Hasbro Review: Ultimate X-Spanse – Transformers meets the X-Men Animated Series
*NOTE: this figure was provided for free by Hasbro for review purposes (thanks Jas!) but all opinions in this review are my own*
So, Transformers crossovers are one of the coolest ideas ever, but they have been a very mixed bag with Ectrotron Ecto-1 (Ghostbusters) gloriously re-introducing the Idea into the market. Next was Gigawatt (Back to the Future), another stunner. Maverick (Top Gun), the line’s first original mold, was cluttered with troubling plastic choices, and it’s fair to say he didn’t quite stick the landing. Draculus (Universal Monsters) releases later this year, but he’s relic of Titans return and while I think he’s really overpriced, I hope to be proven wrong. But how does this latest figure compare to the rest of the toyline? Let’s find out.
Ultimate X-Spanse is based on the X-Jet from the ’90s X-Men Animated series, which he comes packaged as. The packaging is very glossy and is filled with hand-drawn artwork which is not dissimilar to the style of the show itself (side note: these are awesome, I’d love full prints of these.)
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As for the toy itself, and as far as new designs go, this is certainly cool. I’m really happy this isn’t just a reworked Studio Series Jetfire with a new head (which was a distinct possibility as these characters share vehicle modes). He’s got a really heroic design, the backpack is surprisingly unobtrusive, and everything folds up satisfyingly.
Honestly, he’s significantly better than I thought he would be. The head is still creepy, but if you keep the visor down you end up with a great robot mode.
Don’t let the product photography put you off, the head shifts up on a panel and the chest tabs in, giving him a proper neck. The hands could have been better though, as it is they can’t hold 5mm weapons, which is a bit of a drawback. Opening hands like the Studio Series Hot Rod could have allowed for weapons compatibility and dynamic poses. Locking tabs for the shoulders would’ve been useful as well.
That said, the posing on this figure is outstanding, with highlights including butterfly joints, side crunches and an ab crunch, allowing you to create some epic poses on par with other Marvel Legends figures. This figure is also properly big, scaling well with Prime Wars Leaders. A good addition to the X-Men team, and a nice piece to fight the Sentinel or Galactus.
The transformation from vehicle to robot is incredible, the highlight is the thrusters, which do some twisting and turning to become the legs. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the robot to vehicle transformation, which actually took me 40 minutes the first time round. The entire upper half was fine but getting the legs to tab on and sit flush is a real problem, and battling with the abs and waist is not fun at all.
This presents my biggest issue with the figure. Simply put, it’s a Marvel Legends figure, not a Transformer. A Transformer is a 3 part toy, and while this figure excels in two of them, capturing all the exquisite detailing we’ve come to expect from Marvel Legends, it falls short in a vital area, the puzzle box element – the transformation.
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I’m almost tempted to say that that stressful transformation is worth it because my goodness this alt mode is incredible. Perfectly capturing the iconic Lockheed Martin SR-71 Blackbird, it gives off an almost, Roger Rabbit effect, perfectly capturing the show’s distinctive style. The landing gears keep the figure well propped up, but can be stowed away if needed. A neat detail is that there are 5mm ports on the bottom, so you could totally attach this to a stand for your X-Men displays. This also scales incredibly well with the upcoming Galactus.
Other details include posable thrusters, which really needed 3mm ports in them as they would’ve looked so cool with Jetfire’s blast effects firing out the back. A massive QC issue is that the wings are incredibly loose, they don’t sit flat and droop all over the place. They do have a resting spot, but even a slight tap will knock them loose, also, these aren’t pinned so they break off easily. On the plus side, the vent detailing is great, the nose cone is on point (ha!) and the underside is expertly crafted to ensure that he doesn’t look like a robot lying down, a true testament to the transformation.
As for the accessories, they’re… okay. He has some transparent purple Wolverine claws (which came bent out of the box) and a Psylocke sword which looks closer to a blaster effect. These plug into ports on the tops of the hands, they do look pretty awesome and raise this figure up a notch.
Also included is a terrible Wolverine, which is yellow rubber with a painted black head and then yellow painted over the top for the mouth, and a Sabertooth that is somehow even worse. With only the red clothes to break up the colour, the face head been smothered in paint so most of the details have been lost. They don’t scale with the figure, they don’t look good, and I feel they’re unnecessary.
Overall though, despite this figure’s flaws, he’s pretty great. However, there’s one more massive issue, namely that price. This retails for £78.99! That’s £1 less than Commander Jetfire, that’s the Rainmakers, or Shattered Glass Starscream and Megatron. This, to me, is really overpriced. Luckily, Smyths Toys have him for £59.99 (CLICK HERE), which is far more like it.
If I’m honest, my opinion was completely changed from negative to positive when this guy arrived. This is a great pickup for any fan of the original show, and if you can overlook the niggles, you’ll have a blast with him
The writer of this piece was: BrickBuiltDengar
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