FIRST LOOK: BBTS Exclusive G1 Commemorative Seacons - PIRANACON
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The year is 1988. Optimus Prime has been killed off in the animated movie and most G1 Transformers fans have moved on to more interesting avenues. The evil SEACONS made their toy debut under the TRANSFORMERS TARGETMASTERS banner but would only appear in animated form in Japan. These colorful Decepticon sea creatures could merge together, like many of the other Decepticons before them, to form the mighty PIRANACON.
Fast forward to 2010 when the likes of Pirana 3D is hitting the big screen, this commemorative box set is available NOW exclusively at BigBadToyStore.com so be sure to head over there if you've been looking for it. It may not be the original but it does beat having to pay secondary market prices for a complete set.
While there were six Seacons, only five would merge together into the combiner, leaving the last remaining member to form the weapon... hence "Targetmasters". This play feature allowed Piranacon to be formed by any number of combinations as each one could be the weapon... but this of course led to many discrepancies on what the official stance was for which Seacon would play which part.
Over the years, Piranacon's right side has always been pretty random. While the centerpiece is always Snap Trap, left arm always Seawing, and left leg always Tentakil, the rest of the team changes depending on where you look. In the vintage box, Overbite is the right arm and Skalor is the right leg, and Nautilator is nowhere in sight. In the modern packaging art, Skalor is the right arm, Nautilator is the right leg and Overbite is often treated as the weapon. In the modern instructions, Nautilator is the right arm and Skalor is the right leg! It's not even consistent in this new release! I can definitely see a color coordination if Skalor was the leg and Nautilator the arm, but as it were, the toy of Piranacon certainly stands better when the roles are performed exactly as Hasbro has delivered it in the package.
And fortunately for you, this is one stop shopping and you'll get all six Seacons in one fell swoop. The leader of the bunch is SNAP TRAP, a turtle. SEAWING is a manta ray; Squid-like TENTAKIL; NAUTILATOR who forms a lobster; SKALOR the coelacanth; and OVERBITE, the shark.
The old method of packaging would be to include each Seacon in their individual compartments, accessories, and decals but presented in one massive box. The 2010 style is to have all the decals already applied and each Seacon fully transformed into Piranacon. Quite a difference a generation or two makes, doesn't it? Piranacon is displayed in a clear box with colorful photography and art on all sides. One really couldn't ask for a better designed and collector friendly box than this. By releasing it as Piranacon, you actually have a much more compact product than selling a box set advertising each Transformer.
There's a collector card displayed on the front and you will find one for each Seacon, including the combined entity of Piranacon. The front of the card gives collectors a glimpse of the toy art while the back offers stats and a brief bio. This is a great addition actually and I wish every Transformer came with one as it’d be an interesting way to keep tabs on your collection.
The sculpt on these figures are definitely showing their age and not the most attractive designs ever conceived, but G1 is G1 and they’ve done a great job recreating these as close as possible. They look nothing like their collector cards which is pretty standard as Transformers go I think. If you do happen to own any of the vintage versions of these, you may find that the older toy has a more distinct and sharper sculpt. I'm not sure if that's because of the molds not being as fresh as they were but there is a definite difference.
Pictured above you'll find photos of the new Skalor (right side) with the vintage one (on the left) in both modes and you'll not only find differences in the sculpt, but also on some of the decals.
The paint scheme is also based on the G1 toy, and as atrocious as it may be to some, they've captured the bright colors quite well but there are many inconsistencies. Skalor happens to be exactly like the vintage in its color design but I've discovered that many of the other Seacons weren't so lucky.
Whether or not that was intentional is anybody's guess. Snap Trap's head in robot mode should be black; the vintage toy had it, the box photography and trading card has it... and yet the updated toy does not. Overbite is a character with quite a lot of purple features in the past but this modern release is lacking all traces of purple. It's an odd thing and I really can't explain it. If they are going to change the colors, then I would prefer they at least give everyone red Decepticon eyes.
Articulation wasn't always a Transformer's best friend. You were lucky to have it and sometimes when you did, it was an essential element in the transformation. Snap Trap, being the bigger leader of the bunch has his own individual legs and arms but his legs were limited to the lateral moments that are part of his transformation. No movement on the head either, sadly. In "turtle mode," each limb is articulated and he also has a working jaw. There's a cool weapon action feature on his back that simulates the firing of his guns.
The rest of the Seacons have severely limited articulation but all have working arms in robot mode at least. Their legs for the most part are connected together which immediately makes everyone's beast mode far more interesting.
Accessories galore, this set comes with everything you need to make Piranacon fully armed. Each Seacon has their own weapons to attach in both robot and beast modes and each Seacon has the ability to become a weapon themself (with the exception of Snap Trap). The five smaller Seacons come with a 3-piece display stand. For Piranacon, he makes use of Snap Trap's sword or blaster, and can also make do with any one of the left over Seacons.
This limited edition Seacons set is available only at Bigbadtoystore.com and if you want it early, it will cost you $74.99. Considering how much we've paid for other G1 Reissues, this is a total steal. There are six Transformers in this set so you'll find that you're only paying a marginal markup from the vintage 1988 prices, which is along the lines of what a re-issue SHOULD cost. $30 for an Autobot car is ridiculous, but $74.99 for a combiner? I don't think that's too out of the question. If you get it less than that, even better.
Piranacon came during a time when Transformers were losing their steam, but that doesn't make it any less fun. I personally was never able to find all the Seacons in my day and since I bought Skalor in a foreign country on a foreign card, I didn't even realize he had a bigger role to fill. G1 Transformers hold a special place for me so being able to go back and relive it with these commemorative re-issues is a lot of fun. I'm still having trouble getting over some of the color inconsistencies but that may be something I take up with Hasbro... after I thank them for re-issuing the toy to begin with. I suppose if you want the originals, they're still out there. This one is a bit more within reach.
Review and Photography by David Yeh
Review Sample Courtesy of Bigbadtoystore.com
Re: FIRST LOOK: BBTS Exclusive G1 Commemorative Seacons - PIRANACON