Battle of the Bots: Combiners Unite!

This is a review I've been wanting to do since way back in the day, many years ago, when I first memorized/digested Rob Jungs original text tf toy list. He made a very brief mention of a toy that he *wished* would be counted as a TF ("I still love my old Land Bison gestault..."). For some reason, that stuck in my head; rare praise for a non-tf toy..... and as a result I'd been subconsciously on the lookout for this 'Land Bison' toy ever since.

I've never been one who liked reviews such as this; wordy essays that described whatever foolishness was in the head of the reviewer instead of simply pics of the toys. Yet here I find myself, trying to understand my motivations, trace origins, and lay them bare for you, my captive audience. It's coming across as, 'I don't know what this is, but I know what I like', and that can't be helped, because daddy likes. ;-)

In hindsight, the reason for this is obvious. My favorite type of robot has always been the combiner team, the 'gestalt' if you prefer. As a young man, I'd purchased Menasor, piece by piece, as I mowed lawns one summer. Took me an entire year to buy all the parts I needed, with Motormaster being the last, but I did it, and have never looked back. I have had, in my possession at various stages of my collecting, several combiner type robots from a number of series, including GodMars, Puzzler, and an odd assortment of the usual suspects from the same era. I'd even built combiners out of legos in order to swell the ranks (and provide explodable cannon-fodder for my tf troops). Alas, as time wore on, most have left this humble abode, but my trusty old Menasor has stayed the course, claiming victory in mock battles, as well as the top shelf of my little office of detrius. Nostalgia fuels me. As does a good toy. This fellow has always been representative of both.

I say all this because, in the last two years, thanks to a number of like-minded friends, I have finally come into possession of a couple of units that represent everything to me about combiners and, apparently, Menasor....and they're related.

One is the Super Scramble Base Bot, a knockoff by way of Japan.

The second is the Land Bison gestault.

Given the importance of these two pieces, and their relation to my tired old fav, I felt a short review was in order. Not trusting the removal of my own Menasor from his place of glory, I instead borrowed a friends for this review(yes, I used the latex gloves. God forbid I put a fingerprint on something of his). Read about my favs, why they are, and what relates them all to each other(other than my liking them, of course).

So here's where we start... the three greats, in their giftset boxes. Note that, as always, I will be using an old camera to take sub-standard pictures. This is my trademark; if you've known me long enough, you know I like things blurry. :-)

Mensaor, Super Scramble Base Bot(aka 'ko Menasaur', which I sometimes refer to as the 'Good' Autobot Menasor, since he's recolored all heroic-like), and of course, Land Bison. Detail nitpicks will of-course note that the Land Bison pictured here is the sonokong korean variant. It's still a Takara-stamped toy. It's still part of the Brave Da-garn line, which makes it at the very least a close cousin of the Transformers (other 'relatives' in this catagory would include the Brave Police sixshot-remold called Shadow Maru, and the brave recolor of Sonic Bomber among many others).

The back of the boxes. Menasor is still the obvious pick for me, even though he's technically 'evil'. It's the one abberation I accepted in my ranks of otherwise mostly 'good' guys from childhood. Often, I pretended that the Stunticons were the ones played by the Autobots, or even better, that their personalities were altered (like Devastators) so that they served the Autobot cause.

The insides of the sets. I like the arrangement. Styro for our Menasor, sturdy plastic for LandBison...and a curiously thin, limp tray for the ko. Hey, any port in a storm, I guess...

Speaking of insides, check out the accs. Here's where we seperate the men from the boys, er, bots. In the case of Menasor and the ko, we have seperate gestault pieces, as well as individual weapons. LandBison, however, has integrated combiner pieces, and comes only with a few individual guns. A rare upgrade, and one that will become more prevelant as the review progresees.

I mentioned these sets were all related, and here's a fun reason why: Obviously, the ko (SuperScrambleBasebot) is a knockoff of Menasor. What's *not* so obvious? Look at the Land Bison stickersheet. Now compare it to the ko. That steer's head look familiar? It's the same one on both!! Thus, Super Scramble provides the all-important link between Menasor and Battle Buffalo. Neat! (also neat that they use the real stunticon's names on the ko stickersheet, while calling them things like 'container car' on the box itself. :-)

Ahh, my personal fav picture...loose, and in vehicle mode. Stuntions are probably the best, but Motormaster can't carry his limbs into battle the way the Land Bison team can! Kind of a Super Gobot Stacks thing; I used to love doing that with my tfs back when I was a kid (I had stacks, and a few minibots, and brought them into the battlefield this very same way). I do love the colors of the ko ScrambleBot... after all, a small red lambo makes his sideswipe! He already has Prime colors on the cab(morotmaster), and with a little imagination, windcharger and mirage can round out the team.

Bot mode. Again, these pictures do not do the toys justice. They all look absolutely fantastic. I will say it is interesting that the Land Bison bots have more unique individual modes, compared to the somewhat 'cookie cutter' appearance of scrambledcity gestault pieces.

Tadaaa! Combined mode. Behold their mighty mightiness! Ready to charge into battle, these instruments of destruction...

From the side. Note that the individual weapons combine into a large gun for LandBison. He also has cool shoulder cannons.

And at last, we come to the end.....Land Bison escapes the clutches of both good and evil menasor due to a little thing he likes to call 'articulation'.

That's it for me. Hope you enjoyed this little looky-loo. Doesn't fit my standard MO, but hey, who says I can't have a little fun? Special thanks to Mike, and to Martin. Couldn't have done it without you.

Fred. Back from the hospital, and ready, rest. Zzzzzz...