REVIEW: X-Transbots MX-III Eligos

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You know all of those preconceptions you have about X-Transbots? Eligos will change absolutely none of them. If you think the company leads the field in design and you love its previous output, you’ll love Eligos. If you think XTB constantly falls short of even the minimum quality bar and that those who love it are criminally insane, Eligos will do nothing to dissuade you.

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If you’re familiar with XTB you already know what I’m going to say here. The bot, on the whole, looks lovely. The alt, on the whole, looks great. The experience of Eligos, on the whole, can be pretty dreadful.

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Let’s touch upon what I do like. The bot, in particular, is a posable brute who I enjoy looking at very much. He’s weighty, due to the obligatory die cast feet, and most of the ratchets are solid, even if they have that trademark XTB/KFC tinny sound when handled. There’s also some clever stuff going on in the elbow and shoulder joints which I enjoyed a lot.

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The KFC hands allow for a great range of poses, as does the range of head movement and adjustable ears/hat/headpiece. Alongside XTB Andras and DX9 Tyrant he absolutely shines. He looks great from behind (despite the silver turtle head) with a pleasing lack of kibble, and even holds his weapons really well – take heed, Takara and Fanstoys. The Targetmaster, too, is a lot better than the one which came with Andras, with two good modes and a decent transformation that tabs together well enough.

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The little paint found here is well done, especially on the shins and forearms. I’m pleased XTB toned back the pink from the preview copies, too. And the inclusion of a tiny Galvatron for the alt cockpit is a nice touch, as is the impressive detailing in said cockpit.

All of which means Eligos ticks enough boxes to avoid being written off. It gets a lot right. But make no mistake, this is a troubled bot.

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Like Apollyon and Andras, Eligos does not feel premium in hand. I was actually pretty content with Andras at the time of release but going back to him I’d forgotten how much there was that I didn’t enjoy, and most of these problems are common to Eligos, too. The materials are cheap, and the numerous tabs littered all over him are quite poorly defined and reluctant to fit together, making parts of the transformation an absolute nightmare.

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There are several stages of the transformation you’re unlikely to enjoy. The legs, for one, never quite give you the room you need and leave an awful lot of heavy bot flapping about as you wrestle with them. The cheap plastic feels ill-suited for the small parts it’s forced to accommodate. The nosecone section is hell on earth, with each set of tabs demanding a different and conflicting position to clip in place, meaning something at some stage will have to be forced. Even then it’s unlikely to all stay in place. The spring-loaded cockpit is OK on my copy, if a bit stiff, but I’ve seen some people claim theirs is broken, or at least extremely uncooperative. Sliding the arms up and down has got easier over time but, again, it always feels like you’ve having to force the entire assembly in a way it doesn’t really want to move.

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And even once you’ve got it all nailed down, it’s never really a pleasurable experience. It actually reminded me of MMC’s KM-03 Cyclops, what with all the tabs, even if thankfully the nightmare levels here are nowt in comparison. It did pass the ‘second instructions-free transformation’ test, although I still need a tool for a couple of parts. It also compares, unfavourably, to things of comparable complexity, like perhaps Sphinx or Terraegis. MMC’s bots are really quite intricate, but the precision engineering ensures the process is enjoyable. There is little joy to be found in bending Eligos’ cheap plastic around its many tolerance hotspots.

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The knee design is fiddly, and even if you can get it to clip it as designed – which mine is often reluctant to, I think because of poorly fitting tabs – the ratchet itself isn’t really up to the task. The entire canopy piece is a right bugger to tab in, too, and getting it out again is thankless and flesh-slicing. After the first transformation the ankles of mine have loosened to the point of comedy, with the feet flopping down at the hinge when the figure is picked up. One of the heels, too, lacks the biting point the other boasts to hold it in place.

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And how about that face? Compare it to the definition on Tyrant, and even Andras, and it’s unforgivable. It lacks form and looks melted. I went for the goatee face (he comes with the non-goatee option installed) as it helps break up the smear a little. I also preferred the painted eyes to the light-piped default. The entire body is made from the smooth, unpainted, cheap glossy plastic you got with Andras, too. It’s just not nice.

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It’s a shame, as XTB can get it right. For all its problems, Arkose was a cracking figure. Andras showed a lot of improvement over Apollyon but Eligos is unable to take that next step, despite the redevelopment you’d presume took place over the long delay. At a time when Takara, Maketoys, Fanstoys, DX9/Unique Toys, Generation Toy and MMC are putting out a reasonably consistent level of quality, and companies such as Toyworld are clearly putting in an effort to step up, XTB is standing still at the back.

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But it speaks volumes of how much fun the bot is that I’m still finding myself drawn to Eligos. He’s a great personification of Cyclonus. If indeed our toys come to life after dark, you can be sure this guy is the fucking boss. He’s got swag. And there’s a pleasing chunkiness to the alt, too, that’s impossible not to enjoy. With better plastic and a more enjoyable transformation this could have been a real delight, which makes it hurt all the more that it falls so short. How very 2016.

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CONCLUSION

Sometimes you handle a third party bot and know that even if an official should never be released (and perhaps even if it is) that character is ticked off for you. Eligos will stay in my collection thanks to the look of the bot but, regrettably, he’ll never be more than a placeholder. Whether Fanstoys or Takara gets there first, like Apollyon, I’ll be quick to replace Eligos when a replacement arrives. Saying that, XTB has many online defenders who seem to love its work, and if you count yourself among them then Eligos will likely tickle your fancy.

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