Released in 1989, the Multiforce (not to be confused with the Diaclone Multi-force 14) were in many ways the Autobot nemeses to the Decepticon Dinoforce and Breastforce, but unlike those characters these toys had no Western equivalents or re-purposes like Monstructor or The Rescue Force.
Never released in the West in any form, they were however more widely available in 2004 when Takara reissued them, and the change in retail patterns meant many retailers imported these into Western territories, and some consumers just ordered direct from Japan using the internet. The reissues were also the first time these characters were available separately, as they were originally released in twin-packs and as a six-pack.
Today we’ll be looking at the 2004 reissues, and their chase variants. The only difference between the originals and the reissues are the addition of tampographs to replace stickers, and some shade variations in the plastic colour.
So, from left to right, we have Tacker, Dash, Waver, Tackle, Wing, and Mach. From here it gets a bit more confusing, so pay attention, there will be questions at the end.
These figures can be combined with any other figure to make a unique robot mode (similar to the combining concept in the Energon range). The most common of these are WingWaver, DashTacker, and MachTackle (I capitalise to clarify the character divide), because of the original Japanese twin-pack releases, but because each character features both a small robot head and a larger combined robot head, you can invert any combination to make characters such as WaverWing, TackerDash, and TackleMach.
But you’re not limited to these options, you can have TackerTackle, MachWing, WingMach, or any other combination, a total of 30 different combination options! A nightmare for collectors who like to have multiples to display in every mode, as they’d need 8 sets to display them in individual robot, two-man combiners, six-figure combiner, and alt. modes. Plus a ninth and tenth set if you collect boxed versions as well! Insane. If you really, REALLY want to, you can combine multiples to make characters such as MachMach or WingWing.
The individual robot modes are basic and don’t expect too much from them, as the emphasis with these toys is on the combining on combining gimmick and as such the individual proportions feel a bit off. The vehicle modes feel more satisfying and complete as they are nice and solid, and functional as a kids toy too. The two-man combiners feel a bit more proportionate and thought-out, but these vary greatly depending on which of the 30 combinations you decide upon, and I always feel these is where the most design attention time was spent.
The six man combined mode is how the majority of collectors will probably opt to display this figure. The chest plate is classic retro Takara design, feels somehow closer to early Diaclone or Scramble City than 1989 era, and in many ways the same can be said for the amazing head design. I always felt the FOC Ruination figure used the Landcross head as it’s major influence. Unfortunately, this set of figures is a bit lousy with parts storage, especially considering how good Devastator was at utilising parts in vehicle modes, and the hip-plate, chest-plate, hands, feet and head are just kind of put to one side when not combined. The one shining part of the combiner parts are the way the individual hand-guns combine to make a six-piece mega-cannon similar to TFC Hercules, which – if it was released now from a third party- would probably have a cool-ass name.
Shockingly, we never got an update to this character during Combiner Wars, even one that ignored the two-man combination gimmick. Seemed like an obvious one to me, as it’s a simpler build than Raiden and more akin to the Scramble City figures.
Takara stirred the pot by including 2 “stealth mode” variants in every solid case of 12 (similar to the Micromaster combiners around the same time, to the point that this reissue of the Multiforce was actually branded DX Micromasters, when they really were nothing like Micromasters), meaning that in order to collect a full set of the Stealth Mode Landcross variant you had to buy three whole cases and hope there were no duplicates.
The black individual robot modes feature basic minor stickering, and white-outlined Autobot logos. In some ways this is a limitation, as I tend to always prefer to think of most “Stealth-mode” black repaints as Decepticons, as part of my totally headcanon Black Redeco Clan. I guess I can repro-label these however I want now I’ve finally tracked them down, 12 years after they came out.
As with the normal colours, these combine into two-man configurations. If you mix the black repaints with the normal released sets, you have a quite mental potential of 72 different two-man combinations. Again, I personally would have preferred red eyes and visors on all of these guys, and while they’re an easy fix, it’s such a rare set I don’t really want to take paint to it.
In alt. mode, these guys feature universal silver paint detailing for all windshields, which really helps unite these as a cool-looking team compared to the normal Multiforce. A rarely seen feature of these guys is that you can (sort of) combine the vehicle modes. It’s not really an advertised feature or in anyway an official , more a convenient leave-over from the way the two-man combiner ports are still accessible in alt. mode, although the way the ports are situated means you are limited to which ones take the front and rear positions.
Combined mode is more of the same. He looks a bit more imposing in solid black, and I’m almost tempted to swap his charcoal grey head and chest plate for the black of the regular Landcross, but I guess this gives it a little bit of contrast.
Overall, I find this a very fun set to own, and it really is one of the rarer reissue variants that does the rounds, much harder to find than most of the Chase variants from the 200x Micromaster reissues. I’m a sucker for G1 variants, obscure Japanese G1, and I’ve always been one for the black repaint, so this was always going to be one for me to collect. Even if I’d prefer it if he’d been a Decepticon.
If you can track these down, I would recommend it, even if you can only find the original colour schemes. They make an excellent addition to any G1 collections, and give the Autobots some much needed reinforcements in the combiner stakes, as this is one of the few areas where Decepticons outnumber the good guys.
These guys have never been re-worked for any other toyline, not even Kreo, and have had very few media appearances outside of Victory, except for a brief SG cameo. There have not been any 3rd party toys announced for these guys, they’ve had pretty much zero love from the fandom since their original incarnation. If you want to experience the Multiforce, this is your only bet.