The nature of pre-ordering third party items has certainly changed in the last year or so. It used to be that many fans, myself included, would do their best to have their pre-orders locked as soon as the option to do so was available, even if it was going to be some time before the figure was actually released. Of course, even though this was a very short time ago, there were also less options for individual characters too. It's a relatively new phenomenon for multiple third party outfits to all be putting out their own interpretations of the same characters over & over. However, it's now also true that a lot of us are waiting till much later in the day to place our pre-orders, if not waiting until the actual release itself, such are the multitude of options available.
X-Transbots Eligos maintains a degree of infamy in my collection for being the longest outstanding pre-order I think I will ever know; having originally ordered back in June 2015, we're fast approaching the 18 month mark. Let's be clear, that's pretty ridiculous, even if the figure has been redesigned somewhat in that time. However, I'd be hard pressed to tell you that my excitement for this figure has dwindled in that time, especially as no other third party has yet to even fully reveal their own not-Cyclonus, let alone bring it anywhere near to release. So, now that he's finally here, how does Eligos fare after all these many months of waiting?
Final note before we begin - this is a test shot. It's already been confirmed that some elements of the final product will vary, but there may yet be further differences, including things like tolerances etc.
PACKAGING & ACCESSORIES
This being a test shot, I don't have all of the final packaging included. However, I was gifted with a set of instructions, and so I'm fairly confident that the figure will be packaged in robot mode.
Accessories-wise, there's quite a bit going on. For standard weapons he comes with two guns, a sword (the reference for which I am unsure of), a spare face and a mini-Abaddon (AKA Galvatron) figure as a homage to the '86 movie.
Also included is a clear plastic flight stand, which is identical to the one included with X-Transbots' sister release, Andras (their version of Scourge). Eligos' stand is also equipped with a clear red adapter for the top, which pegs into the underneath of the jet mode, and the retail release will come with a spare set of solid red eyes not included here (as the instructions indicate).
Of course, Eligos also comes packaged with Truncheon, X-Transbots' versions of the Targetmaster, Nightstick, but we'll talk more about him as we go through the review itself.
So, regular readers of my blog may know that I generally prefer to start these reviews looking at the vehicle mode of the figure in question. Call me old school, but I'm one of those fans who hankers after the days of Transformers being packaged as vehicles, thus allowing the first transformation to be the slow reveal of the main robot form. However, I'm going to make an exception and start with the robot mode for Eligos; not only will he come packaged this way, but I also want to talk a little more about the transformation from robot to jet a little later, but we'll come onto that. Anyway, the robot mode is certainly no bad place to start with this fella - in fact I'd say it makes quite the first impression!
Dang. I'm calling it right off the bat - this is one of the best looking robot modes I've seen all year, and the year is nearly over. Seriously though, everything here looks great. In fact, I challenge you to take Eligos out of the box and not be instantly wowed by the sheer size and awesomeness that immediately hits you. Not only are the proportions pretty spot on, but the whole aesthetic is pleasingly sleek and really gives off that '86 movie vibe that is so integral for a character design like this. I'd say he also does an able job at recreating Cyclonus' cartoon appearance.
|Cyclonus' animation model|
Yep, that's pretty close. I'd say any small deviations can for the most part be chalked up to the animation model varying a bit to what was often shown on screen, with Cyclonus appearing a bit more bulky in some scenes. Still, there's absolutely no denying who the intended character is here, and one has to admire X-Transbots' designer for consistently nailing the robot mode look of every character they attempt.
That said, there is one thing about Eligos' look that I already know is a point of controversy and will immediately catch a lot of fans' eyes, and that's the colour scheme. Let's address this head on before we go any further, shall we?
There's no doubt in my mind that most people would have the same reaction as I did when first holding the Eligos test shot in hand - I was quite surprised as just how vivid some of the colours are, and especially the pink used on the face, thighs, hands and a few other areas. It's really very pink and at first glance seems a bit odd, I won't lie. I was also struck by the two tones of purple on display here, and it did take a little while to get used to it! Colours like purple & pink are often quite hard to capture accurately on camera, but I've done my very best to recreate the tones used as faithfully as possible so that you can appreciate them for yourself.
So, a bit of a surprise, no doubt, and I've already read plenty of online comments about the colours from people saying that they don't like the choices very much. However, let me first say that I have actually become quite accustomed to them now, and actually I kinda feel like they work relatively well. I have also looked at various screen caps where I can see that these colours could be considered quite accurate, even if they don't match the animation model above (again, Cyclonus' appearance did vary a little). But perhaps the most prudent point to mention here is that X-Transbots have already listened to the fan reaction and have confirmed that the pink will be toned down quite a bit for final release, with the actual colour used being much more of an off-white than a straight-up pink. Good news for some, I'm sure, and I'll be interested to see how that pans out, but regardless of what you make of the colours there's still no denying just how awesome Eligos looks overall!
Amazing. I really do love the look of this figure and have found myself repeatedly looking over at him even if he's just standing idle on a side table somewhere. He certainly is quite imposing and eye-catching. I also can't get enough of that headsculpt!
Just glorious. I find it perfectly captures the character's grim demeanour and even manages to avoid making the "bunny ears" look silly, which is good! The ears themselves can be adjusted to suit your preference, and the head also features some rather attractive light-piped eyes, which do look rather pretty when catching the light at the right angle.
I will say that the eyes do look a little dull when not catching the light, although apparently the retail release will also include the extra set of solid-coloured red eyes that you can swap out if you prefer. The other optional extra here is a second face featuring a black "goatee" chin, intended to represent Cyclonus' varying cartoon appearance in some scenes in season 3 of the G1 cartoon. This was actually installed as the default option on the test shot, although I have to confess that I much prefer the all-pink face myself. Still, the goatee face does a good job at recreating this alternate look.
So, a handsome bugger, no doubt, although fortunately Eligos' beauty is more than skin deep and he also feels good to the touch. He's pleasingly weighty and very sturdy, mostly thanks to the notable use of diecast in the feet and other areas. The plastic quality is also some of the best we've seen from XTB. Many fans found Andras to be the new bar that showed what the company was capable of achieving, and Eligos certainly meets that even if he doesn't necessarily exceed it. Let's put it this way, he's fun to pick up and mess with, no doubt aided by how wonderfully poseable he is.
Yes, Eligos features more than enough articulation to crank out any number of decent poses. Even better is that he seems to quite naturally look good in whatever stance; it's actually a bit of a struggle to make him look awkward. More adventurous poses are further helped by a pair of heel stabilisers that pop out from the back of his feet that I only discovered once I was done with taking photographs, sadly! And of course, Eligos also features XTB's now-trademark super-poseable hands.
Again, more regular readers may know that I'm personally not much of a fan of hands that are as ridiculously-articulated as these (I know I'm odd!) but even I will admit that they allow for some extra flair when posing Eligos. Fortunately, they also do a great job at gripping his various weapons, all of which are pretty cool themselves.
Quite the armoury! Both of Eligos' guns are equally cool and look great in a multitude of poses - it's hard to decide which I like best. The smaller gun features a retracting barrel which can be used for storing away in vehicle mode, but also gives you an extra display option. The sword is also quite neat even if a little random, but I'm certainly not going to complain at extra accessories. Of course, the most notable piece of weaponry is no doubt Eligos' Targetmaster partner, Truncheon.
Truncheon is a very cool little figure, and does a brilliant job of recreating the character of Nightstick. For some reason the test shot copy is completely unpainted, which is in contrast to XTB's previous Targetmaster attempt, Rimfire (still a LOL name if ever I heard one!), who of course accompanied Andras. I have no idea if the final retail version will feature a painted face or not, but one can only hope. They do look good together though, and it's surprising how different these two little guys are - they're definitely not the same mould.
|With X-Transbots Rimfire (left)|
As expected, Truncheon also folds up quite intricately to become another of Eligos' weapons, and he does a pretty good job of it, I have to say! Despite how cool the other guns are, he's actually become my default option for displaying Eligos, as I think he looks great. I was always a massive fan of the Targetmaster concept, and this release does not disappoint.
Truncheon looks pretty neat next to Rimfire in this mode too, and they make a nice compliment for each other.
Of course, this brings us neatly onto the most obvious comparison to make of Eligos verus another figure, as the success of this release was always going to hinge on how well it lined up next to Andras. Fortunately, the results do not disappoint - they go together like fish & chips.
|With X-Transbots Andras & Rimfire|
Yes, they work really well as a pair. Stylistically they look very similar and feature a lot of the same hallmarks, and it's nothing short of a joy to see these two iconic characters recreated so well together for the first time. However, one thing that has caused a bit of debate is their respective heights.
You will no doubt see that Eligos is significantly taller than Andras! This has created some comment on-line, with some feeling that they should be the same size. I actually think it works really nicely, and adds to Cyclonus feeling like a truly imposing warrior. Equally, Scourge was often depicted as the smaller of the two, even without dredging up the Holy Scale Chart (blessed be it's magnificence). Eligos looks especially mighty when lined up next to Andras' Swarm comrades. What a hulk!
|Also with X-Transbots Wrath, Bane & Curse|
In terms of other comparisons, the obvious one to turn to is the loyal Cyclonus' commander-in-chief. Eligos lines up well next to both the current (DX9 Tyrant) and impending (FansToys Sovereign) not-Galvatron options.
|With DX9 Tyrant|
|With FansToys Sovereign (test shot)|
Of course, the really exciting test is to see all of the 1986 Decepticons lined up next to each other in all their glory! Moments like this are what make this hobby so much fun after all, and I can't tell you what a joy it is to see these three together.
|Also with FansToys Lupus (test shot)|
So, quite the robot mode, eh? I have to admit that at this point on my journey of discovery with Eligos, I was already thinking about which spot this fella was going to take in my top six of the year - the robot mode is that good. Does the transformation & vehicle mode follow through? Let's see.
X-Transbots are earning a bit of a reputation for rather fiddly transformations, with many fans often citing how there's regularly at least a single element of extreme complexity required in order to convert their figures between modes. I won't lie and say that I don't think that's a little deserved. With Andras the feet are no doubt a bit of a pain to configure, both Boost & Ollie feature steps which appear to require you to push plastic past tolerances previously considered reasonable, and perhaps let's not even mention Apollyon. So, how does Eligos fare?
Well, everything starts off easily enough, with most of the larger pieces heading in the direction that you would sort of expect. Once we start moving to the legs things become a little bit more intricate, with some smaller panels folding & twisting in surprising ways, but it's certainly not challenging and, after repeated attempts, is actually very easy.
Everything moves along smoothly enough as the jet mode starts to take it's final shape, and at this point I was actually thinking it was going to be quite a doddle overall. Then the final steps came and this figure's challenge moment became immediately evident. The method required here to line up and assemble the robot mode arms into the main body and back of the jet is very tricky, and certainly caused me some notable frustration on first attempt. It's all because of the way that the arms need to be slide down so that they sit flush next to the body of the jet, whilst the hands line up perfectly to fit inside the rear thrusters. Try as I might it seemed near impossible to make this happen smoothly!
Let me quickly say that repeated transformations have become easier, and actually I've discovered that sliding down the arms first and then collapsing the legs so that the thrusters move over the hands is actually a preferable way of achieving the same result, despite what the instructions may say. However, anyone hoping that this transformation scheme was going to be without it's challenging moments may be a little disappointed. Fortunately the reverse configuration to return Eligos to robot mode is an absolute breeze by comparison!
Sadly, I fear that I need to mention another particular challenge that I encountered with the test shot during transformation, although hopefully this one is something that no-one else will struggle with. For some reason the nosecone section on my copy will not clip into place properly on the one side, meaning that there's a permanent gap, as shown in the photo below. At first I thought it might be a problem with how the teeth inside the nosecone grip together, but I can't seem to make it work in the way it quite seamlessly does on the other side. This has had the knock on impact that the top section of the jet's body with the cockpit also didn't slot into place properly. On trying to fix this, I pushed rather too hard on the top section and have caused one of the small, rounded pegs to stress and ultimately snap off (causing the small hole you can see below, just under the cockpit). Now, this last part is entirely down to me being a little forceful with the test shot, as I simply shouldn't have pushed so hard knowing that this piece wasn't fitting properly due to the problem with the nosecone, but it's still a bit concerning.
Fortunately, no other reviewers seem to have incurred this issue (I've checked plenty of other reviews!) and XTB have been very receptive to the feedback, so I'm pretty confident that my copy was just a bit unfortunate and this shouldn't be a major issue come release-time. Fingers crossed!
So, transformation done, we're left with Eligos in his instantly-recognisable jet mode, and despite the slight tarnish of my conversion woes I have to say that he looks just incredible! The reverse-wing configuration and sleek form instantly recall Cyclonus' appearance in the '86 movie and cartoon, and the sheer size and presence of this jet mode can't help but leave you feeling quite impressed.
Shown here with his landing gear popped out, there's no denying that Eligos makes for a very attractive jet mode indeed, and certainly does a fantastic job at recreating the cartoon look. Some of the colours do vary to the animation model, but again they're more accurate to Cyclonus' appearance in the '86 movie, including the red cockpit windows.
|Cyclonus' animation model|
I have to say that I'm still marvelling at how well everything tucks away and tabs together. The whole thing is incredibly tidy, even from the underneath, with nary a whiff of robot mode kibble to be seen.
There's also some nice detailing going on here, especially the rear thrusters which are attractively decked out in a vibrant orange.
Also adding to the good looks is the translucent red cockpit, which really catches the light well and looks great.
Of course, to fully appreciate this jet form, we need to see it as though soaring through the air. Obviously XTB have included the aforementioned flight stand with this release for just this purpose.
It looks good, though I have to confess that I still prefer my own flight stands that many of you will have seen in my other photographs. The stand included here seems to position Eligos at a bit of an angle, as though he is taking off, which looks a bit odd to me. Still, there's no doubt that he looks awesome when taking flight.
You can also arm Eligos' jet mode with his Targetmaster companion by slotting in Truncheon to ride on top. It perhaps looks a little silly for my tastes, but it's a fun and probably expected feature nonetheless.
Of course the really fun accessory to use with Eligos' vehicle mode is the mini-Abaddon figure (XTB's version of Galvatron). Whilst they have a full size Abaddon in production, we're treated to a positively tiny version here in order to recreate Galvatron's sitting in Cyclonus' cockpit during the '86 movie. The figure itself is amazing - so detailed for such a tiny little thing, and surprisingly articulated.
Simply lift open the cockpit hatch and you will see a beautifully-detailed interior which quite faithfully recalls the movie. This is definitely one of the most impressive elements of this mode, and a really nice touch by the designer. Abaddon also looks brilliant when in place.
The other thing to mention here is how well Eligos lines up next to other figures in this mode. His size is practically perfect next to the TakaraTomy Masterpiece Seekers, for example.
However, the real prize is no doubt seeing both Eligos & Andras next to each other in their respective vehicle forms. As with their robot modes, these two were literally made to be displayed together!
Absolutely perfect, and an exciting accomplishment for any collection, I would have thought! There's no doubt for me that despite a few transformation-issues, X-Transbots have produced the not-Cyclonus to beat and once again continued to push their own bar in terms of designs and quality.
After 18 months of pre-order, Eligos was always going to arrive with some high expectations on his shoulders. Fortunately, the sheer awesomeness of both robot & vehicle modes is more than enough to win me over in-hand. The robot mode is especially sublime, being equal parts imposing, dynamic and visually striking.
The transformation no doubt presents some challenges and won't particularly change the minds of fans who're already worried about XTB's fiddly conversions, but it does get easier with practice and I'm quietly confident that XTB will iron out a couple of the issues before release. Equally, they have listened to concerns about the vibrant colour scheme, it seems, so it will be interesting to see how this pans out. If they manage to correct the colours a little and produce a retail release with no transformation issues, I'd even consider giving this guy a five out of five...
|What's HOT? |
That robot mode. Yeah, it's that good. The jet mode is also quite amazing. The size & weight of the figure are very impressive. He also comes loaded with fun accessories and does a cracking job of representing the intended character.
The colour scheme will put some off as is, and there's no doubt that the test shot's pink requires a bit of adjustment, though XTB have confirmed they will tone this down for release. I had some issues with transformation that caused quite a bit of frustration, but here's hoping at least some of that can be ironed out.