November 11, 2016

Transformers Combiner Wars Liokaiser Toy Review

The Kind-Of-6 Robot Combiner, In Effect!

The Combiner Wars continue with one last release: the Entertainment Earth exclusive Liokaiser Gift-Set! This marks the first time the famed Japanese G1 gestalt has received any sort of official nod from Hasbro, and they went all-out accordingly. (Well, as all-out as can be given a budgetary constraint or two.) Now, let's dive in to see what the latest Transformers Platinum Edition release has to offer!

Disclaimer - Images below often contain fan configurations arranged to my personal taste. Be cool!

Guyhawk enters the fray!

This bright pink beauty is none other than Guyhawk, one of the few Destrons to keep his original name. The color scheme calls far more attention than any "robots in disguise" would really want, but hey, that's just how it was done back in the late '80s, m'kay?


Combiner Wars Guyhawk's robot mode is just lovely. The facial expression alone sets a high bar for the rest, and the head itself works wonders for setting the figure apart from the original Air Raid mold. It's hard not to be drawn to this guy immediately upon opening the gift-set's alluring contents.

Now, Drillhorn!

Yep, next up is Drillhorn, also with his original moniker intact. Using the Brawl retool seen on whatever random Botcon 2016 toy and Hasbro's Technobot Nosecone, you can choose between two different vehicle mode configurations:

New. Different.

I'm honestly not sure which I prefer. The first is a bit more G1 accurate, so at least there's that. At any rate, the tank mold looks quite snazzy in the stark blue and white color scheme.

He shoots things sometimes. Okay, most times.

With Drillhorn's robot mode, we get our first taste of one of the set's raddest features: pop-out horns, crests, and other helmet ornamentation! The image above makes it seem as if the drill is part of his noggin, but I assure you, a conehead he is not!

I'm not sure how unique this really feels from Brawl outside of the obvious changes, but it's nice to look at all the same.

What the fell?

Okay, let's address the obvious. The name "Hellbat" doesn't really fly within the confines of a children's toyline. Aimed at adult collectors or not, Hasbro had to devise an alternative. And with that, the ridiculous FELLBAT was born! It is a name to be feared throughout the land.

That aside, this is a gorgeous jet mode. That blue is richer than Uncle Scrooge, yo!

Na-na na-na na-na na Fellbat Man!

While naturally not as eye-catching as the bright pink Guyhawk, Fellbat has some killer looks in robot mode. He's based on the Skydive mold, a toy that definitely had its ups and downs. With this sweet new head-sculpt in play, I have approximately zero complaints.

Friendly lookin' thing, ain't it?

Next in line for the renaming party is Killbison, now known as the slightly cuddlier IRONBISON. I kinda wish they'd gone with Kickbison to reference the Street Fighter movie, but what can you do?

Ironbison is — appropriately — an ever-so-slighty gaudy gold tank. It looks about a thousand times better in person, so fret not!

Struttin' that ass!

I didn't expect this, but man, Ironbison might be my favorite of the bunch. The new head is about as on-point as it gets, and the combination of gold and shiny silver paint is all kinds of striking. Invest in Ironbison, folks. His stock is only goin' up from here.

Arms Micron Hype!

Rounding out the smaller members of the set is Ion Scythe, a redeco of Arms Micron Gul. This is a nice and unexpected little bonus. Its inclusion is likely meant as a nod to the "Breastforce" gimmick shared by the original team.

Yes, that's really what they called it. Let's just move on.

Controversy creeps.

Now, here's where things get interesting. In place of Leozack and Jaruga, the main component of the team is made up of Dezarus: a slight remold of Sky Lynx! Yeah; the name is a nod to a separate (albeit related) character entirely, and this marks a huge departure compared to the rest of the set. But you know what? Budgets is budgets, man.

Another version of Silverbolt may have done the trick, but Sky Lynx is certainly the road less traveled by. On those grounds alone, I'm totally fine with the decision making here. The first version of this mold wasn't terribly easy to find anyway, meaning this will likely be some people's first experience with it. It's quirky as hell, but it's the kind of quirk I can definitely get down with.

Who's a good boy?!

Even with some slight retooling, it's hard to get this sucker to resemble anything but the original character it was intended for. Fortunately, going with a kaiju fan mode helps a bit:

Gargoyles Gone Wild.

It's pretty weird, but I like this thing. It's like some kinda evil chicken from Hell.

Oh, excuse me. I meant Fell.

With that, it's about time we got to the big man himself. Destrons, FORM LIOKAISER!

So Lio. So Kaiser!

I'd be lying if I said this doesn't look good. Again, the nature of the torso-bot having been designed with something completely different in mind keeps this from being a 1 for 1 recreation of the original Liokaiser, but I kind of dig that! Almost universally, I prefer Transformers that represent a fresh take these days.

Let the old stuff be the old stuff! The original toy, expensive though it may be, is out there. If I want that, I'll get it. Combiner Wars Liokaiser works as an homage that still has its own ideas. Sold. I'm freakin' sold, dude!

What the hell is this pose?

As shown off by my god-tier photography, there's plenty of variety in the possible weapon configurations. Ion Scythe's numerous weapon ports help out immensely. Whether it's swords, guns, lances, typewriters, or whatever the hell else, the only limit is yourself.

It's 'bout to get shooty in here.

Adding to the fun of course is some swanky articulation. Dezarus' wacky joints even allow some inward/outward shoulder motion and thigh swivels! Of all the Combiner Wars gestalts, this is easily one of the most fun to mess around with.

This is also a picture that was taken.

Oh, yeah. You can arrange the tank legs similarly to the original design as well. The only downside is the loss of knee articulation when doing so. But hey, that's what hoverboards are for.

Now THIS should have been the cast of The Breakfast Club! Get outta here, Emilio Estevez.

Overall, the Transformers Combiner Wars Liokaiser Gift-Set is pretty freakin' sweet. Some of you out there won't be able to accept the new direction taken with the torso component, and that's fine. I find the differences quite refreshing however, and Dezarus' deluxe pals are ten outta ten all the way. All things considered, I'm more than pleased.

If you're interested in bolstering your Decepticon Combiner ranks with a Liokaiser of your own, just head over to Entertainment Earth via the banner below. For a limited time, you can save $20 on top of the free shipping (and even receive a bonus diorama) with the coupon SINGLES. Jump on it:

Need a little more Transformers love in your life? Well, why not check out the best Decepticons of the entire Generation 1 toyline while you're here?

There's plenty more to come! Be sure not to miss it by following Castle Geek-Skull on Twitter!

With that, I bid you adieu~

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