Takara-Tomy Transformers Unite Warriors Grand Galvatron Takara-Tomy, 2016
Day #1,468: June 20, 2016
Grand Galvatron Combiner Haunt Leader
Transformers Unite Warriors TakaraTomy Mall Exclusive Boxed Set
Item No.: No. B3901 Manufacturer:Takara-Tomy Includes:5 robot figures, 6 weapons Action Feature:Transforms from Robot to SWAT vehicle, truck, plane, another plane, and a space plane Retail:$99.99 Availability: May 2016 Other: Tactician Cyclonus, Ghost Starscream, Curse Armada Thrust, Zombie War Breakdown, and Wandering Roller
I really like it when someone tries something weird. The Grand Galvatron concept may be King of Weird - it's expensive at $160, about twice what 4 deluxes and 1 Voyager toy would cost in America - but there's more paint. Isn't that worth something? ...probably not. A regular Unite Warriors boxed set is $120, and the premium doesn't net you a bonus figure or a fancy card or much of anything other than paint. He doesn't have unique hands or feet like Victorion or Computron from Hasbro, either - but there are two unique robot heads and some downright creative uses of character.
In the USA, Galvatronus came of Cyclonus [FOTD #1,190] without his own team - the in-universe on-package fiction defines him as someone who can compel other limbs to join him, which works a lot better for toy sales. "This guy? He's compatible with everybody!" In Japan we saw Unicron give Galvatron and Cyclonus new abilities to pull assistance for a new body across other dimensions, pulling in concept from the original Transformers cartoons as well as more recent series and comic books. It's a pretty good sampler platter and a fine example of a quick test to see just how close you were paying attention to the franchise.
Torso boy is Tactician Cyclonus, a redecorated version of the US Cyclonus that, in your hands, will pretty much explain why you just paid twice as much for a thing you don't really need. The metallic lavender plastic is gorgeous. Up close, it's stunning - nearly every surface has some metallic sheen to it, complete with the finest purple you may ever see on a mass-produced toy. He now has an orange gun with some metallic paint on it, and it's positively wonderful. The metallic paint on the robot head brings out more personality in his face, and other little extras like painted areas around the knees and some nice orange on the chest bring it to life. It's nothing you haven't seen as far as the toy's articulation goes, bringing 19 points of articulation to the 7-inch tall robot. In and of itself, it's not bad. If you have the US Cyclonus, this may not be enough to get you to upgrade. (The rest of the set, however, is.)
As a vehicle, it's pretty - the orange cannon carries over and you still get the fancy paint job that's better than anything you get in the USA. I'd say it probably looks better than the best convention toys. With purples, silvers, and more, the figure transcends its origins as a 1980s cartoon adaptation and really does sparkle with the personality of a totally modern toy. Well, assuming any kid anywhere gave a fig about space toys that aren't Star Wars these days. Transformation is the same as before, and there's also a swell torso mode - which I'll get in to below.
Hasbro has never embraced this concept, but Ghost Starscream is all but given when Takara has access to a new Decepticon jet mold. This mostly colorless toy has been either painted or dyed in spots, giving you crystal clear blue and red bits that look like gems. Some fans are also paranoid that these might show wear and tear, or break easily, or become discolored. (Count me among the latter - clear plastic gives me the willies as yellowing goes.) The toy itself is a redeco of Skydive [FOTD #1,095] with a new head that, as far as we know, was planned from the get-go. It's great to see because this is an excellent concept - Starscream's ghost is pulled back in for another mission. It's also annoying because Hasbro decided not to use it, which means non-ghost Decepticon Seekers may not happen as combiner limbs. I'd very much like all of those. The 5 1/4-inch tall Starscream still has the Skydive/Air Raid gun and handfootgun, plus he transforms the exact same way.
As a jet, he's a jet all the way from his fist Cy-Gar to his last dying day. The colors (and lack thereof in spots) look spiffy here with some of the brightest clear colors I've seen on a toy - but I've never bought a Ghost Starscream before, so I'd probably be just as delighted with any of the many, many other ones. Like Cyclonus, this is a retread of a G1 classic that fans should recognize quickly - and it's just as much fun as the other Combiner Wars molds I have no doubt you've since purchased. I have no immediate problems with it, but red anything touching clear or white plastic can mean discoloration down the road is likely - it just bleeds with time. There's not much you can do to stop it, just take a deep breath and enjoy it while you can. (And maybe sell it early if you're going to ever sell it.)
When I saw the preview of this set with Curse Armada Thrust I just had to have it. The character originated from Transformers Armada with a conehead and a squid face, although this one has a pointy helmet and a mostly normal head most likely intended to be someone else. Its based on Air Raid [FOTD #1,159], using what I assume was another alternate head sitting on the shelf. The colors are superb - so many greens and greys converge to give you a very nice G1-ization of a non-G1 character. There's a big bright reddish orange box on his chest, Decepticon symbols on each arm, and some of the loveliest green you ever did see. It's almost criminal to see him shoved into arm mode on a larger toy - in and of itself, it's great. I wish I had another one just like it. He has no problems holding his guns - carry-overs from Air Raid - and the legs are painted with green markings that recall the original Armada Thrust's rocket-firing shins. Also his grey feet.
As a jet, this vehicle looks a lot like Air Raid in Armada Thrust colors - the fans are gone and it's a bit skinnier, but it's Thrust. The metallic green paint on the wings looks great, plus they're jointed - you can sweep them out if you like. There are no Mini-Con features or rockets that fire, but it's still a neat looking plane and a nice cross-continuity addition to the robot line. I mean, how often do dudes cross over from other continuities? Not often enough, if you ask me. He makes a nice arm, too.
A redeco of the unfairly maligned Offroad [FOTD #1,193] mold, Zombie War Breakdown pulls the character from Transformers Prime to this continuity with a less bulky body but pretty fantastic deco. They added a ton of paint to this one - the head is the same as Offroad's, but with the added reds, silvers, and clever coloring outside the normal lines it looks like a different mold. The face looks skinnier, and it doesn't quite give off the brutish oomph of the toy Hasbro never bothered to release for Arms Micron Breakdown. The figure has quite a few silver paint details on his boots, knees, and waist - plus a red belt buckle. With his red face, this figure looks a lot different from the rest of the series, plus the robot paint deco flourishes are totally pointless for a combiner. Were they left out, you'd never miss them - but they're welcome!
The axe and handfootgun don't bring much new to the table - the hand is brownish, and the axe matches it. A silver head makes it look sharp. You'll like it.
The truck also benefits from added paint, with the front of the vehicle loaded up with silver paint. The rear window is painted, the rear stoplights are painted, and there are all sorts of little details like stripes you'll probably never even notice in combined robot mode. Decepticon symbols near each rear view mirror are a nice touch, so in truck mode this is a perfectly nice vehicle. If you don't already have the mold in one of its many incarnation is one of the finest. And this is the second combiner character named Breakdown.
After all of those Decepticons, the Autobot Wandering Roller is inspired by an alternate universe version of IDW's Roller - a friend to Optimus Prime who went missing and, according to this box, has much resentment for the abandonment. Much like Breakdown was that toy's debut in Japan with its original head mode, Roller is just a fancy repaint of Rook [FOTD #1,368]. Rook is secretly one of the best molds in the entire line, with tilting ankles and amazing 5mm fists that can add weapons as knuckles. The head looks sort of a like a chess piece or a helmeted football player, and that's a solid fit given his bulky construction. This is a big beefy guy decorated with lots of silver paint, plus green, redorange, and some brown. At first glance I thought it might be colored similarly to Beast Machines Tankor, but side-by-side they don't look all that much alike. It's a sturdy toy, I like it and you will too. Roller hasn't really had a lot of love as toys in the line outside as a drone and a sidekick Micromaster/Mini-Con a few years ago, so things like this are welcome.
The vehicle mode is a silver box covered in armor plating, with few other details. Sure, you get some green and grey markings. Yes, there's a hint of red here and there. But it's basically a rolling box of death, which just happens to make a good arm or leg.
The sum of its parts is Grand Galvatron, taking cues from the original 1986 Galvatron toy as well as his comic appearances. The head is grey with a silver face, and the chest deco mimics the stickers on the original chest. Starscream connects to Cyclonus' orange gun, which mimics Galvatron's cannon. (It's canon.) The other limbs are just limbs, not necessarily looking a heck of a lot like the original Galvatron toy. He's tall, he's nifty, and the limbs don't seem to bump into each other much. One concern - each hip has a little fin on it, and these are somewhat loose. You may forget they're present and lose them, so be careful with them.
I love the concept, as it's colorful and creative. It brings us characters we rarely see as toys in the USA these days, but that's sort of the obnoxious part too. These guys are strong individuals, and as a set most of us will have no real reason to keep them combined - individual toys might have been cooler. I'm currently keeping all my combiners on display as super robots, but this set make me want to break them down and show them all as individuals. Grand Galvatron looks great, but his individual components are some of the strongest individual toys in the entire line-up to date.
This set is expensive. I would steer you away from it for mostly that reason - unless you're combiner-crazy, why get it? It's nice, but you can do a lot of damage with $160. You may wonder why I bought one. The reason was because I liked the limbs enough to consider buying them were they club or convention toys, which would have an even higher price tag. This isn't necessarily sensible, but I can't argue with the results. I could use new characters in this line, and I certainly don't want to see the combiner line end. If they do more at $120, I'll keep buying - but at $160, I'm probably tapped out. Also I assume this toy will be a lot less grand when the Titans Return Galvatron toy ships any day now.
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