EMS shipping is a godsend! Sure it’s expensive but in the grand scheme of things it barely costs more than freight. And I’m willing to spend a few extra bucks to get my import deliveries almost overnight. So where am I going with this shipping rate talk? I’m not sure, I just really like that a box from Japan takes less time to get here than a Mattel delivery. And most of the time it actually costs less as well!
My mail man was quite enamored with the box that Star Saber came in. HLJ didn’t use their usual corporate-tagged boxes and sent mine in the actual case from Takara-TOMY. The mail man asked if there actually was a giant Transformer in the box. I told him “of course,” and asked him if he wanted to take a look. We then went on to have a little Transformer opening party on my front porch. The man was thoroughly impressed with Star Saber even though he had no clue who he was.
Star Saber is a robot, that goes inside a robot, that goes inside another robot. I never had the original G1 Star Saber. There was a period of time when I was piecing together a nice G1 collection, but Star Saber’s price was always a bit out of my budget. Now I have no reason to track down the G1 version since Star Saber won the Masterpiece Fan’s Choice poll last year. He ended up beating out the likes of Fortress Maximus, Optimus Primal, Lio Convoy, Dai Atlas, and a bunch of other characters I would LOVE to see in the Masterpiece line. I wasn’t able to vote in the poll, but I would have been happy with any of the options listed.
Star Saber comes packed in a gigantic box very similar in size to the one Ultra Magnus came in. Once you slide out the plastic tray take a gander at the crazy amount of parts included: V-Star (the big part of the robot), Saber (the mid-sized ship), Brain of Courage (the little guy!), a shield, two saber blades, the holster for the smaller blade, Saber’s laser, and display parts that combine to make a flight stand. This box is bursting full of stuff to mess around with and I suggest the first thing to do is take the brain and put him into the cockpit of Saber. I had a little trouble prying the cockpit open until I found a business card that I then wedged between the cracks and got it. I sat the brain down, closed the canopy, and stared at the thing with a stupid grin. I was already in love and I hadn’t even gotten to the big guy.
Now there are two places we can go at this juncture. Either build his complete alt-mode, or go for the glory and make a giant robot. His alt-mode is fine. It’s a giant space ship with a big robot head on the top of it. I thought it was a neat trick that the shield converts into a flight stand. However, if you don’t want to use the flight stand there are panels in the front and rear of him that fold out to expose landing gears. They got you covered. There really are a shocking amount of hidden compartments in this figure, it seems I discover a new one each time I transform him.
* I also discovered a few hours after shooting pictures of him that I wasn’t quite transforming him right … my apologies for any mis-transformed pictures, this is my first Star Saber!
His bot-mode is accomplished in a similar fashion to his alt-mode. V-Star just needs a little bit of simple transforming to make the body that Saber will plug into. Much like with Ultra Magnus, half the fun of a shell body is sticking other robots and figures into his chest cavity.
Anyways, once robot mode is accomplished Star Saber takes the crown as the tallest Masterpiece figure to date! His head comes up to the top of Ultra Magnus’ shoulder extensions, and then his own shoulders take it home. He’s a big robot, but he certainly doesn’t have the chunkiness of Magnus. He’s also MUCH more posable. Hell, he’s able to hold his sword with both hands! Isn’t that not enough for you?
One aspect I wasn’t overly impressed with is Star Saber’s sword and shield. Both pieces are nice looking, but he has a really hard time holding them in his complete bot mode. I can’t seem to get either to tab in and hold for any amount of time. It’s not too big of a deal because the clamping of the hands holds them pretty well once in place. However, getting them into a pose can get frustrating with that big long sword handle flopping all over the place.
Another thing that I noticed about Star Saber is that he doesn’t have a lot of paint. Most of his color is from the plastic he was molded from. Now there are a couple mindsets I could have about this. Was Takara-TOMY trying to keep the price down? Were they being a little cheap? I can’t see either of those being the case. Takara is known as the company that paints their figures. That’s why we all pay the import prices to get those fantastic details on our robots. My gut tells me that the lack of paint is because there is a lot of rubbing parts together when putting together or taking apart Star Saber. It makes sense that you would want paint at a minimum in that case. Star Saber’s entire gimmick relies on disassembling him, so it would be disappointing if the collective fan base was afraid to do this in fear of paint chipping.
Star Saber cost me $150 shipped. I thought this was a good deal. I also realize how warped and desensitized to toy prices I am when I explained to the mail man that he “only cost $150.” The man was floored that a human being would drop that much money on a toy. But really it was a great price, and even if you order domestic anywhere between $150 – $170 you are still getting a good value. Star Saber is giant chunk of toy, and the best thing about him is that he is just a ton of fun to mess around with. Both him and Ultra Magnus have been fantastic from an engineering perspective. Both have really fun transformations. Star Saber can be put into so many modes, and hits so many poses that he’s just a pleasure to have around.
With Masterpiece Transformers I’d always suggest your favorite import shop first. But if you prefer domestic then check Amazon as the price seems to be sliding down a bit.