Gulf (Skalor) TT-GS04 Japanese / Hasbro Pulse Exclusive
Transformers Generations Selects Deluxe
Item No.: No. E9304 Manufacturer:Takara-Tomy Includes:2 blue cannons, sword, fist, fish tail cannon Action Feature:Transforms from Robot to Coelacanth Retail:$34.99 Availability: January 2020 (March 2020 in USA) Other: Seacons Stinker
The Seacons aren't so much a "grail" as a "bucket list" items - I don't know how long I'll be collecting things, but this group was something I wanted to see before I called it quits. Six toys were made for Japan as heavy retools of existing toys, with Gulf (Skalor) sharing a lot of DNA with Blot (and Rippersnapper) with tons of new accessories and more paint than a figure should have. It's pretty lavish.
Per Takara-Tomy's request, this figure was exclusive to Hasbro Pulse in the USA - and its pricetag, presumably, was also at their insistence. This one was $34.99, wile the toy from which it was retooled was about $17.99. The original Gulf/Skalor toy was a multi-color fish monster featuring minimal paint - everything was molded in color and simple. The 2020 version is much more complex. The blue plastic and pink robot mode fists are molded in color - everything else on the toy is paint. All lavender, the pink fin, the pink arms... all paint. Why? I'm not sure. It's lavish but expensive, which is undoubtedly why it was a lower-run fan-specific thing. I'm sure mass retail versions would have been awesome, but there were enough improvements that while the sticker shock hurts, I can see it.
The 5 1/4-inch figure looks a lot like Rippersnapper, but it shares very few parts with him. (Blot, on the other hand, is a different story.) The colors are similar and the layout isn't all that different from the original 1980s toy, but it is a lot less ugly. 14 points of articulation make this figure surprisingly limber retool of Blot, and it's just as good as a lot of those recent Combiner figures. But Gulf has a lot more paint, and an exceptionally large quantity of gear. He's got a sword and a tail blaster, in addition to two blue blasters and a combiner fist with individually articulated fingers. That's impressive. There are several places to mount weapons, so you can probably slap all of the accessories on any of this figure's many modes.
Changing forms is kind of a pain - I'm glad I had photos. It's clever. The fish tail weapon plugs in to the Blot "stand port" on the waist. The legs fold up over the back to make a big chunk of the fish. The fish head is a backpack with an articulated jaw. It's a gem. And weird. It's also pretty big, fans buying Siege and Earthrise toys will bemoan the price but probably see how the alt mode is sizable enough to almost feel worth it. Plugging in the C.O.M.B.A.T.-compatible cannons gives the fishy fiend a little extra future-proofing, and the sword part (and hand) just sort of get in the way. It's almost too much gear, but that's what you paid for. The fishy part I miss the most was the G1 toy's scale pattern - it was a bit more quasi-organic, while the new one is definitely more robotic.
Most of the major landmarks are there, though - feet, hands, articulated jaw, a big Decepticon symbol between the yellow eyes. It lacks the stickers of the old toy, and beast articulation is better than the original with lateral joints on the hips, jointed ankles, and the same old rotating arms. Some things don't change. I assume this is as good as this character will get unless there's another revision of the Combiners in a few years, an I certainly hope we don't see better, cheaper ones too soon as we all just bought (or skipped) this $240ish set.
If you liked Combiner Wars or Power of the Primes combiners, the figure is a fish/robot or leg/arm, with the added bonus of having a weapon mode for the combiner robot King Poseidon. Since it's basically Blot with more parts on it, the design works and the robot was generic enough in the 1980s that nobody is complaining that most of the budget went to the beast mode. As I write this all the parts aren't here, but as a stand-alone piece it's pretty good. It's just tough to get it back in that fish form as the parts aren't as simple as they were in the old days.
This figure is part of a set - if you want one of the Seacons, you probably want all six. I see why they went with this one first, because it is suitably fishy. It's kind of a pain to transform, and it's expensive - so maybe you don't need it. But I did! If you see it on sale, you have to get one. It comes in a box, in a sleeve, packaged in another sleeve box - it's a lot of packaging just to conform to US safety laws. The exterior box is bold but ugly, so odds are you'll never see this on a regular retail shelf even if Hasbro had surplus stock.
Get one if you can spring for it. You probably already know if you want it.
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