Non-affiliated, Non-lengthy, Non-articles about Transformers

Sunday 8 February 2015

GigaPower HQ03 Guttur - Production Sample Review

It's been in the works for a very long time and a significant number of collectors didn't even believe it was ever going to see release, but the time has nearly come for new 3rd party company GigaPower's HQ03 "Guttur" to take centre stage. GigaPower's shot at a line of Masterpiece Transformers Dinobot-inspired figures begins with their interpretation of Desert Warrior Snarl. GP will offer this figure in metallic colours and also with chrome finish for a later release version. My own preference, even from the first line-art drawings of Guttur, has been to collect the FansToys Iron Dibots but I'm at the stage now where I believe putting one hundred collectors in a room will result in 50 of them choosing Guttur and GP's vision.

First impressions of Guttur are almost entirely dominated by its phenomenal size compared to what I am used to with Masterpiece Grimlock or FansToys Scoria and Soar. The latter's head only makes it up to the centre of Guttur's chest and Scoria's head to the top of said chest. It's quite a size difference and a major sticking point for those who were considering a mix 'n' match MP-style Dinobot collection or display. While you can debate the merits of a gigantic MP Snarl all day and night, what can't be disputed is that in terms of aesthetics, GP have gotten Snarl pretty well nailed down. Plenty of collectors love the ever-so-slightly darker metallic grey used throughout Guttur compared to the lighter and more flat grey used on Scoria.

Opening chest compartments

In terms of die cast content, Guttur's pentagonal Stegosaurus spikes are all diecast, as is a significant part of the assembly holding them that sits on the robot's back and the dino paws. Virtually everything else is plastic, meaning that it weighs less than I would have believed, but it's still pretty substantial. Nothing on the figure felt fragile or delicate, I had no qualms about giving any panel, joint or moving part the force it needed to be adequately manipulated. Put simply, Guttur can take it. His hand gun may be missing the signature cable loop on the underside that G1 Snarl had, but it fits into his hand perfectly and as you can see above, there's a pretty wide range of motion in articulation available.

The timing being such that FansToys' Sever is going up virtually head-to-head with Guttur - so much so that a number of side by side test shot images have surfaced - the scrutiny for this project has been intense. Rightfully so, have you seen what he costs for a first time effort? With FT having arguably hit two enormous home runs with Scoria and Soar, it would have been easy for most to hold off and just keep it FT for the long run, so GP had to do a lot to get this figure noticed. The size is one department they've done that in, the other is how they've opted for a G1 toy accurate look, evidenced most clearly by the front dino legs sitting on the outer robot legs.

In order to move and pose the legs, you occasionally have to adjust the six crotch flaps, and as cumbersome as that can be, it does help keep those dynamic poses just that bit more secure. You have to really be going for something acrobatic in order for Guttur to topple or just refuse to cooperate. The sword grip is also very secure and both hand weapons take AG4 batteries to light them up. There is no outward ankle articulation so I couldn't get Guttur to strike my personal favourite running stance, but pretty much everything else was achievable. The double-handed sword grip was made possible by his arms being so far above and behind his chest. That massive barrel of a torso does otherwise provide a slight hindrance to two-handed weapon wielding. When holding his sword, the thumb won't be able to be posed horizontally, but instead angled downwards or it will pop out of its socket.

Flame parts are rubbery, sword flames come apart in two halves

All images thus far have shown Guttur with the growly face and red eyes, but the accessories that come with the first release metallic version mean you'll be busy for some time cycling between configurations. There's an extra robot head with plain features and blue eyes (taking the two halves of the head apart - no screws needed - mean you can change eye colour), there are clear covers for the dino head and neck, a peg for attaching the sword in both modes when not held, two sets of 'flame shoes' for front and rear feet, flames for the sword and laser fire for the hand gun as well as a one-piece rocket and launcher. The result? Fun.

The robotic proportions are very strong, even if the upper and lower arms seem bulbous, I can't fault the overall silhouette at all, and I'm far from bothered by the dino front legs being exposed that way. The manufacturer themselves informed me that the sample I received would be spray-painted as opposed to the final product's paints which  "will be coated/baked and will not be easily scratched". I'm sure I'm not the first reviewer to share this information, GigaPower have made sure to stress known issues with the samples to reviewers, and I think it's great they care so much about what people think of their product, much like BadCube did in my communication with them. They also informed me that I could expect loose fingers, and a few of them were floppy, I was assured the final product would eliminate such concerns.

It's amazing how much holding and moving parts around on Guttur reminds me of the positive qualities of Masterpiece Grimlock or a top-end leader class figure of yesteryear. It's clear the construction and conceptual approach - while fundamentally the same - is distinguishable from FansToys. I would imagine an FT figure of this size would weight more and there would be more microscopic intricacy in particular mechanisms or sections, but that's not necessarily a good thing always. Aesthetically speaking, and this is completely a personal matter, I think Guttur's face sculpt (not head sculpt) is my least favourite part. It's irrational too, because Snarl was never meant to be an intellectual or have the chiseled hyper-angular features of Swoop, but I find myself preferring FT Sever's face. The lack of up and down movement in the head limits expression as well. 

I had one further issue with the spike-laden backpack in robot mode, the two halves of it would separate and I'd have to peg them together again. This must be to do with the weight of the die-cast in that area, but again they've assured me the production version will iron this out, so it's over to you GP. I do wish that section would properly click in somewhere though, at the moment the top of it sits securely on the shoulders, but you may find yourself wanting some closure to the transformation of that section. Now, on the topic of transformation!

That's a pretty seriously nailed Snarl right there. There are no obvious departures from the recognised shape of Snarl as a G1 toy, it even has the really high back and steep tail angle. Colours are great, and even though this is a spray-painted sample created rapidly for distribution, I love the paint apps and the level of detailing in panels and moulding is really nice. This was how Guttur was packaged when I removed him from the shipping box, and there were sharp intakes of breath at the sheer scale of the beast. I really do think I'll prefer chrome, but I'm surprised how much the matte metallic paint has impressed me. Nothing seems half-arsed which is a big deal at this price point. There is limited articulation in the head (no clockwise or anti-clockwise head cocking), but the jaw opens a lot and there is a double-barreled weapon in there with independently-moving cannons. The tail moves from left to right but really not so much. The dino feet all have ankle tilts. Another GP-highlighted issue here is the sprue separation mark on the end of the dino nose which came with assurances of a fix for production.

You may also notice that I have three rear paws and one front paw, as you look at Guttur head on, the front right paw is a rear one due to the extra width. A replacement is on the way, so it's good to know they're in the MMC mould of issuing parts when necessary. It's not affected me much apart from when he comes to wear the flame shoes. The transformation is completely intuitive, no instructions necessary at all and no undue stress on any parts which is a very confidence-inspiring attribute. Big chunky sections that are easy to handle with a ton of ratcheting joints. There's no hesitation from me in going from one mode to the other. I will say it's a shade disappointing that the way the dino head and neck retract into the robot legs mirrors the MP-8 Grimlock mechanism of hiding dino parts in the robot legs precisely. It works though, and does exactly what it needs to, which acts as a real benefit to the figure overall. I have to admit, the little trick with the heels is a nice touch, things definitely feel well thought out all the way across Guttur. So yeah, transformation, big tick.

Again, the accessories add a further dimension to Guttur in dino mode. The clear head and neck cover may be super loose on this sample specimen, but they should be more snug on final production. It's just one more step towards recreating the beloved toy appearance of G1 Dinobot Snarl.

Add the flame shoes and it's just mental. I don't know why he would ever need them but now I've played with them I'd hate to not have them. Slide the toes in first and then push the heels down, that's the way. The clear U-shaped clip we saw in the accessory bundle can be used here to mount the sword to the side of the rear dino legs and the missile launcher - with its double-jointed peg - can also be attached in dinosaur configuration. Even though the hand gun has a similar peg to the missile launcher, its connection to the side of the dino legs is much looser and it won't stay attached.

What the above pictures demonstrate is that GigaPower Guttur can stand beside FansToys Soar and not look out of place. The aesthetic is close enough, even with this being the non-chrome version, that a display would not be negatively affected. They actually look pretty good together. Put MP-8 without his glam boots and FT Scoria in there too, and you begin to notice the disparity in scale across GigaPower, FansToys and Takara Tomy. Grimlock is now so out of scale that anyone with an affinity for proper scaling and GigaPower Dinobots will require a 3rd party rendition of The King. Should you add the FT boots for Grimlock, the situation is marginally improved. I actually don't think Guttur in robot mode is so much taller than Scoria that a mixed-company Dinobot display would be inconceivable. Above all, forgetting scale and everything, what a lovely group of transforming dinosaur figures they are, eh?

That's the core of my feelings on Guttur, being a FansToys Iron Dibots collector I tried hard to find something that immediately put me off Guttur and I thought I had all the evidence I needed in pre-sample images put out by GigaPower. In hand, it's incredibly hard to find a deal-breaking fault. It's a very solid figure with a great transformation, highly posable and accurate to the source material, utterly tonnes of accessories to mess about with and a presence that cannot be denied. It's a damn shame these accessories do not come with the chrome release because I get the feeling many collectors would plump for that variant, myself included. If all highlighted issues really will be corrected for full production release, then this is a fantastic first offering by GigaPower that - as I said at the start - will appeal to a significant portion of the fandom's tastes. Choice is to be welcomed, and one should not feel beholden to one company or feel obligated to maintain a loyalist philosophy to their collecting. After all, there's not a whole lot wrong with the closing image below, is there?

All the best


  1. This has flare and those fire shoes are awesome. One thing I don't like about Fans Toys dinobots are their derpy faces and visually bland accessories.

    1. I never found FansToys faces derpy to be honest, if anything Guttur is kinda in the same territory if FT faces are considered such. At certain angles, Soar's face is the most beautiful and faithful of all...

  2. This one is really tempting me. I have an irrational desire to have some Dinobots in my otherwise Transformer-less collection. I very much like the toy aesthetic of this over the toon aesthetic of FT.

    I really like the head and neck covers, but think it may look better if there was some circuit detailing carved into the inner surface. Also, wish that the chrome version included the cool flames!