Of all the newer releases I’ve done Unboxing videos on recently, one of the toys that made the most underwhelming of first impressions was DX9 Montana. That’s unfortunate, but it’s for several solid reasons, not least of which were some notable quality concerns right out of the gate.
Here’s the thing, whilst that off-white Lamborghini alt’ mode may look nice enough at first glance, as soon as you start to give it the once over in a little more detail, the flaws are there to see. This thing is covered in paint scuffs, nicks, scratches and blemishes.
All told, it’s pretty off-putting, and will almost certainly tarnish your first impression of this release somewhat. It’s a real shame too, as DX9 typically have a much stronger reputation than this, and so it’s hard to see just what went wrong in terms of quality control in this case.
Seriously, I own a fair number of their toys by now and I’ve never seen anything like this on any of the others. The paint on that red bonnet section is perhaps the best example, given how sloppily applied it is, but there’s plenty of other iffy examples, such as the headlight that keeps falling out of its socket. It’s not a good look at all!
Fortunately, there is a solution of sorts. In a bizarre move, and seemingly as a swift reaction to the backlash from collectors highlighting the many issues found here, DX9 have equipped later runs of Montana with a litany of replacement parts, all with a view to restoring him with a better finish. It’s a strange idea in some regards, but at least it offers a potential remedy for the poor first pass this guy gives out of the box. Also in the good news is that none of the parts are hard to replace – in fact, everything just pops off on ball joints and such, as shown. He looks like he’s earning the moniker of Breakdown after all, eh?
So, with the new parts installed, how does he fare? Better, I’ll say that. Noticeably less paint scuffs and scratches and an overall improved sense of finish. I still have some grumbles, but it’s a step up from where we were at least.
There’s also a notable change with the headlights now too, which have been replaced on the new sections with a simple painted silver rectangle. It’s a shame to lose the more intricate detail of the translucent plastic option, but if it means they’re not going to be falling out then I’ll take it.
So, replacement pieces done, all that remains is to complete the look, and that means Decepticon logos! Montana does actually feature a few options for such decals in the box, although none of them appeared to be quite the right size for the bonnet section and so I went with trusty Toyhax labels instead.
The trickiest one to apply is of course the bonnet, which needs to be cut in half and applied just so, but I’m certainly pleased with the result. It definitely adds a little something to this alternate form and along with the upgraded parts has this guy looking better and better by the minute.
So, let’s move forward and consider this lad on a fresh footing, shall we? Yes, it’s annoying to have to fix your figures right off the bat, but how does he fare now that’s all done? Is it worth the worry?
Well, yes and no, I suppose. First thing to say is that yes, he does indeed look significantly better than he did. The finish is improved on the replacement pieces no doubt and everything tabs together very solidly in vehicle form, leaving you with a relatively tidy-looking Countach on the whole.
That’s despite some odd choices along the way, however – even stuff that any kind of upgrade cannot fix, as it’s inherent to this toy’s design. The back section is pretty tidy in terms of transformation, but then fluffs it with things like paint choices. The blue trim around the taillight section is a bit jarring, for one example.
Then there’s the real oddity here, which is the very visible robot mode feet on the sides of the car. Yep, I do mean those two rather sizeable blue rectangles posing as air intakes. In theory it’s a cool bit of design to have the feet positioned in such a manner, and is certainly unique amongst Masterpiece-esque takes on the Breakdown character. In practice, having such mismatching parts so prominently positioned on what should be a super sleek car mode probably wasn’t the best plan.
Sadly the quibbles with the finish aren’t entirely over either, as you’ll note that various panels vary in colour somewhat. Added to the protruding blue feet, it all ends up with Montana looking a little jigsawed together somehow. Oh, and there’s some notable mould flash on those rear vents, too.
It’s a shame as some bits are very nicely done. The tyres are rubber (something sure to keep collectors happy), paint in some areas is very well-applied indeed, and there are at least hints of a quality product shining through with those upgraded pieces added on.
Even then though, there are some slightly misaligned panels here and there – try as I might I simply cannot get the red sections on the new bonnet to sit entirely flush.
There are some fun gimmicks to keep you going though, such as a set of pop-up headlights (which seems to have become one of the go-to inclusions on any MP-styled Lamborghini design after it was first featured on MP-39 Sunstreaker!). They’re easy enough to operate if you have a decent set of fingernails.
There’s also some fold-up doors, which is another common feature but still works well here. There’s no kind of interior to speak of, but then I wouldn’t have expected such a thing either.
Oh, and there is also a little square accessory that seems to have flummoxed a fair few folks as to what it’s trying to homage. As I mentioned in the Unboxing, it’s actually representative of a small piece of technology that Megatron puts into the rear-half of Breakdown’s vehicle mode whilst he’s building the Stunticons during the G1 cartoon episode, The Key To Vector Sigma. Really, it’s a weird inclusion as the scene itself is all of about 2 seconds long and there’s no way for this additional piece to actually interact with Montana here, so it ends up feeling a little redundant. Perhaps it would have been fun if it could have slotted inside the car somehow, but I guess you can have MP-36 Megatron just hold it, should you really wish!
So all told, this guy has clawed back a couple of points in vehicle form since the initial impression, but still it probably doesn’t help that he just cannot boast the same kind of fit and finish that we’re seeing from a lot of other third party toys at the moment. If I were to compare this to any of the recent Ocular Max examples I’ve been checking out, then it’s night and day.
Even versus examples from the official line that people have had in the crosshairs of late, it doesn’t really stand-up all that well. Something like Masterpiece Hound may have earned itself a reputation for being rather on the fragile side, but it definitely presents as being more polished than Montana.
Perhaps the true test comes from lining him up next to the official Lamborghini mould then. Other third party Countach examples have all tried to ape the proportions and design of the MP-12 Lambor mould as closely as possible, with even the sizeable FansToys Spoiler shrinking down to be essentially the same size (albeit a tiny bit beefier). Surprisingly then, Montana ends up being noticeably bigger.
It’s not so glaring that it hits you right away, but there’s almost a feeling that the designers felt this was “close enough” to work. Really, it’s up to you how you feel about it, I guess. In truth I’m never really a stickler for correct vehicle mode scale, but it does feel a little odd to not have the same alternate form lining up somehow.
Anyway, it’s a semi-positive step out of the gate for Montana. I’m at least happy with how the replacement pieces look, and so I guess there’s some kudos to DX9 for including that solution in the box (even though it really shouldn’t have been required to begin with, of course!).
Join us next time when we’ll be getting him transformed up and checking out that robot mode!