I’ve chosen Gewalt for my second review subject for a couple of reasons. Firstly, having been pretty negative in my initial piece (Ollie), I wanted to write about something I feel more positive about. Secondly, I’ve not handled this guy too much since he first arrived, and this seemed like a good excuse.
I’ll put my hands up and admit, I’m quite a fan of DX9. Chigurh seemed to get a middling reception, but he tickled my fancy. Maybe I’m sweet on skinny thighs? Carry has the unique honour of being the only third party toy to actually replace an official Masterpiece on my shelf, booting MP-09 from his spot. Tyrant, too, I quite enjoyed. Mightron is a success as well, and would have been a worthy MP Megatron ‘winner’ had it not launched alongside a certain rival.
DX9’s figures have quite a distinct feel – big, chunky, with thick yet also slightly soft plastic (in a good way). I can very much see how they’re not to everyone’s taste, but they’ve always hit the spot for me.
Gewalt (based on Decepticon Blitzwing) is a triple-changer, like his buddy Chigurh (Decepticon Astrotrain). As if designing a robot that turns into something else isn’t a tough enough task, designing one that changes into TWO other modes must be the stuff of nightmares. I’ve spoken before about compromises when it comes to design. You have an idea of your perfect bot and of your perfect alt, and the trick is how to get between the two. You can go the route of having a spectacularly complex transformation, with billions of folding panels and twisting joints, and probably nail both modes perfectly – provided the buyer has a spare three hours, the patience of a saint and a degree in structural engineering. Alternatively, a nip here and a tuck there and a normal human should be able to transform your bot, and god forbid perhaps even enjoy it.
Three modes, by that logic, is going to require more compromise. Does that mean Gewalt is too compromised to pass muster? No, not really. DX9 have pulled it off, although not without a couple of eyebrow raisers.
Chief among them, and the one that drew lots of attention from previews, is the floaty head tucked not so inconspicuously under the front hood in tank mode. Alongside the head is a really very visible cockpit, too. In truth it’s not the end of the world, but there’s no escaping the fact that they’re there. How much this detracts from the overall experience will be a matter of personal taste. As too will the relative untidiness found around the tank’s rear. Early builds of this guy lacked any horizontal stabilisers on the jet. DX9, responding to fans, added in a pair – but it’s clear both in tank and bot mode that there isn’t really any place for them to go. It’s not a huge problem, but it can’t go unmentioned.
There’s no escaping that the tank is the weak point in the chain here. It’s fine. It’s big, and chunky, and definitely tank-y. You could definitely club a seal to death with it without too much exertion. But it’s not the mode you’ll slap on the dinner table alongside the trifle to impress the in-laws. The jet mode, however, might just get your mother-in-law hot under the collar. Urgh, sorry, that’s awful.
First off, it’s huge. Mahoosive, as the kids say. Kids say that, right? I’m definitely down with the kids. It can appear quite blocky, especially in comparison to the MP seekers, but it’s actually a pretty faithful recreation of a MiG-25 Russian supersonic interceptor, underwing tank treads aside. The front landing gear likes to collapse, thanks to not quite pulling as far back as you’d like, but it’s a minor gripe in what is otherwise a successful mode.
Mahoosiveness is a theme that carries over to the bot. He’s a fecking hulk, albeit a very pretty one. Gewalt nails the bot mode, no doubt. Should he be this big? Has bigged-ness perverted the modern 3P Masterpiece scale? No, I don’t think so. The dude transforms into a tank and a jet and is a general all-round badass. Make him beefy, make him intimidating and make him built like a brick shithouse. DX9 ticks all these boxes. I’ve lost count of the number of times it’s him that has drawn comment from visitors among the hundreds of bots displayed on my Detolfs. He’s a looker, by any measure. Check out that face sculpt, too. Phwoar.
Posability is decent, with double jointed elbows allowing for a full bend, although the shoulders can be constrained depending on whether you’ve gone for a seeker-like shoulder configuration or the default look that’s more authentic to the G1 character. The latter does leave him with visually unauthentic floaty-shoulder pads, and compromised movement, but it’s still the look I prefer. Knees, too, allow for a full bend. The foot comprises of two parts – a front toe mounted to the shin and the split jet engines for a heel. The former has plenty of free inward and outward twist, and the latter inward, although they have to be positioned independently, which is a slight fiddle.
The hands aren’t so hot, sadly. They’re better than the deformed paws that haunt Mightron, but they’re still a little odd. KFC might be due a visit to The Hague for crimes against quality control, but a pair of modern KFC hands would do wonders for this guy – though it would rob him of the cool ‘wrist grip’ flat-fist configuration employed during transformation.
Speaking of which, the transformation is… well, it’s not my favourite. It’s not as fiddly as Chigurh. In fact, it’s not that fiddly at all, really, but it’s hard work. As in, physically hard work. Gewalt’s a big lad and a fair bit of strength is required to actually manipulate the various parts into their required positions. My perhaps delicate and uncomfortably effeminate hands felt all poorly and weak after transforming him for pictures. I even chipped a nail, bless.
Other gripes? None, really. The backpack section housing the wings and treads doesn’t want to physically attach to the clip for which they are designed, but the rock-solid hinge means this doesn’t actually matter. He tidies up nicely from the rear, too.
Gewalt is a success. Full stop. The bot mode is monstrous and delicious, the ratchets are top-notch and the face sculpt is divine. He’s sturdy and well-built and I suspect should he be cast into the sun he would burn brightly for 1,000 years before parts started to give way. Will Takara ever make a move into the Masterpiece triple-changer market? Who knows, but Gewalt means it doesn’t really matter. He’s a triumph, far more so than his predecessor Chigurh. Just remember to bring some hand cream for your sore-ridden mitts.