Toy Review - Transformers Titans Return Overlord and Takara's Transformers Legends Godbomber
Here it is…the last gasp of Titans Return…but man is it a good one! Here we have two leader class figures that see their origins in the old Japan-Only series Transformers: Super God Masterforce…but only one of them officially made the leap over the Pacific to become an official Hasbro toy, that being the final leader class release (wave 5 for those of you still keeping track) of Overlord. But for those that bought the Siege on Cybertron set, well, then no Titans Return collection would be complete without importing the Takara Transformers Legends release of Godbomber. Given that there’s a certain combination that absolutely has to be covered when talking about Godbomber, why don’t we take the easy route and get started with Overlord.
Overlord: Likely the ‘pre-mold’ of Sky Shadow…and not the remold of Sky Shadow as the release order would have you believe…Overlord has a few key differences that not only make this mold shine the way it was supposed to but also hints at the play feature of the Power of the Primes line yet to come, much in the same way that Combiner Wars legends class Buzzsaw tipped us off to the upcoming Titans Return Soundwave. Overlord, like the original twin powermaster, has two places in his chest where, sure, a titan master COULD fit…but I strongly suspect that face-nipples [Maybe face-breasts? – Ed.] aren’t a Cybertronian fashion that’s all the rage these days. No, instead, once you get some Prime Masters from the subsequent Power of the Primes line…or the enigmas that come with the Voyager class figures from said line…you can see what these vacancies are actually for. [It’s worth noting that at the time the pictures were taken for this review that none of the aforementioned Power of the Primes toys were available to us. And we’re too lazy to take new pictures. – Ed.] So, how does this usage of the mold beat out Sky Shadow? Well, aside from the fact that it’s freaking Overlord. Well, turns out most of the improvements take place on the upper half of the figure…the portion that ends up being the plane mode. True to the original toy, there’s not much of a backpack caused by the nosecone and cockpit sections of the plane mode as those separate to become his shield. No large wing issues either. Most notably though is the addition of a hinge joint within the torso allowing for a better base mode. While in most leader class figures from Titans Returns there’s a base mode that feels forced, here it’s very clearly planned for…and it makes sense because the original toy also had a base mode. [That logic doesn’t necessarily work as Powermaster Prime’s original toy had a base mode and what they came up with for the new Titans Returns release…well, we don’t like to speak about it. – Ed.] Okay, in spite of that, I don’t mind this one all that much…hence why pictures of it are included. Now, there is a slight drawback to this new joint though, as sometimes separating or unifying the two halves can be scary.
Tank mode here is identical to Sky Shadow’s…and it’s perfectly fine. Unfortunately it does retain the issue regarding needing the Power of Greyskull to remove the gun from the vehicle mode during transformation. Ordinarily one might be inclined to think that this is nothing a little bit of sandpaper can’t take care of…but it appears that the gun is actually painted its lavender color…not molded in that color. Sure, like anyone is going to see to see said handle in either mode…so I assume most will likely sand away…but it makes me a bit skittish about the prospect.
Jet mode is a futuristic take on the SR-71 Blackbird, well, more of a futuristic SR-71 through the eyes of the 80s…so, you know, immediately THE AWESOMEST THING OF LIFE!!! Okay…maybe not all that, but hey, I have a fondness for the ol’ SR-71. [Who doesn’t? – Ed.] And the 80s. [Don’t worry, that’s what therapy is for. – Ed.] Anyway, it’s nothing terribly complicated…as is standard for most Transformers that have plane modes. I will say though that Overlord has a big advantage over Sky Shadow in that the former’s arms in plane mode actually blend in with the design itself, whereas the latter has the very standard…and very annoying…arms hanging off the sides of a plane, usually under the wings, that the vast majority of Transformers plane modes suffer from.
If I have one nit-pick…I gotta say I’m not overly thrilled with how the head mode of Dreadnaut looks. The surrounding helmet is blue while Dreadnaut’s head mode is has a black outer…what…frame? Anyway, there’s something about the two that really kinda clash to my eye. Going back to the original toy or looking at how he’s been presented in media (both the Japanese cartoon or the IDW comics), I think maybe the toy would’ve been better served by going for a blue head mode, as it looks like the Takara version is doing. Also, while not exactly a nit-pick…more a wish that will never be fulfilled [Add another one to the fire. – Ed.]…but it would be nice if Hasbro released a couple of Prime Masters that echoed the original toy’s twin Powermasters, Mega and Giga. But, there’s also no shortage of Transformers fans with 3D printers and way too much time on their hands…
As the final leader class release, Overlord’s appearance in stores has been very hit or miss but to me he’s very much worth tracking down. Or, you know, save yourself the hassle and just order him off Amazon. There’s that too. But regardless, if you’re a fan of the character, always been curious about him ever since learning of his existence in Japanese-Only series or foreign releases…or just like good Transformers in general, the Overlord is definitely worth your time and your money.
Godbomber: When I was first introduced to the concept of Godbomber, way back in the infancy of the internet…my young mind exploded. Sure, he was a complete parts-former and very much on the lowest tier when it came to G1 poseability. But to see him combined with the original Powermaster Prime in all his God Ginrai glory? Those were the beginnings of a quest. When Takara re-issued the giftset back in 2002, I pounced on my chance…and yeah, pretty much everything I’d heard about him was true. He wasn’t all that great…at all…but then again, when it came to God Ginrai…yup, still awesome. This giftset would eventually be imported as a Toys R Us exclusive and be renamed Apex Armor…as in a post-2001 America, something named Godbomber…yeah, that’s not gonna work.
So when Titans Returns took off and it was revealed that Powermaster Optimus Prime would be one of the launch Leader class figures, there was some held breath as to maybe, just maybe, there’d be an American Godbo…um…Apex Armor. Then the Takara version was unveiled…with its significant differences. Differences that allowed for a Godbomber attachment. Aaaaaand…dammit, screwed again. Long story short, almost sprung for the Japanese Super Ginrai then found out it would be coming stateside in the Siege of Cybertron BBTS exclusive box, begged a friend who was going to Japan to grab me a Godbomber on his trip (THANKS JOHNNY!!!) and, viola, here we are.
How does the current Godbomber compare to his earlier parts-former-y incarnation? Well, he’s less parts-former-y…kinda. I mean, yeah, you’ve gotta break him down into components before you create the full God Ginrai…that’s kind of a given. But the original needed to be blown to pieces and reassembled to turn into vehicle mode as well…and we don’t have that here…too much. I say ‘too much’ simply because due to the way the toy is engineered, the forearms and hands are likely going to fall off during transformation, which you’ll need to put back on…but everything else stays put just fine.
Robot mode is fairly poseable, given what he is. Sure, again, the forearm/hand sections are loose and may fall off during posing, but this really only ends up being a minor inconvenience as it really doesn’t happen too much on my copy. But yeah, we’ve got fully articulated shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and hell, there’s even an ankle tilt. Unlike the Leader class Titans Returns figures, Godbomber’s helmet that surrounds the Titan Master, making for a fuller looking head than what such a small figure can provide, can be removed. And that might be my only nit-pick with the figure. I don’t mind it so much in vehicle mode, as the helmet fastens right into rear of the missile launcher and holds securely. However, in the combined mode, it doesn’t really fit there and is instead to be plugged into the backpack to help it hold together. That…well, let’s just say your mileage is going to vary depending on your own individual copy. Mine holds most of the time…but it doesn’t take much to jostle it loose either. Unfortunately, given that he’ll be combined with Prime on my shelves, I can’t help but wonder how long it ends up being before that piece gets lost. Oh, and before I forget, just above his knees, where the toy separates to create God Ginrai’s feet, there are Combiner Wars ports. Thus, any Deluxe class Combiner Wars or combiner-capable Power of the Primes figures can serve as Godbomber’s legs!
The vehicle mode, like its predecessor, is an additional trailer for Optimus. Or it can serve as an armored personnel carrier on its own. Sure, we’re kind of stretching that a bit…but hey, beat yourself over the head a few times then take a couple of shots of whiskey…then come back and see if we weren’t right all along. [Ah, yes, the old ‘concussion mixed with intoxication’ argument. That’s always a winner. – Ed.] Godbomber in this mode has room for not only his own Titan Master…does it even have a name? [Nope. Well, it does say "Head Master" on the package...so, I dunno, Headmaster? – Ed.]…but two others as well. This has its roots in the Masterforce anime…but honestly, it’s just nice to have a place to store at least a fraction of the many loose Titan Masters I have.
All in all, Godbomber on his own isn’t a bad figure and is a vast improvement on the original. Is he worth the price to import on his own merits? Uh…ummmm…eeeeee…sigh…not really. I mean, on his own, there really isn’t anything that says “BUY ME NOW!”. No. For that you need either a Super Ginrai or a Magnus Prime from the Cybertron box set…because the real reason you buy this guy is for…
God Ginrai…or Optimus Prime in Apex Armor: Welcome to the main event folks. Godbomber breaks down into three parts: gauntlets comprised of the forearms and hands, feet made from the legs and a chestplate and backpack from the rest of him. Getting the body of Godbomber into that chestplate/backpack mode is going to be a pain in the ass, you just have to accept it. Getting everything snapped in properly usually results in at least one profanity…and that’s if you’re the most saintly of men. The remainder of us mere mortals will sound like the proverbial drunken sailor during transformation. Like I said, it’s just one of those things you have to accept. Because the end result? TOTALLY WORTH IT. To be fair, the bulk and distribution of weight can make posing a bit frustrating at times, but even just as a statue…this is one awesome, intimidating bot. All of Optimus’ joints are available for use here, but there are some limitations in place due to the new add-ons. And speaking of add-ons, if you followed our advice and opted for the Perfect Effect supplemental parts and core robot, you’ll be pleased to know that everything latches on just fine, not impacting your combined Optimus in the slightest. Seriously though, this is a Prime that fuels Decepticon nightmares and is responsible for more Energon leakages than any ‘Con would care to admit.
Ultimately, if you’ve got a compatible Prime, with his okay stand-alone mode and his AWESOME combined mode, Godbomber ends up being well worth the price of admission. But on his own, I could really only recommend him to the completist. Then again, the completist would have a compatable Prime…so it’s kind of a vicious cycle, isn’t it? Still, for the average collector, yeah, Godbomber’s probably a pass.