First there were Transformers. Official Transformers. I liked those. Then there were 3rd Party figures based on Transformers. I ignored those for the most part, before FT Quakewave was forced upon me. Prior to that, one design caught my eye and I always looked at the galleries and teasers despite standing firm against the unofficial onslaught of Not-Transformers product. That design was the original Mastermind Creations (MMC) Reformatted R-01 Terminus Hexatron, the first unofficial Sixshot. Having been a lover of Sixshot and Greatshot for over a decade (never even knew about it as a child), the dynamism of Hexatron captured my attention. Every scene has its landmarks, and Terminus Hexatron is a landmark figure in the world of 3rd party Transformers. Supernova and Shadow Emissary editions, together with add-on parts aside, Hexatron is reborn. This is MMC’s Reformatted R-01C Terminus Hexatron Continuum, and it is phenomenal.
A little while before receiving Continuum Hexatron, I borrowed a friend’s first release Terminus Hexatron and was properly impressed by the playability of this incredibly pointy, sharp, vent-covered modern take on the unforgettable Decepticon sixchanger. There are things about the Hexatron design that smack of early 3rd Party feet-finding, and yet it feels more solid than much of what I handle nowadays from 3P companies, MMC included. With two big guns, two lovely swords and arguably cooler scabbards, Animated Prowl-inspired shurikens housed on his wheels, unfolding into sharp tri-stars as well as a removable helmet, Hexatron was brimming with goodies. So how on Earth could MMC justify releasing this figure – one not at all scarce or rising sharply in value – again in the same colour scheme with less accessories?
R-01C Continuum Hexatron would be losing those non-G1 and yet signature swords and scabbards, shurikens and cool alternate head feature. Sacrificing playability and genuinely interesting accessories for what was being touted as a more accurate Sixshot, closer to the source material from Generation 1, didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Why would a new head sculpt – admittedly much more to my liking – some paint application and blingy chrome on the hand guns make this figure suddenly relevant again in a world that was talking about little else but Dinobots and combiners? It is said that MMC released this in direct response to the upcoming bootleg that was to be upscaled with ‘improvements’. What they have done, though, is taken an excellent and accomplished figure and made it perfect. For those of us who never owned it in the first place, Continuum Hexatron is a revelation.
From the moment I released the packaging for Continuum Hexatron from the shipping box, I could tell what MMC had gone for here. This is an exercise in polishing. The standard Hexatron has been given the premium treatment to the point where something I was already familiar with and had passed on, blew me away with all the correct changes. The outer box for a start is deeply beautiful and demonic, and then there’s the inner clamshell plastic packaging that evokes Sixshot’s original G1 box artwork and the Hasbro 1987 style Decepticon grid pattern background and sunburst, amongst other familiar G1 packaging traits. Make no mistake, this is MMC doing Transformers Generation 1 Decepticon Sixshot.
I’m going to be biased, and that will have been obvious from the first paragraph, because I’ve been so comprehensively blown away by Continuum Hexatron. To the point, in fact, where if someone paid me top dollar for my Conti-Hex and offered me the regular one for free I’d refuse immediately. If I can’t have Continuum, I don’t want Hexatron at all, it’s that ‘right’ to me as Sixshot, and that’s what I want it to be. But that could be precisely why it doesn’t appeal to others.
So apart from the same excellent posability that is still occasionally hindered by those cumbersome inner thigh flaps, and the relatively tiny but well-articulated hands, what’s changed? For a start, he’s covered in paint. Glossy paint. The matte plastic finish of Terminus Hexatron is replaced with something altogether luxurious and shiny, without being gaudy at all. This is far more evident in hand than in photographs. The head is now much more in line with the G1 toy and the various animation appearances, it’s also bigger. While some say the smaller head of the original gave Hexatron the feel of a larger robot, the new one is in my opinion immeasurably nicer and a key attraction of this release.
The chest wings are now painted like the G1 stickers for that area and they are no longer so stylised in shape. The handguns are far more reminiscent of the G1 mould for Sixshot’s weapons and they are now chromed. The wheel hubs are not removable on Conti-Hex but they are also chromed. The main wings are a different shade of grey, and the silver highlights in the green shoulders are now purple. The tank treads are more silver than dark grey on Continuum. The red panel lining in the legs is changed to yellow for the Continuum release and paint apps have been added to the knees. All 100% to the benefit of the figure’s appearance.
When one focuses on some of the individual areas of difference, the additions seem a little trivial and not really that obvious an improvement, especially in light of features that have been removed. Adding paint is not always the way to improve a toy’s appearance. In the case of Continuum Hexatron, taking a step back and looking at the whole next to first release never fails to drive home the overall raised standard of presentation. I have, however, noticed that the added layer of paint here and there has lead to a tougher time for panels or sections to stay tabbed together, the leg halves being the primary culprits.
I admit that Continuum Hexatron looks fun with the added scabbards and swords, but that isn’t who he is. I don’t want Stag Cleavers either. This is a direct homage to the original character and look of Sixshot, so he needs those two signature handguns, and can still be magnificent without swords. Again, possibly symptomatic of why this works for me compared to the many others who will be more than satisfied with the original release. Some collectors like re-imaginings, new interpretations on head sculpts, features, accessories and modes. I do too, but I feel the effect achieved with Continuum Hexatron is more profound than that of the original Hexatron release.
I also just simply do not see this as a Classics/Generations universe figure. Every “CHUG” figure I’ve owned is a compromise in some way to fit a price point or scale, some design feature has had to be sacrificed and none of them ever felt like a luxury product. I love and own figures from those lines, but Hexatron is on another level completely, even aesthetically. My feeling is that Continuum Hexatron fits far more smoothly into a Masterpiece premium category, especially with the strong nostalgic nods and extra polish on the Continuum edition. In terms of scale, he doesn’t seem all that ridiculous next to an MP-11 or MP-13. This could easily be a result of me never being a Classics/Generations collector, I guess I never really got it. I preferred Animated, Binaltech, Masterpiece, Car Robots/RID and G1 to Classics.
In robot mode is how I expect 95% of all Hexatrons to be displayed and enjoyed. It’s the same for G1 Sixshot, the robot mode was the defining configuration – not necessarily the fact that there were 5 other official modes. Modes which at best were mildly convincing. Even Hexatron raises a few eyebrows in various modes, and there’s simply no putting down the robot mode. I could have posed and photographed it for another week without becoming exhausted. However, the star fighter mode is pretty symbolic of Sixshot, and Hexatron does not disappoint for those who grew up with X-Wings and Starfox. I wish the leg halves clipped together in a more flush fashion, and the cockpit seems tiny and very far back, but I love the landing gears and the boosters at the back, an extra row revealed by peeling back the middle claws. Added paint and gleam do nothing but augment this mode.
The laser pistol mode is the weakest and feels like an afterthought, but it always did and any modern version of Sixshot is obligated to replicate it to whatever degree it can. The two handle/wing halves don’t clip in on my Continuum specimen and it’s pretty hard to get the chrome handguns to stay clipped into the scabbard holes which are attached to the rotating waist. Conti-Hex retains the original’s beautiful chunky heft and pleasure during transformation. I just never felt like anything was going to break or snap, he’s solid as a rock and great fun to mess with. I am concerned about scratching paint and damaging chrome, now, though.
The APC and tank modes I like a great deal. They are genuinely distinct and make use of the many folding, tabbing (even if slightly less secure than original Hex), twisting and rolling parts of Hexatron. In these moments I am a deeper believer in his multi-mode nature and concept. I still marvel at what the designers of Hexatron have added to what was originally a pretty fun concept anyway. We accepted the eternal brick that was G1 Sixshot for all its faults because he was a badass, a hexa-modal badass and rather huge. All this has been retained and added to enormously. That’s not news to Hexatron owners of the last few years, I just feel that with the updated looks and finish, together with the whole package and concept, he will not be as lost among the Quakewaves, Wardens and Feral Rexes of this world as the original seemed to be when end of 2013 polls were being cast.
I admit to quite liking the wolf mode on Continuum Hexatron, as I did with Sixshot. It’s hugely blocky, in no way lithe or athletic, but it’s what I would imagine a highly angled, sharp and mechanical animal to look like. Certainly one that also managed to pull off an APC, tank and jet fighter. Articulation isn’t amazing, the front legs and head are plenty moveable, but the hind legs are quite static by design. It’s very reminiscent of G1 Sixshot, but while that looks cool, practically it renders the mode less attractive for display or play.
This is slightly ridiculous, but then it has historical precedent from the Japanese Headmasters series where Sixshot kills Ultra Magnus, and I wanted to avoid the inevitable “You left out winged wolf mode” comments. Above all though, I got to go all fan-mode on Hexatron and try to best replicate the above screenshot of Sixshot’s infamous seventh mode. Fun is completely the order of the day with Continuum Hexatron, as you can see here…
I genuinely believe that anyone who has not yet experienced Hexatron would prefer the Continuum release. So while some will say it’s a knee-jerk reaction of a release, I don’t care what the motivation was because it’s glorious. I desperately want MMC to take this mould and premium finishing, apply it to Greatshot’s superior looks and make the perfect 3rd Party figure. I was beginning to waver on a Shadow Emissary after seeing one of the beautiful buggers at Auto Assembly, then I heard of Continuum with its improvements and the anticipation built.
Yes he has some unavoidably kibbly bits, like the folded over knees/shins and the claws under his admittedly small hands, but for a figure that has all those joints, flaps, wings, wheels…2 heads, 2 cockpits, he’s amazingly streamlined in robot mode, massively accurate in most modes and a joy to play with, transform, pose and display. Putting Continuum and regular Hexatron side by side, I just couldn’t be satisfied with a regular one, but that’s easy to say for a first-time-Hextaron owner. For those who have the original, and love it, the compulsion to upgrade may be weak. If indeed they see it as an upgrade at all. In my eyes, this is one of the very best 3rd Party toys I’ve seen and it’s battling the Iron Dibots for top spot, which I did not expect. Much like their Feral Rex/Predaking, MMC’s Continuum Hexatron is my definitive version of this character. I’m pretty tired of typing out and saying “Continuum Hexatron”, so I call him Sixshot, because that’s precisely what this is. It’s the perfect Sixshot.
All the best