"Legends" Godbomber Toy Review

in 2017, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Generation One, Leader, Legends

Legends

Godbomber General Information:
Release Date: May 27, 2017
Price Point: 7000 Yen (Takara Tomy suggested retail price)
Retailer: Japanese Exclusive
Accessories: Headmaster, Shoulder cannon, Shoulder cannon tip, Sword, Sword hilt, Helmet

Tech Specs Translation below by Doug Dlin:
Function: Armament Warrior
A warrior born of the New Bomber Plan, which was developed to work with the newly resurrected Super Ginrai. As his original components were thought to have been lost with the destruction of Devil Z, he has been restored as a new Headmaster. Now he battles with the Decepticons once again, making good use of his independent ego and new transformation abilities to support Super Ginrai as an outstanding fighter.

Many years ago my first introduction to the Japanese Transformers series were a couple of episodes of "Masterforce" and a Xerox copy of a Japanese catalog a pen pal had sent me. In one of the episode sequences, I saw Ginrai combine with (what appeared to be) his trailer and sprout wings, get a shoulder cannon and generally bulk up. Staring at my Powermaster Optimus Prime, I could not for the life of me figure out how that happened. It would be months until I learned from a friend (who was far more knowledgeable about Japanese Transformers than I was) that what I had seen was a character named Godbomber combining with the "Super Ginrai" form of Ginrai. My young mind was officially blown and I made it a point to snap up a Godbomber as soon as I could (for $25 USD!). With Godbomber being one of my first Japanese Transformers figures I have always had a special fondness for the character.

Fast forward to 2017 and Takara Tomy created a brand new Godbomber figure to go with its "Legends" Super Ginrai figure. Like its G1 predecessor, this figure is both a trailer and armor for Ginrai. However to match its play pattern up with other Leader Class figures in the line it also has a base mode.

Packaging:
Godbomber is packaged in a window box which takes inspiration from past G1 packaging. The background is mostly red with a grid pattern on top. If you look from left to right in the front of the box the bright red has a gradient that goes to darker red on the right. A small, vertical "Transformers" logo is on the left. The bottom part has a silver background with the "Transformers Legends" logo (in Japanese and English) with Godbomber's artwork on the right and his ame overlapping it. The figure is inside in vehicle mode with all its weapons laid out above it. In the upper right hand corner is Godbomber's Headmaster in robot mode with the words "Head Master" under him (separated into two words).

The back of the packaging shows the figure in all three modes: vehicle, base and robot. The artwork is behind the pictures fading into the red background of the packaging. A brief write up on the character is in the upper left hand corner. I really love the "Legends" packaging and it is one of my favorite parts of this line.

Accessories:
Godbomber includes two key weapons. One is a shoulder cannon that takes a lot of design cues from the cannon that came with the original Godbomber. This design is more detailed and larger than the G1 version. It includes some nice panel line details running along the edge leading to a rocket at the end (which can be detached). The shape of this rocket is a direct callback to the G1 version, featuring four fins and a short front end. The cannon is cast in black plastic with red and silver paint applications. My favorite is the red on top, which calls back to the launching mechanism on the G1 figure. This version does not fire the rocket however. The weapon features a 5mm peg towards the back, allowing you to attach it to Godbomber's shoulder in robot mode. There are additional 5mm pegs on the sides and there is a 5mm port on top. There is a lot of potential to attach other weapons and create a "super cannon" which is very fun.

Godbomber's other weapon is a sword. Separated into two pieces (the hilt and blade), this sword is based on the one used by a powered up Super Ginrai as shown in the "Masterforce" cartoon. The handle is fairly long but features a segment that is 5mm, allowing characters with 5mm ports on their fists to hold it. These hypothetical ports need to be clear, no plastic on the bottom otherwise the tip of the sword handle won't hold in the hand.

The helmet piece is not attached to the body. Instead in vehicle mode it can clip on to the back of the shoulder cannon. Once you have the character in robot mode the helmet slides over the head formed by his Head Master. It is shaped like the "helmet" section of G1 Godbombiner's head and is cast in all black plastic with yellow paint on the crest.

In a very nice touch, all these accessories can fit together nicely for storage. The sword hilt fits in a slot towards the front of the cannon. The sword blade slides into the underside of the cannon and the helmet forms a "cap" on the back to hold things in. I appreciate the way this accessory consolidation is so neat and tidy. When these parts are all put together, nothing interferes with the cannon attaching to the vehicle form so no worries there.

Head Master

To fit in with the play pattern of the "Titans Return" based figures in "Legends" Godbomber's head can detach and transform into a small robot. I half expected the Head Master to look like a tiny Godbomber, but instead the design seems to be a fairly generic robot design with blocky shoulders and legs with some nice line designs. The chest does remind me a bit of the armor that Godbombiner becomes for Super Ginrai (especially with the middle section sticking out a bit) but I think that is more coincidence than anything else. The head design is also different than Godbomber's. He has visor eyes with a mouthplate, giving him a more robotic appearance than Godbomber himself.

Most of this figure is cast in blue plastic. The face plate on his back and the head are silver plastic. The eyes are painted red and the lower legs are painted black in front. It is a very basic deco, but it is more than most "Generations" Titan Masters!

Godbomber

Vehicle Mode:
Godbomber is an interesting vehicle because he is meant to be an extra attachment/trailer to Super Ginrai, but at the same time he can be an independent vehicle. The design of this vehicle mode takes many of its design cues from the original Godbomber. These design elements include:

  • The front section angles towards the middle and fatures three windows, indicating three seats inside.
  • The sides have a ridged pattern similar to the sides of G1 Optimus Prime's trailer and of course, Ginrai's trailer.
  • The middle section features two vertical fins sticking up towards the back.
  • The back section has two "wings" set vertically on either side of the vehicle.

The major difference between the G1 Godbomber design and this one involves his signature shoulder cannon. On the original Godbomber the cannon mounted on one side or the other using a port/peg system. However on this version of Godbomber the cannon fits in the middle, with the thin slots on the red base piece sliding into tabs in the middle of the vehicle. These tabs are each located on the inside of one of the two pieces that form the middle section of the vehicle. This is not the tightest fit and the two parts that make up the middle have a tendency to shift when you fiddle with them so be warned.

Color-wise this version of Godbomber is very similar to the original. The front section is silver plastic. Most of the remaining parts are two different shades of blue, one darker and one lighter than the other. The lighter one can be seen on the vertical fins in the middle. The windows in the front are translucent blue and several parts such as the front hitch and wheels are black plastic.

However the plastic colors are just the start. There is a lot of paint on this figure to help it better resemble its G1 counterpart. The front panel that can fold down is painted silver. Then more silver is used on the sides of the vehicle. Even more silver appears on the rims of the each wheel. Yellow is used on the ends of the vertical fins in the middle area and the wings have a large amount of red paint on them with white on the edges in the back. Autobot logos are found in red on both the front and sides. Add in the silver and red colors from the cannon in the middle and Godbomber really looks like he has a near "premium" level deco and it looks great!

One of Godbomber's functions was to add firepower to Super Ginrai, so it makes perfect sense that this mode would be designed to allow you to attach additional weaponry. There are seven ports on this mode that allow you to attach extra weapons with 5mm pegs. This includes two near the rear wheel wells, two on the sides, one on the cannon and two on the wings in the back. Need more firepower? Push down the vertical fins in the middle and two more cannons reveal themselves! You can swing down the front section to reveal three seats for Head/Titan/Prime Master style figures to sit in. Also you'll notice there are non-functional "rocket tubes" on either side, adding to Godbomber's firepower and referencing a variant of the G1 Godbomber figure which had similarly designed "rocket tubes" on its front end. I love this little callback.

Godbomber is meant to serve as an additional trailer for Ginrai, so the clip in front allows you to attach to the back of Super Ginrai's trailer section. I love the way this looks. Not only does it call back to "Masterforce" brilliantly but it looks cool too!

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the cannon and set them aside for now.
  2. Transform the Head Master into head mode and set him aside for now.
  3. Detach the two blue sections in the middle. On each swing out the robot hands and set these parts aside for now.
  4. Swing the small panels on the sides out and back.
  5. Swing the section with the rear wheel wells down to begin forming the robot legs.
  6. Separate the legs from one another.
  7. On each leg swing out the foot and heel pieces.
  8. Swing the blue sections in the middle attached to the wings out to the sides.
  9. Behind the front panel of the vehicle mode is a small silver panel with red clips. This is the slot for the Head Master. Swing this piece up.
  10. Push the front section of the vehicle mode in, forming the chest/torso area.
  11. Swing each wing forward, then swing it up.
  12. Reattach the forearm pieces from the middle of the vehicle mode to the upper arms. A peg attaches to a round port on the biceps and there is a tab on the back that connects to a corresponding slot on the forearm pieces.
  13. Attach the head. Detach the helmet from the cannon and slide it over the head.
  14. Slide the sword blade out of the cannon and detach the hilt. Connect them together.
  15. Attach the cannon to one of the 5mm ports on either side of the head.
  16. Connect the two sword pieces and place the sword in one of the hands.

Robot Mode:
G1 Godbomber's robot mode was a rather bulky one. His torso was chunky, his arms were blocky and his legs were super thick. For the most part, "Legends" Godbomber's outline is very similar. His chest is wide, his arms are big and his lower legs are really chunky. He can also have his cannon attached near his shoulders and he has wings between the arms and chest area. It is not just the general shapes that are similar, a lot of the smaller details on this figure are direct callbacks to G1 Godbomber. These details include:

  • The head sculpt features a crest in the center, flat panels that rise up on the sides and a curved helmet section with a very stoic looking face.
  • On the chest there is a distinctive "cross" shape with a circle in the middle on the left side.
  • The waist/hip area has two raised sections with 5mm ports on them and a rectangle in between them.
  • The lower legs have rectangular sections with a series of vent-like structures that recall similar designs on G1 Optimus Prime's legs.
  • The front of the vehicle winds up forming the back, offering a lot of detail to the back of the figure including the three distinctive windows from the vehicle mode.

G1 Godbomber's colors largely centered around silver parts, but this version is a bit more cohesive. The torso is mostly silver plastic. The arms and legs are a combination of darker and lighter shades of blue. The helmet section of the head and the feet are black plastic. Blue paint is use don the "cross" on his chest while red is used on the rectangle on the waist and the vent-like panels on his legs. A silver and red Autobot symbol is tampographed over black in the middle of the chest. Overall the deco winds up improving upon the G1 version and it looks great.

There are twenty five points of articulation on this figure - which is pretty impressive considering the arms and head are basically formed by "parts forming". Several of these articulation points are ratchet joints (including the shoulders, hips and knees). Normally this is great for stability, however in the case of the arms they work against the figure. The panels/parts that form the forearms come off very easily, so if you are holding on to the forearm, then try to say, swing the arms out to the sides there is a tendency for them to fall off. If you are just going to display the figure or transform it now and then this probably will not bother you too much, but I can't help but feel the forearms really needed to be secured better. The other oddity is the shoulder joint. Technically the wings move and the actual robot shoulders move. So if you move the arms down, the wings tend to swing forward, and you have to push them back so they aren't in the way. It's a bit annoying and your mileage will vary on how much of a dealbreaker this is on whether or not you will want this figure.

Godbomber does not have fists. Rather he has open palmed hands with an articulated thumb. This allows him to hold weapons like his sword. The sword will hold just fine because there is a tab on the palm that connects to a groove on the sword handle. However, 5mm peg weapons may not hold as well. Where you can attach 5mm weapons are the ports in the middle of the forearms. You can also attach another to the peg near the shoulder. Of course you can also attach an additional weapon to the top of the cannon. I love the idea of Godbomber being a walking weapons platform so I appreciate these extra attachment points.

There is one interesting design element on this figure. The lower legs can be removed by sliding them out. This is part of the transformation into base mode but it is also another play feature. The connection point between the thighs and the lower legs are the same design as the joints on "Combiner Wars" figures! So technically you can take any "Combiner Wars" figure, transform it into leg mode and attach it as Godbomber's legs as a type of power up! The comic included with the figure actually depicts this as a way for Decepticons to gain control of Godbomber (remember, it's not sentient). This is an odd yet fun "Easter Egg" feature that was very unexpected.

Transformation to Base Mode (Starting in Robot Mode):

  1. Detach all the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Detach the Head Master and transform him into robot mode.
  3. Detach the forearms and set them aside for now.
  4. Detach the lower legs and set them aside for now.
  5. On each forearm, swing the hands in.
  6. On each lower leg, swing the knee/connector piece section back. Then swing the heel pieces over the feet.
  7. Swing the back panel down.
  8. Push the thigh pieces down (using the ratchet joint at the hips).
  9. Swing the back panel to the front now (as if you were forming the front of the vehicle) then swing the front panel open.
  10. Swing the wings forward, them out to the sides.
  11. Each of the wings has two clips on the bottom. Use these to connect them to the lower leg pieces.
  12. Attach the forearm pieces to the middle of the base's top section.
  13. Slide the cannon into the tabs in between the forearm sections. Open up the top panel on the cannon.
  14. Push the fins down to reveal the weapons.
  15. Swing down the panels on each of the lower leg pieces to connect this base to other bases.

Base Mode:
Godbomber's base mode is definitely one of those "because we say so" modes but also one that adds play value to the figure. It is basically a slight reconfiguration of the vehicle mode, so visually there are no real surprises other than the addition of seating for Head/Titan/Prime Masters on the sides. What this does give you is some extra functionality that makes this toy much more fun (but I say that being someone who loves bases so take that as you will). These features include:

  • The front section allows three Head/Titan/Prime Masters to sit in it, but you can also attach additional weaponry to the front panel and even the slots where you would attach the shoulder cannon in robot mode.
  • You can attach weapons to the vertical fins in the middle of the base.
  • There are Head/Titan/Prime Masters on the middle section.
  • The cannon itself is now a gunnery station, so you can seat a Head/Titan/Prime Master figure inside the slot in the middle.
  • Each of the heel pieces from the robot mode now forms a seat on the sides for a Head/Titan/Prime Master. Even better? There is a 5mm port in front of the seat, allowing you to attach a weapon to form a gunnery station!
  • There are pegs on both wings to attach a Head/Titan/Prime Master figure.
  • The ramps on either side allow you to connect this base to others. Even better? Since they are connected to the wings, you can swing the wings in and out to allow that connection to be made in different configurations!

Note: Despite all apeparances, the pegs on the shoulders of the figure are not "Armada" era style Mini-Con ports. I tried to attach a Mini-Con and it simply did not work.

The base mode is fun but it is best thought of as a "bonus" to the rest of the figure. I am happy there is one at all and I like the way it fits into the larger eco-system and play pattern established in "Titans Return".

God Ginrai

Godbomber was constructed to give Super Ginrai a major power boost, and this doesn't just mean additional firepower in vehicle mode or a backup 'bot in battle. G1 Godbomber was able to combine with Super Ginrai to form God Ginrai, and now history repeats itself with "Legends" Godbomber. You cannot do this combination with "Titans Return" Powermaster Optimus Prime. "Legends" Super Ginrai featured tooling changes that are important to this combination, especially on the feet. You can perform this combination using the Magnus Prime figure from the "Siege of Cybertron" set which utilized the Super Ginrai sculpt.

Transformation to God Ginrai
Start with Godbombiner in base mode and Super Ginrai (or Magnus Prime) in robot mode. Be sure to detach all of Super Ginrai's weapons and set them aside for now.

  1. Separate Godbomber's lower leg pieces from the base mode.
  2. Detach Godbomber's forearm pieces and flatten them out.
  3. On each lower leg piece, keep the feet and heel pieces together and wing them up. Swing the knee/connector joint piece down. This forms the foot piece for God Ginrai. You can set it down flat (with the rear wheel wells pointing up).
  4. On Super Ginrai, swing the red heel pieces up.
  5. Take each foot piece and attach it to the bottom of Super Ginrai's feet. The raised red rectangle piece should fit into the corresponding slot on the bottom of Super Ginrai's feet. The red clips on the side help hold the feet in place. Be sure to the wheels are facing outward (they won't fit otherwise).
  6. Extend each of Super Ginrai's fists/inner forearms down and push down the flap in the back.
  7. Attach each of Godbomber's forearm pieces to Super Ginrai's forearms. The peg attaches to the port on the front of the forearms and the piece that sticks out in the middle (under the weapons that can swing out) clips to a corresponding notch on the back of the forearms. Then swing the back panel/flap up.
  8. On the remaining section of Godbomber, swing up the front panel.
  9. Swing the thigh pieces down (as if you were transforming him to robot mode).
  10. Swing each of the wing sections back, then rotate the wings so the white stripes are on the lower part of the wing.
  11. Split the halves of the torso section.
  12. Straighten out the bar and hinge sections behind each half of the torso, then swing the halves outward.
  13. Swing the wing assembly section in to the back of the chest halves.
  14. Rotate each wing out to the other side, then swing the outer half of the wings in.
  15. Rotate the upper half of Godbomber's arms so the peg points back, then swing the elbow section up. The tab on the elbow section should face the same direction as the peg on the shoulders.
  16. Rotate the thigh pieces up against the upper arms.
  17. Taking the Godbomber armor piece, attach the back sections to Super Ginrai using the clips and slots at the base of the wings to connect to the section with the rear vehicle mode wheels. Be very careful with the clips as they are rather thin.
  18. Push the chest armor piece down.
  19. Connect the two Godbomber elbow pieces on the back to secure the armor in place.
  20. Separate the sword pieces from the cannon. The shoulder cannon attaches to one of the ports on either side of the robot head (right or left, your choice).
  21. There are two notches on the back of the figure (the Godbomber elbow sections). Push Godbomber's helmet into those notches.
  22. The sword can fit into either fist.
  23. The rifles can be placed into his fists or attached to the pegs behind his head (on Godbomber's shoulders).
  24. Attach the dual barreled cannons to the sides of the feet.

Note: The clips that connect the torso armor's back section to Super Ginrai wound up showing stress marks on my copy of Godbomber after performing this combination about four times, so be warned. If you are transforming this figure in very cold and dry temperatures you may want to consider warming up the part a little first (perhaps by running some hot water over it) beforehand (I personally have not tried this so proceed with caution).

As much affection as I have for G1 Ginrai/Powermaster Optimus Prime and G1 Godbomber, their combined form was basically a giant brick. The arms could move up and down and that was about it, but darn it all, I do love the combined form, it has a wonderful retro charm to it.

With this version of God Ginrai the designers worked hard to try to bring the character we saw in the cartoon to life as a figure and for the most part they succeeded. Instead of being a largely rectangular block, this figure has some great proportions. The wings give it a dynamic look, the chest armor makes him look powerful along with his gauntlets and all the various weapons attached to him give him some fantastic looking firepower. Quite simply this new interpretation of God Ginrai looks powerful and imposing.

A lot of the design elements on this figure call back to G1 God Ginrai. This includes the wings on his back, the cannon on his shoulder, the Godbomber "gauntlets" on his arms, the front of Godbomber's vehicle form becoming armor on the torso and the added height from parts of Godbomber becoming God Ginrai's feet. Even the placement of the dual barreled cannons on the sides of the feet is a direct callback to G1 God Bomber. Any fan familiar with the character would identify it immediately.

There are no new details or deco revealed here. All the parts you saw in previous modes show here. The idea is not revealing new colors or parts but rather putting Super Ginrai and Godbomber's parts in a whole new context and it looks great. The combination of red, blue and silver themed colors works perfectly in paying homage to Optimus Prime and Ginrai's classic color combination.

There are eighteen points of articulation on this combined form. Many of them are ratchet joints including the hips (which is needed to keep the figure stable). I will say however that manipulating these very strong ratchet joints in the legs might loosen up some of the armor bits so be prepared to do a bit of re-attaching once you pose the figure. Also be warned: the sword does not hold tightly in God Ginrai's fists but for display purposes it looks just fine. Thanks to the various 5mm ports on the figure you can attach up to eleven additional weapons on the figure which is all sorts of fun if you want a super, overpowered God Ginrai!

Final Thoughts:
Godbomber is a fun callback to the original character and he looks cool in all three modes. I appreciate the addition of a base mode and the ability to interact with Head/Titan/Prime Master figures. The sculpt is solid and I enjoy the ability to add extra weaponry. All that said, he is not without issues. The clips that connect to Super Ginrai are my biggest concern. Also, I find the wing assembly transformation a bit too fiddly to be fun. Overall this is a good figure that could have been great if a couple bits were done differently. Unless you're clamoring for a modern day God Ginrai figure I would not necessarily recommend charging out to buy this one. If you do want a modern God Ginrai, then this figure is worth the purchase, just keep in mind the potential issues with the figure.

Pros:

  • Sculpt pays homage wonderfully to the appearance of G1 Godbomber.
  • The Base mode is a nice bonus.
  • I appreciate the ability to seat three "Master" figures in the front calling back to the Masterforce cartoon.
  • The God Ginrai combined form really does look spectacular.
  • Nice deco in vehicle mode.
  • Ability to add extra weapons is fun.

Cons:

  • Fragile clips to connect to Super Ginrai are very worrisome.
  • The transformation around the wing sections are a bit more complex than they needed to be.
  • The overall balance in the combined God Ginrai form can be a bit unstable and requires a bit of posing to get right.