Demolition Crüe Apex
Review by VF5SS
This figure was provided by Big Bad Toystore.
In the history of Transformers there has been one set of figures that have incurred almost nonstop mockey: the Jumpstarters. Perhaps the most toyetic of all Transformers, the Jumpstarters were built entirely around their ability to "jump" into robot mode through a combination spring-loaded catch tied to a pullback motor. While it was a novel gimmick that is now a major feature of the Transformers Botshots line, the two were never in the cartoon and received little promotion. Due to their lack of popularity, the Jumpstarters are some of the most easily acquired Generation1 toys on the aftermarket.
Now while they were never in the old 80's cartoon, the Jumpstarters were featured in the UK comics as part of the now infamous Wreckers squad. The Wreckers were a ragtag group of Autobot commandos that seemed to be comprised entirely of third-string Transformers. They struck such a chord with fans and they are still a part of the Wreckers even the new IDW comics universe.
Since Third Party does (or at least attempts) to do what Has-don't, a company called Mech iDeas has created a set of modernized Jumpstarters in the same vein as Hasbro's own Transformers Classics line. As I am not normally into Third Party Transformers, I am teaming up with fellow reviewer Prometheum5 (aka Ben) to cover these toys. As I am more of a warplanes kinda guy, I'm going to tackle the Topspin equivalent called "Apex" while Ben will cover the drill tank fellow called, "Geminus."
Both Apex and Geminus are part of the Demolition Crüe and come on the same type of plastic card with removable cardboard backing. It's something a lot of carded Japanese figures have done in the past and is a nice way to give the figure a little upscale presentation. This way you can put the toy back on the card without damaging the package. Apex comes snugly packed inside a plastic tray along with his weapons and a full-color instruction sheet.
Please remember that umlauts are important to any good crüe.
As a nod to the figure's intellectual property infringing origins, Apex comes with a full bio written in somewhat dodgy English. I give these guys an "A" for effort, though, as I too like to fight with fists of weapons!
Apex comes packaged in his jet...ish mode that is clearly meant to be a more fanciful Cybertronian design but honestly comes off like just a big chunk of thing. The figure is made entirely out of high-quality plastic so even this nondescript vehicle feels really solid in the hand.
It's not exactly a sleek flying machine, but it is nice and compact.
Apex comes with two identical guns and a big ol' hammer that can be broken down into three components.
You can pop his guns on top for some extra firepower. I appreciate just how smoothly both weapons peg into the holes up top. It's like butter.
You can actually attach the two handle pieces to the head of the hammer via some small tabs and slots. This forms a small engine block.
You can then tab the head of the hammer into slots on the underside of the vehicle mode. There's even small cutouts for the ends of the hammer handles that are still sticking out.
This rather novel method of weapon storage not only fills in the rear of the vehicle but also provides a good looking engine to the rear of the vehicle mode.
It's not the most graceful thing in the air, but at least it's well balanced.
You can also tab the hammer on top of the vehicle mode to act as a big tank gun.
Overall I find the tank gun configuration to look better on Geminus than it does Apex. You'll note both figures are largely the same with a few key parts changed to reflect their individual appearances. They are both molded in the same blue and slightly grayish white.
If there is one area where the real Topspin blows away this newcomer it's in vehicle mode functionality. These new guy doesn't even have wheels! I know you could make the argument that a toy of a flying machine doesn't need wheels but even Geminus lacks any rolling ability. That's like a violation of the code of ethics for toys! You can't have a tank that doesn't roll!
Apex and Geminus share the same transformation so please check out the video review of either to get a good look at it. Needless to say it's fairly straightforward with a few interesting tricks.
Right here you need to make sure you rotate the upper hip area so that it is oriented the way shown on the left side of this picture. That way the legs can fully straighten out. For vehicle mode the hip needs to be in the position shown on the right side of this picture with the thicker outer edge facing inward towards the groin.
The chest manages to pull some off some clever engineering to get the body to look just right. Even the head reveal takes a few extra steps and goes so far as to include a hinged door for hiding the noggin in vehicle mode. In Transformers town that kind of thing means you got game!
Even the hands are a bit more involved than they have to be as they rotate out from under a pair of hidden panels. I actually like the look of the forearm without the fists deployed as it reminds me of the weird tools a Transformer would pull out of his wrist cavity in the cartoon.
Just straighten these backpack things and you're done. The only bummer is they don't actually lock in place anywhere.
Apex is a decidedly no frills kind of figure. He's a simple and chunky robot that scratches the Generation 1 itch. He stands roughly five and half inches tall.
His proportions are equally workmanlike in design. The only weird thing about him are his wonky elbows which we will get to in a bit.
You can pop his twin guns onto his posterior for easy storage!
Apex has a quite prominent " B[ " expression on his face. He looks so serious and stern.
His head is on a ball-joint and has a decent range of motion which is only impeded by the sides of his collar. The two Seeker-like protrusions can also rotate around which provides some extra display options.
I noticed that Apex has a lot of simple plug in style connections for many of his major components. While these do not pop out easily, I was curious to see what I could remove. I can see how both members of the Demolition Crüe managed to keep costs down with their simplified construction and a number of shared parts.
Apex is overall a fairly well articulated figure although some of his joints look weird when posed a certain way.
His elbows and shoulders suffer the most from this odd joint placement. The elbows especially have this odd long connecting strut that looks off when viewed from the side. While his shoulders function perfectly well as universal joints, the main pivot point is more towards the front of Apex's chest so they also look strange in certain positions.
Weird arm joints aside, Apex is certainly on par with most retail level Transformers in terms of articulation.
He's definitely leagues above old Topspin in that regard.
Modern Transformers (or Transformers-like products) have gone far beyond the days of "arms up or arms down."
"Stop! Stop or my grandpa will shoot!"
Apex's melee weapon gives him some recognition as member of a wrecking crew.
"READY TO PUT THE HAMMER DOWN FOR THE STEELIAN CAUSE!"
"Hey Puppet Pal Clem!"
"Hey Puppet Pal Mitch!"
"Do you know what time it is?"
"A bonk on the head."
Apex compares favorably with any official Deluxe Class Transformer like Generations Scourge here. I must admit that I do find Scourge to be a much more ambitious figure than Apex in terms of design, though.
He certainly does fit in with the current Classics styling found in toys like Jetfire.
I have to admit that it wasn't until recently I even remembered that I own a Generation 1 Topspin... complete with the box! This wasn't even a childhood toy but one of the first Transformers I bought as a young collector. So that kind of tells you just how important the Jumpstarters are to Transformers history. While Apex and Geminus are both perfectly fine in terms of design and build quality, I feel like they lack a sense of simplistic clockwork charm inherent in the original figures. For those keeping up with IDW's current crop of Transformers comics they probably seem a lot more appealing as these guys are part of the core Wreckers team. I'm glad to have gotten a chance to take a look at these figures as they are an interesting novelty in the world of increasingly lavish Third Party Transformers. Overall their relatively low price and straightforward design sense mean these guys are some of the easiest Third Party figures to recommend for those looking to bolster their ranks with a few more Generation 1 style Transformers.
Get your Demolition Crue Apex at Big Bad Toystore!
|Posted 19 March, 2013 - 12:22 by VF5SS|