Hailed by many people to be the definitive Brave toy, today we take a look at Brave Fighter of Legend Da-Garn’s Pegasus Saber, released by Takara in 1992.

There is nothing conventional or by the numbers about Brave, but here we see one of the more common patterns their combiners followed, which is 3 plus 1.  3 figures make one combiner, and then another figure joins the fracas and alters the final form – sometimes majorly, sometimes merely cosmetically.

No messing, straight in we go.

Jumbo Saber, Jet Saber and Shuttle Saber


Inspiring names, huh? If you haven’t figured them out yet, they’re written right on the figures too!!

As you can see, the theme with this set is flight.  Jet Saber might seem like the stand-out figure from this set because, lets face it, it has a bit of a Jetfire vibe, albeit more CHUG Jetfire than vintage, but those swing-wings and contrasting colours really make the figure stand-out.  Shuttle Saber does a lot of things right too, but by this point (1992) we’ve already had a few different space shuttle Transforming robots, each with various pluses and minuses.

Instead, the stand-out figure here is Jumbo Saber, mostly for doing something that most Hasbro, Takara and even 3rd party designs haven’t managed to make: a transforming robot plane that doesn’t have a robot stuck underneath it!!!

If you look at Jumbo-Saber (now on the right), you can see how well the robot mode was hidden inside the plane, with none of the robot showing.  He makes excellent use of the under-wing engines as arms, two years before G2 Ransack attempts the same thing, and many years before Cybertron Wing-Saber (no relation) and Jetfire pull this off as convincingly.  His face also looks like the love-child of Soundwave and Brawl!

Shuttle-Saber does an amazing job of going from a white shuttle to a red robot, and Jet-Saber wins extra points for having a familiar-yet-different transformation that makes the whole thing feel intuitive.

Extra kudos to these guys for having pictures of their vehicle modes on their chests too!  This sort of detail is often lost on me, as I don’t have the heart to apply stickers to a lot of the formerly MISB examples I’ve bought, but I’m fast realising I should do this for all my Braves after I partially applied the sticker sheets to this guy, as he was far too bare without them.

Sky Saber


Jet-Saber does a great job as a three-in-one combiner, he feels very satisfying in hand, and in many ways complete.  You wouldn’t necessarily know he has an extra trick up his sleeve, and well, that’s just how Brave likes it.

There’s an interesting mix of colours at play here with the subdued whites and blues mixing very well with a more militaristic navy colour, and then having to content with the Brazilian flag intruding upon his chest!

Shuttle Saber makes up most of the legs, but very much in two halves, with the thighs from Jumbo Saber giving this guy a bit of a shaky looking base, but the whole thing is incredibly stable throughout and the upper body is solid like a rock.  The head mode is satisfyingly “wait, is that Prime?” in that time-honoured Brave tradition, and like most Brave combiners everything is used with no kibble or partsforming.


Notice the chest sticker; an image of an unicorn.  We’ll come back to that later.

Hawk Saber


Hawk Saber is the fourth member of the team, and while he is the weakest toy of the set, he does open the door for the Sabers to find their final form in a very impressive way.





Transforming from a robot with limited articulation and a rather MOTU Sorceress head-crest which often obscures the face, into the only member of this flight team with an animal mode, already made apparent by his alt.-mode spoilerific naming.




Like a lot of Fourth team members, the functionality of the final form comes at the price of the limitations of the fourth figure itself, as the toy is a far stretch from the awesomeness of the character designs for the show.  The alt. mode is a fairly basic looking hawk (in the vein of Decepticon Wingspan), and the figure doesn’t really transform for the final combination as much as pull apart.  But few argue at the result.



Hawk Saber has a Phoenix on his chest – just to further confuse the already confused mythical animal status of this team –  let despite this it was actually the Sky-Saber team that returned from the dead thanks to Hawk Saber, after they died at the hands of the evil Seven Changer (yeah, you heard right Sixshot; SEVEN!  Suck it!).

Pegasus Saber

And it all leads to this!


The four-man combined form of the Sabers; Pegasus Saber.

Considered by many to be the best Brave combiner of them all.


Hawk Saber offers new front legs, relegating the Shuttle Saber parts to rear legs, as well as sprucing up the torso of Pegasus Saber.  His hawk head works better as a chest mount than it does as a character head, and the new combined form head gives Pegasus a decidedly Roman-esque look.  Although his sword is not too convincing, he is one of the first transforming robot toys I can think of to come equipped with a bow and arrow.

You may have noticed that Pegasus Saber actually transforms into a winged Centaur, but hey, whatever, it’s all mythical right?  Science cannot disprove Pegasus Saber (I wish that was a quote from the show).

I’ve never actually watched the show, but I’ll happily sit down and watch all of the combination videos in a row.  Amazing stuff.


Centaur Saber is an amazing toy, and 3/4 of the individual figures are awesome in their own right.  The set gives you two amazing combined modes to choose from.  There is an awful lot to love!

But best Brave figure ever?  Best combining robot of all time?

The Jury is out on that one I’m afraid, lest we offer subjective opinion as objective fact.  For me, there are a few other Brave combiners I prefer to Pegasus Saber, but they all offer something unique and interesting, and for me that is the entire point of the Brave toyline.  As much as I like the Scramble City toys and play pattern, I feel that somewhat defines how the Transformers brand approaches combination, which is a real shame given the accomplishments of pre-TF Raiden and Devastator (which are now 35 years old!), or the excellent Liokaiser.

It’s not that Takara slavishly cater to the Scramble City style of combination either, they have gone off track plenty of times with characters like Buildking and the excellent Rail Racer, and the attempt at line-wide duo-formers that was the Energon / Superlink line; it’s more that the fans want and expect the Scramble City play pattern, and that’s fine… but for everything?  Really?  Even Combiner Wars Liokaiser?

I for one hope that the Scramble City play-pattern of Combiner Wars has sated the fans appetite for now, and I hope over the next decade or so we can get some amazing and innovative combiner concepts from Takara and Hasbro.  Sadly though, I think the success of Combiner Wars coupled with inevitable combiner fatigue might mean it’ll be some time before we get anything close to approaching the weird and wonderful world of Brave.

But who knows, the RID toyline seems to be getting more adventurous!  Fingers crossed.

Over the years, we’ve been blessed with some great exclusives in the UK.

This year we have two great exclusives available for sale at TFNation this weekend!

Kapow Toys will of course be at the show, selling the very excellent Feral Queen and Nero Queen twinpack, this MMC exclusive is only available in limited quantities, but for the awesome price of just £80.



Feral Queen started as an April Fools Joke (a long-standing MMC tradition which seems to confuse and inform more than it catches anyone out), but as is the way with these things, they joke takes on a life of their own and shows that demand for the figure actually exists.  It’s cool that fan requests such as this can make it as an exclusive down the way, and I’m sure these figures will make a lot of people happy.



They are both retools of Azalea but with brand new headsculpts from Renderform’s very own Venksta!  Nero Queen is intended for use with Nero Rex, the black recolour of Feral Rex.  Once you’ve got Feral and Nero Queen from Kapow, time to hunt out Nero Rex (I will have super limited quantities, see below).


Nero Rex


I will be there as well, working on the Comic Connections / Sid’s Transformers Toys stall, where we have the UK / European allocation of KFC Scorpinator, a dual exclusive with an American trader which saw their allocation 95% sold out in just 10 days!!!


13641307_10154262091962510_4001419753265976213_o SCORP6 SCORP5


This obscure toy is based on Action Master Devastators Scorpion companion; Scorpulator!  A homage that no-one ever asked for, but people sure seem to love!



There is a hidden third mode as well, but thanks to the amazing interactions of the fandom, we’re up to about 12 modes now, including beetle / elephant, strange robot, tattoo machine and various guns and submarine modes(!) #Hasbrosarcasm




The amazing video review by Thew is available on ThewTube Youtube and has been viewed an astonishing 13,000 times.



In the past, we’ve had the Auto Assembly 2012 Wheeljack > Marlboor conversion kit, the 2013 Badcop (Vehicon General Barricade upgrade), the 2013 Salt Men Basil and Manuel figures, and the 2014 Bluster and Trench (Animated Huffer and Pipes) in Mario and Luigi colours.  Not bad for a small little country, eh?
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And that’s not all, previous show exclusives by Kapow Toys include Perfect Effect Guardian (Warden repaint homaging Brave Maximus) and the PE11 Scouting Force X Black edition.


Addendum:  We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the very first UK show exclusive, available at (the very shortlived official) Botcon Europe 2002 in Cheshunt we had our first and only OFFICIAL UK convention exclusive in the form of Rook, a keychain reissue of Windcharger in awesome colours.  Please follow the link here to read up more about this show and exclusive.


So come see Kapow Toys and then me at TFnation this weekend.

Not going to TFnation?  Contact us after the weekend to see what’s available.

Thanks for reading, and hope to see you all this weekend!  Enjoy, and thanks to the TFNation committee for all the work they’ve put in thus far!

Continuing the theme started earlier in the week, today we’re looking at another gun mold from the Microchange line; MC07 Browning M1910.


Browning is one of a handful of toys (alongside Reflector and the first wave of Autobot cars) which have been distributed under the big three Takara banners: Microchange, Diaclone and Transformers branding.  Before we get into the details of the toys and comparison images, lets have a quick look at the different ways Browning has been released over the years.


First off, we’ll look at the Ceji Joustra distributed Diaclone version known as Robocolt, purely because – in my opinion – it’s the most visually impressive of all the packaged versions.  Featuring stunning character art from the Brizzi Brothers, it draws you in and makes you want to own it.  More so than any other release, this packaging has made me want to purchase this item again just for the box art, but that’s an expensive and dangerous path to venture down.


Next up, we have the Gig Trasformer release, prevalent in Italy.  This version features the Pistola Robot sub-theme branding, as opposed to the Japanese “Gun Robo” theme.  This is also the packaging that the Kingdam KO borrowed from.


See?!  This version was actually my first experience with the mold way back in 1999 or so, before I really knew what I was doing with collecting.  Other than the non-chromed weapons, and a slightly cheaper build quality, this guy is mostly the same as the general release Microchange figure.  Although there are variations which I’ll explain as we move on, but the more eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that the flash of colour visible on these toys has been alternating between red and blue…


The official Japanese Transformers release!  In the TF line, he became Browning, without the M1910 postfix, or a new name pulled from the ether.  What is really interesting about this gun is when he was released; in 1988 – there have been other times when pre-TF Takara figures have made it into Transformers packaging as sub-sets, such as the Microchange Orbs being released in Beast Wars and Kiss Players, or the Watch Robos being reborn as G2 figures, but it was pretty unusual for a Diaclone or Takara figure to make it into the G1 mainline outside of 84-86.

This release of Browning as a fully-fledged Transformer – with a Super-God Masterforce cartoon appearance and everything – locked his blue colour-scheme in the minds of many fans as his “true” look, and he’s notable for avoiding mass-shifting issues by following the Microchange ethos and transforming into a miniature robot, 1:1 scale with his toy.  Despite being an awesome looking figure, he was used as the least annoying cute sidekick of the 80s, often for comedic effect.


Despite the ongoing popularity of the brand these last 30 years, and gunformers in general, Browning has never had an official re-issue, which is a real shame.  However, he was “unofficially” released as a third party* toy a few years back, where he was available in both his Transformers blue and Microchange red colour-schemes.  This is very cool for those who’ve never owned the toy before, but can often be a sore point for vintage collectors.  It’s interesting to note that this reissue came with a unique sticker set featuring both Autobot and Decepticon chest stickers, what is less commonly known is that this sticker set is in itself a reproduction of a sticker sheet first designed and sold online by Ashlin-Marie, who was sadly un-credited, but hardly surprising considering the whole toy was stolen.

*Third Party Unofficial = high-end KO with 3rd Party price-point and quality.

Gun Mode

So below, we’re looking at the two versions I own.  While I cannot condone the actions of any KO company, I sadly only own the recent KO in blue, and the Kingdam KO in red.  I have used the sticker set included with the modern KO to further identify the red KO as an Autobot character in their own right, although I also own the Ashlin-Marie uncut original sticker sheet.  I’m sure this faction-swapping and Knock Off owning upsets purists, but there are so many toys out there and such extreme price-points, I have to triage my spending on molds that have not been KO’d first, one day I’ll upgrade to an original.
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He is a stunning display piece regardless of your feelings surrounding KOs, even moreso when you remember this was designed to be sold as a kid’s toy more than 30 years ago!!!  The detailing is fantastic throughout, especially on the handle with the Fabrique Nationale logo, reminding us all that this was based on a real firearm.
The transformation is often an over-looked part of a figure, especially in recent times where the transformation is a mere means to an end of a perfect looking robot or alt. mode, but with this figure, it’s an absolute joy.  In a hobby where we often look at robot mode first, alt. mode second, and transformation a distant third, it might be my favourite feature of this toy, given how elegant and simple it is, and what a great effect it has in creating two perfect modes.
The legs pull down much like with Megatron and Magnum, but the complete swing round rather than pivot forward inverses them and puts the handle interior and colour on the leg exterior, fully covering the trigger in the process, the gun barrel extends front and back, pulls up and rotates round, then folding the arms down reveals the pop-up head.  Sure, the fists are parts-forming once again, but that was often the case in those days, and it’s arguably the one thing Megatron’s awkward mode got right.

Robot Mode

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I’ve never been sure which colour scheme I prefer the most, the blue or the red?  I think that  – official release of Browning aside – the blue somehow looks more Transformery, and definitely more villainous, so I can see why Takara went that way for the 1988 release.  However, I do really think the red version works incredibly well as a toy, maybe better.

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The red makes him look more heroic, hence the Autobot logo.  Each figure also comes with two guns, so this was a good excuse to get a chromed weapon into the Kingdam mold’s hands.

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Some people might complain that the figure is all lower body, massive legs and huge feet, with a tiny upper body and head, and while there is some truth to that, it’s never to the detriment of the character, and the huge shoulders go a long way to mitigate that – an intention of the design, or a happy accident?  We may never know.  Besides, as a shape-shifting alien robot who turns into a gun, what should he look like anyway?  It’s fairly open to artistic interpretation, and this is a GREAT interpretation with very little left-over gun kibble.

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To conclude, I think it’s safe to say I love this figure.  It’s actually my favourite of the Gun Robo molds, my favourite transforming gun toy in general, and a real contender for best Microchange release.  This leaves Megatron in the dust, even with that character’s historical important, and even with the “new toy joy” of my birthday acquisition not worn off, I can easily say I prefer Browning to Magnum 44.


I mentioned earlier that there were other variations of these figures throughout the Microchange releases, such as the Gig Trasformer release having a red barrel to identify it as a replica firearm, but there were much bigger differences than that or the commonly known red and blue colour variations on the legs, there were also releases where the silver chrome had a subtly golden / bronze chromed hue, and the incredibly rare Lucky Draw Gold chrome version – a true holy grail of collecting!  If you want to really delve deep into the permutations and variations of these molds, then you simply HAVE to check out Maz’s extension article over at TF-Square 1.  This article I have written is a mere introduction to the mold and a vanity piece about my meager collecting attempts, a drop in the ocean compared to the knowledge and depth of Maz’s Diaclone love.  Seriously, check it out.

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Sadly, there have been no modern mainline, Masterpiece or even third party renditions of this great character, which really sucks.  However, while we’re in a gunny state of mind, there is still plenty of time to cast your vote in the Masterpiece Megatron wars by pre-ordering one of the potentially MP5 beating versions on offer; Maketoys Despotron or DX9 Mightron.

Thanks for reading.

Transformer gig browning, from artemisentreri collection.

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It may seem weird to us now, either as people who grew up with Beast Wars, Unicron Trilogy or even the 10 year old Movie franchise, or even as 30/40 year old adults who’ve just gotten used to tank-mode Megatrons, but there was a time when gun mode was all the rage.


Growing up, I had to make do with Galvatron, running around and making electronically provided “pew-pew” noises, but before that, and before Transformers even, there was Micro-Change, and they gave us not one, but three distinct gun mode transforming robots to choose from.


Although MC12 / MC13 made it over to the Transformers range as Megatron, and later MC07 received a release in the Japanese line as Browning, one of these molds never made it across to the Westernised Transformers brand.  That figure was MC11 Gun Robo S&W Magnum 44, otherwise known as MC11 Pistola Robot 44 Magnum in the Gig distributed Trasformer line, but affectionately known by most as simply Magnum 44.


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This was my birthday treat to myself this year, once again an expensive toy justified for my collection as a “future blog article”, when really I just wanted it for myself.  The box isn’t amazing, but it’s more than good enough for my collection, especially seeing as I’m supposed to be a Loose collector anyway (owning a unique Takara mold is the important bit for me), but I must confess to really enjoying any of the Japanese or Italian pre-Transformers releases, as I feel the packaging mitigates the risk of depreciation in the unlikely event of a reissue (legitimate or otherwise).  Sure, value is not why I collect, but all the same, it is good to protect your investment.  And damn, does the packaging make the idea of becoming a boxed collector appealing!



Of course, there are many box variations for this guy, including a very similar Japanese text box, and of course the obligatory high-end KOs, including this most interesting and very Kingdam looking packaging featuring new character art.


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This is probably how this piece looks best.  Removing the outer packaging really lets this mold shine; with the lovely sleek black weapon and wooden-effect gun handle, this really is the colour toy guns look best in.  The chrome weapon also looks great, but we can see one of the parts-forming weaknesses of this mold, with the arm extension and fists packaged separately.  All bullets are included (actually includes four extra!), but for me the highlight of this version is the pack-in cardboard targets, which feature what look like Waruder bad-guys, unusual, seeing as Microchange and Diaclone were considered separate lines.

Update:  Thanks to Bryan Wilkinson for pointing out the card artwork is of the AcroSatans (amazing name) from earlier in the New Microman line circa 1982, just before Microchange started.  There is a similarity to the Waruder designs, because these too were designed by legendary Takara designer Kohjin Ohno.


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Small cardboard targets might not look like much, but they’re the kind of thing that are not looked after and are easily damaged or lost, and for me go one step beyond, reminding jaded adult collectors such as myself that these are toys, designed to be fun for kids, not just sit behind glass on a shelf.


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Lets do gun mode first, as we’ve already teased that in packaging.  This is arguably his better side; cleaner, with the metal arm pin hidden.  The little S&W sticker is an amazing detail, from a more innocent time where not everything was licensed because many companies simply didn’t have licensing wings and Intellectual Property lawyers.  As a gun, you could probably fool a few people with it, although less so with this version and it’s EU friendly orange plug (I blame Brexit!) which was absent from the Japanese releases.  Although I daresay it would be easier to convince US police that this is real than in other countries, but would you really want too?!?


You can pull back the hammer and that locks into place, waiting for the pull of the trigger, which is presumably what makes these fire, just like a real firearm!  However, given the delicate nature of some toy’s firing pins after 35 years, I am reticent to try!  The only real negative with this alt. mode as a disguise, is that the head doesn’t really go anywhere, and just folds down, hiding the face from view.  At a glance, and in pictures, you can’t really notice, but in hand, it is glaringly obvious – as much as you might try and justify it as a sight for targeting – and the first indication that maybe this toy isn’t as perfect as it first looks.


The rounded multi-slug chamber in the middle of the gun really is the most convincing part of this toy, because it’s very hard to imagine how that transforms into a robot in a convincing way.


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The transformation is very clever.  The legs are pretty much the same as Megatron’s; flipping forwards, stretching out and unfolding feet.  For the torso, you slide and rotate the mid-section, then there is a tiny trigger release on the back of the robot which you need to activate in order to release the chamber, you fold that down and push the metal pin which somewhat amazingly reveals an upper-arm hidden INSIDE the chamber!!!  This is brilliant, and by far the genius moment of this transformation.  Unfortunately, there is not enough space in the chamber for an entire arm, hence the arm extension and plug-in fists are necessary.  A shame, but for a toy from the early-eighties, you cannot really complain.

Every holds together nicely, but I wish the chamber could click back into place just a little more on the right hand side of the body, and the shoulder joint coming mid-way down the left shoulder / mid-torso is a little odd, as seen below.


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The head detail is stunning, just a fantastic and interesting sculpt, which might make you think of this toy as Rumble or Frenzy’s Dad, as there is a bit of family resemblance there!  Colour wise, this guy is actually a little bland, and you can see how the flash or red and blue on the inside of the Megatron / Browning figures made a big difference to the robot modes.


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Everything feels great, and the figure is sturdy and displayable, but in hand, this guy just doesn’t look as nice as it does in pictures, and I think it’s purely because you never see pictures of this guy from the side, where you can see how slightly awkward the body shape is, the slightly floaty head, and how much leftover gun just sits behind the figure’s torso.  I included one above to help people make an informed choice when considering purchasing him, because this piece is a bit of a grail item these days, and was on sale at Botcon 2016 for as high as $750 for a MIB version!

That’s not to say this guy isn’t worth picking up for your collection, and certainly, I needed to buy him and he looks great on display with the other guns!  He’s an amazing little figure for the time and an excellent piece of history, but he’s definitely one for Microchange and pre-TF collectors, and perhaps one that G1 collectors who might have considered picking up to boost their G1 Decepticons might want to evaluate, because I think Hasbro definitely made the right choice when it came to picking their Decepticon leader out of the three gun molds available.


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So, just who is Kiloton?  Never let it be said that the awesome chaps and chappettes over at the TFwiki leave any obscure reference untapped, and they like to associate the obscure Kiloton character and Megatron mentor as a reference to this unused pre-TF mold.  Not for me, personally, but I always enjoy attempts to integrate unused molds into TF lore.

Sadly, there have been zero official or third party updates to this character.  Ever.  So it’s difficult to show comparisons to how he might look in 2016, or to include links back to Kapow, but just go check out the site and look at their selection of Megatrons and third party versions to see whether you prefer gun modes, or modern updated modes.  What do you think, has the time of gun mode passed?  Did G2 Megatron get it right?  Comment below, and thanks for reading!

Today we look at one of the bigger molds from the end of the Transformers line, an item that was exclusive to Asia as part of the Zone line in 1990, and then a few years later as part of Brave Express Might Gaine in 1993









C-888 Dai Atlas KO



Dai Atlas was the new Autobot Commander in the (very) short-lived Zone mono-series, and was the flagship of the 1990 line, including a box-set release as Big Powered, along with Sonic Bomber and Roadfire.





Dai Atlas is a quadformer, with four alt. modes (which feel more like 3 and a half), and because of his Micromaster compatibility one of those is the obligatory base mode.  His son Speeder accompanies him as a Micromaster partner, and we’ll show him in more focus in a few minutes.


He’s a very basic robot in terms of poseability, with only the arms moving, a term I tend to call Shampoo-Bottle Syndrome, as that is the same level of poseability as found in most character model Shampoo Bottles.  He is a great looking robot, with a lot of character.



Unfortunately, the version of the mold we’re looking at today is the “high-end” Vintage KO released a number of years back, designated C-888, as 8 is considered a lucky and prosperous number in China.  As such, there are problems with the mold:  Number One – absolute top of the list – is the head, on this version it has been glued on wonky, and badly painted.  The second blemish are the wings, that do not hold in place as well as you would expect or want them to, and come far short of what I’ve experience with genuine versions of the mold.  The rest of the figure is very good quality, to the point that the joints are probably slightly better than the Brave version.  Overall, I would say the KO makes a good temporary stand-in especially as a cheaper alternative, but it’s not to be mistaken for the real thing.



Dai Atlas is motorized, and arguably it’s greatest use is using the motorized treads as moving walkways for the base mode.  The city can link up to other Micromaster bases, including those of Roadfire and Sonic Bomber.  The functionality of those figures also comes in to play in the alt. modes, with Roadfire and Dai Atlas forming Land Powered, Sonic Bomber and Dai Atlas forming Sky Powered, and all three together forming Big Powered, hence the name of the box-set release.  We’ll be looking at Big Powered and there cross-over functionality in a future blog, today we concentrate on the Dai Atlas mold.

His Drill Tank mode above is also motorised, and can move forward or backwards.  It’s quite a fun mode, as Speeder can  man the gun turret as it goes.

His Jet mode is basically his Drill Tank mode, with the arms folded backwards, gun removed, trap-door closed and the clip-on wings attached.  It makes for a rather clunky and bottom heavy “Jet”, but it’s sort of fun in that later-day Takara way.

For me, the absolute high-light of this mold are the accessories, and their multiple uses.  The base-mode gun turret can stand on it’s own with the use of a little grey platform, the wings can become a Sword of sorts which (sort of, maybe) looks like a “Z”, and the blue ramps from base mode can join with part of the gun turret to form a shield for robot mode.  Even the little radar dishes from city mode have a use as shields of a sort for the gun.  Not everything can be used in every mode, which is a shame, and there isn’t even storage for some of the parts like we see in the thought out modern Masterpieces, but it’s still a lot of part functionality for the G1 era.



Unfortunately, the “high-end” C-888 KO of Dai Atlas only comes with a badly put together version of Speeder, so the picture above shows him with the version of Speeder that comes with Goryu.  Both are unpainted, which is a shame as a touch of paint on the face would go a long way to help both.  He transforms into a Corvette concept car.



Goryu joined the Might Gaine series in episode 26.  The animation model makes him look quite different to his recycled toy appearance, he’s much leaner and athletic in the show.  Removing the wings in robot mode goes a long way towards making his appearance look much sleeker.



Goryu is – in my opinion – a much more attractive colour-scheme, but that could just be because I haven’t seen it as often and I’m not as bored of it.



Interestingly Goryu comes with every accessory packaged with his TF predecessor, unlike Red Geist or Dagbase, meaning you can recreate all four of Dai Atlas’ modes in full.  Although there has been some debate on whether Goryu originally came with the shield handle accessory, but a recent MISB find proved that yes, it does.


He has all the same functionality as Dai Atlas as well.  Ignore the Autobot logo, some well meaning individual probably used him as a stand-in at some point, but you have to admit that logo does look right in that place!

The Jet Mode looks great, the chrome drill really pops, and the funky lightning bolt stickers make this 10% faster than Dai Atlas.

And Drill Tank mode looks much like you’d expect it to, although the joints on my version no longer click and move freely, they jam and you have to force the rotation and I’m afraid I’ll break it if I force it.  Ah, the joys of reviewing 20 year old toys!


Is it an essential purchase?

That depends on your mileage.



I do wish that ab plate would stay folded up!

It’s a fun figure, undeniably more G1 than Brave.  As a G1 figure it’s fairly varied with it’s duel-vehicle modes and base functionality, but for a G1 collection I’d suggest Dai Atlas is only necessary if you’ve completed American / European G1 and have moved solidly into Japanese completion.  The character still isn’t massively well known – although his IDW appearances have helped – and the figure has not had an update or re-release in it’s 25 year history.  The closest we’ve come is a few PVC releases, and a name re-use in the Alternity line (and possibly King Atlas as a homage).

As a Brave figure, it’s slightly lacking, as it doesn’t have that over-the-top hat-on-a-hat charm of the made for Brave toys.  It does a lot of things right, but at the same time, it feels like a G1 repaint, rather than a part of the Brave line in full.  Red Geist, Dagbase, Shadow Maru and Thunder Dagwon all nicely make the leap and become full characters and fun toys in their own right, this guy and Hiryu (Sonic Bomber recolour), along with Death Garry Gun (Skygarry repaint) don’t really fully transition.  The absence of a Brave version of Roadfire means Land Powered and Big Powered are instantly missing from the equation as well.  That’s not to say they’re bad toys, they are great G1 toys.  But as toys in the Brave versions, I would place nearly every new mold Brave toy above these in terms or fun, character, and importance to the line.  If you’re really a fan of the Goryu character, some of the PVC releases capture his character a bit better than this toy manages, but what can I say?  I’m a Takara guy.

To end on a positive, I feel this figure is at it’s best with the full functionality of the Big Powered boxset, which can then be used as part of a huge sprawling G1 Micromaster City, at which point its inclusion becomes essential!  It can be fun to use the Brave version as well to help boost the size of that city, depending on how much floor space you have.

bryicyPhoto courtesy of Brr-icy


Despite the lack of official updates, the forthcoming FP Dai Z toy (a recolour of their Diabattles update) is intended to homage Dai Atlas, and is currently available to pre-order from Kapow right now.


While the names Dai Atlas, Roadfire and Sonic Bomber were all new, Big Powered was actually a recycled Diaclone name, and was the first Diaclone release to contain the Powered Suit.  We’ll take a look at Diaclone Big Powered in the future, ahead of his Diaclone Revival and Powered Suit releases which will also be stocked by Kapow!  Exciting times.

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Without a doubt, the Glacialord set from Fans Project, part of the Retro-Future subset, is one of my favourite 3rd Party releases of all time.

First teased way back in 2009, the Glacialbots are a heavy love-letter to both G1, and toy collecting in general.




Before we even get to the toys themselves, lets have some appreciation for the boxes; this set of toys not only homages the perils of collecting old toys, but it does so with a wicked sense of humour.  The back of the packaging is adorned with fake stills from a TV show of Glacialord that never happened, as well as a very G1 like art.  Like Marvel’s Sentry comic, these toys are best appreciated when you play along with the joke, that these are lost toys from the 1980’s that have recently been found, and there is a whole universe of story and character out there waiting to be discovered.



All the boxes come pre-worn, with creases, tears, stress-marks and fading all PRINTED onto the box.  The tear on Razorspike’s packaging has been seen a million times on genuine retro toys, and the fading on  Tusker’s packaging makes it look and feel exactly like it’s sat in a window unsold for decades.  Thankfully, this sort of reproduction fading means the toy inside is unharmed, unlike a lot of real sun-faded packaging.



But we’re not done yet!  Anyone who collects Brave knows the peril of trying to find a complete set of something like Silverion, before having to settle for the Korean Sonoking for the fourth member.  This is replicated perfectly with Megazero, so much so that FPCore had a little fun with it, and announced the destruction of the entire shipment of Megazero toys using Google Translate to ensure an accurate Chinglish experience such as; “We regret to inform you that your part of the goods does not reach…”, before putting out a shipment update explaining that replacements had been sourced from Korea after a shipment find: “It was in an old abandoned distribution center just a few hours outside of Busan, that they discovered there were still some of these versions stored away. Although featured in different packaging, this version of Megazero is exactly the same as it’s North American counterpart and come complete with sticker sheets, instructions and accessories…”


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Amazingly good fun!

And the attention to detail continues when you open the packaging, with the items ship with polystyrene innards, and while we wouldn’t want to see a return to this packaging as standard due to ethical / sustainability concerns, it does nicely homage that 80s toy collecting experience.  Also, it’s worth noting that the included sticker sheets are all half applied, replicating nicely that second hand toy experience.

On to the toys!!!



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We start with this guy, purely because he was my first experience of the Retro-Future flavour.  Sure, this set had been rumoured for a few years, but out of the blue back in early 2013, Tailclub arrived at my designer friend’s house as FP were looking for feedback on the set.  Immediately, the designer and I were sold on the concept and the execution and gave our positive feedback to FP, so much so that I continually pitched the idea of a sticker set to the poor folks at FP until they acquiesced, and finally this year the sticker book became a reality, and I was lucky enough to write it, including all their official profiles.

Before the team was devolved, Tailclub was a very famous playboy philanthropist, dedicating just enough time to seemingly altruistic exploits to justify his outlandish behaviour on the nightclub scene. Indeed, this is how he got his name.
However, his name still fits, as – arguably – he suffered the most in his devolution, with his behaviour becoming almost feral at times and he often uses his tailclub to speak for him, rarely using words when a swing of the club or a bash on a table will do. This eccentricity has almost led to him becoming ostracised from his faction, but his Glacial-bot team-mates stand by him.

Tailclub tranforms into a Doedicurus, with his alt. mode head forming part of his melee weapon, and his weapon forming part of Glacialords combined Mega-weapon.  He becomes the left-leg of Glacialord as standard.


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Fangro and Tailclub were the first two figures to see production, with a limited and un-publicised stealth-release and immediate sell-out at Botcon 2013.

He’s constantly trying to tell everyone how much of a bad-ass he is. He likes to tell people his motto is “You won’t like me when I’m Fangry”. Ask him about any major battle over the last million years, and he can tell you exactly what it was like and how his participation changed the battle.
This is all a cover, to try and hide the fact that he is the biggest coward on either side of the war. Often seen hiding under fallen enemies during battles, pretending to be dead or injured. It’s not that he is a bad ‘bot, but he has a crossed-wire in his flight or fight circuit, which conveniently shuts-off when combined.

Fangro becomes a Sabre-toothed tiger, with his alt. mode head and tail combining to make a hand-gun for his robot mode, as well as forming the front-end of the Mega-weapon.  He becomes the left arm of Glacialord.


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Tusker, the central core and torso for the set, was next to be released.  In a bizarre twist on the standard, he saw release in Canada and the UK first, in very limited quantities at TFCon and Auto Assembly 2013.  In a twist on the usual Scramble City standard, Tusker is NOT the leader of the team;

Forming the central section of Glacialord, Tusker makes up the muscle for the team. He has always taken on the role of protector, even when he was a young ‘Bot he would put himself in harms way to protect those smaller or weaker than him.
Despite this bravery and his obvious strength, Tusker is often teased for his slow speech patterns, and other bots often make the mistake of thinking Tusker is unintelligent. Because of this, Tusker is quite shy and reserved, and chooses to remain quiet most of the time.
You can pick on him, tease him and even threaten him, and he will always walk away (albeit slowly) – but if he sees someone else in trouble or being picked on, he becomes a different beast altogether. It’s this fiery side which comes out when the team is combined and gives Glacialord such ferocity.

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Tusker has two robot mode heads, you can either use the small Soleron head as with the rest of the team, or…

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…use the second, and more proportionate head, even if it is a little 2-dimensional and flat.

Tusker transforms into a mammoth, and his trunk becomes his weapon, and the central part of the combined mode Mega-Weapon.



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Razorspike was released at the same time as Megazero.

Razorspike is the consummate average robot; he’s never exceeded at anything in his entire life, but there is little he cannot turn his hand to at least competently. His tech-spec read-outs are a straight 5 across the board, his grades on any test are a straight “C” average, he would be the biggest also ran in the history of the war if it wasn’t for one fact: he is part of the mighty Glacialord.
You’ve never met another ‘Bot who is as proud of his gestalt mode as this guy is! If you ask Razorspike if he prefers his robot mode or his alt. Mode, he will carefully and concisely weigh all the evidence, before answering “leg mode” without a hint of irony.

Razorspike transforms into a Wooly Rhino, and while his head / weapon doesn’t contribute to Glacialord’s Mega-weapon, it does become a blaster and spiked weapon for his rhino mode. As mentioned above, he becomes the right leg as standard.



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Megazero is the weakest member of the team on paper, but is actually the secret leader of the Glacialbots.

Although he is one of the weakest members of the team, with the most vulnerable alt. Mode, Megazero is incredibly fast in both modes which has always kept him out of danger. The only thing faster than his (animal mode) feet, is his brilliant, tactical brain. Even devolved into his current form, Megazero uses his advanced processor speeds to make the best of all situations.

Megazero is the secret leader of the Glacialbots.  For any outsiders viewing the group Tusker would appear to be the leader, but secretly Megazero is in charge and passing his orders on to Tusker, who sees this as part of his role as a protector; drawing attention away from Megazero in the event of assassins or mercenaries.

Megazero transforms into a robotic Elk, and his head detaches for his antlers to become a sword weapon for him to weld in robot mode.  Most commonly becomes the right arm of Glacialord.


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Glacialord is the combined mode of the Glacialbots!

Megazero’s brain, Tailclub’s brutality, Tusker’s brawn, Razorspike’s positivity and even Fangro’s inner desire to be a brave hero; all of these work together to make Glacialord a true combiner success, delivering a bot who is truly more than the sum of his parts. Individually, every team member has major character flaws and weaknesses, but these are all overcome when they work as a team with excellent cognitive synergy.

Utilising the Scramble City method of combination, any limb can become any other limb.  I tend to break from the preferred method of combination and swap Tailclub and Fangro, as the engineering on Tailclub’s legs mean they can double up as an elbow joint for combined mode.


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The figures all fit perfectly into that G1 Scramble City aesthetic and scale, but also encompass a Breast-Master feature that includes a Soleron companion, who is actually the character operating the robot transtector.  The Solerons can ride on top of the alt. modes Dinoking style, or can stay inside their transtector suits in animal or combined mode.

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Everything stores away with the individual robots utilising all the pieces in every mode with absolutely zero left over kiddle.  The foot plates / chestplate doubling up as shields for the individal bots.  This is a great feature for those of us who like to transform out Scramble City combiners without digging through part boxes or risk losing bits if you don’t put them away immediately!  The one negative being that the different shields for the different characters give Glacialord different feet, and that is one part of the G1 combiners that I think looks better neater than this set, but that’s such a minor quibble for a beautiful set I feel bad for even mentioning it.  For a while I did have two sets, and I used to have matching feet for the combined mode, but over the years I’ve felt bad straying from the designer’s original intention and have conformed.


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On the same lines as the above, the gestalt hands neatly store inside Tusker’s animal feet.  As well as this, the combined mode head is a permanent part of Tusker, similar to how Defensor’s head is a part of Hot-Spot.

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The same below for the combined Mega-Weapon.  It doesn’t just give him a bigger gun for combined mode, it also uses left-over pieces from the alt. modes.  These might seem a minor point to some people, but for me, it just shows extra care and attention to detail, and shows how much thought was put into the planning and design of these amazing toys.


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Transformation on these is as you’d expect for G1 homages, easy, quick and intuitive.  They’re an absolute joy to handle in all modes.


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It might be quite apparent by now how much I adore this set.  It does seem that these are not for everyone, and I think that’s a real shame.  These should have been the toys that bridged the gap between G1 collectors / Transformers puritans and the 3P companies, providing a set of toys which are completely new characters and concepts but undeniably G1 throughout without even a hint of Ip theft.  These could have healed the rift between those two disparate collector mentalities.


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Instead, they seem to have been too G1 for a lot of modern 3P collectors who often put design intricacy and poseability top of their list, but too new and different for a lot of G1 collectors who are happy with the finite nature of their G1 collecting goals.


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Thankfully, these did find a place in the hearts of a lot of collectors like myself, who love the concept, execution, and the tongue in cheek nature of their publicity and packaging.

I just wish there were more of them.


One theory surrounding the Glacialbots that seems to persist, is that he might in some way be a version of Computron.  This may have been compounded by this image circulating, an image perhaps used only to show the interchangeable G1 style limbs:


While there are similarities between colour schemes, and parallels such as the nosecone legs and the antlers of Megazero creating a silhouette similar to Strafe’s weapons, there has never been any official word on this from FP or FPCore, and their continuity is completely separate from any TF lore, so whether Computron / Quantron or any other version of the character exists in the FPCore storyline is unknown.
Although there are references to the characters being devolved, so who knows?

As always, thanks for reading.