DX9 have developed a reputation for producing very good-looking, high quality and enjoyable Masterpiece-scale transforming figures that bring them more fans with every subsequent release. Having grabbed attention with their Invisible car robot figure as first to market at MP scale, they followed it up with the brilliant Chigurh, exceptional Carry and popular Tyrant. Now they tackle yet another triplechanger, one who they could not afford to make a mess of with KFC’s Ditka looking as pretty as it does. How have they fared with one of the original two evil triplechangers, the one they call D-08 ”Gewalt”?
As with virtually every review sample that I get through from 3P companies, Gewalt here was not accompanied by an instruction book and online images didn’t really cement a 100% official robot mode configuration. As a result, throughout this review you will see him in a variety of configurations for robot mode. The first picture in the above set is, I believe, the best arrangement of wings, nosecone halves and air brakes. When you are talking about visual impact, Gewalt has it in spades. This comes from his significant bulk and height, as well as colours that show how deeply the evil faction run through his veins. The unmistakable combination of beige/cream and purple, with highlights of grey, yellow and red can only mean one character. That signature look has been masterfully recreated for Gewalt. In short, he’s friggin’ gorgeous in photos, and show-stopping in hand thanks to his size.
He might have floaty shoulder tops and gigantic hands, but Gewalt nails the tank barrel on the back, the wings behind his shoulders, the proportions and the colours (for the most part; the purple isn’t matched to the Generation 1 figure). This test shot comes with the purple sword (chromed hilt, beware of scuffing), but the final production version will also include the purple handgun. The multiple configurations I am referring to involve folding down the air brakes on the main wings (like on MP-11) or leaving them up, Gewalt holding his sword or having it clipped onto the wing backs, having the panels on his shoulder tops show the purple squares or rotating them to show the silver headlight-style moulding and finally having the nose cone halves around his waist tucked up behind the torso flaps or hanging down alongside his hips.
Gewalt is neither top heavy, unstable nor awkward. From the moment you experience his weight, solidity and feel, a smile will spread across your face because you’ll know there’s fun in store. The fun of a young child getting a giant leader class Transformers toy full of personality that they’re not going to put down for weeks. On this test shot, the hands did get a bit floppy at times at the wrist joint, and those shoulder top squares were torture to rotate, very stiff. The tank barrel can be disconnected easily from the turret (which does not disconnect) and held as a handgun. This was probably the only gun Gewalt was going to get until DX9 supposedly bowed to pressure and added a purple gun. That I don’t have.
Posability is excellent as well, so much expression to be conveyed with the articulation at Gewalt’s disposal – and what makes it more impressive is that despite being limited in the knees (thanks to hugely bulky lower legs) and in the neck (no looking up or down), he can still rock a catalogue of convincing poses. The heel spurs are solid and can be folded or rotated to suit the stance, the feet remind me of Carry in the way they are attached and so have increased tilt effect, elbows are double jointed and the fingers are highly articulated. There’s a solid waist rotation there too, with leg articulation at the hip but no knee swivel. He can’t kneel to my satisfaction, either. But, he can do this:
Gewalt’s robot mode is tremendous, it’s beautiful, powerful and really fun to interact with. You do not constantly have stuff coming unclipped, or slipping about when posing him. Just beneath his breasts there’s a folding panel on either side of the belly that clips to the inner torso (very small lip that maintains the connection), but even if you don’t get that clipped it doesn’t affect the look and they don’t flap around. You may have to push the feet in at the connection to the shins so they remain clipped on, but that’s only when exploring very dynamic poses, and even then he’s not going to fall over. Just see for yourself in some of the pics above where the feet are not completely sat flush against the lower shins. One other thing to say on this subject, and I hope this is a test shot exclusive issue, are the large flaps that fold down and become the knees. They don’t sit totally flush against the shins on this test shot. That’s the kind of thing that may irk a particular type of collector.
What a head sculpt, possibly the best one DX9 have managed in their fledgling career so far. Having totally nailed the look of this grumpy bruiser, they tried to push the boat out with light piping that I couldn’t quite get to work well enough to call it a feature. He’s properly handsome, though. Lady Gaga would be proud. The floating shoulders and turret halves inside the legs may well be the only visually questionable things here, because I can’t fault the rest. I should also comment that weapon grip is solid, not perfect, but more than good enough. On close inspection you will notice the subtly dreamy sparkles in the purple plastic of the hands and feet.
When I received this review sample, he was shipped as that humongous brick of a tank so I had to undertake a transformation to robot mode first. One of the most intuitive, official-feeling and enjoyable transformation sequences I can remember on a 3P product. It just came together beautifully, large panels moving in unison before being unclipped, heavy bits and bobs folding away or folding up and clipping securely, like the tank treads. Going the opposite way, the way the hands fold away into the forearms is genius.
They actually grip the panel to which their ball joint is attached, and then the thumb folds on up around the back of the hand, then they fold away into the forearm. I just love doing that every time, it’s a Masterpiece moment for me. I’m reminded of the individually articulated index finger and ball-jointed thumb on those large hands, good stuff.
Make sure you are sitting down, because there’s news of partsforming. Yes, the tank barrel must be removed completely and re-attached in robot mode, or left aside for jet mode. Accept it, embrace it, this kind of thing should not leave you upset and in ruins for a week or turn joy to ash in your mouth. As with the other modes, there’s a lot of moving large panels around to get to tank mode, but things are pretty securely tabbed in place and solid when complete. He’s a massive box, there’s no getting away from that. There’s little contouring or kind surfaces here, it’s all angles and panels. There’s some nice sculpting in the panels, and that brings me to another of Gewalt’s great strengths. As much as 3rd party products get accused of being over-engineered and hyper-detailed, the official product is being criticised for being too much like the original cartoon with its plain featureless surfaces. Gewalt strikes a perfect balance between the two, as he’s not bland but the features present are not distracting.
The tank treads are not rubber and do not move like the fantastic treads on MakeToys Ironwill, but they do have little wheels underneath that facilitate rolling. The turret can rotate but not 360 degrees, the barrel of the turret can extend and be raised at an angle, though. Going to tank mode, there is a fair amount of panel folding under the surface, and certainly the way two of the leg panels fold up at the lower rear can be considered untidy, as they sort of sit folded on top of each other, not unlike the wings of G1 Apeface. It’s a little bit of Tetris too to get the correct orientation of the double jointed arms so that it all fits and creates the sides of the tank, but it’s less intense than going to jet mode. A panel swivels out from the forearm to act as a gap filler too which I liked. There’s an elephant in the room, let’s go meet him.
What you see under the front of the tank is indeed Gewalt’s robot head and jet canopy just sort of sitting there with nowhere to go. In fact, DX9 had to put the head on a 3-piece articulated arm to help maneouvre it out of the way of everything else just for tank mode! It’s charming, funny and the kind of thing that actually endears me to a figure rather than put me off, but it’s not elegant, and it’s going to ruffle a lot of collectors’ feathers. It does break the suspension of disbelief, no question. It doesn’t help that Gewalt’s head is so very yellow.
And so to the MIG-inspired jet mode that was always a flying box! This is huge, really quite surprising. Standing up, he’s as tall as Ordin in this mode.The colours are ace, he’s suddenly become mostly purple and the character is paid tribute to most faithfully in this mode. He is missing the smaller rear wings which is a shame as it would have truly finished off this mode perfectly. Forming the nose of the jet is always fun thanks to the sturdiness of the joints and the whole transformation of that section.
The wings are of course fold-out, and the tank treads fold up to clip in under them, another quite tidy solution. DX9/UT do seem to come up with rather nice answers to jet mode kibble as evidenced here and with Provider.
Gewalt may not have the elegance of an F-15 Eagle in jet mode, but he is supremely tidy and impressive. I love the landing gear and undercarriage, and those mega exhausts that fold up so perfectly to form heel spurs. The rear fins can be positioned perpendicular to the fuselage or angled, to lessen the visual impact of missing rear wings. I quite like how DX9 have engineered the rotating canopy and front end to accommodate the jet and robot mode, but I guess the tank mode suffers most from its positioning and function. Those big main wings move together with the giant central panel across the body of the jet, it’s the same large section that folds up behind the robot’s back. When Gewalt is all folded out with open panels, he is significantly longer. Yes, he’s something of a panel-former, but nowhere near the degree of Chigurh or Provider.
Ok, we know Gewalt is big, but in actual fact his alternate modes are not too badly scaled with Masterpiece Transformers figures. Getting the scale of a triplechanger right is always going to be a problem for any designer. Chigurh suffered a bit with it, as did Provider, but I think Gewalt is as successful, if not moreso, than its predecessors from the same stable at achieving a believable balance.
No doubt about it, though, he’s on the big side. Bigger than KFC’s Ditka and not quite as G1-slavish as that is either. Both the removed barrel and the sword can be pegged on to the underside of each wing, which doesn’t look half bad, actually!
Is Gewalt too big for Masterpiece Transformers display in robot mode? Some would argue that he is, and I must admit to being quite surprised at how tall he was compared to the Seekers and other assorted Decepticons or Masterpiece style 3rd Party figures. He should be a beast, a warrior, someone to be feared. However, I would not blame folks for feeling he’s a tad oversized. He’s even slightly taller – and definitely mode filled out – than DX9 Chigurh. Even in the above picture, there are some figures I think he scales well with, and others he towers over. This one is down to your personal preference. I’m willing to give him a pass here because he does so many things so very well, and is a joy to interact with.
When a figure is this much fun to pose, enjoyable to transform without frustration or complexity that’s off-putting, absolutely stunning in its proportions and three solid modes – of which one is exceptional, one very good, and one good enough – you must take notice. Even when it’s not as slavish to Generation 1 and the animation model or toy in some respects as an upcoming competitor’s might be, or an official one eventually, a figure as good and fun as Gewalt is criminal to ignore. DX9 have created a fantastic transforming figure (or *gasp* toy!) that hits a sweet spot with aesthetics, transformation, posability, presence and quality. Is that not what we have always wanted from 3rd party figures, or Transformers generally? Total victory, well done DX9. Goodness, I love this figure.
All the best