Blog #866: Toy Review: Transformers Masterpiece Star Saber

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Transformers Masterpiece Star Saber

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The first thing I noticed when I got Star Saber is that Takara screwed up his name.  If you try to Google Starsaber, it wants to correct it to Star Saber, which is his correct name as far as I know.  Not sure how they could screw up his name on the box.  Someone really dropped the ball.

Coin

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Star Saber, as with most recent Masterpiece toys, was available with a coin.  The outer holder shows Star Saber’s chest on the front.  When you flip up the front it shows Saber’s chest.  Flip that up and it reveals the coin.  I’m getting kind of tied of these coins.  Most of them, you can’t even see the backs without removing them from the holder.  It would make more sense for them to be packaged so you can see both sides.

Accessories

Star Saber has a number of accessories, and some of the parts can be used in multiple configurations.

Sword (Small Hilt, Short Blade)

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The short hilt is very odd.  The instructions do not show anyplace to store it, though it does have a peg on the back which suggests it has some place it’s supposed to go.

Sword (Small Hilt, Long Blade)

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You can swap out the smaller blade for the long blade.

Sword (Large Hilt, Short Handle)

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The nose of Saber (Small Jet) becomes the hilt of the larger sword.  Unlike the small hilt, only the long blade can fit into the large hilt.

Sword (Large Hilt, Long Handle)

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And finally, there is an extended handle piece for Star Saber to use the large hilt and long blade sword.  The long handle has no place to be stored in any other mode.

Vehicle Stand/Shield

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His shield, which I did not get a picture of on it’s own but is pictured below, also doubles as a stand for Star Saber’s combined vehicle mode.  You have to pull out the blue part with the handle on and replace it with the stand piece.  There is then a second stand piece that fits on top and actually holds the toy.  These interchangeable parts for the shield and stand have no storage when not in use.  This kind of sucks, you would think they would have found a place to put them.

Weapon Storage

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In robot mode Star Saber’s large hilt with the long handle attachment stores on his back.  His gun, which I didn’t bother take a picture of since it’s pretty insignificant, also stores on his back.

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His sword blades store inside his blue “backpack”.  They can be stored there in any mode.  You can see the short blade on the left between the thrusters.  The long one on the right is much easier to see.

Brain Master

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Star Saber’s original Brain Master partner was named Yukio.  I am pretty sure it just calls him Brain in the instruction book.  Now, they did an amazing job painting Brain.  He’s only about an inch tall, if that, but is incredibly detailed.  He goes in Saber’s chest.  When Saber’s chest is closed, Brain is pushed up to form Saber’s face.  The only problem is that it’s fake.

The original G1 toy, actually has Yukio form his face.  The way it works is that Yukio is basically a plastic cube hollowed out top to bottom creating a square shaft through it top to bottom.  The front of the cube is the robot chest and the arms are attached on the sides.  A separate tall thin piece goes inside with the legs on the bottom and the head on top.  It is spring loaded, but when not inside Saber’s chest, he looks basically like a Head Master but with really thin legs.

When Yukio is placed in Saber’s chest and the door closed, the figure is pushed up.  The top of the cube, his shoulders, hit the top of the chamber and stop, but the spring loaded center piece continues to rise.  Yukio’s robot head goes up inside Saber’s helmet.  Saber’s face is below that .  So, the figure literally creates his face.

Masterpiece Brain doesn’t do that.  It’s made to look like that’s what happens, but when the figure is pushed up, it just raises a face that is already there.  I’m probably being picky here, but if they were going to do a Brain Master, I would have liked it to operate as intended.  Yes, the figure Brain does look better than Yukio, but I would prefer the Brain Master functionality work properly.

Saber Vehicle Mode

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Saber’s vehicle mode is awesome.  He’s a red jet with white detail and a translucent blue cockpit.  He’s really well designed and a good size.  This is a fantastic looking jet mode.  His landing gear wheels and thrusters are die cast metal.

Saber Robot Mode

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In robot mode, Saber’s all set for the 4th of July in red white and blue.  He has awesome painted details and a great head and face sculpt.  Even without the V Saber vehicle, this would be an awesome toy.

V Saber

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On it’s own the V Saber vehicle is big and looks pretty cool, but it’s obviously not as good as when it is combined with Saber.  It reminds me a little (in it’s general operation) of Grandizer’s saucer module, which is probably not by accident as they are both Japanese creations.  I did not discover this until after I took the pictures, as it is not in the instructions, but the red plate on the front of each side with the gun on it, can be flipped up to reveal banks of missiles.  I can’t remember if the G1 toy had that or not.  He, like Saber, has die cast wheels and thrusters.  He does have one design flaw.  His antennae are supposed to point forward on the side of his Star Saber head as guns.  However, they are designed with a hinge in the middle so that they can be tipped outward in robot mode.  The problem is, that when you tip them forward, the hinge hits the side of the head in such a way that it wants to force it to point inward.  Now, this could be intentional, but all the pictures on the box and in the instructions show them pointed straight ahead.  You can get them to stay with some effort, but they won’t quite stay straight.  To me a flaw like this is unforgivable.

Star Saber Vehicle Mode

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Once combined Star Saber is much more imposing.  Obviously the jet nose from Saber make him look much more like a jet than V Star does alone.

Star Saber Robot Mode

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And here we have Star Saber in all his glory.  He is a bit of a pain to combine.  You almost need three hands to get Saber snapped in to his chest, but after a couple of times it got easier.  His colors are fantastic.  The gold chrome on his chest looks great, and the rotating vents beneath it is a nice detail.  He really is perfect.  It should be noted that I have him pictured with his antenna straight.  They are supposed to be tipped away from his head a little bit.  I was going by the G1 toy when I took the picture.  Frankly I think they look better straight anyway.

Overall: I got my G1 Star Saber at Botcon 1998 along with Victory Leo and Overlord in trade for a MOC pair of Jazz and Soundwave Lasercycle prototypes that I bought at a comic store for $10.  (That’s a story I really should tell on this blog some time.  I found a lot more than one pair of Jazz and Soundwave Lasercycles that day.)  Anyway, Star Saber instantly became my favorite Transformers toy of all time as soon as I got him out of the box.  The idea of the Masterpiece line is to make a considerably better toy than it’s original incarnation.  So, I must ask the question, is Masterpiece Star Saber considerably better than the original?  I don’t think so.  He’s got all kinds of joints, but that is not necessarily an improvement for me.  V Star is not quite as solid as the G1.  If you pick it up wrong, it does start to come apart a little.  Honestly, I think I prefer the original, which is not to say that this is not an incredible toy.  It’s just not so much better than the original, and there is one way in which Masterpiece Star Saber falls terribly short.  There is no Masterpiece Victory Leo for him to combine with.  At least not yet.  Now there’s a good toy that could easily be improved on with a Masterpiece toy.  If they do an MP Victory Leo, I might have to rethink my opinion of MP vs. G1 Star Saber a little bit.

Thanks for reading!

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About lmb3

I’m 36 years old, and I work in network tech support for a public school system. I am a huge fan of Star Trek, Transformers, Harry Potter, and Marvel Comics as well as numerous other fandoms. I’m a big sports fan, especially the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. I collect toys (mostly Transformers but other stuff too), comic books, and Red Sox baseball cards. I watch an obscene amount of television and love going to the movies. I am hopelessly addicted to Wizard Rock and I write Harry Potter Fanfiction, though these days I am working on a couple of different original YA novels.
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