Maketoys Bulldozer and Excavator (Pic heavy)

Discussion in 'Transformers 3rd Party Reviews' started by BraveMax, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. BraveMax

    BraveMax Used to speak Japanese

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    I didn't see any reviews posted for these guys, so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

    First off, some box shots.

    Front:
    [​IMG]

    Sides:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Top:
    [​IMG]

    Bottom:
    [​IMG]

    Back:
    [​IMG]

    The box consistently calls Excavator "Power Shovel" in Japanese, so it looks like they're just going for the accurate name for the alt mode in each language rather than giving the toys an official "name". Kind of like how Battle Tanker is called "Tank Lorry" or whatever in Japanese on his box.

    Excavator and Bulldozer are stored in a plastic try with a plastic over-tray (like Battle Tanker was):
    [​IMG]

    And there's a card behind them with pictures of the two:
    [​IMG]

    The instructions are on the back of the card:
    [​IMG]

    The instructions are fairly similar to Battle Tanker's in style. Prototype photos with pieces highlighted in different colors and some arrows. They're not the clearest, but they get the job done.

    First impressions about the toys? The plastic on both of these figures is fantastic - it feels heavy and solid. Much better, even, than the plastic used in Hercules' various members. That also means that these two figures are TIGHT - in some cases, it actually hurt my fingers to disconnect some pieces from other pieces. Keep that in mind as we go through the review.

    In the box we have:
    - Bulldozer
    - Excavator
    - Right Generator Trailer
    - Left Generator Trailer
    - Cannon barrel

    The generator trailers are meant to be pulled by Giant's versions of Mixmaster and Scrapper, so we can't do anything with them in vehicle mode with Excavator and Bulldozer. Interestingly enough, they are actually labeled "L" and "R":
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    You'll notice that they also have handles which can extend out on both sides. As far as I know, these are pretty much just allow you to combine the trailers with the "tools" that come with Set B to form jackhammer weapons. Kind of a cool little easter egg!

    The barrel is an interesting piece as well...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I'm not really sure why that back piece folds down... It doesn't look like it's necessary for the big gun combination, and it certainly isn't necessary for the barrel's "side-arm cannons" mode for Excavator and Bulldozer... It could just exist so that the cannon could have a stable back piece to lock it all together, or maybe it's part of some as-of-yet unrevealed feature?

    The cannon also splits into two parts to form two sort of "side-arm cannons" for Excavator and Bulldozer.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    More on those later. Next up is the vehicle modes for Excavator and Bulldozer. Fair warning, the colors on these two are much darker than these alt mode pics suggest. For some reason my phone's camera likes to over-saturate in some lights.

    Excavator:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Excavator with both side-arm cannons attached:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Here's where we hit snag #1. The idea of being able to attach the cannons in vehicle mode is a cool one, but the execution is a little weak. The cannons attach by slotting onto a peg on the vehicle mode's side, but there isn't really enough clearance for them. You are forced, as you can see, to have them on at an angle, and they're in kind of a bad place. Not really the greatest feature. Of course, there are only two "side-arm cannons", so you can only attach them to one figure. One on each would probably look a little awkward...

    Bulldozer:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Bulldozer w/ both side-arm cannons attached:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The cannons work a little better for Bulldozer, but the attachment mechanism is the same.

    Robot mode time! First, Excavator:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Excavator has by far the cleaner robot mode of the two. It feels more stable than Bulldozer's. Given that the two figures seem to be identical from the waist down, this is likely attributable to Bulldozer's alt-mode kibble, which I'll talk about when we come to him. The only real annoyances for Excavator are the shovel hanging off his arm, and the combiner kibble on his back. The shovel limits his poseability a little, but not overly so. The combiner kibble, however... Just hangs there. It doesn't lock into anything, and adds a lot of dead weight. It's unfortunate, because his waist is designed to bend backwards and the placement of that combiner kibble was an excellent opportunity to give Excavator and Bulldozer a spine to help them lock upright. It also looks unsightly - I kind of wish they'd designed the toy to allow you to rotate it so that you could hide the combiner peg in the chest cavities, which are empty on both toys. Either of these innovations could have helped lock the toys upright - something that doesn't really happen as-is. This means that whenever I pose them I wind up accidentally folding their waists and have to straighten them up again. That might be a problem down the road if the friction on that joint declines with wear.

    One thing to note before we get into Bolldozer's robot mode: My Bulldozer has two left thighs, so his hip armor cannot lock in place properly. One hopes this is just an assembly mistake:
    [​IMG]

    Regardless, it means that the armor piece on his right hip will be sitting loose in all my pictures. My apologies!

    Bulldozer:
    [​IMG]

    Bulldozer about to smack you with a paddle:
    [​IMG]

    A note about those paddles... Don't pull them off, or try to have him hold them. Just don't. It's not worth it. Remember that strong plastic? They're a pain in the butt to pull off, and another one to put on. And then there's this strange design choice. These are the paddles as they sit on his waist:
    [​IMG]

    And this is what happens if you pull on the grey piece at all:
    [​IMG]

    It's DESIGNED to come off easily. And that grey piece is what fits into Bulldozer's hand. Which means that when you try to pull the paddle OUT of his hand, you have ZERO leverage, and a VERY tight fist holding that grey plastic. It took a scary amount of pressure to get the handle out of his hand. Never again.

    Finally, here's a picture of his combiner kibble (the same as the kibble Excavator has). See my comments on Excavator's kibble above for my thoughts:
    [​IMG]

    All-in-all, Bulldozer feels just as solid as Excavator plastic-wise. The only real problem (aside from the combiner kibble, and the assembly error on mine) is his alt-mode kibble; specifically the paddles. Their joints are strong, which means they're reluctant to move or reposition. And their placement is REALLY BAD. They get in the way of everything from the transformation to poses. Not terminally so, mind you; just enough to be annoying as all heck. I'd remove them... But remember my comment about how much force is required? Not worth the risk.

    Oh - and his hands leave gaping cavities in his arms when you fold them out for robot mode. That's a little bit annoying too.

    Finally, combiner modes!

    Excavator:
    [​IMG]

    The hands on both sides are well-articulated. All the fingers are on separate ball joints, and the hand rotates freely. Both arms also have a full range of motion, with bicep and elbow swivels, in addition to shoulder rotation and extension.
    [​IMG]

    This range of motion is accomplished in no small part because of what I like to call "Menasor Syndrome" - that is to say, Excavator and Bulldozer are essentially attached to a "combiner skeleton", as you can see here:
    [​IMG]

    Personally, I think that's lazy engineering. I already commented on the effect it has in robot mode and I won't reiterate that here, but in combined mode it doesn't really cause any problems. The skeleton hides well in the vehicle modes of both toys, and the extra movement may help Giant avoid some of Hook's kibble or something later down the line.

    Bulldozer:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    As you can see, Bulldozer has a great whopping hole in his arm mode. I doubt it'll cause many problems, given that the hole will look in on Hook's side when he's combined, but it's still something to note. One option is probably to swivel the cab section forward to cover the hole. Provided the piece will stay in place at that angle, you'll be left with a centered cab that might look a little strange, and no hole.

    Also, same note about the combiner skeleton effect:
    [​IMG]

    Final thoughts:

    Honestly? This feels like a pretty middling effort overall. The toys are substantially the same toy, which is understandable given the similarities of their alt modes and their function in the final combiner. It also means, though, that similar design flaws effect them both. The plastic quality is great, but that doesn't do much good when that same plastic quality hinders some of the toys' gimmicks. Hopefully the plastic quality proves its worth in combined mode. The engineering on these two is ok, but it feels like the designers weren't considering the end-product when they put them together.

    That being said, the toys are quite solid (except for the waist bending issue) in both modes, and they're complex enough that I don't feel ripped off per se. They also just *look* like updated versions of the Constructicons to me, which is a major plus over Hercules' team members.

    (Side note - in case you can't tell, I'm leaning towards Hercules as being the better of the two. Giant's combined form just doesn't "do it" for me.)

    So, there are some pluses and some minuses. If you like the over-all look of Giant, or want a set of updated Constructicons that aren't HUGE (these are sized like a deluxe), these might be a good investment for you. If you're just looking for a cool toy... Well, you might want to pass on these and buy some of the other Giant members when they come out.
     
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  2. optics

    optics Well-Known Member

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    Great review!

    I wouldn't say the hand are fully articulated. Each finger is movable, but not articulate in a way where you can have him pointing or throwing up gang signs or whatever. Thats kind of a let down, but I'd still pick him up..... the green version anyways.
     
  3. Bountyan

    Bountyan Well-Known Member

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    These two are probably the worst of the six- which is a good thing for me, because I like these two figures to begin with. Especially Scavenger.

    Honestly I don't mind the skeleton arm thing at all, because if it tried to pull off something similar to Hercules, the shoulders would end up looking tiny. Plus, as discussed in the other thread, more posability.
     
  4. BraveMax

    BraveMax Used to speak Japanese

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    Great point! I've updated the review to reflect that!
     
  5. process

    process Hanlon's razor Veteran

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    Despite it's flaws, I still think Giant is much more cleverly designed than Hercules. Scale aside, the individual Hercules bots are fairly simple and blocky, while Giant's members seem to have a greater degree of detailing and personality. I would happily buy a yellow set, if only orders pages would show up at the usual e-tailers.

    Thank you for the review.
     
  6. Tiller

    Tiller I don't know nothin'

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    Awesome. However, you can do something about that combiner port kibble. Stick part of it in the middle and fold the port up:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I don't see why people keep missing this.
     
  7. beigoma

    beigoma Autobot TFW2005 Supporter

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    Thanks for the review. I hope the final combiner blows me away because the individual bots are losing a bit of their luster for me. Have you contacted your vendor for a replacement thigh?
     
  8. BraveMax

    BraveMax Used to speak Japanese

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    I did try that. I wasn't able to get it to bend in far enough while still laying flush with the back. So, from my standpoint, the options are either have something sticking up straight in the back, or have a triangle coming off their backs. Either way, the stability isn't much improved, right?

    Yes, I did. Actually, UpgradeCommander got back to me in about 5 minutes flat saying they'd send a replacement part straight away... So, assuming that comes through, that's a point in their favor in my opinion! So far, I'm glad I took the risk on ordering from them! (And it was nice to be able to pay COD, too!)
     
  9. DrillBIT

    DrillBIT Silver Wolf

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    Just imagine the combiner port kibble is the thruster or booster in the back.
    Can't put too much detail on the spring loaded stud due the material used in this case.
     
  10. BraveMax

    BraveMax Used to speak Japanese

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    Yeah, see - I just don't feel like I should HAVE to. These guys aren't constrained by the limits placed on normal production toys. Clearly they went all-out on plastic, etc. So... Why couldn't they find a better way to integrate the combiner skeleton?
     
  11. DrillBIT

    DrillBIT Silver Wolf

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    Could be lazy.
    Could be the lack of skills and tools.
    Could be the way the designer see things.

    Could be... part of the non-Fallen project. :) 
     
  12. OptionZero

    OptionZero Well-Known Member

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    Fallen has some compatibility with Giant, eh? Clever, but how bout this:

    Why the hell can't I buy this from TFS, BBTS, or RK yet? Pre-orders could have gone up a month ago for this, it's IN-HAND for some already!
     
  13. MegaHavok

    MegaHavok Well-Known Member

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    Hmm...the debate in my head continues. I was hoping these would knock it out of the park and make up my mind for me. I would love to have these in bot mode and a herc in combined mode but life keeps sucking up finances
     
  14. BraveMax

    BraveMax Used to speak Japanese

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    -_^

    That's interesting conjecture, but A) Devastator has nothing to do with the Fallen, so I really don't see why they'd sacrifice some of the awesomeness of these just so they'd be compatible limbs for him, and B) considering how slowly these are getting out, it'll be a year or so more until we know that for sure. At this point, we can only judge the toys on what we already know about them.

    Look - I'm not saying these are *bad* toys. I'm just pointing out that there are some easy wins that the designers passed on, and that for $50 I expect more. Call me spoiled by Fansproject - they tend to do a pretty good job of balancing. Maketoys' offerings haven't really done as good a job in my opinion.
     
  15. blueben

    blueben Holocaust

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    Great review, luckily my thighs are alright.
    Giant will have much better arm movements than Hercules. Hope the next 2 to see how well are Giant's thighs.
    Combiner port kibble have really good clicks coz of the springs, that's one design I really hope Hercules will have.
     
  16. DrillBIT

    DrillBIT Silver Wolf

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    But this is not THE Devastator. THIS IS Giant. The Giant resembles the Devastator in may details, but for real it isn't because it is not HasTak, not the one showing up in the show. Imagination has no boundaries. If the designer is having fun with his work and plans to increase the play value of his next project, I don't see why he chooses not to cross-combining the 2 and make something new out of it, providing there are lots of hidden features in tank portion of the shell for Not-Fallen.
    There are many ways to solve a problem, but they will eventually get to the same answer. This designer may want to try something new, or this is something he is familiar with. What you see bad may turn out to be his own rule in designing robots, and there is not right or wrong to it.
    Remember one thing. These people not only designing toys for the others, but they are also making these toys to satisify themselves. This is what they wanted in the first place, and may be the best solution he sees when renewing the image of an old design.
     
  17. gastric13

    gastric13 Well-Known Member

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    nice review BraveMax :)  and thanks..

    i am with you regarding Herc; leaning towards TFC's offering due to his massive bulk, both in individual and combined modes..

    but, cant resist the highly-articulated designs of these Giant bots.. plus, a yellow set of Constructicons is not to be missed.. how i wish Monday can come earlier, i need to handle them stat! :D 
     
  18. PredaconElder

    PredaconElder Well-Known Member

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    Is it possible we get some size comparisons pics with chug Seekers or chug Megatron?
     
  19. deaculpa

    deaculpa Seven Star Fist

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    Maketoys Bulldozer and Excavator

    So, basically ive had a nice bottle waiting to be uncorked when these joints can be combined, so here are my first thoughts after messing with these guys for about an hour.
    First things first. I ordered from Upgradecommander.com, it was my first dealing with them, the site was in Japanese, and I got stuck on a screen for two days because I couldn’t read the error it was giving me. I emailed them with a screenshot of my order info and the page, and fools cold came correct and emailed me back a link to a page with my order already set up, I had to enter almost nothing. They answered every email and actually posted the picture of the boxart as a request. They mailed from Japan on Tuesday, 1.24, and were actually at my post office for pickup on Thursday, 1.26 (I missed the slip in my mailbox because I was looking for a box). So these kids hit me via EMS from japan to Connecticut in 3 business days. And amazing customer service.

    There are already a million pics of most modes here, I’ll post other things I see relevant.

    1) Box Art: Pretty lacking, as we’ve seen. But the one thing I did notice was that they have the old head from the original prototype shown with no changes. I was personally hoping for a new head. Im not a box art guy, I didn’t spend much time on it, and I wont here either.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    2) The combiner joints: wow. Its ratcheting at I think three points, not counting the lower forearm ratchet on the generators.
    points of movement are circled. it should be noted that the Gestalt hands are almost duplicate copies of MP01 Prime, but they're much tighter. a lot of people are calling this "bots on a stick", which i kind of disagree with, or wouldnt characterize it that way, at least. yes, the gestalt joint can be pulled out to make it look pretty ******ed, as in the first pic. but once you position the joint reasonably, as in the second pic, it looks just like it should: G2 Hottness.

    [​IMG]

    When the generators are attached to make the full arm, there are two places that have a spring-loaded quick-release: the forearm attachment has one, and the shoulder attachment has one too, although I havent figured it out completely.

    [​IMG]
    All this ratchety goodness means that Giant will be able to extend his arms out sideways too, to a degree.


    As a note, the combiner joint hangs off the bots in a pretty awkward way. On Bulldozer, you can punch part of the combiner joint into the chest area behind the cab in botmode, and it sits pretty nicely. but I don’t think it was meant to do that, and you do get some rub.


    3. the plastic. Great quality but you can tell these kids are newcomers due to some lack of forethought: so the plastic is very strong and the ball joints are very tight. Great. Everything tabs into place on the altmode, and in several places. Awesome.


    But I’ve already broken one of the handles on “bulldozer’s” shovel because to get them off the ball joints, you have to pull pretty hard and yup, ripped it off. I can fix it, but its an obvious stress point that should have been considered. Especially since you pretty much have to remove the shovels to transform to botmode. So far, no other issues.

    note: the handle of the shovels comes off to reveal a sort of stub that it sits on. its the stub i ripped off on the far side, as you can see.
    [​IMG]

    4. Altmode: great, except they really could have put rolling wheels under the treads. Another obvious miss. The other thing that has bothered me from day one is the placement of Scavenger’s Shovel. Im not a fan of it being on his arm and it limits the movement in altmode as well. Otherwise, the altmode is excellent for both, appropriately heavy. Both can be armed with the cannon, which doubles as the barrel for Giant’s gun.

    5. Botmodes. I like others, feel it’s the weakest part of the whole deal. Ive really always wanted these for the gestalt mode though, so Im not incredibly disappointed.
    The good: Sturdy and strong, able to hold great poses. Both have a lot of tabs to hold weapons.
    The bad: the heads both sit awkwardly on a tab that swings or flips into place; I can see through both bots in several places; There are flip-down feet on both bots: theres a purple foot which is on a ball joint, and a grey piece that flips down on the rear to stabilize. But both flip out to exactly 90 degrees on each side, they would have been better to let the front foot rotate further down on the ball joint.

    [​IMG]

    6. Transformation: Not as simple as I thought but not complicated either. As with most toys, I was able to get to botmode without the instructions. But getting back to almode was a little tougher because several things have to be facing a certain way to tab in correctly.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    7. Combined Mode: Pending.

    The bottom line: excellent quality and fairly well thought out with a few minor quips. Overall they don’t really remind me of constructicons in bot mode, but of course devastator is unmistakeable in combined mode. The gestalt arm joints are well-designed and well thought out and will allow giant to hold to great poses. Is it for you? Maybe. Ill have both versions, and Im going to get 2 of the Herc bots for their bot modes. Again Im really happy but Im a little disappointed that they decided to go with the original head for devastator, Im gonna need to replace that with a custom, Ive already got a Ptitvites's Dev head, as well as a crazy devy head i could use.

    [​IMG]

    probably not gonna be roundhousing or bodyslamming any dinobots.

    [​IMG]

    a perfect match
     
  20. Bumblebee765

    Bumblebee765 Wrecker

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    Thanks for the review! If I may ask, how much did you pay for this? You probably stated that in your review, but I don't have time to read through it right now. I love construction vehicle TransFormers, but Hercules is too expensive for me right now, so I'm hoping this will be a good alternative...
     

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