Friday, January 27, 2017

GCreation Ultra Maxmas - Optimus Prime

Although I didn't immediately jump on the GCreation Dinobots, I did eventually come around. Even with their flaws, they are a fun set. Unfortunately, Ultra Maxmas did not turn out to be fun for me. Like X-Transbots Apollyon, he seems to be a shelf display piece rather than a playable toy.

I'm indifferent to the truck mode. It looks fine, I guess. His tires are rubber, but he doesn't roll very well because I can't get the front wheel wells to form properly. His rifles don't store on him directly; they go in MP-10's trailer via an included accessory. I probably needed to give the whole vehicle another squeeze, but didn't want to risk undoing all my hard work clipping in all his tabs. I don't find the end result to be worth the hassle of transformation. The balljoints on the wind vane are rather tight and I fear to break something trying to position it better. Ultra Maxmas came boxed in robot mode. In getting him into truck mode, stress marks have appeared in numerous places. The paint application and detailing are very clean and well applied.

Transformation is not easy. It's not quite as bad as Unique Toys Sworder, but the process is a bear. There are a lot of panels and flaps. Going to truck mode involves lining up a multitude of swiveling panels and tabs. As you press on one spot, another spot inevitably pops out. There are two pairs of tabs on the shin panels that I just ignored. They are on swivels and always swing away when I try to press them into their receiving slots. The back half of the front wheel wells need to be tabbed as well, but the receiving panels are not reinforced and simply bend away as you futilely press on them. If you are truly unlucky, various other tabs and panels will pop out elsewhere on the vehicle. Although mostly not visible from the outside, numerous stress marks have appeared on internal panels and hinges. It reminds me of why I didn't like Thunderous initially and was hesitant to complete their Dinobot line. Going back to robot mode is no less fiddly and no less scary because of the tolerances of several hinges and joints. I had the most trouble with his backpack section because it’s easy to get turned wrong way around by all the swiveling armatures. This is most definitely a figure I will never transform again. Had I first watched videos of him being transformed, I probably would have skipped it entirely.

In robot mode, Ultra Maxmas looks really good. Some newly revealed paint applications and chrome parts are equally as well done as those in truck mode. He has a lot of panels, many of which don't tab in anywhere. They just kind of sit on top of each other, but at least they aren’t flappy. One of his pecks had fallen off in the box, but the mushroom peg went back into its groove pretty easily. His ears seem a tad too long, but his head sculpt is instantly recognizable as Optimus Prime. He is a very lanky figure. The paint application appears to be beautifully done. Despite some gaps in the body, the line work and overall form is very eye-catching. I believe there is some Die-cast in his legs and feet. He will look great towering over a bunch of IDW figures. Most of the stressed panels and hinges are not visible in robot mode, but more are visible than in truck mode, especially two from atop at the shoulders.

His head is on a hinge and swivel. He can look up and down a little bit. His shoulders are on swivels and double hinges. It is absolutely terrifying swiveling his arms because the joints are really tight and the surrounding parts visibly flex. His arms can only raise to about 45 degrees, but they can get quite a bit of butterfly action. He swivels at the biceps, wrists, waist, and thighs. On my figure, his right wrist would not initially swivel. After applying a bit more force than I would have liked and enduring a scary cracking sound, it now swivels freely. He has double-jointed elbows that can get to almost 180 degrees. His double-jointed knees are ratcheted and can also get to almost 180 degrees. He has fixed thumbs and single-pinned fingers, with the pointing fingers articulating separately from the rest. His hips are on universals with ratchets along the transverse axis. He has ankle rockers and tilts, with separate toe and heel tilts. Manipulating him isn't as pleasant as it should be because there are not a lot of places where you can hold him without squeezing a panel or knocking his pecks or wings out of place. His hip skirts also need to be extended and hinged out of the way to make room for lifting his legs. Sometimes, his waist swivel gets stuck on some of the hip panels. I fear the shoulder swivels may not be long for this world.

His accessories include a pair of rifles, the Matrix of Leadership, some extra ears, and some vehicle parts. The rifles have some line work and silver paint. The handles slot into grooves in his hands and work very well. The Matrix of leadership sits in his chest. I think it's made of Die-cast, with gold paint and chrome. The center is translucent and textured. It's actually really nice. The alternate ears are slightly shorter and come off his head at an angle instead of straight up and down. One of the parts is a hitch for MP-10's trailer. No photos of that since the trailer is still in the box and buried somewhere in the garage. The other part allows the rifles to be stored inside MP-10's trailer without rattling around.

Based on the numbering scheme, Ultra Maxmas is probably meant to be a separate line from their Dinobots. I was hoping that Ultra Maxmas would be the Optimus Prime to lead them, but I guess I'll just move those Dinobots back to my CHUG shelf. I don't regret picking up this figure. He looks great on the shelf, but the transformation is difficult, the shoulder swivels are worrisome, the flappy nature of some of his panels are annoying, and stress marks dot the various hinges, panels, and joints. For now, I will use him with the IDW figures from Generation Toy and Transform Mission, but am probably going to reevaluate if I will be continuing on with GCreation and just rely on the other two companies to fill in my IDW shelf. I believe Generation Toy has an Optimus Prime in the works so it will be definitely be interesting to see how the engineering and build quality will compare.

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