Sunday, 11 March 2018

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Legends LG-60 Overlord

Release Date: January 2018
RRP: 9180 yen

It was a sad day in the Transformers fandom when it was announced that TakaraTomy wouldn't be continuing with the Legends line as Hasbro moved into the Power of the Primes range - instead bringing over the US versions without any changes as part of a wider brand unification. Many (including myself) will miss Takara's more cartoon-inspired decos, but at least the beginning of 2018 has some pretty hotly anticipated releases. Amongst them is Transformers Legends LG-60 Overlord, a brand new version of the Decepticon general from the second Japanese-exclusive anime series Transformers: Super God Masterforce. The original toy was an exclusive release to Japan and Europe, however with Overlord gaining new popularity thanks to the Last Stand of the Wreckers and other IDW comics the time has finally come for this fan favourite to receive an updated figure. This figure is an extensive remould of Leader class Titans Return Black Shadow, however as that was not released as part of the Legends line this is the first time the mould is making its way over to Japan. And honestly, its better suited to (and arguably intended for) Overlord in the first place.

Overlord comes packaged in the standard style Transformers Legends packaging, which harkens back to the style of the original Generation One boxes complete with detailed artwork of the toy's robot mode. Only in the case of Overlord here we get not one but two different pieces of artwork, displaying Overlord in both its "Giga" and "Mega" formations (more on that later in the review). Like all Legends figures Overlord is packaged in vehicles modes, unlike the Titans Return line which packages its releases in robot mode. The back of the box is literally crowded with stock images of the toy in its numerous modes, and inside you'll find the vehicles and their respective Headmaster pilots packaged on a single clamshell tray.

As usual the instructions are printed on a big fold-out pamphlet, which includes the step-by-step process to transform Overlord into its various modes. The front and back of the pamphlet also includes a larger version of the box art as well as Japanese-language bio and tech specs (for both versions of the character no less!). On the back of the instructions is the latest issue of the ongoing Transformers Legends manga strip, which also features the debut of Overlord Tera - a combination of both Overlord variants akin to Super Ginrai's combination with God Bomber. If you happen to have two Overlords (a good reason to keep hold of the Hasbro version if you picked it up beforehand) it is possible to recreate this combo, but from what I understand the connections aren't very good and the toys weren't exactly designed with it in mind.

The first half of Overlord's vehicle duo is the "Giga Tank", which is a very minor remould of Black Shadow's tank component but bears such a close resemblance to the G1 toy's tank mode that its hard to believe this toy wasn't intended to be Overlord in the first place. The tank is a garish but beautifully retro mix of dark blue, white and teal along with a hint of translucent orange on the hatch for good measure. The colourscheme wouldn't exactly make a great disguise, but Overlord isn't a character that's all about hiding in the first place. Unfortunately the gun and turret are completely static (the gun itself is the robot mode's weapon so is just pegged in) so there aren't really any interactive features to the vehicle, but it does however have four free-rolling wheels on its underside.

One of Legends Overlord's biggest selling points is that it comes with not one, but TWO Headmaster figures - both of which are all new moulds and exclusive to this version of the toy. The first of these figures is Giga - a human who served as one of Devil Z's "Ambassadors of Destruction" in Super God Masterforce. The Headmaster is based off of Giga's Godmaster armour from the show, and though it lacks some of the colours and detailing due to its size it still manages to pull off a pretty great likeness. The face on the back of the figure is also a brand new, anime-accurate sculpt that matches Overlord's look in the show. Like all Headmaster/Titan Master figures, Giga features a moveable head as well as ball-jointed arms and pin joints in the hips and knees.

Giga (or any other Headmaster figure for that matter) can sit inside the tanks's cockpit section, which is accessed by lifting up the clear plastic hatch on top. There isn't a whole lot of room in there so the figure sits in there pretty comfortably, and once positioned the hatch can be closed without any problems.

Overlord's second vehicle component is a black jet known simply as the "Mega Jet", which is a far more extensive remould of Black Shadow's jet with plenty of newly sculpted parts. In fact side by side unless you'd barely notice the similarities unless you were particularly in the know about the line. Its a very impressive recreation of the original toy's jet mode - a little smaller, but still managing to cover both the shape and all the important features. From the front and sides it's fairly free of any robot mode kibble as well, and only when you flip the jet upside down can you see all the robot mode parts clearly. The jet also features fold out landing gear just below the cockpit, so can stand up without support should you wish to display the toy in its respective vehicle mode. Other than that it doesn't really have any discernible features as such, other than a few ports in the engines that other weapons could be attached to should you so desire.

The second of Overlord's Headmaster figures is Mega - Giga's husband, fellow Ambassador of Destruction and witch cosplay aficionado. Mega's figure is also based off of her Godmaster armour, similarly nailing the colours and overall look perfectly but skimping on some of the finer details due to its small size. On the back is brand new face sculpt to give Overlord a more feminine-looking head, which is a brand new feature and not based on anything from the anime. It is however a really nice touch - giving Overlord a bit more variety that references both Godmaster components. 

Mega (or any other Titan/Headmaster or similar sized figure) can sit inside the Mega Jet's cockpit, which can be accessed by lifting up the translucent orange canopy. The figure fits in the cockpit nice and comfortably, and the canopy can close again once placed with any issues.

Though both Mega and Giga are powerful individually, its when they are united that Overlord's true strength is revealed! This doesn't just relate to Overlord's robot mode either, as the Giga Tank and Mega Jet can also combine together in vehicle mode to form...whatever it is you can see in the pictures above. Honestly it's barely a combination at all, more just a jet sitting on top of a tank with a couple of panels flimsily holding them together. There isn't even any special features or function to combining them together, it's literally just a jet riding on a tank. It's incredibly dumb but at the same time surprisingly charming, like many of the other dumb vehicle combinations Transformers has done over the years. 

Before we get to robot mode,  Overlord is also capable of transforming into an additional 'base' mode similar to those seen on the other Leader class Titans Return/Legends figures. The original G1 toy also had a base mode too, so seeing one here isn't completely unprecedented. Usually the base modes on these modern toys feel more like an afterthought than a main-selling point, but credit where its due Hasbro/TakaraTomy have done a pretty great job with this one. The engine turbines on the sides of the tower and central gun turret make it a pretty passable fortress, and though there isn't a whole lot of room to put Headmaster figures on it they certainly don't look bad there. Odds are there won't be many collectors out there that pay this mode much attention, but if you are in the minority then you might have a bit of fun here.

Overlord's transformation to robot mode is surprisingly simple given the figure's size and the number of steps pictured. Although all the blue parts are pretty obvious on the underside of the Mega Jet its still pretty cool to watch the two vehicles change into this predominantly blue robot. Everything clips together nice and tightly, and there wasn't a single step where I was concerned about putting too much pressure on a joint or breaking the toy. The final step in the transformation is plugging in a Headmaster of your choice into the neck socket, which is accessed by flipping up the top of the helmet and fitting the head into the slot.

In robot mode Overlord is an INCREDIBLE likeness of its G1 counterpart, with only very minimal differences and no real "update" to the overall design or silhouette. The key differences between the Legends and Titans Return versions (other than the previously mentioned new Headmasters) include the colourscheme, with the Hasbro version following the original toy's lighter blue palette while the Legends version instead adopts the anime model's darker blues. The Legends version also lacks the sticker decals found on the Hasbro one, replacing them with something far, far cooler. Open up the chest windows on the figure and you'll find two moulded Godmaster (or Powermaster if you prefer) engines, just like the ones found on the original toy. The Titans Return Overlord simply had hollow chest cavities, which could house Headmaster-sized figures in homage to the original gimmick. 

The other new feature added to this version of Overlord (although it is capable on the Hasbro one) is the option of two different modes depending on which Headmaster is being used. The Giga Headmaster, along with the chest windows opened and the jet cockpit attached to the left arm is known as "Overlord Giga". Meanwhile the mode with the Mega Headmaster, the chest windows closed and the cockpit fixed to the back of the robot is named "Overlord Mega". Despite there being very minor differences between the two its amazing how suddenly more feminine the robot becomes with the Overlord Mega changes, plus it gives the concept of Overlord a real Baron Ashura (of Mazinger Z fame) feel that I really dig.

Overlord sports a very impressive range of articulation, including four different points of articulation in the arms and then six in the legs. The head is fully capable of turning side to side (which sounds minor but makes a huge difference), and both the legs and arms can rotate as well as bend to ensure a wide variety of poses. Sadly there's no waist joint as such here as that's where the two vehicle components connect, but you can however lift the torso upwards to reveal a hidden missile pod for even more firepower. The best thing though is that everything on Overlord feels solid - so many big Transformers can't make the most of their articulation because bits just end up falling off all the time (looking at you God Ginrai), but since pretty much everything is fixed to Overlord the articulation all works exactly how it should.

When I first watched Transformers: Super God Masterforce nearly 12 years ago, I never in a million years thought I'd own an affordable Overlord toy (the same could be said about God Ginrai and Star Saber as well). And even though it isn't a G1 original, Transformers Legends LG-60 Overlord is an absolute joy. Yes the Godmaster gimmick has been axed in favour of Headmasters but this toy is still Overlord through and through, with the minor tweaks TakaraTomy have made to the deco making it the perfect anime version of the character. The additional Headmaster and "Overlord Mega" mode are also nice little bonuses. For some buyers these changes might not be quite enough to make the Legends version a priority over the Titans Return one, but personally I find the sculpted Godmaster engines more than enough to put it ahead. But honestly it doesn't matter which version you settle on, just as long as you ensure you pick up one of the coolest Decepticon generals around.

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