View Full Version : SW:Transformers Darth Maul / Sith Infiltrator

03-05-2006, 06:42 PM
Even though the photos gave me mixed feelings about this one, I kinda expected it to be good, but unfortunately it's not.

Paint-Deco: 4/5
Medium-dark gray with lighter gray and a little black, that's the vehicle colors and it follows through to the robot mode although that has more black and red. From the top the vehicle mode is pretty nice and accurate including the red panels above the cockpit, the bottom shows more black (which isn't accurate) and some bronze accents; they even painted the rear thrusters green on just the lines. Maul wore all-black in the movie, but the figure is a mix of black limbs and gray torso with gray "costume" pieces, it's not really Maul but you could buy it as another of his outfits (if you cannot accept that, then lower that deco rating by a half-point). The best part of the bot is his red and black head, the eyes are yellow without pupils - very robotic - the teeth and horns are silver, and the tattoo is bold red, I like how its lines are mostly straight mechanical rather than organic curves.

Minifigure: 4/5
The figure is in his black outfit without the outer cloak, he's sculpted neutral and articulated hip and shouler sets. Unlike wave-mate Boba Fett's minifig, Maul here is made of non-rubbery plastic. The sculpt is good except the head which is a mixed bag, the horns and ears are there, but the other details are lacking. The paint is another mixed bag, his sleeves and "skirt" are painted dark gray so the boots and gloves are still glossy black, this works great but nobody told the torso which is unpainted glossy black and thus doesn't match. The head has silver dots on the horns and yellow eyes, the eyes aren't that good really but they'd be more forgivable if the red tattoo was a little better, the eyesockets are uneven and the thing's mouth is attrocious. It's good work for a little minifig, but the head doesn't hold up its end.

Vehicle Mode: 4/5
The ominously-shaped Sith Infiltrator is inspired by the TIE Fighter wings and the Imperial Shuttle nose, it's also the inspiration for the alt mode of TF:Cybertron's Vector Prime.

Unless you look at this thing from below, it does its job well emulating this vehicle from The Phantom Menace, it has the lines, the shapes, the long nose, the bulbous cockpit, the folding wings, the only thing missing is the details on the vehicle's facade door, it even has actual clear windows at the front of the cockpit. The bottom shows the "nose" to be made up of the robot legs and hollow in the middle, the legs aren't blatant kibble so it is believable, just not accurate for THIS ship. The entire upper half of the cockpit swings open to reveal a chair and no other details which is disappointing, and it's easy to sit the figure up too high so the cockpit won't close right. The vehicle is sturdy overall, but I don't like how the wings can open past their final points requiring you to position them to their proper angles by hand. The middle of the wings are spring-loaded missile-launchers, each half of the lightsaber can slide into the hole and act as a laser cannon here - this is not movie-accurate but looks alright - they're fired by well-concealed triggers on the outside of the wing.

One part of this vehicle mode that really bothered me was the permanent landing legs, this is a problem almost every toy version of the Sith Infiltrator has had, but this is the worst as the forward legs are a single, unhideable unit attached to a hinge and clipped into a panel on the bottom, you can hinge them forward so they're closer to the body but they still stick out - they don't even have a role in bot mode. However, there's a decent fix for this I've found, unpeg it from the hinge's arm and remove it, you can hide the hinge arm under the plate and if you want to put the landing gear back on, just clip it into the plate sans hinge, it works fine. (If you are a purist who won't remove the landing legs, lower the rating half a point.)

Transformation: 2.5/5
This is a little disappointing, though not as simple as TF:CY Vector Prime. The only interesting part on Maul is the reveal of his head where both halves of the cockpit section open to let the head rotate around - unfortunately, the head is locked into place by the pushed-back seat with a crappy tab and another crappy peg from the back cockpit panel, making the cockpit front do all the real work and creating stability issues. The legs are embarassingly straightforward, the arms are a simpler version of the Jedi Starfighter, and the rest is folding kibble out behind the figure.

Articulation: 3.5/5
Maul has 22 POA: standard head, universal jointed shoulders, rotating biceps, double-hinged elbows, hinged wrists, rotating waist, swivel hips with a little outward splaying, lower thigh rotation, hinged knees, side-tilting hinged ankles, and hinged feet; oh, and waist "skirt" plates are hinged. You may think all that articulation sounds like a lot, but some poor choices keep it from being truly effective - the elbows are so stiff that using them pops the upper bicep rotation so the arms come off; the waist is heavily limited by the back kibble; the wrists not rotating at all is unacceptable; the hips don't splay far out enough; and the knees only hinge 30 degrees back. The figure's small feet plus heavy backpack kibble make it challenging to keep him from falling over, but not impossible.

The huge amount of articulation should lead to a perfect score, but the various limitations really take their toll. There are a few decent action poses to be had, but far too many more that remain in the realm of "if only...".

Bot Mode: 2.5/5
Let's start with the good: the head is a robotic version of Maul's head, there's nothing organic about its lines, the line parts of the tattoo are sculpted wires, the eyesockets and nose and cheeks are angular, the eyes are pupil-less flat plates, the ears are just round circles, there are radiating fins inset under the cheeks and behind the head - THIS is how you do an organic character turned robot; yet he still retains character with one eye being slightly more closed than the other, and a grim, angry mouth. Also, the figure's overall proportions are good, humanoid without being too beefy or thin. Unfortunately, the "good" ends there.

The undersides of the limbs show a lot of silver screws, never appealing. The head, as I mentioned before, is poorly held into place via a system of wimpy tabs and pegs making it woefully easy to dislodge - which usually happens since the rounded cockpit interior doesn't work well with the figure who slips out of his seat constantly and pushes against the canopy. There are too many panels in play on the lower body, and the back has the remaining kibble - you can align the wing parts as an unattractive jets which might be cool for a Transformer but are out of context here, and the long center of the nose ends up off the back with the landing gear dangling (unless you remove it which I strongly recommend as it's even more annoying here).

The lightsabers have unfortunately short blades with a small round tab in the middle for the missile-launcher, and they do NOT connect to form the double-saber, instead the figure relies on a cheat in his right hand where the bottom and top halves of the fist are separated cups that can each receive the pommel of either saber hilt. The cheat looks ok and even helps the shorty blades seem less dopey, but it's still an annoyance as this is the character's main hook. The left hand is clear-through so that and the articulation does allow for a double-handed vertical pose which he can have in front of him or even over his head, but no horizontal pose due to the non-rotating wrists.

Overall: C
This figure actually grew on me while writing this review, so from that score you can only imagine how disappointed I was with him at first. The vehicle mode is decent and the robot head is very cool, there's even some stuff that appeals more from a Transformers standpoint than a Star Wars one, but ultimately there are too many problems with kibble and articulation limitations and such.

El Chuxter
03-05-2006, 11:41 PM
Wow. This was the only one I was considering buying, but if it's as bad as you say, I'll save the $15. Maybe I'll get it in three months, when it's inevitably clearanced with the rest of these pegwarmers. :)