It wasn’t until about 3 or 4 years ago that I even knew the W-Cassettes even existed. Remember my post on Ravage and the G1 cassettes? Well, when I wasn’t dreaming of finding Ravage in a clearance bin, I was day dreaming about how they could have really created an TON of Cassette characters utilizing various animals and such. Then I came across the coolest Transformer picture ever drawn in the history of drawing Transformers:
When I first saw this cover to Spotlight: Blaster – I remember thinking “Oh my god…that is aweso…..wait….who the hell are those two guys behind Slamdance??”
Google provided the answer: Four Autobot cassettes released only in Japan – Four Dinosaur cassettes. That combine into robots like Grandslam and RainDance. Legout and Decible are on guitar. My mind was blown. Then my mind was melted into mush when did an ebay search and came across one set, Dial and Saur, running for 1500USD. I dug further, my curiosity only trumped by my amazement that after nearly 20 years, there actually WERE cassettes I had never seen. But as I learned more about the dynamic foursome, I slowly realized that they were exceptionally rare, even by Japanese G1 standards, and a set for 1500.00 was actually a pretty good deal. My heart sank a little.
Then, a few years ago, under what I can only imagine is lawsuit tempting, copyright infringing MAGIC, one (or many) Chinese companies obtained the molds for the four cassettes and produced knock-off reissues that rival some of the best KO work around, and for a tiny, tiny fraction of the price. I was ecstatic and also a bit cautions, but my Cassette craze knew no bounds so I immediately ordered the Dial and Saur set. Expecting the worse, I was astonished when what arrived were two excellently produced (but with minor issues) copies, complete in replicated boxes like the originals came with, and even had sticker sheets so you could apply the stickers yourself. YAY! Then for some weird reason, I never picked up the other two. Until Now:
I’ve never posted on Dial and Saur, other than a glancing shot during my G1 Cassette post, so I’m going to include them in this post too, but for now, I’m going to focus on the new guys. Any Japanese G1 collector could take a look at these two boxes and pick them apart for the errors compared to the originals (I’m looking at you Heroic Decepticon and Arkvander) – but for all intents and purposes, they are exceptionally well made and can fool any casual collector with ease. I love, LOVE that the Japanese cassettes came packaged individually. It goes against why I loved the US version being sold in twos, but for some reason, I just love that they got their own little boxes.
Out of the box, they’re great little cassettes. I have to say, I love the colors of both – Graphy is a nice deep red and Noise is a sky blue:
However, here you can see a slight issue I had, at least with this set – the sticker sheet was somewhat poorly replicated and was off center, so the left side of the tape looks off. (edit: after taking these pictures, I fiddled around and managed to get it to look a bit better!) – with all four tapes, this is a sight issue as sometimes the stickers over lap with areas that fold and they end up loosing some adhesive. But then again, what G1 cassette’s stickers DON’T do that?
In Dino-mode, these guys are awesome!
Graphy is just amazing. He’s a Pteradactyle, like Swoop, and in his bio, it states he’s the calmest of the four dinos, as well as one of the best Autobot flyers. This leads me to kind of consider him the “leader” of the four. He also features the only set of “cassette weapons” that don’t peg into his cassette holes, they plug into a smaller hole in a small extension section of the wing. They also double as ankle stabilizers when he’s combined into Decibel. Unfortunately, my Graphy’s right wing joint is a touch loose. Like Saur, its the only joint on the set that isn’t tight, so I’m okay with it. I mean, he’s still in better shape than some of my other G1 cassettes. He’s also missing his rubsign, which is usually in that center square. I think Reprolabels makes rubsigns so I may pick up a set.
Now, Noise was someone I was on the fence about since I saw pictures of him, mainly because I kept seeing him with his legs split apart (for balance) thus making it look like he had two tails for some reason. I was very happy to find out you really don’t have to do this, and it keeps him looking normal with one tail in Dino-mode. Why I didn’t think of putting Overkill up with him I have no idea, but this is about the Autobot Dino Cassettes so its no big deal. Noise’s cannons are quite big, and I’ve seen him with them upside down, which doesn’t look horrible at all. He’s a cool dino, but I think I I’ve got a brain block about Overkill and when I see Noise I think “been there, done that”. Still, I really like his colors and his transformation is really unique. He basically splits in the middle and folds end over end, unlike Overkill who’s head and limbs basically fold out from the main body, its quite cool!
Then there’s Decibel. I realize that the combined robot modes tend to fall short compared to their box art (and Spotlight Art…man I wish I had a little guitar I could give him…) but really, I LOVE how Decibel looks. His face reminds me of G1 Bonecrusher, which is awesome. You rarely see a Square Visor face anymore, and its a look I think really works. I also like that he’s a bit bulkier than the others. Legout is more 3-D than Bulky and SlamDance is completely flat. Also, Decibel’s feet are amazing for a G1 cassette combiner team. Graphy has tight feet extensions that pull out in front, then his weapons create ankle bracers in the back, giving Decibel a very sturdy, well balanced support. Noise splits in half and opens up to create the chest and arms, and the head folds out from Noise’s back, which is really cool (Legout’s head does the same thing..kinda).
Here they are together. I think Decibel is the better looking bot by far. Legout isn’t bad, he just doesn’t really stand out to me like Decibel does.
I really like the colors used for each Dino. Both the main body color and the detail sticker colors work very well on each bot.
Dial’s curved head is the only issue I have with these guys. I wish the could have figured a way to flip it around so that the square sides line up with the edges of the tape.
I’m not 100% sure why these weren’t released in the US, it seems like they would have sold great, but I guess they came out near the end of the Japanese line which had outlived the US line by a few years. I might be wrong on that, but it would be my guess.
I would have never thought I’d have all four cassettes after seeing how much the originals go for, and even though a lot of people have some legitimate reservations about KOs…well…to that I say:
Lol…ahh, topical humor.
On a final note, these two fellas also complete my Cassette collection of main issued characters. There are they Cobalt guys and the Kiss Player guys out there as well, but I do have all initial cassette characters now (although I have replaced Eject and Rewind with their Perfect Effect counterparts…I may need to get a hold of their cassette versions again.)
Just about done with Metroplex’s reprolables, and just in time seems my next sets just came in (Hotspot, Legends Prime and Megatron, etc) so more Reprolabel posts coming. I’m waiting on a few pre-orders as well, including Beezleboss’ Sideswipe and Red Alert replacement heads and Crazy Devy’s Seacon waist upgrade for Pirannahcon.