X-Transbots have been facing a rising tide of criticism with each release drawing more and more concerns over poor quality control. I reviewed Ollie yonks ago, and quite liked him but there were so many problems with that poor fella that it put me off buying more X-Transbots figures. I handled Apolloyon, but when I’m too scared to transform a toy because a hinge looks like it is dying to snap – I know it’s not for me.
The latest figure in their line of Masterpiece styled transforming robots is Andras, a name which calls to mind the final boss from Starwing rather than a Blue Space boat called Scourge. Andras is intended to be a fresh start for X-Transbots, a heads up that they have gotten all of their production problems under control and it’s all a thing of the past.
But does it live up to that promise? Can it win people over?
The kind folks over at TFs Express have sent along a production sample of X-Transbots Andras for us to take a look at, and see if we can answer the many questions hanging over it.
So click below to see the full review.
Andras is very round in alt mode and there’s not much in the way of detail to talk about. To a degree I am doing X-Transbots a disservice, as they have faithfully recreated Scourges alt mode, but there was never much to it – most people didn’t even know what it was.
Blue Spaceboat? A flying surf boad? A hover shoe? A floating bar of soap? Generation 1 Scourge was supposedly a Cybertronian Hovercraft – so that is settled.
G1 Scourge was pretty bland in alt mode, so XTB have sculpted little details to try and offset that – I applaud that kind of effort.
Feature wise, his head can do the pop up periscope impression Scourge is famous for, and there’s also landing gear that flips down, or an included clear plastic stand if you want to pretend he is flying without using your hands. The stand fits into a spring loaded slot on his crotch…make of that what you will.
Most interestingly X-Transbots Andras has three led’s built into his little thrusters. Unfortunately I don’t have the right kind of batteries to get it to work, and he takes nine of the blighters.To insert the batteries, you simply unpeg the little cones poking out of the back and the batteries go in there. Those cones love to pop off and disappear into the carpet. No doubt i’ll hear one rattle up the hoover at some point.
A slot on top allows either of his weapons to attach securely. Both his rifle and Targetmaster weapon slide in to give him a mounted cannon on his many muderous adventures. Andras laser pistol can store inside the alt modes shell too, if you are someone who likes to keep all the pieces together.
Each of his parts locks together so tightly he feels like a blunt weapon in your hands. The only exception is the block behind his head, which forms his devious collar, that just hangs around there being itself doing what it wants, but it’s in no danger of flapping about – far too tight for that. When you put Andras back into space soap mode you appreciate the louds clicks and snaps of everything locking together so well.
Andras does a great job of faithfully recreating Scourges weird G1 alt mode, whatever it truly is meant to be.
This small chap is based on Scourges G1 Targetmaster partner Fracas and where most third parties tend to “homage” the original names by using words which mean the same thing – XTB have gone with something that happens after a very bad curry.
Rimfire is the most hilarious name since Toyworlds Hardbone and I would love to buy whoever came up with it a pint. Away from the silliness of his name, he is a fine looking bot who takes most of his details from Fracas in a more stylised fashion than Andras does with Scourge with huge lower legs and a skinny upper body.
He looks great.
A clean, kibble free bot mode is always welcome and none of the gun parts compromise his look. At first glance there’s nothing that’s a dead giveaway that he transforms into a hand cannon, as the gun barrel collapses to make him look like he is carrying fire fighting apparatus which is quite clever.
In classic X-Transbots style, the barrel was actually misassembled, and attached backwards. Instead of flipping down onto his back as intended – it stuck up in the air. Removing a single screw and flipping it round solved the problem so it’s an easy fix, but on a figure where XTB have made such an effort to rebuff their critics – it is a glaring fail.
This is a production sample though and no one else seems to have mentioned it as an issue, so hopefully it is a just a freak occurrence.
There’s some great poses in this guy too, as he is covered in ball joints and is just great fun to pose – guys even got an ab crunch for extreme posing. His transformation is pretty simple but the end product is less successful.
Rimfire does become a gun but only his legs securely clip to anything – and that’s each other. Most of the transformation centers around his ab crunch but it never locks into position. You have to just fudge it, which can lead to the gun often being squished or needing to be realigned. Rimfires fist holes (try saying that with a straight face) grab onto pegs hanging from the underside of his legs but not especially tightly.
That’s not much to moan about as he is a really fun figure to play with and if XTB make recolours of these available, I have money I wish to fold into paper air plane’s and hurl in their direction.
X-Transbots transformations have a knack for terrifying even the most gentle handed, but Andras bucks that trend with all the subtlety of Roy Chubby Brown. Gone are the fiddly, delicate plastics and thin hinges. Instead you have quite a straightforward transformation with lots of loud clicks and clunks and some heavy duty feeling plastic. What makes it so straightforward is the fact that most of Andras alt mode is a plastic shell, so to transform him you mostly just unwrap large pieces of his plastic coat.
Only one point of the transformation feels awkward and that is the feet, which you have to pull through the front of the alt mode as you rotate those pieces to be the back of the legs. It’s even worse going back to alt mode. After opening the forearm to pull the left hand out, the cover sat loosely and didn’t want to click back into place and, try as I might, I couldn’t figure out why. Eventually it did, but not for any reason I understood.
The transformation is not difficult, and regular readers will know how much I dislike complex transformations, but a touch of extra flair would have really sold it.
Once fully transformed X-Transbots Andras is an absolute beast. Not only is he massive, standing roughly MP 10 Optimus Prime height (perhaps a touch taller), but he carries a fair amount of weight to compliment that by virtue of the solid plastic they have used. To say he transforms from inside a shell there is nothing hollow here and if you were to flail him around as a weapon there will be bruised eye sockets.
When Scourge debuted in Transformers the Movie, I actually disliked him the second he appeared on screen in the Cinema. He didn’t look like a Transformer, which were folded up vehicles and not bland robo Draculas coloured like toothpaste. Andras is almost entirely coloured in shades of cartoon accurate Blue, save for some Red and Silver details dotted throughout and it still looks like Toothpaste. In a nice way.
I’ve softened to Scourge over the years. How could I not – he looks like a bot who spends his days listening to A View to a Kill by Duran Duran.
A series of blocks is easy enough to design to move around and slot into other blocky shapes, as the inventors of the Rubiks Cube would attest. But something with so many curves that looks like a buff old man in armour? A more difficult task to accomplish and all the more impressive that X-Transbots have managed it so well.
I will say he pulls off the robot mode in stunning fashion because he looks incredible and every bit the Masterpiece Scourge you may or may not want. Every detail is captured and nothing compromised as he maintains that organic, rounded looking silhouette.
The face has the sort of moustache and beard combo that raises the eyebrows of customs officers across the world- or a drummer in 80’s rock bands would wear. I thought for sure that would be something that would want to break, but nope, again foiled by XTB’s power dash at QC. Andras head sculpt as a whole is a massive win, with a snarling expression that says something different depending on how you pose the hands.
Lets talk about those well manicured claws for a second. Each finger is on a ball joint and has multiple points of articulation – but never do they feel fragile. In my brief experience they didn’t pop off (see:MP10, MP Soundwave), though admittedly I only spent a short time with the figure.
Something that should come across from this article is how much personality Andras exudes and the hands play a large part in that as their poseability unlocks so much posing ability. As you can see, I didn’t have much to say about the alt mode but the robot mode is so characterful and way more fun.
X-Transbots Andras are no slouch with articulation either and what he does have manages to give the figure buckets of character – which is why there are so many photo’s within this article.
Diecast feet help keep him planted and you would think the large wingspan would make him back heavy. Fortunately there is more weight in the rest of the body so he stands resolute, backed by very tight joints and strong ratchets. There’s double knees and elbows, though the knees don’t actually move too far due to the large curved pieces on the back of his legs. Some thought went into this because during transformation a small piece from the nose of the alt mode folds and it is for the sole purpose of not restricting knee articulation. If you’ve ever owned Ollie, you’ll know how restrictive his legs ended up being for a variety of reasons – well this comes across as a response to that.
It is an approach which pervades with Andras. The strong shoulders that rotate on ratchets feels wonderfully solid, and are almost an apology for Apolloyon, for example.
One particular piece of articulation made me smile and that is the waist rotation. When you turn it, there is a loud ratcheting noise, which sounds like it is spring loaded? Cool stuff, and it assists Andras in feeling like a chunky 80’s toy. Andras wings also swing out on strong ratchets, just in case you want that full running Bishop Brennan look (obligatory Father Ted reference).
A Matrix chamber which can house the one pilfered from MP-10 has also been worked into the chest, as has the key to the plasma energy chamber which is concealed within his stomach. Took me a while to figure out what that was as it looks like a small plastic turd accessory.
The Masterpiece style tradition of bonus, episode specific accessories or features is brilliant and I’m glad to see it keep going. But as I said earlier in the week – where’s my Augie Cahnay?
Andras does come with two guns. The already discussed Rimfire slots into his hand, but you will find you need to untransform (I don’t think that’s a word) the arms to get the handle into Andras hands. No biggie, but it does feel a bit fiddly. The other weapon is based on Scourges original Generation One laser blaster (I think that is what the tfwiki is telling me it’s called anyway). It’s basic, but does have very clean paint work and it looks better, and more traditional in Scourges hand than Rimfires weapon mode.
Where something like Maketoys Cupola feels almost luxurious and intricate -Andras doesn’t. It lacks that gloss. You discern from handling it that X-Tramsbots have built something intended to be more heavy duty, to make a point that they have listened to the criticism and designed Andras specifically to avoid the mistakes of their past figures. Ollie and Apolloyon felt fragile and like they would, rather than could, break – Andras feels like a brute.
Andras does feel unlike any Masterpiece style figure because it’s a toy that is screaming to be played with and wants you to know how durable it is. So it’s a great Scourge, being something that seems so Alien amongst the other Transformers. If they wish to win people back over, who have been burnt by their products in the past, X-Transbots will need to consistently put out soild, sturdy figures – and Andras is a very good start,
Thanks again to tfs-express.com for giving me the chance to take an early look at this figure