PHOTOBER THE 9TH – Tactician Cyclonus (featuring Grand Galvatron)

Originally, Grand Galvatron was going to be its own day, just enough to show different configurations, at least; since Combiner Wars combiners are not generally practically poseable, there probably wasn’t too much mileage to get out of that. But Ghost Starscream breaking understandably ruined that plan, so I ended up just including it with Cyclonus. That may have actually worked in my favor in a different way though.

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Tactician Cyclonus, because evidently each toy in this set needed a prefix for their name, is a wonderful redeco of Combiner Wars Cyclonus. The Hasbro toy went directly for Cyclonus toy colors, where this one did everything it could to give the look of the cartoon. That deco choice ends up making Tactician Cyclonus very unique out of the small assortment of Classic-and-friends options for Cyclonus. Henkei Henkei Cyclonus, released by Takara several years earlier, seemed like it might have sort of been trying for this same end, but didn’t actually hit the target. This one is like spot-on though. Metallic blue is the main color, and it looks beautiful in person. It also photographs well, thankfully! Purple accents along with silver and grey pretty much comprise the rest of the color layout, and it comes together wonderfully. Roller might be my favorite toy in this set, but Cyclonus is by far my favorite deco.

I think in general I was a lot less down on the idea of Combiner Wars Cyclonus than most people I heard from at the time, and that was just with the much more basic-looking Hasbro release. It’s a retool of Combiner Wars Silverbolt, which was an okay toy, but still clearly was a very early development of its line. There were enough alternate parts to effectively change the visual identity, but it was clear that it wasn’t the Cyclonus a lot of people wanted. And honestly, it’s not the greatest toy. There’s many joints, but the practical poseability is low; most of its articulation ends up just being in service of being able to make a decent torso out of it. That’s why having to lump Grand Galvatron in here might have helped me, as it was really difficult to get more than a few interesting shots out of the robot mode. It really is a shame, since it looks so nice, but it’s so hard to show off. Even the accessories are a struggle, because the recolored Silverbolt weapons were really made to be a combiner’s weapon. The individual robot isn’t made to handle it.

The vehicle mode is another rough spot. While it again looks fantastic thanks to the deco, it’s still retooled from a Silverbolt. Thus, you have the entire robot on the bottom hanging out in clear view. The selection of alternate parts does put a very effective Cyclonus vehicle skin on the top side. I think this nails the cartoon look of Cyclonus in a way that the Universe mold never was able to – not that it was actually trying to. Sadly especially in this deco, it’s clear that this really nice space jet is riding on top of a box of folded-up robot. Still, get it from the top or even the side a bit and it’s really visually impressive.

As goes Grand Galvatron, the use of G1 toy colors for the Galvatron components is a choice I’m pleased with. There’s not a whole lot specifically notable beyond that though. It’s a Combiner Wars-era combiner, so it’s reasonably okay at being an assembly of five toys that just stands in place, but it’s going to destabilize pretty quick if you try to do too much with it, particularly around the feet. At least in this instance, Roller and Breakdown have a snug fit for their combiner appendages, so the feet won’t twist to the side under the weight of the super robot.

Despite having broken earlier, Starscream’s arm can still be used, and can support its own weight, so display in this form is still possible. While one of the parts of a box set that’s pretty expensive second hand now is itself a sad thing, it honestly doesn’t affect my use of Grand Galvatron much at all. Since I always knew that Starscream breaking was a “when” rather than “if”, I’ve long been giving consideration to substitute team members. While some first choices, like the “Shattered Glass” Starscream made from the same tooling combo as this set’s Ghost are well outside my effective price range, there’s still more than a few combiner limb toys out there without a combiner of their own to call home. And this combiner is already such a crazy assembly of unrelated characters, I’d probably actually have to put some effort in selecting a permanent replacement that makes less sense than anyone already here.

Man, I really miss this period of Takara-original Transformers products…

Grand Galvatron’s week ended a little bit early due to …well, actually entirely foreseeable circumstances. Come back tomorrow for Photober 10th to see what will wrap up the first full week!