US G2 card-art

We mentioned the Skyscorchers a lot in the mid-week post, as the counterparts to the Autobot Axelerators.  Exactly the same deal applies with these guys; they were released in Europe as part of the Euro 1.5 era / continued G1 (complete with what we now consider the G2 logo) after Transformers had stopped in the US AND Japan.  Transformers stopped in the US after Action Masters effectively killed the line dead, and Japan continued until 1992 with Operation Combination.  Leaving Europe carrying the torch, which meant little old England got a few exclusive figures for a change (we did miss out on Perceptor, Swoop, Blaster, Trypticon, Fort Max, Sky Lynx, Omega Supreme and a whole host of others though).


Euro version, notice the different artwork.

Of course, their exclusivity was short-lived, as they were re-released as part of the G2 range proper the same year alongside the Axelerators, and like their European wave-rivals they also suffered re-branding, now known as the “Small Jets” and featuring all new names.  Pshh, I’ll take Skyscorchers over Small Jets any day of the week.

g2 logo con

Like the Axelerators, they also feature a similar weapon storage gimmick, where the hand-held weapons double up as a plane part – rather than engines, they become under-carriage radar / sonar devices.  These figures are also gang-molded, featuring alternating primary and secondary colour-schemes, and unlike the Autobots there are no differences between releases (I’m quite shocked they didn’t remove the green light-piping and canopies for a more boring smokey grey).  We present them here under their European names first, and US names second.



Hawk / Eagle Eye

This was the only Skyscorcher I actually bought at the time of release, the rest were picked up on the after-market a few years later.  Hence the missing toe / rear landing gear, lost somewhere to the mists of time.  It’s the eccentricities of collecting like this that I love, where I’ll happily pay big money for big ticket items, yet completely forget to hunt out a minor piece for a £5 figure.

Hawk is listed as an Infiltrator, which makes him no different to most Decepticons really… He’s  a fun toy, with a simple transformation – the simplest of the bunch – but even then it features a few surprises to make you feel its not just ANOTHER jet-to-robot transformation.  In this respect, these guys do outshine the Axelerators, as the transformations are generally more involved.


In jet mode, he becomes a Dassault Rafale jet or a Eurofighter Typhoon jet, depending on who you believe, one with great stickers on his wings, and a nice sticker proudly presenting his year of production; 93.  Bless him.

Snipe / Afterburner


I never really noticed until now quite how plain (should that be plane? ho-ho!) he looks in robot mode, it’s certainly a sharp contrast to his alt. mode.  At least his weapon compliments his European name of Snipe, and it makes you wonder if Eagle Eye was originally intended for this guy, as it certainly would have made more sense, but then again his function is Technicians Master rather than long-range offense of other such.  His transformation is much more than meets the eye (knocking them out of the park today), and I think anyone who has experienced the basic Beast Wars assortment variety of transforming present in Machine Wars would be very surprised by the involvement required for this sub-line.





In alt. mode, he really shines, with great decals and paintwork throughout destracting from an otherwise generic blue jet (which are admittedly way more common in Transformers than real-life), and a gnatty revised Con logo right in the centre of the fuselage.  His tail-fin logo is also really great in a naff nineties sort of way, I can imagine it being tattooed on Will Ferrel in Blades of Glory.  He transforms into a Lockheed F-104G Starfighter jet.



Hooray!  A name that is consistent amoungst all territories!  Although as a fun-fact, it’s worth mentioning that his working title was Terraswoop.  This guy is easily my favourite of the bunch, even though his transformation is less involved than the others (but still would feel perfectly suited on a bigger toy), a transformation which gives him a very unique silhouette in the shoulders, which is needed, as the colour scheme on the robot mode needs something to help it pop.  It’s worth noting the under-wing engines become the lower legs of the robot, another factor contributing to his somewhat unique look.


It’s his alt. mode that makes this guy stand out so much, it’s not like the Ling-Temco-Vought A-7E Corsair II jet is a favourite of mine, with it’s rounded features massively different from the typical style of fighter-jet we usually get in Transformers, making it look more like a transporter of some kind.  Looks can be deceptive, as a bit of research shows it is a fighter jet in service from Vietnam through Desert Storm, with it’s heavy emphasis on radar and accuracy, and it’s under-cockpit air-intake giving it it’s distinct look.  The plane mode on the real-world fighter jet isn’t quite as fat as the way the toy presents it, but I think that helps give this toy an identity.


Tornado / Windrazor




Saving the leader until last, a grey Decepticon jet with blue parts and red trimming… hmmm, where have we seen that before.  He doesn’t look to offer much in the way different to a lot of other jet robots, but actually – once again – his transformation is remarkably involved, needing a few more twist and turns than expected.  His profile describes him as an evil genius, but how sad we never get to see that in any of his comic-book appearances.


As a F-16 Fighting Falcon, he definitely wanders back into the more recognisable sort of fighter jet, although his single tailfin does differentiate him from the F15 Eagle of Starscream and company.  Even if his bad tattoo flash on his tailfin might be more at home on an Eagle.  Or on Eagle Eye.  Honestly, their names seem very interchangeable for the most part, and this guys working title of Whirlwind could easily apply to all of them.


Overall, I’m a big fan of these toys, especially their transformations and Terradive in particular is a stand-out figure.  I can’t help feeling that they look less visually appealing than the Axelerators, and for the time, the colour-schemes are very subdued – although paint-apps and stickers do attempt to give them more personality.


Mostly, my favourite thing about these guys are their uniform head-sculpts, which manage to have a lot of sinister personality considering they have no real faces so to speak.  Nowhere are these heads better presented then on their US box artwork (Sadly, it’s really hard to find the Euro artwork, which wasn’t printed in the otherwise amazing Transformers Legacy artwork book), and I’m pleased to say over on my personal blog I’m sharing some exclusive paperwork from the Hasbro offices, showing the work in progress in developing that artwork.  Most interesting are the notes on Snipe, where a new head and leg have been re-drawn and stuck over the original sheets.  Check it out here on my blog.



Just a sample.


They have never been re-released or reissued outside of their Euro 1.5 / G2 origins, nor have they been recoloured, although, they too came close with Takara’s planned Block Town line, where it’s presumed they would have adopted the names of Hawking, Snipe, Terradive and Sky Tornado, respectively, as their original colours would have been called had they been released in 1993.  It’s of note, that these guys would have all jumped faction to Autobots for the Block Town release.  Sadly, as they never got released, I will have to resort to customs one day, but without stickers and tampo, I can’t see them working as well.



He’s not fat, he’s big-boned.


Despite their awesomeness, these are not big collectors pieces and are excuse the pun, under the radar for a lot of collectors (ho-ho), despite recent fiction appearances in the Regeneration comic series – in fact the best part of that series was probably all the cameos by obscure latter-day G1 / G2 characters.  There have been no homages or re-imaginings of these characters at all, in twenty years… no Fun Publishing toys, no e-hobby exclusives… nothing.  A shocker.


They can still be picked up relatively cheap, and while I get most modern collectors have drifted toward Masterpiece and Combiner Wars, I implore you to at least pick up one of these toys and give them a look, and remind yourself what simple fun these toys used to be.


0 (6)



G2 USA box-art


The Axelerators are a curious bunch.  Released in Europe in early 1993, they – and their Decepticon counterparts The Skyscorchers – were the first Transformers toys to include the new G2 style faction logos, even though this pre-dated Generation 2 itself by a few months.  Meaning that technically, the G2 logos predate G2 itself, and are just revised versions of the Autobot and Decepticon logos, presumably in an attempt to look a bit cooler to kids in the early 90s.



G1 EURO box-art


They were of course released very soon after that in the US, with full Generation Two branded packaging, and new artwork (which featured in the Legacy artbook at the cost of the European artwork – a shame) for the card-backs, g2 logo botalthough their case assortment lost the cool and interesting “Axelerators” and replaced it with the much more generic “Small Aubobot Cars”.  The only changes to the toys themselves for US release were the clear pink windshield and light-piping eye plastic giving way to a much less interesting clear grey plastic.  For me, the pink plastic firmly identify these as G2 era and my OCD would not sit right having a mixed set, so I had to re-purchase Rapido.  Such a shame that the US versions lost this effect, but even with smokey grey plastic this was the first time a Transformer featured light-piping in the US, having skipped most of the Euro 1.5 who would only see release in the UK in 1996, as part of the Machine Wars subline.



European Axelerators with Decepticon equivalents.


They are a lovely, unique set of Transformers that have seen little in the way of affection or recognition, repaints or even name re-purposing, and that – to me – is a real shame.



US versions – smokey windshields.

Let’s take a look at them:






Let’s start with the boss of the bunch, and also the most recognisable character from the team.  Platoon Commander Rapido (known as Sirius in Italy) has seen a bit more attention than the rest of the bunch, largely due to a 2010 Botcon appearance thanks to Fun Publications, wherein he had a very cool Spanish language profile.  He also appeared alongside some of the more obscure latter day G1 characters in Furman / Wildman et al’s Regeneration One series for IDW, giving him an honest to god G1 appearance.  Rapido has also seen his name repurposed of sorts for the Japanese release of PowerCore Combiners series.

He has a great head-sculpt, but sadly, his bonnet / hood is so large, you just get the top of his head peaking out like Wilfred in the Beano.  Rapido deserves better.  Like all of the Axelerators, his faction sticker is oddly coloured, oddly cut, and prone to fading.  For the sake of accuracy I present them as factory standard here, but they really could do with G2 Repro-labels adorning them.


0 (4)

The toy of Rapido features a simple, quick and fun transformation, he is unique in his team in that he has a rear engine configuration, but like all of the Axelerators, he retains the engine to gun play feature.  Sort of a PowerTarget-Master if you like, but on a budget.






Other than a few token comic cameos, and an obscure reference I don’t fully understand, Skram has gone largely unloved.  It’s a shame, because anyone with the function of Crack patrol deserves to be loved.  Or arrested.  Skram is alternatively known as Smash or Mercury in various parts of Europe.  Skram has a great head sculpt.


0 (3)


Skram is a heavily modified Corvette Stingray, and every now and then you do see someone crazy enough to take a C3 Corvette cut the hood away and stick a massive great engine block through it.  Not much to write home about, his transformation is perfectly functional and FUN!  Fun is a large part of these guys, as well as crazy colour-schemes.


Hotrider / Turbofire



Released as Turbofire in the US, this is one of those rare occasions when I tend to go by that name rather than the first European release.  I’m not sure why, I just think I was first introduced to the character as Turbofire thanks to the old and long out of print Antarctic Press Cybertronian Recognition Guides.  His function lists him as Back-up or Supplies and Support, so basically he’s the office bitch and errand boy, the down-side of being a pick-up truck I daresay.  His Italian name is  Astro, but whatever you call him he has been sadly under-used in fiction.


0 (1)


Some great apps and stickers make the alt. mode really pop, when it could have been just another pick-up truck.  I’ve always been sad we didn’t see the CHUG Kup mold used for this guy, but as it was used for Electro, it’s probably best we didn’t get it.


Windbreaker / Zap



Named after the second Spinal Tap album, it’s often been rumoured that his naming was due to the Windcharger trademark being unavailable, this certainly tallies with his unique for the team transformation, where the hood DOES NOT become the robot chest, instead splitting down the middle as part of the robot shoulders.  Whatever the reason, it led to him having one of the funniest Transformers names of all time.  He function lists him as an Advance Intelligence Scout, and he has an amazing head-sculpt that almost makes him look like a Basic -class Beast Wars toy.  Windcharger has a naming problem, picking a different name for almost every territory, going by the names Zap, Folgor, and Rush around various parts of Europe.  In Japan, he goes by the name Carzap, despite never having a release… we’ll come to that in a minute.


0 (5)

His alt. mode becomes a Chevrolet Camaro Z28, which, for the time, means it’s exactly the same car underneath the body work as the Fourth Gen Pontiac Firebird, which again keeps in line with the Windcharger theory.


G1ZapWindbreaker_boxart (1)


As I mentioned earlier, none of these toys have ever been reissued or recoloured, although they very nearly did, as part of Takara’s planned Block Town range (mixing Lego style building blocks with vehicle toys), as Japan never actually saw the release of these in their original colours.  3 out of 4 Block Town figures have been seen, though the pictures are not great.  Gang molding means we can deduce the colours of the fourth figure (if you look, you’ll notice that Windbreaker and Skram have inverted colour-schemes, as do Rapido and Turbofire – gang-molding means two figures are part of the same factory sprue, halving the amount of mold sprues needed to make four figures from 16 down to 8).



Crappy pic, like I said.


Amazingly, we did actually get a Block-Town Carzap release – one of the most obscure tributes ever – in the 2015 TFCC Subscription Club 3.0.  This is EXACTLY the sort of figure I want to see from a Sub service, and for me this alone justified the entire existence of the Sub service (and they give us obscure Action Master figures like Treadshot).  The 2015 Carzap was a retool of the Generations Bumblebee / Nightbeat mold with a new head, and amazingly included a small Kreo set with a fuel pump and a totally exclusive G B Blackrock minifigure.  How amazingly cool is that?




Although this does lead me to a complaint:  half finished sets.  It’s amazing that we got a Rapido and a Carzap from Botcon, but how much better would it be to complete the set with a new Turbofire and Skram, and re-use that Carzap head to make a proper Windbreaker figure.  Then finish of the Block Town homages.  As much as I love the coolness of the Fun Pub / TFCC offerings, I feel we always start a new series before we finish the last, and with them rumoured to be losing their license I feel we have 1/4 of the Laser Rods with Electro, 2/4 of the Axelerators but with mixed colour schemes, and 1/4 of the Turbomasters with Scorch all on his own.


So to date, there is no way of getting an updated version of the Axelerators, and that sucks.  but do you know what doesn’t suck?  You can get these guys for less than £10 each, fairly easily.  So, you know, go to!  Then you can decide on their names for yourself.


0 (2)


Just because Hasbro and Fun Pub can’t give us updates of these toys, doesn’t mean no-one will.  Last TFCon convention, Fans Project (the other FP) teased their version of these; The Speed Team.  Teaser art was shown, and I have heard some interesting things about functionality and play patterns, and I hope these bear fruit when the toys are eventually released, and when they are, you can bet Kapow Toys will stock them!




-CZH / Ceno Kibble / Sid

  • Be the first to comment!

07 Mar 2016

Grandus Designs


Rear box-art


Collecting can be a curious thing.  To outsiders, they may think that Optimus Prime must be the rarest, most expensive and sought after Transformer s there is, similarly with the general public and Star Wars thinking that Vader or Boba Fett are the hottest of the hot.  The truth is that yes, while the majority of fans WILL want these figures, so did the majority of kids back in the day, and as such they are easy to find and the majority of collectors will have long had these key “foundation” items in their collections.  Sure, a C-10 MOSC Darth Vader 12-back will run more than a loose example, as will a sealed Goodbye Convoy or VSX set, but mostly you have to venture into the obscure to find the true rarities.

The truth is, there are four distinct categories; easy to find items, hard as nails to find items, expensive items, and then ungoldy expensive “grail” items.  In my experience, POTF Yakface is one of those expensive items – much like a complete Scorponok or Typticon – that are REALLY easy to find, everyone and their kid brother has had one for sale at some point.  Sometimes, much less expensive items are much harder to find at shows, stuff like the Turbomasters or Predator Jets, which don’t sell for much in UK / Europe, can be a real chore to track down.  The comic-book world is very similar, but with much more choice available you’ll always see hundreds of different dealers all selling the same “hot” books for hundreds of times the original cover price, while trying to find “unpopular” books with a low guide price value is much, much harder to do.  Rarity does not always dictate value.

To get to the fourth category of ungodly expensive items, we’re usually talking about test-shots, unique items, or lucky draw figures.  These are things that not every collector can afford, and some collectors just don’t like.  For me, test shots mostly hold no real appeal, same with the majority of Lucky Draw toys (although I can always be tempted by black repaints damnit!).  I collect mainline toys with a factory finish, and as such I tend to avoid all Gold / Silver chrome toys, resin casts, test-shots, clear toys, or “battle damage” customs, as much because I don’t like them (although I like seeing them in other people’s collections and at shows) as I don’t have the money or space, and every collection needs a cut off.  I’ve often felt that a great collection is as much defined by what ISN’T in it, as what is in it.
But if you collect mainline toys and have a sense of completionism about you, the “towards the end of a line and no-one wanted it” syndrome can be a real pain.

Which brings us to Grandus.




Released in 1991 exclusively in Japan as part of the later day Micro-masters “Return of Convoy” subline, this limited toyline featured three major releases with Grandus, Star Convoy, and Sky Garry, as well as the introduction of the combining Micro Masters with Sixliner (all of which were released in the West 10 years later as part of the Universe line and will be featured in a future blog, including the rare chase figures!), and repackaged versions of the Micro Master teams all of which came with numbered Micro Trailers.




The only fiction the line had was in the form of the Battlestars Manga, as the TV show hadn’t been renewed after the single episode of Transformers Zone had failed to gain support for an ongoing series the year before.




You can’t really see from the front, but check out the funky claw hands below.




Despite little to no fiction appearances, Grandus has become one of those extremely hard to find and thus expensive end of mainline toys.  A good example, complete in a box can run up to $1,000, but for those willing to hunt around, he can be found a little cheaper sometimes.  I got a great deal on mine, who is largely in great condition as seen above, but even then one of the accessories is missing (the missile pod, I’ve had two sent to me but they’ve both disappeared en route strangely, at a cost of $40 each), and the helicopter pad has badly yellowed and will need replacing.




Grandus is a fairly big toy, and certainly chunky.  Whilst not up there with Fort Maximus, or even Metroplex, his blocky nature makes his proportions tricky to define and he casts a mirage of being bigger than he really is. Transformed into his rather nifty aircraft carrier (not a patch on the USS Flagg), he might look a little basic, but it serves a purpose I’ll address after the next picture.




There is no denying that Grandus is a brick.  I’m okay with that.  It’s a comment that often gets thrown around as a pejorative term to describe the lack of poseability in those early G1 toys.  People who’ve come to collecting Transformers later in life, through Beast Wars or even Bayformers don’t have the bittersweet tinge of nostalgia colouring their perceptions, and it can be hard for some people to see the early figures as the charming quantum leaps of toy technology they really were, compared to the modern-day Masterpieces we’re darn lucky to be getting now that many people take for granted.  Grandus takes brick syndrome a step further than most, and some people use it as a way of mocking the figure, quoting the normally excellent TFwiki;  “He transforms from a short fat box on its stomach, to a fat box with a base sticking out of its stomach, to a fat box standing up. The inventor of the Triple Changer is rolling over in his grave.  A terminal point G1-era city-former, he is painfully simplistic and bricktastic in robot and vehicle modes, compensating with … an arsenal of weapons, as well as Micromaster ramp and base modular compatibility”.  I think they missed the point completely.  Sure, he may be a brick, but he wears it on his sleeve so much it pretty much becomes a play feature, and I believe the Micromaster ramp and base modular compatibility came first.  Form follows function, and on this, Grandus wins.  Take a look at all the detail inside him.




I sometimes think people forget that Grandus is as much a playset as he is a robot in his own right.  If Grandus is a brick, then The Ewok Village is a block of plastic that just sits there, the Kenner Death Star is just a tower with no points of articulation, and the TMNT Technodrome is just a round brick.  We do collect toys after all.  True, he does only have two points of articulation with his arms, but this still goes one step beyond his Countdown and Sky Hammer contemporaries by being a robot in his own right, not just a playset / vehicle named after the central figure.  If that was the case, the Grandus set would have been called Spinner, after his Micromaster companion we’ll get to in a minute.


Take that best Megatron figure we never got!


Not only can Grandus join up with ANY of the Micromaster bases for a myriad of different combination, not only can his motorised features can be powered by Star Convoys tracks as part of his rarely seen base mode, but that’s just his base mode!  He can also hook up to Metroplex in aircraft carrier mode, or be dragged along by Dia Atlas, 0r – most impressively – he can also link up with his line mates Sky Garry and Star Convoy to make the Triple Combination Battlestar Attack Base (unpictured as it doesn’t fit in my light box, but once we’ve had a look at Sky Garry and Star Convoy I will show this super mode.  This blog is here for the long haul, so comfort yourself with the above artwork for now).  So, yeah, eat that Overlord and your awesome but limited use base-mode.




Spinner is the most Brave looking Micromaster I think I’ve ever seen in both modes, moreso than the Micromasters that actually came out in Brave (oh God, he’s on about Brave again – Editor).  He’s hardly the first Transformer to use a police theme, but the colouration and the way the shield is framed is straight out of Brave Police J-Decker – don’t believe me?  Well watch this space, we’ll be covering Brave more in the coming months.




So that is G1 Grandus, a big hunk of plastic love.  Unfortunately, we’ve never had any other toy versions of the Grandus character, and he’s yet to turn up in any Botcon fiction, or even James Robert’s obscurathon feelie comic More Than Meets The Eye.  Thankfully, those are not the last bastions for the unloved, Transformers Animated makes up the holy trifector and adopted Grandus with a lovely version of him which, sadly, never saw a toy release.  Pictured below was the very first tease of Animated Grandus re-imagined as a sumo-wrestler, released by the awesome Derrick Wyatt on his blog.



Hasbro gave us two of these at least, and I helped see the release of two more, so that’s not bad.

As well as appearing in the Botcon 2012 Animated Sunticon-job comic fiction, Grandus did make it into the actual cartoon itself, along with his official mold-mate retool Dug-Base, officially part of Transformers for the first time.

Wait a minute, who?


From the Brave of Command Dagwon series, Dugbase was a retooled version of Grandus.  Like other latter-day Transformers that never got recoloured or reissued, Grandus was repurposed for the Brave line.


A-6 A-7


Dagbase is an awesome toy, and tends to retail MISB for about 1.5th of the price of Grandus, so for some he is an excellent stand-in if you just really want to own the mold without skipping a mortgage payment, but he’s an excellent toy in his own right and thanks to DJW and the Animated cartoon, you have an excuse to annoy the Brave purists, slap an Autobot faction logo on him and port him right over to your TF collection.




Look at that face!  Not only does he look stoic and serious compared to Grandus, but he’s already well equipped to see most 3D movies.




His base mode feels even more city-like than even Grandus with the inclusion of two very Fortress Maximus reminiscent ramps that enable the various trains (so many trains) that make up the Brave line to interact with him, and the accompanying Decoy-esque solid Dagwon figures show the difference in the idea of scale between Transformers and Brave – most of the Brave figures are huge, especially when combined into their final forms where they often can reach Fort Max scale, and each one of the included figures represents a full-size character.  Much bigger than a Micromaster base.




Like Grandus before him, Dagbase can also link up to a lot of his fellow Brave toys to make a sprawling city mass, including the obvious TF repaints like Death Garrygun, but also new robots like the HUGE plane Fire Dagwon, who also has a little seen base-mode (again, I will show all of these in future blogs, I can’t show every picture of every robot, in every configuration at once, and we’re building to some of the more obscure stuff).






At a glance, Grandus and Dag-Base look very similar as they have such unique body-types, but actually the differences are quite noticeable; with the feet, hands, faces, back of the head, and accessories (including shoulder mounted traffic lights???) all changed to give them both a unique identity.  You don’t see these two side by side that often.


None more so than the aircraft carrier mode, which for Dagbase becomes more of a, uh, well I’m not sure what you’d call it exactly?  As I mentioned earlier he tends to interact with trains moreso than anything else, but I can’t see how this could work with trains.  So let’s just call it a battle platform and move on.




Overall, I prefer Grandus out of the two.  I think Dagbase has some great features and I like a lot of his remolded bits, and his ramps, but there is something about the colouring on Grandus that I love.  His little claw hands give him some much needed personality where the headsculpt fails him a little, and the huge 371, a reference to his Japanese release number (C-371) really adds an extra layer of nerd appeal for me.  And what can I say, I love huge, sprawling base mode cities.


Grandus’ mold wasn’t the only thing recycled for the Brave line, his working title of Iron Baron was also repurposed for Thunder Baron and Road Baron.  Those crafty peeps at Takara never let anything go to waste.  Including their designs for Super Rodimus Prime, which we will get to one of these days, but not just yet…

Thanks for checking out the blog!

-CZH / Ceno Kibble / Sid


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.


Looks pretty good overall…


The flaws become more obvious from the rear.

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 with Eaglebreast looks like a natural fit to me.


Animation model comparison, the Red Geist toy needed a bit more retooling ideally.

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.


Man, I love Robot Chicken.


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.