"Generations" Combiner Wars Liokaiser Toy Review
Release Date: November 2016
Price Point: $129.99 (depending on retailer)
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.
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.
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.
Liokaiser is made up of six figures. I've covered each figure individually so check out these reviews and this one for a complete picture of the set:
Liokaiser features a new head sculpt in this form. Whereas Sky Reign's head was basically the "Lynx" head from G1 Sky Lynx. In an interesting design move, the designers took the Sky Reign head, kept the top portion and added a robot head under it to pay homage to the look of the G1 Liokaiser head. In G1 Liokaiser also featured an animal-like head with a robot head underneath. I love how nicely this sculpt duplicates the look of that figure's head. The sculpting is fantastic.
The top of the head is cast in black plastic while the lower portion is light grey. The collar around the head is cast in gold plastic. In a nice coloring choice both the "beast" eyes and the robot eyes on the head are painted red. The mouthplate is painted silver. The square in the center of the crest is painted the same flat gold color as the collar. Overall the colors look great, though they're not exactly G1 accurate. In G1 his "helmet" section was teal but the black offers a nice contrast to the other clors around him.
For the "standard" transformation Liokaiser uses Guyhawk and Fellbat as his arms and Ironbison and Drillhorn as his legs. These similar vehicle modes create a nice type of symmetry between the limbs, and while it may seem a tad boring to go with the "standard" configuration it really is the one that I like the most. Even better, this configuration aligns with the one from G1 Liokaiser though the exact configuration of the limbs themselves are different. G1 Liokaiser's arms had jet cockpits on top, these are on the side and the treads in his legs faced inward in G1 whereas here they point towards the back.
That is not to say alternate configurations look bad. If you use the tanks as the arms he winds up having a powerful, brutish appearance that I like. It's also fun to mix and match them (like you see in my photos below).
From a design standpoint the fins from Dezarus' vehicle mode form wing like structures on the chest that are call backs to Leozak's wings on G1 Liokaiser's chest. Even the shape of the torso is similar to G1 Liokaiser, having a wide chest section that narrows down to the waist.
Liokaiser's colors are an exercise in contrast. The light grey and teal on Dezarus serve as a canvas for the brighter colors on Guyhawk and Ironbison to pop while the darker colors on Drillhorn and Fellbat help offer a darker contrast so the combined form is not just all brightness. Thanks to the amazing amount of paint on this figure there is a lot of detail on this figure that a standard deco pattern would not have. This includes a lot of the silver and gold details on Dezarus as well as some of the details on the limbs (the silver on Ironbison and Guyhawk being among my favorites).
Articulation varies depending on who you have as the limbs but there are roughly nineteen points of articulation on this figure. The only articulation issue I have is with the tanks if you use them as arms. The forearms (the robot legs of the individual team members) tend to split (more Drillhorn than Ironbison) which gets a bit annoying. It doesn't happen every time you move the arm but it happens more than I care for.
This set comes with extra accessories for Fellbat and Guyhawk you can use the various attachment points on the limbs to "store" them or you can have him hold them using the top and bottom of the fist pieces. Don't forget about the 5mm ports on the sides of the tanks too.
Dezarus' swords can be used separately or combined for Liokaiser to wield. The other fun accessory is of course Ion Scythe's weapon mode which features four 5mm ports. My favorite combination is to take Dezarus' swords and attach them to Ion Scythe to form a "super sword".
Even as I wrap up this review of the Liokaiser boxed set I am still partly in disbelief that it even exists. The fact that a (relatively) obscure G1 character has been given such a prime treatment is amazing. The new head sculpts for the limb-characters are also amazing.
Sure there's room for improvement. I would have loved to see a bit more retooling on Dezarus and it would have been even cooler if four more Mini-Con partners had been included to "pair up" with each team member. Overall however I think this is a fantastic set that is both unexpected and fun at the same time. Recommended!