Wednesday 27 November 2019

REVIEW: X-Transbots MX-XIIIT Crackup (Youth version)

Third party combiners have been dominating the market for some time now, but of late we've definitely seen a rush by various companies to deliver the definitive take on these characters in so-called Masterpiece-style. Bigger, bulkier, more complex than ever and, crucially to some, intensely cartoon accurate. X-Transbots have thrown their hat in the ring with Monolith, their attempt at a 3PMP Menasor, but unlike some of the competition they've also carved a separate niche by releasing first Generation 2 redecos of their designs, and now Generation 1 toy-inspired versions as well. First out of the gate is Crackup, their attempt at a toy version of Breakdown, and given how much I continue to enjoy the original release I've been pretty excited to see how he fares!

Before we kick off, let me say a big thanks to the wonderful people at who have made this review possible. I'd definitely recommend giving them a look, as their service has been absolutely top notch in my experience - great prices, excellent free shipping options and reliable packing. They stock plenty of third party (and "fourth party") Transformers, so be sure to check them out.

So I should probably clarify that this is now my third version of this design. That sounds mad even to me, and honestly I never thought I'd be going down this road but there we are. You can still check out my original Crackup review for the finer details on this design, or indeed have a look at my Year in Review for 2018, where I gave both that and the G2 version a decent billing. But beyond that it really says something that I'm sat here feeling really quite excited to check out another version of an already-familiar mould, eh?

Fortunately there's plenty here to enjoy. In fact, the first thing to do is give major props to XTB for the extensive nature of the redesign going on here! This is no mere repaint in slightly varied colours - it's a complete overhaul including a surprising number of newly-moulded pieces and some wicked tampos. It looks great!

With the original XTB Crackup (right)

Just lining him up next to the original Crackup will show you what I mean. The head may be the most obvious revision, but the thighs, hips and chest are also completely new. XTB have then added a new colour scheme with a slightly different blue but more notably a different tan colour for the main body, and boy what a difference it makes. I think if this was the colour of the original figure then the majority of people would have been on board immediately instead of a lot of critiques it received - it looks fantastic. It's also helped by a healthy layer of well-applied paint, which feels a world away from the bare plastic of the original version. In fact this guy is covered in paint applications that, alongside the new tampos, really help to make him feel suitably premium.

I don't often talk about packaging but I think it's worth mentioning at this point how wonderful the box design is for this release too. Added to the extensiveness of the toy's redesign, it ends up feeling like XTB really pulled out all the stops with this release, putting in a lot of extra effort to make it feel special. It's appreciated for those of us on our third version, let me tell you!

So yes, there's a lot to like about this release overall. Although I had initially resolved to steer clear of these "Youth versions" I have to admit I'm pleased I caved. Assembling the XTB Stunticons is shaping up to be one of my favourite 3P experiences so far, and repeating the task with multiple versions is certainly no chore. I can't wait to see the finished toy version of Monolith but in the meantime it's going to be a lot of fun rediscovering all of the team members in their redesigned glory.

The conversion into car mode for this design remains a lot of fun for me. I really love how the whole thing clips together so neatly and solidly, and have to commend XTB for designing something that feels very much in step with a lot of official Masterpiece carbots both in how it transforms but also in terms of the finished look. The proportions are spot on to my eye, and the new painted finish elevates the design quite a bit, again making this feel more premium that the original version.

With FansToys Spoiler

With G1 Breakdown

Having only recently reviewed FansToys Spoiler I was keen to see how the two toys would stack up against each other, and again it just reminded me that I think XTB's design has significantly better proportions in this mode. Spoiler looks cool, but this Crackup has it beat, in my opinion. Comparing him to the G1 toy will show you just how much XTB have cracked the colour scheme here too. It's not exactly the same in hand, but it's close enough that you certainly wouldn't question it.

With G1 Breakdown, G2 Breakdown and XTB G2 Crackup

A quick conversion back to robot mode and we can take a look at all those wonderful tampos and moulded details that really make this lad evoke a sense of the original toy design. Its very different to your traditional cartoon-accurate MP-style aesthetic, and I think works nicely. I'm pretty sure that whichever copy of the G1 toy XTB were using for reference has the arm stickers upside down though, but it still looks ace! I'd also not thought about this until I read a message board comment just the other day, but it's interesting to note that the G2 version of this design uses the cartoon mould, whereas I'm now wondering if they'll see fit to release a fourth(!) version with a G2 toy look and feel... I guess time will tell, but I'll definitely sit that one out, I think!

Still, if this is the last version that XTB produce then no-one could accuse them of not making the most of their design. Between the original, G2 and now the toy version I really think that they've done an amazing job overall, and I for one am very excited to see how all three versions of the team finish up in their respective combined forms.

With Masterpiece MP-36+ Megatron

Also with Masterpiece MP-29+ Laserwave

In the meantime it's fun to enjoy this guy as an individual for the time being, and to line him up next to other toy-inspired Masterpiece toys such as MP-36+ and MP-29+. In fact it was knowing that these figures already exist on my shelf that gave me a big nudge towards going in on XTB's own toy-inspired line-up, and I have to say the results really work for me. I was amazed with how far TakaraTomy went with their remoulding and redesign of Megatron into the toy version of the character, and it's only fair to say that XTB have delivered something here that matches it perfectly. It makes me every-so-slightly scared for the idea of a whole collection of toy-inspired Masterpiece Decepticons, but for now it's really something to behold.

Final note before we end, you can find this toy for sale at here!

Oh, and if you enjoyed this review and would like to help support me to produce more content like this (in exchange for some additional great perks!) then please take a look at my Patreon page here. I've only just got started with it, but a big shout-out to the following early adopters: Andrew Birmingham, Christopher McClure, Gareth Madeley, Jason Highley, Nathan, Peter Hammerson, Spider-Bob, zindios - many thanks!

What's HOT?
Two great modes, slick transformation. The newly-designed parts look amazing and the tampos are hot. Plus he's loaded with nice paint. XTB really went the extra mile here.

What's NOT?
As with the original design the backpack is still a bit odd, although that's a nitpick at this point.

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