"Timelines" Botcon 2014 Knight Ginrai Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: June 19, 2014
Price Point: $395.00 (Included in boxed or bagged set with Cannonball, Ferak, Scorponok, Tornado and Olin Zarak)
Retailer: Botcon Exclusive
Accessories: Smokestacks/Double Barred "Superconductor" Rifle, Wind Vane/Shield/Particle beam cannon

The theme of Botcon 2014 was "Knights versus Pirates". This theme allowed for a very ecclectic mixture of characters including the Autobot "Cybertronian Knight" Ginrai. Ginrai was a character introduced in the 1988 "Masterforce" Japanese exclusive series. While those outside Japan had an updated Optimus Prime as "Powermaster Optimus Prime", Japan used the same toy (with some differences in the sculpt/tooling) as a new character named Ginrai who totally looked like Optimus Prime, but wasn't Optimus Prime. The action figure of Ginrai was reissued in 2002, much to the joy of fans who had been wanting to own the figure for years without paying a crazy price. The sculpt also released as an e-Hobby exclusive in orange and red colors as "Fire Guts Ginrai", representing the use of his "God Fire Guts" attack from the series. It is that exclusive that this exclusive is based on. Pretty meta huh?

This figure is based on a sculpt that has been used several times over the years. It was introduced in the Classics toy line which really kicked off what we know as "Generations" today. In that same line the figure was given a new deco and released with Skywarp as Ultra Magnus. Among the other releases of this sculpt were "Timelines" Shattered Glass Optimus Prime, Nemesis Prime and the recent "Cloud" Optimus Prime. Suffice it to say, this sculpt has been used a lot over the years. Check out my previous reviews of the sculpt to get my thoughts on the sculpt and design. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

Robot Mode:
Unlike most of the previous releases of ths sculpt this one was packaged in robot mode so I'll begin the review with this form. It's no surprise that this sculpt would be chosen for Ginrai. While many other Optimus Prime sculpts exist, this one is a solid figure both figuratively and literally. Created before the current era of cost cutting and sized down figures, this sculpt represents what the Voyager Class was meant to be years ago (this is not meant to devalue the current generation of Voyagers which are impressive in their own way). Also, as mentioned above, Ginrai was portrayed as a robot using Optimus Prime as its template so having an Optimus Prime figure serve as a Ginrai figure is hardly out of left field.

This figure is a direct homage to the "Generation One" Fire Guts Ginrai figure released in 2002, so it follows its color layouts nicely. This is partly successful due to the similar layout of design elements across these Optimus Prime-design based figures. Here's how the color layout maps out to correspond to its "G1" counterpart:

  • Most of the body uses orange plastic, with red used on parts like the lower legs, and head. This closely resembles Fire Guts Ginrai with the main difference being the forearms, which are orange here but were red on Fire Guts Ginrai.
  • The windows (and eyes) are translucent blue plastic on this figure, calling back to the blue colors used for Fire Guts Ginrai's windows and eyes.
  • The mouthplate and crest are painted silver, matching Fire Guts Ginrai (though admittedly this is pretty standard practice for any "Optimus" design).
  • Ginrai has an Autobot "Knight" symbol on his left shoulder, Fire Guts Ginrai also had an Autobot symbol on his shoulder (though it was on the other shoulder).
  • The area right under the chest (including the truck's grille) is painted silver, a direct visual reference to the same area on Fire Guts Ginrai which was also silver.
  • The waist area has yellow and black details painted on it, these call back to a yellow and black sticker on Fire Guts Ginrai's waist.
  • The forearms have silver and red details on them, which call back to both a silver sticker on Fire Guts Giinrai's forearms and the red plastic used on that section.
  • Fire Guts Ginrai had yellow and black stickers lined up vertically on his lower legs. This design is mirrored by sections on the lower legs being painted black with small yellow lines on top.

Other paint details that help round out the design include blue on the top of his shoulders, yellow on the "lights" that flank his head and black on the the thighs. These colors aren't necessarily references to Fire Guts Ginrai but they add to the overall look of the figure and help serve as a reminder of what a premium deco looks like.

Overall, as a homage to Fire Guts Ginrai, this figure delivers the goods. Fire Guts Ginrai's colors aren't just about slapping on orange and red to a figure, the nuances such as the black and yellow on the legs or even the red on the forearms are important in delivering a true homage and this figure does it wonderfully.

The designers who created this figure and the factory that generated its tooling back in 2005 (the mold first debuted in 2006) definitely deserve credit. Every joint on this figure is nice and tight. The weapons fit into the hand without any flopping around as well. You can also combine the weapons to form the dual barreled cannon over his shoulders and they work without a problem. The larger cannon can be transformed into its wind vane mode to serve as a shield (and the big Cybertronian Knight symbol on it clearly shows it was intended for this purpose). To hold it you have to swing Ginrai's fist down and move the truck mode panel out of the way a bit. In this case the hand doesn't hold the piece particularly tightly but since this is kind of a "hidden extra" I don't make too big of a deal out of it. What looks amazing is the "Cybertronian Knight" shield tampographed on it in a light lavender and white color with silver outlines in the middle.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons.
  2. Push the back of the black rifle down. Split it and swing its halves out. Swing the panels from the bottom of the barrel in to form the smokestacks.
  3. On the larger weapon, swing the end of the barrel down and back. Then swing the front half of the barrel up and back. Swing each half of the wind vane out to the sides.
  4. Push the robot legs together.
  5. Point the feet down.
  6. Swing the knee armor pieces down.
  7. Swing each arm up out to the sides.
  8. Rotate the chest section around.
  9. Swing the orange panel behind the head down, then turn the head around and swing it down. Swing the middle to back section of the orange panel up.
  10. Swing the panel under the vehicle mode's grille up.
  11. On each arm swing out the vehicle mode panels and push the fists down.
  12. Rotate the shoulder pieces so the blue sections face out to the sides, then bend the arms at the elbows so they wind up on the back. You may have to swing the panels out to the sides to do this.
  13. Swing the side panels in to form the sides of the cab.
  14. Push the robot legs up to form the back of the vehicle.
  15. Swing the red panels on the sides of the legs forward to reveal the wheels.
  16. Attach the wind vane to the top of the vehicle.
  17. Attach the smokestacks to the sections that were the robot arms.

Vehicle Mode:
With the robot mode colors matching up so well with the original Fire Guts Ginrai, some of the colors in vehicle mode wind up close to where they were on Fire Guts Ginrai. The front end of the cab is orange while the lower section and back end are red. The wheels are cast in black. Other similarities to Fire Guts Ginrai include silver painted on the sides of the wheels, silver stripes running along the side of the vehicle (starting at headlights in the front) and vacuum metallized silver outlines on the grille. There section under the grille is cast in red plastic which roughly matches the red color of the equivalent section on Fire Guts Ginrai.

Other details include yellow painted on the lights along the top of the vehicle, the headlights and lines on the section under the grille. Blue is used on the side windows and the indented sections under the side doors are painted silver. The "Knight" symbol from the shield is on the top of the wind vane. It adds an amazing splash of color to the vehicle and looks great as a result.

The wind vane and smokestacks still connect firmly to the figure, so no worries about the vehicle mode bits coming off.

Final Thoughts:
The Classics Optimus Prime sculpt is one of the best representations of the character out there to this day. The sculpt makes perfect sense for this character and the homage is rather fun and meta. The colors aren't for everyone. To some he would seem rather garish and that's fair, but to me he's a cool figure with really eye catching colors.

Lightbox Gallery