Thursday, October 13, 2011

Transformers Headmaster gift set

Transformer fans have had to accept a lot of things in the last few years.  1) Michael Bay has to be credited for "re-energizing" the franchise (as much as I had to admit it).  2) Third party companies and accessories are here to stay.  3) Knock-off toys have flooded the market making the value of the authentic vintage toys take a nose dive.

That said sometimes knock-offs can be a good thing...in a way.  There are several vintage G1 Transformers I own that I hope are never KO'd due to the amount of $ I have invested.  There are some toys that I've only had dreams of owning due to their secondary market prices and scarcity.  Some of those Transformers include the Japanese exclusive G1 Headmaster heads.  I've seen these small figures sell for insane amounts of money online in the past so I was excited to hear that some unknown person or company was unofficially reproducing these.  What I didn't know was how well would they be made.  Would the plastic be soft and cheap like on most knock-off toys?  Would the colors be spot on to the originals?  What type of packaging would they come in?  Sold separately?  

A year or so ago I finally found a board member from TFW2005.com selling these Headmaster gift sets for around $75.00.  Thankfully another trusted board member had already purchased a few of these individually and posted some great photographs comparing them to the originals.  I decided to take a chance as I knew this would be my only way of ever owning these so I sold off some random toys to come up with the necessary funds.  I had to wait for the set to arrive all the way from China, but let me tell you it was worth the wait.

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I love toy packaging.  Yes, I'm a geek.  Whoever is responsible for this set has done a fantastic job not only with the toys but the packaging as well.  As you can see all the figures are packaged in a very nice retro G1 style box featuring some great CGI art.  I don't believe the original toys had any artwork at all so this is a super nice touch.

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The front of the box is actually a flap that when lifted reveals the Headmaster toys!  You also get some really cool black and white artwork on the back side of the flap.

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If you look in the upper right corner of the flap you can see the other Autobot Headmasters' names and Headmaster companions.  Notice the C114 designation in the left corner?  That was Fortress Maximus' number in the original Takara toy line.

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All 10 Headmaster robots just waiting to be opened and plugged into your headless Headmaster!

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Before we delve inside the box let's take a look at back and sides.  If you remember the back of most Transformer packaging then you'll recall the epic battle scenes and this box is no different.  Just like there was new CGI art on the front the back also features new art depicting Black Zarak versus Grand Maximus.  The pink and purple Headmaster in the foreground appears to be Krunk (Snapdragon's Headmaster).  Not sure why he is depicted, but it's still cool none the less.

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The top of the box features all 10 Headmasters in their alt / robot modes.  Notice not all of them are humanoid robots.  Japan got 3 exclusive beast Headmasters!

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The bottom of the box features the same robots now in their head forms.  Notice how the exclusive heads feature a much different look than the standard "cube" heads that were released outside of Japan?

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The robots are housed in a plastic inner tray as opposed to styrofoam as used in the 80's.  Each slot is just large enough to hold each figure. Now let's take a closer look at each individual Headmaster.

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We'll start with one of my favorites, Lione.  I love the look of Lione in both modes.  The two shades of orange mesh well and the bulk around the face of the lion gives a great impression of a mane.  I also like how the lion's head is integrated into the Headmaster head.  The blue eyes on the face really pop and helps break up the orange.  Hands down this is one of the best figures in the set.

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The other feline in the group is Trizer.  A navy blue and purple panther - this is another great looking animal Headmaster.  Maroon is used on Trizer's tail as well as for the eyes of the panther while the face's eyes are painted silver.  I believe Trizer has a very classic Headmaster look - from the sloped brow to the visor like eyes.  I'm beginning to see why these Headmaster animals have always been in such high demand!

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Shuffler is the last of animal Headmasters.  I've previously reviewed him so I won't say much other than this is a great, bulky headmaster.

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Kirk is one of the 3 traditional Headmasters that never saw release outside of Japan.  Until you transform them into their head forms they aren't as exciting as stand alone figures.  They do have some great designs however and I can't wait to try them on various Headmaster toys.

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Loafer is probably my least favorite.  I'm not sure why other than I just don't care for the robot's face.  This looks like a samurai head to me.  Just not feeling this one.

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Lodoni has one of the best looking robot modes in my opinion.  I like the the legs are space apart.  It gives the robot a unique look.  The blue and yellow are also a nice match.  I wonder how he'd look on Nightbeat?

The last 4 Headmasters in the set are from two of the largest Transformers toys ever made - Fortress Maximus / Grand Maximus and Scorponok / Black Zarak.

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I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the collectors that bought this set bought it for these next 4 figures.  Spike from Grand Maximus is your standard "cube" Headmaster.  I can only imagine how much the vintage version of this figure would bring in on the secondary market.

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This is the version of Spike that most Transformer fans know.  I've seen the real version of Spike go for $150+ in the past on eBay.  As far as I can tell there are no noticeable differences when I compared this one to my vintage Spike.

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I realized when I was snapping the pictures that Car Robots' Brave Maximus' Headmaster Plasma features a very similar color scheme when compared to Grand Maximus' Spike.  Coincidence?

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Thanks to the infamous GPS issue (Gold Plastic Syndrome) I'm sure people bought this set for Black Zarak alone.  I know I was one of those people as my vintage Headmaster is basically just the face portion since GPS claimed both arms and legs!

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Apparently Scorponok's Headmaster Lord Zarak is equally hard to find on the secondary market.  I have always been puzzled by this figure as to why a creamy off white plastic was used in stead of the classic Scorponok green.

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This is a great set - even if it is a knock-off.  The quality is very nice.  From the awesome box to the figures themselves this is a KO worthy of purchase.  I have no idea if Takara Tomy will ever officially re-release these figures and unless you have some luck and deep pockets good luck tracking down and affording the originals.

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