"Generation One" Galaxy Shuttle Toy Review
Release Date: 1989 (Japan), 1990 (Italy)
Price Point: Unknown
Retailer: Japan & Italy Exclusives
Accessories: "Moonlight Gun" weapon/tail fin
Box Translations by Doug Dlin
An interstellar contact warrior who charges through to galaxies up to tens of thousands of light years away. A character indispensable to the Cybertron army.
What are Microtransformers...?
The Destrons have begun attacking the Cybertrons with a huge army in order to steal Energon Z, a new super-energy the Cybertrons discovered. To oppose this assault, the Cybertrons have gathered together all their scientific power and created a new plan: the Z Plan!! Now, a new battle has begun.
C-326 GALAXY SHUTTLE
Transformation: Shuttle robot
Abilities: A titanic Transformer who sends warriors in to Earth and various other planets. The Cybertrons' mobile base, his normal mission is space patrol.
Weapon: Moonlight gun
Function: Interstellar contact
Final attack: The Meteor Crusher, in which he gathers countless meteorites together, turning them and his body together into a ball of fire and plummeting down on the enemy. This generally smashes the enemy to pieces.
In 1989, the American and Japanese Transformers toy lines began to split, with some figures coming out in Japan but not the United States. One of these figures was Galaxy Shuttle. In 1989 I saw Galaxy Shuttle in a Japanese toy catalog and did not fully understand what I was seeing at the time but I knew I wanted this figure in my collection. Sadly over the years I never had the chance to get him at a reasonable price and the price just went up and up. Decades later, thanks to finding this figure at a reasonable price I was finally able to add this piece to my collection.
Galaxy Shuttle's name pretty much describes his vehicle mode: a Space Shuttle. Back when this toy was released, the Space Shuttle program was still active and these ships served as the symbol of space exploration for a whole generation of kids. That made using this form for Transformers toys quite appropriate.
Before Galaxy Shuttle there had been other shuttles including Sky Lynx and Astrotrain. However this design was a bit less slavish to the design of the real life Space Shuttle. Sure it has a front end that looks like the real life shuttle and it has a thick central trunk, wings that angle outward with a straight edge in the back and a single vertical stabilizer. In the back there are large exhaust nozzles which are also found on a real life shuttle. While there are some stylized parts, the vehicle is instantly recognizable.
Of course, in Generation One the goal was not always to replicate a real life vehicle but rather create a figure and vehicle that would fire the imagination of kids. To that end, there are some stylized elements added to this design. On the sides there are extra sections which angle outward towards the middle and then extend to the sides (allowing for a hinge piece for the robot arms to swing out during transformation). Also the wings each have cannons mounted on the ends, presumably allowing Galaxy Shuttle to blast enemies while in vehicle mode. Also the top of the ship has some mechanical looking designs that carry over into the robot mode.
Galaxy Shuttle is cast in black and white plastic. The white is sort of a danger when you are talking about vintage figures. Even if not exposed to light, white plastic has a tendency to turn yellow over time. This does not necesarily take twenty plus years. I have figures that are only a little over ten years old that have yellowing on them. Fortunately, this particular Galaxy Shuttle is still very white. Sure there's a bit of yellow tinge here and there but you have to look for it.
There is very little paint deco on this figure. Basically the windows in the front are painted blue and the tip of the nosecone is painted black. The rest of the figure utilizes stickers for its detailing. This includes:
- A large Autobot symbol on top of the cockpit section.
- Rectangular stickers along the sides with blue lines and a yellow "V", referring to "Victory", the series where Galaxy Shuttle would appear.
- There are small stickers on the top including yellow ones that look like vents.
- On each wing is a large sticker with a white background, black stripes and large Autobot symbols.
- The stabilizer fin has stickers with blue and yellow lines on a white background.
- On either side of the vehicle near the exhaust nozzles in the back are stickers showing all sorts of mechanical detailing in various colors including grey, red and yellow.
Overall this is a very classic way of putting deco on a Transformers figure. Many G1 figures had a basic set of plastic colors, a bit of paint and then a bunch of stickers providing extra detail and Galaxy Shuttle is a reminder of that.
Galaxy Shuttle was released during the "Micromaster era" of G1, when groups of small Transformers were released in multi-packs. Thus, it made sense that Galaxy Shuttle could interact with the little guys. You can open up the top of the cockpit section to reveal a seat inside for a Micromaster to sit on. The cockpit cover does close with the Micromaster inside too! Also, if you swing the front of the vehicle forward a bit, you can swing out the halves of the cargo section to reveal an interior decorated with stickers. This allows a Micromaster to fit inside in vehicle mode or a couple standing around in robot mode. As you would expect, there is landing gear that swings down from under the front of the vehicle.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Detach both wings and set them aside for now.
- Holding the halves of the vehicle, pull the rear section back.
- Separate the halves of the vehicle's rear section. Take out the vertical fin and set it aside for now.
- Swing the thighs out and straighten out the legs.
- Swing the robot feet down.
- Swing the front of the vehicle down to form the robot torso.
- Swing the robot head up.
- Separate the halves of the cargo section from the vehicle mode and swing them forward to begin forming the robot arms.
- On each half from the last step, swing up the front panel, swing out the arms, then swing the panel back into place.
- Attach the wings so the Autobot symbols face forward.
- Attach the stabilizer/weapon to either fist.
Back in Generation One there were not "classes" of figures in the same way we have today with Deluxes, Voyagers and so on. Figures were sometimes made as standalone releases without any "case mates". Galaxy Shuttle is an example of this. By today's standards he would be something between a Voyager and a Leader Class, standing at about 9 inches (about 22.8 centimeters) tall. This means he towers over the Micromasters, which is appropriate given that he basically is meant to shuttle Autobots around.
Galaxy Shuttle has a very basic design. The front of the vehicle forms his chest, the rear forms his legs and the wings wind up on his back. The newly revealed parts include the head, arms and legs. His head has a very classic Transformers design complete with a crest on the top of the "helmet", visor eyes and greebles on the sides of the head. His forearms have line details running around them near the wrists and the legs have some nice angled designs on them. Among my favorite designs are a series of machine-like parts sculpated onto the inner parts of the lower legs. I also like the way exhaust nozzles wind up under his feet as if he can use them to fly in robot mode.
Like the vehicle mode, Galaxy Shuttle mostly relies on stickers for deco in this mode. Many of the stickers from the vehicle mode carry over here including details on his shoulders, the wings, the Autobot symbol on his chest and the stickers on his weapon. However this mode also reveals several new stickers on the legs including red triangles on his hips, yellow ones on his knees and red strips on his feet. Silver and blue paint are used for detailing on the head. Overall the figure looks very cool in my book.
There are four points of articulation on this figure: the elbows and the knees. By today's standards this is not great, but back in the G1 era this was typical even of larger figures such as this. Given its vintage, I have no issues with this articulation.
My appreciation for this figure is admittedly partly based on nostalgia and finally fulfilling a wish from my youth. By today's standards this is not a great figure, but to me it is great. It's big, it interacts with Micromasters and the figure is very "classic G1" in many respects.
All that said, it will cost you a rather high sum of money to own this figure so I cannot just recommend you run out and get one. As with most vintage figures, you will need to decide if current market prices are worth what you would have to pay to own this piece. For this Old Skool fan I am very happy with my purchase.