Everytime I'd see one of these awesome G1 KO toys I'd always wonder just where that person found them. Was it a recent acquisition from a store in some other country? Was it old stock that was recently found? Or has this been sitting on someone's shelf for the last 20-30 years? Whatever the case, most of the oddly colored KOs I've never seen for sale. If I would happen to come across one on eBay, usually the asking price was far outside my comfort zone.
When Poison Dragon finally arrived at my doorstep, he was crammed in a small box with a little bit of newspaper padding inside. The backing card is cheap cardboard and had already shown some wear. However what I didn't fully realize before I made the purchase was that the bubble (which was very close to cracking apart) had started to lift from the backing board. At some point someone stapled a portion of the bubble back down, but not before the gun must have slipped out. Bummer.
The back of the blister card seems to have been lifted straight from the actual instruction booklet that was included with the legit Skullcruncher toy. The back of the packaging even refers to Poison Dragon as "Skullcruncher" and the Headmaster "Grax". Best that I can tell there was never a label sheet or tech spec decoder included.
Once I was able to carefully fish Poison Dragon out of his flimsy packaging, I could immediately tell that the quality of this KO was rather good. That's the thing with KOs, especially toys as old as this. You never know what the build quality is. Will it be shampoo bottle quality plastic or the good stuff?
Poison Dragon features a similar color scheme to his G1 counterpart, however where Skullcruncher had green this one features blue. The pink sections are similar and even the shade of pink used is very close to the G1 toy. As far as I can tell, there are no differences in the mold. Even the factory applied stickers (minus the rub symbol on the gator's head) are the same as it's G1 counterpart. One of the main differences that you can easily spot is the addition of some gold (or is it copper?) paint applied to the ridges and notches alongside Poison Dragon's gator back. Being as old as this toy is, I was surprised to see that some of this paint has already started to wear off.
Where as Skullcruncher came with his Headmaster trainer, Grax, Poison Dragon comes with this "Headmaster" figure. He's not named and he's not a 1:1 KO of Grax or any other Headmaster figure that I recognize.
This nameless Headmaster figure still retains the ability to ride inside the mouth of Poison Dragon if you so choose to. The figure seems to be just a smidge taller than Grax so I had to slide him down a little bit to get the gator mouth to close all the way.
I gotta say this has to be the happiest looking Deception Headmaster I've ever seen! The facial expression really doesn't match the toy, let alone the red and yellow used. Ah, gotta love KOs is all I can say!
The transformation is spot on to the vintage G1 toy. Transforming Poison Dragon from gator to robot was one of the scariest things I've done in awhile. He was far tighter than my original Skullcruncher. The hinges of the tail section that splits apart were so tight I didn't think I was going to get them to split and fold down. Once I got them moving, I just knew something was going to break. I noticed what appeared to be small, flat excess pieces of plastic just above and below the hinge. I thought these were adding to the resistance so I took my pocket knife and carefully jimmied them out. I don't think it really helped loosen up the hinges, but it couldn't have hurt to remove them. The upper half of the toy seemed to transform just fine. I did find that the arms were a little loose, but nothing too bad.
If you remember both the Autobot and Decepticon (large) Headmaster toys had a gimmick where you could see partial stats of the robot once the head was plugged into the body. Not surprisingly this play feature was removed on the KO. The flip down chest plate is still there, but as you can see where the meter once was is now a solid piece of plastic.
As I mentioned earlier, the gun was missing from the packaging however he can wield the tip of his tail as a sword just like his authentic counterpart. I did notice the holes in the fist were a little tight. This made it a minor challenge to fit the peg on the underside of the tail piece into the fist hole.
On it's own this is a great KO. I love the colors (minus the Headmaster) and it reminded me of just how awesome this mold is. Now it's time to get the KO alongside the authentic toy for some comparison shots.
As great as Poison Dragon is, I love seeing these two side by side. They compliment each other so well. I may eventually try and pick up another Skullcruncher gun just to complete the look.
Last, but not least I was curious if Poison Dragon was compatible with his G1 self. Without any issues I was able to swap the heads just fine.
With the notches on the bottom of the KO Headmaster being different lengths than on Grax, when you plug him into Skullcruncher's body you get different ratings in the Speed/Strength/Intelligence categories.
If you are a big G1 Transformers fan such as I and you enjoy a good quality KO TF then I highly recommend this bootleg toy. While I've seen several packaged and loose pictures of this toy before, I've never seen one for sale until I ran across this one a few weeks ago. I know Chromedome was KO'd in a similar fashion, as well as Highbrow (in an awesome Sprite "lemon & lime" color scheme!), but I don't know if any of the other larger Headmasters received KOs. I know for one I'll be on the search. Pictures will probably surface on Instagram at some point!