One of the most interesting and intriguing sets from Transformers Generation 1 is the Japanese exclusive Liokaiser set. Released in 1989, and having never been reissued (bad KOs are available, in a variety of sources, including one with Doubledealer for an arm?!?), the team featured in the Transformers Victory cartoon, but still to this day have never had any western media appearances, and as such they remain largely unknown in the West.
Liokaiser is the combined version of the Breastforce (which was coincidentally the name of my stag-do group), featuring six all new molds, this Breast Master / Target Master combiner is the closest we ever got to the Go-Bot Puzzler style of combination, wherein all of the parts needed for combination are included within the individual member’s robot forms, with the exception of his head.
They also released these guys separately, but I managed to pick this box-set up last year, unstickered, almost cherry, mint in box, with paperwork, and only missing the two small missile launchers from Jaruga / Jallguar.
Amusingly, in it’s day this figure failed to sell well in Japan, like a lot of later-day Transformers, especially villains such as Dezarus, and while very difficult to find in the collector’s market for less than four figures (not including decimals), they often have multiple store price reduction stickers on them.
Let’s take a look at the guys.
Leozack is the leader of the pack, transforming into a F14 Tomcat fighter plane. But wait, what is that cool looking beast thing next to him? Only a bloomin’ Breastforce Warrior (Beastforce, surely?)! Little pint-sized triple changers that transform from animal sidekicks to weapons to chest-plates! Leozack’s partner is Lionbreast, who becomes the Lio-Cannon when used as a weapon.
Next up is Drillhorn, along with his partner Hornbreast, who becomes a lovely Drilltank. Hornbreast becomes a generic blaster, and is having a doglike wee in this photo.
Above we see Guyhawk, alongside Hawkbreast. Guyhawk transforms into a Mig-29, and his partner is a hawk (duh!) who can also become a Hawk Cannon blaster… obviously.
Above we see Hellbat and his mate Batbat, okay he’s called Kōmoribreast and he can become the Kōmori-cannon, but I think he needed a more anglicised name. Hellbat becomes a rather nifty Dassualt Rafale jet fighter, apparently.
Next up is the GPS scare-mongerer Killbison, who actually isn’t half as bad as a lot of the gold toys from the 90’s, which is a relief. Still, caution is urged as he’s more expensive than G2 Electro or BW Randy. Killbison becomes an anti-aircraft tank, and his little mate Bisonbreast becomes the Bison-Blaster! Because, you know, why not?
Last but not least is Jaruga, or Jallguar (depending on your preference – I use Jaruga more often than not, probably because of the Metronome DVD translations), his little buddy is Jaguarbreast and becomes the unimaginatively named Jaguar-cannon weapon, you know, when he’s not spending his time attached to Jaruga’s chest.
Interestingly, in the Victory animated series, there was a seventh member of the Breastforce; Deathcobra, but he died at the hands of Hellbat and he never even got so much as a toy. In my opinion, this is EXACTLY the sort of thing that third party guys should be focusing on; obscure on-screen characters that never got made. Unfortunately, I think he’s so obscure, few would know who he is.
Pretty cool huh? Let’s have a better look at those Breastforce Warriors, and see how they interact with their partners.
Amazingly detailed little fellas, all with so much character.
This is the team together, with their Breastforce Warriors as Target-Master style weapons. It’s a great play feature which I like a lot, but I have to admit, I prefer them as chest armour, as seen below…
And this is the team together, with the Breastforce Warriors as chest-plates, where they become armour according to the bios! The real-world equivalent of this is strapping small animals onto your chest before having a firefight against The Expendables. I don’t think they’d stop many bullets, but maybe the distraction would buy you a few extra seconds.
Let’s move onto Vehicle modes.
The alt modes rock! Almost as much as the fun, instinctive transformations, a hallmark of G1. These figures have superb engineering overall, and there are no corners cut. Even the two jets who comprise the shoulders / arm who look similar at a glance are actually very dissimilar, it’s not just their jet modes that differentiate them, the entire robot modes are mirrored to enable this unique combination.
In hand, he is truly one of the most stunning of the G1 Combiners. Unlike the Scramble City / Special Teams toys which have an amazing play-pattern, Liokaiser is a fixed-limb gestalt, easily up there with the likes of the original Diaclone Devastator and Raiden molds in terms of design ingenuity, with way more playability than those or the mighty Predaking. The interesting and varied alt. modes, coupled with the amazingly fun Breastforce Warriors make this one of the most unique combining Transformers to ever come from Takara.
One of the things that is especially intriguing about the Breastforce, is how little has been done with the characters in the 27 years since they were created. Fun Pubishing included a Leozack figure as part of their attendee souvenir packs for Botcon 2009, and a few names were re-appropriated for Kreo, but that’s about it. Even third party companies have been slow on the uptake, but at least TFC are finally releasing their versions, with Thanatos in stock and others available for pre-order at in the Kapow web-store.
Moving forward, we will look at comparisons between the TFC and the G1.
If you’ve ever read any of my blogs, you might be familiar with my annoyance at the contempt and cost-cutting I feel Hasbro have sometimes shown towards the US / European market. Whether it was the unpainted, plastic part, non-windsheilded version of Ultra Magnus the majority of us got in the UK, or the general massive step-down in quality Powermaster Prime received compared to it’s Japanese Takara Ginrai counterpart, then keep an eye here: I mentioned earlier that Liokaiser wasn’t released in any markets outside of Asia, and while that is strictly true, four of the molds were recoloured and re-released in Europe as part of the obscure G1.5 era between the end of G1 in America and the launch of G2, but with many of the bits that made these guys so cool removed. We’ll take a look at Rescue Force next week, and I’ll show you direct comparisons between them and the Breastforce.
Written by C Z Hazard / Ceno Kibble (pick one, he can’t).