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.



Reissue packaging – check the instruction numbering visible through the packaging, denoting what figure is inside.


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.

The Multiforce

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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.


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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.


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Dashtacker, Machtackle, and Wingwaver – the traditional two-man combined forms.

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.


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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.


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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.

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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.

Stealth Multiforce

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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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Stealth Landcross

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.

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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.


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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.


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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.




Galaxy Shuttle is one of the most well known and popular of the latter day “Victory”-era Japanese Transformers, even gaining popularity and traction in the West where he has had zero fiction appearances.  As such, he tends to be a very expensive and hard to acquire item, with even average condition loose versions of the toy selling out within minutes of the doors opening at even the biggest Transformers conventions like Botcon.



Stupid flap creases!

Why is this?

Maybe it’s because he is really, really good!  A very solid latter-day Transformer which relies on very few gimmicks, other than his ability to transform from a really cool robot into a really nice Space Shuttle mode.  No Pretender shell, no Micro-Master companion or launcher, no third, fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh mode, no head / breast / target / power mastery, no Action Mastering,; just a solid toy.  Such a solid toy that he was also snapped up by Gig for the Trasformers line a year later, and then retooled and re-released as a Brave toy six years later in 1996 as part of the Brave Command Dagwon line.



Galaxy Shuttle


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Shuttle Robo as is sometimes known (as he was called in his first appearance), was released in Japan in 1989 under the designation C-326.




The robot mode, as mentioned before, is big, bulky and stunning.  It’s no wonder he was later used for Brave as he in many ways looks more like a Brave figure rather than a Transformer, except for that awesome face that screams Heroic Autobot.  He is a big toy compared to others of the time, whilst obviously not being as big as a city-bot, but that’s because his character is a big robot in the show as well.  Unlike Blast Off or Astrotrain, this guy is a space shuttle capable of carrying huge robots inside him which doesn’t shrink down to insane sizes in robot mode.




His transformation is a joy, everything moves instinctively, but annoyingly his wings do get in the way sometimes.  You can pop them off to make the transformation easier, but repeated popping on and off of the wings tends to cause stress marks to the softer plastic material holding the wings in place, and it has been known to perish and crack on a few unfortunate cases.



That’s not paint scratching… it’s from re-entry.

Once in vehicle mode, he really shines.  You can interact with the Micro-Masters play pattern in a couple of different ways, and you can even open up his cockpit to pop a Micro-Master pilot in there, which does make me wonder why they didn’t include one with him to increase the value of the package and bulk out an already close to bloated line.
There have also been rumours that Galaxy Shuttle was originally supposed to come with a launcher of some type, but I’ve never been able to confirm that, as it’s very hard to search for that without getting assaulted by Richard Branson propaganda.



I can’t decide which I prefer, so have both.


You can also pop open his cargo bay doors (his arms basically) to add a further bit of play value, and his weapon stores nicely, becoming his tail-fin in shuttle mode.





He also interacts nicely with the Countdown base playset, as seen above and below, with his rear blasters molded to fit in place of Countdown’s booster rocket.






Thunder Dagwon





I’ve always loved this dual packaging design that you can find on some Brave, with a solid package art piece on one side, and a window showing you the toy on the other.  This is something Joustra Diaclone toys did very well and I’d like to see it more often in today’s toys.



Technically, Thunder Dagwon is actually the combined form of DagThunder and Thunder Shuttle, but most people refer to this guy on his own as Thunder Dagwon.




And all new mold DagThunder is included in the package, comprised of Thunder Rai and his Thunder Bike, but they are in a completely different scale to Thunder Shuttle.  While they’re a cool addition to the package, they just store on the back of the figure and don’t really affect the look of the figure like other combining Braves, so I rarely combine them and keep them separate.  I should also mention that T’Dawg here comes with another spear weapon, not pictured, as I removed it from the figure when i took it to a nerd meet-up for safe-keeping, and I’ve promptly lost it.








Thunder Rai on his Thunder Bike


The figure has some extensive retooling, in robot mode this is most noticeable with his new head sculpt.  Not everyone likes his head-crest, and it’s very removed from the Transformers aesthetic, I’ve even heard it described as a curled up gold poop sat on his fore-head, which I think is a tad unfair.  However, it’s no argument that Thunder Dagwon does look a lot more angry and threatening than his Autobot counterpart.




His new chest required that Takara change the entire cockpit canopy, introducing a swivel joint so the flashy chest is contained within the cockpit in alt. mode, but this obviously gives him a very different look in alt. mode as well.  Other than that simple twist of the cockpit, and the folding of his ears away, he transforms exactly the same as Galaxy Shuttle.  Only easier.




Why easier?

Well, they have completely changed his wing attachments, almost making them a fixed double joint which allows for slightly better rotation and clearance, meaning they’re never in the way during the transformation.  Which is great as they can’t be removed.  I also prefer the wings on Thunder Dagwon, as they are more space-shuttley, with Galaxy Shuttle having molded gun detailing on his wing-tips, seemingly just to make it harder to find good condition examples in the future.




Some say the additional front wings do detract from the space shuttle mode a bit though, meaning you’d need to do a hybrid of the G1 and Brave toys to get a perfect Space Shuttle look for the real nerds out there.  You know, the sort of nerds who’d appreciate this designation on the tail-fin.



Nerds like me.


Overall, I actually prefer Thunder Dagwon, I love the head, the over-the-top chest, the more stable wing transformation and wing accuracy, and I think the flash of colour and ostentatious chest makes him really stand out.  Hard to do against a wall of other over-the-top Brave toys.





That’s not to take anything away from Galaxy Shuttle, as both are great toys.  I’ve actually wanted Galaxy Shuttle for years before I eventually got him this year at Botcon, whereas Thunder Dagwon just… sort of happened, I guess.  The scarcity and value of Galaxy Shuttle (not to mention the difficulty in finding an un-yellowed one) means that acquiring one is an event, even for the most jaded of burnt out toy collectors, and this too-many-a-grail piece would be a stand-out choice in any collection.  I can definitely see why it is so popular.




But I’m not done yet… that’s not all the secrets that Thunder Dagwon contains.  The sharp eyed amoung you might have noticed a difference in Thunder Dagwon’s gun in the pictures above.  The grey cover on his weapon does more than just make his gun look different, it enables another one of those lovely over-the-top Brave combinations I enjoy talking about.


Shuttle wears his branding proudly!


Yes, while Galaxy Shuttle contains the ability to port onto Countdown for a shuttle launch aesthetic (don’t ask where the solid fuel boosters are), Thunder Dagwon contains the ability to re-create another slice of real-world awesomeness from the Space Shuttle era.  Rather than the usual Brave robot combination, this is a vehicle combination, one that’s too big for me to photograph in my light box or more traditional brick-work setting.



Yep, Thunder Dagwon uses his weapon clip to “combine” with big bad Fire Dagwon, a huge cargo plane.  This is very cool, and the connection is so strong that you can hold the plane upside-down and Thunder Dagwon isn’t going anywhere!  Fire Dagwon is himself a massive beast of a robot, one who follows the traditional mecha formula of combining with another robot, Power Dagwon, to make an EVEN BIGGER robot; Super Fire Dagwon.


I’m in a Dagwon sort of mood.  Maybe we’ll take a look at that next week…

Thanks for reading!



No-one can deny that the early days of Transformers G1 provided us with some real innovation, especially in this early Takara Diaclone and Micro-change toys.


Unfortunately, the good ol’ days only last so long, and pretty soon the reality of business takes over.  For Hasbro, this meant designing new toys in house which were cheaper to manufacture and – thanks to the nature of plastic over die-cast – with molds that would last much longer.


As kids, a lot of us might not have noticed the cheap-creep, but I remember my parent’s certainly voiced it as they loved the early years, but were not fans of the later era.  As metal disappeared, detailing became simpler, basic gimmicks took over, and sometimes hands disappeared to be replaced with stubs (I’m looking at you Powermaster Prime!), it was easy to see the difference from 1985 to 1987.

This wasn’t always a bad thing, as limitations can often spur creativity – case in point Budiansky and Furman’s writing, and some of the Hasbro designs have a charm and simplicity all of their own.  Many toys I disliked as a child I have come to love, including the much maligned Action Masters, and many collectors love their Pretender collections.

But sometimes we get The Firecons.


Despite a fairly cool first appearance in the comic-book, where they went toe-to-toe with Galvatron (spoiler – they lost), nothing could have prepared me for the toys.


Yeah.  Any Gee-wunners who go with the fleeting statement that all G1 are better than the toys we get now, need look at these guys.  From left to right, we have Flamefeather (blue), Cindersaur(purple) and Sparkstalker (pinky purple), released in 1988 as one of the lower priced figures in the TF range.

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They transform from three decent enough looking mythological bird monster creatures (a lot of Decepticons went a bit feral cyber-beasty by this era), with some really nice sculpted detailing – albeit with rubber tyres sticking out of their chests – to…

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…this.  Three decent enough looking mythological bird monster creatures with robots carved onto their backs.  Their alt. mode legs retain the same function in robot mode, their robot arms unfold to reveal the very basic (and similar looking) robot heads underneath.  The alt mode head, tail and arms just fold behind the robot as mega-kibble, so don’t look behind or turn them around.

I guess much of the sacrifice was due to their gimmick (other than transforming), as the Firecons could fire sparks out of their beast mouths if you ran their alt. mode bellies along the ground, then it was a rush to point the sparks into your friends eyes before they stopped working (the sparks and the eyes!).  This was great fun as a kid, for the first week or so until you wore the flint out, and got a rollockin’ from the parents for scratching up the living room table / kitchen counter / doorframe.  Usually, this would result in a bit of paint work damage too, which is why the beaks and horns on these guys often have some paint rubbing.

These guys are cheap enough to collect, and an interesting curiouso, though I would suggest the main collecting reasons for these guys are a) nostalgia and b) a sense of completion.  But honestly?  How is that any different to the rest of collecting?  They are also something of a rarity – as they will never be displayed in robot mode in my collection.


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Two of the three were later released in Generation 2 exclusively in European markets (please note, European markets often also include Canada, presumably due to the dual language packaging and licensing deals in place), using one of my most hated giummicks; clear plastic.  Thankfully, the colours are suitably offensive and G2, so I do dig them.  A lot.  As much as I might joke about the Firecons, these G2 variations are legitimately hard to find, especially in the United States.


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Cindersaur didn’t make the cut, I’ve often wondered if his absence could be explained through gang-molding, as Flamefeather and Sparkstalker appear to share a few colour-schemes in the G1 and G2.  However, 16 years later as part of Botcon 2010, they did release a Cindersaur, albeit using the 10th Anniversary of Beast Wars Megatron mold, so it doesn’t really fit.  Despite an incredibly cool colour palette that makes me want to immediately do a custom to complete my G2 set proper, I just can’t get behind this toy.  It’s just too far from the source for me, and instead of “completing a set” with a mold 16 years remove, it instead starts yet another sub-set it Fun-Pub have no intention of finishing.  Points for effort though guys.


Cindersaur? Or just a blue Beast Megatron? You decide.


I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Japanese releases of these, also in 1988.

Destron Sparkdash A


As the Decepticon Sparkdash sub-group, we saw Cindersaur re-coloured into a mean looking green and grey as Guzzle, Flamefeather released as Sizzle unchanged, and Sparkstalker in red as Javil.  These names are especially confusing if you’re familiar with the names of the Western Sparkabots; Fizzle, Sizzle and Guzzle.  We will do an article on these guys in the near future, but if you’d like to see more of the Destron Sparkdash’s, check out Brr-icy’s wonderful blog here.  These guys have fantastic packaging, that almost make you want to pay $200 for an unchanged $5 toy in the case of Flamefeather.


Destron Sparkdash B



In conclusion, the Firecons haven’t seen much love.  No CHUG re-imaginings, no Third Party Representation, and only the most token of name re-usage in Bot-Shots, you would have thought they’d have fit well in Beast Hunters.  At least Sparkstalker has had a decent showing in the IDW comics (with a name like that, you’d think he’d be a lot more bad-ass) but as yet, it hasn’t let to any new toys.  Despite my lack of fondness for the G1, it would be nice to see these guys done well as it could redeem them a little bit.  I was hoping to get these from a company like iGear or Mech iDeas as they seemed to fit with their concept of small and cost effective, but alas, thus far we have nothing.  Titan Masters anyone?

– CZH / Ceno Kibble / Sid.

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