In Europe and the West, in 1988, we received Powermaster Optimus Prime and thought it was amazing. Japan, on the other hand, got Super Ginrai and then God Ginrai during the airing of Japanese Transformers series Super God Masterforce (or Chōjin Masterforce). Die cast, proper windows, chrome, retractable fists, generally better quality construction and an exclusive Godbomber figure too meant that for years the Japanese set was highly regarded and sought after. Then just after the turn of the century, Takara (because at that stage they were still just Takara) reissued C-310 God Ginrai as a giftset, and then came the exclusive recolour Fire Guts God Ginrai that you see here in 2002. Orange Powermaster Prime and orange Godbomber, if you'd like to oversimplify!
|Recoloured artwork too!|
|No styro for most reissues|
Being a limited exclusive recolour, and quite garishly wild at that, I believe that quite like Shining yellow Ultra Magnus - affectionately labelled Piss Magnus - at the time it was not hot property to most and maybe too expensive for others as a curiosity. After a little time had passed and those that wanted the figure bought it, like virtually every single reissue exclusive, 'FGGG' started to go up in price and like Shining Magnus, today will set you back an inordinate amount of money unthinkable upon release. Until a month ago I'd never experienced God Ginrai at all, but I always felt drawn to bizarre and far-removed recolours like FGGG, just as I did with Shining Magnus, Sunstorm, Hauler and the like. It may also explain why I picked up so many minibot variants over the years.
If you haven't watched Super God Masterforce, you're missing out. I'll admit that first time through it was un-watchable, but after I'd experienced the Bay movies and Animated, my idea of what Transformers should look like and be like became more relaxed, and I opened my mind to it. Masterforce is up there with Animated as far as enjoyable and well-flowing Transformers cartoons are concerned. "Ginrai" was a truck driver and a bit of a drunk, stumbled across a set of bracelets that allowed him to bond with the 'Transtector' truck we know as Optimus Prime. When the trailer was located it too bonded with Ginrai to form Super Ginrai (what we know as Powermaster Optimus Prime). Later in the series, the good guys completed the Godbomber project and finally that bonded with Super Ginrai to make God Ginrai. So, Fire Guts God Ginrai refers to God Ginrai's super-powerful final attack "God Fire Guts" seen above, a concentration of his Chōkon power that engulfs him in orange flame. Confused? good, read this. To quote from that:
"The Japanese Earth-dweller comes across a truck that looks remarkably like a Powermaster Optimus Prime! The lifeless mecha, called a Transtector, contains Godmaster bracelets which fit Ginrai perfectly and allow him the power to merge with the truck cab, and later the trailer too, to become Super Ginrai. The Super Ginrai toy differs from the Hasbro Powermaster Prime in that it contains diecast metal in the cab, glass windows instead of just stickers, retractable fists for the combined robot and chromed sections amongst other things. As an interesting aside, there is pre-production paperwork kicking about that indicates the large robot head for this mould (and PM Prime) was originally intended to be a Headmaster".
FGGG comes with recoloured stickers, instructions, collector's card and a very nifty poster which is professionally obscured above by my lack of willingness to open the paperwork baggie during that photoshoot, and subsequent incompetence of putting the packaging in storage with the paperwork still sealed inside after I'd changed my mind. You'll just have to take my word for it being awesome.
FGGG is largely orange and red, with little bits of silver here and there. The most striking feature about the toy are the orange chrome sections that really stand out from a distance. As if orange plastic - the colour which the human eye notices above all others - wasn't eye-grabbing enough, making it shiny really does the trick. I love it personally, the mould itself has always been close to my heart and the regular reissue God Ginrai (and I assume the original) is a delightful toy. I'm still buzzing about how much of an upgrade this is from PM Prime, but the bizarre colours with their Masterforce relevance bring an entirely different appeal to the table. Much like Piss Magnus, FGGG can repel as many collectors as it attracts, but this is right up my street.
Any Japanese toy of this size and scale with multiple vehicles contains a huge amount of combinations and official modes. There are attack modes which require a particular sequence of accessories to be attached as either weapons or appendages, but in this piece I've gone for the most traditional God Ginrai / PM Prime arrangements, with the exception of attaching the cab directly to Godbomber. You can see that with the stickers unapplied, there are certain occasions where the expanses of orange plastic could do with being broken up by some detailing where little has been sculpted into the material. The orange chrome on the Godmaster Ginrai figure, on the truck cab and Godbomber's cab are worthy of licking.
As much as I love going between the modes (although I obviously forgot the base mode!) and displaying the Super Ginrai and Godbomber side by side - still amazed at their equal height - there's only really one way this guy was ever going to be displayed, and that was as God Ginrai the fully combined monster. To tell the truth, if I had the display space I'd show him off in combined truck mode, but the wife actually likes his robot mode and that means he gets a free pass to be displayed around the flat. In truck mode he gets away with not having any stickers applied, but even I think he could use a few labels off the sheet as Fire Guts God Ginrai the robot.
The missile launcher is hugely potent, which is understandable considering the toy is of Japanese origin. Nothing compared to the near-blinding experience I had with Turbomaster Rotorstorm the other day where the rocket hit me square in the pupil, but it fires at the slightest provocation. I also find, compared to the Hasbro Apex Armour reissue I have, not everything fits as snugly. This is especially true of the red Godbomber chest, the chrome Godbomber cab and even the left leg flap on the Ginrai trailer (see first article pic where it's sticking out a bit).
Going from 26 years with Powermaster Prime and never owning a God Ginrai to having both the regular and Fire Guts reissue in the space of 3 weeks has been a wonderful experience. This is an *exceptional* vintage era Transformer with enough gimmickry, quality and combination possibilities to keep you busy for a very long time. While I know I'll spend most of my time just staring at Fire Guts God Ginrai, the regular reissue will get full play value extracted from it. I'm not quite ready to introduce these to my daughter yet as toys she can play with as I don't wish to end her love affair with my childhood Powermaster Prime just yet. He deserves a good run with my little girl just as he had with me.
All the best