Robotmasters Toy Review: Star Saber

in 2004, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Generation One, Robotmasters

Robotmasters Transformers

General Information:
Release Year: November 2004
Retailer: Japanese exclusive
Price: $25 (Depending on Import Retailer), Purchased at Image Anime
Accessories: Gun, Sword blade, Sword Handle/"Saber" cockpit, "Saber" figure

Images:

Tech Specs (Translated by Doug Dlin):
Name: Star Saber
Function: Supreme Commander
Profile: Brainmaster hero chosen by the Universal Peace Federation. Heads onto the battlefield brandishing his sword and calling out his catch
phrase, "Let's say 'go!'" Normally a gentle mechanism, but his rage towards atrocious evil towers unmatched.

Weapon(s): Saber Blade/Thermal Shot

Rank: 10 Power: 8 Defense: 9 Stamina: 9 Speed: 7

Tech Specs (Translated by Doug Dlin):
Name: Victory Saber
Function: Supreme Commander
Profile: A giant warrior formed from the combination of Star Saber and Victory Leo, he displays incomparably mighty power befitting his title of "Ultimate."
In super-large jet mode, capable of firing particle shock waves from his wings.

Weapon(s): Saber Blade/V-Lock Cannon/V-Lock Rifle

Rank: 10 Power: 10 Defense: 9 Stamina: 10 Speed: 9

As celebrated as Optimus Prime/Convoy is as an Autobot leader, the Japanese Transformers storyline has had a lone lineage of other Cybertron commanders who featured prominantly in Japanese exclusive anime. One of these leaders was Star Saber, who commanded the Cybertron forces in the Japanese exclusive "Victory Saga". Now the character returns to the world of Transformers toys in Robotmasters. Along with this review, you'll want to read Victory Leo's as he combines
with Star Saber in vehicle and robot modes. Portions of these reviews will be repeated between the two for the combined forms.

Robot Mode:
Star Saber was one of those toys in G1 that was quite accurate to his animated counterpart. His design is rather simple, so that hardly comes as a surprise. In terms of appearance, the designers stuck very close to his G1 self. Being an aerial vehicle in his alternate form, Star Saber's look is very angular and sleek. From the slope on his shoulders
to the way his antannae come out at angles on his head to the wings on his chest, it's obvious this guy is a flier. These designs also help counterbalance the fact that in essence, Star Saber really has a rather bulky design. For the most part his body is rather thick and bulky. The most obvious part here are his feet, which are way out of proportion with the
rest of the body - but on him it works thanks to the extra levels of details and angles worked into the sculpt.

Though not a Convoy, Star Saber's head design is obviously influenced by that iconic character. He has a central crest, antannae to the side and has a mouthplate. If you had never heard of this character and you were told it was a Convoy/Prime,
it wouldn't be much of a stretch to believe it.

Star Saber's color scheme is very basic, composed primarily of red, white and blue. Each color makes up a significant portion of the toy, with gold, grey and white paint used for smaller details such as his knees, chest and crest. Each arm has an Autobot symbol tampographed on it. It's a nice color scheme, and adds to the Prime-like feel of the toy.

One of the ideas behind Robotmasters seems to be to take existing characters and provide a toy that in some way improves over the original. However, with Star Saber, that idea seems to have gone out the window. Star Saber's posability is disappionting to say the least. He has five points of articulation, and I'm counting his legs which can only swing out to the sides. What baffles me is that the upper legs connect to the waist via ball joints, but because the waist armor was not made to be able to swing outwards, the ball joints are essentially useless. On his arms, I was surprised that neither the wrist or elbow joints could turn outward considering he wields a sword. At the very least, wrist articulation would have allowed for a couple cool poses.

Star Saber includes a gun and a sword. These are sized so that you can use these weapons with other Robotmasters toys.

Star Saber is a Brainmaster, a type of Transformer who has a smaller robot component that forms his chest and "brain". Thankfully, the designers kept this intact in this toy. If you flip back the head piece and slide the chest piece out, just fold the wings in and swing down the front portion and voila, Brainmaster Saber.

Saber's robot mode is very close to his G1 self. For such a small piece, he has a lot of angles and layers, even on the arms which feature plenty of cut lines. Color-wise he matches Star Saber, but instead of using white like the original Saber did, he utilizes silver for his arms and upper legs. Saber has four points of articulation, his arms and legs. Like his G1 counterpart, you can take the handle of Star Saber's sword and attach it to his left arm as a shield/weapon. Excellent work on this little guy.

Transformation of "Saber" piece to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Take the weapons out of Star Saber's hands.
  2. Swing the robot head back.
  3. Slide out the chest piece.
  4. Swing Saber's legs down.
  5. Fold out the wings on his back.
  6. Attach the handle of the sword to the front to form the cockpit.

Transformation to Star Saber's Vehicle Mode:

  1. Start with the weapons detached and Saber in vehicle mode.
  2. Straighten the robot arms so they are to the sides.
  3. Swing the legs out to the sides and then up on the hinge to attach to the wrists on the arms.
  4. Fold the feet back.
  5. Swing the wings down.
  6. Fold the four wings on Saber up and slide him into the empty slot in the front.
  7. The sword blade attaches to the notch on the right side of the vehicle.

"Saber" Vehicle Mode:
Saber's vehicle mode is a small jet. It's a neat design,w ith four wings and two smaller ones towards the front. The sculpt has a medium level of detail, with thrusters in the back, vents in the middle and a nicely designed cockpit. The jet is mostly red with white, blue, gold and grey details.

"Star Saber" Vehicle Mode:
Star Saber's vehicle mode is an interesting combination of ideas. On the one hand it looks like a very sleek vehicle, especially towards the front where Saber forms the nosecone and the robot mode shoulders angle forward. But towards the back everything is big and thick. I tend to think of him as a rather angular starship. The detail level of this form is rather simple. The back has some cut details, triangles and vents. The front owes most of its detail to the beveled surfaces on the central body. Each wing has a sticker with a large Autobot symbol on it.

For those curious, the pegs on the back of the vehicle are for attaching him to Victory Leo in their combined robot form. However, in a rather interesting coincidence, they are also the same size as Mini-Con pegs.

Red, white and blue are the colors that comprise this form, so no surprises there. A tiny bit more paint detail (especially on the sculpted details on the white sections) would have been nice, but the toy hardly suffers from their absence.

Victory Leo Transformation for Combined Vehicle Mode:

  1. Starting in Beast Mode, detach all the weapons and reattach them pointing in the reverse direction.
  2. Swing the front arms forward.
  3. Pull the rear section back.
  4. Swing the rear beast legs down.
  5. Push the rear section back in.
  6. Attach the two pegs on either side of Victory Leo to the holes on the rear sections of Star Saber.

Combined Vehicle Form with Victory Leo:
It's pretty easy to look at Star Saber's vehicle mode and wonder why he has that big gap in the back. The answer comes in the form of his combined form with Victory Leo. Their combined vehicle form looks excellent, adding a ton of firepower to Star Saber's vehicle form via Victory Leo's three cannons. I also really like the wings in the from Victory Leo, which really adds to Star Saber's sleek appearance.

While Victory Leo differs in colors from Star Saber, the two blend together well owing to the white wings with the red details on them. Most of Victory Leo's yellow is tucked out of the way and black goes with all colors. Very cool overall.

Transformation to Victory Saber Mode:

  1. Start with both robots in Robot Mode.
  2. Detach the weapons from Victory Leo.
  3. Slide the top portion of the robot up to separate it from the mid/lower body.
  4. Split the lower body section in half.
  5. For each half, flip up the red foot piece.
  6. On the left half, swing in the silver peg.
  7. Push in each section with a rear beast mode leg on it.
  8. Flip the rear sections forward.
  9. Fold in Victory Leo's red foot pieces.
  10. Attach the shoulder cannons on Victory Leo's upper body piece facing the opposite direction from his face.
  11. Fold Victory Leo's head down.
  12. Attach Victory Leo's upper body to Star Saber's back.
  13. Fold in Star Saber's feet and attach each leg piece to the pegs on his legs.
  14. Attach weapons as desired.

Victory Saber Mode:
Victory Saber is the combined form of Star Saber and Victory Leo. Rather than forming a whole new robot like five combiners, this is more of an upgrade for Star Saber with extra armor and weaponry. If you thought Star Saber's feet were big before, Victory Leo's foot pieces are even larger. However, it does add a good bit of height to him. The nicest part of this combined form are the wings Victory Leo provides for Star Saber which spread across his back nicely. The shoulder cannons added on
are also really cool.

Like their combined vehicle mode, this pair works very well since they share the same red and white colors, and the yellow from Victory Leo is largely absent in this form.

If you need a place to stash Star Saber and Victory Leo's guns in this form, look no further than the back where Victory Leo's hands aren't doing much of anything.

Final Thoughts:
I do hold some disappointment with Star Saber. I feel like Robotmasters offers a chance for the designers to take a classic character and improve upon the toy design, not just essentially shrink a toy down into a smaller scale.
At the same time however, an original G1 Star Saber can easily cost you over $150 on the secondary market, so for those such as myself who do not own one, getting Robotmasters Star Saber is a cheaper substitute. It's not that this toy isn't fun at all, I just think the designers could have put more effort into it. Mildly recommended.