Demolition Crue: Apex (DC-01) & Geminus (DC-02) by Mech Ideas, Part 2

Ok, I’m back for Part 2 of Mech Idea’s amazing, marvelous, and pretty damn cool tribute to the G1 Jumpstarters. Earlier I gushed about Apex (“Not-Top Spin”) and now it’s time to take a look at his brother in arms, Geminus (“Not-Twin Twist”). Geminus is a recolor and remold of Apex, so I should be able to keep this mercifully shorter than Part 1. Then again, I still have a lot of gushing to do, so I won’t make any promises.

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There’s the packaging. Once again it’s the only bad thing about these guys, and by bad I just mean it isn’t as polished as some of the packaging we get with other third-party toys. I also would have preferred straight boxes to these carded blister packs, just because they tend to store better. That having been said, if Mech Ideas wants to keep producing figures this amazing at this good a price, they can wrap them in old Chinese newspapers and shoelaces for all I care.

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Geminus’ alt mode is a drill tank. He’s largely the same configuration and sculpt as his brother. The most noticeable difference is he has little drill bits instead of Apex’s intakes, and instead of wings he has molded and painted tank treads running along the sides. Geminus has the same little recessed area above his cockpit for an Autobot symbol, if you have a sticker lying around, and his deco is the opposite of Apex’s so what was white is now blue, and vice versa. His vents are painted in a similar manner to Apex’s and his drills are painted with nice bright, metallic silver. Some have argued that his drills are a little puny, but their size was clearly sacrificed for his robot mode, and I approve of the trade-off.

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Geminus comes with the same hammer as Apex, but a new set of guns. In this case, the hammer is supposed to peg into the top and serve as a giant cannon, and you can still plug his guns in on either side of it. Obviously, you can do the same thing with Apex’s hammer, but the intent here is to make Geminus look more like a conventional tank. I haven’t decided whether I prefer him with or without the hammer-cannon yet. In some cases it looks pretty good, other times, I think it just looks like a giant hammer on his roof. Either way, if you prefer the more clean G1 homage without the weapons, you certainly have that option, and just like Apex, Geminus’ hammer can break down and you can stow it under his backside.

Geminus transforms exactly the same as Apex and I didn’t encounter any problems or quality issues. The plastic is great and the engineering is clever. But it’s still a good idea to be mindful of some of the tiny tabs.

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Robot mode! All the love I expressed for Apex remains true for Geminus. Once again, the reversed deco looks great, and he actually has some unique yellow paint apps to distinguish him from his brother. His head sculpt makes him look a little more of a bruiser than Apex, with a slightly bulkier helmet and separate eyes instead of the visor. Geminus is a fantastic looking robot with super fun articulation.

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Oh, right… one more thing. If you pre-ordered this pair you got a little extra bonus. It’s an extra battle damaged head for Geminus, which may or may not be a very specific reference to a certain character in some limited comic book series, which everyone should read because it happens to be fantastic. It is undoubtedly a cool little extra with impressive sculpting and paintwork for such a tiny piece. I doubt I’ll ever display him with it, but I’ll never complain about getting a nifty bonus like this one.

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And there you have the Demolition Crue! I waffled back and forth over pre-ordering these guys for a long while, just because I haven’t had any experience with Mech Ideas before and spending loads of money on third-party Transformers is still something rather new to me. But now that I have them in hand, I’m inspired to fall back on the words of the great Dr. Channard, “And to think… I hesitated.” These guys are awesome in every way and at $70 for the pair they are a great value as far as third-party robots go. All that’s left to say is that I am thrilled to have this pair in my collection and I’ll be very interested to see what figures Mech Ideas churns out next.

Demolition Crue: Apex (DC-01) & Geminus (DC-02) by Mech Ideas, Part 1

Ah, The Jumpstarters. Top Spin and Twin Twist have suffered at the hands of a lot of haters over the years because of their G1 toys. But as a kid, I loved those figures. Not only were they fun to play with because they transformed instantly, but while most of my G1 bots didn’t look much like their animated counterparts, the Jumpstarters’ robot modes actually looked like something that could pass for the Sunbow aesthetic. Plus, besides Shockwave, these guys were the first G1 toys that actually had Cybertron alt modes and that was plenty cool. Sure they were bricks, but few G1 Transformers weren’t, so why single these guys out? Anyway, the characters have long since been redeemed by becoming part of the popular Wreckers fiction and now, thanks to third-party Mech Ideas, these guys have got some modern toy updates. Let’s check out The Demolition Crue! Demolition… Wreckers… get it? I’m going to kick it off with Apex and hopefully I’ll be back later on today to look at Geminus.

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This is a surprise! I was expecting a box, but Apex comes carded on a blister pack type deal. But never fear, they used a sparing amount of tape and it was very easy to slide the card out and remove the tray, making these packages still totally collector friendly. The bubble displays Apex in his alt mode along with his weapons. The card has some character art on the front and photos of the toy on the back, along with a lengthy bio to prove that this toy is indeed totally original and any similarities to any other toy or character is purely coincidental. Wink. The printing on the card is rather fuzzy and poor quality, making this package quite a dip below what other third-party companies like Fansproject or TFC use for their products. Inside you get a folded color instruction sheet, which is designed to work with both figures.

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First off, the quality of the plastic used here is really nice. He’s the size of a current Deluxe Transformer and the weight of the figure matches a similar sized Hasbro product. He’s also extremely solid and tight in his alt mode, as everything locks together extremely well. If you’ve spent any time with the G1 Top Spin figure, then you should find Apex’s alt mode instantly familiar. He’s a Cybertronian jet and a pretty cool looking one at that. The biggest difference is that the original toy had dual cockpits, whereas Apex has two small intakes and one cockpit. The intakes still mimic the cockpits on the G1 toy and the homage is certainly solid enough. He has a hollow compartment under his rear, but that’s designed so that you can break down his hammer into parts and store it inside. Clever! His guns peg into the holes on the top to give him some firepower in his alt mode. Plugging the guns in do detract a bit from the G1 homage, but I think they complement the design pretty well.

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Apex mostly utilizes the off-white and blue colored plastic for his deco, although his cockpit is painted black and all of his vents are neatly painted with a very nice shade of silver-grey. There’s also a recess just behind his cockpit in case you feel like outfitting him with an Autobot insignia. So far, so good. Let’s convert him and check out his robot mode.

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Apex’s transformation is a clever piece of engineering. I didn’t expect anything as simple as the G1 Jumpstarters, but this guy has a few cool tricks in the way his torso flips about. Because everything in his alt mode pegs in so well, there were a few instances where I had to use a tad more force than I would have liked, but as I said before the plastic feels very good and I don’t see any problems with stress marks through normal handling. Just watch those tiny little tabs!

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In robot mode, Apex is a sexy little beast and a great homage to G1 Top Spin. I’m particularly delighted with the head sculpt, which I believe is damn near perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing about it. You can turn his intakes around to make them look a little less Starscream-ish and more like the original toy, and I really dig the way his wings form a jetpack on his back. Besides his overall clean design, there’s a ton of sculpted detail, from panel lines to vents, all over this guy. Apex stands at the same scale as any of Hasbro’s Fall of Cybertron Deluxe figures and if you count his intakes, he stands almost exactly as tall as the Deluxe War for Cybertron Optimus Prime.

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Apex’s color scheme is largely the same off-white and blue deco as his jet mode, although he has some nice red paint apps on his shoulders and there’s another recessed spot for an Autobot symbol on his chest. The colors of the plastic look fantastic, unlike the cheap white stuff Hasbro has been using, and I especially like the vibrant blue.

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You want articulation? You gots it. After all, what’s the use of having a two-handed hammer if you can’t wield it in both hands? Apex’s arms can rotate and move laterally at the shoulders, they have swivels in the bicep and double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the wrists. The legs can rotate and move laterally at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, hinges in the knees, and both hinges and rocker joints in the ankles. And naturally, his head is ball jointed. That grocery list of joints translates to this guy being loads of fun to pose and play around with.

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Did someone mention a hammer? Yes, Apex comes with a two-handed hammer, which can break down into three pieces for storage in his alt mode, and as mentioned he can hold it in either hand or wield it with both. It can also be converted to a double barreled turret-like weapon. He also comes with two guns, one for each hand, and they can also be pegged into his back for storage for when it’s hammer time.

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Apex is a fantastic figure and Mech Ideas did an absolutely beautiful job on him. As far as third-party Transformers go, there’s really no downside to this guy. Not only is he a great update to a very old toy design, but he’s one of those figures that I simply cannot put down. The fact that he fits in perfectly with my Hasbro Deluxe Transformers is also a huge plus. Engineering, color, quality, articulation, fun weapons, he hits every category that makes up a great Transformer. And at $70 for the set, that puts Apex at only $35, making him easily the best value in third-party Transformers out there today. You want me to say something bad about him? Ok, the packaging isn’t so great. That’s the best I can do.

Ok, enough gushing. I’ll be back later to check out his brother Geminus.