Cocomone by DX9

Yes, folks, this plague of Third-Party Roboconverters continue to hijack Transformers Thursday. Last week I checked out DX9’s take on the Renegade Go-Bot Cy-Kill. Today I’m having a look at their version of the Renegade Femme Fatalle, Crasher. Unofficial Go-Bots, folks! Does it get more low-rent than that? I’m just kidding, it’s not low-rent. I like the Go-Bots. And these things are expensive.

Last time, I marveled at the art direction on display for Salmoore’s packaging and Cocomone got the same exquisite treatment. It’s not quite as colorful, but the art is just as gorgeous. Otherwise, there’s nothing too complicated here. It’s an enclosed box with the figure inside on a tray. I should also point out that just like Salmoore was re-purposed as Wreck-Gar, Cocomone here was re-purposed as Mirage. Transformers and Go-Bots sharing Third-Party molds… when will the madness end? Anyway, Cocomone is packaged in her robot mode, but let’s start in her vehicle mode.

Cocomone is an Formula-1 style racer and Go-Bots purists will no doubt notice that this is not Crasher’s original alt mode. I don’t know a lot about these kinds of racecars, but a little research suggests that she was originally a Porsche 956, or at least that’s what her toy looked like. Obviously, DX9 wanted to make the Mirage release a priority here. Still, the coloring and the fact that they’re both high performance racecars helps sell it to me. As does the fact that I’m not about to get all uppity and upend any tables over a Go-Bot’s alt mode. This mode lock together pretty well, although I tend to have problems with the alignment of the rear tires on mine, as they don’t roll smoothly. The bulk of the sculpted detail here lies in the exposed engine behind the driver’s seat. So, all in all, simple and elegant.

The deco consists entirely of black, gray, and red, and a lot of that is the color of the plastic as opposed to paint. You do, however, get some nice silver paint on the front edge of the driver compartment. The colors are attractive, and the overall result is an aesthetic that lends itself to more of a simple animated style than a realistic one. That works for me. DX9 also included stickers to help spruce things up. They’re OK, but not great, and sadly they don’t include anything for the face of the spoiler. They do include a pair of lipstick graphics, which at least speak to her being a femme-bot. I do wish some of them, like the “1” for the front of the car was cut closer or had a background that matched the gray plastic.

Other than Salmoore, I have no Go-Bots to compare her to, so I wanted to see how she staks (Get it? Staks? That’s a Go-Bot, folks!) up to an MP Transformer. So there’s a picture of her with Smokescreen. They scale pretty well, and that’s to be expected since we know this mold was also used for their Not-MP Mirage. She doesn’t scale as well with Salmoore in alt mode, but that’s also to be expected because sadly mass shifting doesn’t exist and so you need a big motorcycle mode to create a robot that’s in scale with the others. As for the transformation, I feel it features just the right level of complexity, and it goes fairly smoothly. There aren’t any scary clearances like on Salmoore, and I was actually able to get Cocomone transformed without consulting the instructions at all.

So, just like the alt mode, the robot mode is obviously intended to be Mirage first and Crasher second. In fact, from the neck down, I don’t think there’s anything here that was re-sculpted to be unique to Cocomone, so really we are dealing with a straight-up repaint of their Not-Mirage. That’s obviously going to be a sticking point with all the Go-Bots enthusiasts out there. The deco doesn’t change much in robot mode either, but that’s fine because the colors look great on her.

From the back, Cocomone looks pretty good too. I appreciate that DX9 included two hinged plates, the only purpose of which is to help cover her hollow legs. The wheels are a little awkwardly placed when viewed from behind, and they have to be positioned just right to keep her from falling backwards. It’s a shame they couldn’t have found a way to make the rounded driver section of the car land on her chest instead of her back, because it would have really helped to hammer the homage home.

I’ve seen a lot of complaints over this head sculpt, but I think it’s pretty good. There’s no doubt to me as who it’s supposed to be, the details are well defined, and the paint is excellent. I do think that DX9’s heads are a little undersized, but not ridiculously so.

Cocomone comes with one accessory and that’s her rifle. I’m sure I mentioned in my Salmoore review that Go-Bots don’t generally tend to carry guns, they just shoot energy beams out of their big goofy fists. Me? I prefer my robots with guns, so I’m glad DX9 included it.

In the end, I think this is a fun and good looking figure, and she compliments Salmoore quite nicely. The plastic quality feels a smidge better than Salmoore and the engineering is a lot better thought out. I’ll grant you, DX9 put a lot more effort into making Salmoore work as Cy-Kill than they did making Cocomone look like Crasher, and that’s certainly going to be a sticking point with some collectors. On the other hand, if you aren’t too hung up on the Go-Bots, you can easily just slap a Decepticon emblem on her and have a new MP-scaled figure for the woefully outnumbered MP Decepticons. I couldn’t really recommend Cocomone at the original price point of around $70, but at half that price, I’m mighty glad I picked her up.

Salmoore by DX9

For someone who has sworn to try to kick the third-party convertoroboformer habit, I haven’t been doing a very good job of it. And by the way, Last week’s Fansproject review doesn’t count, because I’ve been sitting on Severo forever. No, in reality, I’ve cut way back and will continue to do so, but when a certain online retailer clearanced out some of DX9’s figures at about half price, I couldn’t say no. And that brings us to Salmoore, a dude who shares a lot with their Splinter/Wreck-Gar, but is intended resemble a certain leader of the Renegade Go-Bots. Yeah, that’s right, Go-Bots. After almost 10 years of writing this junk, this may be the first time I even mentioned The Go-Bots on FFZ. I was never a fan of the cartoon growing up, but I sure loved the toys.

Here’s the packaging, and would you just look at this goddamn work of art! DX9 knows how to make an attractive box. Oh, the box itself is nothing all that special. It’s fully enclosed and houses a plastic tray with the figure and accessories. It’s also collector friendly. The artwork, on the other hand, is absolutely stellar. I tend to not care much about packaging. It’s mainly just a way to get a toy to me without some kid rubbing boogers or fry grease all over it at the store. But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate something like this. It’s so colorful and it has so much character, and I’d probably buy a print of it if one were available. Ah, but I suppose I need to get past the packaging and check out the figure inside. Salmoore comes packaged in his robot mode, but as usual, let’s start with his alt mode.

If you’re familiar with Splinter, than the majority of this motorcycle mode will also be familiar to you, as Splinter is just a re-color of Salmoore here. And I’m 99% sure that Salmoore came first. Now, DX9 did bother to re-sculpt the headlamp and shield piece that sits between the handlebars for these two figures and I can appreciate that. The rest of the bike, however, is identical and doesn’t reflect a whole lot of direct design cues from the original Go-Bot’s alt mode. This design feels more vintage and it’s obviously more rounded and looks a lot more like a realistic bike. I’m cool with that. Motorcycle transformers can be tough to do well, and this is one case where they didn’t have to sacrifice much for a great looking alt mode.

The deco shares all the right colors with the original Cy-Kill toy, namely red, white, blue, and chrome, but the ratio and placement of the colors is pretty far off. Here I would have liked something a little closer, but in this case they were clearly going for an accurate deco in the robot mode and couldn’t do both. Also, I could have done without the “Salmoore” printed on the gas tank. Still, the chrome looks great, the blue has a nice flecked, metallic finish, and the rubber tires add a sense of premium quality to the toy. The yellow headlamp on the front is a nice familiar shout out, and you get yellow taillights on the back as well. The bike also has a fold down kickstand to hold it up for display and it works quite well.

It’s worth mentioning that Salmoore’s bike mode is pretty close to 1:12 scale, which puts it at a nearly perfect size for those Marvel Legends or other 6-inch figures in your collection.

The transformation here isn’t terribly complicated, but there are some clearances that are a real pain in the ass to work with. Moving the arms, for example requires them to be angled a very specific way so that the shoulders will clear the chrome engine block pieces. It requires a lot of care to avoid scratching the chromed surface, or worse: Actual breakage. The plastic here doesn’t feel cheap, but it doesn’t feel as substantial as the stuff found in the better 3P bot-makers out there. With that having been said, there’s some cool engineering at work here, as well as some minor parts forming (both the wheels and the exhaust pipes come off), but some of that was reflected in the original toy as well. Still, in the end, I just have to admit that this is not a very fun toy to transform.

The pay off is, however, worth it because Salmoore doesn’t only look great in his motorcycle mode, but he looks pretty damn fab in his robot mode as well. While the bike mode only showed evidence of minimal re-tooling between him and Splinter, Salmoore’s robot mode shows off a different chest and head. The result is a pretty good updated version of Cy-Kill, but one that still strays from the straight and narrow in a lot of areas. To put it bluntly, it’s very clear that this mold was intended to be a compromise between two characters. How cool you are with that, will greatly affect your enjoyment of the toy. Me? I’m not exactly a Go-Bots purist, so overall I think it’s fine. If there’s anything that bothers me it’s the asymmetrical lower legs. I didn’t mind them as much on Splinter, because it was at least in keeping with the idea that Junkions are made of scavenged parts, but it doesn’t really suit Cy-Kill all that well. On the other hand, I love how the shock absorbers from the motorcycle mode wind up on his legs.

Something else that doesn’t suit the homage all that well are the spiked tire housings. I kept them on for the initial pictures, but after that they came off and will likely stay off. As for the back of the figure, well it looks mostly OK. the chrome pieces that tuck into the cavity in the torso are rather unsightly, but nothing terrible. I like the way the back legs fill in too. I won’t complain about the boxy nature of Salmoore’s arms, because replicating those tubes the original toy had would be difficult. Doing it with decent articulation would have also been tough. Oh Primus, how I hated Cy-Kill’s arms in the cartoon. They didn’t have elbows, but instead just curved like they were made out of rubber. Actually, I think that was the case with a lot of them. It was a weirdly drawn show.

The robot color scheme, however, is quite solid. The mix of red, white, blue, and chromed out plastics are all spot on and the extra hits of gray, yellow, and blue definitely elevates the figure. I suppose his arms should be chromed too, but I can understand why they aren’t and I think the white plastic works well enough in its place. OMG, don’t get me started on Cy-Kills arms again! The fact that his feet are two different colors does irk me a bit, but at least all the offending points are confined to one area.

I like the headsculpt a lot, as it definitely looks the part. It might be a little more Transformer-y, particularly in how angular it is. The Go-Bots felt like they had more organic style faces than the Transformers. I’m still OK with it. The new chest goes a long way to drive the homage home and I like the translucent yellow piece in the middle. I also dig the way the chromed out pedals on his shoulders look, but it definitely deviates from the homage they’re going for here.

The articulation is overall solid, but there’s still a few things that irk me. The plates which the shoulders attach to do not peg into place, so they tend to hinge away from the torso when manipulating the arms. These do work in the favor of added articulation, but they can be unsightly. My other issue is that the rotational joints in the hips are a bit loose on my figure. It’s not enough to cause him to fall over, but they’re not as tight as I’d like, whereas the lateral movement on these are really tight.

Salmoore’s exhaust pipes convert into a pair of twin guns for him, by extending out the thicker part and folding down a handle. I dig these. They have a very retro-sci-fi feel to them. They’re also not remotely linked to Cy-Kill, a character who just fired blasts from his big goofy fists. Here’s a deviation I approve of. To me guns are just cooler and more fun than laser firing hands. And yes, these are identical to the exhaust pipe guns that come with Splinter.

Another option which doesn’t fit the Cy-Kill homage is the ability to use one of the spiked wheels as a shield by pegging it into the forearm. I think this worked better on Splinter, because I usually keep his other wheel on his right leg and it balances out a little nicer. Still, it’s a pretty cool option to have and I think he looks great using it.

It’s amazing how a couple of tweaks to the mold and a new paint job can re-create a figure into two characters from two different franchises. Granted, there are a number of big departures between this figure and the original Cy-Kill, but in the end this design works for me as it is intended. It does not, however, work as well for me as this mold did as Wreck-Gar. Despite Salmoore being released first, I feel like Splinter was this mold’s original intent. I should also qualify my enjoyment of this figure by pointing out that I only paid $35 for him, which I believe is about half of the original price. That makes a big difference, because in the end I don’t feel like the plastic quality or engineering justifies the original retail value.

Splinter: I’m A Hero! by DX9

Yes, it’s still Transformers Thursday. No, this is not a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles review. I’m checking in with yet another Third Party Convertobot and this time it’s DX9’s Not-Wreck-Gar, who is most definitely not a Junkion, was never voiced by Eric Idle, and did not appear in any films in 1986 also starring Orson Welles and Judd Nelson. With this being the fourth week in a row of 3P Transformers love, you might think that I’m diving head first into these guys again. The truth is, I’ve just found some good deals and I’m taking care of unfinished business before I try to pull out from Imitation Transformers collecting altogether. And with that having been said, let’s check out Splinter!

I love this packaging. Nothing about it takes itself seriously, but man does it feature some great and colorful artwork! I only own one other product from DX9, and that’s their upgrade kit for Combiner Wars Megatron. It’s a great kit, but it came in bland and boring packaging. This, on the other hand, well like the copy says, it’s just beyond my imagination! Besides being a hoot, the box is completely collector friendly. The figure comes in a plastic tray in his robot mode with his weapons and wheels laid out beside him, but let’s go ahead and get started with his alt mode.

As expected, Splinter is a motorcycle and I think this is a really solid alt mode, but it does fall short in a few areas. There are clearly some robot parts showing through, particularly under the seat, and I think that keeps Splinter from hitting that high Masterpiece quality pedigree. I also think the handlebar area could have used some more polishing. The handlebars themselves are kind of floppy and the headlamp is quite obviously on a hinge, and I’m not sure why they opted to make it out of translucent red plastic. I also really wish he had a proper transparent windshield.

Now, that’s a lot of nitpicking, but considering that this is a 3P figure aimed at the Masterpiece market in both cost and scope, I think they’re all fair points. And to be fair there’s also plenty of good stuff going on here too. The coloring is very much on point. That orange-brown plastic they used for most of the body certainly suits the homage and the chromed out engine and exhaust system looks really sharp and elevates the look of the toy to that premium level. The black flames on the gas tank are a nice touch, as are the rubber tires. And while I don’t know squat about motorcycles, I do really enjoy the style they went with here. It looks to me like an older bike, and while it’s obviously not as squared off as the original G1 toy, there are just enough boxy bits here and there to drive that homage home without compromising the look of the alt mode. I’m also very pleased with how well the bike mode stays together and the fold down kickstand is certainly welcome. Again, it’s a solid alt mode, but it’s the lack of fine tuning that keeps it from truly running with the official Masterpiece bots.

As far as scale goes, Splinter’s bike mode is pretty close to being suited for 6-inch scale figures and I tossed out a shot of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Ghost Rider mounting him to give you an idea of what that looks like. Of course, that means he’s nowhere near in scale with the Masterpiece alt modes, as evidenced by the above comparison shot of him with Masterpiece Ironhide. He’s enormous by comparison. Now, I’m not going to hold that against Splinter, because until the toy companies work out a way to employ actual mass shifting in their products, you’re going to have to sacrifice the scale of a motorcycle alt mode to make the robot mode work. And in the end, it’s the robot mode’s scale that I really care about. So let’s get this guy transformed and see how that robot mode fares!

Transforming Splinter is not an overly complex undertaking, but I found that there are a few steps that are more difficult then they should be. The clearance on the arms, for example, is way too tight and you really have to have them in a very precise position to get them to fold in and out of  for the bike mode. It’s also worth mentioning that Splinter requires a fair amount of parts removal and this initial above shot is him without those bits re-attached yet. Both wheels and both exhaust pipes come off and there are additional spiked plates for the wheels that don’t fit into the motorcycle mode at all. Some fans are likely to cry, Partsformer! Me? I think it would have been cool to work those wheel plates in as saddlebags or something, but overall I think it’s fine and, as we’ll soon, see it does give you a number of options on how you want to display Splinter in his robot mode.

One option is to put the wheels on the shoulders, which looks good, but it’s not really how I picture Wreck-Gar. It’s also a dead giveaway that this mold was also used by DX9 as their Not-Cy-Kill from the Go-Bots. That’s right, kids… Third-Party Go-Bots! Anyway, let’s try again…

Ahh, that’s more like it. This is how I’m used to seeing Wreck-Gar. Actually, it’s usually with one tire on his leg and the other worn as a shield, and that’s possible here as well and I’ll demonstrate it when I get to the weapons. Looking beyond the position of the tires, I think this is a really solid robot mode. I kind of miss G1 Wreck-Gar’s nipple guns, but I still like the design and sculpt of the chest. There’s a fair amount of detail in it and the gray and silver paint hits make it pop, as does the yellow plastic in his hips and forearms and the extra hits of red paint. I’m usually not a fan of asymmetry in my robot designs, but Wreck-Gar is a Junkion, so I’m cool with the fact that his lower legs are mismatched. The shocks from the bike mode look really good as pistons in his legs and the feet, formed by the seat and the front of the bike, give him a stable stance. The overall aesthetic forms a nice compromise between the boxy G1 look with just the right amount of sleek curves in the lower legs. Not bad at all!

From the back, things are a little rougher, but there’s nothing back here that really wrecks the figure for me. They did a fair job tidying things up, particularly with the engine parts folding in to fill the void in his torso.

The head sculpt is OK. It definitely looks like Wreck-Gar, but I think the head may be a little too small. And I’m not judging that by the fact that the G1 figure’s head was enormous. Part of my issue here might be that the neck post is so small that it kind of looks like the head is just floating there. The chrome pieces on his shoulders are probably the biggest departure from the original design, but I actually kind  of dig them. What I don’t like is that the hinges that the shoulders are on do not lock into place and will swing away from the body pretty much every time I articulate his arms.

The spiky wheel covers peg right into the wheels and I have to say I really dig them a lot. Granted, they present more of a general Junkion aesthetic then Wreck-Gar himself, but I just really like the way they look, especially when pegging one of the tires to his forearm as a shield. They do add quite a bit of bulk to his lower body, but I’m willing to accept that for the added dose of bad ass that these pieces bestow upon him. Plus, he can wield the exhaust pipes like clubs, which makes for quite a striking display when coupled with the shield.

The exhaust pipes can also be converted into rifles, which have a pretty cool retro design to them and they even have scopes. The chrome on all of these parts look fantastic and really adds a lot to the figure.

In terms of scale, the robot mode succeeds at Masterpiece scale where the bike does not. I included a shot of him with MP Ironhide, which in retrospect was probably not the best choice since Ironhide is a lot bigger than the rank-and-file Autobot cars, but hopefully you get the idea.

I realize I wound up being a lot more critical of Splinter than I have been with other recent 3P offerings. In the end, I like this figure a lot… I really do! In fact, after playing with him for a couple of days, I went ahead and ordered Salmoore and Cocomone, DX9’s versions of the Go-Bots’ Cy-Kill and Crasher. So even with all the nit-picking, that should be taken as an endorsement. But here’s the thing… I bought all of these at half price and so I’m willing to be a lot more forgiving of some of the criticisms I had with this guy, then if I had paid the original $75 for him. I don’t feel as if this is anywhere near a $75 figure, even by the usually inflated 3P standards.

AL-01 Upgrade Kit by DX9

Yeah, there’s a title that just pulls you in, doesn’t it? In case you aren’t familiar and the catchy name doesn’t ring a bell, the AL-01 Upgrade Kit is a third-party set designed to enhance your Combiner Wars Leader Class Megatron. It’s crazy to think about how this whole third party Transformer thing started with unofficial upgrade kits for existing official figures before a few of these intrepid companies just decided to say, “screw it, let’s just make the figures.” I have plenty of 3P figures, but this is actually my first upgrade kit. It’s designed to do a bunch of things for the Megatron figure, some of which work really well and others are debatable.



For what is essentially just a bunch of parts, DX9 executed the presentation here pretty well. The set comes in an enclosed box with some nice artwork. The front of the box has a sillouette of the figure with the parts attached and some blue and purple geometric patterns. The back shows you the parts on the actual figure and offers some very rudimentary instructions on how to use them. Surprisingly there’s no instruction sheet inside, but most of the stuff here is self explanatory and chances are if you can’t figure out how to put them on a certain way (like on the tank mode), you needn’t bother.


Inside the box is a plastic tray that contains two hands, two feet, a gun barrel for the shoulder, a muzzle for the fusion cannon, and two leg wraps. The plastic quality for the set is very good and while there is some paint spray on the inside of some of the pieces, which cannot be seen when installed, the paint is otherwise very sharp.


DX9 actually found ways to incorporate all of these parts into the tank mode, and while I appreciate the effort, most of them feel like an afterthought and that’s not why I bought this kit anyway. The leg wraps are the worst. They’re just supposed to clamp on the front and back of the tank and I won’t even bother with that. The feet actually don’t look too bad on the top of the turret, especially if you want to put a figure up there. The muzzle looks OK on the end of the main gun. As for the gun barrel attached to the side. Meh, I could take it or leave it. This isn’t a figure that I ever really display in alt mode, so none of this matters much to me at all. I’ll also note here that I’m not going to be bothering with the replacement fists. All they do is add hinged fingers and adding that feature is not worth the effort for me to take the arms apart. With all that having been said, let’s get to the good stuff… the enhanced robot mode!


The muzzle for the fusion cannon fits over the front of the missile launcher and it definitely improves the look of this piece. It does not, however, magically transform it into the G1 fusion cannon. It’s still too long and the front and back are still too narrow, but I certainly prefer the figure with it on.


The fake gun barrel is kind of a silly idea since it literally adds kibble to the figure, but it does so to help achieve an iconic feature of Megatron’s design. The intention here is that you can clip it to his right arm and if you articulate the arm you can bend the barrel so that it’s always pointing up. Who wants to bother with that? Fortunately, it can also be plugged into the screwhole in the backpack for what I think is a much better effect. I wasn’t sure whether I would bother with this part, but I have to say in the end I think it looks pretty good and I’m keeping it on.


Finally, you get the real reason I bought this kit and that’s for the feet and leg wraps. The wraps peg onto the outside of the feet and secure quite well to the figure without inhibiting the knee articulation. Besides bulking out those scrawny lower legs, they add a pistol-grip look to the outsides of the legs and that familiar red panel to the interior. I absolutely love the way these look.


The feet are basically just bigger “shoes” that peg into the bottoms of Megsy’s feet. The silver on these match the silver on Megatron almost perfectly and they add ankle rockers. The rockers don’t have all that much depth to them, but they will keep his feet flat on the floor in the normal stance, which is a beautiful thing. More importantly, they give Megatron that little bit of extra height that makes him capable of going toe to toe with MP-10. That’s the main reason I bought this kit and I’m happy to say that it succeeds while also making the figure’s lower half look fantastic.



The only real downside of this kit is that it retails at about $40, which is almost as much as I paid for the figure. Granted, everything in the 3P world is more expensive and I can’t argue that the pieces here are well crafted and work well with the figure. And considering, I’m still well under what one of the 3P Not-Megatrons would have set me back, I’m extremely happy with this investment. I thought this figure was pretty spectacular to begin with and now I think he’s even better and I have absolutely no qualms about standing him on my Masterpiece shelf, at least until Takara comes along with something better.