Posted November 11, 2016 at 12:01 am
Combiner Wars Liokaiser is now available exclusively at Entertainment Earth. There's a coupon code, SINGLES, which gets you $20 off, free shipping, plus a free diorama.
Fortress Maximus is also on sale there for $20 off and free shipping, using the coupon code EARLYBIRD.
Anyway! Often my favorite part of a toyline is when it blows through all the usual suspects, all the principle, major guys you expect to see, and then starts doing the crazy left-field stuff from the raw material of those major guys. Like how Generations Jazz was super sweet and necessary, but we also got toys of Wheelie and Kick-Off out of him. I mean, you expect toys of Jazz. You probably don't expect the Action Master guy from 1990.
And for this reason I have been anticipating the tail end of Combiner Wars. What weird-ass random WHAAAAAAAAAA??? are we gonna be getting? We've already gotten our Superion and our Menasor and our Defensor and our Bruticus and our Computron. What Crazy do you extrapolate from that pile of Obvious Stuff To Do?
So here's Entertainment Earth's exclusive Liokaiser. The original Liokaiser was a combiner guy from Japan's Victory toyline and cartoon, and so he's not really a household name over here in the states by a mile. BotCon did one of his components, Leozack, as a standalone redeco of Starscream back in 2009, but otherwise, he's not really made a splash here. So what we have here are a buncha Combiner Wars guys retooled into Liokaiser dudes. There are some laterations. Leozack and Jarugar, the two components who made up the original combiner robot's torso, are out. They're replaced by Deathsaurus, the Decepticon Leader from the Victory toyline and cartoon. That change is one of the WHAAAAAAAAAA??? deals I enjoy. A Sky Lynx retool as Deathsaurus? I never would have thought of that. Sign me friggin' up.
Deathsaurus, like all the other main components of this new version of Liokaiser, has some retooling. His is the least, though, as his single new part is a new "hat" for the top of the beast mode head. It gives the head a fin and some angrier-looking eyes. The colors, for the most part, aren't Deathsaurus's. Since Deathsaurus is replacing Leozack and Jarugar, he's mostly in their colors instead of his own. He still has the white dragon head with the golden beak, and his weapons are a familiar shade of Deathsaurus gray-blue, but he's largely teal and black and white.
The original Deathsaurus walked on his hind legs, and you can get this version of him to do so if you want. I do wish I could get the forelegs to sit flush with the torso, but there's some parts bumping into each other keeping the ratcheting from clicking into the proper position. Ah well. If I display these guys in uncombined mode, I'd probably keep Deathsaurus on his hind legs, just to make him more Deathsaurusy and distinguish him more from Sky Lynx.
Liokaiser's legs are a pair of Brawl retools, Drillhorn and Killbison. (Killbison is "Ironbison" on the packaging for likely "we can't have Kill in the name" reasons. Same with Deathsaurus, who uses his untranslated "Dezarus" name.) These two are the weak point of the set for me, if only because I just don't like the awkward Brawl mold. I mean, the two are tanks, so it makes sense that Brawl would be used for them, but they're still an annoyance. Drillhorn uses the Nosecone version of Brawl, so he can have his drill, obviously, and both have new heads. What's interesting about their heads are they have articulated stuff on them. Killbison's antenna fold out from inside his head, and Drillhorn's horn folds out as well. This is so that their heads can fit into the space needed for transformation. I'm surprised that this extra tooling step was taken, rather than granting the pair new heads that are made of a single piece but with smaller, molded-in parts. It makes me happy, regardless.
The arms are Hellbat ("Fellbat" on the packaging for GUESS WHY) and Guyhawk. Both jets, but they're different jets, one retooled from Skydive and the other from Air Raid. (Though Skydive and Airaid do share some parts already.) Hellbat, like the tanks, gets a new head with flip-out parts: his bat wing ears. Guyhawk is the only limb whose new head is a solid object. Guyhawk, to me, is the stand-out deco of the entire set. He's pink! We don't see many pink toys. It's a very lovely pink, too, and I thiiiiiiink it represents properly in photography.
Combiner Wars Liokaiser has another new component, Ion Scythe. He's a reuse of an Arms Micron toy, which were the Mini-Con partners Japan produced as part of its Transformers Prime toyline. He transforms from a bird cyclops to, what, a pair of pliers? I dunno. An oddity: In Japan, Arms Microns were solid plastic colors with only stickers to deco them. Ion Scythe has those stickers painted on him. They could have painted anything on him, but they painted his Japanese stickers on him. Okay!
(It occurs to me that we technically don't know Ion Scythe's gender, and I've been defaulting to male pronouns. Ah well.)
How to properly transform your Liokaiser is... well, it's sort of ambiguous. The instructions show one way and the packaging photography shows another. Specifically, the tank legs are transformed in the extra-tall configuration, which you couldn't use normally on most Combiner Wars combiners because the extra-tall configuration doesn't work if you don't have two Brawls to be the same height as legs. But there are two Brawls, so one can take advantage of this symmetry and make Liokaiser more leggy than other combiners. The instructions show the legs transforming as Brawl usually transforms for leg mode, in a shorter configuration.
The instructions also give you no official way to use Deathsaurus's sword weapons. The packaging photo awkwardly pegs them intO the arms. This is inelegant.
Personally, I like to transform the tank legs shorter, and then rotate them 90 degrees sideways as to replicate the original Liokaiser's legs better. This means Liokaiser can't bend at the knees the way a humanoid usually does, since the knees now bend inwards, but if you have a few Combiner Wars toys, you know how unreliable a combiner's knees can be anyway. Just have him stand at attention and save yourself some Giant Toy Pratfalls.
Also, I like to combine Deathsaurus's swords and Ion Scythe into a nunchuck-like weapon, similar to the one Liokaiser uses in the Victory cartoon. This is definitely something I made up and not something suggested in the instructions, but it works for me. When you have so many Combiner Wars combiners, you look for extra ways for them to distinguish themselves from each other.
In Killbison's robot mode, I use his combiner robot fist, plugged into his back, as a base to peg the two silver double-barreled guns behind him. This makes him look more like Killbison to me. The original Killbison transformed into a double-turreted tank, and having two "horns" feeds better into the "bison" motif.
I tend to display my Liokaiser with my BotCon Leozack. Leozack was left out of this version of Liokaiser, but I have a toy of him, so it's nice that he still gets to hang out. Jarugar is out of luck, I guess, unless you're cool with Kreons.
To sum up, this toy of Japan's Liokaiser is weird just for existing and I love it for that. Again, he's exclusive to Entertainment Earth, there's a SINGLES coupon code that gets you 20% off, free shipping, and some diorama thing. If you want to see more weird stuff from Entertainment Earth in the future, and this toy tickles you, I recommend getting it from them to encourage more.