Deathsaurus, or Dezarus as he is sometimes known, is one of the most well-known of the Japanese exclusive characters, released way back in 1989. The character has become fairly well known in the West after the releases of the Transformers: Victory DVDs and his appearance in the IDW comics.
Despite no mainline love or appreciation, no 3rd party representation (yet!), a cancelled Robot Heroes figure, a token Kreo fiction offering (not even a toy), and a few PVC and Kabaya toys, Deathsaurus did at least see a limited release in the US through the very first Fun Publications run Botcon back in 2005, as part of the Descent Into Evil boxset – although he is merely a repaint of RID Megatron, and other than a new headsculpt he’s not vastly different from the original Megatron toy release.
Let’s have a look at the original G1 Takara toy.
Deathsaurus’ toy is one of the most intimidating looking Decepticons from the original G1 toyline, moreso than Megs and Galvatron IMO. He looks like a commanding leader, and one not to be messed with. Although I do wish his visor could be removed.
He comes packaged with a very meaty blaster with double’s as a flail-mace – if only it wasn’t a solid molded piece (c’mon Venksta, surely this is a no-brainer even with a limited audience) – at least it comes with two pegs so it can be held as a melee weapon, should you want it to. Like all good melee fighters, Deathsaurus comes with a big, bad-ass shield. He’s not the first Transformer to come with a shield, but one that actually transforms into something other than kibble or a chest-plate for a combiner is pretty cool, and it saves the beast-mode tail just hanging off the back of the robot.
Let’s look at his companion figures. The ill-named (I shouldn’t pick on Takara, they might just have lost something in translation) Tigerbreast and Eaglebreast. Tigerbreast is the one that looks like a Winged Lion, and Eaglebreast is the one that looks like a red flying rectangle with wings. Eaglebreast features some of the most commonly lost parts of any Japanese TF toy with his little black guns, and although my Deathsaurus is mostly authentic, the guns (one of which broke during the photoshoot for this blog) I have with mine are resin replicas.
The animal partners are one of the coolest parts of this set, and as well as being independent animals, they can also double up as chest-partners with Deathsaurus, similar to the Liokaiser team, though quite what advantage is gained other than an aesthetic one is open to interpretation. They also feature a third mode, as super unrealistic looking suitcase guns.
In alt. mode, Deathsaurus still looks pretty bad-ass for a G1 Decepticon, although when people mention he looks like a mutant space chicken, it’s hard to get that image out of your head (thanks TFwiki), to me, he’s a sort of Mecha-dragon thing, one that probably had a fight with Godzilla at some point, but I don’t know nearly enough to comment on Godzilla without risking the ire of the Zillamaniacs (whatcha gonna do when 160,000 tons of radioactive reptile run wild on you!!!!). The stunning chrome head and die-cast feet really make this guy pop, and give him a nice weight too.
Deathsaurus never had any repaints or remolds in the Transformers line, so if you want this mold, your choices are limited.
However, the mold did eventually see a re-use from Takara, albeit as part of the Brave cartoon toyline. A lot of Transformers fans will have no doubt heard of Brave, even if they’re not 100% sure what it is. When Transformers was all but done in Japan, and with Hasbro turning their focus to G2 and then the Beast lines with Kenner, Takara teamed up with animation company Sunrise to make an all new toyline and TV series independent of Hasbro and the Transformers brand, one which ran from 1990-1999, before Takara once more returned to the Transformers line for Car Robots in 2000. Many of the original G1 / Diaclone designers still worked for Takara, and kept working on giant toy robots, ones which in many ways continued the style started by the latter day Japanese toys like Star Convoy and Star Sabre. Brave is an odd mash-up, outright lifting concepts and toys wholesale from Transformers, other-times borrowing from un-used concepts such as with the “Powermaster Rodimus Prime” concept for Duke Fire, and some times doing completely their own thing like Exkaiser and J-Decker, but which you’d swear blind could fit right into a Victory or Zone collection. And are those heads Optimus Prime? The toys often look that way.
Although the figures are often blocky and simple, the emphasis is on combination, and on the Super Robot style of them getting bigger and better the more they combine. It’s a fun and simple play pattern, and just unique enough to make them stand alone from the Transformers, whilst still aesthetic similar enough to display right alongside them. In my toy room, I feel comfortable displaying Brave toys with my G1 collection, whereas the Beast Wars figures and Animated have such a unique look I keep them displayed separate.
Deathsaurus was reused, and recoloured as Red Geist. With no re-tooling. The crest on top of the head actually looks more at home with the Brave toyline than it did on the original Decepticon figure. Curiously, the figure only came with Tigerbreast, and no Eaglebreast.
While it retained the diecast in the legs and chest parts, the alt. mode head sadly lost it’s chrome finish, and the wings definitely feel like they’re of a cheaper finish than the Transformer original.
The Brave toy of Red Geist can go for $400-500 itself, so it’s not really a cheap substitute for a Deathsaurus who, on occasion can be found for a similar price-point for those patient enough to scavenger hunt for parts. I was very lucky to find a loose version, even if mine has a Venger like chest-plate, however, my preferred use for display is to swap out the Redbreaster figure (there’s that awesome naming structure again) for the unloved Decepticon Eaglebreast, I think it just makes the Red Geist toy look slightly more unique (and I really have no problems seeing TF logos on my Brave toys either).
Red Geist is not the only Geist in Brave, there is also Dino Geist who was released as a brand new mold, but he used to run around with Dinos whom bore a slight resemblance to the Dinobots, such as Ptera Geist – Swoop, Thunder Geist – Sludge, Horn Geist – Slag, Armor Geist – Snarl. It’s a shame these were never released, I always picture the KO modified dinobots in my head when I think of them.
Overall, I’m a big fan of Deathsaurus and Red Geist, they are solid toys with a lot of fun features. I especially have fond memories of flying back from TFCon in 2014 with Deathsaurus as carry-on luggage, as I didn’t want to risk him in the suitcase, and I remember the look of scrutiny on the face of the Stewardess as I told her it would be better if I shoved him under the seat in front of me because it’s worth a bit. As much as I like the toy itself, it’s a lasting reminder of the awesome people I’ve met in the Transformers community, who are willing to hunt out and build up a really fine MIB example of a really rare figure for me, at a sensible (open to interpretation) price. I wouldn’t have half the collection I have now if it wasn’t for the good friends I’ve made in the fandom, and even if I did, they would not mean as much to me.
Several TF characters saw recycled use in the Brave TV show, even if not all of them got figures. Over the next month or so, I’ll show some more comparisons between Transformers and their Brave counterparts right here on the Kapow! blog. Stay… not tuned… erm, tabbed? Ctrl + D’d? Keep an eye open.