It’s fair to say that X-Transbots has been exceptionally busy of late.
Not only have they been pumping out an unprecedented number of new reveals, but they’ve also been getting down to business and releasing a fair few toys on the slate for a while now. In fact, the number of wildly different projects they have on the go at once is quite something.
It might be easy to lose sight of these little lads, then, as XTB bizarrely decided to drop no less than six new repaints of their Toro and Coprimozzo moulds on the same day. As you do. Still, as we ascertained in part 1, there’s quite a bit going on with these releases beyond just being the same old toys in snazzy new colours.
Now it’s time to get them transformed into their robot modes, which naturally is the same exact process six times over. Fortunately, it’s rather repeatable and shouldn’t take too long, even if you have the entire set in front of you, like me.
In terms of complexity, I’d say it feels more on par with the Hasui-era Masterpiece MP-21 Bumblebee than the more recent MP-45, which I’m sure many people will be happy to hear. That said, there are a few real quirks along the way, not least of which is how most of what you actually see in car mode is rendered entirely redundant through the transformation process. All that’s really left on show when you’re done is the bumper section and front wheel arches as the feet, with everything else tucking away from sight.
That’s mainly because the robot mode chest comprises a faux car roof hidden inside the vehicle form. Various panels split apart from a cocoon-like car mode to reveal the ‘fake’ pieces underneath before being concertinaed into the backpack section. It leaves the chest looking almost more akin to the traditional ‘chibi’-style proportions of Cliffjumper and Hubcap’s traditional vehicle forms, although you have to acknowledge it allows for an extra dose of cartoon accuracy as a result.
Meanwhile, the arms, head and everything else unfurl from within the exterior car ‘shell’ to take their place in the humanoid form, with very little in the way of parts carried over from one mode to the next. Transformation-wise, it’s one of the most significant ‘sleights of hand’ that we’ve seen on any Masterpiece-styled toy I can think of in recent memory and will undoubtedly ruffle the feathers of people who were put off by the likes of MP-10 Convoy’s ‘fake’ grill.
Still, it’s quite clever when you sit back and consider what these tiny toys have to go through to convert between modes, although that’s not to say there isn’t some compromise to it. No doubt the most significant element of that is seeing the front windshield merrily tucked away underneath the neck section (something very hard to ‘unsee’ once you notice it), and that’s to say nothing of the sizeable backpack going on. You can modify the toy to remove it, but that also involves taking away about 75% of the vehicle mode, so it kind of feels like cheating.
That said, I do like the look of the robot modes a fair bit, and despite so much of the rear section looking and feeling like folded-up car parts, it actually all hands together very well overall. Again, there are compromises, but the result is surprisingly clean when you consider everything the toy goes through to get to robot mode. Perhaps it’s fair to say that some colours make the transition better than others, though.
First up is MM-10Y Toro, which is X-Transbots’ take on a yellow Cliffjumper. As a straight-up repaint of the original Toro, this does exactly what it says on the tin in terms of presenting the toy in its historical alternate colour scheme, and it generally looks pretty good doing it. The yellow is undoubtedly nice and bright, after all.
Where I would say there’s a degree of trade-off is in the colour matching. We previously saw a lovely painted finish to the car mode, which has been folded away in favour of a bare plastic yellow chest and head which can’t claim the same majesty as their vehicular equivalent parts. The shade used is good (or at least about as good as could be expected), but still, you can’t help but notice the difference in the finish.
That’s a small shame, but overall there’s still a lot to like here, with the blue windows and grey limbs all providing a nice dose of contrast to the main block colour. He looks just about as you would expect him to in terms of portraying classic Cliff in his yellow deco’ so if you like this design already, you’re arguably a winner here.
For those unfamiliar with this figure, there are a few further oddities to it that are worth mentioning, including the neck. It’s a bizarre solution where both the head and neck turn independently from one another, meaning that when you rotate the one, the other doesn’t necessarily move in sync. The result is that the neck often looks like it’s in the wrong place versus the head itself, which is both jarring and quite annoying sometimes.
On the whole, I think that MM-10Y fulfils the brief here and more than capably brings the idea of a yellow Cliffjumper to life. Having owned the Toro mould before, I’d say this comfortably delivers what I thought it would, even if the robot mode can’t claim the same level of presentation as the vehicle form.
Next, we have MX-11R, a red repaint of the original yellow Copromizzo. As we talked about last time, this is intended to represent Generation 2 Hubcap, which was cast in a gleaming red chrome when released in 1993.
As with MM-10Y Toro, the first thing to note here is that this red take on Copromizzo clearly suffers from a similar disparity in the finish between the car and robot forms. The vehicle mode wasn’t as sparkly and blinging as the G2 original, but it still had a bit of sheen to it, whereas the bare plastic on offer here is decidedly drab by comparison.
Again, the colours used are fairly close, making the difference in the finish not quite as jarring as it could be. Still, there’s little doubt the chest region looks somewhat unpolished here, for starters.
That’s made worse by a very obvious swirl in the plastic, which cuts across the chest and makes it look like the toy has a very unfortunate hairline crack running through it. It’s rather unsightly, to say the least! What’s even more strange is how symmetrical it almost is, although it’s definitely far from intentional.
It’s a shame as otherwise, this guy presents really well. As much as the colour may lack the sheen of the original’s chrome, it’s still a nice hue and looks especially good with the orange face plate and yellow eyes. In fact, I’m a big fan of the retooled Coprimozzo head in general.
He may not be stunningly different to Toro in many other regards, but I think he’s pretty nifty overall and is quite a bit of fun as soon as you throw some of his weapons into the mix, including that massive sniper cannon! I would still love to see a proper G2 chrome take on the character at some point, but considering how unlikely that is, I guess this will tick a box, at least for now.
Now we come to MM-10T Tap-In, XTB’s version of the Botcon-exclusive character known as Tap-Out. See what they did there? Last time I commented that this was among my favourites of the various car modes on show, and by and large, that carries over to the robot forms, too.
Probably the main reason for that is that although the bare plastic on offer is similar to what you find on the previous two figures, it seems to carry a distinctly less matte quality to it and matches the more sparkly finish of the vehicular mode a little better. The colour is ever-so-slightly different, but dare I say it fits the vintage toy a little better, in this case?
Anyway, the teal looks excellent overall and yet again manages to differentiate this particular release from the other versions because of how unusual it is, particularly on an Autobot character. It catches the light pretty well and generally adds an attractive quality to the design.
Less good is the re-emergence of that same swirl blemish on the robot mode chest, rather annoyingly. It’s much less obvious here than on MX-11R, but still, one can’t help but be rather disappointed with it. It seems almost identical to the one seen on the other toy, which is quite curious.
Still, if you can overlook that, I’d say Tap-In just about delivers the goods overall. It’s hard to say how many collectors are clamouring for this colour scheme to be realised in Masterpiece-style, but if you’re after such a thing, this is fairly nicely done.
Moving on, we have MM-10C ‘Toro Clone’ to inspect next, which is an exciting prospect as who doesn’t love checking out a sultry black repaint? This one is made all the better by a pair of popping demonic red eyes, which look right at home beneath those horns.
As I mentioned last time, the vintage black keychain Cliffjumper is a figure that has eluded my collecting for years now, so seeing this stunning third-party repaint up close at least goes some way to mitigating my desire for such a thing. Of course, it will never wholly replace it, but I’ve enjoyed seeing the concept played out, at least!
I think it leaves me feeling that Toro Clone may just be the actual best of the bunch today, as without a blemish in sight and no colour matching woes thanks to the all-black colour scheme, there’s very little to grumble about here overall. It really does look all-round terrific.
It’s also worth mentioning that all these toys showcase tight joints and excellent tolerances, with no real apparent concerns among them in that regard. People often worry about how well XTB will deliver on any given figure, but here we have all six in one hit and no obvious QC concerns, assuming you put the aforementioned swirls to one side.
Ultimately, I’m never one to turn down a decent black repaint, and so it goes with Toro Clone. If you’re only going to get one of the bunch to take this design for a test drive, I think you can’t go far wrong by making it this one, by my estimation.
Going from black to white, we now have MM-11W, who is the second Coprimozzo repaint of this set. As explained in part 1, this figure represents Hubcap’s pre-release prototype appearance in the 1986 Toyfair catalogue, which featured a white version of the classic Minibot toy.
He’s recreated here with the red face found on the vintage specimen, and it looks rather good! Some may find the colour choice a little odd, but I think this works well in terms of bringing an exceptionally niche but fun idea to life.
There’s something about the Coprimozzo head design that almost works a little better on this mould, too, as it helps to make the weird neck solution look a little less awkward. The moulding is also quite crisp and defined, which is good as red can sometimes blow out the details.
Oh, and with the absence of the ugly chest swirls, this is my preferred take on the two Coprimozzo’s up for grabs. The white isn’t an exact match to the lush finish on the car body, as it has an almost ‘milky’ look to the plastic versus the stark tones seen in vehicle form, but by and large, it works well enough.
Once again, I’m left to wonder who will be inspired to pick this guy given the obscurity of the homage in question, but overall I think he’s turned out quite nice. A rather random idea finally realised after almost thirty-five years, at least.
Moving onto our final specimen for the day, here’s MM-10B, which may just be the most niche offering of the bunch here, as we explored last time. On the one hand, it’s simply ‘blue Cliffjumper’, but it’s when you look up that vintage toy’s origins as a licensed Plasticos IGA figure released in Mexico and Central America that you realise how weird it really is.
In any case, XTB has brought the idea back nicely enough, although sadly, this last entry suffers from some of the same quibbles we’ve already explored. Yep, that means the obvious chest blemish is back! At least here, I would say the blue is a good match to the hue of the painted car mode, even if the finish is obviously unpainted in robot mode.
Still, there’s a lot to like here, and the blue does suit the mould well overall. I also appreciate little touches such as the blue eyes on the head design, and the black arms and legs work a treat, too.
Generally, these toys are, by and large, reasonably decent stabs at the increasingly weird and wonderful origins they’re referencing. I’m sure a lot of it will come down to which colour schemes catch your eye the best, but on the whole, they all have their merit to some degree. It’s a shame that the robot modes don’t quite match the majesty of the car forms as a rule, but that’s not to say there isn’t some fun to be had too.
Besides, there are plenty of accessories to keep you busy, with no less than four guns apiece and more besides for use in vehicle mode. They also do an overall good job at bringing the cartoon look to life, despite the rather obvious oddities of the transformation and the resulting robot mode backpack.
If anything, this isn’t a design I planned on picking up seven times over, but I appreciate that X-Transbots are trying to speak to my penchant for increasingly niche nonsense. Keep ’em coming, I say.
WHAT’S HOT? The car modes look great and have an excellent finish on the whole. They’re also loaded with accessories and feel generally well made, in my experience.
WHAT’S NOT? The transformation involves a lot of fake parts, which might put some off, and results in a very backpack-heavy robot form. The finish is a little mismatched on some robot modes, and the chest blemish is off-putting too.