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
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 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!
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.
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.
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.