"Generations" Combiner Wars Drillhorn Toy Review

in 2016, Action Figure Review, Breastforce, Combiner Wars, Deluxe, Destron, Entertainment Earth, Generation One, Generations

Generations

Drillhorn General Information:
Release Date: November 2016
Price Point: $129.99 (suggested retail)
Retailer: Entertainment Earth Exclusive
Accessories: Hand/Foot/Weapons x 4; Swords x 2 (Dezarus); Drill (Drillhorn); Blasters x 2 (Fellbat); Blasters x 2 (Guyhawk) & Cannon (Ironbison)

Official photos provided by Hasbro during San Diego Comic-Con 2016. In Box photo provided by Entertainment Earth.

Disclosure: Entertainment Earth was cool enough to provide Ben's World of Transformers with a sample of this boxed set for this review. BWTF thanks Entertainment Earth for their kind consideration. You can purchase your Liokaiser and support BWTF via this link. For a limited time after this review is being posted (November 2016) use coupon code SINGLES to take $20 off your purchase!

Official Text from Entertainment Earth:
Boxed set includes 6 Decepticons who merge to declare victory over the Autobots as the mighty Liokaiser! Tanks, jets, and space shuttle form robots and dinobird as the most awesome Generation One-era toys from Japan you never knew you missed! Platinum Edition set features an awesome box, poster, and trading card. Behold the mighty Liokaiser! The Destrons are a foul group of criminals and convicts that also happens to be one of the most elite strike teams in the galaxy. Together, they become Liokaiser, a Combiner whose sheer power is rivaled only by his penchant for evil.

Transformers Generations Platinum Edition sets feature figures with a high level of detail, plus premium features and packaging. These sets highlight some of the most memorable scenes, powerful warriors, and epic storylines in the Transformers universe. This 7-in-1 Liokaiser collection pack celebrates the Combiner Wars. In the Combiner Wars, teams of Autobots and Decepticons combine to form giant super robots and battle with the fate of worlds in the balance.

Join the battle and build a Combiner super robot with this Combiner Wars Liokaiser Collection Pack! Get 6 Destron figures that combine to form a Liokaiser Combiner figure in this 1 Platinum Edition set. The Voyager Class Dezarus figure forms the torso of the Liokaiser Combiner figure; the Deluxe Class Guyhawk, Drillhorn, Ironbison, and Fellbat figures form the arms and legs; and the Legends Class Ion Scythe figure becomes a Combiner weapon.

The Combiner Wars universal connection system means these figures work with other Combiner Wars figures! Combine the Dezarus figure with other Deluxe Class Combiner Wars figures or combine the Guyhawk, Drillhorn, Ironbison, and Fellbat figures with other Combiner Wars Voyager Class figures to build more Combiner super-robot figures! (Additional figures are each sold separately.) The pack also includes 12 accessories, a Combiner Wars poster, and a collectible Liokaiser character card.

Imagine it is the latter part of the 1980's. "Transformers", once one of the hottest toy brands around has begun to fade. In North America, the toy line has become dominated by Pretenders and Micromasters but other than a comic book, there is very little media to support it. It is a particularly disconcerting part of Transformers history, especially for a fan like me who grew up with the original line.

Now, imagine you suddenly learn that there is a whole other universe of Transformers overseas you did not know about. Even more amazing? There are cartoons and characters and toys you did not know about! That was the experience of learning about the Japanese Transformers shows such as "Victory". For a long time, the pure elation and mystery behind the Japanese Transformers have helped create a mystique around Transformers toys that continue to this day. Even in an era where Japanese characters such as Sky Shadow are acknowledged in the "Generations" line, direct references to these Japanese Transformers are uncommon in the line.

Enter: Liokaiser! Originally confirmed at Botcon 2016 (somewhat by accident) this set was officially revealed at San Diego Comic-Con 2016. Who is Liokaiser you might ask? Liokaiser is a Combiner giant formed by the six members of the Destron (aka Decepticon) "Breastforce". The team was named this due to the ability of their chest panels to pop out and form small animal robots. This set only came out in Japan and was never reissued (though four of its members were reworked as Autobots in Europe). To this day the original Liokaiser remains a highly sought after figure by collectors.

For fans not looking to spend thousands of dollars on Liokaiser, Hasbro has created a Platinum Edition boxed set based on the Generation One Breastforce! Using "Combiner Wars" sculpts, this set brings these (former) Japanese exclusive characters into the modern age.

Packaging:
Liokaiser is packaged in a box that is similar in style to other boxed sets such as G2 Superion and Victorion. The box is a large rectangular box with dramatic box art in front featuring Liokaiser combined fighting smaller Transformers. If you are facing the box the right side has a vertical "Transformers" logo on it with the "Generations" logo above it. On the other side is a note about the poster included inside and photos of each team member in vehicle and weapon modes. Below that is the "Combiner Wars" logo with the name "Liokaiser" under it.

That isn't all however. Under Liokaiser's name is a silver reflective strip over a purple one indicating this is a Platinum Edition release. This is likely due to the extra weapons and retooling involved in the creation of this set. Another interesting note: above the photos of the team members is the term "Destrons", indicating the team name for this Combiner. The term "Destron" was used in Japan for many years to refer to the Decepticons and has been acknowledged a few times outside Japan, but it is still relatively uncommon.

The back of the packaging features a grey background with a grid on it. Overlapping that are photos of the individual team members on the side and the combined Liokaiser in the middle. Above that is the following text: The DESTRONS are a foul group of criminals and convicts that also happens to be one of the most elite strike teams in the galaxy. Together, they become LIOKAISER, a Combiner whose sheer power is rivaled only by his penchant for evil.

Drillhorn was the veteran strategist of the Breastforce. The base sculpt for this figure was originally released as "Combiner Wars" Brawl. It would go on to be released as:

This review will focus on the changes made to this figure so check out the reviews above if you want my original thoughts on the base sculpt.

Accessories:
Drillhorn utilizes the drill accessory first seen on the Botcon exclusive General Ramhorn figure. This piece has a drill in front with a cockpit section at the base. This piece is cast in light grey plastic, but for an accessory there is a lot of deco on it. First, all the windows of the cockpit are painted metallic blue. Then the area around the cockpit window is painted blue, matching the blue plastic on Drillhorn himself. Finally, the end of the drill is painted silver. I was really impressed by how much deco went into this accessory.

The other Drillhorn accessory is a hand/foot/weapon piece. This is the same sculpt as the one included with Brawl, but cast in light grey. It's just about as tight as the one with my Brawl figure so functionally there are no issues.

Vehicle Mode:
G1 Drillhorn's vehicle mode was a drill tank, so the use of the General Ramhorn sculpt for him is perfect. Even better, the cockpit section at the base of the drill calls back to the cockpit on G1 Drillhorn! Attach the hand/foot/weapon piece on the top of the tank and you even call back to the blasters which were sculpted into the rear section of G1 Drillhorn's vehicle form. Note: while there is a transformation where the drill points out the back of the vehicle, the instructions have the drill in front the way I have attached it in my photos.

Taking its color cues from G1 Drillhorn, this figure is cast in metallic dark blue and light grey plastic. The blue is found on the turret and the front half of the vehicle. The lgiht grey is used for the rear section. This roughly follows the layout of G1 Drillhorn whose drill and rear treads were light grey while the rest was dark blue. Silver paint is found on the drill and the fans on top of the turret section. There is light grey paint on the treads in the front so they match up with the light grey plastic in the back - a very pleasant and unexpected surprise. Another cool detail? Tampographed silver, black and yellow lines run along the sides of the vehicle, directly paying homage to the stickers on G1 Drillhorn. The finishing touch are two Decepticon symbols tampographed onto either side of the turret. Overall this deco looks fantastic. It pays homage to the original figure while looking great on its own.

You can still attach the hand/foot/weapon piece to the top of the vehicle either by the peg in the middle or the peg that swings up in the back. The one in the back is my preference since you can position the weapon pointing up or forward.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Pull out the rear sections of the tank, swing them out and push them in. Make sure to align the panels on the lower legs with the grooves at the knees.
  3. Pull the sides of the front section out.
  4. Swing the front section down, then back on the central panel/hinge.
  5. Rotate the waist/legs around.
  6. Swing the turret down.
  7. Swing the front treads down and pull the lower parts down to form the arms.
  8. Swing the robot head up, and swing the central crest forward.
  9. The weapons can fit in the fists or on the sides of the forearms.

Robot Mode:
Each of the figures in this boxed set features a new head sculpt (except Ion Scythe). Drillhorn's head sculpt is based on the distinct design for G1 Drillhorn's head. Taking a cue from his name, G1 Drillhorn's head is based on a Rhinoceros' head. This includes two distinct eyes on the helmet section with tiny "ears" on top. The center of the forehead has a horn that swings forward like a Rhinoceros horn. Compared to the G1 version, I will say the designers played down the design elements such as the ears but they are still present. Head designs such as this are quite unusual nowadays so it's cool to see the designers trying to call back as much as possible to the original.

Like the vehicle mode the designers used G1 Drillhorn's robot mode colors as reference when laying out the deco for this form. The head is painted light grey with a blue face and red eyes. While most of his chest is a combination of dark blue and light grey plastic, the small barrels on his chest have been painted red - a callback to sticker details on G1 Drillhorn's chest. His hands have been painted light grey, a nice nod to the G1 version of the character. The really nice touch is the use of yellow and red to paint the circular details below his knees. This is a direct reference to stickers found on G1 Drillhorn's legs. From a color standpoint the figure is a as close to perfect as you can get with this sculpt (without slapping tons more paint on it).

Drillhorn's joints are nice and tight. The shoulder joints are the least tight, but they are not loose at all. The elbow joints feel good but if you try to combine his two weapons together and have him hold it up on the left arm, the forearm will droop down.

For your reference I have kept the limb transformation instructions below. The limb functionality and commentary check out the Liokaiser review.

Transformation to Arm Mode (Starting in vehicle mode):

  1. Detach all weapons.
  2. Pull the tank turret up.
  3. Pull the back of the vehicle out.
  4. Swing each lower leg section out to the sides, then down and reconnect the two lower legs together.
  5. Push the waist section up against the underside of the chest section.
  6. Swing the robot arm sections up, then use the small tabs at the top of the arms to connect to the grooves under the sections of the chest with the three weapon barrels.
  7. Rotate the lower arm around depending on which side you want this arm to be on.
  8. Swing the connector piece (built into the chest) out.
  9. Attach the cannon barrel to the turret.
  10. Attach the fist to the 5mm port underneath the feet.

Transformation to Leg mode (Starting in vehicle mode):

  1. Detach all the accessories.
  2. Swing the limb connector piece up.
  3. Swing the tank turret forward.
  4. Swing the robot feet back.
  5. Attach the foot piece to the 5mm port at the back of the tank.

Final Thoughts:
Using the Brawl/General Ramhorn sculpt was a perfect choice for this figure. The drill tank mode calls back to G1 Drillhorn very well and the new head sculpt in the robot mode looks awesome. I also love the deco on this figure and the dark blue color is very rich. This is a very successful update of the character. Do I wish he had a little animal Micron with him? Sure I do but for what it is, I really like it.