Prelude: For some reason my good buddy Caked-Up challenged me to write a long, detailed review of Legends Godbomber, specifically he demanded at least 5,000 words. I am not sure why this number exactly (except, you know, it’s pretty large), but I always try to do right by my friends, so challenge accepted. So if you are left wondering why this review is rather long, blame Caked-Up. It is entirely his fault for being such a good friend that I try to accommodate even his stranger requests (and that is the first 100 words right here if Microsoft Word is counting correctly).
Robot Mode: Let us start, as I usually do, with the resemblance of this new figure to the one it is based on. G1 Masterforce Godbomber was a robot that, while looking really cool in an 80s Anime kind of way, very much suffered from the fact that he was basically just a suit of armor for another robot, so his robot mode ended up being a loosely pegged-together jumble of pieces that fell apart if you so much as looked at it too intently.
Legends Godbomber has captured the look of his predecessor almost perfectly and is almost exactly the same size, too, so there is no mistaking that he is intended to portray the same character. This Godbomber, of course, is also designed as a suit of armor for another robot and thus also a jumble of pieces, really, but they hold together much, much better and the robot is actually fully capable of posing, moving, and being handled without immediately falling apart into his component pieces. The only slightly awkward parts are his forearms, which are designed to wrap around the forearms of Super Ginrai as gauntlets, so they are basically hollow, open on one side, and plugged into the elbows. They don’t fall off or anything, but one needs to be a tiny bit gentle in moving them about for poses.
Given the fact that he is basically a part-former and intended to be taken apart, it is hardly surprising that you can simply take off Godbomber’s legs. What is a bit surprising, though, is that those legs attach via the same ports that the Combiner Wars figures use. In other words: you can swap out Godbomber’s legs for any two of the Combiner Wars limb figures, while any Combiner Wars combiner can use Godbomber’s lower legs, too. The latter looks weird, granted, but Godbomber looks pretty cool with big, chunky Combiner Wars boots. Not that it makes much sense or anything (though it did feature in the accompanying comic book, see below), but it’s a fun little detail and it shows that the designers wanted to include something extra. Nicely done, folks!
Let’s look at the weapons. The original Godbomber had that big shoulder cannon (I love shoulder cannons, have I mentioned that recently?) and naturally the new version has that one, too. Strangely enough it has a silver missile to go with it, but the missile is simply plugged in. I kind of expected a spring-powered launching mechanism here, but nothing of the sort. Not that it’s a big thing, just surprising. Probably to do with the fact that Godbomber’s second weapon, a big sword, can be stored inside the big cannon. No room for a spring.
Sadly both weapons, while looking pretty cool, do have some design flaws. The shoulder cannon has a rather weak hinge where it connects to Godbomber’s shoulder, so it tends to droop downwards. You can somewhat fix this by pressing the halves of the hinge together (just not too strongly lest it breaks), but it doesn’t help for long. A stronger hinge would have worked wonders here. As for the sword, it is designed to separate into blade and hilt for storage, but doesn’t hold together that well. It doesn’t fall off at the slightest movement or anything like that, mind you, but it’s not a very solid connection, either. Just something to keep in mind.
Item of note: Godbomber has wings on his back for use in the combiner mode. Technically he can extend them in robot mode, too, at least somewhat, so if you want a winged Godbomber, you can get him. Just looks a bit strange. Also, the cockpit of his vehicle mode is on his back and you can seat Titan Masters in there in this mode, too, if you want, though it’s intended more for his other modes. More on that below. So bottom line for the robot mode: given the underlying constraint of being a suit of armor, the robot mode is pretty well done. The weapons could have been better, but apart from that, no complaints. A cool, good-looking robot that can actually move and pose.
Alternate Modes: Like all of the Leader-class figures from the Titans Return line and its Takara Legends equivalents, Godbomber, too, has a “real” alternate mode and an additional base mode. Let us start with Godbomber’s familiar alternate mode, a futuristic truck-like thing. The resemblance to the alternate mode of the original Godbomber is just as strong here as it was in robot mode. Sure, the truck front is not all shiny chrome, but apart from that it is readily apparent that these two are the same vehicle. It is not the kind of truck you are likely to see on any road in the real world, mind you (how many trucks with big wings and a big cannon on top are there?), but that was never really the intention here.
The truck has a big driver’s cabin that opens up. Just flip down the front and you see room for three Titan Master figures. This is actually very cartoon-accurate, as Godbomber also had three seats in the series (though with a bit more elbow room, I think) for the three Junior Headmasters (more on that below). The truck can either drive on its own or attach to the trailer of Super Ginrai for a big combined truck mode. (Side note: Hurrah, we have reached one thousand words!) Nice detail that was also present on the original Godbomber: the sides of the truck mode have the same pattern as the classic Optimus Prime trailer, so when Godbomber is attached it looks like a natural extension. Nicely done. Overall the truck mode offers no room for complaint unless you mind that it is more of a futuristic science fiction style truck.
Some quick words (or not so quick, really, I have got to fill out 5,000 words after all) on the base mode: basically superfluous, in my mind. It is still the truck mode, more or less, just with the rear section taken apart and pushed out to the sides, connected via the wings. The cockpit opens up and you modify the big cannon so that a Titan Master can sit inside it as a gunner, that’s it. It does not hurt the figure any, mind you, but it seems tacked on and I would not have needed it.
Partner / Add-On: Unsurprisingly Godbomber is a Headmaster, too, just like every other Deluxe- and bigger-sized robot from that portion of the Legends toy line that corresponds with Titans Return. Unlike the Western Titans Return figures, though, Godbomber’s Headmaster (they don’t call them Titan Masters here, either) does not get a name of his own. Probably because in most of the Japanese Transformers fiction it’s usually the smaller figures that ARE the character, while the bigger body is simply a non-sentient power-up for them. So while Godbomber was never a Headmaster before, it’s likely that the small robot his head becomes is the actual Godbomber character (who was not really a character, either, except in the comic book. See below for more on that).
Anyway, Godbomber’s Headmaster is pretty much identical to the other Titan Master figures, having ball-jointed shoulders and joint knees. Godbomber’s big shoulder cannon opens up to unveil a seat for him, so he can function as a gunner. He can also be placed in any of the three seats of Godbomber’s vehicle mode cockpit. So bottom line here: a typical Titan Master / Headmaster figure.
Combiner Mode: As I already mentioned above, Godbomber’s primary purpose is to be a suit of armor for another robot, namely Super Ginrai, who becomes God Ginrai upon combining. Now there is an official combination of the two and also a somewhat modified “fan mode”, which – in my not as humble as it could be opinion – looks far better. But let us start with the official mode.
Godbomber’s back, the front of the truck mode, becomes a big chest plate for Super Ginrai, while his legs become chunky boots – platform boots, if you will. His arms become gauntlets and his chest plate with the wings goes onto Super Ginrai’s back as a flight pack. Finally the big shoulder cannon remains a big shoulder cannon (weak hinge at all) and Super Ginrai can wield Godbomber’s sword as well, of course. Godbomber’s Headmaster can take a seat inside the chest plate, while his big helmet can be stored in the flight pack. Super Ginrai’s rifles can either be held in hand by God Ginrai or be attached to the flight pack, giving him even more shoulder guns. Either way, there are no left over parts here, everything is part of the combiner. Nicely done.
Not so nicely done, however, is the positioning of the wings in the official combiner mode. They are positioned above Ginrai’s shoulders, which … yeah, does not look all that good and does not look like it did in the Masterforce cartoon, either. Not sure why this design choice was made. Don’t get me wrong, God Ginrai is still a great combiner even with the wings set this high, but it does look strange.
Another downside that needs to be mentioned: the “boots” made from Godbomber’s legs plug into Super Ginrai’s feet, no problem. But those feet are already rather loose and thus the combined robot, too, has rather loose ankles. Given the fact that God Ginrai is slightly back-heavy, it does cause a bit of a problem in some poses. With a bit of fiddling you can stabilize him in most poses, but still: it’s slightly bothersome and could, I believe, have been fixed with minimal effort.
These slight flaws aside, though, God Ginrai looks great and is of sufficient size to go one on one with the likes of Carnifex (Overlord) in all-out combat for the fate of Earth. He also fits scale-wise with Star Saber, his successor as Supreme Commander of the Cybertron forces. So bottom line: a very nice combiner mode with some flaws that, while not all that big, could easily have been corrected.
Which brings us directly to the fan mode of combining God Ginrai, which fixes at least one of those problems. It is possible to fiddle with the winged rucksack in such a way that the wings are indeed at shoulder height instead of high above it, making everything look far better and more cartoon accurate. Compare pictures 28 and 38 from the gallery and you can see how the rucksack configuration has to change. The fan mode configuration isn’t as compact and does not offer a place to store Godbomber’s robot mode helmet, but it looks tons better and has the added advantage of distributing the backpack’s weight a bit better, making God Ginrai slightly less prone to toppling over backwards.
The two rifles Super Ginrai provides can still be mounted in this mode as well, though they are farther apart and don’t look quite as nicely integrated as before. Overall, though, I much prefer this variant to the official combined mode and this is how God Ginrai stands in my display case right now. If you intend to display Godbomber combined with Super Ginrai, this is how you should do it.
Final note on the combiner mode (bringing our word count to two thousand, yippee!): I’ve been asked whether Godbomber can combine with the Hasbro Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime as well. Now I don’t own Powermaster Prime, but given his vastly different feet, I don’t see how it is supposed to work. PM Prime could probably wear the chest plate and wings, I guess, but not the boots. Nevertheless I have heard it said that Godbomber CAN combine with PM Prime, but I have yet to see a picture of it. So for the moment I can only say: no, I do not think he can.
Background Info: Transformers Chōjin Masterforce, known in the West as Super God Masterforce, is one of the most unique Transformers series. Despite being a part of the Japanese G1 continuity (which barely deserves the term ‘continuity’ being applied to it), it’s very much a stand-alone series that focuses mostly on humans with only very sparse references to the preceding Transformers series. There are the Pretenders: robots pretending to be humans. Then there are the Junior Headmasters: human kids transforming into the heads of non-sentient robot bodies. And finally, of course, the Godmasters (called Powermasters in the West), humans becoming engines of non-sentient robot bodies. The leader of the good guys in this series was called Ginrai (a Japanese American with a strange obsession with his own hair), a human Godmaster whose transector (the term for the non-sentient robot bodies) just happened to resemble Optimus Prime / Convoy. When it was time to battle the combined evil of Overlord and Black Zarak, the Bomber Project was launched in order to give Ginrai a power-up in the form of the Godbomber.
In the series Godbomber was little more than a drone that required the life energy of a human to operate semi-independently. Ginrai was powerful enough to split his life force between Godbomber and his own transector, but it made him weaker. Alternatively the three Junior Headmasters could pilot Godbomber from his chest compartment, supplying their life force instead and making the combined form of God Ginrai even stronger by their presence. God Ginrai pretty much won the Masterforce battles single-handedly, besting every Destron and destroying Black Zarak, who was possessed by the evil Devil Z at the time. At the conclusion of the battle the formerly lifeless transectors developed minds of their own and left the Earth behind. Godbomber remained a part of God Ginrai, apparently not getting a mind of his own in the process. Poor guy was fated to remain a power-up, it seems (at least until God Ginrai was reformatted into Victory Lio and became a power-up for Star Saber, but that is an entirely different story).
The story of Godbomber continues, though, in the comic book that accompanies this figure. Ginrai, the human being, was told by Grand (the head of Grand Maximus who was also a Pretender, by the way) that Godbomber was originally developed to bridge the gap between human and robotic life by connecting the three forms of Chokon power (those were a major plot point in the Masterforce cartoon). Godbomber had in fact become a living being after all, thanks to the infusion of the three Headmasters Junior Chokon power, but his life force vanished when Devil Z died and the connection between the humans and that power was severed. The Godbomber that remained with the robotic Ginrai (who later became Victory Lio) was nothing but a lifeless drone.
When human Ginrai got a new transector, the Autobots began building a new Headmaster Godbomber to go with it. Many of the parts of this new Godbomber were stolen, though, by Nightbeat, Trickdiamond and Thrust. They left behind the Headmaster unit, though. So while Ginrai had to contend with the stolen Godbomber (who had been powered up by using Trickdiamond and Thrust as its legs, thereby justifying the existence of the combiner ports in his legs), the Headmasters Junior infused Godbomber’s Headmaster with their Chokon power and brought him to life again, now complete with memories of his former life and the ability to speak. This new Godbomber then set out to save Ginrai from the evil Godbomber, combining with him into God Ginrai in the process. After the bad guys were defeated, Ginrai, happy to be reunited with his old partner, had a good laugh, while Godbomber, now with a very serious personality, simply looked on.
Conclusion: Let us start with the obvious here: while Godbomber is a fun figure, it really only makes sense to get him if you already own Super Ginrai. If you skipped Super Ginrai the first time around, do not despair, a two-pack with him and Godbomber is in the works, too, though apparently that version of Godbomber will have a few chromed parts for the even more authentic Japanese G1 feel (the Japanese do love their chromed parts). Whether or not that is your thing is up to you, of course. Anyway, as I was saying, you really need both figures here.
Now personally I am a big fan of the Masterforce series, Super Ginrai and God Ginrai, so when I learned that Takara would release a Godbomber for their Super Ginrai, there was never a question for me whether or not to get him. And after the intense disappointment that was the XOvergen Trailer Force God Armor (man, that thing was a piece of crap, a waste of plastic, no matter how much I adore the XOvergen Master Armor), I clung to the belief that this version just HAD to be a lot better. It just HAD to. And I was right (I usually am, at least about Transformers, he said in his usual humble manner).
Godbomber is not perfect, mind you. He does have some flaws (though some, such as the weak hinge for the shoulder cannon, do not seem to be present in all of them, just in some), but none of them change the fact that he is both a good stand-alone figure as well as a great upgrade for Super Ginrai. Which is what I wanted and expected from this figure. So to summarize what I used over three thousand words to express: if you have Super Ginrai and are a fan of combining and upgrading robots in classic Anime style, then Godbomber is most definitely worth getting.
Appendix: Since I haven’t quite managed the required five thousand words yet, some random ramblings here to make up the missing word count. (If you were only interested in the figure itself, feel free to stop reading now. You have gotten past a bit over three thousand words, you can be proud of yourself and go about buying your Godbomber now without an ounce of shame.)
How does Super God Masterforce fit into the Generation 1 (Takara) continuity? Answer: it does not, not really. Sure, nominally it is a sequel to Headmasters, which in itself is a sequel to the third season of the original Generation 1 cartoon, and we do get a guest appearance from some characters that appeared in Headmasters, too. Overall, though, Masterforce is very much a stand-alone series. Humans seem mostly unaware of the existence of the Transformers and the Cybertron Pretenders have been in hiding on Earth for centuries to keep an eye on the Destron Pretenders, apparently sleeping through the events of the original Transformers cartoon and the near-destruction of Earth during Headmasters. Interestingly enough the follow-up series Victory is very much a direct sequel to Masterforce, featuring God Ginrai, Overlord, and Minerva, among others. Of course Victory ignores the fact that God Ginrai is supposed to be two guys combined (the follow-up series Zone would do the same with Victory Saber, combined form of Star Saber and Victory Lio) and the fact that the Godmasters were once human-driven transectors is never, ever mentioned, either. But at least in this series humanity has not completely forgotten the Transformers and the world-wide devastation they caused in Masterforce.
A major plot point of the Masterforce series was the concept of Chokon power (meaning Super Soul Power, roughly translated). It manifests in three primary forms. Chichokon, the power of the Earth. Jinchokon, the power of humanity. And Tenchokon, the power of the heavens. In Masterforce the evil Devil Z - who himself used a corrupt fourth form of Chokon power called Machokon, the Devil Super Soul, since he was incapable of accessing the Jinchokon – intended to create warriors that could access all three forms of Chokon Power. The life forms that would become the Godmasters were created and stored in a cosmic nebula, where they soaked up the Tenchokon power. Then Devil Z brought them to Earth and hid them, allowing them to soak up the Chichokon. Finally he intended to bond them with humans, thereby adding Jinchokon as the third and final power. The resulting Godmasters were every bit as powerful as he predicted, but to his dismay most of the Godmasters bonded with humans who had no intention of serving Devil Z. This miscalculation led to Devil Z’s destruction, though upon his death the connections between humans and their Godmaster transectors dissolved and the Godmasters became purely robotic life forms in the process.
The Godmasters possessed all sorts of powers when using the three Chokon energies combined, but their powers were greatly reduced when they could no longer utilize one of the three. When Hydra and Buster (aka Decepticon Powermasters Dreadwind and Darkwing) were turned into purely robotic life forms near the end of the series, they lost the ability to channel the Jinchokon (though Devil Z substituted his own Machokon to somewhat make up for that). Also, the fully robotic God Ginrai was significantly less powerful in the Victory series than he was in Masterforce, unable to use his signature Fire Guts attack against Liokaiser.
Apparently the “God” portion of the series title, as well as the fact that the Powermasters are called Godmasters in Japan, has ruffled the feathers of some of the more religiously-minded Transformers fans in the West. There is a very simple explanation here, however, as the Japanese language uses the same word for “Power” and “God”, so this is simply a translation issue, nothing more. At no point was there supposed to be some kind of insinuation that God Ginrai is an actual god, so religious fundamentalists can rest easy and keep focusing on school prayer and abolishing sex ed and marriage equality.
Here is the Super-God Masterforce opening theme song, translated into English from Japanese original, taken from the Transformers: The Takara Collection Vol. 2 – Super God Masterforce DVD set by Metrodome. Believe me, it’s not half as weird as the intro theme for Beast Wars Neo, for example. Why am I quoting it here? Well, apart from padding the word count, I have gotten Caked-Up to promise that he will sing it (along with his spawn Little James) in return for my writing this long, long review. So this is just to help him along.
No one can stop us now
We transform and risk our lives
Even if we get hurt, it has to be done
Who else will protect the blue Earth?
Boys will change into warriors
Go and fight, stand up
Masterforce! Every time we fight
Masterforce! We grow stronger
Masterforce! Now is the time to push on
Get on, God on, Head on
In that glittering horizon
The drawn dream is transformed
As for the Destrons' ambitions
These skills undoubtedly won't allow
The dazzling shape that is reborn
Go and Fight, show it off
Masterforce! While fighting
Masterforce! Understand what the dream is
Masterforce! Now is the time to push on
Get on, God on, Head on
My wife actually likes the Masterforce song, but thinks that it (and most of the other Japanese Transformers theme songs, too, for that matter) would fit better into the Eurovision Song Contest rather than be used as the intro theme of a cartoon series about alien robots who blow up half the world every other episode. Oh, and just in case you don’t believe that the Beast Wars Neo theme song is even weirder, here it is (maybe we can get Caked-Up and his spawn to sing that one, too).
Love is here
As long as there is life, it is you
Dream of love
That I'll continue to protect for eternity
From the ends of the cosmos
Can you hear the impact?
Warriors of love
Stand up to become one
The flame of courage is unleashed into the darkness
Absolutely don't give up
Change your hearts, Maximals
Love is here
Always believe in the future
Dream of love
Because you're always shining
There is nothing quite like singing “love is here!” when a huge Mammoth-like robot appears on screen and blasts stuff apart with his huge, huge cannon, right? Nothing weird about that at all.
The concept of a lifeless drone serving as a power-up for an Autobot leader was revisited in Transformers Armada (Legend of the Microns in Japan), where Optimus Prime would powerlink with his own trailer or Jetfire and then use the Overload drone as additional enhancement. Armada Overload, too, was a Headmaster, and come to think of it he, too, could simply take off his own legs. Though in his case those legs served as huge cannons instead of serving as combiner limbs. You can’t have everything, I guess.
So, we are still a few hundred words off target. Caked-Up, if you are still reading by this point, I would just like to remind you once again that it was YOUR idea that this review should be FIVE THOUSAND DAMN WORDS long. Do you realize how many words that is? It is roughly five times one thousand words, actually, give or take, possibly even fifty times one hundred words. And since I am rapidly running out of things to write that are even remotely connected to Godbomber, let me also take this opportunity to remind you that you still owe me
a) the establishment of a Drift fan club that will celebrate the awesomeness that is Drift, who makes even Chuck Norris green with awesomeness envy, along with lifetime premium memberships for my wife, our cat, and myself.
b) the bride price for Mia, whom you have petitioned as a bride for your son James Junior in a verbal contract back in 2013. I will accept nothing less than at least fifty percent of your Transformers collection with myself being the one to pick out the figures. The bride price is due no later than Mia’s sixth birthday.
c) a thorough and detailed apology, groveling included, for being part of the electorate that inflicted that twittering con man upon the rest of the world.
So now we are well and truly reaching the end of this review, which I am pretty certain is my longest review ever. I have not actually done a word count on any previous review, mind you, so I cannot say it with one hundred percent accuracy, but I would be very, very surprised if any other figure here on Transformers Universe has gotten anywhere near as many words, never mind more of them. So many words. Do you know how hard it is to be this long-winded? To drone on and on and on and on? It is a lot of work, let me tell you. I worked on this review for over a week, I believe. Which comes down to roughly ten thousand minutes, meaning two minutes per word (and that includes what little sleep I got during that time, too). Also, lack of sleep is also responsible for the idea of a female Masterpiece Drift with a Godmaster engine block and a disturbingly erotic Pretender shell. This is what you caused, Caked-Up! I hope you can live with yourself.
And that’s all, folks! Finished! Done! Or to sing it in the immortal words of (German-dubbed) Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck:
Das Publikum war heute wieder wundervoll
Und traurig klingt der Schlussakkord in Moll
Wir sagen Dankeschön und auf Wiedersehen
Schauen sie bald wieder rein, denn etwas Show muss sein.
Und heißt es Bühne frei, dann sind sie mit dabei
Die Show muss weitergehen, auf Wiedersehen!
Obligatory Post Credit Scene: Philister enters he apartment after a long day of work, fingers still cramped from writing a five thousand word review of Legends Godbomber for his buddy Caked-Up. As he goes to sit down on his couch, he suddenly notices a shadowy figure standing before the window. Tiredness forgotten, he grabs the nearest thing that could double as a weapon (it’s Toyworld Hegemon, a 3rd Party Megatron figure that transforms into a rather realistic looking gun).
“Who are you?” he demands, toy gun pointed. “What are you doing in my apartment?”
The figure turns around and Philister is shocked to see that it is Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime.
“Good evening, Philister,” Peter Cullen says. “That was some stunt you pulled there, writing five thousand words about a single Transformers figure. But do you honestly think that will be enough?”
Philister is confused. “What are you talking about? I was only doing that on a dare from my buddy Caked-Up.”
Peter Cullen chuckles, walking towards him. “A dare, yes? You wrote five thousand words about a Transformers figure from the Titans Return line (or rather it’s Takara equivalent, but that’s beside the point) and you think your work is done now?”
“What do you mean?” Philister asks, still not sure where this is headed.
Peter Cullen steps up beside him, putting a hand on his shoulder. “We are far from finished, my friend. There is a much vaster universe of Transformers toys out there. Many more figures one can write five thousand and more words about.”
Philister listens in rapt attention, toy gun long forgotten.
“Let me tell you,” Cullen says, “about the Power of the Primes toy line!”
Update 2017-10-31: Caked-Up paid up and "sings" the Masterforce song: