Unless you’ve been off in deep space on some top-secret mission of late, it cannot have escaped your notice that we’re in the midst of a second big Transformers Haslab crowdfunding drive! Yes, after the event that was WFC Unicron finally landed only recently, it’s now time to turn our attention to Victory Saber, especially as with just over a couple of weeks of funding left to go, we finally have an in-depth look at the first colour renders.
Unsurprisingly, this has meant a bit of a surge in backers, leaving us just over 1.5k shy of the target (at present count), although that’s still some way off achieving the stated stretch goals. So, time to do our bit to get interest piqued by taking a closer examination of all the various modes on offer here. Let’s say go!
Thanks to TFW2005 for uploading the renders to YouTube!
#10: Brain of Courage
Starting with the smallest mode of all, we have the so-called Brain of Courage! This is Star Saber’s most diminutive form (at just 1 inch tall for this toy) and is the main part of the Brainmaster gimmick, shared in common with the Victory Road Caesar team. Much like the Japanese take on the original Headmasters line-up, the Brain is a tiny robot rather than an organic human in a suit of armour. Unlike Headmasters, it combines with the smaller robot mode by fitting inside its chest to form Saber, slotting inside a fold-down panel and forming the face. Interestingly, this feature has been achieved in a different way on every toy of Star Saber from over the years, and the new Haslab attempt is set to do something new with it yet again!
On the Generation 1 figure from 1989, the original Brainmaster gimmick was achieved with a rather complicated yet exceedingly clever rising lift system in the chest of the main robot. The face was contained inside the Brain minifigure, and this was pushed up out of its body as the chest panel was closed and the lift was raised, moving the face into place for the robot mode. It remains amongst my personal favourite G1 gimmicks. Sadly, the Robotmasters figure from 2004 eschewed this all together, although that’s understandable considering the size of it.
For the Masterpiece toy, the face is instead hidden at the very top of the Saber robot mode chest (as opposed to inside the Brain minifigure in this case), although it’s still activated by the Brain being lifted up as you close the chest panel, pushing the face upwards. Unlike the vintage toy, the Masterpiece solution allows for head rotation.
In the case of the new toy, the Saber robot face is clearly very visible on the back of the Brain minifigure, which is a big departure from previous solutions, and folds up into place to form the face instead of being activated by a lever system of any kind. It’s maybe not as epic as either the original figure or the Masterpiece in terms of the gimmick (especially with the face so prominent on the back of the Brain), but this version will feature head articulation in advance of the other toys, so that’s something to be grateful for!
#9: Saber vehicle mode
Next up we have the first (of many!) vehicle forms for this set. Saber transforms into a smaller jet mode which looks to be notably cartoon accurate whilst still sharing numerous traits with the 1989 original figure. The jet form features an opening canopy and can house the Brain of Courage minifigure, as one would hope!
#8: Saber robot mode
Now we have Saber’s robot form, standing at just 5 inches tall. This seems to transform exactly as one would expect it to and again, follows the animation look very closely indeed. The front of the jet mode detaches to form a shield of sorts, which can be pegged onto the robot mode shoulders, and then there is a rifle weapon too. Whilst the hands may be moulded shut, this robot form does appear to feature ankle tilt, which is a nice twist (especially considering this was something rather notably missing from the Masterpiece release!).
#7: Star Saber vehicle mode (V-Star)
Now we come to the main vehicle mode, known fictionally as the ‘V-Star’. On the original 1989 toy, the main body of this could also form a base mode (of sorts), but that seems to have been skipped over for this new figure. Instead, you move straight to connecting Saber’s jet mode to the front of it to give you a rather impressive (but perhaps not entirely aerodynamic) super jet mode! Again, this follows the look from the animation very closely and allows you to peg the rifle weapon on top too (in common with the previous versions of this character in toy form).
#6: Star Saber robot mode
Here’s what for many people will be the main event of them all – Star Saber’s robot mode! Look mighty impressive and standing tall, this representation of the Autobot commander appears quite incredibly faithful to the Victory cartoon in a lot of regards, but also boasts some exceptional articulation for what could be considered a ‘mainline’ toy. Firstly, the ankle tilt is again present (and appears to work better than on MP-24) but there are also butterfly joints to be found in the shoulders, something you wouldn’t typically expect to see in Generations, allowing you to position the toy holding his sword with both hands, should you wish. In keeping with previous figures, the Saber robot folds up and forms the chest and head section here, with a helmet then coming down to give you the mouthplated look (although you can leave it off in much the same way the character does in various cartoon scenes). The front of the Saber jet also forms the hilt of the sword, whilst the blade in this case can be rotated to allow for either cartoon accuracy (where it is visible from the front) or 1989 toy accuracy (visible from the side).
#5: Victory Leo vehicle mode
Right then, time for a spot of Victory Leo, eh? Believe it or not, this is a new take on Optimus Pri– ok, ok, hang on, not quite. This is a new form of Ginrai, who in the Japanese continuity was originally a human that became bonded to a lifeless Autobot body that closely resembled Optimus Prime, which later takes on sentience of its own (and the personality of its former partner), only to then be damaged in battle and rebuilt as the form we’re looking at here. Simple, eh? In any case, Victory Leo does have his own jet mode, although it’s never exactly been the most… functional of vehicle forms, to say the least. If you’re looking at the render above and wondering what it’s all about then rest assured that it’s not that far off the 1989 toy in many regards, mainly because this mode was actually conceived by the cartoon initially. Also seen here is the sizeable ‘V-Lock cannon’, which forms a major part of Victory Leo’s vehicle form as well as the combined Victory Saber. Sadly, in this case, the cannon is a tiered goal, only available should the overall project reach 14,000 backers, which is a bit of a shame considering what an integral piece it really is, and especially for making this vehicle form work. Let’s hope we get there!
#4: Victory Leo lion mode
Now we have Victory Leo in his signature beast form, that being a rather menacing lion (with tusks and wings!). Again, the look of it fits the animation brief quite closely, although the articulation in this case doesn’t quite match up to the likes of the impressive third party KFC Simba attempt from a few years back. Still, there’s plenty to enjoy with this one, especially how imposing it all looks with the cannons in position on his back. Once again, that V-Lock cannon is looking kind of necessary, though…
#3: Victory Leo robot mode
Now we have Victory Leo in his robot mode, although in this case there’s a rather major departure from the original toy in that this version is significantly smaller than Star Saber’s equivalent form. Whilst the two 1989 toys were roughly of equal stature, here Leo has presumably been downsized a fair bit to allow for more screen-accurate proportions in the combined form. Still, he retains his signature look, including those fabulous chainguns on his hips, along with the ability to mount the V-Lock cannon in place too (assuming it gets backed…). Oh yes, and again, there’s a welcome dose of ankle tilt on this one! You can also mount his back cannons onto the sides of his arms, as with the original toy.
#2: Victory Saber vehicle mode
And finally, we move onto the combined Victory Saber, first in vehicle form. As in the animation and with the original toys, you can plug Victory Leo into the back of Star Saber’s jet to make this powered-up flight mode, which then looks rather epic once you add on the various weapons to the top. It retains all of the features from the smaller modes, including the ability to have the Brain of Courage pilot the thing, and is seen here with several unlock goals for this project as well. Obviously, we have the V-Lock cannon again but now there’s also the blue flight stand with the Victory logo included, which becomes available should the overall project meet 17,000 backers. Weirdly, it appears as though Haslab may have inadvertently revealed another unlock goal here, as you can clearly see a shield mounted on the back! This is a new take on the equivalent accessory originally found on the Masterpiece toy (and not on the 1989 figure) and is modelled after a brief appearance in the Victory animation. There’s no official word yet on what the deal is with this, but presumably it will be the reward for the project hitting 20,000 backers, which feels ambitious at this stage, but here’s hoping!
#1: Victory Saber vehicle mode
And here it is, folks – the Victory Saber robot mode in all its full-colour glory! It looks every bit as exciting as one could have hoped for from a Generations take on this character and then some, and is sure to delight fans should the project reach the target. I’ve read a few people saying that there aren’t enough changes between the robot forms of Star Saber and Victory Saber (presumably because nothing is added onto his chest area) but again, this remains exceptionally faithful to the original toy and the animation, so I wouldn’t have it any other way, personally speaking! This render is shown without any of the unlock goals of course, so just imagine how majestic this could look with the cannon and shield also in place. Phwoar!
So, what are you waiting for? If you’ve not backed the project yet then that’s a LOT of toy for the asking price. Go and check it out over at Hasbro Pulse here!