Monday, April 13, 2015

Masterpiece Star Saber

Ah, Star Saber.  Being a kid growing up in the U.S., I never heard of Star Saber until a couple of years ago thanks to the TFWiki.  God bless the wiki for teaching me so many things.  At any rate, I ran across Star Saber's entry while looking up Deathsaurus, who I remembered from his cameo appearance in the Dreamwave comics.  Looking up Deathsaurus led me down a rabbit hole of Japanese exclusive G1 figures.  Looking at the entry for the figure, I knew immediately that I had to have him.  I have yet to purchase him, however, for various reasons: price, completing the G1 U.S. run, etc.  Thankfully, Takara Tomy held a vote to commemorate the Transformers 30th Anniversary where people could vote on a significant figure to build in the Masterpiece and among those choices was Star Saber.  While I was unable to vote, I was happy that Star Saber was chosen.  If Star Saber had not won, I was really looking forward to a Fortress Maximus.  Man, that would have been an impressive figure.
The picture that made me drool
As soon as the pre-order went up, I was set.  As soon as he arrived, I shipped him from my pile of loot from BigBadToyStore.  As soon as he arrived, I opened the shipping box with excitement.  I did notice something a bit odd with my box, as the top of the box had two pieces of tape, but the bottom wasn't taped at all.  I could tell that the tape on the bottom hadn't been removed, it was never placed to begin with.  I opened the box from the bottom and went straight for the Saber figure since he was right there and ready to play with.  That's when my excitement began to ebb.
Yes, it's the two right hand picture.  Thankfully, after an email to the nice people at BBTS, I was able to ship just the Saber figure back to them with a prepaid shipping label and they fixed me up with a replacement.  I was able to keep the V-Star, swords, Brain of Courage, collector's coin, and all that jazz.  It took about a week, what with the shipping to them and then them shipping him back for all of this to go down, but the great people at BBTS communicated during the entire process and I wasn't really worried.  I know that there are a lot of TFSource fans out there, but I've been using BBTS since I got back into collecting with the Transformer Collection reissues over a decade ago.  Enough endorsement of a company that doesn't even compensate me. Let's get on to some pictures and details of the actual figure.  Be warned, I took close to seventy pictures to document Star Saber, and to get the best looking pics.  This will be a picture heavy post.
Since I started out discussing the defect with my Saber, we'll start with my replacement Saber figure.  Saber's jet mode is exquisite.  It really adheres to the original's aesthetic while adding some nice modern touches.  Again, I have no real point of reference since I don't own the original, but judging from the pictures on the TFWiki, there are some differences.  The landing gear are different colors, and the nosecone on the Masterpiece version appears to be longer and comes to more of a point.
The cockpit opens, allowing the Brain of Courage to pilot the craft.  I may be doing something wrong, as it always seems that I need to pinch the sides of the canopy to get it to open. 
Here's a bit of a closer shot showing the Brain of Courage in the cockpit.  Speaking of the Brain of Courage, this dude is small.
This is unfortunately as close as I could get to him to take a picture.  Any closer and my camera wouldn't focus.  Just know that he's small.
That small size allows him to fit neatly in Saber's chest, which will then push up Saber's face.
I really love Saber in robot mode.  He's much more proportioned than his G1 incarnation, which is to be expected.  He just has a dynamic look to him. Yes, the colors are a little primary, but they're pretty striking in their combination.  While the original only had a sword, known as the Saber Sword, that Star Saber could hold, the new Masterpiece version comes with a scaled-down version for Saber to wield.
The nosecone from Saber's jet mode attaches to his arm as a kind of arm shield, I suppose.  I'm reminded of Hun-Gurrr's (is that enough "r's"?  Too many?) shoulder shield.  Saber also comes with a rifle called the Saber Laser.  I'm sensing a theme here in regards to Saber's weapons.  My only wish for Saber is some waist articulation, but at the price-point and accessories that come with this guy, I can't really complain.
Here's the V-Star, the, uh, big part of the Star Saber jet.  I wound up much more impressed with this section than I thought I would.  There's a lot of die-cast in this thing, and not where you'd expect it.  The landing gears appear to be metal, the guns at the front are metal, and there's metal in the rear thrusters.  Add all of this up, and there's a fair amount of heft to it.  The landing gears are hidden under flaps in the feet and the panels that are on what turn out to be Star Saber's shoulders.
When you lift up the guns, there are missile pods located beneath.  I'm not sure if this is a feature on the original or not.  Still, it's a nice hidden feature. 
Saber and the V-Star combine to form a larger jet mode.  It's a fairly good looking form.  For some reason, the overall look reminds me of Gundam or Robotech.
Star Saber comes with a stand to display the combined form.  The stand is so much better than what comes with the Seekers.  It's small, does it's job, and has a dual purpose.
Transformation to combine Saber with the V-Star to make Star Saber is rather simple and straightforward.  The only drawback is removing Saber from the suit.  I have to use a lot of force to get him out, even while pushing the button on the back that should eject him.  More than likely, I'm doing something wrong.
 Star Saber is huge, taller than Masterpiece Ultra Magnus.  I love Star Saber's antennae.  While every other figure with antennae goes straight up, Star Saber's are angled.  They're gorgeous.  Star Saber is capable of holding the Saber Laser, but it looks rather small.  Really, when I think of Star Saber, I think sword anyway, so doubt the rifle will ever be used.
When not using any of Star Saber's weapons, they can be store on his back.  The instructions call for the Saber Laser to be stored with the barrel facing up, but I don't like it sticking out over his shoulder.  The blades for both swords store in Star Saber's back in hidden compartments.
Sorry for the bad angle, but the flaps that are positioned up are where the blades stow.
Star Saber's flight stand doubles as a shield.  The original didn't come with a shield, but it was featured in the Victory series.  I really like the shield.  One thing that I noticed while staging this admittedly lackluster pose is that Star Saber is able to bend forward at the abdomen.  That is a great feature that I wish other Masterpiece figures possessed.
There is an extra sword hilt that comes with Star Saber that makes it longer.  This allows Star Saber to hold the sword with both hands.
I think that I've said enough about Star Saber.  While there was a bit of a wait getting him, thanks to the Saber incident, but I think he was well work the wait.  The design is spot-on G1 goodness and very nearly quashes my desire for a G1 Star Saber.  Nearly.  I still want one.  I'm so very glad to finally have a version of Star Saber.  Now, if only that special package from Hong Kong would hurry up and get here.


  1. Dude bad ass. I'm getting a huge Gundam vibe probably due to the colors. I don't think ill get this guy though....gotta focus on my G1 Harley Quinn and Gundam stuff lol. Keep up the great reviews man!

    1. That's why he looks so familiar! Gundam! I knew it wasn't just in my head!