X-Transbots Krank

Discussion in 'Transformers 3rd Party Reviews' started by Cheebs, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. Cheebs

    Cheebs Well-Known Member

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    I got this guy in yesterday. He's...less than I though he would be. In no way is he bad, and he does fit right in with the MP crew. Let's get that out of the way right off the bat.

    [​IMG]

    But...
    Problem #1 is that he doesn't "feel" expensive. The cab is really light. And I get that. Can't have him all back heavy. It has to be light. But it still doesn't feel very good. Adding to the feel problems are some of the joints around his feet. They squeak with a plastic-on-plastic sound when they move. This is limited to the feet themselves and the rear wheels. No QC problem. No stability problem. Just an unpleasant squeak that makes it feel cheap.

    Problem #2...
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    He has no torso. Just a plate in front.

    Again, I'm not saying in anyway that this is a bad toy. Just...it doesn't feel like $70. I still like it and all. But knowing what I know now, I'd be more inclined to wait and see what Cubex made.
     

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  2. Zavien

    Zavien Veteran

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    Thanx for all the info cheebs. I'm getting stax and hope that I like him. I have yet to purchase a third part toy I didn't like.
     
  3. Cheebs

    Cheebs Well-Known Member

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    The more I use this guy, the more he grows on me. For all of his faults, I will have no problem keeping him as my MP Huffer. And strangely, he actually looks pretty great using the Pipes transformation.

    In general, I think this mold might be stronger as Pipes. So much so that I will probably keep Huffer in the Pipes transformation on the shelf. The smokestacks fill in the emptiness of his torso eliminating the problem, and you don't see the "unfinished" surfaces on the inside of the cab shell behind his head.

    To offset the negative first post, let me list what I like here...

    I love the chrome, and since his arms don't have to be stacks, I love that they bring the beef. It's a really nice chunky sculpt.

    I love the alt mode. It is the reason I chose this Huffer. I'll take real world alts any day.

    I like the looks. For as much as I was dissapointed by the feel, I can't say the same for the look. It looks like a million bucks.
     
  4. stevej

    stevej Well-Known Member

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    How cheap does the orange plastic look in person? I'm assuming from photos there is no glossy paint application like what you see on the MP cars?
     
  5. Cheebs

    Cheebs Well-Known Member

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    No, there is no paint on the orange parts. The orange plastic doesn't look cheap, but it feels a bit cheap. All of the other plastic on him feels fine.
     
  6. Cheebs

    Cheebs Well-Known Member

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    I figured I should post some pictures of the Pipes transformation since it looks so good.

    [​IMG]
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  7. chrisr291

    chrisr291 Master of the Unknown

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    Where can I find the black legs version?
     
  8. zfarsh

    zfarsh Big Penguin Chief

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    wasn't that a non final version only?
     
  9. daelite20

    daelite20 autobots

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    These are pretty kool. i like this robot mode better
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2014
  10. Matt Booker

    Matt Booker Fantasy Adventure Author

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    X-Transbots Krank is the first release of their new Master Mini series, a line that represents a bold new direction from their previous forays in the tiny plastic giant robot market. Aimed at discerning Masterpiece collectors, these products blend nostalgia with modern engineering and a keen eye for the fine line in between.

    Krank is a tough one to tackle, but an admirable challenge to start with. Inspired by a grumpy orange and purple bot with a chibi alt mode, X-Transbots opted for a realistic interpretation of an actual truck. That’s a polarizing choice, but one that many fans are glad they made. But how’s the rest of it? What about the plastic quality and the articulation? What are the special features? Do I have any transformation tips? Cool pictures?

    Read on to find out!


    ALTERNATE MODE

    X-Transbots Krank is a realistic truck, based on this Dodge.

    [​IMG]

    It was chosen due to the cab forward design, the tilt of the windows, and a few other features that are apparent on the toy of a certain mini robot from a 1980s cartoon show that you might be familiar with.

    I’m really impressed by how much that matches up, and it satisfies both my want of close-to-cartoon-accurate and an alt mode that doesn’t look dumb on a Masterpiece shelf.

    On a shelf next to a COE semi, a Lamborghini Countach, and a Nissan Fairlady Z, Krank looks more like a truck than a toy.

    [​IMG]
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    ROBOT MODE

    X-Transbots Krank’s robot mode dances between homage and update, and it’s a dance on a tightrope above a chasm of very particular fans.

    And those fans have good reason to be particular here. Takara’s Masterpiece line has definitive representations of G1 characters, blending the look of both the original cartoon and the original toys. When you look at a Masterpiece TF, you know exactly who it is. Optimus might have covered wheels jutting out from his legs, Sideswipe might have a wide torso, and Prowl might have optional shoulder cannons, but they’re absolutely Optimus, Sideswipe, and Prowl.

    And besides, who wants complete G1 cartoon accuracy?

    People that probably haven’t watched the G1 cartoon in a while. Animation errors can’t be blamed for everything. :) 

    So the lesson here is not to sweat the small stuff when it comes to toy robot details, as long as they hit the high notes on the character details. I don’t care that the Masterpiece Seekers have hip kibble at worst and sliding leg kibble at best, so X-Transbots Krank having wheels on his legs isn’t that big of an issue for me.

    However! I have heard that the wheels were not designed to fold away because of a parts budget limitation. For the first release of a new product line, going with a less expensive first foot forward is understandable, but collectors of tiny plastic giant robots would be more than willing to pay for a small per unit price increase if it meant a better looking robot mode. The wheels on the legs seem to be one of the main complaints about Krank, so hopefully X-Transbots is paying attention.

    Collectors will pay a little more if it means a better bot!

    And yet, like I said, the wheels aren’t a big issue. Well, let me rephrase that. For me, the wheels were only an issue when considering whether to purchase Krank or Stax.

    That’s important for potential customers, but once I actually got them in hand, the wheels didn’t bother me. After a few days of having Krank and Stax, the wheels don’t even look out of place.



    But how is the rest of it? Honestly, really great.

    When I first saw the chrome I thought it would be good for Stax but it seemed out of place for Krank. Silver paint seemed better, or at least more appropriate.

    But in hand, the chrome is awesome! Krank has big, burly arms and the shiny gleam accentuates them. Combine that with the vibrant orange of the glossy plastic, the pleasant palette of the purple and blues, and Krank is an eye catching display piece. I really thought Krank would be second banana to Stax, but so far they’re neck and neck for different reasons. We’ll get into Stax more in the next post, and while he seems to be the more popular purchase among collectors, I hope these high quality pictures help you consider Krank if you haven’t already.

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    ARTICULATION AND POSEABILITY

    X-Transbots Krank has more than the standard amount of joints, including ankle tilts!
    [​IMG]

    The forward movement of the legs is hindered slightly by the crotch detailing, but MP Optimus, Sideswipe, and Prowl all have that same issue, so it’s at least in good company.

    The knees don’t have a full 90 degree bend, but it’s not bad. The arms are very, very expressive with a huge range of movement, and so does the head. Outside of the chrome and the colors, what really impressed me with X-Transbots Krank was just how much personality the bot mode has. When taking pictures for this review, Krank was practically begging to be played around with.

    And speaking of which, what good is poseability if the bot can’t balance? Time for a high kick test!

    [​IMG]

    Features and Extras

    Both Krank and Stax feature a face changing gimmick. While Krank’s is the most dramatic, manually rotating the face is much more difficult than the easy flick of a switch for Stax’s visor.

    [​IMG]

    Krank’s face also seems to be a point of contention for collectors. While I agree that it’s more of an update than I would prefer, it’s MUCH better than MP Sideswipe’s pouty-lipped pinch face.

    I also got a collector’s coin with my set of Krank and Stax, and Krank’s side features vibrant orange paint to help pick out the details. It’s heavy and very shiny.

    [​IMG]

    In robot mode, the exhaust pipes of both Krank and Stax’s alt modes get attached to their arms. Small amounts of partsforming for either weapons (like with Stax) or visual accents (like with Krank) are fine by me, as long as it doesn’t overdo it. If you don’t like them attached to the arms, each blaster has attachment points for them to form a super mode.

    [​IMG]

    I much prefer them on the arms, but it’s cool that the extra feature is available.

    Krank also has a trailer hitch built into the alt mode, which just so happens to be compatible with the attachment point on MP Optimus’s trailer, allowing for the recreation of an iconic scene from the cartoon that was only done once and then ignored a second later thanks to an animation error.

    [​IMG]

    The trailer attaches smoothly and the grip is snug enough to stay attached even when picked up.

    [​IMG]

    Also, as a fun attention to detail, both Krank and Stax have a wrench near where you might find one strewn on the real version of the alt mode.

    [​IMG]


    Transformation Tips

    X-Transbots Krank and Stax both have a particular position for the backpack, locking it snugly into place. It’s all about where you put the prongs from the robot’s back, as it’s possible to mistransform it without knowing.

    If mistransformed, Krank’s backpack doesn’t sit as high as it is supposed to, and the bumper is practically up against the head.

    Here’s a handy picture to illustrate the proper spot to put the prongs!

    [​IMG]

    As you can see in the circled area, they should fit snugly up against and underneath that peg. In a great bit of engineering, that peg is also used for Stax’s configuration, even though the orientation of the cab is completely different.

    Another thing to mention is that the exhaust pipes can have a very tight fit when plugged into the alt mode. That’s probably because of tolerance issues with the chrome and the amount put on at the factory, but it shouldn’t be a problem if you slowly test how it fits.

    The exhaust pipes can also plug in much deeper than they need to, which combined with the already tight connection can make them tough to detach for robot mode. Just plug them in as far as they need to go instead of trying to fit the whole peg in there.


    Is it good enough for a Masterpiece display?


    While Krank’s bot mode has a lot of nostalgic details, it does lean a bit more towards an update than a straight up homage. Takara’s official Masterpieces have varying flavors of this, so that’s fine by me. The MP line has the most strict standards in my tiny plastic giant robot collection, but we also have to remember that if a hobby isn’t fun then it’s a chore.

    My criteria for a Masterpiece includes:
    1)Does it look like the definitive version of the character?
    2)Is it sturdy and worth the price?
    3)Is the bot mode scale close to accurate?
    4)Does the bot mode look good?
    5)Does the alt mode look good?
    6)Is it fun?

    X-Transbots Krank brings a big bag of YES! to questions 2 through 6, so even if the answer to question 1 is a MOSTLY!, that’s more than enough reasons to have it in my MP display.

    [​IMG]

    ~Matt Booker
     

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  11. Raika

    Raika Well-Known Member

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    Seeing that real truck makes me wish/hope that someone, with shapeways I suppose, makes the rear part to sit on the back.
     
  12. haventgrownup

    haventgrownup Procrastinator

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    Mr. Booker,

    Are the hands made of "non-paintable" plastic?
     
  13. Matt Booker

    Matt Booker Fantasy Adventure Author

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    Not sure if they are or not. You could always contact X-Transbots and ask them.

    ~Matt Booker
     
  14. Matt Booker

    Matt Booker Fantasy Adventure Author

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    Here are some more pictures of Krank.

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    ~Matt Booker
     

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  15. Cheebs

    Cheebs Well-Known Member

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    Oh God, I just saw what Cubex made.

    Go Krank all the way.

    Qc and cheapness just kills Cubex. Krank is great quality stuff in comparison and now having owned both, I easily recommend Krank without hesitation.
     
  16. Matt Booker

    Matt Booker Fantasy Adventure Author

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    Yeah, initially I was telling people just to buy from a good retailer and pick the one you like the look of, that they both had cool things going on.

    But every other post about Cubex Huff seems to be not just a QC complaint, but a huge qc complaint, like both paint and wheels falling off.

    So I can't in good conscience say to buy something like that. Buy X-Transbots Krank or wait for Takara.

    ~Matt Booker
     
  17. bossman328

    bossman328 Well-Known Member

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    This is my first 3rd party figure. I really like him. The plastic is lightweight...but overall he looks great. Very easy transformation. Fun toy overall
     
  18. Cax6ton

    Cax6ton Insufferable Smartass

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    Just got this guy in yesterday. I'm still sorting out how I feel about it. Last week I got a paint-damaged Cubex Huff that a member was selling cheap. I was surprised by Huff, in pics I didn't like the cartoon alt mode, the big smokestacks, and didn't care for slavish cartoon accuracy. Yet, Huff's design and transformation are appealing once you figure out all of the sliding and swinging bits. The end result has a lot of charm, and I'm one who couldn't care less about cartoon accuracy. There's no getting around the QC issues Huff had - the paint is coming off of a lot of figures, some flaps are too loose or don't stay pegged in, some moving pieces are too loose and others are too tight, etc etc. Still, there's a lot going on there and if it weren't for the QC issues or the fact that he has a competing product, he would be an acceptable MP Huffer.

    But anyway, this is about Krank and Stax - They arrived yesterday, and perhaps my previous impressions of Huff play a part in my impressions of Stax and Krank. Like Huff, there's a lot to like about Krank. If the plastic is lightweight it doesn't matter to me, the figure is nicely balanced and feels far more sturdy than Huff. In terms of construction, this is light-years ahead of Huff - there are more screws instead of pins, all of the joints feel solid, all of the limbs and pieces feel thicker, and everything feels like it pegs together solidly in both modes.

    I didn't notice in the pics, but the windows are tinted plastic, where I thought from pictures that they were just painted. It's a nice touch, they're dark enough to hide the arms in the cab but they look so much better than painted plastic.

    On both Stax and Krank, the arms weren't even in their shoulder sockets, I had to pop them back onto the ball joint peg. Since then I have had no problems with them, and they don't feel like they'll pop back off unless I deliberately move them in a way that would force them off.

    Chrome? I got no problem with chrome, except maybe that Pipes should have white shoulders instead of chrome, but otherwise I don't in any way feel like it's too much chrome or that it's out of place on an MP figure. I haven't played with the pieces for fit and I'm sure I'll have to do some adjustments, but the overall look is good to me. I don't know what I would have liked, but I like what they did. On Huff I toyed with the idea of doing an alclad chrome on his arms - which I might have to do because I think one of his forearms has some paint wearing off.

    If I had any criticism of these figures, it would be that the transformation is very very simple, cab alignment not withstanding. Turn the truck over and you see 90% of the robot mode, unlike Huff. Transformation is pretty much just extending the legs and pulling the arms out of the cab. Huff definitely has a lot more going on and it is somewhat more satisfying. However, Krank does look really good in both modes, even if the process to go from one to the other is quite simple. He's definitely not fiddly, once you figure out the arms and the cab swivels you've got it.

    Overall? I'm no better off than when I started. I took a few months to try and decide between Huff and Krank, and so far I still can't. There's so much to like about both, and they're so different in their strengths and weaknesses. I might like Huff's design and robot mode look a little better, but I do love the toy-accurate face, the chrome arms, and the overall sturdy feel of Krank. I'll finish repairing the paint on Huff and I like both Huff and Krank so much that I'll be fiddling with them for a while, perhaps over time I'll have a clear favorite, but right now it's very very hard to pick between the two.

    The clear winner in Huff vs. Krank: STAX

    This guy. Oh man, he is cool. For some reason he just seems to have more personality than Krank even though they're almost exactly the same. Maybe it's because Pipes had far far less involvement in the cartoon, maybe I like blue better than orange, I don't know, but Stax is mysteriously better than Krank for no reason that I can see. I knew from the beginning that I was going to have to do a lot of touch-up on him, the chest detail needs paint, he needs white thighs and shoulders, etc., but even in his very plain state I love having him.
     

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