Mighty Max: The Maximum Man
Review by The Enthusiast
As far as I can tell, Mighty Max is a one-off, standalone robot toy from future Zoids powerhouse Tomy. Mighty Max is firmly in the mid-seventies Evel Knievel mode: a red, white, and blue action hero. It’s all very American, except for that head. Max’s chrome lid is obviously copied from the venerable Henshin Cyborg. Tomy’s nemesis Takara had experienced some success with its re-tooled 12” GI Joe figures, and I imagine that Max was Tomy’s attempt to replicate Takara’s success, but in the American market. The slavish replication of the chrome head is lame, but damn that head looks good. It’s like something out of a Russian Constructivist painting, angular and severe. And just look at this poor bastard. He may have a sweet motorized skateboard, but this man has known sorrow.
But let’s step back. MM’s box is a plain cardboard tray with a window cover. The graphic design is pure seventies funk.
Inside, the figure itself rests in a flimsy plastic tray, and the accessories are just kind of thrown in. The playset consists of the Mighty Max figure, a battery-powered motorized skateboard, a lance, a shield, a helmet, a joint tool, and a winch. A couple of rubber gaskets for the joints were also included.
About those joints: One of MM’s main gimmicks is that he’s held together largely by these orange fittings. A little tool is included to tighten them, though their ridged edges enable you to do so without the special tool.
This is all fine, but there’s no actual play value in the joints. You can take apart his limbs, but that’s it. You can’t reconfigure him into anything interesting. The joints are useful though in the sense that you can tighten them to stabilize certain poses. The base figure is striking in its simplicity. The blockiness is complimented by the subtle decals and details, and the head, of course, is sweet, even when partially concealed by the space helmet.
Max stands a healthy 13” tall.
All those joints enable a certain amount of articulation, but it’s mostly in one direction, which gives any posing a distinctly “dancing ‘the Robot’” flavor. But look, a waist joint! In 1976!
While the figure itself is appealing, it really comes alive with its full array of accessories.
It’s all great fun, if a little goofy and stiff. Though I haven’t powered mine up, the sled/skateboard is a versatile plaything. In addition to rolling around and reversing direction when it hits an obstruction, the winch attachment enables it to be used as a towing or climbing tool.
Mighty Max is a fascinating obscurity. How many plastic American robots were made with anything even close to this design sensibility? There was also a Gold-headed variation. I’m not sure which is more common, but I think the Silver is typical.
These are very cheap, like ten bucks with the box cheap; just keep an eye out.
|Posted 1 May, 2010 - 12:25 by The Enthusiast|