Monday 15 January 2018

REVIEW: TakaraTomy C-310E E-Hobby Fire Guts God Ginrai

I don’t collect G1.

Oh, sure, I do just happen to have a number of classic figures from days gone by, which might lead a casual observer to believe that I had at least the beginnings of a small G1 collection, but I don’t collect G1. And sure, I might have been adding to that pile in recent times with a semi-casual interest in some rather interesting and unusual reissues, but that doesn’t count - I don’t collect G1. And yes, I suppose it might be true that stuff like the subject matter of this particular retrospective has captured my interest arguably more than most recent releases, but that’s not a sign of anything - I don’t collect G1.

Still, the fact that I don’t collect G1 doesn’t mean that I can't take a quick look back at a figure which only recently came into my possession - for artistic purposes, perhaps? Besides, this figure surely doesn’t even count as G1, technically speaking; it was originally released in 2002 after all. For those not in the know, this is the E-Hobby exclusive release of “Fire Guts” God Ginrai, produced to coincide with the reissue of the original figure at the same time.

But wait - Fire Guts who? I’m sure this release seems a bit bizarre for some folks, but it’s all pretty simple. This is essentially the Japanese version of Powermaster Optimus Prime, although in that continuity it’s entirely a different character, named Ginrai. Also included here is a version of Godbomber, a separate robot who combines with Ginrai’s larger robot form to become God Ginrai. The combined form is capable of launching a “God Fire Guts” attack in the cartoon, which is what you’re seeing represented here. And boy, does it make for one eye-catching figure!

If you're familiar with the Powermaster Optimus Prime toy from the 1980s then you at least know the basics, but of definite note is the rather fabulous upgrades present on the Japanese version of the mould, all of which have been recreated on this version too. This includes an absolutely gorgeous diecast cab section with translucent windows; a definite improvement from the plastic and stickers found on the original Hasbro figure. In fact, the whole cab section is just a dream, looking especially stunning with the gold-chromed Ginrai figure in place as the engine.

Ginrai himself is brilliant - a mini-marvel in many ways. I was always a big fan of the entire "Master" concept of mini-figures transforming to aid larger robots, and I often think of the Powermasters as being a bit underrated in that sphere. For such a little chap, he's a very essential part of this release, and is superbly detailed.

Naturally, I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention the overall colour of this guy! The orange might look like something extraordinary in photos, but I'm still not even sure it does justice to what a presence it creates in hand. I've no doubt that some will think this thing to be rather garish, but for me I just cannot stop looking at it, it's so beautiful.

This release also features the additional Godbomber component, which can be configured into a separate trailer to be pulled along by the cab section. Godbomber is essentially lots of individual parts that need to be combined and configured into the particular mode you're going for. He does also feature a chromed missile that can be launched from the blaster sat stop the vehicle mode, but thus far I have opted not to take it off the sprue section it comes packaged with. I'm sure I will eventually but for whatever reason I've chosen to keep it pristine for now!

As fantastic as the individual elements of the vehicle mode are, there's little doubt that it's the full and combined form that really creates the biggest impression here, with all three parts making up a rather spectacular burning orange convoy. I'm a big fan of those singular moments where a figure is so impressive that it almost takes your breath away, and this guy certainly did that for me. Absolutely incredible stuff.

Transformation of the cab section is made possible by the addition of the engine piece, exactly as on the Hasbro Powermaster figure. It's still such a fun gimmick that it hasn't lost its shine since over thirty years ago! The cab robot itself is fantastic, and for those of us that remember this mould so vividly from our childhoods this version feels at once by familiar and yet entirely new and exciting, the orange adding a sense of character and vibrancy that needs to be seen in hand to be fully appreciated.

Along with the cab robot, the trailer also transforms to become a battle station, of sorts. It's a fun inclusion even if it's one that I never really bothered with much even as a lad, although there's no denying that it looks pretty stellar in this colour scheme. I did always like the interaction that could be achieved with the smaller robot and engine figure.

But things don't stop there, as the trailer section also transforms into the bulk of Ginrai's larger robot mode. As a child, I was absolutely fascinated with the idea that Optimus had what essentially amounts to a massive suit of armour, and there's no doubt that this mould contributed to a lot of that sense of imagination. I love the way that the smaller robot form compacts and combines with the trailer - it's an effortlessly simple but effective transformation, and produces an incredible result indeed.

The larger robot form is no doubt one of my absolute favourites from G1. I still have my original Hasbro version of this figure (meaning I actually have four versions of this mould in total, but remember, I definitely do not collect G1!), and treasure it greatly. Finally getting to experience it in such an incredibly impressive orange colour scheme is quite the experience - it really does look brilliant!

WOW. What an absolute stunner. I love the combination of the different shades of colour going on here, and I also think that the gold chrome adds so much to the overall effect. Again, I have no doubt that some collectors will find it to be too garish for their tastes, but for me I couldn't be more impressed with this guy; he's a great advert for the kinds of unusual or even slightly outlandish recolours of older moulds that the E-Hobby exclusives so well represent.

One thing of note about the Japanese version of this mould is how welcome the diecast cab section with the clear windows is in the super robot form, too. As with the vehicle mode, it just adds so much in terms of quality look and feel, and makes the whole package seem just that bit more impressive. Elsewhere this mode is absolutely chock-full of lovely details, with particular delight coming from that banging robot mode head sculpt, not to mention seeing that gorgeous engine piece in prominent place.

We also still have Godbomber's robot mode to consider, and he's looking rather good all decked out in red here. It's fair to say that Godbomber is not the most impressive robot overall, literally being an assembly of parts with some slightly hollow sections to boot, but I still think he's a very cool component to this overall package nonetheless.

Of particular note is a very nicely-done facesculpt, which if anything gives the impression of personality even where none is meant to exist. As far as G1-style faces go, this is an absolute classic, and will be a definite surprise for anyone who isn't familiar with this mould, having only experienced the Hasbro Powermaster before.

I'm always impressed with how large Godbomber is in this form too, given that he stacks up to almost the same head height as Ginrai's super mode. Simple he may be, but he still carries a relative amount of presence, and these two make a great companion pair when placed next to one another.

Really though, it's seeing Godbomber rearranged into his component pieces and then combined with the larger robot form that makes for the grand display piece here. The God Ginrai form is a true sight to behold, standing tall and mighty in its own right but made even more striking with this particular version's colour scheme!

I absolutely adore this combined robot form. Even though it's pretty much a brick aside from some articulated shoulders, it still manages to create such a sense of presence. Besides, who needs to have super-poseable robot modes when they look this great and carry this much elegance?

The chromed chest piece from Godbomber looks positively outstanding here, adding an incredible amount of bling to what was already a pretty fancy-looking robot. Other elements such as the wings, new hands and the shoulder launcher all bring a lot of visual flair too.

So, look, there's not really a lot bad I can say about ol' Fire Guts overall, is there? The original Powermaster mould was always a bit of a stunner anyway, but when you add to that the welcome changes to the Japanese version of the figure, then consider the so-striking-I-can't-even-accurately-explain-it orange deco', and then throw in the addition of the Godbomber upgrades, you're left with what very well may be my absolute favourite version of this design. I wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone who's interested in these kinds of unique exclusives, and I just hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

Even though I don't collect G1, that is.

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1 comment:

  1. No, defo no G1 collecting for you mate. Also, arggghhh, my eyes, so much orange, why did no one warn me! Its not for me, but i can totally appreciate why you'd treasure such a gaudy and beautiful figure.