The Zarak Shield Turns the Tide is the thirtieth episode of Transformers: The Headmasters. It first aired in Japan on March 04, 1988 on Nippon TV.



It's a race against time for the Autobots as they search for the Decepticons' hidden base before the Zarak Shield can be completed.


Unable to find a trace of the Decepticons on planet Master, the Autobot Headmasters have taken to space in Battleship Maximus to scan for their enemies, fearing that they can use G-Metal and the stolen secrets of the Master Sword to create a powerful weapon. Indeed, the Autobots are right to search in space - the Decepticons aboard Scorponok have concealed themselves from the Autobots' radar by hiding in a field of space dust. Skullcruncher gets confused when Weirdwolf and Mindwipe tell him that space dust is alien debris, but the Targetmasters get them to leave him alone, the Decepticons head back towards Master after Battleship Maximus moves out of range.

The Autobot Targetmasters are not convinced that the Decepticons have left Master, (correctly) speculating that they have a base hidden beneath the planet's surface. As they talk with Fortress on the matter, however, they discover that they are being observed by Ratbat, who has snuck on board the ship with Soundblaster. Having been found out, Soundblaster leaps off the ship and flies back down to Master, with the Targetmasters hot on his heels. In a change of pace, rather than join the pursuit, the Headmasters use their heads and construct a machine that, once connected to the Master Sword, will allow them to detect the energy wavelength necessary to create a similar weapon.

Down on the surface of Master, the Targetmasters land amidst a rocky mountainscape, but are ambushed by their Decepticon counterparts, who were aware of their approach thanks to Soundblaster's advance warning. The villains break open the walls of a mountain lake, washing away the Autobots. Believing them dead, they report their victory to the other Decepticons in their underground base, but Sixshot points out that their disappearance will surely make Fortress suspicious. With Scorponok's new weapon, the Zarak Shield, nearing completion, Sixshot leads an attack force to distract the attention of the approaching Autobots. The Autobot Targetmasters, however, have survived, and observe from a distance as the attack force flies out of a cave; they suspect the presence of a Decepticon base.

As the Headmasters debate the fate of the Targetmasters aboard Battleship Maximus (not entirely unamused at the notion that the "more experienced" trio could have been captured), the report from the Targetmasters is received, with their suspect cave proving to be on the same course as the Headmasters' detector is leading them. Naturally, they cross paths with the Decepticons, who lead them off in the wrong direction, but Fortress immediately recognizes their deception, and changes course back to the Targetmaster's reported location. Once in range, their detector goes off, and the four young Headmasters disembark the battleship with a portable detector to find the base themselves.

At the same time, Weirdwolf decides that he has had enough of trickery and running around, and breaks ranks to pursue the departing Maximus. Catching up to the ship, he plants two explosives; Wheelie and Daniel are topside watching the sunset, and he deliberately catches their attention by tapping on the hull, in order to keep their attention on him and prevent discovery of the bombs. Fortress comes to their aid, and Weirdwolf retreats, his bombs still in place.

Down below, the Headmasters follow the detector to the dried-out lake bed, and the earth gives way beneath their feet, sending them toppling into the tunnels leading to the Decepticons' cavern base below. The Autobot Targetmasters have already entered the caverns, and send their small Targetmaster partners into the base to investigate, but the gung-ho tactics of the Headmasters provoke a battle when they give away their location to the Decepticons. To prolong the battle so that he may finish construction of the Zarak Shield, Scorponok sends the Duocons into the fray, at which point the Autobot Targetmaster partners emerge from the base and reconnect with their larger partners. With no options left, Scorponok loads the unfinished Zarak Shield aboard his Transtector and bursts through the cavern roof, attempting to escape into the sky. Battleship Maximus bars his way, but Weirdwolf's explosives suddenly detonate, crippling the ship and allowing Scorponok to escape, despite being clipped by a "Master Beam Attack" from the Headmasters. With these few extra moments bought, Scorponok puts the finishing touches to the Zarak Shield, which now stands poised to defeat the Master Sword...!


In the episode


English dub changes


(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

Autobots Decepticons Humans


Animation and/or technical glitches

  • When the Autobot Targetmaster partners sneak back out of the Decepticon base, Spoilsport's colors are swapped, appearing red where he should be black, and black where he should be red.

Transformers references

  • The Decepticons stole the secrets of the Master Sword in the previous episode.
  • Before now, we've always seen the Master Sword simply appear from the heavens in a flash of light when Fortress becomes Fortress Maximus. This is the first time that we get to see that it's actually stored inside Battleship Maximus when not in use.
  • As anyone who owns the Scorponok toy will realize, the Zarak Shield is the claw-shield that the figure is equipped with. Scorponok's been using that shield at various times throughout the series, though, so presumably this is a new one he's made out of G-Metal that just looks like his old one.
  • Daniel fires on Weirdwolf with his video game light-gun, introduced back in "Find MegaZarak's Weak Spot!!" and most recently upgraded into a functioning weapon by Highbrow in "The Master Sword Is in Danger!!"
  • The Headmasters have quite suddenly pulled a new power out of their butts in this episode - without even being combined in Head Formation, they are each able to shoot a beam of energy from their heads, which merge into one large "Master Beam Attack." And they never use it again, either!

Miscellaneous trivia

  • The whole "aliens and space dust" thing just doesn't translate into English well. Skullcruncher is confused because the Japanese words for "aliens" and "space dust" are similar, differentiated only by one character; the show really spells the pun out step-by-step, actually showing the written words on-screen and having the different characters flash. In the Malaysian dub, Mindwipe and Weirdwolf just totally change the topic of the conversation to having a drink with some aliens, making fun of Skullcruncher because he doesn't know what aliens are. Which is nonsense.


Title screens

Title Cards

Title Sequences








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