Pictorial Review! – X-Transbots Krank

X-Transbots Krank is the first release of their new Master Mini series, a line that represents a bold new direction from their previous forays in the tiny plastic giant robot market. Aimed at discerning Masterpiece collectors, these products blend nostalgia with modern engineering and a keen eye for the fine line in between.

Krank is a tough one to tackle, but an admirable challenge to start with. Inspired by a grumpy orange and purple bot with a chibi alt mode, X-Transbots opted for a realistic interpretation of an actual truck. That’s a polarizing choice, but one that many fans are glad they made. But how’s the rest of it? What about the plastic quality and the articulation? What are the special features? Do I have any transformation tips? Cool pictures?

Read on to find out!

 

ALTERNATE MODE

X-Transbots Krank is a realistic truck, based on this Dodge.

It was chosen due to the cab forward design, the tilt of the windows, and a few other features that are apparent on the toy of a certain mini robot from a 1980s cartoon show that you might be familiar with.

I’m really impressed by how much that matches up, and it satisfies both my want of close-to-cartoon-accurate and an alt mode that doesn’t look dumb on a Masterpiece shelf.

On a shelf next to a COE semi, a Lamborghini Countach, and a Nissan Fairlady Z, Krank looks more like a truck than a toy.

Click the pictures for the full versions!

 

ROBOT MODE

X-Transbots Krank’s robot mode dances between homage and update, and it’s a dance on a tightrope above a chasm of very particular fans.

And those fans have good reason to be particular here. Takara’s Masterpiece line has definitive representations of G1 characters, blending the look of both the original cartoon and the original toys. When you look at a Masterpiece TF, you know exactly who it is. Optimus might have covered wheels jutting out from his legs, Sideswipe might have a wide torso, and Prowl might have optional shoulder cannons, but they’re absolutely Optimus, Sideswipe, and Prowl.

And besides, who wants complete G1 cartoon accuracy?

People that probably haven’t watched the G1 cartoon in a while. Animation errors can’t be blamed for everything. :)

So the lesson here is not to sweat the small stuff when it comes to toy robot details, as long as they hit the high notes on the character details. I don’t care that the Masterpiece Seekers have hip kibble at worst and sliding leg kibble at best, so X-Transbots Krank having wheels on his legs isn’t that big of an issue for me.

However! I have heard that the wheels were not designed to fold away because of a parts budget limitation. For the first release of a new product line, going with a less expensive first foot forward is understandable, but collectors of tiny plastic giant robots would be more than willing to pay for a small per unit price increase if it meant a better looking robot mode. The wheels on the legs seem to be one of the main complaints about Krank, so hopefully X-Transbots is paying attention.

Collectors will pay a little more if it means a better bot!

And yet, like I said, the wheels aren’t a big issue. Well, let me rephrase that. For me, the wheels were only an issue when considering whether to purchase Krank or Stax.

That’s important for potential customers, but once I actually got them in hand, the wheels didn’t bother me. After a few days of having Krank and Stax, the wheels don’t even look out of place.

 

But how is the rest of it? Honestly, really great.

When I first saw the chrome I thought it would be good for Stax but it seemed out of place for Krank. Silver paint seemed better, or at least more appropriate.

But in hand, the chrome is awesome! Krank has big, burly arms and the shiny gleam accentuates them. Combine that with the vibrant orange of the glossy plastic, the pleasant palette of the purple and blues, and Krank is an eye catching display piece. I really thought Krank would be second banana to Stax, but so far they’re neck and neck for different reasons. We’ll get into Stax more in the next post, and while he seems to be the more popular purchase among collectors, I hope these high quality pictures help you consider Krank if you haven’t already.

Click the pictures for the full versions!

 

ARTICULATION AND POSEABILITY

X-Transbots Krank has more than the standard amount of joints, including ankle tilts!


Click the picture for the full version!

The forward movement of the legs is hindered slightly by the crotch detailing, but MP Optimus, Sideswipe, and Prowl all have that same issue, so it’s at least in good company.

The knees don’t have a full 90 degree bend, but it’s not bad. The arms are very, very expressive with a huge range of movement, and so does the head. Outside of the chrome and the colors, what really impressed me with X-Transbots Krank was just how much personality the bot mode has. When taking pictures for this review, Krank was practically begging to be played around with.

And speaking of which, what good is poseability if the bot can’t balance? Time for a high kick test!


Click the picture for the full version!

 

Features and Extras

Both Krank and Stax feature a face changing gimmick. While Krank’s is the most dramatic, manually rotating the face is much more difficult than the easy flick of a switch for Stax’s visor.

Krank’s face also seems to be a point of contention for collectors. While I agree that it’s more of an update than I would prefer, it’s MUCH better than MP Sideswipe’s pouty-lipped pinch face.

I also got a collector’s coin with my set of Krank and Stax, and Krank’s side features vibrant orange paint to help pick out the details. It’s heavy and very shiny.

In robot mode, the exhaust pipes of both Krank and Stax’s alt modes get attached to their arms. Small amounts of partsforming for either weapons (like with Stax) or visual accents (like with Krank) are fine by me, as long as it doesn’t overdo it. If you don’t like them attached to the arms, each blaster has attachment points for them to form a super mode.

I much prefer them on the arms, but it’s cool that the extra feature is available.

Krank also has a trailer hitch built into the alt mode, which just so happens to be compatible with the attachment point on MP Optimus’s trailer, allowing for the recreation of an iconic scene from the cartoon that was only done once and then ignored a second later thanks to an animation error.


Click the picture for the full version!

The trailer attaches smoothly and the grip is snug enough to stay attached even when picked up.


Click the picture for the full version!

Also, as a fun attention to detail, both Krank and Stax have a wrench near where you might find one strewn on the real version of the alt mode.

 

Transformation Tips

X-Transbots Krank and Stax both have a particular position for the backpack, locking it snugly into place. It’s all about where you put the prongs from the robot’s back, as it’s possible to mistransform it without knowing.

If mistransformed, Krank’s backpack doesn’t sit as high as it is supposed to, and the bumper is practically up against the head.

Here’s a handy picture to illustrate the proper spot to put the prongs!


Click the picture for the full version!

As you can see in the circled area, they should fit snugly up against and underneath that peg. In a great bit of engineering, that peg is also used for Stax’s configuration, even though the orientation of the cab is completely different.

Another thing to mention is that the exhaust pipes can have a very tight fit when plugged into the alt mode. That’s probably because of tolerance issues with the chrome and the amount put on at the factory, but it shouldn’t be a problem if you slowly test how it fits.

The exhaust pipes can also plug in much deeper than they need to, which combined with the already tight connection can make them tough to detach for robot mode. Just plug them in as far as they need to go instead of trying to fit the whole peg in there.

 

Is it good enough for a Masterpiece display?

While Krank’s bot mode has a lot of nostalgic details, it does lean a bit more towards an update than a straight up homage. Takara’s official Masterpieces have varying flavors of this, so that’s fine by me. The MP line has the most strict standards in my tiny plastic giant robot collection, but we also have to remember that if a hobby isn’t fun then it’s a chore.

My criteria for a Masterpiece includes:
1)Does it look like the definitive version of the character?
2)Is it sturdy and worth the price?
3)Is the bot mode scale close to accurate?
4)Does the bot mode look good?
5)Does the alt mode look good?
6)Is it fun?

X-Transbots Krank brings a big bag of YES! to questions 2 through 6, so even if the answer to question 1 is a MOSTLY!, that’s more than enough reasons to have it in my MP display.


Click the picture for the full version!

 

From here you can check out my pictorial review of X-Transbots Stax, or skip ahead to the pictures comparing them with Classics and Masterpiece TFs!

 

So, dear readers, what do you think of Krank and Stax? Do you prefer your cheese orange or blue?

Leave a comment and let me know! And don’t forget, you can share this post with your favorite tiny plastic giant robot collectors using the links below!

~Matt Booker

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