Pictorial Review! – X-Transbots Stax

Stax is the second bot in the Master Minis series by X-Transbots, being released at the same time as Krank. A much less controversial release, Stax seems to already be on the to-buy list of many Masterpiece TF collectors. While Krank surprised me, I already knew I was going to like Stax.

But did I?

If you’ve already seen my Pictorial Review on X-Transbots Krank, you might think you know the answer. Maybe you’re even correct.

Maybe.

There’s only one way to be sure, so read on to find out!

 

Alternate Mode

The origins of the alt mode for Stax are the same as Krank, being based on this Dodge.

It’s a good match for a realistic interpretation of a chibi toy from the 1980s, satisfying that cartoon accuracy itch while keeping Stax from looking awful on a shelf next to a realistic Lamborghini Countach or a Nissan Fairlady Z. Or MP Optimus, if you’re not looking at the back of his alt mode.

With the glossy plastic, shiny chrome, and fine attention to detail, Stax’s alt mode looks more like a scale model than a transforming robot toy.

Click the pictures for the full versions!

 

Robot Mode

The robot mode for X-Transbots Stax is exactly what I want for a definitive version of this character. Dark blue colors? Check. Most of a truck cab on the back of the robot? Check. Red visor? Check! Chrome arms? Check! Pipes? Check! ACTUAL HANDS? CHECK!

I wouldn’t have said no to it having white thighs, but I think I prefer them being black.

It also helps that show accuracy is much less of a concern for a character that had so little screen time I had to consult the TF Wiki to find out if the character even had screen time.

Speaking of accuracy, the shoulders have fake wheels on them. Pay attention, manufacturers of tiny plastic robots, this is the good kind of fake kibble. The front wheels on the vehicle mode are hidden, so there’s no visual inconsistency. Sure, we know those aren’t the real wheels, but it’s easy to think of them as that. It’s the same reasoning behind MP Optimus’s fake grill in bot mode.

HasTak often uses fake kibble, but lately has been doing it without care as to whether the actual kibble is still visible or not. That’s why Generations IDW Bumblebee has fake wheels in his feet even though the actual wheels are on his lower legs… and why his feet look like alt mode tail lights even though those are on his knees. The point of those details is to be comic accurate, but it stops being that when it looks like the robot mode has more car parts than it should.

So for X-Transbots Stax, I really like the fake wheels on the arms.

I’m also a fan of how the exhaust pipes can attach to the arms with the barrels pointing forward. The arms are already molded differently than Krank, being less beefy and burly, but this character is known for his, well, pipes.

Click the pictures for the full versions!

 

Articulation and Poseability

Stax may have different molding than Krank, but they have the same articulation points.


Click the picture for the full version!

Just like with Krank, the forward movement of the hips is hindered by the crotch piece, but since MP Optimus, Sideswipe, and Prowl are like that to varying degrees, I’m not too bothered by it. The knees also don’t have a 90 degree bend, but it’s adequate for most poses. Stax’s head is potentially hindered by the backpack sitting so close to it, but if you very slightly hinge the chest forward, Stax should have no problems using his very expressive ball-jointed head. It takes barely any movement of torso hinge to do it, so that’s not even worth calling it a complaint.

The really big range of movement here goes to the arms, which have even more range of movement than Krank because of the backpack configuration.

And Stax is not to be outdone by Krank when it comes to balancing, either. Even with half a truck cab on his back (as it should be!), Stax can easily pass a high kick test.


Click the picture for the full version!

 

Features and Extras

The face changing gimmick is much better on Stax than it is on Krank, although with the only difference being a visor, that’s understandable. Whether you want cartoon or toy accuracy, it’s easily accessed through a slider switch.

I also got a coin with my set of Krank and Stax. It’s heavy metal, and features Stax on one side and Krank on the other. Glossy blue paint helps pick out the details on the Stax side, and the metal is very shiny.

The exhaust pipes from either Krank or Stax can attach to the included blasters.

Since Stax’s alt mode is basically just a blue version of Krank’s alt mode but with different exhaust pipes, MP Optimus Prime’s trailer can also attach to Stax.

Just picture that in blue instead of orange. :)

In a fun and realistic attention to detail, Krank and Stax both have a wrench molded right where you’d expect to find one laying around on their alt modes.

 

Transformation Tips

When transforming Stax into bot mode, make sure to correctly insert the back prongs into the backpack. Stax uses the same side of the same peg Krank uses for this, even though the orientation of the cab is completely different.

Another thing to mention is that the exhaust pipes on Stax seems to have varying QC. Mine were so tight that only one would fit, and the other had to have a small amount of plastic shaved away in order to safely plug in. The variance is likely caused by the chrome being put on a bit too thick, and overall it’s a small thing, but it’s something that people should be aware of.

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.

You also might have noticed that Stax doesn’t have the side mirrors attached in any of these pictures. The first reason behind this is that my version of Stax came with two passenger side mirrors. The parts are only slightly different, in that the top peg on each is square and the bottom peg is round. It’s enough difference that the second passenger side mirror won’t fit on the driver side, but they’re so alike that if I really wanted to it would be easy to shave the pegs to fit and attach it that way.

But I’m not going to.

The side mirrors are nice for the accuracy of the realistic alt mode, but I actually prefer Stax without them attached. It’s just another visual difference between Krank and Stax, and it helps bot mode look a bit sleeker.

Not that looking sleek is a priority for a bot with most of a truck cab on his back.

 

Is it good enough for a Masterpiece display?

YES.

Stax is a good tiny plastic giant robot. It’s nicely designed, the colors are good, and it’s very poseable. The height is close to accurate for bot mode, the transformation is just as complex as it needs to be while still remaining interesting, the alt mode looks good, the plastic feels sturdy, and the price point is fair for a company that doesn’t regularly devour the monetary tributes of legions of children.

Those are all good reasons to recommend X-Transbots Stax, but my main reason for liking him is even better than that.

For me, Stax strikes a particular nostalgic chord, giving me the same childhood warm and fuzzy feeling that few toy robots outside of MP Optimus Prime can do. But whereas MP Optimus Prime is the manifestation of an ideal, the want of a toy I didn’t have as a kid combined with it being an upgraded, masterpiece version, I actually had Stax’s G1 equivalent, and that little red visor stares back at me through whole decades.

X-Transbots Stax might be topped by Takara, but it would take a lot to do so.


Click the picture for the full version!

 

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

 

So, dear readers, what do you think of X-Transbots Stax? Would you put that in your pipes and smoke it?

Leave me a comment and let me know! And don’t forget, you can take a break from posting cute animal pictures to share this post with the links below!

~Matt Booker

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