"Generations" Selects Gulf (aka Skalor) Toy Review

in 2020, Action Figure Review, Deluxe, Destron, Generation One, Generations, Seacons, TakaraTomyMall, Selects

Generations Selects

General Information:
Release Date: April 2020
Price Point: $34.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: Takara Tomy Mall and Hasbro Pulse Exclusives
Accessories: Blasters x 2, Tail/Weapon, Sword, King Poseidon fist/weapon stand

Gulf

Official images and text below in italics are from hasbropulse.com:
Product Description
The Takara Tomy Transformers Generations Selects Gulf figure was imported directly from Japan in its original packaging with Japanese-language instructions, featuring authentic Takara Tomy design and deco.

  • Authentic Takara Tomy Product as sold in Japan, with original packaging and Japanese-language instructions
  • Converts from coelacanth monster mode to robot mode
  • Comes with 2 blasters and one sword accessory
  • Gulf is a member of the Seacons, part of the King Poseidon combiner (other combiner figures sold separately, subject to availability)
  • Figure also converts into a weapon mode
    Ages 8 and up.

In 1988 Hasbro released a new Decepticon Combiner team called the Seacons. Each of the six Seacons transformed from a sea monster (usually a legged variant of a real life sea creature) into a robot and Combiner limb. What made these guys different from other Combiners like Superion and Defensor is that five of the team members could also transform into a weapon for the Combiner, Piranacon! This effectively made him a Targetmaster and Hasbro officially labeled them so on the packaging. In the Beast Wars II series, five of the Seacon sculpts were given new decos and released as a team of pirates who combined into the Combiner known as God Neptune! The Seacons were given a new deco (based on a canceled Universe concept) by the Transformers Collectors Club in 2008 and then reissued (in G1 inspired colors) as an online exclusive in 2010. There was even a KREO version of the character released in 2013! However, this series of Selects figures is the first time the characters have been updated in the Generations line.

This release is technically a Japanese Takara Tomy Mall exclusive release that Hasbro is importing via Hasbro Pulse (though other retailers did manage to get their hands on a limited supply). By that token these figures go by their Japanese names. In the case of this Seacon, his name was Gulf in Masterforce, but fans outside Japan knew him as Skalor. This figure is a significant redeco and retool of the Power of the Primes Terrorcon Blot figure so check that review out before this one for some background.

Packaging:
Most of the wider releases in the Generations Selects sub-line feature very simple cardboard boxes with some graphics printed on them. Combat Megatron is one such example. However, being a Japanese import, this packaging has extra layers. The outer layer is a glossy black and white sleeve with graphics on it based on drawings of the figure (instead of dramatic art like you'll see on Earthrise boxes). Take that sleeve off and inside you have the more traditional cardboard Selects box. Gulf himself sits in a plastic tray inside the box with his weapons. Being an import, the instructions included are the original ones Japanese language and all (but don't worry, he's not that hard to figure out!). The packaging is very utilitarian but it gets the job done and still manages to look good.

Accessories:
Gulf includes three accessories: two blasters and a sword. The blasters are roughly based on the G1 Gulf's weapons, featuring a rectangular base with a cylindrical barrel going from the middle to the front. Each weapon features one peg at the bottom and one on the side. They also each feature half a peg because the two weapons can clip together to form a larger blaster. This is mostly intended for use in Gulf's weapon mode. These pieces are blue with no paint applications.

The other blaster included with this figure is much larger than the other two. This one actually forms his beast mode tail. Rotate the tail piece around and you reveal two weapon barrels! This piece is also cast in blue plastic but the barrels are painted gunmetal grey. This a peg in the back for Gulf to hold it in his hands and there are pegs on the sides allowing it to connect to Gulf in various ways and possibly combining with weapons included with other the other Seacons.

Battle is not all done with blasters of course. Gulf includes a sword which looks like it has mechanical parts at the bottom and a pointed blade. This piece is cast in blue plastic but painted with a gorgeouse metallic pink color.

Gulf also includes one hand for King Poseidon. This fist appears to take the Combiner Wars and Power of the Primes style of Combiner fist and improve on it. The fist has individually articulated fingers for one! The thumb is hinged at the base and each finger can move up and down. There are several 5mm ports on it, presumably to help King Poseidon hold his weaponry. The top of the hand can detach, revealing an opening. At first, I thought this was for a Prime Master, but while you can drop a Prime Master in there, it does not really lock in so it comes out easily. In reality this opening is meant to serve as a base for Gulf's weapon mode! More on that below. This piece is cast in all black with no deco.

Beast Mode:
Gulf transforms into a "mutant" Coelacanth. His main body is based off the real life fish, but he also has arms and legs in beast mode, allowing him to attack on land and in the sea! The amazing thing is that this figure is a heavy retool and redeco of Blot, who transformed into a vaguely gorilla-ish alien creature. Blot's profile was upright, Gulf's has him leaning forward and it is a testament to the designers skills that the transition was made so dramatically and effectively.

The retooling in this mode largely hinges on the front half of the figure. The entire panel that formed Blot's beast mode head and chest panel has been replaced with a panel that forms the front of Gulf's beast mode including his face with a distinct row of sharp looking teeth. This piece includes a fin that is on a hinge on top. In addition the front arms are connected to the sides and the mouth has a hinge, making this a far more functional piece than the equivalent piece on Blot. The middle section and beast mode legs from Blot are intact in this figure, but the double barreled weapon/tail piece connects to the small port in between the robot thighs in the back. This helps complete the fish shaped profile and really makes this guy look completely different than Blot. The designers did fantastic work here!

One of the most striking aspects of the G1 Seacons was their color scheme. A mixture of blue, purple and pink shades made this a dramatic figure to behold and very much of its time in terms of aesthetics. Keeping in the spirit of the G1 colors, this figure is mostly cast in blue plastic. Seriously folks, there is a lot of blue here. In fact, it might all be blue. I say this because it appears all the colors on here that are not blue are painted details, and that is extraordinary. The most heavily used color is a beautiful light pink which covers the head, part of the mid-body, the top and claws on the rear legs. A darker pink color is used on the fin and arms. Smaller details are painted with yellow including the eyes. The teeth are painted silver. A purple Decepticon symbol is printed onto the middle of the head between the eyes. I have to say, not only is the layout of the paint deco on this figure beautiful, but the sheer amount of paint is amazing!

There are seven points of articulation in this mode. This includes two points on the rear legs, the hinges on the arms and the mouth opening and closing. As mentioned above, the Blot sculpt stands vertically in beast mode, but this figure needs to lean forward and not necesarily use its arms to rest on the ground for balance. However, the designers seemed to have made it a point to tighten up the rear legs so the figure can leaning forward. Both legs are much tighter than on my copy of Blot, and they hold up well without the need for arm support! For those curious, the King Poseidon fist piece "stores" away in this mode by attaching to the tail using the pegs on the sides.

Gulf features two 5mm ports on the sides. This allows you to attach the smaller blaster weapons to the sides, simulating a feature on the G1 toy where he could wield his weapons in beast mode.

This beast mode is absolutely gorgeous and functional to boot! I am really impressed by what Takara Tomy pulled off with this form.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach all accessories and set them aside for now. This includes the tail.
  2. Swing the fin forward.
  3. Holding the beast mode head steady, pull on the top of the beast mode and swing it back to begin forming the robot legs.
  4. Split the robot legs from each other.
  5. Rotate the beast mode legs and line them up with the tiny peg on the sides of the legs, then push them in.
  6. Swing the beast mode head up and back.
  7. Swing the fin down, tucking it partly under the beast mode head piece.
  8. Swing the beast mode arms so they are out of the way.
  9. Swing the robot arms down and swing out each fist.
  10. Rotate the tail end to transform the tail into the blaster weapon.
  11. Attach the weapons to the fists. Store any of the unused ones on the ports on the back.

Robot Mode:
To turn Blot into Gulf some alterations were made to the robot mode. What is amazing is that only a few parts were changed for this release but between the parts and the deco the transition is very successful. Here are the parts that were changed:

  • The head sculpt is based on the G1 Gulf's head design featuring a pointed crest and visor eyes. It also has the square-ish shape that many of the G1 Combiner members had.
  • The forearms are new pieces. They are rounded in shape with some angles. These are based on the very thick oval shaped arms on G1 Gulf.
  • Interestingly, the panel that covers the port in the center of the chest is new. Functionally it does the same thing as the equivalent panel on Blot, and it is a very subtle detail so I am surprised Takara Tomy took the time to sculpt a whole new piece.

This mode carries over the colors from the beast mode. The base plastic color is blue, serving as a foundation for the paint colors. The light pink is the most heavily used color. You'll find it on the torso, forearms and lower legs. The darker shade of pink is used for the eyes, hands, waist and feetl. Yellow paint is used for line details on the shoulders and knees. The face is painted gold and there is a small Decepticon symbol on the middle of the chest. This deco is beautiful and pays homage to G1 Gulf wonderfully.

There are twelve points of articulation on this figure. This includes ball joints on both the shoulders, elbows and hips so he has a good range of motion. Each fist has a 5mm port and you can store his extra weapon on the beast mode head on his back.

Transformation to Weapon Mode (Starting in Robot Mode):

  1. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  2. Swing the beast mode head piece up, and swing the fin up.
  3. Rotate the beast mode arms back.
  4. Rotate the lower body around.
  5. Swing the beast mode legs out to the sides.
  6. Open up the lower legs and swing them up, folding them over the thighs and then close them up.
  7. Connect the lower legs together.
  8. Rotate the beast mode legs up and attach them to the sides of the lower legs.
  9. Swing each fist into the forearms, then push the arms up against the sides.
  10. Transform the tail into weapon mode. Attach the peg to the port on the inside of the beast mode head.
  11. Push the beast mode head section down.
  12. Combine the two smaller blasters and attach them to the port in the front.
  13. Swing the Combiner peg down. This piece can connect to one of the fist pieces as a stand.

Weapon Mode:
Gulf's weapon mode is inspired by the idea of the G1 Seacons being Targetmaster weapons, but the look of this weapon is completely different. G1 Gulf's weapon mode basically had weaponry attached to his beast mode head (or his chin, really) with the rest of the beast mode kind of just hanging out in the back. This is a much more complete transformation and his beast mode head is facing the back this time. Still, the spirit of that mode is there complete with the twin blasters in front and the beast mode parts being very obvious. There is one more factor that links this weapon mode with the original Gulf. The G1 Seacon limbs could each be attached to a post, allowing them to act as gun emplacements. In a similar fashion, you can take one of King Poseidon's fist pieces, remove a cover on top and attach the weapon to it so it can "stand" as a gun emplacement as well! I love the extra play value this adds to the figure.

In terms of how King Poseidon will hold this weapon up, my guess is he will require arm support. The Combiner Wars style limbs were never meant to hold more weight than say, a Legends Class figure, so it is doubtful one Deluxe Class limb can hold up a full Deluxe Class figure. Still, there may be ways to make it happen in certain poses and I'll find out when I have the full team!

Transformation to Leg Mode (from Weapon Mode):

  1. Detach the weapons in front.
  2. Rotate the Combiner peg so it faces up.
  3. Attach King Poseidon's foot piece to the bottom of the figure.

Leg Mode:
The G1 Seacon leg modes were very standard for the time. They were basically the robot mode compressed (legs pushed in) and that's about it. Unlike guys like the Aerialbots, their arms didn't tuck in so they just kind of hung there, creating a jumble of details that still somehow managed to look good (in my book anyway). This time out, the situation is literally reversed, where the front of the robot mode winds up as the back of the leg mode. Even better, the beast mode bits and weapon in the front of the leg winds up kind of hiding the robot arms and legs (at least from the front). The result is a bulky, powerful looking leg that doesn't look like a robot just standing there.

Transformation to Arm Mode (from Leg Mode):

  1. Detach the foot piece.
  2. Swing the beast mode head section up (you can keep the blaster attached).
  3. Move the robot arms out to the sides.
  4. Move the beast mode legs out to the sides.
  5. Pull the front half of each lower robot leg up then pull the lower leg sections out.
  6. Push the halves of each lower leg together, then swing the beast mode legs back into place.
  7. Swing the arms back in. In a very subtle step, there are two small tabs on the beast mode head piece. These will connect to slots on the back of the robot forearms.
  8. Rotate the waist around (the direction depends on which arm you want him to be).
  9. Swing the connector piece down.
  10. Attach a fist at the end.

Arm Mode:
Similar to Blot's arm mode, the beast mode head winds up making up a type of shoulder armor while the rest of the limb is a very standard Combiner Wars style arm. While the limbs on this figure are by no means loose, they are nowhere near tight enough to hold a Deluxe Class weapon. The main sticking point are the ship joints, which need to be tighter for this to happen (or would need to be ratchet joints).

Final Thoughts:
Gulf is absolutely fantastic. I knew from preview photos that this would be a significant retooling, but what amazes me is how the combination of new parts and new deco really does make a fantastic update to the character. Highly recommended!

Pros:

  • Extensive retooling.
  • Beautiful deco.
  • Fun play value including adding the weapon mode (with weapons stand!).

Cons:

  • The fists are set very tightly in the forearms, so you may need a bit of effort to get them to swing out.
  • The hip joints would need to be tighter for Gulf to be a more effective arm in limb mode.