Saturday 30 July 2016

REVIEW: Ocular Max PS-02 Liger

Though we're only a few moulds in, the Ocular Max "Perfection Series" line is shaping up very nicely indeed. Equally, I've been a huge fan of the Diaclone repaints that the official TakaraTomy Masterpiece line has been putting out for some time now, and so was especially excited at the prospect of Ocular Max repainting their Sphinx mould into red as a homage to the original pre-Mirage.

For those not in the know, the pre-Transformers Diaclone line released both blue & red versions of the Ligier mould, that would later go on to become Mirage when repackaged for the first wave of the Transformers line in 1984, although the red version was only ever available packaged in a box set with Powered Convoy (which, interestingly enough, is about to receive its own homage in the form of MP-31 Delta Magnus!).

So, whilst I have no doubt that this release will have anyone who was left scratching their head when Badcube unveiled a red repaint of their Sunsurge mould with a similar feeling of confusion, for those of us who're diligently followed the official line's excellent spate of Diaclone homages, this is a very welcome third party addition. Of course, it also helps that it's bloody gorgeous.

Yeah, pretty sexy, right? It's not hard to be impressed by this thing as soon as you take it out of the (equally very pretty) box. Sleek lines, decent proportions, not to mention that the shiny red paint and smooth silver finish, Liger is really very striking indeed.

Yes, it really is that good-looking from every angle. Seriously, there's not even a whiff of robot mode kibble anywhere to be seen on this thing - it's so clean that it could almost convince as a model F1 car all to itself. It helps that the level of detail on display is really quite exquisite. The painted finish is absolutely superb, and like Sphinx the livery is so artfully reproduced, it really makes Liger pop to the eye. Sure you have to make a slight allowance for the non-lawsuit-inducing "Goooyear" (instead of "Goodyear") and the rest, but still, beautiful nonetheless.

There's also some lovely touches that I am sure will keep many fans happy, such as rubber tires and a hint of glorious chrome on the engine. Add to that a weighty diecast feel, and everything comes across as pretty premium.

As for accessories, you can insert a little clear plastic figure into the driver's seat, if that's your thing. I must admit that I've done the same thing on all three releases of this mould thus far and removed this figure almost immediately, but it's a fun inclusion all the same.

You can also store both robot mode weapons on the sides of his rear spoiler for a pretty cool battle car mode!

So, pretty perfect vehicle mode, eh? Well actually, for the most part, yes, it is! Probably my only real quibble is that I wish the robot arms locked in slightly tighter on the underneath, as I always have the sense that they're not quite pushed in as far as they could go. This seems to be the same on all three versions of this mould so far though, so it seems it is what it is. They have solved the issue that the original Sphinx release had with the front wheels sagging down a bit though, and overall this mode is mightily impressive indeed.

So, time for some comparisons, right? First up here he is next to the other two versions of this mould so far - both the original Sphinx and the lighter blue Sphinx Alternative. Man, I don't think I will be growing tired of this mould any time soon!

With Sphinx Alternative and the original Sphinx

And of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't share a few pictures of him lined up next to some other Diaclone homages, most of which are from the official line, although also featured in the below is Badcube's Blaze. As with a lot of Transformers, a great figure is immediately elevated when seeing it lined up like this - what a complete joy!

With Masterpiece Road Rage, Exhaust, (blue) Bluestreak, Clampdown, Loudpedal, Tigertrack and Badcube Blaze

So, a blistering vehicle mode, but how does he fair in robot mode? Well, the first thing to mention is that the transformation is pretty good fun, for the most part, and pretty simple once you get the hang of it. There are a couple of fiddly little elements to it, such as the way the chest tabs together, but it's no major problem, and you're left with a rather stunning robot form... wow!

Yep, he's a looker, alright. First thing to notice aside from that beautiful deco' is the remoulded face. What an amazing surprise! The new face is a direct homage of the original Ligier toy, and G1 fans will also note its resemblance to the figure from their childhood, of course. This is something that Ocular Max definitely didn't need to do, as I am sure that many folks would have been happy with a straight-up Sphinx repaint, but it's so very welcome that they did. It does make you wonder if we will see a blue version with this face also!

I'm particularly a fan of the way that the painted face catches the light. Lovely!

Incredible! Past that, fans of Sphinx will already know what to expect, whilst anyone new to this mould is in for a real treat. The robot mould is solid & sublime; well-proportioned, beautifully detailed, and colourful.

It also looks great from every angle. I'm always impressed with how tidy the whole robot form is.

Liger is also poseable beyond belief, and capable of pulling off some incredibly dynamic stances. Observe!

So dynamic!

Seriously, though, look at him go!

Phew! I could keep going but I think you get the picture. So, pretty sweet, right? Well, yes, though he's not quite perfect, sadly, even if the gripes I do have amount to little more than absolute nitpicks. As poseable as he is, and as great as he looks once he's in a pose, I do have to admit that's he's also pretty fiddly. It's mainly on account of how many moving parts there are, and many pieces like the various hip flaps or the engines on his knees have a habit of not quite staying where you want them to. I noticed in a few of my photos that some bits were out of place and ended up shooting another set.

I'm also a little disappointed that after three versions of this mould, they still haven't altered the shoulder-mounted missile launcher to tilt upwards slightly - it can only sit at the one angle, which therefore completely obscures his view if you tilt his head to the right. Bit silly.

Still, as I say, complete nitpicks really, and especially when the overall result is as impressive as this guy. Oh, and as with the vehicle mode, the awesomeness is only compounded once you line him up next to his Diaclone brethren.

With Badcube Blaze

With Masterpiece Tigertrack and (blue) Bluestreak

With Masterpiece Clampdown & Road Rage

With Masterpiece Loudpedal

Also with Masterpiece Exhaust and Bumble (red body)

I honestly still can't quite believe the above image is real! It wasn't that long ago that we were all getting excited by the likes of Masterpiece Tigertrack, but now Diaclone homages are most definitely a thing that's here to stay. I just can't wait to add the upcoming Masterpiece Delta Magnus to the line-up...

...anyway, this being my third version of this mould now, you might think I was getting bored with it, right? Far from it!

With Sphinx & Sphinx Alternative

Yep, I'm completely enamoured with this figure, and indeed this mould altogether. So much so, that I have actually just tracked myself down a copy of the TFcon exclusive Sphinx Stealth Version, too... absolutely cannot wait for that one to arrive, though that's a story for another day!

Ocular Max Liger is a stunning use of an incredible mould, that ably continues the tradition of Diaclone repaints from the official TakaraTomy line. Simply sublime vehicle mode and hyper-poseable 'bot mode, with a little hot rod red thrown in. What's not to like?

What's HOT?
The vehicle mode is beyond excellent, the the robot mode is ultra poseable. The red is stunning and the whole thing feels quality. Plus bonus points for that remoulded head.

What's NOT?
It's not much, but the robot is a little fiddly at times, and the shoulder-mounted launcher only points one way. No biggie but a little annoying all the same.


  1. As usual your talent is only matched by your passion.
    Amazing job mate, hats off to you.

    1. Thanks so much, that's really appreciated! :)

  2. Really hot. The plastic is good like official Takara line? How much does this guy cost?

    1. The plastic is really nice. I'd honestly struggle to differentiate it from the official line, and he also has diecast and rubber tyres... as for cost, about £70?