When it launched its first Legends-scaled figure in 2014, Iron Factory became a pioneer in the 3rd Party arena for focusing on figures of a scale different from the rest. Fast forward to present day and their proven track record has earned them a significant fan base, etching a place in 3rd Party history.
Having already owned several of their products, I looked forward to their Spirits of the D.E.C. set (based on the Decepticon Justice Division, DJD from the IDW comics). Fun Fact for those who are less astronomically inclined such as myself: The five Spirits of the D.E.C. figures were named after stars in the Ursa Major constellation, a loose connection to how the DJD members were named after the first five Cybertronian cities to fall to the Decepticons. And now you know! Alright, let’s see how they measure up!
OVERALL BUILD QUALITY, PLASTIC QUALITY & PAINT APPLICATIONS
RATING: 5 / 5
Iron Factory maintains its sturdy build quality with high grade plastics, which is always appreciated for small figures that can be more prone to breakage. Having said that, some collectors did notice stress marks on the arm linkages of Dubhe after transformation. Upon receiving the feedback, Iron Factory had promptly included replacement parts in the set containing Phecda & Mizar. After two rounds of transformation, my copy held up alright and I am glad to report that there were no noticeable stress marks. However, just be wary of this and exercise some degree of caution when transforming him. Aside from this particular issue, everything else held up very well for all the figures and they definitely do not feel flimsy in hand. If you have handled Iron Factory figures, you’ll know what I mean. Paint applications is well done too, taking into account that some of these parts are really small.
OVERALL AESTHETICS & PROPORTIONS
RATING: 5 / 5
Granted that references for the DJD are largely limited to their appearances in the IDW comics, I personally feel that Iron Factory have gotten their look just right. Each member of the Spirits of D.E.C team maintains his own unique look and build, staying true to their depiction in the comics.
Not gonna lie, the DJD had some of the more bizarre alt modes in the fandom.
There’s a tank,
a mobile smelting pool Harvester which looks like a tank,
a mobile razor pit which also looks like a tank,
a sniper rifle,
and to top it off, an electric chair! Diversity in modes of torture seems to be the criteria for joining this crew.
OVERALL DESIGN, ENGINEERING & ACCESSORIES
RATING: 3 / 5
Transformation for each of the figures is uniquely different from any other Iron Factory figures, with Phecda (Vos) leading the pack with the most complicated transformation of the lot. However, these are not MP level kind of complexity so do temper your expectations. On the other end of the spectrum, Alkaid (Helex) probably has the simplest transformation and it’s fair though, seeing how his alt mode is based on the Harvester Units in the comics.
Each of the figures comes with three sets of hands: close fist, open palm and weapon welding. I particularly love the open palm set, which gives the figures that much character when posing. Simple yet effective accessories are the best. Dubhe (Tarn) also comes with a removable face plate. If you have been following the IDW comics, you’ll understand the significance of this piece of accessory. As to what the face looks like underneath, I’ll leave you to find out on your own 😊
OVERALL JOINTS, ARTICULATION & BALANCE
RATING: 4.5 / 5
As with most Legends scaled figures, the joints used on these figures are mainly ball and friction joints. There are a couple of ratcheted joints on Merak’s (Tesarus) hips, which come into play in combined mode. Oh, did I mention that these are combiners? More on that in Part Two of my review!
Anyway, the joints offer a good range of motion for each figure, easily outshining some of the deluxe scaled figures in the market. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
Both Merak & Alkaid’s appendages provide some additional interaction and playability with other similarly scaled figures (Insecticons not included).
Overall, I’m very pleased with these and they do stand out from the rest of the Iron Factory figures. In Part Two of this review, I will be sharing my thoughts on the combined mode. Check it out and thank you for reading!