This is the E-Hobby exclusive reissue "Overcharge" which is a re-colour of the Takara Collection #17 Blitzwing from Japan. Overcharge has been designated 72 in the Japanese Takara Transformers numbering system as that designation was previously unused. Overcharge's allegiance has been left up to the collectors as he comes with a special stickersheet containing both Cybertron and Destron (Autobot and Decepticon respectively) insignias, Quintesson, EDC and other symbols as well. More on that later.
The colour scheme for Overcharge reproduces the colours of the original Diaclone Jet-Type Triplechanger which was of course the very first release of this mould that would later become the Transformers Blitzwing. The packaging for this E-Hobby release is the standard G1-style generic box with Overcharge's collector's card art visible from the front. The toy is displayed in tank mode like the US-release Blitzwing which is interesting because both the Diaclone Jet-Type Triplechanger and Japanese TF release Blitzwing were originally packaged in jet mode.
While the toy itself is of course the main event, the paperwork and peripherals included with the Overcharge package are of great interest as well. In fact, any implication that they are merely 'peripheral' is an injustice to them. Along with the standard Blitzwing stickersheet (complete with '43' designation from standard Blitzwing), there is the ever-present, ever-colourful and ever-collectible character card, the instructions and the most interesting addition, the extra stickersheet. Below is a scan of the extra labels accompanying Overcharge:
Looking at the stickersheet scan, going clockwise and starting from the top left corner we have: Cybertron (Autobot), Destron (Decepticon), "Quintessa/Terror Bot" which implies a Quintesson allegiance, "Unicron's Herald" (the Blendtron symbol from Beast Wars Neo), EDC (Earth Defence Command) and finally "Ancient Robot" (or "Tokai"). The Quintesson logo resembling a skeletal head was first seen in the US cartoon series 3 opener "Five Faces of Darkness" when Rodimus Prime entered the Matrix. The "Ancient Robot" insignia which is probably the most delightfully obscure reference on the stickersheet, also hails from Five Faces of Darkness as it was first seen on the forehead of one of the ancient Autobot leaders again during one of Rodimus Prime's sojourns into the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. Marissa Fairborne of the Earth Defence Command is the most memorable representative of that organisation in TF cartoon mythos, plus she and the EDC also debuted in Five Faces of Darkness. The EDC of course are also heavily linked with the newer Binaltech storylines. Notice above how the screen capture depicts only "DC", the "E" might well have been added later on in series 3, but for the debut it was just "DC" on the insignia on Fairborne's uniform.
Is it also simply a coincidence, then, that it was during Five Faces of Darkness (the episode responsible for a majority of the faction references on Overcharge's stickersheet) that Blitzwing discovered the Quintesson plan to betray the Decepticons by lying about a Decepticon Matrix of Leadership, eventually leading Blitzwing to disobey Galvatron's orders by helping the Autobots and causing Galvatron to cast him out of the Decepticon ranks? Did Blitzwing then defect to the Autobots and get repainted? Did he shun the Autobot/Decepticon war entirely and join the EDC, not being able to rejoin or fight against his fellow Decepticon warriors? Was he captured by the Quintessons and converted due to his knowledge of their plan and history?
The official line is that long ago the Quintessons manufactured and sold military hardware robots (who would later become Decepticons) as part of their shady negotiations. The Overcharge units were among the most advanced and sometimes even developed their own personalities and rose up against their original design personalities (or lack of). Hence the choice of faction. Speaking of Overcharge units, remember the army of Blitzwings featured on the US cartoon series 3 opening theme? Hmmm. Anyway, despite the official story, the simple addition of the extra stickersheet gives the collector a chance to let their imagination decide who Overcharge really is, and that's a credit to Takara/E-Hobby for digging up the excellent references and including them with the set.
The undecided faction is also reflected in the design of the collector's card. Just like 77 Detritus, 72 Overcharge's card is a mixture of red and purple, not really tying him down to either main faction. Somewhat unfortunately though, Overcharge is depicted with a Decepticon logo on his chest and the toy has a Decepticon rubsign, possible leftovers from regular Blitzwing. Curiously, the regular Blitzwing reissue had no rubsign. A mix-up perhaps? A move intended for Overcharge originally? Who knows.
Since Overcharge is technically a reissue of the Diaclone Triplechanger Jet-Type, the colours of the toy are closer to that of real Earth vehicles than that of the later Transformers schemes. Diaclones did not have to conform to typical faction colours as Decepticon Blitzwing would have had to.
This mould has always had a very compact and smart looking tank mode, and it's also a convincing mode which is a rare quality among multi-changers. This mode looks especially good in dark green, complemented nicely by the gold chroming on the tank treads.
The turret swivels and extends, and the tank itself has small wheels underneath that allow it to roll. The turret is actually the Transformers-mould turret as seen first on TF Blitzwing. The actual original Japanese Diaclone version of this toy has a much more telescopic turret that had a thinner final barrel section. The GiG Italian pre-TF release had the later TF-mould turret, like this Overcharge. As a big fan of this toy (and Blitzwing), I didn't think it was much of a big deal that the nosecone of the jet was usually visible in tank mode, but I showed the toy to a non-collector friend recently and it was the first thing he spotted "Isn't there something you can do with that? Looks like there should be". I suppose the turret could be placed over it.
One of the nicest things about this toy, and toys like the White Astrotrain, is how transforming it into another mode gives it a completely different colour. Overcharge, from a mostly dark green tank becomes a very light grey jet. Despite being a little blocky, this mould also sports a very convincing jet mode as well. The sets of tailfins are both nice enough, especially the diecast vertical ones. The turret has fake 'wheels' on to act as an undercarriage and Overcharge has the metal front landing gear as well. This mode is not free-rolling like the tank mode. The missiles fire extremely well indeed, although there have been some odd reports of an Overcharge being packaged with the correct sprued missiles but also having purple Blitzwing missiles armed in the launchers?!?
Overcharge, and indeed Blitzwing, tend to look very plain without the stickers applied. That is most obvious in jet mode where most of the stickers would have been visible. The grey colour used for Overcharge (and previously the Diaclone J-T Triplechanger) in jet mode is again a little more common and realistic than that used for Decepticon Blitzwing. That does not, however, mean that collectors in general find this to be the better or more attractive colour scheme. In my opinion, the sparkly blue used on the nosecone and canopy and the gold chrome on the treads in tank mode are nice touches. It is possible to enter the realms of tackiness when it comes to shiny/sparkly paint and plastic, but Overcharge doesn't cross the line.
Overcharge's robot mode is the least convincing of all his three modes, but that doesn't mean that it's a let down. I have always liked the way Blitzwing looked in robot mode and I feel the same about Overcharge. The robot does not have particularly well-defined feet although the shoulder and elbow representations work well enough. The arms and shoulders are the only points of articulation in robot mode. Overcharge is definitely brick-like, but the robot head, wings and mean-looking weapons make him a successful enough display piece and I personally display him as much in robot mode as any other mode.
Transforming Overcharge to robot mode is also enjoyable as there's enough twisting, turning, extending and swivelling to meet any collector's needs. In truth, transforming him between any of his other 2 modes is just as enjoyable. It is not the most complicated transformation, but just like Astrotrain it's satisfying. Also, a feature that stands out among recent E-Hobby exclusive releases is the build quality. There was no inherent looseness or any other noticeable lack of quality in Overcharge when I was reviewing him. Joints were tight, and the toy had a solid enough feel to it. A slight criticism would be that the robot face lacks a bit of definition and can appear blank and featureless from a distance, but that's down to his colour a little as well. It should also be mentioned that Overcharge's sword is more akin to the earlier Diaclone and JTF releases as opposed to the more rounded off blunted US Blitzwing sword.
As I mentioned before, the toy looks a little bland at the moment, so here are a few pics of Overcharge with the standard stickers applied and the missiles armed.
An instantly noticeable difference, and arguably, improvement. The jet mode benefits immensely from the freshly applied labels. The tank mode doesn't change a great deal and the robot mode really needs the faction symbols for the extra personality. Even the addition of the tiny missiles makes a big difference and gives the toy a very rounded, complete and fuller look. Overcharge really does start to look the part now and you cannot help but be impressed.
There are a few differences between Overcharge's stickersheet and the original Diaclone stickers. Overcharge's main stickersheet is of course just the TF Blitzwing stickersheet, therefore it has the Decepticon faction symbols. But it is missing a few things. Stickers 1 and 2 (refer to scan at start of article) that go on the main wings would have had "DIACLONE" written on them originally. Stickers 8 and 9 that go on the vertical fins originally said "TRIPLE" on them and the two stickers labelled '5' would have said "DTC1" (standing for Diaclone Triplechanger 1). Stickers 3 and 4 are also missing some minor detailing on the silver sections.
So what faction would one assign this character? His colours are very close to those associated regularly with Quintessons and that has worked out pretty well seeing as how this was an already-used scheme from Diaclone and the story is that Overcharge is of Quintesson design anyway. There is easily enough scope there for any collector to apply his imagination and preferences to happily adopt Overcharge into any six of the given factions. Being a Binaltech enthusiast, I'm of a mind to slap the EDC logos on him, yet I absolutely love the obscure references from Five Faces of Darkness, and the green skeletal Quintesson emblem is a matching green. The choice is, of course, yours.
Overall, this is a great looking toy with three strong and unique modes augmented tremendously by the two accompanying stickersheets. The build quality rivals that of any reissue released so far and even that of the original releases. The obscure references and choice allow this character and toy a very unique and special mystique that I find appeals to me greatly. A Diaclone-style telescopic turret and rubsign omission would have made this perfect (imagine if he had 6 rubsigns for all the factions!), but even so this is another extremely strong showing from Takara and E-Hobby with all the necessary effort put in to make an ordinary repaint and reissue, extra-ordinary.
Many many gracious thanks to my brother for the
assistance with the FFOD screen captures and to Himawari for the translations.
All the best