As a kid, I got Powermaster Optimus Prime for Christmas, but me and my cousin had already found the present stash a week before – it was the exact moment I discovered Santa Claus doesn’t exist in 1987. Despite killing Santa Claus, the toy spawned an obsession with Powermaster Prime that leads me to spend a fortune on any new attempts and in this particular case – expensive upgrade kits.
Perfect Effect are on the second of three attempts to make Legends Super Ginrai better and the one we are reviewing today is PC-16 Jinrai Prime. If the brazen, copyright mocking name doesn’t give it away, it’s a fully transforming cab replacement that is compatible with any of the Hasbro or Takara versions of the toy, but at an eyebrow raising cost that it will need to be special to justify.
Is it worth buying then? Read on to find out…
If you are unfamiliar with the nuances of what we are dealing with here allow me to illuminate. Masterforce was a Japanese Transformers cartoon series which introduced that part of the planet to the wonderful world of Pretenders and Powermasters. Transformers fiction in Japan had already diverged from it’s western counterpart with the Headmasters series and Masterforce took it several Knightmare style side steps to the left by having human Godmasters (Powermasters) essentially bond with lifeless robot bodies and control them. In the case of Ginrai, the character Perfect Effect are trying to emulate with “Jinrai”, he happened to bond with a non sentient robot body that looked an awful lot like Optimus Prime.
Also liked to comb his hair a lot.
Perfect Effect have used the stock Takara Super Ginrai cab as a base but reskinned it with a sweet G1 flavour which is ironic considering Takara took Hasbro’s Powermaster Optimus Prime cab and refined that to appear more G1 accurate. If they are not careful they will travel back in time and Optimus will end up trying to avoid his mum at the enchantment under the sea dance.
The face of the cab is flatter, the grill squarer, the silver stripe thicker, the red darker (to match the animation model), and the sides remodelled to look like an accurately scaled truck with tons of detail lifted from a real world truck cab. We even get molded wing mirrors. A very visible ball joint can be spotted on the side but I prefer to imagine that for some reason his door handle broke and he had to nip to B&Q where all they had in were bedroom door knobs. My favourite thing that Perfect Effect has done is get rid of that maniac scale that placed a tiny door atop a set of ladders meaning that the vehicles would have been the size of buildings. Or they were driven by The Borrowers.
Whilst the front is all about looking like a real truck, the rear lets it all hang out. Powermaster Prime’s signature angled chest is clearly puffed out and the feet suffer the same fate as so many modern Optimus toys by just sitting there. You can bolt on the Ion Blaster to mitigate this a bit by….well…just throwing all in on the ludicrous nature of it. Still, it plants the upcoming black repaint firmly into “something Batman would drive” territory. Which makes me want to buy it even though my bank account is doing the Dennis Nedry finger waving “ah ah ahhh” at me.
You can connect it to either trailer from Hasbro or Takara via the same hitch as the stock cab. It holds firmly and if you want it to rotate make sure you point the feet as far down as they can go. As this is a modern Ginrai update, it also comes with the option to restore the Powermaster gimmick. But only if you’ve already shelled out the extra cash on the PC-15 upgrade kit. To make use of it, you open the front of the cab in the same was as on the Hasbro and Takara toys but on PC-16 you can spin the grill to reveal a Powermastery shaped port. Squish your “Jinrai” mini figure in there and you’ve got your classic looking Powermaster engine. His engines the key, to unlock his transformer energy, after all.
Don’t be too smitten though as it doesn’t sink in as far as the original did, meaning from the side it looks Optimus has run over Ginrai and he’s smeared all over the front. Jinrai can’t fit inside the cab as a driver either due to the Super Ginrai head taking up so much space.
Actually getting him to hold together can be a bit of a battle. So many of the parts don’t want to stay in place as you transform him into a truck, wanting to do a Buckaroo impression instead. Under the truck the margins for clearance with the head and hands is very fine. Each forearm folds together to form the bumper and has to peg into both sides of the grill which likes to move because it has the ability to rotate, ensuring getting it pegged together is a battle on two fronts. I just pop the hands off to save myself screaming into the bottom of an empty bottle of rum.
If Optimus can magic an entire trailer out of inter dimensional space Narnia, he can find a mid 90’s Marvel character populated pocket universe for his hands.
The reason this toy exists is to give us the transforming robot cab that Takara and Hasbro conspired to leave out until Power of the Primes. Converting to robot mode is straight forward and feels like a Titans Return transformation with a bigger budget. The legs extend on hinges (the left one on mine constantly gets stuck) to reveal the thighs with panels flipping and folding all over the place as they cover things up. In tune with the stock cab, the entire cab rotates around the robot chest to orientate the arms and head correctly as well as give him a novelty Ginrai hood. It’s right out of the Titans Return Jumpstarter instruction manual. PC-16’s torso connects by using the truck grill as a hinge which is pretty ingenious.
Perfect Effect PC-16 Jinrai Prime looks spectacular in robot mode as you can see from the pictures with your own eyeballs. Each detail from the vintage toy appears here in some form whether it be a perfect reflection of the original or with a modern twist. The faux windows retain that distinctive shape but there are smaller shapes cut out that resemble details from the Combiner Wars Optimus Prime toy. The head is Masterforce animation esque opting for the blue eyes of the cartoon over the red eyes of the PM Prime toy. Shiny paint picks the eyes out and due to how they are set back into the head, from different angles he can appear to have different expressions.
The intention of this figure is to homage animation Ginrai but they’ve also taken care to add some of the details of the vintage toy, creating a pretty perfect blend. After a Facebook poll, Perfect Effect saw sense and added the rising silver stripe on the front which adds a lovely finishing touch.
You’re eyes are probably drawn to the smokestacks new home on the chest. A bold move on Perfect Effect’s part and one that is going to divide opinion, but as a Generations version of Prime it works to distinguish him from his vintage counterpart but with a signature element. Lets face it, we are never going to be short of G1 accurate Optimus Prime toys so a fresh spin is welcome. Also, it semi homages the original toys arm hinges which sat in the same place….and you can pivot them forward to give him saggy nipple cannons. The key thing here is that every part of PC-16’s look reinforces the connection to Powermaster Optimus Prime – rather than 1984 OP – whilst still following Titans Returns lead.
They also aid the figures overall buff proportions. His internal stereo system has to have a cassette jammed in there, looping “So Macho!”.
Articulation is fantastic for a bot of this size. Most third party figures feature great articulation but Perfect Effect often push into Figma/Figuarts territory with the amount of extra joints they throw in. Standard super anime ab crunch is there, ratcheted no less, ankles pivot in every direction including up so you can produce a more natural looking walking pose, or in my case – Thriller dance. The hips are on ball joints with a thigh swivel sat below just in case you need more options. Even the wrists swivel which sounds fairly standard, but owing to the transformation they can also pivot up which coupled with the extra hands makes him even more expressive.
If you’ve ever owned a Perfect Effect figure, Warden or Leonidas being prime (couldn’t help it…) examples, then you have a certain expectation of quality and in pictures this looks like it would match those but it doesn’t. The aforementioned Perfect Effect figures were coated in so much paint with a candy like gloss finish that worked with the thick plastics and die cast metal to offer a premium feel. PC-16 uses thinner, waxy plastic that is more in line with what Hasbro and Takara used on their cab. Jinrai Prime’s plastic isn’t weak or thin but for the price and it being a Perfect Effect figure you are conditioned to expect a level of luxury that this can’t achieve.
The aim is make it fit seamlessly as part of a Hasbro/Takara figure so that is understandable.
In terms of accessories you get an Ion Blaster and alternate jazz hands. Prime’s iconic rifle is nicely recreated but the designers were trying to make it work in both Ginrai and Super Ginrai modes and the result is it’s ever so slightly too big for one and too small for the other. Each side of the gun features a peg hole which means in alt mode you can plug it into the side of the trailer and still retain the ability to plug in one of those daft Titan Master seat guns if that’s your jam.
Giving Jinrai Prime extra hands is a master(FORCE!) stroke that makes great use of the articulation. Who doesn’t want to pose their figures in perpetual power ballad stances? They pop on and off via a small peg hole and Perfect Effect missed a trick by not including an axe as they’ve made the port for it. Perhaps it will be in their 50th upgrade kit…
For most people this figure is going to spend the bulk of his existence as a stomach. Jinrai Prime goes into truck mode, you spin the cab around, flipping each smokestack along the way, then the legs fold over and peg onto the trailer hitch. Not securely, it’s looser than Darren Anderton’s ankles, but it doesn’t matter because his mankini keeps it in it’s place.
PC-15 came with a new head and the Godmaster mini figure but you are not compelled to buy them. If you are happy with the Titan Master head you can use that just fine. It attaches in the same way and the helmet still rotates and stores in the chest if you rotate it forward slightly. Legends Super Ginrai’s stock chest plate also locks over the cab fine so you can buy this without having to set fire to a small pile of money on a further upgrade you don’t want.
Of course if you want it to look even better and don’t care about money this set really shines with the addition of the PC-15 upgrade. A new chest harness that is colour matched to Takara’s toy is included with PC-16 to create room and even has fake, sculpted legs for the Godmaster engine to make up for his actual legs being swallowed up by clips. Replacing this piece isn’t as easy as it sounds either because Takara have secured it in there with a magic force field that makes it akin to removing the sword from the stone. It’s nicely detailed, though the black and silver look is very late 80’s WWF Demolition.
The replacement head is much nicer than the Titan Master bobbins because the eyes aren’t just slots. If you want a true vintage look you can leave off the chest piece altogether and just have the cab sat there instead. Choices abound.
This kit is also compatible with Godbomber to create God Ginrai. There are clips in place that allow it to attach in the same way, but I don’t enjoy going through the misery of Godbomber crumbling to bits in my hand and falling over every 3 seconds because Takara went on a McDonald’s run when it came time to tighten those ankles.
So I will take this opportunity to mention that Perfect Effect are releasing yet another add on for this toy in the shape of PC-17. This features lots of superfluous new stuff for God Ginrai specifically, but most important in there are pieces that make his ankles stable so he can actually stand up. It is frustrating that they only available in the upgrade kit with the least amount of other important things though.
This toy comes bundled with ideas and possibilities. It can work with two (three technically) different figures and offer multiple options in each mode to suit your tastes – or it can just be it’s own independent being. Perfect Effect have crafted a decent cab mode that is an improvement over the toys it’s replacing, the combined mode does it’s job of hiding your expensive figure as intended and offering a more accurate Powermaster/Godmaster, but where this figure really hit’s it’s high point is in giving you a transforming cab and one that is so much fun to play with. I am giving serious thought to leaving it out of Ginrai altogether. An Ultra Magnus version is also on the way but as much as I desire it, I just can’t justify the price again.
Nothing is perfect, with the exceptions of Louise Redknapp and Super Mario Bros. 3, and this toy has plenty of issues and foibles that will put many people off. Key among them is the price which is far higher than can possibly be justified and ultimately you’re paying a premium for an ideal. That ideal being that Ginrai or Powermaster Prime has to have a transforming cab robot. But if you can separate the price from the toy then this is figure is a nice finishing touch to any Super Ginrai figure.