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.
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.
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!).
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!
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.