THE VINTAGE VIEW #9: Takara C-325 Generation 1 Greatshot (part 2)

One funny thing that I think I rarely acknowledge about collecting both vintage toys alongside a more modern line-up is how the mood can wax and wane between the two quite rapidly. I’ve become accustomed to it now, but for ages it struck me as rather odd how my focus could so easily shift from one moment being entirely on items that haven’t seen release in over three decades to suddenly being all-consumed by whatever the latest Masterpiece-styled offering had going for it.

And hey, I consider myself to be a (at least relatively!) focused collector of sorts. I mean, it’s not like I just pick up whatever takes my fancy – there are some boundaries along the way, believe it or not! Yet it’s still perfectly possible for my attention to jolt between the different aspects of my collection at random, all the while leaving another part to sit idly on the shelf for whatever period of time.

Which I suppose is my way of acknowledging that this second half of my write-up on the classic Generation 1 Greatshot toy from 1989 is way, way overdue! But have no fear, as we’re back at it again and boy, was it worth the wait! I mean, just have a look at this guy, why don’t you?

Here’s the thing, for as much as my concentration may ebb elsewhere from time-to-time, there’s little doubt in my mind that vintage collecting remains one of the, if not the most enjoyable aspect of the hobby for me. The chance to lovingly pour over gorgeous specimens from almost four decades ago is a real pleasure still, and especially so when they look as good as today’s example.

Of course in the case of Greatshot, he represents another delightful aspect of this sort of collecting – the chance to experience classic toy designs that you’d never seen firsthand before, after all this time. There are precious few of these examples left for me to go as far as Generation 1 is concerned, perhaps rather sadly, but believe me when I say that I am making the most of every last drop of enjoyment along the way.

And there’s plenty of that to go around, in Greatshot’s case. As we ascertained last time, this retooled take on the more well-known Sixshot design from 1987 is a real stunner in its own right, and makes use of an entirely different palette and some surprisingly detailed deviations in the moulding to great effect overall. It’s the same core design, sure, but the two feel truly worthwhile as separate entities.

As it happens the jet mode might be one of the configurations where those differences are perhaps least obvious, but still the colour scheme does enough heavy lifting to really show you why Greatshot shines. The red and blue are as undeniably good as ever, but contrasted against the more brilliant white on offer here and coupled with some attractive yellow highlights, they really pop.

The additional red shoulder blasters on Greatshot also add some welcome armament to the jet form, and I like the look of the newly-moulded rear fins, too. Oh, and of course any mode that allows that stunning chromed chestplate to be seen is alright by me. Both toys are ultimately quite breathtaking: as modes go, I already mentioned in my Sixshot write-up that it’s one of my favourites for this toy, and so it remains here.

It’s equally fun to see Greatshot in his jet form alongside the similarly-retooled Sixknight, from the Takara Masterforce line the year prior. A lot of Transformers fans often think of the originals, Sixshot and Quickswitch together, so having both of these alternate takes in hand is a real thrill.

One thing I also really enjoy is seeing Generation 1 toys mixed up with other examples that they’re not commonly associated with, and to that end I was very curious to see how Greatshot would line up next to the likes of the Aerialbots, for one thing. As some of the more popular Autobot jetformers out there, it’s certainly interesting to note how comparatively tiny they are next to our Autobot six-changer, but then he is rather sizeable so it’s no big surprise either!

Arguably though, the mould slots in better next to some of the later designs from the original Transformers line. Here you have a mix from the Headmaster, Triggerbot, Pretender, Clone and Rescue Force sublines, and I think to varying degrees they all kind of work off a similar design aesthetic. Greatshot still sticks out in terms of size, but it’s a formidable Autobot air force to my eye, all the same.

Having looked at the other alternate modes available in the first part, that leaves us with just one to go! Greatshot’s gun mode is again very reminiscent of the equivalent form on Sixshot, but manages to feel entirely unique thanks to that distinctly more vibrant colour scheme.

It only really occurred to me when doing these photos how unusual it is to see an Autobot toy with a gun form like this, actually (outside of mini-Targetmaster companions, of course). We’re so used to seeing evil examples like Megatron, Shockwave, Galvatron and even Browning as the ones monopolising on pistol forms, that it almost reads as out of character for a good guy to give it a go, even one that used to be a Decepticon himself.

Greatshot’s official transformation opts for the robot’s hand blasters to be positioned on the outer sides of the front of the gun, even though they can be pegged in the small holes at the bottom of the robot feet, as with Sixshot. In many ways I think the alternate configuration would make more sense, but I’ve gone with what the instructions and the box artwork recommend for the purposes of this article!

One thing I must admit that I hadn’t clocked before though was that you can clip the tips of the wings together to make a more sturdy handle for the gun mode. Somehow this had escaped me even on Sixshot, even though it’s really quite obvious once you discover it! Just shows how many little personal discoveries there still are to be had with these toys, eh?

Of course there is at least one other Autobot mould to feature a blaster mode of some sort and that is Sixknight once again (or indeed Quickswitch as well!). It’s pretty puny next to Greatshot but still makes for a fun comparison (and no doubt a great bit of potential for running round the house dual-wielding these bad boys… not that I did that, I swear).

As fun as the five alternate forms are though, naturally the real highlight here is the absolutely *breathtaking* robot mode. I’ve already rambled on about how incredible I think Sixshot is, but my word, Greatshot is really something else… just observe!

The sound you can hear is my jaw hitting the floor as I write this, and I say that as someone who not only has this toy in his house but took these photos of it too. It’s just so visually striking that even now, it’s hard to believe it’s something I actually have in my possession, to be honest!

No doubt a sizeable part of the appeal here is also down to the condition, speaking honestly. It’s not uncommon to find that a lot of vintage toys are naturally more striking when completely mint and presenting as they would have done all those years ago, but Greatshot is certainly one of the more obvious examples in that case.

After all, whilst it’s not exactly an everyday toy, it’s not uncommon to see copies in various states of wear and disrepair all the same. The toy being mostly white plastic means that it’s a prime candidate for yellowing (with some versions I have seen being particularly afflicted), but then there’s the chrome on the chest and the various stickers which can all-too-commonly present rather shabbily.

The reality then, is that I was exceptionally lucky with this particular purchase. I say that a lot, but in this case it’s especially true, most notably as it was helped along with a much-appreciated tip from a friend and fellow collector. It wasn’t a figure that was necessarily on my radar at the time, but one thing vintage collecting has taught me is that sometimes you need to pounce when the opportunity presents, as in some cases it may not come around again.

Anyway, all of that is to say that I am exceptionally pleased with the specimen that now resides in my collection, not least because it’s given me the chance to appreciate just how fabulous this toy is in all its minty glory. And boy, is there a lot to appreciate!

Let’s take a moment to remember than whilst repaints (even those utilising some small element of retooling) are entirely commonplace these days, it wasn’t the case back in the 1980s. At the time, most Transformers designs were one and done (bar a few obvious examples such as the original Seeker mould), and it’s only really been in the decades since that subsequent reuses of a few classic designs has become more of a trend in terms of reissues. Even then, stuff like the e-HOBBY exclusive repaints tend to be focused on the first few years of the original line, so seeing a 1987 toy redone in such fashion is a treat indeed.

Then there’s the extent to which Greatshot has been reborn here. The obvious touches are all in the top half, with a new head, shoulders, chestplate and chest wings, but my word, what a difference they make. The headsculpt itself is nothing shy of wonderful: it’s as classic a Generation 1 face as I ever did see, all decked out in blinging silver chrome for that added extra something. I’m also a huge fan of the big baby blue eyes and those wicked fold-up horns, which feel like a bit of a departure as far as typical G1 aesthetics go.

The aforementioned chromed chestplate is rather unique too, and is one of the signature elements of this release, no doubt. It catches the light just beautifully and looks really quite incredible when preserved as nicely as this.

Those new shoulders make for a very different silhouette for Greatshot too, mind, giving him a much lankier proportion versus his mouldmate, Sixshot. It’s certainly one of the more idiosyncratic robot modes I can think of from the time, and really it’s quite incredible to see just how different the two takes on the core design are, even side-by-side.

In fact a straight-up comparison will show you just how much remoulding has gone on here outside of the obvious, too. Areas such as the abs and hips are completely redone, which all makes quite a bit of a difference, even if aspects such as the legs are entirely carried over.

It all means that Greatshot feels very different to his predecessor, even in hand, and in some ways almost makes me wish we had seen more re-uses of familiar moulds during that era, if this is the kind of extensive going over they would have received.

Ultimately it’s the colour scheme, head and chest which make the biggest impact, but overall nothing about these two feels all that familiar really, so much so that it’s kind of weird to remember that they’re intended to portray two versions of the same character.

I’d be hard-pressed to choose a favourite out of the two, given how distinct they both are, although considering the unusual nature of finding a Greatshot in such condition, there’s no doubt that he has the edge in terms of inspiring sheer awe. Really though, it’s just a pleasure to have them both adorning the shelves, meaning that I’m spared the agony of choice on this occasion!

Greatshot also slots in beautifully into any number of Generation 1 displays, although stylistically he seems right at home with the latter-era Japanese-exclusive stuff, to little surprise. Releases such as Big Powered from 1990’s Zone line, or Sky Garry from 1991’s Return of Convoy may show a bit of evolution along the way, but really they’re all cut from the same cloth, aesthetically-speaking.

That’s even true when you push things to the very end of Generation 1 in Japan, which releases such as the Micromaster Combiners and others from 1992’s Operation: Combination all making fitting allies for the statuesque six-changer.

I’m also a big fan of how he looks next to something like 1988’s Masterforce God Ginrai, especially given how shiny his chrome appears next to Greatshot’s own.

Really though, fling him in wherever you want and he holds his place. As I mentioned above, I’ve become a big fan of seeing surprising or even sometimes rather unusual line-ups of Generation 1 toys, given how it can so easily usurp our expectations for what might be considered a proper display. Here Greatshot proves just how effortlessly grand he looks next to all kinds of random robots, all of whom feature in Takara’s divergent series in one form or another.

One thing that certainly sets Greatshot apart though is his height. As we saw with Sixshot, who towered over the likes of combiners such as Piranacon, it’s a similar story on the Autobot front. Fiction may tell us that big men such as Computron are meant to be massive, but the toys tell a different story indeed.

In fact, Greatshot even stands proud next to the likes of Ultra Magnus, which makes him just a smidge shorter than Metroplex, believe it or not. Stylistically he may look a bit different to many of the Diaclone hand-me-down toys from the early years, but still it’s a display option I quite enjoy somehow.

Really though, where Greatshot shines brightest is surely alongside his Autobot Victory brethren, as he makes a truly fitting accompaniment to the likes of team leader Star Saber and his cohort, Victory Leo. The toys from this line are genuinely some of my most beloved, and the lad in focus today is no exception.

Again, scale and size are a bit of a weird one, even amongst Victory toys, with both combiners, Landcross and Road Caesar, coming up a little on the short size versus Greatshot, but still they make for a wonderful line-up all the same. This truly was the era of fabulously colourful, supremely chonky designs, and I love it.

All in all then, Greatshot is every bit the marvellous addition to any vintage line-up. It’s been a true joy to experience this figure in such stunning condition at long last, and especially to have the chance to reaffirm what I already loved about the Sixshot mould in such magnificent detail.

All of which is to say I’m feeling quite victorious right now, I suppose. Hey man, Greatshot.

TTFN

About Sixo

Transformers collector from the UK, collecting vintage G1/G2, CR/RID, UT & Masterpiece/3P. Find me at twitter.com/SixoTF or on YouTube at youtube.com/SixoTF

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