Well in light of one of my most recent acquisitions, I thought I'd take a look at another related figure. We all know I have an affinity for oddities and rare figures... what collector doesn't? And what else could fit that bill better than Deathsaurus... I mean Red Geist.
While it's not quite an official Transformers figure, it's far from being a knock off either. After Transformers had run its course in Japan Takara had a hand in producing other transforming toys, most notably the Brave (or Yuusha) line. While I'm not going to go into depth about Brave toys, it's sufficed to say that Takara used several Transformers molds (and animation models) in the Brave line.
Most casual American fans wouldn't really know too much about this guy, but for the more "hard-core" collectors, you may recognize this guy as Deszaras from the Victory line... but in a different color, and with a different name; Red Geist. With Deathsaurus being one of those prohibitively expensive figures, I couldn't help but snap this guy up when the opportunity presented itself. I'd wanted a Deathsaurus for quite some time, but given the price tag that comes along with him, I didn't want to drop that kind of coin on a figure, and not even have an idea if I was going to like it. Not to mention, he hardly ever shows up for sale in the U.S. market. While Red Geist isn't as expensive, or as hard to find, as his Transformers counterpart, he's probably still going to beat your wallet up a bit though.
From time to time I browse though the Brave listings on eBay looking for some of the figures that share a common mold with Transformers toys. I happened to come across a listing for a complete Red Geist at what I considered to be an affordable price. Wile agonizing over rather or not to bite the bullet, I found out that another collector I knew was also looking at the same listing. For me that was enough to sway me to pass on it; I wanted this guy, but it was more of an impulse buy than a figure I had been hunting down for a long time.
After the listing had ended (I can't lie) it kind of ate at me, and I started to regret passing on it. Good fortune just happened to shine on me though. Within a few days another listing popped up on eBay for a similar price, and this time I couldn't pass it up. I knew what this guy normally sold for, and seeing two listings within such a short period of time that were well below market value seemed to be a sign (at least that was my justification lol). I hit the "Buy It Now" button, and not-so-patiently awaited the arrival of my new toy.
The only real difference between the two is that Red Geist doesn't come with both Breastmaster figures. For the Brave release Takara only included Tigerbreast, and left out the Eaglebreast figure. This wasn't a big deal for me though, since I only wanted to see how well I liked the actual Deathsaurus/Red Geist mold. I didn't really notice any difference in the plastic quality when compared to my other vintage G1 figures.
The real surprise came in the transformation. I spent quite a bit of time looking over whatever pictures I could find of both Deatsaurus & Red Geist, and was pretty sure I had figured out his transformation scheme. Boy was I wrong! I had assumed, like many animal based Transformers, that transformation would involve simply standing him up, and moving a couple of bits around; e.g. the animal legs usually become the robot legs, and the same goes for the arms. While the transformation is still relatively simple, I found it really surprising that the legs actually swivel up to become the robot's arms, and that the legs actually folded out of the torso. For a G1 mold, I found this to be refreshing and quite innovative for the time.
Overall I'm pretty happy with this purchase, and am proudly displaying him on the shelf with my other Japanese G1 molds until I'm able to add Deathsaurus to my collection... then I will proudly display them both side-by-side. While it's not an "official" Transformers figure, it is a Transformers mold, and officially licensed by Takara, so I have no problem making him part of my "Expanded Transformers Universe" in regard to my collection. He has been officially drafted into my G1 collection, along with Shadow Maru/Sixshot, Dag Base/Grandus, and Death Garry/Sky Garry. Stay tuned to see who the next draftee is in my Brave/TF collection; it's the one that started it all.