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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Landcross: Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations

Ok, so the figures that make up Landcross can't really be combined in an infinite number of modes. But it sure feels like it. I believe you can actually combine them a total of thirty different ways plus the six-figure Landcross combination making a total of thirty-one. Personally I don't know any other Transformers with that type of versatility. I myself have never attempted all the different combinations, but I think it would be an interesting way to spend an afternoon. I feel like Landcross was an experiment by Takara to determine the limits of playability in a Transformer. From the sketches and drawings in the Generations: Deluxe book it looks like they had been working on something like this for a while and had a few more planned. There are instances in the book of combiners made up of as many as fifteen different figures! But apparently Landcross was the only one to make it to the production stage. Interestingly enough, this multiple combination gimmick would be mirrored almost twenty years later in Transformers: Superlink (Energon in the U.S.).

Landcross was reissued in 2004 as part of the Micromaster line in Japan. Unlike the other micromaster figures in that line Landcross was never repackaged and sold in America. I first purchased him (and his Black repaint) back then thinking I would never be able to get my hands on the real version. However as part of my reissue purge I decided to put the original Landcross back on my want list and as luck would have it one came up not too long ago so I snatched it up as quick as I could.

The individual Multiforce members

Unfortunately in my haste I neglected to notice that the figures were actually the Chinese versions released in the mid-1990's instead of the original Japanese versions. They aren't knock-offs or re-issues per se, they are just versions that were released for the Chinese market and don't come with all the Japanese paperwork. But the figures are precisely the same and the plastic quality is top notch. You would think someone who has been in this game this long wouldn't make such an egregious error, but that just goes to show you to take your time when making purchases of this magnitude. If I could go back I probably wouldn't buy them again, but for now I am complacent and may attempt to switch them out at some point in the future.

The Ultimate Six Figure Combination

Original on the left, Reissue on the right
An interesting feature about Landcross is he is made up of three smaller combiners, Wingwaver, Dashtacker and Machtackle. In turn each of these combiners are made up of the individual figures of Wing, Waver, Dash, Tacker, Mach and Tackle. Fortunately their names are intuitive or things could get really confusing. In the Victory TV show the individual figures rarely made an appearance, it was almost always as the two-figure combiners. Not to mention they were sold in this manner and were not available (at least not in the '80's) as individual figures. This seems to suggest that they were almost Duocon-like in nature, each part needed each other and was not whole without it. It was also probably for simplicity's sake in that Japanese writers only had to keep up with three characters instead of six.

Machtackle, Wingwaver and Dashtacker
Regardless, Landcross is a very interesting and fun figure and hopefully I will be able to add the actual Japanese version to my collection before it is all over. And by all over I mean by the time I hit the grave. So, there's probably a pretty good chance it will happen :^)


  1. Wow, this sounds like a maths problem :) Let's see...
    6 individual figures
    5 x 6 = 30 dual figures (Each of the 6 could be the head, with 5 different legs)
    and all 6-in-1 for the 31st.

    So 31 combinations or 37 possible modes if the individual figures are counted. This sounds fun.

    1. The giftset robs you of all the fun and shows you it's 37 combinations!

  2. You know I didn't realize there were some slight color differences between the two. Landcross always seemed fairly easy to find on the secondary market even before he was reissued. Although I usually see these Chinese releases...

  3. As usual, great post with some astute observations.

    I like the comparison with Duocons, never thought of that myself (I think too little).

    However, I don't really think the names a that intuitive. I always hated why there was "Tacker" and "Tackle".... seriously?!?