Maketoys Wheel Loader and Mixer (Pic Heavy)

Discussion in 'Transformers 3rd Party Reviews' started by BraveMax, Jun 8, 2012.

  1. BraveMax

    BraveMax Used to speak Japanese

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    Aaaand the last set. For refreshers on the previous two sets, see my reviews of http://www.tfw2005.com/boards/trans...5-maketoys-bulldozer-excavator-pic-heavy.html (Set A) and http://www.tfw2005.com/boards/trans...ketoys-mobile-crane-dump-truck-pic-heavy.html (Set B). As before, I think other people have absolutely taken (and will take) better pictures, so I'm going to focus on the actual review.

    First off, pictures of the box:

    Front:
    [​IMG]

    Top:
    [​IMG]

    Sides:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Back:
    [​IMG]

    Unlike the other two sets, the Japanese names used on the box are the same as the English names. Given the precedent of using the proper Japanese vehicle names in each language, it's likely that the Japanese word just happens to be the same as the English word.

    The packaging is largely the same as the other two sets, with Wheel Loader (WL) and Mixer nestled in a plastic try with a plastic over-tray:
    [​IMG]

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

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

    The instructions are the same style as Maketoys' other releases so far. Separate instructions for each toy. Prototype photos with pieces highlighted in different colors and some arrows. As with the previous set, I found these a little confusing at times. The arrows just point vaguely "that way" and leave it up to your imagination what to move. With a toy this expensive, and with the previous sets having a couple of breakage points, you should be extra careful when transforming these the first time.

    As promised, this set comes with a bag of replacement pieces taped to the side of the plastic tray:
    [​IMG]

    There are even supplemental instructions in the bag:
    [​IMG]

    Pretty nice way of handling the fixes!

    For initial impressions, my comments are largely the same as the other two sets - same high-quality plastic, same sharp edges. I think they did a slightly better job engineering the transformation for these two, but we'll get into that when we talk about the individual robots.

    In the box we have:
    - Wheel Loader
    - Mixer
    - Cannon housing (Part 2)
    - Chest shield
    - Bag o' replacement parts

    The cannon housing is essentially the same as the the parts that came with set B, just reversed. Combining all of the extra pieces yields Giant's big gun:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Which fits into the hands that came with Set A with a really cool locking mechanism. Notice that the handle of the gun has bevels in each side:
    [​IMG]

    The rear quarter fits into the slot on Giant's fist:
    [​IMG]

    This allows the gun to more or less physically attach to Giant's hand:
    [​IMG]

    The chest shield is all one piece, and does a little bit of transforming itself to be able to attach to Dump Truck's vehicle mode:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The chest shield can be wielded by some of the individual Giant team members, and connects to Mobile Crane via the posts on each wing (which plug into corresponding holes on Mobile Crane) and the central handle (which actually clicks into the gap between the two halves of Mobile Crane in combined form). The result is that the chest shield holds on securely, but is easily removed when it's time to transform the team into their robot or vehicle modes!

    Next up is the vehicle modes. Same warning as for the other two sets: the colors on these two are darker than these pics suggest. For some reason my phone's camera likes to over-saturate in some lights.

    Wheel Loader:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    It's worth noting that, due to the transformation to his other modes, the engine block on WL's back is removable. In fact, the box picture shows him without it:
    [​IMG]

    Removing it, however, leaves a big hole in his back.

    WL can also attach one of the smaller parts of Giant's cannon as a vehicle mode weapon just like his team mates:
    [​IMG]

    And he has a hitch that allows him to haul the fists/generator trailers that came with Set A. Unfortunately, it's a pretty flimsy little hinge that snaps on to a post. It tends to flop back and forth, and while the trailers won't come off willy-nilly, they are not very securely-fastened while being hauled:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Overall, this mode is pretty solid. My only concerns follow the same line as my concerns with the other members of this set - things were sacrificed to fit all three modes into the figure. For WL, it's the fact that his cockpit has no back because having one would interfere with the hydraulic piston-looking-thingy that is showcased in combined mode. Additionally, WL's head is clearly visible when looking at the alt mode straight on. Sure, it's the back of the head, but that's still a pretty big "WTF?", which will come into play later. His shovel also has no articulation aside from the two pins necessary to move the entire assembly up and down - a fact which causes a major issue in robot mode. Finally, his combiner port is clearly visible from the rear of the alt. mode. All understandable, but mildly irritating.

    Mixer:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Like WL, Mixer can haul the fist/generator trailer modules via a hitch:
    [​IMG]

    He can also mount part of Giant's cannon as a vehicle mode weapon:
    [​IMG]

    His instructions mention two tabs that they'd like you to "be careful!" of. On my Mixer, these two tabs aren't there, though it looks possible that they were broken off before Mixer was packaged:
    [​IMG]

    (They're a little hard to see, but look at the bottom of the toy in that pic, and the corresponding piece on the other leg and you'll see a rough patch on each. That corresponds exactly to where the tabs should be according to the instructions)

    This vehicle mode is one of my favorites of the group over-all, though it is a little small. There's just so much cool detail to it! As far as concerns go, the combiner port is obvious from the rear of the vehicle mode, though it does a better job of blending in as part of the mixing assembly than it does on WL. The other thing that I'm iffy on is that the mixing barrel is clearly painted, and stands out because it's a darker shade of yellow than the rest of the figure. That's either a good thing or a bad thing, and I'm not sure which.

    Group shot of the Giant team members in vehicle mode:
    [​IMG]

    And another focusing on Set C (in more correct colors):
    [​IMG]

    Now for robot modes!

    Wheel Loader:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    WL is definitely one of my favorite robot mode designs of the group. He has a very distinctive, unique look, and maintains a fair amount of poseability. There are, however, two things of note.

    The first is the positioning of his shovel. Since it doesn't articulate, it interferes with WL's ability to tilt his head up and leaves him permanently looking down:
    [​IMG]

    Additionally, as with Set A's bots, part of his vehicle mode pretty much just hangs off his back, leaving him with a sizable backpack even if you're willing to just leave the engine block out:
    [​IMG]

    Per a post lower in this thread, it ispossible to fold the backpack up a little more (I'll have to play with that in a bit...), but it still leaves you with bit of a hump. :( 

    Poseability is on-par with the rest of the sets. WL has a ball-jointed head, waist, shoulders, and hips; bicep and thigh swivels; elbow and knee joints; and feet that move by a clever system of hinges. His fists swing out on a hinge, but have no articulation otherwise.

    On to Mixer:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I should probably get around to taking pics without the fits/generators attached to his backpack... But I do like them there :) 

    The pegs on the side of the generators slot into a slot on the side of Mixer's mixing barrel:
    [​IMG]

    They are designed to slot in at an angle.

    Mixer also has a missile pod in his backpack, with a flip-down targeting screen!:
    [​IMG]

    Sweet!

    Final thing to note before I talk thoughts and poseability is that Mixer has several clips, holes, and a hinge that are... Unexplained. They don't seem to have any use on the toy. Hidden feature?
    [​IMG]

    Yes, I have tried to swing the barrel down. If it swings down, there's some way to unlock it that I haven't found. I'm not about to take him apart to confirm :p 

    Poseability on Mixer is pretty decent. He has a ball-jointed head, shoulders, feet, waist, elbows, and hips; and bicep and thigh swivels. Sadly, his fists are fixed in place.

    Overall, these two are probably my favorites out of the group. They're solid, fairly well-engineered, have unique designs, and aren't hampered with kibble like Dump Truck. This is, I think, the best set of the three.

    A group robot mode shot:
    [​IMG]

    Combiner modes:

    Wheel Loader:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Not much to say here. It's a leg. It has ball-joint rotation at the foot, allowing for an impressive array of poses. You'll notice that there's some funny business going on with the cockpit transformation, but it's easy enough to figure out if you go slowly. The chrome hydraulic piece is a nice touch, but feels a little half-assed. Also, the engine block essentially holds the whole foot together... It will be interesting to see how well that holds up over time. Others have noted that WL's head pokes out from the bottom of the foot... And yes, that DOES get in the way.

    Mixer:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Similar comments to those made for WL. It's a foot, and it works pretty well. Same ball-joint at the foot. Major gripes include the large air-space gap between the cab and the rest of the foot, and the face staring out the back of the leg. Note: I forgot that you can raise Mixer's feet to cover part of the gap between the cab and the rest of the foot. It DOES look better this way, although there are still three little gaps. To answer people's questions: No, you cannot lower Mixer's targeting screen to cover his head, but you CAN turn Mixer's head around so it's not facing out. With these fixes, the issues are fairly minor!

    Both figures connect to Dump Truck via a port and socket connection (the knees are on Dump Truck). To release the feet, you need to press down on two tabs (one on either side of the foot's combiner port):
    [​IMG]

    Have I teased everyone enough?

    At long last, the combined Maketoys Giant (Yellow Version):
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    With the Danboru Sensou Drill Effects Part Set:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    If it's not clear already, Giant has the full range of poseability at his shoulders and hips (barring kibble conflicts, which can be mitigated via creative use of his Menasor Syndrome combiner skeleton and proper repositioning of kibble); bicep, waist, wrist, and thigh swivels; hinged fingers, elbows and knees; and a ball-jointed head (with limited poseability due to ball-joint placement), thumbs, and feet. Pretty much the full range of motion over all, which is damned impressive for a combiner!

    Overall, I have to say I am surprised by how much I like this guy. I started off preferring Hercules, but I think Giant is the better toy. Hercules seems to have a new part breaking every other day, while Giant seems better engineered to hold up in combined mode. Aesthetic-wise, I still prefer Hercules' cleaner, more blocky aesthetic as better matching the G1 cartoon (which is why I own him - he's my G1 Devastator). Hercules looks more like a cohesive robot, rather than a bunch of vehicles stuck together. Giant, on the other hand has a squatter, more bulky and cluttered aesthetic that remains truer to the toy Devastator (which is why I own him - the only Devastator toy I ever had as a kid was G2, so Giant is my G2 Devastator!). I do wish that Giant's arms were a little longer, as Hercules' proportions seem much more menacing for his longer arms. Hercules also comes with two guns to Giant's one, and I prefer Hercules' over-all size to Giant's. Basically, each gestalt mode echos the design aesthetic of its components, which makes sense.

    Hercules' individual components are blockier, larger, and look more simplistic, and their vehicle modes don't always clearly resemble what they're supposed to be. There's also less detailing on them. Giant's individual components are sharper, and have a trimmer, more modern appearance, and (with one or two exceptions) the vehicle modes are also crisper and more detailed. As a downside, though, Giant's individual members can look a little cluttered, and sacrifice more poseability and playability for the sake of the combined mode than Hercules' components do.

    The major selling point with Giant for me (which others have mentioned too) is that the combined Giant's joints are worlds better - stronger, more secure, and most likely more durable. My only gripe with them is the doors that are left sticking up on his shoulders... But I tend not to notice those anyways, and frankly I prefer them to the issues Hercules has with his joints >_<. In the end, I'm glad I have both, as they really serve different purposes in my collection and each target a slightly different part of me.

    Interestingly, Giant's components have several extra bobbles and kibble bits that make it apparent that there's something *else* planned for them in the future. It has been speculated that future Maketoys releases will combine with the individual modes of one or more of the members to power them up, but only time will tell... Maybe there are simply some hidden features that have not yet been widely recognized!

    If you're on the fence, either re: getting Giant or just buying these as standalone toys, my recommendation is to go for it! This is an impressive piece, and I feel like Set C is a really strong note to end the group with. I look forward to seeing what else Maketoys has in store for the future!
     
  2. pingth

    pingth Autocon

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    Thanks for the review. I look forward to receiving the green version hopefully within this month. The more I look at the yellow version, I seem to like it too, there seems to be more details on the yellow figures compared to the green ones.
     
  3. slugslinger2004

    slugslinger2004 TFW2005 Supporter

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    Thanks for the review! My set's sitting in my POL since I was impatient and shipped set B after the BBTS 3rd party sale. Can't bring myself to ship it alone when Jet Vehicon's release is around the corner. I do want that drill set now though...
     
  4. Bountyan

    Bountyan Well-Known Member

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    Scrapper not being able to look up was my worry ever since I saw those promo pics. Damn, oh well. Everything else looks great. Mixmaster is by far my favorite in both alt and robot mode.
     
  5. Stygian360

    Stygian360 Well-Known Member

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    Great review and thank you! Looking forward to completing this 'bad boy' myself in a few days. And thanks also for all the great pics with accompanying explanation. This helps in figuring out what's going on, your various challenges with the toy, etc.
     
  6. seali_me

    seali_me Well-Known Member

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    My favorite are still Scrapper and Mixmaster.
     
  7. Tiller

    Tiller I don't know nothin'

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    What the crap is going on with scrapers backpack? Any possible way to arrange that so it doesn't look like crap?

    Also can you twist Mix's head around all the way to face the front of the foot? Or flip the missile flap down to cover his eyes a bit?
     
  8. process

    process Hanlon's razor Veteran

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    Looks like you can tuck it up a little, but it ain't much better.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. iphdtd

    iphdtd The Wolfman's Brother

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    How does the chest wing attach to the torso?
     
  10. G.I.EDDIE

    G.I.EDDIE Purple treads suck!

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    Lol at Scrappers hot rod engine :rolleyes: 

    I really hope Giant looks crazy amazing in green, because there are soooooooo many little things aesthetically about him stacking up that I just don't like...

    Just a ridiculous amount of holes and gaps...and the mixing barrel being off really sucks...hope they do a better matching job with green giant...

    Thanks for the unbiased review :) 
     
  11. Valkysas

    Valkysas Attack Buffalo

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    There's panels that flip up to partially fill that gap. I think they're his feet. you can see them in pretty much every photo of Giant that Maketoys has released.
     
  12. BraveMax

    BraveMax Used to speak Japanese

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    Unfortunately the arms block the targeting visor from being lowered in combined mode, but you CAN turn the head around so that it's not staring out at you!

    Two posts (one on either side), and the handle on the back clicks in between the two halves of Mobile Crane. It's quite secure!

    The holes and gaps don't actually bug me much in person, though I kind of thought they would. Also, in real life mixing barrels are often different colors from the rest of the vehicle, so I'm leaning towards not being bugged by that either. He really is far more impressive in person than I'm giving him credit for :) 

    They are his feet - I totally forgot you could do that. Oddly, I don't recall the instructions showing it (though, the picture on the box does). Even with that, though, you're left with three substantial gaps in that foot... It DOES look *better*, though :) 

    EDIT: Review updated to include fixes and corrections and to expand on my comparison with Hercules! Also added waist articulation - forgot about that!
     
  13. Deadsled

    Deadsled Energon Recovery

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    Does he have enough range of motion in combined mode to kneel down?
     
  14. BraveMax

    BraveMax Used to speak Japanese

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    Mine's not combined right now, but just from the testing I did, I don't think so. The kibble interferes too much... :( 
     
  15. Jarrod

    Jarrod Semi-retired Builder

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    Got my set C today, and I'm surprised no one has mentioned how horrible Wheel Loader's shoulder articulation is. Transformed properly, with the grey shoulder swing bars locked into the robot mode position, this is how he looks:

    [​IMG]

    The shoulders pretty much butt right up against the shovel.
    [​IMG]

    Forcing the arms to raise straight up in front, seriously stressing the swing bar, and I strongly recommend against it. I tried a few different ways of re-positioning the swing bar, but that just caused more problems. The arms either completely flopped around, since the swing bar was not locked in, or the shovel would not fold back properly (causing the head to bend far forward) since the grey support ridges on the inside of the swingbar would get in the way of the shuttle "hydraulics" as seen below:
    [​IMG]

    So, I fixed it! I took my knife and cut a channel in the shovel hydraulics as shown:
    [​IMG]

    This now allows the shovel to fully fold back, locking the swing bar in a slightly more forward position, letting his shoulders have free range of motion. Likewise, it gives his head MUCH more freedom too, and I can even tilt it up a bit.
    [​IMG]

    Lastly, I notice just about every picture I see of him, has missed a transformation step...his waist (and Giant's ankle) extension! It gives him almost an extra cm of height, and allows the canopy to tilt down some more, also giving his head more visual clearance.
    [​IMG]

    Oh, and one more thing, its quite easy to keep his head tucked in in leg mode...looks MUCH better.
     

    Attached Files:

  16. BraveMax

    BraveMax Used to speak Japanese

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    I haven't been able to tuck his head in in leg mode except a little...

    And aside from some minor clearance issues with the shovel, his arms don't have any issue with me... But I'm glad you found fixes for yours :) 

    I'm actually more worried about his forearms. The plastic on one side of the little hole that connects his forearm to his bicep in vehicle/foot mode has already snapped a little. Very worrisome >_<.

    Thanks for the detailed pics! They will surely come in handy to others!
     
  17. Jarrod

    Jarrod Semi-retired Builder

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    Really? Even in your pics, I can see the shoulders touching the shovel. What happens when you try to raise the arm straight out in front? If you do, watch what happens to the grey swing bar, it bends horribly as the shoulder tries to clear the shovel.

    As for the head, I just leave it in the vehicle mode position, and simply swing the drivers compartment piece right over it, clears it fine.
     
  18. BraveMax

    BraveMax Used to speak Japanese

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    I will have to try both of those when I get home. I was under the impression that there was a reason the head had to swing out... I recall trying half-heartedly to swing it back in... I'll give it a shot :) 

    Thanks for the waist trick, BTW - that is a HUGE improvement!
     
  19. tantrum

    tantrum Northwest fan

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    I was not sure if I could tell in the review are the included replacement part necessary to put on before forming giant or just minor fixes. I remember if you did not fix the herc dump truck it could get damaged but have not seen much on the replacement parts that came with giant.
     

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