REVIEW: Ocular Max PS-25 Navigant (part 1)

Suppose you’ve been reading my recent reviews on the ‘Regenesis’ Combaticon team from Ocular Max. In that case, you might be pleased for a refresher from all that: a palette cleanser before the main Assaultus meal, as it were.

So, for today’s assessment, we have… another Ocular Max toy!

OK, so not such a significant departure, yet equally, it’s an interesting subject to look at in the context of the company’s other offerings. After all, Navigant here is meant to represent Streetwise, a member of the classic Protectobot crew, arch rivals of the Combaticons (at least in terms of how they were initially conceived). Moreover, this is the first review of a new team of toys singing from the same hymn sheet as their Assaultus predecessors.

By that, I’m talking about so-called ‘all-built-in’ transformations, with no parts forming required for the individual members or the combined Defensor mode. It’s as ambitious here as it was with Bruticus and will surely delight many a collector if Ocular Max can pull it off. Whether partsforming is something that you accept as a kind of inevitability of such combiner toys or it makes you so angry you could physically puke is up to you. Either way, you have to acknowledge the idea of these designs doing without it is an intriguing one.

Especially as Assaultus was, by and large, a great success! Sure, there were some quibbles about the combined mode, although arguably, the toy-styled upgrade kit solved a lot of that (even if it did introduce a small component of partsforming into the mix). Regardless, for such an ambitious project, you’d be hard-pressed to find many who don’t consider it as having panned out well, all things considered, and the current Regenesis re-do is serving as absolute proof of that.

Moving swiftly back to Navigant here, the great news is that it immediately feels like Ocular Max’s sophomore combiner team is off to a flying start. Truth be told, this is actually the second release of the five, with Medicus already having made a splash. Still, I was so intrigued by their Streetwise attempt that I had to give it a look first, and for one very key reason: we’ve seen this particular character attempted by another third party already.

Yes, Ocular Max isn’t the only company attempting a Defensor at the present time, with X-Transbots having already thrown their hat in the ring by the time this project was first teased. As it stands, both teams are two members strong, although given I’d already taken a pass at the equivalent Streetwise design, MX-30 Fuzz, I was immediately keen to see how this new contender fared by comparison. 

Not to get too far ahead of ourselves but speaking frankly, the verdict is immediately apparent: this thing blows Fuzz directly out of the water in no less than several regards. A lot of that will become more evident in robot mode (and primarily through transformation), but let’s start with a look at Navigant’s rather exceptional vehicle form as a testament to why it’s the best not-Streetwise on the market right now.

Firstly, this thing presents beautifully right of the box. It has a quality feel and robustness that was sadly lacking in my assessment of X-Transbots’ attempt, but even beyond that, there’s a kind of no-nonsense simplicity to it all that just works. Perhaps it’s partially the benefit of tried-and-tested prior form with their Combaticons, but where Fuzz left me fizzled, everything about Navigant put me at comparative ease.

As vehicle modes go, this is remarkably tidy, too, with few signs of compromise or even indications that it might be a transforming toy of any kind. Bar a couple of panel seams here and there, not much gives away the true nature of what lies beneath and serves to create a fine alternate form in its own right.

Even a 360-degree assessment reveals little in the way of concern, with all the various robot bits neatly stowed out of view and all the remaining panels nicely aligned and looking cohesive. It’s a tidy affair that immediately sets this team on the right track, promising to look every bit as stunning when lined up as Ocular Max’s Combaticons already do.

The paint applications are well done here, too, with lovely red and orange highlights, most notably on the front and rear bumpers. The paint is flawlessly applied and looks crisp and vibrant throughout.

Those highlights also add a welcome break from the otherwise predominant grey on offer, which feels very akin to how the character was presented in animation. It’s in contrast to X-Transbots’ unusual coffee-tinged approach, which, whilst it does have its charm, can’t quite match the crisp, clean tones on offer here.

I wasn’t immediately sure about the black windows, as I typically always prefer the presence of translucent windshields and the like wherever possible. However, given the nature of Navigant’s transformation and everything else this toy needs to achieve, it’s only fair to say that this is likely an impossible standard. Besides, what Ocular Max has opted for here mostly looks great.

I say mostly because the rear and side windows can’t help but appear ever so slightly different to the windshield up front by way of being painted, but honestly, it’s not a major dealbreaker by any stretch. The presentation here remains nothing shy of top-notch, all told.

Adding to the visual treats is the lightbar up top, with its translucent red never failing to strike a chord once it catches the light. I had wondered initially if the front lights might pop up (much in the way they do on X-Transbots’ take), but sadly this wasn’t to be. Still, you won’t find me complaining.

After all, I had been feeling somewhat nervous about the possibility of Masterpiece-styled Protectobots after Fuzz, as though perhaps these designs were just too ambitious to translate faithfully in a manner that also made for compelling toys. I’ve longed for the day when we might finally see the Autobot crew represented, so I say with great delight that Navigant has restored my faith.

Where Fuzz felt problematic and fiddly, Navigant comes off as smooth and surprisingly straightforward, showing how to recreate some of the more unusual G1 Transformers designs with effortless aplomb. If the remainder of the team proves to be as arresting as this guy, we’re in for a real treat once they’re all assembled.

Of course, there’s more to this assessment yet, so join us for part 2 soon as we move to transformation and beyond.

About Sixo

Transformers collector from the UK, collecting vintage G1/G2, CR/RID, UT & Masterpiece/3P. Find me at twitter.com/SixoTF or on YouTube at youtube.com/SixoTF

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