You know what we haven’t done in a while? A Vintage View article! Which is a shame, especially as they’re one of my personal favourite things to write, and I already teased something quite amazing in the last one I wrote on G1 Sixshot.
Yes, in case you missed that handsome lad at the back there, it’s the subject of today’s follow-up, and is none other than the rather wonderful Generation 1 Greatshot. Who’s he, you might ask? Well, he’s become a lot more well-known these days, thanks to a brand new Leader Class Legends figure from 2018, although it’s no understatement to say that the original iteration of the character is far from the most publicised toy online. It’s also quite a rarity to come across a specimen in quite some stunningly pristine condition as the one you see here.
That’s really not meant to sound at all like a boast, I promise. I was exceptionally lucky with this particular find (especially as it involved a tip from a good friend of mine!), and it ended up being too good to pass up. Needless to say, I’m quite enamoured with him, and have been very much looking forward to sharing a spotlight on the toy for some time now. So what’s it all about, anyway?
Well, as you may have already guessed, this is a repaint (and indeed, a relatively-noticeable retool) of the original Sixshot toy (him that we’ve already talked about in the last two parts of The Vintage View). However, unlike his mouldmate, Greatshot was only released by Takara as part of their Victory line in 1989, meaning that he remains a mystery to a lot of fans who grew up only ever knowing the Hasbro version of the series.
He did appear in the Victory cartoon, although only for a handful of episodes in total. In Japanese fiction, he was actually portrayed as being Sixshot in a new body, having found the error in his ways and partnered up with Star Saber’s troops for a chance at redemption. The cartoon itself doesn’t cover much of the backstory to this firsthand, but as so much of the Japanese storyline continues to be aligned and added to even to this day, there have been some recent attempts to fill in the blanks, including as recently as 2018 with a Legends comic coinciding with the newly-released version of the character in toy form.
It’s a shame that a lot of Takara-exclusive characters are often overlooked by Western audiences, with even big hitters like Star Saber too-often being dismissed by fans who don’t know them well and therefore evidently cannot identify with them at all. The irony is that so many Hasbro toys get a free pass despite only featuring briefly in fiction themselves, and often with a non-speaking role, but there you go. Really though, even if you care not a jot for the fictional aspects of such characters, there’s a lot to enjoy with this beautiful figure.
As with Sixshot, Greatshot features six (or is it seven? No, we’ll stick with six this time, I think…) distinct modes, and whilst there’s not exactly a lot of challenge by today’s standards in terms of how he converts, there’s still a surprising amount of ingenuity to it overall. Also in common with his predecessor are the instructions, which feature a small seal which must be broken if you’re going to use them – sort of the ultimate dare by Takara as they challenge you to figure out all six configurations without any kind of help. What larks.
The instructions on my copy remain sealed, by the way, so I guess that means I can give myself a pat of the back with this one! Interestingly though, some of the modes are slightly different to Sixshot, as we’ll see. We’ll cover off the first three modes today, then the second lot in the next part.
First up is the tank mode, which as I mentioned with Sixshot is a personal favourite. Whilst one or two of the configurations might feel at least a little dubious, this one is all win, in my book. It looks very nicely proportioned and is certainly armed to the teeth, especially with the addition of those newly-moulded red shoulder sections on Greatshot.
They make this guy feel quite different to Sixshot in a lot of different modes, as we’ll see, but if anything they’re at their most useful here (especially as they do a bang-up job at hiding the otherwise obvious wheels on the underside of this section).
In terms of other moulding changes, the second example here arguably takes a little something away from the Sixshot version in that there’s now no longer a cockpit for the tank mode. That’s as a result of this part being made of the wolf’s lower jaw on Sixshot, whereas, well, there’s no longer a wolf’s head on this retool! It’s a shame to lose it, but honestly I can’t say that it really makes a huge difference overall.
Really though, the major change here is that colour scheme, which… wow! The brilliant white is just glorious (and is all-too-often yellowed on many copies of this toy, as a brief look online will show you), and is majorly completed by the vibrant red and electric blue, not to mention that blinging chrome. It’s a classic colour scheme, for sure, but it works a treat.
Lining him up versus Sixshot will surely show just how much difference those colours bring to the party overall, as Greatshot feels a world away from the more traditionally-Decepticon palette of teal and purple. You’ll also note a change in how I’ve transformed these two, if you look closely, as Greatshot’s packaging calls for the sections on the rear of the upper turret (the bits that sit on the sides of the legs in robot mode) to be positioned to the sides, instead of pulled back into place and clipped together as on Sixshot here. I’ve double-checked this several times, and it’s definitely how both of these toys are meant to be configured, though arguably Sixshot’s take works a little better.
Regardless, both versions of the tank mode look terrific, and to my eye work exceptionally well as something that could conceivably be useful on a battlefield.
Seeing Greatshot lined up with some other vintage Takara Transformers is just a great thrill too, and he looks especially good next to the likes of Sixknight and Doubleclouder, even if they are from the previous line, Masterforce.
Should you prefer, then of course he also slots in nicely versus any number of more familiar Hasbro ‘bots, bringing a much-needed sense of armament to the good guy ranks, I think.
Next up is the car mode which, well, is not my favourite. I say that – I actually prefer this configuration quite a bit on Greatshot over the Sixshot version. There’s just something about how this colour scheme wears the design that works significantly better, to my eye.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still some seriously dubious aspects to it, not least of which is how the front end of the car mode looks with those sections swung to the sides (you cannot legitimately call it a bumper). Yet I think having the obvious hinge sections cast in blue makes them look just a little more purposeful somehow, and the wings now being the same colour as the arms helps to blend them in a bit to everything else, visually-speaking.
I also really dig how the red shoulder sections are used here, as they end up on the rear and almost look like spoilers or something, I don’t know. Either way, it adds a dash of hot-rod-red to the proceedings, and it looks great.
What is slightly strange is that the intended transformation for Greatshot requires you to pop up that little section atop the roof, which is actually the bit that will eventually become the gun mode’s trigger. This isn’t done on Sixshot, so it’s again another rather bizarre change in official transformation for this retool.
The packaging artwork actually shows the arm sections folded further back, as shown in the photo above, but this is something that Greatshot has in common with Sixshot, at least, as even the Decepticon’s instructions require you to position them like this. It clearly looks wrong, as it means the wheels sit way too far back on the car mode, so I’ve chosen to represent him as I believe it’s intended to be for the rest of the photography here, despite it not being what’s shown in official pictures.
It’s so strange to me that both versions of this toy would have you making the same mistake, especially when the arms folded forward fit so well in place against the sides of the car, making me think that this is clearly the way it was intended to be. One of those little mysteries, eh?
In any case, this round is one that I think is definitely bested by Greatshot. Perhaps it’s just my bias for Autobots more traditionally having car modes, who knows?
Speaking of Autobot cars, here he is next to some of his Victory teammates, the Brainmasters. If you’re unfamiliar with these toys, then they were repainted for release as the European-exclusive Motorvators line-up during latter-day Generation 1, but it’s great to see the originals alongside the wonder of Greatshot. It’s a longstanding dream of mine to complete a Victory line-up one day, but it’s likely it may never happen!
Partnering Greatshot with some other Autobot cars will surely demonstrate again just how huge this mould is compared to a lot of other toys, so much so that this particular vehicle form can look a little bizarrely oversized. Still, it’s fun to see and I think he holds his own nicely, even in this more dubious form.
Now it’s time for the bit I’ve been most excited about – it’s the winged rhinoceros mode! Yes, you heard that right – winged rhino FTW!
Joking aide, how ace is this, eh? It, of course, features a newly-moulded head, which, in addition to the shoulder pieces, breathes a lot of new life into this mode. I know it’s bizarre but I just love it!
The new head is really rather stunning, and features an attractive silver horn and some beautifully-detailed moulding. It really helps to set this release apart quite a bit.
In fact this mode has jumped to being one of my favourites on this new toy, somehow. I do think the proportions and sculpt work a lot better as a hulking rhino than a wolf, somehow.
A side-by-side will show you what I mean, as well as showcasing just how unique both of these efforts feel in this form thanks to their respective colour schemes, but also because of those extensive moulding changes.
Ultimately they’re both still very strange, but I’m also a fan of embracing this kind of weirdness in the Transformers line, as I think you have to accept it for the fun thing it’s meant to be! Winged wolf meet winged rhino, because why not?
Of course, if that’s not enough oddness for you then let’s see how Greatshot looks with some other beast modes! Here he is again with Sixknight, now in his (somewhat-suspicious puma form) and the exceptionally-lovely Victory Leo, one of the crowning jewels of the Victory line, in many respects. I adore how they all look together.
Or perhaps you prefer a Hasbro beast line-up? They’re not exactly plentiful in Generation 1, but there are some fantastic examples all the same, and Greatshot most definitely adds to that with aplomb!
Right, that’s our first three modes done! Be sure to check back for part 2 soon, when we’ll be showcasing the jet, gun and robot forms. Cannot wait!