Of the Japan-only series of Transformers, Transformers Zone is easily the most obscure.
I’ve always been a big fan of the Japanese continuity. I think it takes the G1 idea and adds a LOT of depth to the story and mythos of the Transformers. While some of it gets…weird…over all it’s easily my favorite timeline. Zone was the tail end of the Japanese shows. Because of that, very few fans, even today, are not very familiar with it. It was here that Takara incorporated the Micromasters which Hasbro had rolled out in the US. In this version ALL of the Micromasters are Autobots, even the Decepticon characters from Hasbro. They are led by the newly appointed Supreme Commander Dai Atlas, his first lieutenant Sonic Bomber and later, Road Fire against what is easily the oddest Decepticon leader ever.
Takara’s Transformers: Legends line, in an attempt to fill out all of the shows aired during G1, has produced the box set of Dai Atlas and his team as the Big Powered set.
Big Powered, is the name given to the combined form of all three members of the Powered Masters, Dai Atlas, Sonic Bomber and Roadfire. The box set is a call back to the G1 Boxset/gift set of all three, and given that the after market price of the original set is astronomically high even for serious collectors (go ahead and eBay search it), this is a very welcomed addition.
There’s a lot going on here and I’m torn between rambling on about stuff most people aren’t too keen to read about and just hitting the highs and lows. I’m going to err on the side of just getting the important stuff out there. First and foremost all three toys use Titans Return molds, meaning they’re headmasters (which for the Legends story line, isn’t unusual). Dai Atlas is a leader class moderate retool of Black Shadow/Over Lord. Sonic Bomber is a substantial retool of Triggerhappy and Road Fire is moderate retool of Twin Twist.
Because the G1 toys all had base modes, again, to accompany the Micromasters – all three of these toys have “base” modes as well. Dai Atlas’s base is quite similar to his mold-mates designs, but the other two are essentially “Fan mode” base modes.
This does work well with the new Siege Micromasters, or any of the Titan Master toys, however, Road Fire’s base mode leaves a lot to be desired and Sonic Bomber is a bit fiddly. To be honest, they’re all a bit fiddly. Nothing really pegs into place on any of them, so it’s best to just put them in base mode, take pictures and let them be.
The robot modes all look very nice, albeit with a few either super tight shoulder joints or a little loose hip joints. They all use great molds so over all the robot modes tend to be the highlights here.
There are, however, some very odd choices made when it comes to the engineering of Dai Atlas.
Probably the most glaring aspect are his shins. You’re eyes aren’t playing tricks, his lower legs are literally just the front shin panel and the outer side. See the emphasis here was to ensure the three toys could form “Big Powered” so the rest of the lower legs that normally fill out…you know…the legs, were removed to make Dai Atlas in vehicle mode more similar to his G1 toy and arguably so that Sonic Bomber connects properly. I don’t understand this. Its NOT the G1 toy, and as such, using the Black Shadow Mold should have been, in theory, close enough as it is, seems Black Shadow’s two halves can connect and Dai Atlas even uses the same connector, so removing the main leg sections makes no sense to me. In the end, it’s not the absolute worst, but it’s definitely not great.
The other major design change is a connecting “spine” like structure that keeps both the lower and upper halves of his body permanently attached. While it’s fully functional, it’s design leaves his waist just a touch wobbly. Again this is something I don’t quite get. I don’t think any fan would have been annoyed if the toy separated into two sections. The G1 toy didn’t but this isn’t the G1 toy so I feel Takara way over thought this.
There is a lot of remolding that works. For one thing, his forearms are perfectly matched to the G1 toy and cartoon animation. His new chest and wings also are top notch. The wings detach and can form his shield as well.
As I mentioned, the main focus here is to allow the toys to form Big Powered with a secure and solid connection and in that, the set DOES succeed.
Yes it’s goofy. That’s sort of the charm. See, not everyone digs the more outlandish toys from the Japanese lines, but to me, it’s where all the fun was. Big Powered is essentially just a supped up, mega jet with “friendship” power! That’s grossly generalized, but you get the picture.
Takara took it one step further and you can even connect Twin Twist and Topspin to the mass, creating an even crazier, giant goofy jet!
The overall stability suffers a bit, but it’s goofy and I love it. You can also add the new Siege Weaponizer figures to the set too –
The bottom line is, this is definitely a very niche set. Far from a “must have”, it’s mostly for the fans of the G1 toys and the hard coriest of the hard core collectors. The individual toys look very nice, and I absolutely love them, but the odd design choices and spotty QC from set to set coupled with a Takara Tomy Mall exclusive price tag will for sure keep others at bay.