Cliffbee.com: Darth Maul Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Darth Maul
Series: Star Wars Transformers
Allegiance: Sith Apprentice
Alternate Mode: Sith Infiltrator

Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Darth Maul for this review



SITH INFILTRATOR MODE
Height: 4.5cm Length: 17cm Width: 12.5cm

   A sleek grey single-man space cruiser with some matte light grey on top and silver missile protruding from the wingtips, the front is essentially a flat wedge while the wings protrude from the rear. There are red, brown, off white and black painted details here and there which fit into the complex sculpt - the sort of detailing you'd expect of a SWTF vehicle mode. Aside from the silver missiles, pretty much everything is matte here, which imparts a stealth feel. The colours aren't exactly vibrant, but there's a lot of detail, so it still looks good.

   While the detailing is good, some of the seams are too visible here for my liking. There are a few wide seams on the rear fuselage while the front side edges of the nose section - which will become feet - don't line up to the pieces behind them, nor the piece between them. There are also some fairly visible black hinges in the gap between the front wedge and the rear section, which aren't an eyesore, but are unusually kibbly for a SWTF. There are two small cloudy windows on the front of the dome at the back, which are cockpit windows - not that a pilot could see much out of them.

   The play value here is by the numbers, with the two missiles firing, the cockpit opening to reveal a black and red Darth Maul minifigure and the wingtip panels folding out. There are feet at the front which look like they should be able to fold away, but can only detach and float around. Meanwhile, at the back, there's a pad underneath but no feet. The underside wingtip panels can only fold out completely when this vehicle is off the ground, otherwise they'll be before the level of the pad.

   While this is a decent space cruiser mode as Transformers go in general, it's quite poor amongst the high standard STWF vehicle modes. Between the messy seams, visible hinges and poorly designed feet, this vehicle just feels a tad underdone. I don't hate it by any means, but there's just nothing here which saves it from the flaws, since it ranks pretty low amongst the Star Wars vehicles in terms of memorability & nostalgia.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Open the dome underneath and flip out the head, close the dome. Rotate the front section, split off the sides to become legs and fold the central nose piece back, flipping over the vehicle feet as you go. Rotate the boots and flip up the feet. Fold back the wings to reveal the arms, pull the arms out and straighten the hands. Stand him up and place the missiles in either hand as light sabres.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16.5cm Width: 8cm

   A grey and black mech, the rounded torso is grey while the limbs are black and the head red and black with rather reduced horns and yellow eyes. There's a very awkward beige codpiece. The head's paint job and sculpt are both good, but this is largely wasted when the horns are so small. The black and red should dominate this mode yet they don't thanks to the grey and beige in the centre, so this isn't a terribly convincing Darth Maul - only the distinctive head saves manages to salvage that idea.

   The hips are "lizard hips" - they sit on the outsides of the groin rather than below it. Combined with the rounded torso and the gimpish wrists (the hinges visible in vehicle mode), this is not a good bodyshape. The head is the only aspect which looks at all organic, the rest just looks like a muddle of robot parts stuck together, without any unified theme.

   There are a lot of joints here but not much useful poseability. The shoulders swing and lift out to the sides however the elbows and wrists hinge _inwards_, the rotators above the elbows aren't much use when the wrists can't rotate. The hips swing and lift out to the side, but they're useful range of motion is limited by the codpiece. The knees hinge and rotate and the ankles are hinged, however the heelspurs aren't quite big enough for the backpack kibble. While that kibble isn't highly visible, it affects stability more than it should thanks to the small heelspurs. The neck and waist rotate.

   There's really not much play value here, since the poseablity is so disappointing, but I can't help but feel very disappointed that the two lightsabres can't combine to form the iconic dual light sabre Darth Maul wielded in The Phantom Menace. The poses they can be wielded in are limited by the elbow and wrist joints, anyway.

   An awkward robot mod thanks to some dumb joint execution, kibble that's poorly dealt with, small horns and non-combining weapons. This is easily the weaker mode, which jumbled colours to round things off.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   Neither mode here is especially impressive. The vehicle mode is the better mode, but suffers flaws uncharacteristic of this series. The robot mode is one problem after another, and while nothing in that mode is downright dreadful, the end result is pretty poor. What frustrates me most about this toy is how easy some of the issues it suffers from would be easy to fix in development. Sure, it's not a standout, but it doesn't need to be such a disappointment - 4/10

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