Archive for category Toy Review

Toy Review: Takara Transformers Masterpiece Megatron MP-36

“Peace through Tyranny.”

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Takara Tomy’s MP-36 is known as arguably the best version of Megatron that never existed. It’s an incredible depiction of the Decepticon Leader straight out of the cartoon, extremely articulate, posable and with more than enough personality. The transformation complexity is almost overwhelming.

The level of tolerances throughout the toy are not as bad as you think, but they do involve painted pieces rubbing together. Paint chipping is likely to happen. Like so many owners of the MP-36, I prefer to keep him on robot form. I’ve transformed only twice. Once when I got him and now for this review.

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Yes, it looks fragmented but getting him as close as you can to the gun mode is a bit of a challenge so it’s satisfying when you make it all the way through. The tolerances do exist but some panels that need to fold and turn will make you cringe. Getting the barrel to line up is only possible if you have everything clicking just right. Same with the pistol grip/handle as it won’t lock in place if things are misaligned.

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I was surprise to find myself enjoying the transformation (you will need patience and a good 45 minutes) the second time. I opted to first transform him into gun mode just to see how accurate I could get the pieces to fit together. Yes, they do with some very intricate engineering. There’s two things that you will need/want/NEED to do to this toy. That’s three if yours come with the orange plugs. Mine is a Japanese import found at the Montreal Comic Con so it was orange plug free.

The first thing is the silencer-barrel problem. If you have this toy or you’ve seen the videos you might be wondering how did I manage to fit the silencer. It doesn’t fit right out of the box. Your mileage may vary, but this is a very common problem. The solution is to sand the peg inside the silencer where the barrel attaches.

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You can’t open the silencer all the way, but you can remove the thicker part from the long tube for easier access. That takes a small screw. Then you can also remove the screw in the middle of the tube so that you can split the tube partly. Yes, I know that means you flex the plastic, but it will flex. You just need it wide enough so that the thick part will detach. You have to be VERY careful doing this, but there’s a point in which it’s wide enough for the tabs inside to keep it open. See the figure below. Once the thick part comes out, you will see the peg inside the tube.

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Sanding the peg is not an exact exercise. You sand a bit, you test how the barrel fits, you repeat. There’s these plastic ledges that run inside the peg, right where the split happens, that are what you should focus on. Here’s an additional image for clarity.

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Once you have these ledges sanded down enough so that the barrel can plug into the peg but still not completely fall out, you can stop. It’s really what you’re comfortable with. Once the deed is done, then you can finally attach the silencer.

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The second part is going to be even more of an issue if you want to transform him. It’s that darn screw right in his butt. It’s part of this central axis right in the middle of his legs.

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You just have to apply a screwdriver to it and loosen it somewhat. That’s all. I don’t know how but every single owner had to do this even if they only wanted to see the gun form once in their lifetime. On the plus side, there are some part of this transformation that are just a marvel of engineering, specially how the legs bend to form the upper part of the grip and how they extend for the legs. It’s almost mass-shifting.

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Here’s another view of the screw that you will have to loosen to get the legs to split or close together. This is how the tabs unpeg so the legs can come together for gun form.

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And this is how the pegs go inwards into that axis for robot form. It’s literally night and day. At this point I’m going to robot form, of course.

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Another engineering marvel coming up. The pistol grip splits to form the legs, but the legs are very skinny, aren’t they? Deceivingly, the legs are compressed with a lot of tricks.

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You have to split open the legs, drive in the calfs, open panels, swivel here, etc. The result is uncanny. This is how they end up looking (from the front now).

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The critical part for me when going from gun mode to robot mode is opening up the whole gun barrel. This is always the part where I think I’m about to break the toy. You need pull this apart carefully yet forcefully yet carefully. Once I’m part this part and I can see that hole unpegged, I can breathe again.

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And finally we get back to robot form, which is the best form ever. The articulation on this robot is amazing. Yes, there’s some kibble in the back, nothing we haven’t seen before.

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Final thoughts? If you are happy with one of the 3rd party offerings, you’re not obligated to get this toy. I didn’t know it existed, saw it at the Montreal Comic Con and went home to research the hell out of it. It’s literally the only Megs I have and it sparked (pun!) a renewed interest to collect a few more transformers. I know it’s expensive, specially here in Canada with customs. I’m glad just posing him on a shelf and I might transform him only once a year if at all. It’s a collector’s item and I can say that because it made a collector again out of me. If you have been biding your time to get the very best version of Megs available and are willing to pay the price, this should be at the top of the list.

Bonus shot: Megs and Soundwave talking about the good ole days.

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That will do for now.

 

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Toy Review: PE DX-03 Warden aka IDW Fortress Maximus

I’ve been reading quite a number of Transformers comics lately.

No, none of the movie adaptations. I’m sorry, Michael Bay’s versions just don’t work for me. I also never became a fan of Marvel’s take on the “original” story. After all, the Transformers were always toys first, storyline later. However, I always wanted to see something actually done right (or, right by me, I guess) with those little biographies that the toys came with.

The answer for me was IDW Publishing. I’ve been eating up All Hail MegatronTransformers: More Than Meets The Eye and Transformers: Robots in Disguise (later just renamed to Transformers) since October and I not only love the story, the characters and the humour, but the design is something to be amazed by. Which brings us to this guy.

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Okey, let’s start from the beginning. You’re looking at Perfect Effect DX-03 Warden. That’s a third party transformer (not Hasbro, not Takara) in its “Cannon Tank” alternate mode. Colorful, inventive but as a tank mode it’s not aesthetically pleasing. You want something with a less challenging balancing and a low center of gravity.

It’s his robot mode that sold me. Because, when you change him to robot mode he looks very familiar to IDW Transformers fans. It’s a highly accurate depiction of Fort Max! It’s Garrus 9’s very own warden, Fortress Maximus. (Note: Yes, I also got the Expansion Weapon package PE DX-03 EW almost exclusively for the cool rifle)

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He also changes into a head for the original G1 Fortress Maximus, which is also not a big selling point for me. However, he has so many points of articulation, so many twists and turns to his arms, legs and removable head (that transforms into a small bot – he’s a Headmaster technically) that although he’s already a triple changer, you can get away with some badass looking fan modes.

Dare I say, some fan modes can actually look better than the official modes. This is basically almost a LEGO version of a Transformer. So, I experimented for a bit and came up with my own version of a tank. Still looks very Cybertronian, but definitely a lot more pleasing to me. You tell me if this doesn’t look amazing:

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To make full use of the Expansion Weapon package, I have used the leg extensions as bigger missiles launches on top, while the guns on its legs are pointing forward when opened. More to the point, the best part of the toy’s paint is now in full view instead of hidden and the tank tracks don’t even need to be disconnected. I can even put the two missile launchers on the tank nose where the small ports are for the official transformation. They’re not super solid, but they will survive.

Because of the joined arms, the treads don’t rest completely flush on top of the tracks. The treads still work as good as before, which means they don’t – they will not really roll but they can move. You can also raise the whole thing atop the treads to simulate rough terrain handling. Plus you can open the covers on top of the leg extensions to simulate heat dispersion or heat shields on launch.

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On the back there’s even a small flatbed-like ledge for the head-bot to ride:

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You can still hook up the rifle to the side of the treads, but it kinda drags a bit. Even without the PE DX-03 EW package, this alt mode looks and works a lot better. Plus, I get to leave the huge cannon in the box because frankly it’s too big for the figure.

I also dreamed up a flight mode. This one doesn’t use the tank treads backpack which leaves a hole, but one that is only seen from underneath. The hook arm left behind from taking the backpack off can turn the opening, but can also be used as a landing gear, stabilizing the craft. I call this the “infiltrator” mode due to the TIE-looking wings giving it more than a passing resemblance to Darth Maul’s Sith Infiltrator from Star Wars:

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I added the missile launchers atop the TIE-like wings to give it some offensive power. There are no thrusters per se, but if you open up the leg guns they’re angled backwards. You can consider those the actual thrusters or imply the ship has TIE-like propulsion.

With so many modes, that makes me want an updated version of Sixshot. I still have the G1 figure but it’s a brick bot. Mind you, still a very good looking one. As for Fortress Maximus, as much tempted I am to get some repro labels I don’t want to cover the ruby-looking gem on the chest.

And now, a robot selfie from Fort Max himself.

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PE DX-03 Warden is a very nicely done rendition of the IDW version of Fortress Maximus. If you are not crazy about the official alt modes, here’s something to consider: The robot is more than flexible enough to make your own. I’ve focused mine on being colourful and not mind-numbingly complicated as long as they still looked good. Even without the alt modes, the figure is amazingly detailed.

I won’t hide it from you, it’s expensive. If you have to import it, shipping and customs will add more to what is already an expensive item. It’s up to you to decide if you want it, but hopefully I’ve added a little more value (or dissuade you altogether, who knows) to this wishlist-worthy item.

That will do for now.

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