Tuesday, 3 March 2015

MECH iDEAS - Demolition Crue DC03 - Gauntlet Review

Mech Ideas Gauntlet figure

This started as an article about figures that slipped under the radar, and never got the attention they really deserved. Whilst writing the original article, a chance posting on Facebook reminded this toy existed and then I managed to get hold of one a couple of days later.

Gauntlet started out as a design by a new 3rd party group called Mach 5, who then ironically went bust before releasing a product. An onslaught of repaints of this guy were announced, then the company went under and Mech Ideas took over and released it under their Demolitions Crue brand following on from their Topspin and Twin Twist homages.

Errr...so yeah, somewhere along the line it actually made it out into the world but didn't seem to generate much of a buzz, which is unusual for a figure based on such a popular character as Ironfist from the IDW Transformers comics.

Enough of my rambling, hit the button below to see the full Mech Ideas Gauntlet review

Alt Mode
mech ideas gauntlet

Gauntlets alt mode is near perfect recreation of Ironfists alt mode from Last Stand of the Wreckers. I used the word near, but for the life of me I cannot see what they could have done differently that would have made it more accurate.
So maybe it is actually perfect.

mech ideas gauntlet side

There are very few paint applications on this figure, but they are not greatly missed. All of his details from his comic book design have been recreated.

Mech Ideas Gauntlet is a small, almost chibified, armoured car, with G1 style lightformer cannon mounted to the roof (yes, it rotates).

mech ideas gauntlet idw iron fist

If you were in curious about the size of this toy, it is roughly the size of a legends toy. Tailgate for example is slightly longer than Gauntlet but Gauntlet has far more bulk to him.
The lightformer cannon on top also makes him appear bigger in size, but in your hand he is definitely a diddy little fellow.

So adorable.

Mech Ideas Gauntlet car mode

To use a cliche, because I use them all the time - "good things come in small packages".

That is apt for Gauntlet, as whilst it is a 3rd party collectible that looks exactly like the source material it is a really enjoyable toy to play with.

Robot Mode

mech ideas gauntlet

Transforming Ironfist is not difficult, and is a simple process of unfolding his legs and arms, then folding his chest down.
There are flaps on his back pack which can be left out to better resemble his comic book model, or folded in to make the robot mode look a bit smoother.

It is a simple transformation, but it reminds me of the Combiner Wars deluxe figures as it is fun and effective. You don't feel like it is a Rescue Bot, but you are not bogged down trying to work out where an elbow goes.

Demolition Crue DCO3 Gauntlet

Once you have marvelled at the fun of transforming Ironfist (Gauntlet, I mean) you will be instantly struck by how small he is. Sure, you held his teeny alt mode in your hand earlier but it feels like it would fold out into a larger bot.
As if it is a Cybertronian Pandora's box that Mech Ideas are going all out Paul Daniels with.

But it doesn't, and it does not feel disappointing because this is how Ironfist is supposed to be. Squat, small, highly stylised - this is the comic book design made molded into plastic.

It is only Legends sized in height but, just like the vehicle mode, the bulk of the figure makes it feel bigger.

Demolition Crue DCO3 Gauntlet wreckers

It is staggering to me, how well they have managed to capture the look so perfectly. Every detail is here, nothing is missed, and it works so well.

mech ideas gauntlet head

As this is Ironfist we are talking about, it was important to get the head sculpt right to bring out the character - fortunately Mech Ideas knocked it out of the park.

The head takes the same level of the detail from the comics and the designers wisely resisted the temptation to add their own twist.
What makes this a bit special though, is the ball jointed neck. I am overselling it, as it is just a standard ball joint, but it makes the face so expressive as a result with just a slight movement to the side saying so much for Ironfists character.

Unimpressed little sod.

Mech ideas iron fist gauntlet

Gauntlet is a very poseable little guy, with everything designed to not ruin the aesthetics. So all of the articulation is worked into the sculpt in a manner that means it is almost invisible.

The best example is the elbow joints which is a stick with a ball joint on either end. The articulation of the elbow feels a little awkward, but the reason for that is maintain the integrity of the sculpt. The legs have large knee pads which you can fold when the knee is bent, to make sure they stay blended in with the design - I love this sort of thing.

It is an interesting approach, which as a 3rd party figure feels like the correct route to have gone. The aesthetics are probably the most important thing for collectors, as they are buying a figure like this purely to have the most accurate Ironfist possible and this is every bit the figure we wanted as opposed to the Collectors Clubs horrible Swindle/Roadbuster repaint.

His feet can bend, and due to his excellent balance with his big lower legs,giving you some great options for posing.

mech ideas gauntlet wreckers

Mech Ideas Gauntlet's turret is held in place by a single peg, so is removable and can be reattached in any of the ports on the figures body. Pulling it apart is a breeze too, as the circular bit is a separate piece which makes for a shield.
Or a shield that looks a lot like a flower, which again fits the James Roberts. Nick Roche comic style in a way that is hard to describe.
The gun barrel also unplugs to form a small rifle, but what I found interesting about this is that on mine it only seems to secure itself in Gauntlet's hand, when the hand is tilted upwards slightly.
Odd, diddly odd.

Gauntlet was remolded into another figure called Piston, who is a take on G1 Crankcase. As Crankcase was a Triggerbot, his most iconic features (apart from his never ending misery) were his flip out cannons. This mold does not have the spring loaded cannons, but you can detach both of Pistons and plug them into his backpack to give him that all important fanboy G1 look.
Gauntlet can also do this with his small rifle, so he can blend in well at a G1 Autobot cars convention.

mech ideas gauntlet iron fist guns

A week ago I had completely forgotten this toy existed, and I am so glad that Facebook bought it back to my attention and my wallet decided to help me out and let me buy it.

I mentioned earlier that the simplicity and fun of the transformation reminded of the Combiner Wars line, but that also extends to how much fun Mech Ideas Gauntlet is to play with. He doesn't feel like something to just be displayed on a shelf, that is fragile. No, it feels like a fun toy and demands to be played with.
It feels strong and robust, the plastic is great and the QC too.

There is nothing I can complain about.

In some ways this is one of the best 3rd party figures ever produced as it is a perfect representation of Ironfist as you see him portrayed in the IDW comics. Not only do you get such a good looking figure, but he is fun to play with and is one you will find yourself picking up and messing with constantly.

The final thing to mention is the price which was strangely cheap for a 3rd party figure, and I hope we see more of that.

I don't know if this figure was a success for Mech Ideas, and the lack of buzz about it makes me worry that it might not have been, but if there was one 3rd party toy that really deserved to be prosperous in 2014 - it was Gauntlet.

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  1. Awesome stuff mate, totally agree with you. Shame the toy tanked, I would have loved to see them tackle more characters. Hope they return soon.

    1. I REALLY want a Misfire. So bad. Badder than bad.

  2. Guzzle needs to be made! BTW have you had any issues with broken legs or visible stress marks?

    1. No problems at all - he seems like one sturdy little bot.

      I'd kill for Guzzle!

  3. Awesome top notch review as always, nearly sold this guy a year ago but glad I kept him! Would love a misfire too!

    1. Thank you Roger, and keep hold of him - you'd miss the little fella ;)