For toy collectors, sometimes it can feel like everything happens all at once. You often wait on various pre-orders for ages, only to have them land simultaneously and make for a hectic time of appreciating everything.
Well, X-Transbots has decided to accentuate that by releasing no less than six new toys at once, and all from the same core design no less. It’s a strange strategy, although it’s set to be repeated when their Dante, Da Vinci, Tirador and Caravaggio figures arrive later this month. Insane times indeed.
Anyway, now that they’re here, I decided it was preferable to look at this entire bundle of new products in one hit rather than seeking out six separate reviews for what is essentially the same thing in a new colour scheme. Not that such a prospect doesn’t excite me – far from it, actually; I love whacky repaints at the best of times, and there’s most certainly a thrill to seeing these excellent colours all lined up at once.
In any case, they all have a precedent of sorts regarding Transformers history, even if some examples are extremely niche deep cuts, to say the least. Whether you fancy any of them based on what they represent in terms of franchise lore or simply because they’re cool car modes in funky hues is up to you, but I will say they work well on both levels.
First thing to note, they all have the same Porsche 924 Turbo alternate mode, which is brought to life here with aplomb. It’s an absolute classic car of the late ’70s and ’80s and is beautifully represented on these toys in a way that is hard to resist. For whatever critiques may sometimes be levelled at them, X-Transbots has always done well with stunning vehicular forms, and these are simply no exception. Whatever colour you look at here, they’re all rather special.
The second thing to mention is that they all represent different versions of Cliffjumper or Hubcap in some way, both of which shared the Porsche form back in Generation 1. However, the originals were very different, as the design hailed from Takara’s pre-TF Micro Change line and thus had the chibi-style ‘Penny Racer’ proportions to make them seem quite literally like toy representations of the real car. The characters have rarely been represented with authentic-looking vehicular forms whenever their classic interpretations are brought to life (with the upcoming official Masterpiece toy further evidence of that), making X-Transbots’ efforts all the more unusual.
Whether you prefer the more traditional ‘squished’ look of the G1 toy or you’re after something a little more real world is again up to you, but I can certainly see the appeal of what is in front of me now. The MP line itself may have moved to more cartoon-accurate fare since the first version of Toro was released. However, there are more than enough people who still yearn for the days of such accurate vehicle modes, so I’d be surprised if this didn’t hit the spot as far as a fair few collectors are concerned.
Given that, perhaps the challenge will be deciding which colour scheme appeals the most and, again, whether the precedent behind it warrants a spot on your shelf or not. With that in mind, let’s dive in and see what they’re each about.
First up, we have MM-10Y Toro, which is about as straightforward as any of these toys get in terms of explanation, given that it’s a simple repaint of the original red Toro release. Yep, you guessed it, it’s a yellow Cliffjumper.
Again, the car mode is distinctly longer than its 1984 counterpart, but there’s no mistaking who this is meant to represent. For those unsure, Bumblebee and Cliffjumper were originally released in red and yellow as a hangover from their Micro Change days and as a way of filling out the toy line at the time. Whilst red has become the character’s default colour thanks to how he was represented in media, it’s still fun to see this idea returned from time to time.
I suppose what’s strange here is that XTB has already put out a yellow version of this mould (the original Copromizzo) to represent Hubcap, which, it has to be said, looks identical in car form. The changes will, of course, become more apparent in robot mode, but you have to wonder if many people will be tempted by this if they already own that earlier release.
Still, for those of us going in cold, there’s a lot to love here, with the vibrant yellow finish bringing out the best on that sublime 924 form. It looks sleek from every angle, with barely a whiff of kibble underneath the sides and a few panel lines only minimally betraying what is otherwise an impressively tidy little toy. My copy’s rear window doesn’t quite clip into place perfectly, but it’s the only one of the six here on which that seems to be an issue. Even then, it’s hard to fault it on looks.
For me, yellow Cliffjumper has always been an idea that I’ve loved, to the point where I actually prefer the original toy (and Bumblebee) in its ‘alternate’ colours. I can more than feel that same appeal with XTB’s effort here.
Next, we have MX-11R, which is arguably the most easy-to-explain of the two Coprimozzo versions. In a nutshell, it’s Generation 2 Hubcap, looking mightily sleek in sultry red.
G2 Hubcap was released in 1993 as one of four Minibots made over with a blinging chrome finish. No doubt because of the colour choice involved, many people often mistake this little lad for Cliffjumper, especially as Hubcap was no doubt the more unusual choice for the treatment out of the two.
As a big G2 nut, it’s hard to argue against the appeal of this new release, as honestly, any kind of rep for the ’90s line in Masterpiece-style is alright by me. However, it’s a shame that XTB has stopped short of replicating the shiny chromed look from the original toy here, instead opting for a more flat (but still reasonably sparkly) red. It certainly looks a little at odds with the vintage figure.
Again, it’s also possible that the finish may not be enough to tempt collectors who already own XTB’s original Toro figure, another red attempt at this core design. However, at least the hues employed are quite different. Where Toro is a deeper, cherry red, Coprimozzo almost has a burnt copper look.
In that way, it may not be genuinely spot on to the G2 figure, but it does, at least, differentiate it from its sister release. I’d have loved to have seen a fully chromed finish but hey, a red 924? That never goes out of style.
Our third release today is this sultry teal-coloured take on Toro, here called ‘Tap-In’, which I have to say looks rather unique up close. The way it catches the light is quite stunning, to say the least, and again shows off the sparkly quality of the finish.
As with MX-11R, it’s not quite a dead ringer for the colour seen on the original, which in this case is the Botcon 2002 release of G1 Tap-Out. The vintage mould has a somewhat lighter and more vibrant green to it, although, at least in this case, I might be prepared to argue that XTB has chosen a shade that works well with their design.
Besides, how accurate do you need it to be, considering what a niche a source it is? And it’s not like the teal they’ve chosen doesn’t represent the Toro mould well. If anything, this might be one of my favourites of all the six on show today.
It’s undoubtedly one of the more unusual choices available, beyond just yellow, red, blue, white or black. Looking at it now, teal Autobots are in remarkably short supply, so Tap-In has a unique quality to him almost by default.
It leaves me almost hoping we might see some version of a Botcon Glyph and Rook in Masterpiece-style, too, to complete this set. The latter is one that I wouldn’t be too surprised to see XTB themselves having a go at with their Boost design. However, the idea of TakaraTomy pumping out a blue-ish repaint of MP-45 seems a little unlikely at this stage, and even then, it wouldn’t match the real-world look seen here, so perhaps it’s best left as a pipe dream of sorts, eh? Tap-In will have to suffice.
Next, we have MM-10C ‘Toro Clone’, which is an interesting name for what is essentially a black take on Cliffjumper. Aside from some serious Knight Rider vibes (yes, I know that was a Pontiac, don’t @ me), there’s little denying how well this mould wears this exceptionally cool colour scheme. However, this figure also represents something that I have been lusting after for what feels like forever now!
You see, there was a G1 take on black Cliffjumper too, but I’ve thus far never been able to track one down, despite a lot of hunting on my part! Basically, Takara re-released a number of their classic Minibots in keyring form in 2003, although this time, they opted to complement the set with a round of black ‘chase’ repaints, too. I have black Bumblebee and Windcharger in my collection, but the Cliffjumper and Brawn continue to elude me.
The irony of online searches for ‘black Cliffjumper’ having now been complicated with Toro Clone results turning up every time is one thing, but besides that, I have to admire what is a very sexy repaint in this case. I can absolutely see this being a popular option if only for people who want to see this design decked out in black more than any connotation for what it represents.
For my part, if it’s the only black Cliffjumper I ever own (which, well, hopefully not!), it may go only partway towards scratching the itch, but at least it looks damn fine whilst doing it. Does it come in black? Yes, it most certainly does.
Moving on, here’s the crew’s second Copromizzo colour scheme, with MM-11W casting the toy in a striking white for a change. There’s an obvious appeal to how this car mode looks, no doubt, but the precedent for it may just be one of the most unusual of this whole troupe.
In 1986, just before G1 Hubcap was released, there was an infamous Toyfair catalogue that debuted several of the new Transformers products for that year. Most of them looked pretty different to the toys we eventually received in hand, but of particular note was a white rendition of the diminutive Minibot, complemented by a distinctive red face.
Ultimately, Hubcap was switched to the colour scheme we now know, whilst Tailgate, seen in yellow in the catalogue, was produced in white instead, implying that their colours were outright swapped. It was a strange choice considering that Hubcap would endlessly be confused with yellow Cliffjhumper for generations to come, but Transformers history was made. Still, it’s fun to see XTB dig the idea out again for this release.
In this case, they have done a cracking job with the finish, as white toys can look a little underwhelming, especially in bare plastic. That so much of this is painted is an excellent first step, but it seems to be a heartily-applied coat, too, allowing Copromizzo to look suitably stunning and stand out versus the more colourful options on offer.
And finally, where would we be without a bit of blue, eh? Yep, not content with every other colour under the rainbow, XTB’s MM-10B looks fantastic too. Oh, and it may be one of the most niche of the lot.
True, it could be simply explained as ‘blue Cliffjumper’, and maybe that’s enough for many people to justify such an attractive-looking toy, but the real story is that this represents a very scarce item. Basically, it all goes back to when Hasbro gave out licenses to various companies to produce Transformers toys across different territories during the 1980s, with one, known as Plasticos IGA, making unusual versions of your childhood faves for release in Mexico and Central America.
On their roster were several Minibots in weird and wonderful colours, including Cliffjumper in white, silver and blue on top of the regular red and yellow versions. A blue IGA Cliffjumper can easily fetch well into the hundreds now, even for a fairly average specimen.
This might be as close to a blue take on the character for most of us! In which case, I’m happy to report that XTB has done it proud, with Toro looking excellent in such a colour.
Of course, there are some accessories to speak of, too, all of which are identical across the six releases. This being a Toro repaint (or retool), it means that the various inclusions all harken back to Cliffjumper’s on-screen appearances in one way or another, but what is strange is how they very neatly stack into this handy assembly. It makes it hard to lose anything, so that’s a bonus!
Regarding vehicle mode, you can equip it with a set of skis to reproduce Cliff’s water-bound gimmick seen in episodes such as Dinobot Island. It essentially includes slapping the car on top of the ski section and having at it, but it works well enough. There’s even a little protruding blaster which can be clipped onto the bonnet in a neat touch.
If you prefer, you can also plug in a little aerial device, which I believe represents the contraption Cliffjumper uses to determine which direction to take in an underwater tunnel in The Ultimate Doom. Ultimately, I suppose a lot of these bits and bobs are unlikely to register for anyone who’s after these repaints in place of the more cartoon-inspired character. Still, it’s a bit of fun all the same.
Besides, it’s hard to argue that X-Transbots haven’t brought the goods with these six colour schemes, all of which are varying degrees of niche. It may be a lot to land on your plate at once, but I’m undoubtedly enjoying them!
Join us next time when we’ll be having a look at those robot modes.