Crikey. This is a bit of a beast (no pun intended).
So, a bit of history; Deathsaurus was the primary antagonist of Transformers Victory (1989), the third and final full-length series produced by Takara that continued the Generation One continuity beyond Season 3 of the original Sunbow cartoon series. While his figure never made it to Western markets he was not unknown amongst the fandom and received a Botcon figure in 2005 retooled out of RID2001 Megatron, becoming a notable antagonist across their Timelines fan fiction. In 2016 he received a pseudo release as part of the Combiner Wars Lio Kaiser gift set, where Liozack was replaced by Dezarus, a heavy retool & repaint of the Sky Lynx toy released as part of that line. In fiction he has been a staple of the various manga series and IDW made use of him both in their initial run in the More Than Meets The Eye & Lost Light books, depicting him as a rogue Decepticon general noted for his unwillingness to waste his troops. This was followed by an appearance in the rebooted 2019 series where he was a disgraced war hero.
Now, the story goes that at one point Hasbro & Takara were considering making Deathsaurus as a heavy (very heavy) retool of Studio Series ‘86 Grimlock. But the success of the Victory Sabre HasLab project convinced them to bring his rival to life the same way, so in late 2022 Hasbro launched their crowdfunded campaign for Deathsaurus and they kinda smashed it. They set a goal of 11,000 backers and the campaign ended with over 27,000. So it did fairly well.
In terms of initial presentation, Deathsaurus carries on the slick stylings of Victory Sabre. The set arrived double-packed in 2 shipping boxes, with the actual product box further protected by “bumpers” on the corners of the box. That box is gorgeous, with a large piece of Guido Guidi artwork on the front depicting the Emperor of Destruction in repose on his throne with his "Chestmasters" around him, and some lovely use of metallic purple ink. Inside this you then get three, smaller boxes containing Deathsaurus, his weapons, throne, display stand, and companions, along with a frankly massive instruction booklet. It all - rightly - gives the feel of a premium product. Which is appropriate given the cost of the set.
The main event, and this might be the single most “complete” transformer figure I’ve ever held. By which I mean there is almost nothing extra that I feel is needed to complete him. Straight out of the box he has a wonderful heft to him, with not a jot of floppiness in any of the joints. ‘Bot mode stands 11” tall, so on par with Jetfire from Siege and the combined Victory Sabre. Joints & articulation are well served, with universal joints, ratchets, ankle tilts, thigh-swivels, biceps, wrists and an ab-crunch, all of which are tight but not stiff and allow for a lot of posing possibility. Even without his Chest-Masters in place Deathsuarus is a gorgeous sight to behold, primarily gunmetal grey over which has been layered a lovely, deep, regal blue, and some crisp gold paint. Wings and his arms are a light blue-grey (I can;t help but think “Fenrisian” to describe it…), whilst other elements are picked out in black & white plastic. Red is sparingly used as a spot colour with a dash of vacuum-plated gold on the forehead crest. Honestly, regal is the best word to describe Deathsaurus in this form.
Now, the same cannot quite be said of his beast-mode. The transformation itself is - whilst complex - a pleasing process with lots of fun little bits of engineering that make you go “Oh cool!”. But look, no matter how you slice it, that’s a giant space-chicken. It’s a very nice giant robot space-chicken, with some lovely articulation, solid joints (including more than I expected in the head & neck), and it can be given a preposterously big gun. But still.
And more than twenty-seven thousand of us funded this utter nonsense. God bless the Transformers community.
First up is Eaglechest who comes with a very familiar storage mode to anyone familiar with Soundwave, Eagle chest is in essence Laserbeak on some serious steroids. Transformation is fairly simple, effectively unfolding into a decent-sized robotic eagle. And if you just fold out the gun barrels and the handle, he becomes a gun that Deathsaurus can wield.
Then we have Tigerchest who forms one of Deathsaurus’s most distinctive features, Tigerchest serves as his masters chestplate, and as well as transforming into a winged-tiger, can also be turned into a longbow that Deathsaurus can be posed firing (see the main article picture). His beast portions are cast in a vibrant orange plastic, the backpack/chestplate is the same regal blue as Deathsaurus has across his figure, whilst the wings are vacuum-plated in gold.
Beastie-bots, the imaginatively named Tigerchest and Eaglechest
Pipo & Boater
After the disappointment of Holi & Fire in the Victory Sabre set (still odd given the Rescue Patrol release for Siege that they were a light repaint of was one of the better Micromaster 2-packs) Pipo and Boater are a nifty little pair of what appear to be wholly original sculpts. I’m actually kinda bummed these won’t have a wider release as they nicely finish off the OG Rescue Patrol as Fixit and Seawatch. That’s certainly how I’m thinking of displaying them alongside Stakeout and Red Hot….
Morning Star - a pleasingly designed ball & chain, this does look great and the chain is long enough that Big D can hold it in both hands if you so desire. Somewhat hilariously it just stores in the hollow of the beast-mode neck behind Deathsaurus’ head.
Sword - putting another Transformer to shame, Deathsuarus does indeed have a massive chopper, which he can hold surprisingly well. There is a bespoke connection on his back to store the sword.
Arrow - for use with Tigerchest in his longbow form, it can be stored on Deathsuarus' back and my only regret is that he only comes with a single arrow. Gimme a cybernetic quiver full! It is nicely molded however out of the same orange plastic as Tigerchest’s beast-elements.
Metal-eating Cannon - The MEC is a bit of a beast, a gun larger than a lot of figures when fully deployed and the sole bit of kit that cannot be stored on Deathaurus, he has to carry it in hand. Amusingly though this offers options as he can wield it in both ‘bot and kaiju modes I’d also like to point out that the weird bio-mech “fingers” that circle the gun at it’s midway point? Sooooo creepy.
Shield - comprised of the folded out beast-mode tail, the shield can either be held in-hand or mounted on a bespoke 5mm port in the right shoulder to mimic how it was carried in the cartoon.
Throne & Display/Flight Stand - Kind of a cheat as you can only use one of these on the base, but they kinda go together: the stand is nifty, can be used with both modes and comes with an adaptor for the beast mode. The throne though is the main event. A chunky piece of plastic that replicates the unique look of Deathsaurus’ throne from the Victory cartoon, it also has storage on the back for his entire armoury, along with mounting points for Eaglechest to perch on the top. The only downside to it is that whilst the throne does not need to be fitted to the base, it does need to be to store the Metal Eating Cannon as it’s so big it extends down below the throne….
Blast effects - the same stacking blast effects that have been a feature in every Commander-class figure, just recoloured. As ever a nice addition and they add options for display & play.
Ok, so the utterly daft alt-mode to one side, this is pretty much the best version of a character I never expected to have in my collection. There are retailers who brought copies for sale, as well as individuals who did the same, so copies are out there, and I have certainly seen a couple in sales groups, but you will likely end up paying a markup on the original RRP of £179.99. For what I paid I am more than happy. I rate Deathsaurus very highly, but you will need to decide if that price is one you are willing to pay.
Oh, and I said it wasn't quite perfect? Well I’d have honestly liked a version of the rifle that came with the original figure. I’m sure that someone will come up with a version online…
And if it is of interest to anyone, well Hasbro are back at it and until the 14th of March are running a project to fund RID2001 Omega Prime. It's a bit pricier at £250 but looks the business. You can check out the project here.