon”.

Has a hot, headstrong, brash personality. Even though they are twins with the same AI and the same training, the brothers have opposing personalities and sometimes argue. HyoRyu suggests in a passing remark at one point that EnRyu’s hotness is a result of his overloading heater (to which EnRyu retorts that HyoRyu’s cooling systems have cooled his heart as well).


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HyoRyu is the blue one, and visually borrows quite a lot from Grapple with his crane mold, a slight retweak of EnRyu as with their Transformer predecessors.  The blue works well, and has inspired me to attempt a G2 Grapple with the blue colourscheme at some point.  Notice the ice detailing on his head as well.


GGG Super-AI Vehicle Machine, model number GBR-2. His vehicle form is a mobile crane, and he attacks with a rifle and a freezing ray, and a Chest Thriller that blows our freezing winds (which he often uses to put out flames). After the initial Primeval attack, HyoRyu is retrofitted with the ability to fire Ul-Tech beams in place of cold from his rifle and gun if he wishes. When first charged with “THE POWER”, HyoRyu fires bolts of the mysterious energy from his weapons.

His name means “Ice Dragon”.

Has a calm, collected, calculating (all compared to EnRyu) personality.


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In robot mode, these guys are simple enough.  The emphasis for this toyline was similar to the TV show, it’s a constant battle of one-up-manship leading towards the Ultimate Perfect-Mode Combination Super Robot, a format that Car Robots / Robots in Disguise (2000) followed.  If you’re looking for super detailed, multi-articulation from your robots, then these aren’t the guys for you.  However, Bandai have released non-transforming PVC versions of most of the characters from King of Braves, so you might find something more action figurey for you yet!

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Obviously, these guys share the same base mold (as do their brothers Furyu & Rairyu, but more about them another day!), but with subtle differences such as mirror heads, and differing alt. mode kibble like the fire-ladder and crane, which can be held as weapons or stored on their backs, but it’s a bit clunky.  Better to put them to one side and forget about them for individual modes.

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They can store their handguns in their legs, and these guns actually double as the hands for the combined mode.  This is a great feature, but while they can be stored I wouldn’t recommend it, as getting them out again can be a pain.  Given that the combined mode head and breast plate cannot be stored, it sort of defeats the purpose.

Wait, did you say combined mode?

Duh!  It’s Brave.


The combined mode of HyoRyu and EnRyu!


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These guys basically split down the middle and stand on end, and then join with the other one to form a very unique looking combined form.

Again, you can store the ladder and crane on the hips, almost like a sword scabbard (as seen on the excellent Duke Fire), but alas, with no sword, they just make the figure insanely deep and limit display options, so I leave them out.

The Symmetrical-Docked form of HyoRyu and EnRyu, formed when their “SympaRate”, a measure of their synchronization and unity of purpose, reaches 100%. ChoRyuJin is a defensive specialist with his Mirror-Coating Chestplate (which he uses at the risk of his life) and ability to use the Eraser Head tool. He also possesses HyoRyu and EnRyu’s Gun, Rifle, and Tonfa attacks, usually used in “Double” form (firing from both sides at once). He can also fire all of his projectile weapons at once for a full-burst-style attack. After the initial Primeval attack, ChoRyuJin is retrofitted with the ability to fire Ul-Tech beams in place of heat or cold, which appear similar to most beam weapons in anime.

In technical specifications (and finally shown in FINAL), he also has the desperate final attack “Super Nova” – in which HyoRyu and EnRyu turn their respective dials to “Infinite” and simultaneously blast the enemy with their Chest attacks. Due to the placement of the chest plates on ChoRyuJin, he could not actually use this attack while Symmetrical-Docked, but it may imply that HyoRyu and EnRyu must have a similarly high SympaRate.

Transformers fans might find this combined form concept slightly familiar looking.  It was one used in Transformers Animated for the combined mode of Jetstorm and Jetfire; Safeguard.


A lot of people would argue that while the show pulled it off, the toys didn’t manage to execute the look as cleanly as they might.  One of the few disappointments of the TF:Animated line.


It just goes to show that even the most obscure of combining gimmicks, from a more obscure TV show with no real ties outside of a toy licensee, can go on to have impact over a decade later in the TF fandom.  And that’s why I love this hobby, every single moment adds something to the overall tapestry of the brand.  Mecha informs Transformers, Transformers inform Brave, inform Giant Robo Mecha, inform Transformers.  It all comes full circle.

Thanks for reading!

Click here to see their brothers FuRyu and RaiRyu in a more recent article.

13 Apr 2016

Hot Toys Vision

Hot Toys Vision has landed at Kapow Toys, so we thought we would give you awesome people a look at him.

He is a figure that I wasn’t sure I wanted but in hand, he is simply stunning.  With one of the most life like heads sculpts i have seen so far.

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This Guy is in stock now and is available with free shipping!!! Get your HERE!

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