Welcome to the second part of our look at Maketoys’ take on the Conehead, Dirge – it’s time for Endgame! In part one, we took at gander at jet mode and assessed how it shaped up versus the rest of the Maketoys Seeker squad, whereas today it’s all about that robot form.
The transformation to get there is really quite simple, and certainly if you already have experience of this mould then there are relatively little surprises to be found in store. If you don’t, then it’s overall a very fluid process that takes surprisingly few twists and turns to deliver an efficient result and a handsome robot mode indeed. Here’s Dirge!
The Coneheads are a funny one, aren’t they? Let’s be honest about it now and just agree that they’re one of the more bizarre examples of robots modes from early Generation 1, in many ways. As remoulds of the original Seeker design, they’re at once entirely familiar, yet feature a peculiar amount of jet bits and bobs hanging off them in awkward places. Then there’s the obvious visual curiosity of the actual cone heads themselves!
I say all of that as I think they’re actually a very hard design to get right, as far as Masterpiece-styled robot forms go. The proportions of the cartoon models are odd, to say the least, and there’s an inherent comedy value to the overall look that feels like it’s hard to translate into a 3D menacing machine. If anything it’s perhaps one of those designs that exists better on the screen, but bless Maketoys for giving it a go as they’ve actually made it work very well here, I think!
Let’s make no mistake though, they’ve done that by keeping this figure on the more stylised end of interpreting the cartoon model. The main beats are there and if you look closely then you’ll see more than a couple of smaller cues that are all in the right place to let you know who this is meant to be. However the body shape and proportions are distinctly more “heroic” than what you get in the animation, which no doubt is also a result of this being a straight-up copy of the original base Meteor mould, albeit with a fair dose of modification at surface level.
Really, if you want entirely cartoon-accurate Coneheads then I suspect a deeper retooling would be required, almost taking a toy like this back to its bare bones and building from the ground up to achieve the significant proportional differences between the two Seeker designs. It does make me wonder to what extent TakaraTomy will go with their hypothetical Conehead remoulds of the new MP-52 Seeker design, but I guess that’s an adventure for another day. For now, let’s take in the fact that I think Endgame does an overall very nice job at bringing Dirge to life in stylish, articulated form.
I mention articulated there as really, that’s the most significant advantage of this guy versus the current TakaraTomy effort, MP-11ND, which, and let’s be fair to it, poses about as well as a banana. OK, I exaggerate, but that toy is a prime example of what can happen when you take an existing Seeker mould and stick a load of extra guff on it to make it look like a Conehead, whereas Endgame feels a little more purposeful by comparison and comes off as extremely fluid as a result. Look at him go!
It’s quite a novelty to be able to put a Conehead character through his paces in such a manner, as extreme poses like the above just aren’t possible on MP-11ND at all. It means that you end up getting a very favourable first impression for Endgame and all the many points of articulation he has to offer.
Look – he can kneel! He can run! He has waist swivel, for crying out loud! OK, it looks supremely awkward at certain angles, especially on account of the visual break with the faux cockpit section on his waist area, but still, it’s something! And you know what? It makes Endgame a lot of fun to pick up and play with indeed.
Fortunately the joints on my copy are all up to snuff as well, making it no problem to execute any of these creative poses with ease. I do find stuff like the wings hanging off his legs to be a little cumbersome, but really – what are Maketoys to do about that? It’s in the very nature of the character’s design, after all, and I do like how you can at least fold them backwards, should you wish, as it makes posing the legs a little more forgiving in some stances.
Also slightly impeding the proceedings are those fins sitting just behind his shoulders, which do manage to get in the way of some arm movement if you’re not careful. They’re a strange one as they also represent arguably the biggest break from the animation model, besides the overall proportions. I understand why Maketoys chose this configuration though, as they’d be even more clumsy if they were still on the sides of his legs with the rest of the wing section.
What you end up with then is a sturdy, poseable and, above-all, fun rendition of a Conehead in Masterpiece-esque form. That may not sound like a big deal to some, but given this is my third take on the character in such a style (if you factor in the iGear set – remember them?), maybe it will put it into context to say that it’s the first one that’s been able to achieve poses anything like what you see in the pictures here. Yes, you bet I’m enjoying it.
That’s not to say Endgame is perfect, mind – far from it. That waist swivel remains an awkward affair, as I mentioned, and I still have the occasional grumble trying to get the feet posed just so, in spite of that natty ankle tilt. It’s just that when you get him in the right pose, he works it for everything it’s worth, the handsome beast.
Weapons-wise, the main draw here is naturally those nullrays on either arm, which look terrific and make for great fun when trying to find creative ways to display the toy.
You can switch things up though and go with the additional set of weapons found on Endgame’s alt mode, should you prefer. They peg into his arms just the same, giving you quite the alternate look overall.
Additionally, it is possible to shorten the nullrays (as you would for jet form) and then pop them into Endgame’s hands, although it’s by no means an official feature and so doesn’t exactly fit snugly. I quite like it as an option for posing, though!
At the end of the day though, there’s little substitute for the classic nullray stance, as Endgame looks nothing shy of supremely badass when wielding them ready for battle.
Another way this figure succeeds is with the headsculpt. Of course the cone in this case is a faux piece (and not the tip of the actual jet itself), but that’s entirely expected in order to achieve a workable result in toy form. The face is also something I really admire here, as whilst it is somewhat stylised, it still manages to be a handsome and relatively accurate depiction of Dirge from the cartoon (more so than the official MP, in some ways). I’m a big fan of those gorgeous red eyes, too!
Endgame also comes with a variety of additional faces, with no less than five options in total! Amazing to have so much choice, although sadly not all of them are successful (as tends to be the case with Maketoys’ alternate faces, in my experience). First up is this evil grin effort, which I think looks pretty good.
Then we have a second grin, which… yeah, I don’t really know why you need both, to be fair. This one has slightly wider eyes, but I’m not quite sure what it’s going for. It looks decent enough though.
Then there’s this, which I’m guessing is a scared look, presumably when something like ghost Starscream pops up! Either that or he’s singing tenor in the Conehead choir.
And finally you have the worried face, which is not too bad and at least gives you an alternate way of displaying the figure. All things considered, it is a great thing that Maketoys have packed so much effort into these options, so it’s appreciated.
Overall then, there’s a fair bit to admire about Endgame in robot form. My copy still suffers from a weird (very weird) sludgy stain on the cockpit section, which I’m afraid does sully my impression of the QC on offer here just a smidge, but otherwise there really isn’t a whole lot to grumble about on the whole. He looks good, poses brilliantly and just amounts to a fair bit of fun on the whole.
Perhaps my only consideration becomes whether Maketoys will see fit to bring us the rest of the set or not. Certainly that seems to be a major concern of a lot of people online, perhaps understandably.
After all, no-one wants a lone Conehead, do they? Maketoys have done a terrific job with their Seeker squad thus far, meaning it would feel like something of a travesty if the remaining members went unproduced (a bit like Netflix pulling the last season of that show you were watching, eh?). Unfortunately, it does feel like the third party outfit have some form in this regard. After all, I can’t be the only one who regularly wishes for them to finish off their Headmasters, can I?
Ultimately, it may end up being a question of practicality, I suppose. We already know that the company have had a few struggles behind the scenes, and with a new official Seeker mould already on the way, they may simply deem it not worth the investment to pump out those final two toys. It would be understandable, in some ways.
Not that it wouldn’t also be hugely disappointing, mind, especially when you see Endgame on his tod in a Decepticon display. Don’t get me wrong, he looks great – but how much more especially-awesome could this be with a Maketoys Thrust and Ramjet in the offing, eh? We live in hope.
It doesn’t take away from Endgame remaining a lot of fun by himself though, especially as he does work a treat in such line-ups even as a lone player. If he remains a sole effort then I will still enjoy him for all he’s worth and continue to feature him in my ranks, at least until another option for a complete trio pops up.
I guess I could in theory team him up with the Masterpiece versions of his Conehead colleagues, but sadly even just a cursory glance will show you why that doesn’t really work so well. Stylistically they’re just so different (and besides, I become more soured on the TakTom efforts as the years roll by, given how many quibbles I have with them).
Perhaps that becomes even more evident when you pop Endgame next to his official counterpart, as the differences in style and design aesthetic start screaming at you from the comparison. MP-11ND is a surprisingly detail-heavy and greebly effort, and looks remarkably out-of-date now when stacked up next to a lot of more modern MP toys, so it’s perhaps little surprise that Endgame feels more fresh, in many ways.
It’s funny, because if I’m being honest then the very idea of a Maketoys set of Coneheads seemed almost superfluous in my mind when it was first mooted a few years back now, but after having Endgame in hand and seeing this comparison for myself, I’m now more keen than ever for Maketoys to see the project through to full fruition. Come on MT, make it happen, please!
After all, we’re so very close indeed. You might even say we’re in the endgame now.
WHAT’S HOT? The robot mode is super poseable (for a Conehead especially) and comes off as tons of fun as a result. The overall design is nice.
WHAT’S NOT? The jet mode is a little by the numbers and the overall finish is spotty in places, such as the canopy on my copy.