Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Dark Matter Calibur: AMW-01 Gabu, AMW-02 Baru & AMW-03 Dai

Dark Matter Calibur: AMW-01 Gabu, AMW-02 Baru & AMW-03 Dai

The Dark Matter Calibur is a Super Combo Weapon formed by combining the first three toys released in the Arms Micron Series: AMW-01 Gabu, AMW-02 Baru & AMW-03 Dai. These are the first new Arms Micron kits to be released independently of a larger toy.

The idea of combining weapons is central to the Arms Microns concept with any Micron being capable of combining with any other Micron using a system of 5mm pegs and sockets. These three Microns are the first to be released that are designed to form a specific combined weapon like the Star Sabre, Sky Boom Shield or Requiem Blaster from Armada. On top of that Arms Micron has a concept concerning matching colours of spark crystals on the toy and which shapes they are dictating which sort of combined weapon it is: A Super Combo Weapon requires one of each crystal shape (Trapezium, Hexagon & Circle) all in the same colour.

AMW-01 Gabu

Gabu is a pale grey........ thing. TF Wiki reckons he's a Horseshoe Crab, I think he looks more like a Stingray. Your mileage may vary. There's a Yellow Trapezium Decepticon Spark Crystal on top of the toy. Five 5mm plugs project up from the top of the toy, and one more from each side of the tail while there's a 5mm socket on the underside which would allow him to be mounted on a larger toy where he'd make a pretty good shield. This mode has no real articulation to it.

Transformation: My box of Arms Micron instructions went AWOL in the recent move round so I'm relying on the pictures of these three toys that you can find on Alfe's Toy Blog here. Fold the "wings" out so they are in a straight line at 90 degrees to the body. Fold the tail under the body. Fold the spark crystal under the body.

I *think* the weapons mode is meant to be a crossbow but the way the package shows it being held by the tail just look odd. Fortunately there's a 5mm peg, and an opposing socket on the other side of the toy, about half way along the toy which make for a much better holding position. The wings do look quite far back for the toy being a crossbow.

From here if you fold the spark crystal back onto the top of the body, then fold the tail back under the toy and then bring the blades together you get what looks like a pretty decent sword/spear mode. It's be even better if the toy's tail ended in a 5mm peg for you to hold it by!

There's a reason why Gabu works so good as a sword though: he forms the tip and half the blade length of the combined form of Dark Matter Calibur: From creature mode fold the "wings" right the way forward bringing them together to form a blade. Fold the tail in to form the side of the blade. As a hand weapon by itself it's useless for most Transformers because there's just 5mm holes on the bottom of it... but out old friend Armada Hoist loves having it mounted on the 5mm peg inside his left claw.

A couple of slightly iffy main modes let Gabu down, but there's fun to be had there and it's an essential part of the combined weapon.

AMW-02 Baru

Baru is a Falcon, cast in a darker shade of grey to Gabu. Unlike his companions his creature mode is articulated, with wings that fold back in two places and a bending neck & head. At the base of his tail is a yellow Hexagonal spark crystal. He's supported underneath by two moulded feet. He's got no visible 5mm Minicon sockets but there's a number of 5mm posts inside the wing structure which get in the way when posing the wings.

Transformation: fold the legs up out to the sides and into the body. Fold the neck back and the head forward, again folding them flush into the body. Fold the wings back behind the body flush against the rear of the toy.

Baru's weapon mode is a cleaver, a knife more commonly associated with oriental cookery but would also make an effective weapon. There's a 5mm peg at each corner, with one of the pegs being longer and an obvious handle for a larger figure to hold. Baru has no 5mm sockets in this mode either making him the first Minicon you cannot mount on a Minicon post!

Transformation to combined mode: none. The cleaver forms the lower section of the sword blade as it is.

Good robotic bird, decent blade weapon. Not a lot wrong with it apart from the pegs getting in the way of posing the bird wings.

AMW-03 Dai

Dai is a dark grey Crocodile/Alligator. There's some fab sculpting here with a pair of cannons moulded into each shoulder and a wonderful one eyed cycloptic face. The tail had the only meaningful articulation on the toy with two bending joints on it. On the top of the tail's is a round Yellow Circle Decepticon spark crystal. To either side of the spark is a 5mm peg while underneath it is a 5mm socket with a further two 5mm sockets being found under his nose. There's also a fold down 5mm handle under the body of the creature, used for it's weapon mode, which you can use to get a larger Transformer to hold the crocodile.

Transformation: Fold the head back so the top of the head lies along the creature's back. Fold both pairs of legs out to the sides and up over the head. Fold down the gun's handle.

Transformers fans like sword and other hand weapons. But what we really like on our toys is guns. BIG GUNS. And Dai turns into a pretty hefty Grenade launcher. The front of the weapon has four large launch tubes, two to each side, plus four smaller barrels on top. There's a 5mm peg to act a a handle at the front, two 5mm pegs at the side of and a 5mm hole under the spark crystal in the stock at the rear which should allow it to be mounted on most toys plus a pair of 5mm sockets either side of the body of the weapon for expanding it sideways. I'd like a 5mm hole at the front but the way the toy transforms seems to preclude that - but Arms Micron Capsule Megatron has no excuse still!

From gun mode you can transform Dai to form the hilt of the combined mode sword: fold the stock of the weapon/tail of the crocodile down 90 degrees. Fold each leg pair from the beast mode 90 degrees out to the sides.

Decent beast, decent weapon. The combined mode form is also nice for plugging other Microns into as a base for weapons. Win.

Dark Matter Calibur

To form the Dark Matter Calibur Super Combo Weapon, take slot the cleaver formed from Baru into the base of the sword tip formed from Gabu, with Baru's handle going into the recessed hole in Gabu and the other peg on Baru's base going into the hole on the bottom edge of Gabu. The two 5mm posts on what was the top edge of Baru then slot into the two holes on the top of Dai.

The very first combined Minicon weapon, the Starsaber, was a sword so it's kind of nice the first Arms Micron weapon designed to combine is also a sword. Unfortunately that name is already taken by another Super Combo Weapon: The Starsaber is formed from OP, B2 & RA but is only sort of a sword and more a mess....

For a Micron weapon to qualify as a Super Combo Weapon it must have three of the same colour spark crystal and all three crystal shapes must be represented. Each shape represents one of the three types of number on the Arms Micron Weapon tech specs:

Hexagon - Attack Points (AP)
Trapezoid - Hit Points (HP)
Circle - Speed Points (SP)

This somehow then is used in a game on the Takara Website.

Back to Dark Matter Calibur. I complained about the stability of the Armada Starsaber but this weapon, thank to using larger 5mm pegs and sockets to attach to each other, is as solid as anything. (HASBRO: Redo the Armada Starsaber with 5mm pegs and sockets). It's a bit of a big weapon for a deluxe figure so for most of the time my Generation 2 Combat Hero Megatron has been holding it.

Top combined mode. Solid and looks like what it should do.

And if that wasn't enough here's two fan made variants on a gun mode using the same pieces.

Possible Repaints

Well for a start a nice jet black version would nice..... as would a translucent black version similar to the Shadow Arms Microns. But other than that it's break out the clear plastic in every colour under the sun: There was a fab clear Blue CD version of the original Starsaber and a nice clear yellow version for Energon. There really should have been a clear red version and a clear purple version. After that.... Just clear, clear green, clear whatever. I have cash for you Takara Tomy and a multitude of Decepticons needing sword.

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