The first year of Generation Two in 1992 saw many repaints of the G1 range, some of these featured minor changes (Inferno), a few new paint detailing (Jazz), some complete mold redecos (Sideswipe) and some of these included running changes through the line (Dinobots seeing three separate colour-scheme releases, with a fourth for Grimlock planned and unreleased).

What was interesting to see was that the original Seeker jets saw less repaints in G2 than during G1, with only two of the original six figures seeing a release.  We know the Thrust and Dirge wing molds were available (and not “lost” like Sunstreaker or Wheeljack) because just a decade later they saw a release first through e-Hobby and later through Toys R Us as Hasbro Commemorative Editions, but for reasons unknown, two jets is all we got.  So lets see them.

G2 Starscream



The leader of the Seekers is back, even if he has less of an Air Squadron to command then in previous years.

At first glance, his redeco may look tonally similar to his original; A grey body becoming white with reddish parts for the upper torso, with grey highlights replacing the original blue.  In hand, the red is very noticeably a salmon colour (which became a more orangey shade with the TFCC release) and the blue to grey colour swap does make him noticably different, especially on his wings which – having not been blue on the original release – would have been on a different mold sprue to his blue parts, so his colour change is more thought out than a mere mold palette swap.  The slight purple of his cockpit and missiles were a nice change carried over in the TFCC version, which does a remarkably good job of copying the original, especially on homaging some of the original sticker apps.



One of the major changes from G1 to G2 was the addition of a rudimentary sound-chip and new missile launchers.  Like G2 Optimus Prime, Starscream features an add-on “light and sound” box that clips onto the figure, meaning Starscream can now make the “pew-pew” noises so you’re kids don’t have to.  Unfortunately, the technology of the time meant that the noises were of the same quality as you’d find on a key-fob at a cheap market stall; limited to a poor quality gun noise, and a take-off engine thrust noise that never seems to end.  Still, at least they didn’t try and add a voice file like on Megatron and Prime!

The new missile launcher is an interesting choice and was also carried over for G2 Superion / Silverbolt, we presume the changes were not aesthetic but necessary thanks to new toy laws denoting the size of missiles, to avoid choking mishaps with small projectiles.  What I find oddest about these missiles and launcher is that they were not carried over for the TRU reissues which had all new missiles designed to comply with the same laws (not so with the Takara / eHobby reissues), and even as recently as the Platinum Seeker sets we saw a new change to Thrust’s Missile Launcher Holder, which now is a solid piece with no firing mechanism at all.  Surely it would have been able to port the G2 missile and launcher over for these subsequent releases?



The alt. modes are pretty much what you expect, with G2 Starscream featuring the same factory sticker sets as the G1 figure, hence the old school faction logos, curiously this was carried over with the redesigned factory applied wing and tailfin stickers, which also featured the G2 logos.  Given the G2 logos were used before (and after) G2, they had them in hand at the design stage, so it’s very curious that these were not used.

Thankfully, the TFCC release features accurate G2 faction logo stickering as part of it’s tampographing, and I would be remiss if I didn”t mention that it’s probably the finest designed and applied tampographing of any of the recent figures released, and a highlight of the TFCC range.



Style-guide transformation artwork.


Something else worth mentioning, this is the fourth mainline release of Starscream from a company that was starting to realise the value of it’s own character IPs.  Starscream was released in 1984, and both as a Pretender Classic and an Action Master before his G2 release, only a small set of characters share that honour including Jazz and Grimlock, but unlike the big-players Prime and Megatron, Starscream was not replaced for the 1986 line (despite his graphic on screen death) making him one of the most enduring characters at this point in the line’s history – only Bumbleebee with his five releases by this point, beats him (although an argument could be made for Grimlocks three G2 colour-schemes pushing him into the lead).

G2 Ramjet



Now that is a colour overhaul!!!  Having lost his white torso to G2 Starscream, G2 Ramjet went in a completely different direction.  Now bright purple, with turquoise detailing.  Because G2.

Most of the things I mentioned for Starscream apply here for G2 Ramjet; new missile launchers, crappy clip-on sound-box which is only good at annoying pets, parents (and later spouses – it still works after all these years and the same batteries too!).  The way Ramjets wings display in robot mode give me the perfect opportunity to point out another G2 addition, the tampo’d faction identifier on the underside of his left wing identifying Ramjet as a Deception.  Something similar was carried over for the Transmetal era of Beast Wars, with name idents tampo’d on the curiously faction-less beasties.





The TFCC CHUG version did an excellent job homaging the original, once again replacing the old G1 stickers with G2 tampos, and although some of the detailing was lost (air intakes for instance) they did an excellent job all-round.  The biggest difference between the two classics molds used were off course the conehead, a change made for all the coneheads in the CHUG line to differentiate them from Starscream and co., and a great improvement on the G1 style of Coneheading, which always looks naff.



More rarely seen style-guide artwork

CHUG2 Ramjet actually pre-dates CHUG2 Starscream by about five years and was so popular he sold out in 2 days, it’s great that they manage to “finish” the set before the TFCC line died, but I sort of wish they’d rounded it out with the other four as well.  Tricky, considering Hasbro never revealed any scheduled repaints for the other characters, but in the years since G2 two other repaints of Ramjet have leaked, one known amoung the fandom as Sandstorm (click here for excellent Maz analysis of this unique hand-painted mold), and the other in a sky-blue deco you can read about here.

However, for those wanting to boost their G2 seeker ranks, Action Master Thundercracker’s colour-scheme is one of the most G2 looking things around and makes a great stand-in, and I feel Shattered Glass Dirge (below) could have also made an excellent G2 stand-in had they ever released it (although the mold is Ramjets, you can tell by the wings), and at a push Nacelle could almost be used for a G2 Thrust, although he is no longer a conehead.  But that’s it, no real inspiration for Skywarp.



Despite the enduring popularity of obscure G2 and the necessity for repaints, there have been no G2 MP style seekers.  Well, no official ones.  The iGear version of G2 Ramjet was released, but in very limited numbers.  Originally scheduled to be a Comic Ink store exclusive in the USA, an alleged Cease and Desist order apparently shut that down.  It’s a very nice piece if you can find it, and there are rumoured to only be about 20 ever made.


Overall, I’m a big fan of G2 toys, so all four of these official pieces call to me in a way I don’t fully understand, but even I have to draw the line somewhere, so G2 MPs are not for me.  However, there are plenty of other MP seekers available through Kapow Toys either in stock or on pre-order.  As well as that, the Kapow SALE is currently underway.  Go to.

Over the years, we’ve been blessed with some great exclusives in the UK.

This year we have two great exclusives available for sale at TFNation this weekend!

Kapow Toys will of course be at the show, selling the very excellent Feral Queen and Nero Queen twinpack, this MMC exclusive is only available in limited quantities, but for the awesome price of just £80.



Feral Queen started as an April Fools Joke (a long-standing MMC tradition which seems to confuse and inform more than it catches anyone out), but as is the way with these things, they joke takes on a life of their own and shows that demand for the figure actually exists.  It’s cool that fan requests such as this can make it as an exclusive down the way, and I’m sure these figures will make a lot of people happy.



They are both retools of Azalea but with brand new headsculpts from Renderform’s very own Venksta!  Nero Queen is intended for use with Nero Rex, the black recolour of Feral Rex.  Once you’ve got Feral and Nero Queen from Kapow, time to hunt out Nero Rex (I will have super limited quantities, see below).


Nero Rex


I will be there as well, working on the Comic Connections / Sid’s Transformers Toys stall, where we have the UK / European allocation of KFC Scorpinator, a dual exclusive with an American trader which saw their allocation 95% sold out in just 10 days!!!


13641307_10154262091962510_4001419753265976213_o SCORP6 SCORP5


This obscure toy is based on Action Master Devastators Scorpion companion; Scorpulator!  A homage that no-one ever asked for, but people sure seem to love!



There is a hidden third mode as well, but thanks to the amazing interactions of the fandom, we’re up to about 12 modes now, including beetle / elephant, strange robot, tattoo machine and various guns and submarine modes(!) #Hasbrosarcasm




The amazing video review by Thew is available on ThewTube Youtube and has been viewed an astonishing 13,000 times.



In the past, we’ve had the Auto Assembly 2012 Wheeljack > Marlboor conversion kit, the 2013 Badcop (Vehicon General Barricade upgrade), the 2013 Salt Men Basil and Manuel figures, and the 2014 Bluster and Trench (Animated Huffer and Pipes) in Mario and Luigi colours.  Not bad for a small little country, eh?
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And that’s not all, previous show exclusives by Kapow Toys include Perfect Effect Guardian (Warden repaint homaging Brave Maximus) and the PE11 Scouting Force X Black edition.


Addendum:  We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the very first UK show exclusive, available at (the very shortlived official) Botcon Europe 2002 in Cheshunt we had our first and only OFFICIAL UK convention exclusive in the form of Rook, a keychain reissue of Windcharger in awesome colours.  Please follow the link here to read up more about this show and exclusive.


So come see Kapow Toys and then me at TFnation this weekend.

Not going to TFnation?  Contact us after the weekend to see what’s available.

Thanks for reading, and hope to see you all this weekend!  Enjoy, and thanks to the TFNation committee for all the work they’ve put in thus far!

It may seem weird to us now, either as people who grew up with Beast Wars, Unicron Trilogy or even the 10 year old Movie franchise, or even as 30/40 year old adults who’ve just gotten used to tank-mode Megatrons, but there was a time when gun mode was all the rage.


Growing up, I had to make do with Galvatron, running around and making electronically provided “pew-pew” noises, but before that, and before Transformers even, there was Micro-Change, and they gave us not one, but three distinct gun mode transforming robots to choose from.


Although MC12 / MC13 made it over to the Transformers range as Megatron, and later MC07 received a release in the Japanese line as Browning, one of these molds never made it across to the Westernised Transformers brand.  That figure was MC11 Gun Robo S&W Magnum 44, otherwise known as MC11 Pistola Robot 44 Magnum in the Gig distributed Trasformer line, but affectionately known by most as simply Magnum 44.


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This was my birthday treat to myself this year, once again an expensive toy justified for my collection as a “future blog article”, when really I just wanted it for myself.  The box isn’t amazing, but it’s more than good enough for my collection, especially seeing as I’m supposed to be a Loose collector anyway (owning a unique Takara mold is the important bit for me), but I must confess to really enjoying any of the Japanese or Italian pre-Transformers releases, as I feel the packaging mitigates the risk of depreciation in the unlikely event of a reissue (legitimate or otherwise).  Sure, value is not why I collect, but all the same, it is good to protect your investment.  And damn, does the packaging make the idea of becoming a boxed collector appealing!



Of course, there are many box variations for this guy, including a very similar Japanese text box, and of course the obligatory high-end KOs, including this most interesting and very Kingdam looking packaging featuring new character art.


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This is probably how this piece looks best.  Removing the outer packaging really lets this mold shine; with the lovely sleek black weapon and wooden-effect gun handle, this really is the colour toy guns look best in.  The chrome weapon also looks great, but we can see one of the parts-forming weaknesses of this mold, with the arm extension and fists packaged separately.  All bullets are included (actually includes four extra!), but for me the highlight of this version is the pack-in cardboard targets, which feature what look like Waruder bad-guys, unusual, seeing as Microchange and Diaclone were considered separate lines.

Update:  Thanks to Bryan Wilkinson for pointing out the card artwork is of the AcroSatans (amazing name) from earlier in the New Microman line circa 1982, just before Microchange started.  There is a similarity to the Waruder designs, because these too were designed by legendary Takara designer Kohjin Ohno.


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Small cardboard targets might not look like much, but they’re the kind of thing that are not looked after and are easily damaged or lost, and for me go one step beyond, reminding jaded adult collectors such as myself that these are toys, designed to be fun for kids, not just sit behind glass on a shelf.


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Lets do gun mode first, as we’ve already teased that in packaging.  This is arguably his better side; cleaner, with the metal arm pin hidden.  The little S&W sticker is an amazing detail, from a more innocent time where not everything was licensed because many companies simply didn’t have licensing wings and Intellectual Property lawyers.  As a gun, you could probably fool a few people with it, although less so with this version and it’s EU friendly orange plug (I blame Brexit!) which was absent from the Japanese releases.  Although I daresay it would be easier to convince US police that this is real than in other countries, but would you really want too?!?


You can pull back the hammer and that locks into place, waiting for the pull of the trigger, which is presumably what makes these fire, just like a real firearm!  However, given the delicate nature of some toy’s firing pins after 35 years, I am reticent to try!  The only real negative with this alt. mode as a disguise, is that the head doesn’t really go anywhere, and just folds down, hiding the face from view.  At a glance, and in pictures, you can’t really notice, but in hand, it is glaringly obvious – as much as you might try and justify it as a sight for targeting – and the first indication that maybe this toy isn’t as perfect as it first looks.


The rounded multi-slug chamber in the middle of the gun really is the most convincing part of this toy, because it’s very hard to imagine how that transforms into a robot in a convincing way.


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The transformation is very clever.  The legs are pretty much the same as Megatron’s; flipping forwards, stretching out and unfolding feet.  For the torso, you slide and rotate the mid-section, then there is a tiny trigger release on the back of the robot which you need to activate in order to release the chamber, you fold that down and push the metal pin which somewhat amazingly reveals an upper-arm hidden INSIDE the chamber!!!  This is brilliant, and by far the genius moment of this transformation.  Unfortunately, there is not enough space in the chamber for an entire arm, hence the arm extension and plug-in fists are necessary.  A shame, but for a toy from the early-eighties, you cannot really complain.

Every holds together nicely, but I wish the chamber could click back into place just a little more on the right hand side of the body, and the shoulder joint coming mid-way down the left shoulder / mid-torso is a little odd, as seen below.


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The head detail is stunning, just a fantastic and interesting sculpt, which might make you think of this toy as Rumble or Frenzy’s Dad, as there is a bit of family resemblance there!  Colour wise, this guy is actually a little bland, and you can see how the flash or red and blue on the inside of the Megatron / Browning figures made a big difference to the robot modes.


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Everything feels great, and the figure is sturdy and displayable, but in hand, this guy just doesn’t look as nice as it does in pictures, and I think it’s purely because you never see pictures of this guy from the side, where you can see how slightly awkward the body shape is, the slightly floaty head, and how much leftover gun just sits behind the figure’s torso.  I included one above to help people make an informed choice when considering purchasing him, because this piece is a bit of a grail item these days, and was on sale at Botcon 2016 for as high as $750 for a MIB version!

That’s not to say this guy isn’t worth picking up for your collection, and certainly, I needed to buy him and he looks great on display with the other guns!  He’s an amazing little figure for the time and an excellent piece of history, but he’s definitely one for Microchange and pre-TF collectors, and perhaps one that G1 collectors who might have considered picking up to boost their G1 Decepticons might want to evaluate, because I think Hasbro definitely made the right choice when it came to picking their Decepticon leader out of the three gun molds available.


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So, just who is Kiloton?  Never let it be said that the awesome chaps and chappettes over at the TFwiki leave any obscure reference untapped, and they like to associate the obscure Kiloton character and Megatron mentor as a reference to this unused pre-TF mold.  Not for me, personally, but I always enjoy attempts to integrate unused molds into TF lore.

Sadly, there have been zero official or third party updates to this character.  Ever.  So it’s difficult to show comparisons to how he might look in 2016, or to include links back to Kapow, but just go check out the site and look at their selection of Megatrons and third party versions to see whether you prefer gun modes, or modern updated modes.  What do you think, has the time of gun mode passed?  Did G2 Megatron get it right?  Comment below, and thanks for reading!

I’m always quick to point out to people that G1 Bumblebee and Cliffjumper do not transform into VW Beatles and Porsches, but actually transform into Penny Racer Super Deforms of them.

To that end, I’ve always been a fan of the Chibli deform style of toy.



Enter Takara with their Cute Transformers line (Q-Ts… geddit!?!).

I wasn’t completely sold on this line when they first appeared, mostly because 4 of the first 8 figures released were Bay-movie inspired, and as such they didn’t do much for me.  I’m glad I took the punt on the others while I was in Hong Kong, as these are absolutely up my street.




Hound and Skids – Suzuki Hustler

Measuring just shy of two inches long in vehicle mode, and standing roughly that high, deep and wide in robot mode, these figures have incredibly basic transformations, but thanks to the wonder of ball joints, have a surprising amount of poseability, however this poseability is restricted by the short “deform” legs and arms.




Arcee and Shockwave – Toyota Crown Athlete S21

One of the wonderful things about this line is the licensing, as unlike Generations toys which take liberties with vehicle modes, these are all officially licensed alt. modes.  Well done to Takara for making the most of the licensing agreements; if you’re paying for the Lancia license to make MP Wheeljack, why not make a QT at the same time?



Prime and Soundwave – Nissan GT-R R35

These were released in Asian territories at the tail-end of 2014, and are only available in the UK / US thanks to the awesome importers we have, who work hard to bring a full selection of TF stock to the West.





Hello Kitty Halloween Edition and Ultra Magnus – no licensed real world equivalents

Because Takara are always looking to do the next fun thing, they’ve also released limited versions of these toys as crossovers.  Similar to their licensing deal with Disney which saw Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Buzz Lightyear catching the transformation bug a few years back, now Hello Kitty, Snoopy and Neon Genesis are in on the act, all of them having received the QT treatment in the Q-collaboration range (not a Star Trek Next Gen episode).


Thus far there have been 10 waves of the standard range, releasing a total of 33 figures.








Shockers, Megs and Soundwave. Megs rocking the Lamborghini Veneno look

The range was replaced with the QTF line at the beginning of 2016, featuring mostly reissues (including very cool three packs of the main character as pictured above) and retools, but an all new mold in the shape of QTF Ironhide and Ratchet.


Ratchet and Ironhide – Toyota HiAce

It’s a very fun and light-hearted toyline, backed up by a mobile phone game and a basic flash animated series called “Mystery of Convoy Returns” and followed by the Mel Brook’s-esque titled “The Road to Additional Popularity”.


Bumble and Cliff – Daihatsu Copen

And then suddenly, that’s been it since March!  I sincerely hope this line isn’t done, as there are loads more characters they could include in the line, and I would like to see more characters from non-G1 sources get the treatment like Lockdown and Drift have received, characters such as Barricade, or Bulkhead.


Wheeljack – Lancia Stratos Turbo Gr.5, Drift – Mazda RX-7 FD3S, Meister (Jazz) – Toyota Sprinter Trueno AE86


I would also like to see niche characters such as Bumper get the treatment, and I propose the Jazz mold pictured above as a donor mold!














Jetfire and the Seekers – my favourite 80s band!

All of the transformations are very similar across the line, with the exception of the Seekers (how tempting to head swap the Starscream and Jetfire to make SG Starscream?), and the recent Ironhide mold having a slightly more involved transformation.










Hot Rodimus is hanging out with the other Matrix bearers as a Toyota 96


They have done a different Convoy not pictured above, with the more traditional cab and trailer mold, but honestly, I like the idea of him as a car with the rest of his team-mates, sort of like in Binaltech and Alternity.  They’ve also done the obligatory black repaint as well, this time using the Bay-movie Western Star 4900SB tractor version.






Prowl and Smokescreen – Nissan Fairlady Z 280Z-T as they should be. Bluestreak is a Subaru WRX Sti

You may notice above what looks to be two Smokescreens, however the one homaging Binaltech Smokescreen is actually considered Bluestreak for this range.  Its a nice way of keeping G1 fans happy, but also paying tribute to the Subara guys, who really helped the Binaltech line launch with a bang.


Sideswipe and Red Alert are G1’ing it up as Lamborghini Countach LP500S, while Sunstreaker shares a mold with Drift

As with every line these days, there are lots and lots of retools and reworking of the molds to make as many characters as possible.  I’m okay with that, as Takara do a good job of mixing and matching vehicles to character types as best as they can.  There are some odd choices, such as making Sunstreaker a Mazda RX-7, but I guess it’s nicer than ANOTHER Countach.















Here’s the gang. I should point out that Tracks is a Chevrolet Corvette C7, as he didn’t get his own picture.

And that’s about all there is to say about these guys, other than I implore you to check them out sometime, as they really are a lot of fun.

Some of these are currently in stock right here, keep an eye on the Kapow page and social media for updates to the line!  Thanks for reading as always!

Most people know I have a fairly extensive G1 collection, but there are a few bits conspicuous by their absence, Pretenders for one.


I’m quick to say I have a near complete Euro / US collection, but way back when my goal was simply to collect 84-86.  I completed that set a while ago, but along the way there was one set that got away.  That set was the mail-away Powerdasher set.



Released as part of the Transformers line in 1984, they were only available via mail-order for $3 and two robot points, with the catch being you didn’t know which one of the three you were getting.  As well as transforming, the big gimmick with these was a pull back and go motor.

So after putting off buying this set for decades, I recently purchased a very nice Italian Diaclone set, as distributed by Gig.  But why did I put off buying these for so long?  Was it because of price, condition, or rarity?  Read on and find out.


F1 Dasher / Dragster / Aragon / Powerdasher Car*

(*format:  Japanese Diaclone name / Gig Diaclone name / Joustra and Trasformer name (adopted by TFwiki) / lame US name)




These are fairly simple figures, as you can see.  The robot mode for F1 Dasher is Optimus Prime coloured, but that is where the similarities end.  His massive “spoiler” becomes the legs and feet for the robot, and the front of the car folds down to make the arms / hands.


The vehicle mode is slightly more interesting in that there is room for a Diaclone driver (included!), and the toy features a pull back and go motor that has survived all these years.  You might note in the example pictured above, the robot head is clearly visible in alt. mode, it is supposed to rotate and hide away, but thirty years in packaging has left the head a tad stiff, and I didn’t want to risk breaking it for this shot.



I’ve not seen a Spoiler this big since Jon Snow died


Edit:  The head doesn’t rotate, which would explain why it wouldn’t move.  Don’t try that at home kids!

It might be of note to some that the Transformers release has black legs instead of blue, and you might have seen yellow headed “variants” too, but that’s just chrome wear.

Note that the original Diaclone names are included on stickers on all three toys.


Drill Dasher / Perforer / Zetar / Powerdasher Drilltank


Another pretty basic figure.  A lot of this guy looks backwards, especially the feet (see trio photo below), and I still think it’s an odd choice in this range to keep the cockpits prominent in robot mode and alt. mode, when they could have detailed the underside.  I’m not sure if they did this because the underside had to remain flat for alt. mode, but a few stickers could have pepped it up.



Look at that face!


Transformation is insanely simple, to the point that the Gig release don’t include instruction sheets, just two pictures on the side explaining it.  Actually, the entire packaging is simple, the front of the box is just a shell that covers the polystyrene inner, no rear packaging so to speak.  They come with a sticker sheet, a tiny and very folded Diaclone catalogue, and a very small character card.





The alt. mode for this guy is cute, who doesn’t love a Drillformer?  It;s a shame the legs cover the awesome Drill Dasher side stickers.

The colour scheme is very nice.  Overall, this is my favourite of the trio, especially with the colour-matched Diaclone driver sat on top.


Sky Dasher / Dragster / Cromar / Powerdasher Jet




An inversion of the colours on the F1 type, these bright primary colours aren’t enough to help this very basic robot mode.  Note the stickers for a face that all three of these guys had, something that wasn’t seen on another Transformer  other than the much derided G1 Ratchet / Ironhide (we’ll come back to that in a minute).




The transformation is very similar to the F1 type, with the arms swinging over the head and the legs swinging around, this time to the side not over the figure, the wings are cleverly hidden inside the legs and act as the thigh joint for the legs in the process.  Ironically the most dangerous to pilot vehicle has the least convincing cockpit for the driver.


It’s a fun enough vehicle, as a kid I can imagine punching things as I fly the vehicle into them.  Which might explain the chrome wear a lot of these figures suffer.  As with the F1 type, the Transformers release has a black chest section rather than blue.



So why didn’t I buy them before?  Well, because of the complete lack of personality or media support growing up, I had no affinity with these characters, it’s also quite hard to find them in the UK for a decent price.  Even if you CAN find them in the UK, the chrome is usually damaged.  I mean, badly damaged.  Like the Drill type has a yellow drill for a head, not a chrome one damaged.




But that isn’t why I didn’t buy them.  I continually skipped these for years, because I think they are BAD TRANSFORMERS, and I stand by that.  Even a “completest” has limits (I’m not a completest, and I think it’s unhealthy to try).

But that’s not to say these are bad toys.

It’s a similar thing to G1 Ratchet and Ironhide, I think they are amazing toys for their time, but they are lousy Transformers and crap renditions of Ironhide and Ratchet if you know them from the cartoon or comic.  Like these Diaclone Dashers, they are also at their best when they are interacting with little Diaclone drivers as part of inhabited world in a completely separate toyline divorced from Transformers.  At least the Cherry Vannettes had the advantage of blending into the world thanks to the real-world alt. modes, which made them fit right alongside Sunstreaker and Trailbreaker, but these guys are an odd fit, as they don’t really look like anything, Earthmode or Cybertronian, and as such seem slightly out of place in both Diakron and Transformers.

I don’t want or need these for my Transformers shelf, as I don’t believe that sticking an Autobot logo on something is enough to bring a toy into that world.  Indeed, it took the combined efforts of Hasbro, Marvel and Sunbow to make the Takara toyline an intellectual property and brand to be reckoned with, but along the way the first humble mail-away offer, the Power-Dashers, never really found a place into the heart and soul of the line, which is why thirty years on we’ve had no homages of these characters – official or otherwise – not even as Mini-cons.




Which is why I’ve finally found a place for these in my burgeoning Diaclone collection after decades of Transformers collecting.

But it just shows that everything has a place, and even the oddest of toys can find a spot in a collection, when put into the proper context.  For me – in this case – it meant looking at toys I’d ignored for years in a different light, and I’m very glad I did.


Thanks for reading, be sure to check out the Kapow site for all the latest toys and pre-orders.

26 years ago, the very first episode of Brave Exkaiser aired, the first of the ongoing Yuusha / Brave universe series (sometimes spelled Exkizer or Exkaizer).  Produced by Sunrise, and funded by and with designs from Takara, it wasn’t long until toys followed.


We’ve looked at a few Brave bits recently, so lets go right back to its roots and look at some of the earliest toys, with the titular character Exkaiser and his various combinations, across his two releases; first in 1990, and then later as part of the short-lived Masterpiece Brave line.

Exkaiser / King Loader


Original packaging


Reissue packaging circa 2001

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Exkaiser is a Space Police car, who powers-up to reveal the motif of a lion on his chest.  Because Brave.  No more explanation needed.




Shown above are the original on the right, and a 2001 era re-release (unstickered) on the left.  The only difference between the two is that the upper arms on the original are molded in blue, and on the reissue they are molded in red.  As you can see, I’ve opted to show Exkaiser in powered up robot mode.  Considering this is the smallest part of Exkaiser, it’s worth pointing out that he’s about the size of a small Voyager TF figure.



Here we compare the original to the 2006 era Masterpiece release (MPB01 King Exkaiser).  You’ll notice quite a size disparity.  Despite being a much smaller product, the Masterpiece Exkaiser is a much more involved transformation, and features loads more articulation, as well as a display stand so you can ace some action poses with him.





Here we see Exkaiser attached to his trailer; King Loader.  If you’re getting a distinct Star Convoy vibe from the trailer, you’re in the right place mentally, as these toys tend to share a lot of similarities with the latter day Takara only Transformers releases as seen in Victory and Revenge of Convoy.  It’s a big chunk of attractive plastic, which sacrifices all poseability in favour of sheer size and chunkiness.  If you prefer you toys with a bit more poseability, I suggest you look at the Masterpiece below.


I’m sure it comes as absolutely no surprise to anyone to find out that I prefer the chunky vintage (warts and all) over the Masterpiece.


King Exkaiser

As is the way of things in Brave, Exkaiser and King Loader can – of course – combine to become a bigger robot.



Very similar in execution to vintage Star Sabre, King Loader can transform by himself, but without Exkaiser inside, he has no face.  It’s these little details that link Brave and Transformers, with their parallel designs informing and influencing each other, which won me over to collecting a new toyline when I always said my mecha collecting was going to be Transformers only.


Everything opens up, ready to insert Exkaiser, and when you lower the chest and head compartment of King Loader, only then do you get KING EXKAISER.



There’s lots to like about this mold, even with his shampoo bottle articulation (something he shares with Sky Garry and Star Convoy!).  First off, lets look at that impossibly Takara styled but-totally-not-Optimus-honest-Guv faceplate.  What about the crest on his head?  Every bit the king.  Giant lion motif on the chest despite the complete lack of animal alt. mode?  Check!  Weapons storage?





He’s a big old toy, towering over the majority of G1 combiners, even just in this mode.  But what about his Masterpiece version?



Well this guy does the job too.  Massively more poseable, and with a lot more anime-esque styling.  There is a lot to like about this guy, and I can see why a huge number of people prefer him to the original.  personally, it’s not what I got into collecting Brave for, as I like the original chunky Takara aesthetic, but hey, isn’t it great we have options?  If they had done more than two of the Masterpieces, maybe I would be more into the line, but as it is, it just feels like a fragment, rather than a collection.


Side by side shows the biggest differences between the two.  They are very disparate aesthetic choices; neither is right nor wrong, it is just a matter of preference, and no-one can deny that the MP makes a great stand-alone piece.



Dragon Kaiser

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The companion piece to Exkaiser, Dragon Kaiser is an intimidating lump of plastic in his own right.  I’ve found this guy one of the hardest Brave pieces to track down in good condition – much harder to find than Exkaiser –  maybe as he is prone to yellowing, and sadly the weapon attachments are key to his alt. mode too, which somewhat diminishes the example I currently own.

Dragon Kaiser is a big toy, with such an Optimus Prime inspired face it’s untrue.  Present as always in Brave are the impressive chromed headcrest and a larger than life chest motif.   As with King Exkaiser, he only becomes this form when Exkaiser is present inside his torso area, otherwise he is simply known as Dragon.



His alt. mode is a big, huge ass jet technically known as the Dragon Jet.  His weapons should plug into his shoulders to form an extra set of wings.  He transforms similar to the way Grandus / Dagbase transforms lies down.





MPB-02: Dragon Kaiser was the second and final Masterpiece Brave release.  I no longer own this toy, simply because when I bought one and opened the box, I wasn’t expecting a bunch of parts to assemble, I was expecting a toy that wasn’t there and doesn’t really exist.  I genuinely got nothing from the MP Dragon Kaiser, and never even combined the two before selling it on.  Genuinely, I disliked it, in the same way I dislike the CMS Gokin Gaogaigar releases; they don’t feel like toys – rather a bunch of fragile and easy to break pieces.  Maybe this is unfair, as the MPB releases definitely display better than the CMS releases, but I was disappointed with the toy and the MPB line as a whole.

However, in the interest of completeness, check out TJ Duckett of Kuma Style and his amazing article on MP Dragon Kizer.  This is certainly a huge improvement on the original in terms of articulation, I guess I just love bricks.






Great Exkaiser

What, you thought we were done?  This is Brave, remember?

The final form of these guys is when they combine together.



As cool as the head and chest are, it does look sort of stupid combined to be honest, but hot damn is it a mega-imposing toy.  This is taller than the Energon releases of Unicron and Primus, this is taller than Planet X’s Genesis figure…  In Brave terms, this is almost as tall as Brave King J-Der, and makes Super Fire Dagwon look small.



Sure, there are obvious compromises to the figure, but this was Takara’s first ever attempt at a Brave-style hat-on-a-hat combiner.  The forearms are clearly too big to be in any sort of proportion, and you can see way too much of King Exkaiser through the arms.  He barely even has articulation, just two points of movement in his arms.  Dragon Kaiser’s back plate does nearly all the work of holding this guy together as well (doubling as the crest surround, to make the chest even more over the top), and is easily damaged.  But damn, if that doesn’t make for one big ass toy!  Although, this is one Brave combiner I choose to display in individual combined modes as Dragon Kaiser and King Exkaiser, as the space saved displaying them combined isn’t worth the less pleasing aesthetic of the combined mode compared to the individuals.  Unfortunately – and rarely for Brave – he is less than the sum of his parts.




Looking at the vintage figure, I can easily see why Takara wanted to tackle this again and try to improve on their representation of this character.  One of the best things about doing these blogs is having the chance to revisit toys and form new opinions, and perhaps I judged the MPB02 release too soon, as there is no denying that both Dragon kaiser and Great Exkaiser are huge improvements on their original releases.  With my obsession for collecting sprawling lines, and in my bid to cut down on extraneous pieces in my collection, I might have sold this truncated line short.
If you want a more in depth examination of the Masterpiece version of Great Exkaiser, I recommend you check out TJ Duckett’s amazing and in-depth review right here.  You won’t regret it!


As with most of these Brave characters, there are a myriad of non-transforming vinyl and PVC pieces you can collect most of which are more anime accurate, but for me, none of them come close to having the character of the original Takara releases.

Thanks for reading as always, and we value your feedback.