Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Maketoys Trash-Talk & Cogwheel

I have a lot of time for 3rd Party Transformers.

Having said that, there are so many of them these days it's pretty damn easy to get swamped in a mire of multiple releases, and the trend these days seems to be multiple releases of the same characters.

Take this IDW comic inspired twin pack by Maketoys in their 'Manga Mech Series'.

iGear already have their analogues of Swerve and Gears on the market, SXS have their Continuously Variable and its comedy retool. And lets not forget that we also have the considerably cheaper Hasbro releases in the Generations line.

So what makes this worthy of consideration?

In a nutshell, it is excellent.

The biggest selling point in this set is undoubtedly Trash-Talk, an homage to the G1 character Swerve, a character relatively few were aware of until master-scribe James Roberts took the metallurgist under his wing and gave him a standout role in the More Than Meets The Eye comic

If you've read MTMTE, you'll know why Maketoys gave him the moniker of Trash-Talk.
If you haven't, get it sorted, pour a large glass of your favourite tipple then come back and thank me.

(As an aside, when you buy the pair, they come to you packaged in a box that contains a box containing another box. That's almost another MTMTE reference right there.)

Both toys share the same mold with tooling differences in both modes.

Starting with the vehicles, Trash-Talk is dead on to the source. Cogwheel...well we haven't seen Gears in alt mode yet but Maketoys have done a good job of making him look Cybertronian while referencing his G1 vehicle mode.

Small but perfectly formed

Everything is well pegged together, clearance from the ground prevents any scraping and while these are small (you're talking slightly larger than a Commander class figure) they look sharp and the colours are spot on. Accessories can be pegged into alt mode.

Alcohol storage
As a little extra injection of character into the vehicle mode, Trash-Talk's canopy can open to reveal an optic on a stalked ball joint.

You can open Cogwheel's hood to reveal a rounded pair of lights.
It's a lovely little touch.

Transformation is a standard fold out the legs, flip out the arms, extend the forearms, fold in the wheels affair.
That's to be expected at this size but I'm glad Maketoys didn't over complicate the process.
It works, and it's easy, and you go back to doing it a lot more than with your average 3P figure.

One fly in that ointment though, is when initially pegging in the wrists. It is tight. Teeth gnashingly tight before you know how to do it. Carefully applied pressure either side of the hand will work. If you want to pop off the hands for a bit of room, feel free, they will go straight back on.

Subsequent transformations have seen this issue fade to practically nothing. 

Robot modes, and this is where these guys utterly shine.

Trash-Talk looks like he walked out of the pages of the comic. Grinning from auditory sensor to auditory sensor, he oozes character. The silver paint that picks out his vented details is a welcome addition to the dominant white and red.

I would have preferred to see the visor painted, as lightpiping with no means of the light getting through to actually pipe is a bit of a waste, really.

Apparently Cogwheel is harder to balance - I respectfully disagree

Despite being a retool and redeco, Cogwheel manages to look like his own character and there is no doubt you are looking at Gears. Again, his comic appearances have been slim on the ground but from what I've seen it's doing a decent job of pulling off an IDW styled Gears. I like him a lot but he wasn't the draw of the set.

Articulation on these little fellas is genuinely excellent.

You're going to regret that

I mean it.

You've got ball jointed and hinged shoulders, bicep swivels, ratcheted elbows and ball jointed wrists.
Ball jointed head, ball jointed waist.
Ball jointed hips, thigh swivels, ratcheted knees and ball jointed ankles.

It allows for some serious fun in posing them, although the heads are difficult to turn with man sized fingers and the hands can pop off easily.

Told you

As you can see, in addition to the two figures you also get a few accessories.

Trash-Talk comes with his drinks tray and a few drinks (he becomes the owner of a bar in MTMTE), the Shoomer weapon and the resulting effects of mishandling the Shoomer (that being an alternate, skull face).

Cogwheel comes with two heads, one toy accurate, one comic accurate and what looks suspiciously like the Rivet Gun from issue 6.

Yeah, this won't end well either 

While pricey, this release has got class, quality and character.

Maketoys products have a reputation for being top notch and this is no different.

The plastic is great, the paint apps are crisp and clean and the joints are good and sturdy.

Highly recommended. And hopefully the first of many more to come in the 'Manga Mech Series'.

Not even the prospect of free booze was enough to put a smile on Yanigerswipe's face