Decades, years, months, weeks, days, hours and minutes have been counted in my eternal wait for this character. It took 14 years for the 1989 Japanese exclusive Takara Transformers Victory sixchanger C-325 Greatshot to find its way into my collection in 2015, after a protracted period of longing. When 3rd party company Mastermind Creations revealed then released their Reformatted R-01 Terminus Hexatron interpretation of Decepticon Sixshot, the belief was that a Greatshot repaint was in the works. Despite teaser images, the Greatshot repaint had to wait its turn as MMC worked their way through Terminus Hexatron, Super Nova edition, Dark Emissary and Continuum releases before R-01G Grandus Hexatron got off the ground in earnest a couple of years or so later. Once announcements, production samples and pre-orders had become a reality, the countdown to R-01G’s arrival commenced. Here then is my review of the long-awaited MMC Grandus Hexatron.
Announcing his arrival with some of the most beautiful 3rd party packaging I’ve ever seen, Grandus Hexatron has a similar box layout and design to that of R-01C Terminus Hexatron Continuum. A dark-looking outer cardboard box is gloriously covered in artwork for the character, with all alternate modes depicted on the back. Inside we find a clear softer plastic package with a very G1 style sunburst grid background and the robot mode artwork, including a view of the robot inside. One is reminded of Han Solo trapped in Carbonite. So far, so gorgeous.
The first two images above compare the vintage 1989 Takara Greatshot and its packaging to the MMC Grandus Hexatron. The third image shows the final part of the inner packaging, a plastic clamshell that houses Grandus Hexatron, his two guns and two cleavers, as well as the lovely foldout instructions (which still say “Winged Wolf” instead of Winged Rhino now, and use Terminus imagery for Laser Pistol instructions) and collector’s card. You can see the lettering style for “R-01G” matches the original “C-325”. Greatshot was of course originally a remould of the 1987 Decepticon sixchanger Sixshot, released in 1989 as part of Takara’s Victory toy line, and he featured in the associated cartoon as well. Greatshot was a lone warrior and had similar origins to Sixshot and Sixknight as a special cyber-ninja carrying out secret missions.
I do not for a moment assume that Greatshot as a bit-part Japanese only character from the Victory series is as loved by others as it is by me, so the popularity of this release cannot be gauged by my reaction to it. I was massively into the Sixshot mould years ago and this Autobot version was the holy grail for me. I always preferred the mould in Autobot colours, the enormous golden eagle on his chest and more humanoid, horned robot head. Everyone loves an over-the-top hero, right? The fact remains, though, that a vintage Greatshot packaged can run you from $500 to $800, and folks are asking $250 for loose ones. For a lot of collectors Grandus Hexatron represents the only way of owning the Greatshot character. In an industry where many companies continue to produce characters in popular scales that already have multiple representations, Grandus Hexatron reflects another function of 3rd Party releases that have been a little neglected in my opinion.
We can see that Grandus Hexatron is a marvellous and faithful representation of the vintage Greatshot toy. The colours, overall composition and look of the original have been recreated as well as I had hoped, and my standards for any new Greatshot are astronomical. Grandus Hexatron compares favourably to Terminus Hexatron Continuum as well, especially as Grandus Hex is also technically from the Continuum series, sporting many painted surfaces and as much G1 accuracy as MMC could muster. While Grandus Hexatron comes with chromed guns like Terminus Continuum, MMC have added pink tinted cleavers as well which I was highly pleased about, setting him apart from Terminus. Accuracy in the chest wing design, red shoulders and silver horns (albeit smaller), and close enough representation of the golden eagle on the chest all mean that he could pass as Greatshot in anyone’s collection.
There are obviously issues that existed on the original Hexatron mould that are still in evidence here with R-01G, such as those highly annoying knee flaps, the slightly too short forearms and small hands. After owning this mould as Terminus Continuum for almost a year I have long since stopped being bothered by these as the toy is extremely posable and playable despite them. It’s nice to have individually articulated fingers and as you can see, nothing on his legs stops him from striking a majestic anime-style idle hero stance.
I had some initial dissatisfaction with the head sculpt in that I felt the mouth and chin gave him a less attractive appearance compared to the G1 toy or the animation model, but from certain angles (like the image of him pointing above), it’s just perfect. From the side the head is a little thin, but there are more than enough angles I can display him from where it’s everything I wanted. I was interested to see that much like the first Hexatron, Grandus Hex has a removable helmet, leaving brain face! This is actually highly useful when transforming him as the head doesn’t fit as well into the chest compartment as with Terminus.
When armed with the signature double handguns, the look is completed. Wide stance, both feet planted, leaning back and both lasers pointed outwards is classic Sixshot/Greatshot. Despite the short forearms, this mould has always offered plenty of articulation and I feel like there’s even some extra tightness in the feet allowing Grandus Hex better balance than Terminus Continuum. There’s nothing I couldn’t get him to pull off. Weapon grip is superb, and as long as you remember to lift the cockpit hanging behind him, waist articulation is highly functional and adds immeasurably to his available poses. The chrome on the hand guns may eventually flake off the handles over time, I do have one spot on my Terminus Continuum that is already exhibiting this issue.
Grandus Hexatron can execute a very convincing and highly displayable kneeling pose, aided by a great range of movement in the ankles and suitably proportioned upper and lower legs. The giant pinkish red cleavers can be gripped tightly in his little hands or suspended from his waist using the rotating black rings. I hesitate to call them scabbards, because they’re really just floating peg holes.
I like the cleavers, one should never complain about the addition of accessories, especially when they have not been included at the cost of anything essential, but to me Greatshot has always been a gun-wielding cyber-ninja (I’m aware of the contradiction in terms here), so I’ll primarily have him sporting the G1 look with a shooter in each hand. Plenty of dynamic poses are available thanks to the general level of articulation inherent within the Hexatron sculpt.
Another of the great strengths of the Hexatron mould beyond looks (not all agree of course), posability, good quality and accuracy in terms of the Continuum line, has been the ease of transformation compared to some of the rather lengthy conversions a lot of 3rd party products have nowadays. This is one of the few 3P figures I will happily grab off the shelf and transform at will, such is the intuitive nature of the transformation between pretty much all of the modes. Star Fighter mode is a key part of this sixchanger’s appeal, and actually I think the vintage toy pulls it off much more effectively than the newer interpretation. The wings on Grandus Hexatron just seem a bit too short and don’t contribute enough to the overall silhouette of the mode, whereas they are hugely prominent on vintage Greatshot. Another thing to note is that just like Terminus Hexatron Continuum, due to the painted parts on Grandus Hex, the nose of the Star Fighter does not stay clipped flush together. They can pop apart regularly. Don’t get me wrong, though, you get this thing in fighter mode and the immediate instinct is to whoosh it about, that’s a success in my book.
Winged rhino mode was one of the absolutely brilliant features of the original Greatshot, featuring a remoulded Sixshot wolf head and a moveable (and disturbingly phallic) chrome rhino horn. MMC have remoulded the Hexatron beast head to resemble a rhino with two more sensibly-shaped but ultimately less awesome horns. The jaw also opens on the newer rhino head. No chrome here either, that is reserved for the wing-mounts and the hand guns. I think this mode has been expertly recreated from the original, demonstrated by how good they look side by side. In fact virtually all angles show what a great job MMC have done in recreating the general feel of Greatshot in Grandus Hexatron, adding again to the appeal of using this new release to fill that irksome gap in the Victory roll call.
I guess APC mode is the one where the MMC version differs most from the vintage configuration. For a start the wings are angled backwards on Grandus Hex, whereas G1 Greatshot/Sixshot have them angled forwards. Other than that it’s mainly the aesthetics employed – quite symbolic of the era of each relative release – that create the different appearance at the head of the vehicle. It is interesting to note also that the orientation of wheel/red shoulder guns is different on the G1 toy compared to the MMC figure. On the MMC toy the moulded red shoulder guns are perpendicular to the wheel’s circumference, but they are parallel on G1 Greatshot. This has a significant effect on rhino mode where the wheels are hidden on the G1 toy, but prominently displayed on the MMC figure. This is one mode where I prefer the MMC sculpt to the original, it just looks like a far more badass attack vehicle on Grandus Hexatron than on Greatshot and Sixshot.
The tank mode is another configuration where Grandus Hexatron draws very heavily from the original, and again marginally improving how believable the figure is as a legitimate holder of six separate modes. With a distinguishable cockpit, Grandus Hex resembles an actual attack vehicle compared to the G1 Greatshot, but on the other hand Grandus Hex doesn’t roll in this mode but Greatshot does with the help of tiny wheels on the underside. The different orientation of the red shoulder lasers and the wheels is evident here more than anywhere else. Another solid mode for Grandus Hex, which makes five solid modes out of five, all done in style.
The Laser Pistol mode, for me, is the weakest of Grandus Hexatron’s tricks. If you look at it long enough you begin to see the Star Fighter mode with the wings folded down and a few rotated sections. At least the original G1 Greatshot folded out the legs making it appear like an actual gun barrel with a trigger to boot. With Grandus Hex, the wings stay clipped together very well, unlike on my Terminus Hexatron Continuum. This mode would also have benefitted from the lasers and flip-out guns right at the end of the barrel instead of halfway up the figure. It’s also quite tricky to side-mount those chrome guns onto the black rings on the waist.
One rather bizarre inclusion – and I am not 100% sure this will be available with the production release – is a black sprue with snap-on parts to create the Mastermind Creations mascot, the skiing penguin. Above you can see the assembled mini-figure next to the pre-assembled painted version that came with Felisaber. Strange, unexpected, but why on Earth not?
Let’s revisit all of the strengths of this release, and not just from the perspective of a self-confessed Greatshot fanboy. This mould is fun and easy to transform, has articulation to die for, recreates the look of the original inspiration for its release beautifully, will help fill a gap in many a collection where $500 figures are out of the question, represents one of the first 3rd Party releases that acts as a viable alternative to the original vintage release because of a dearth of other representations, comes with brilliant accessories…and six modes. On the down side, anyone who already owns Terminus Hexatron – especially the Continuum release – may baulk at a fifth release of this sculpt, especially if they have no affinity or connection to the mould, its variations, Victory or Japanese exclusive Transformers in the first place. The reactions I saw to MP-24 Star Saber were confirmation of just how many people even a brand new official Masterpiece of that quality did not appeal to, let alone MMC’s interpretation of the lesser known and lesser celebrated Greatshot.
I lied, here comes the Greatshot fanboy conclusion. I spent so long looking for a vintage version of this figure that once it arrived I felt a huge part in my collecting goals had been achieved. When Grandus Hexatron was teased and when I received Terminus Continuum, I did not yet own the vintage figure so Grandus Hexatron would have been my Greatshot. Even now that I have the original toy and it lived up to every expectation, Grandus Hexatron is still an impressive masterpiece to me. A love letter to the original toy, crafted by a 3rd Party company I’ve come to respect enormously. If anyone was going to handle it, I was glad to have it in MMC’s hands and they have not disappointed. Sure I volunteered a ton of images of the original toy for reference, but they never asked for them and they had probably finalised the look of R-01G long before I started spamming them with photography. I sent those images because I knew MMC would want Grandus Hex to be as perfect as possible, and this mould’s particular drawbacks aside, it’s done the job. What I am trying to say is that if anyone has an interest in the Greatshot character and the TF Victory aesthetic, rest assured that R-01G Grandus Hexatron fulfils his role as a modern interpretation dripping with inspiration from the original release. Nothing will ever trump the work of art that is C-325 Greatshot, but if anything could, it would be Grandus Hexatron.
All the best