Wednesday 6 September 2017

REVIEW: DX9 D11 Richthofen

I've mentioned it a couple of times before, but growing up in the UK I wasn't familiar with the entirety of the G1 cartoon. I had a handful of episodes on VHS tapes, which were of course played on repeat and so became well worn, but much loved. Consequently, the episodes featured have an enduring place in my memory and remain some of my very favourites to this day, and the characters contained within have all made a rather lasting impression too. So, if I told you that some of my favourite adventures were Dinobot Island and the absolute classic The Girl Who Loved Powerglide, it will probably give you some insight into how much I adore the arrogant sky jock that this figure represents. Yep, it's POWERGERRRLIIYYDE!

So it was with great anticipation that I pre-ordered this guy almost as soon as he was revealed, which to be fair wasn't all that long ago. Props to DX9 for getting a crack on and releasing him promptly! As fun as it can sometimes be to observe a figure going through the various prototype stages, it's often a treat to just have something drop into the public eye almost fully formed and ready to go quite quickly. And it's about time that someone had a crack, too! After all, we've been starved of a proper "Masterpiece-styled" interpretation of Powerglide until now. I'm a huge fan of X-Transbots Glider, who's been ably featuring in many of my photos to date, but in reality he's a bit too small, as loveable as he is. So, it's quite surprising that it's taken anyone this long to have a go, but now here we are, and just look at him!

Yep, that's ol' Powerglide, alright! DX9 have produced some handsome figures before, but it's rare that they've come quite as close to putting out something that feels this spot on in terms of the character likeness. Richthofen "feels" like Powerglide to me, more than just having the simple details in place, in a way that a lot of third party 'bots can really only dream of. Yep, high praise straight off the bat, but I think you'll see what I mean by a straight-up comparison with the animation model.

Powerglide's animation model

It's pretty good, right? OK, there's a couple of minor details, such as the shape of the wings, but this is certainly about as close as most figures can even dream of coming. Plus which he looks the absolute nuts! Seriously, DX9 have put some extra effort into making Richthofen feel & look good in hand. It's a tidy 'bot, with only a whiff of kibble towards the back, but certainly nothing to turn you nose up at!

He's also covered in paint, which was quite a surprise as I was honestly expecting just bare plastic. It really reminds me of the finish on Masterpiece Road Rage, although perhaps even a little more shiny overall. There's also just the right amount of intricate detailing on areas such as the crotch to break up the red and grey a little. I cannot wait to get an Autobot symbol on his chest, as I really think it will be the finishing touch.

Did I mention good looks? Just check out that adorable head sculpt! If I squint, I can absolutely hear the voice of the character in my head, no doubt shouting some trumped-up bravado!

It obviously helps that he's pleasingly poseable, certainly more than capable of holding pretty much whatever stance you set for him. The hip flaps are perhaps a little strange, in a way that hip flaps often can be. They do require you to move them out of the way before posing the legs, which can be a tiny bit irritating, but at least they're able to free up enough movement and not impede anything. He's a lot of fun to mess around with.

The other thing to notice here is how good he feels in hand. Very solid, very stable. Oh, and with very tight joints. Yes, whilst it's a good thing that DX9 have seemingly put extra attention into Richthofen's quality control, I have to comment and say that the joints are probably too tight, if anything! Does that sound like a silly complaint? Maybe so, but honestly he is stiff as anything! It's not a problem in robot mode so much, but it is quite frustrating come time for transformation. There are various bits that just don't want to budge all that freely, and seem like they require more effort than perhaps they should to shift into the desired position. The transformation itself really isn't complicated at all, and should be something that can be done with ease in a mere matter of minutes. Instead, it ends up feeling like a bit of a chore that carries a high risk of broken nails! Add to that some concerns around having to force a few rather thin joints, such as the base of the wings, and a couple of spots of noticeable paint rub, and it's probably enough for me to knock a point off this guy all told. It's a shame as otherwise Richthofen has all the hallmarks of a great "pick up and play" figure, but the slightly arduous nature of the transformation has caused me to pause on wanting to repeat it too often. Still, once it's done there's no denying the results.

And as before, it's a great approximation at Powerglide's animation model. I don't think you can ask for much closer, really!

Beautiful! It's a lovely looking plane mode, and no mistake. I had a slight bit of bother getting some of the panels lined up, but once you do he's more than fit to fly! It's also a surprisingly tidy vehicle form, with only the hint of grey from the inner thighs really betraying the effect. Well, that and the slightly dubious way in which the robot mode face is hidden away, but that's only noticeable from underneath and can be hidden by putting the gun in place.

You can pop out four sets of landing gear to make Richthofen relatively stable in a landing position. I say relatively, as one of the wheels on my wings refuses to be deployed without popping off completely, rather unfortunately! So I have to kind of wedge it in place, and then peg it back in properly when not in use.

Of course, DX9 have also provided you with a flight stand should you wish, all monikered up with their brand logo and everything. It's pretty good and certainly very stable.

All in all, I'm really quite taken with this guy. I do wish the process of maneuvering him between the two modes was just a little easier, as they're both absolutely sublime, but there's not really a lot to complain about overall!

But wait, there's more! Not only is Richthofen a cracking figure unto himself, but he also comes packaged with a friend. Anyone who's seen The Girl Who Loved Powerglide will know about Astoria, the title character in question. Well, DX9 have rather faithfully recreated her here, and a welcome addition she is indeed! She's done in very much the same style as Raoul was with Masterpiece Tracks, and it works pretty well, I think. For such a tiny little figure, the paint is really not too bad, although certainly not perfect. Still, it's great to see her represented.

Astoria in the cartoon

Another cool gimmick that this figure would have been incomplete without is what's included in his chest. If you haven't seen the episode then I'm kind of ruining the ending for you, but Richthofen features a little moulded heart inside an opening compartment, just like in the animation. He's not a heartless jerk after all!

And as if that wasn't enough, DX9 have also seen fit to include a mask to represent the "evil alien robot" costume that Powerglide, along with a few of his comrades, is given to wear in the episode Hoist Goes Hollywood. It looks really nice, and compares well with similar masks that were packaged with X-Transbots Paean, as shown below. With the upcoming Masterpiece Sunstreaker also featuring another of these masks, it won't be that long before you can almost have the whole gang displayed in this way!

With X-Transbots Paean & Masterpiece Tracks

So, overall this figure is a lot of fun, with plenty of interesting features. But of course it's all about how he lines up next to other Masterpiece-styled figures that is the ultimate test, and there you should have no fear, for he looks absolutely brilliant. I'm really quite impressed!

With Badcube Wardog, FansToys Spindrift & X-Transbots Klaatu

With Masterpiece Bumblebee

Also with FansToys Grinder

With Masterpiece Dirge

Season 2 group shot (and no, I don't know where Beachcomber is, either!)

And as for X-Transbots Glider? Well, I still love him very much, and as a big Powerglide fan I have no doubt he will retain a place in my collection alongside my recently acquired G1 version. But as far as a "Masterpiece" collection goes, for now at least Richthofen is my Powerglide.

With X-Transbots Glider

What's HOT?
Two fantastic modes, both of which look absolutely brilliant! He's covered in nice paint with a lovely finish, and has absolutely tons of play value with some spot-on accessories.

What's NOT?
The transformation is a chore, purely because of how stiff and tight the joints are. I did also get a bit of paint rub going on, and there's a couple of joints to be careful with, I suspect. Oh, and one of my landing gear wheels pops off.

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  1. The joints almost ruin this figure, and DX9 are quite clearly not taking the paint thickness into consideration in the design. Its an issue on all their WiP dinobots but is really out of place here. Its so frustrating.
    He looks great though, even better in your photos mate, seriously you need a tag line now; 'theres real life, and then there's Sixo!'.

    1. Hahaha, thanks for the suggestion!

      And yeah, I completely agree about the joints - far too tight!

  2. Thanks for the great review. Your photography skills are exceptional!! Love the look of this bot and feels super sturdy in hand. My first DX9 purchase, can't wait to see more from them.

    1. Thanks for the kind comments, that's appreciated! And glad to hear you're enjoying the figure. :)

  3. Great pictures!
    I was wondering where you got the jetpack that DX9 Richthofen is holding.
    Thank you very much for your reply!