REVIEW: X-Transbots MX-12A Gravestone (part one)

I love it when a plan comes together, but I especially love it when a 3PMP combiner team comes together. Yep, we’re almost at the end of the road, folks, as X-Transbots bring us one step closer to a complete not-Stunticon line-up with the largest release yet – Gravestone! But wait, if this is the final character in the team, how’re we not done yet? Well read on and we’ll find out what that’s all about, as well as assessing if this lad is a good choice to take the Motormaster spot on your shelf. Toot toot!

Like all good robots, Gravestone comes packaged in his vehicle mode, so today we’re going to be taking an in-depth look at that particular form as it bears a bit of focus. I mean, just have a gander.

As first impressions go this is a strong one, with Gravestone cutting a handsome shape in vehicle mode and commanding a fair bit of presence due to his size.

He also feels good and chunky for the most part. There are a couple of panels on the sides of the truck that are a bit thinner, but I can’t say I had any breakage fears as I was handling this guy. There’s an overall quality feel to the proceedings that makes you feel X-Transbots worked hard on this one, and I’m sure a lot of collectors will be thrilled to see the use of rubber tyres, too.

He clips together really well in vehicle mode overall, hanging together solidly. In fact I found getting some of the panels unclipped for transformation a bit of a challenge on first attempt, they’re connected so sturdily! The proportions of the truck mode look great, too.

A rear view betrays the tidiness just a smidge with a tiny peek of robot kibble showing through on the rear bumper. Those little wheels you see are the faux tyres that will eventually make it onto his robot mode feet, although you can kinda mentally pass them off as truck bits and bobs if you don’t think about it too much!

Otherwise, the only other real visual break here is the very top of the truck at the back, where there is a tiny bit of an open join and you can see some of the white robot arms underneath. Again though, it’s hardly a problem – in fact I think it’s a marvel how clean this mode is overall.

The design and sculpt are really nicely done too. I love some of the smaller details present on the front of the cab especially, with little touches like the horn and painted lights both adding to the sense of realism but also looking fab to boot. The grill, lights and wing mirrors all impress, too.

In fact there’s seemingly quite a bit of attention to detail going on here, with a real feeling of time and care having been applied to make this mode as engaging as possible.

I’m also a big fan of the colour scheme, with those gorgeous purple-tinted windows looking an absolute treat, and especially with how they let some sculpting detail shine though. His appearance ably recalls to mind the character’s appearance from the cartoon. Yes, there are a few more bells and whistles (literally) in the design, but you’re not in any doubt who this is meant to be.

If anything it’s the smokestacks that most deviate from the source here, but honestly I think this mode would look a bit odd without them. Although the official line has swung into the animation-accuracy-at-all-costs route of late, I really don’t mind a bit of interpretation being taken to deliver something that feels a bit more rounded, as in this case.

So, a lot to like – but wait, isn’t this only half of Motormaster’s vehicle mode? Where’s the trailer? Well for that you’ll have to wait a little while longer, as although this is indeed the final character required for a full team, it’s not the final Stunticon toy that will be released by XTB. Instead, the trailer section will be put out separately and will also transform into a battle station mode as well as forming the bulk of the transformation required to make the combined Monolith form (see more details in my article on that here). Looks like there’s plenty of play value on the horizon then.

It means that we’re left with an incomplete vehicle mode for now, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Whilst I am ridiculously excited to finish off this set, not being able to combine them means I’m enjoying spending more time with them individually (as I know I would’ve whacked them into Big Man mode pretty much straight away, otherwise!). Besides, you can equip Gravestone with a choice of other trailers in the meantime!

The vehicle mode has an identical hitch to Masterpiece MP-10 Convoy, allowing you to pull his trailer along instead! It’s a neat feature and makes me really appreciate this toy’s ability to be able to separate the cab and trailer sections (something that the two main rivals to this toy cannot do) for additional antics. Of course, there’s more than one MP-10 trailer out there…

…and boy, does the Shattered Glass version look terrific! Those colours are so practically perfect that you’d honestly think they were designed to go together!

Seeing Gravestone all trailered up gives us a wonderful preview of what’s to come and makes me very excited to see the complete vehicle mode before too long. Still, I’m very happy that XTB are taking their time with the whole thing and aiming to put out a quality product. No sense in rushing, in my opinion.

So we know the trailer works well, but how does Gravestone shape up next to MP-10’s cab? Well, it’s pretty evident from the get-go that he was designed to ape that toy as much as possible (as opposed to MP-44, which also explains why the trailer hitch for that version of Optimus doesn’t work) and for that reason they complement each other extraordinarily well.

In fact they really do look like different sides of the same coin, going toe-to-toe on details, proportions, design and size in a wonderful way. XTB have really hit the target here, in my opinion.

There’s something about big ol’ robot trucks that is just a load of fun, so I had a great time messing around with these two taking these photos. I’m sure it’ll look even better when the completed Gravestone vehicle mode is available.

The other comparison I was chomping to take a look at was of course with the rest of the XTB Stunticon crew, and boy, was it worth the wait. It’s been a relatively long time coming (I reviewed the first figure, Crackup back in June 2018!) but seeing them all side-by-side is a definite treat.

I mentioned in last week’s FansToys Roadking review that the idea of Masterpiece-scaled Stunticons is one I’ve been excited about for some time, and seeing them realised in such fantastic 3D form is a joy to behold at last.

As you’d expect, Gravestone complements the rest of the team admirably, rounding out the quintet of raucous road warriors with aplomb. Yep, we still need the trailer, but it doesn’t make this sight any less exciting for now.

In fact I’m going to say this now – if XTB can stick the landing with the trailer and the combined mode then for my money this set will join a tier of 3PMP accomplishments that only a handful so far can claim. I mentioned at the start how thrilling it can be when a team like this comes together, but I don’t think it’s been since the culmination of the FansToys Dinobots that I’ve felt quite such a thrill at seeing them all lined up like this. Cracking work overall.

Speaking of FansToys, the time has come to look at which version of Motormaster can truly be classed as “king of the road”! I touched on this comparison in Roadking’s review too, explaining at the time that I thought it was arguably too close a race to call, although if I was pressed I’d probably have to hand it to Gravestone by a photo finish. Well, I stand by that assessment in this review.

Don’t get me wrong, Roadking does a lot really well too, and cuts a fine form both at representing the character but also at being a highly attractive toy. I do love the chrome and red lights that toy is rocking as well, but there’s just something about the look of Gravestone that works slightly better for me and of course I love that you can detach the trailer section for added play value.

If anything though, this comparison just serves to show you how spoilt we are when it comes to terrific options for some of these characters in Masterpiece-style. Factor in DX9 Capone as well, and you couldn’t really imagine having a range of more diverse choices for 3PMP Stunticons, which is interesting to say the least. If I’m honest, whichever one you go with I don’t think there’s really a wrong choice to be made.

So, some excitement to be had around Gravestone’s vehicle mode! I hope you’ll just us next time when I’ll be going into detail on that robot mode and seeing how well he lines up with the rest of the team! Can’t wait.

 

SHOP FOR THIS TOY AT TFSOURCE

TTFN

About Sixo

Transformers collector from the UK, collecting vintage G1/G2, CR/RID, UT & Masterpiece/3P. Find me at twitter.com/SixoTF or on YouTube at youtube.com/SixoTF

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