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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Clay's review of: Victory Saber

Name: Star Saber and Victory Lio
Allegiance: Cybertron
Function: Cybertron Commanders #3 and #4

The robot masters line has revived two characters from an obscure series for new molds. Unfortunately, they don't quite live up to their potential as I had hoped. The main let downs are the lack of articulation, interesting transformations, and details. They're not complete bricks, but there's a lot more that could've been done. Basically, they're too close to the originals.

Alternate Mode:
Victory Lio is pretty self-explanatory, but Star Saber is not. After looking at it for a while, I still don't what exactly it's supposed to be. It's vaguely like some sort of a spacecraft, but it's not altogether sensical. Normally, I don't mind wacky alt. modes, but that's because they usually look cool at the cost of realism. Saber's spaceship mode just doesn't particularly do much for me: it just doesn't look like a transformer. To transform him, lift the head up, move the brainmaster around, and squash the legs down. That's it. Oh, it's gets better...

Victory Lio turns into a winged lion. To transform him, flip the lion legs forward, and turn him over. Is there more? Not really. This is part of the reason the lack of articulation irks me. Had the transformations been more complex, it would be understandable to sacrifice some movement, but that's just not the case. The plastic molding for all the parts isn't all that detailed, either, meaning they're not as fun to just look at as the other new robotmasters. (Beast Convoy has a lot of little nuances, for instance).

Robot Mode:
To be honest, Victory Lio looks very Voltronish. Star Saber is akin to some of the larger Autobot headmasters, but that may be a bit of a stretch. Lio's wings are fairly prominent, and do give him a nice profile with the blasters pointing up. Star Saber's only real weapon is, well, a large saber. Star Saber does have a brainmaster (in his chest), but there's not much point since he's required for both the robot mode and the alternate mode.

Saber's a little taller than Lio, but Lio's wings are above Saber's head. Both only have two joints in each arm, and neither have knee joints. There is very limited articulation at their hips. Saber can twist his waist, though. On the bright side, Lio does have a big missle launcher, and his blasters can be taken off of his back and attached to his wrists.

The little brainmaster guy is somewhat awkward since all of Saber's modes require him, but he is pretty neat. If you've handled a headmaster, he's the same scheme and size (despite Saber being much smaller than a headmaster). He can form a little jet of his own with the handle of the sword, but that leaves Saber fairly naked.

Combined Modes:
Part of the selling point of the set is that they can combine in not only robot mode, but also in their alternate modes. This is at least mildly interesting, given the steps involved in disassembling Victory Lio, and they do look good together. The transformation part is all on Lio's end; Saber doesn't change in either mode to accomodate him.

The combined alt. form is essentially Lio plugged into the back of Saber. The rear lion legs need to be folded down to reveal the pegs, but very little is accomplished by doing so. It just looks like the two of them stuck together for some unknown reason.

The combined robot form is at least a little redeeming. Victory Lio becomes trifurcated to form a back pack and battle socks for saber, and also gains him some much needed ranged weaponry.

Anyway...

Transformation: 2 - Given the lack of articulation and detail, the vapidly simple transformations leave a lot to desire. A good counter-example is Cruellock out of the Energon line. His transformation is very simple, but there's a little gear system involved that automates some of it to make in appealing. And he has suberb articulation and detailing. None of those balancing factors are present with these two.
Durability: 1 - The toys themselves are fairly sturdy, but the sword handle snapped off in his hands about twenty minutes after I opened the package. The handle actually is in the form of a 'T', so there's another prong for him to hold, so it's not too serious... but still, it's quite irritating. Also, while taking the pictures, I noticed the hole in Lio's right side that can hold the missle launcher seems to have caved in from the way I rotated the lion feet for the combined mode. It's fixable, but not helping the score...
Fun: 8 - Despite all the bad points, they do have a certain 'bricky but nostaglic' feel to them. They remind me of something that's improving their standing.
Price: 5 - Not too cheap. Around $45 or so for the dual set, or $20-$25 for each individually seems to be average here in the US.
Summary: 5 - It's really the combination of faults that puts me off. They just don't look like transformers to me. Star Saber has detailing around his chest and head, but a lot of empty white space on his arms and legs. The transformations, given the previous statements and overall lack of articulation, are too simple to be interesting. And, maybe, Star Saber's alternate mode is just too 'non-specific'.

I suppose if you want a throwback to the fading G1 days, or just like little transformers that combine, you might like them. It's just not something I can whole-heartedly recommend. There is some strange appeal to them - enough that I'll probably keep them. I don't think it's enough to warrant buying them without seeing them first-hand ahead of time. I would suggest making a decision from that.

 
 
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