THE VINTAGE VIEW #7: Generation 1 Sixshot (part 2)

In the last part of The Vintage View we took an extended look at all of Sixshot’s many alternate modes (including one that isn’t even official!). Well today we’re keeping it simple and have precisely one focus in mind – that rather stunning robot form! What a dish!

I’d seen many photos of this toy over the years but honestly I don’t think any of them quite did the figure itself justice. From the moment I first got him a few years back and finally transformed him into his humanoid appearance, I knew he was something special. There’s just so much that works here, leaving Sixshot feeling like a true marvel among his peers.

As I mentioned in the last part, this is the 2002 Takara reissue version, although it’s virtually identical to the original 1987 toy in every way. Good thing too, as that’s exactly what I wanted for my collection, as much as the chomey bling of the later 2012 reissue may have been alluring on a more superficial basis. Really though, Sixshot needs none of that extra zazz to make him sparkle – this form is fine enough as it is.

I mean, let’s address the obvious fact that it’s a practical brick when it comes to articulation, with only the arms moving at the shoulders to speak of in terms of possible poseability. Yet that matters not a jot in my eyes, and to be honest I always shrug whenever people level such a thing as a potential criticism of Generation 1 toys anyway. Yes, you want your modern figures to be tricked out with waist swivels and ankle tilts galore, but the OG crew needed none of this to resonate their signature charm. At no point during childhood did I ever bemoan my Powermaster Optimus Prime being unable to do an ab crunch. It’s just not what they’re about, so it seems like an entirely unwarranted metric to judge them with, in my book.

What Sixshot does muster in this mode is pure presence. As one of the tallest non-city / non-leader / non-combiner ‘bots from the first generation of toys, he brings a sense of dread and intimidation that few other Decepticons can rightfully claim. The accompanying cartoon billed him as being a “one-robot army” and you suspect that this would be true even if he didn’t have a boatload of other configurations to boast about.

Proportions-wise he’s a little on the lanky side, but as someone who falls into that category myself it’s nice to see a bit of body-shape variation here and there. There are plenty of chunky G1 lads to fill your boots with, but Sixshot is a lean, mean fighting machine in every sense of the phrase.

Closer inspection will reveal just how rife with glorious moulded detail he is, too. I particularly like that there’s at least some evidence of every one of his transformations on display somewhere on his robot mode, be it the tank treads and wolf paws on his forearms, the car windshield on his knees or the jet fins on his chest. Arguably it’s the gun form which is the most well-hidden here, but a ninja needs to keep a little mystery, don’t they?

Oh, and let’s just take a moment to address the perfection that is that headsculpt, shall we? I already gushed on about Sixshot’s noggin in my recent article on this very topic, but truly it’s one of my favourite examples from the entire original line. Simple in terms of detail, but instantly evocative and full of quiet, brimming menace.

Perhaps the only slight quibble I could levy at this design is that you have to move the fins on his chest out of the way to raise his arms up, but really we are talking the very definition of reaching for a nitpick with that one. He still manages to make it look badass even then.

So really, what else is there to say that isn’t just me gushing on endlessly about what a big ol’ bucket of brilliance he is, eh? He’s just so effortlessly good, from the design, the sculpt, the colour scheme, the proportions – it just works supremely well to create a potent mix of pure G1 glory.

What is fun with Sixshot is lining him up for a few comparisons. I mentioned before how big he is, which is shown by his standing even taller than the already-sizeable Galvatron. Interesting that both of these toys turn into similarly-styled handheld laser guns that you can run around with in hand, should you absolutely wish.

Perhaps a more obvious indicator of Sixshot’s superior size is showing him next to some of his fellow 1987 designs, such as the main Decepticon Headmaster trio. He absolutely dwarfs them all, especially Weirdwolf, who barely comes up to his waist!

Targetmasters look equally diminutive, though it’s worth keeping in mind at this point that these are not small toys themselves by any means!

Perhaps the most jovial juxtaposition is seeing him next to 1987’s Decepticon combiner team in full Big Man mode, with Piranacon coming up a little short on this occasion! G1 scale was infamously skewed at the best of times, and the combiners were often the ultimate example of this. So it goes here.

By comparison the previous year’s Predaking lines up a smidgen better, if only by being the largest example available, but even then he’s not that much bigger than Sixshot.

Anyway, Sixshot isn’t the biggest member of the Decepticon forces overall, but he certainly stands out for more than just that. Really, he’s such a wonderful example of the designs from that time that you can pair him with any number of mid-80’s toys and he just lines up beautifully. Plus he has the almost-standard Decepticon palette of teal and purple going on, so of course he blends right in!

For me, there’s something truly evocative about seeing a roster of random toys from different sublines like this, and Sixshot being such a sizeable specimen really helps to unify everything somehow and create a sense of visual style on the shelf.

In many ways it’s a wonder that such a comparatively complicated ‘bot turned out so sleek in his main form. The Autobots would attempt something similar with Quickswitch a year later in 1988, but despite that toy only claiming to configure up to five modes overall, it can’t quite bolster the same beguiling presence (though I’m still a big fan of that toy too, and will defend it to the hilt).

In terms of modern takes on the character, my personal choice so far is for FansToys Hydra. It’s not a perfect figure by any stretch, but it does a great job at bringing Sixshot’s animation-accurate appearance to life in updated form and features a couple of interesting design twists along the way. It certainly captures the sense of menace that the original brings to the table, too.

Really though, the G1 toy is hard to beat, being just about as fun and as charming a Transformers toy as ever there was. I really couldn’t have been happier to finally pick him up after all these years, and I’m especially grateful to have done so in such fresh-out-the-box minty condition, thanks to that Takara reissue. What that more toys had been through the same process!

So, that’s Sixshot. What to follow that up with, eh? I’m sure I’ll think of something suitable, or at least I’ll take a good shot at it. A great one, even.

TTFN

About Sixo

Transformers photographer & blogger from the UK with quite a well-known carpet. Collects both vintage G1/G2 and Masterpiece/3P.

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