X-Transbots’ MM-VIII Arkose is their latest release in their MasterMiniSeries of Masterpiece-styled mini-bots. Here is a list of their mini-bot releases thus far:
- MM-I Krank (Huffer)
- MM-II Stax (Pipes)
- MM-III Hoss (GoBots Road Ranger)
- MM-IV Ollie (Wheelie)
- MM-V Sonic (GoBots Turbo)
- MM-VI Boost (Windcharger)
- MM-VII Hatch (Tailgate)
- MM-VIII Arkose (Beachcomber)
Arkose is modeled after the G1 mini-bot Beachcomber, who is a military dune buggy of sorts. According to TFWiki, it is a ‘1982 M1040 Chenowth “Hellfire” Fast Attack Vehicle’, which is very much at odds with Beachcomber’s propensity for peace and love. Although he is what you could call a ‘hippie’, he is a fairly skilled fighter and can hold his own in battle.
His bio reads –
“In a gentle way, you can shake the world”
A geology professor before the great war, Arkose was part of the pacifist movement until he was recruited and sent on an exploratory mission to the Planet Earth. War found its way to him as he chose to fight on behalf of the planet and its citizens. His pursuit of inner calm leads him to Earth’s most majestic habitats, where he attunes to the planet’s delicate balance and captivating life forms. Empathetic, fun loving and conflicted: Arkose is a friend to all life, one who guardedly fights to protect it.
The back of the box also includes a G1-inspired tech specs readout, where you could use the red plastic decoder strip to show the stat line. The artwork is also retro-styled, but instead of cheesy artwork it uses images of the other X-Transbots figures against a space backdrop.
Thanks to The Chosen Prime, I received my Arkose a few days ago. Under the interest of full disclosure, I had a couple of issues with my figure when I first opened him up. The rivet holding one of the front bumper pieces on came apart, and the engine block has some stuck joints so I couldn’t fully transform him without removing that part (thankfully it’s on a mushroom peg). I’ve contacted Brandon at The Chosen Prime to see if I can get some replacement pieces, but in the mean time I’ve tried to fix these broken items. I’ve had what appears to be success, but it’s never fun knowing a part of your figure could fall off at any time.
Some of the joints were fairly tight, which on a figure with parts this small can be a real issue. After a couple of transformations back and forth, things seem to have loosened up to the point of being acceptable. X-Transbots has had a fairly poor reputation in the past, and their releases since Apollyon have been marked improvements in quality over their initial figures. While Arkose is not perfect, he has grown on my in the days since I first started playing him.
Arkose is one sexy little (implied) Autobot once you get him in robot mode standing with your other Masterpiece figures! His poseablility is right up there, with many important points of articulation. Ankle tilts? Check. Double-jointed elbows? Check. Waist swivel? Check. The knees can a bit limited in bend due to kibble on the back of the shins, but if you scootch it out of the way a bit you can get a decent range of motion.
The blue and off-white used across bot mode are very nice. There are small painted details on the abdomen which represent the stickers from the G1 toy well. The large wheel on his shoulders, the chest detailing, the wide feet and that beautiful face sculpt all give Arkose a very strong silhouette. He is proportioned very well, and the kibble is relatively minor. Yes, there is a large engine sitting on his back but for most angles except straight on from the side you won’t care. All of his alt mode parts are where they should be for those G1 purists out there.
As mentioned in the basics, he is modeled after a military-style dune buggy. He is detailed very nicely, with a (mostly) die-cast roll cage, some nice chrome accents on the engine and sculpted suspension components on both front and rear. There is a clip included on the passenger side of the vehicle that can be used to mount his gun. Perhaps it’s just my copy, but the clip is not quite up to the task of firmly holding the gun in place, as it’s just a half-C clip and the gun can quite easily be popped out of it. All four wheel freely spin with plenty of ground clearance under the vehicle, and they have nicely sculpted tread detailing. There is also a small shifter and steering wheel in the driver’s area.
The whole figure appears to be painted in a rich blue (as opposed to just blue plastic), but there are some color inconsistencies. The ends of the roll cage where they hook into the front of the passenger cabin, the die-cast toes (which are the dash of the vehicle) and the blue accents on the seats are all varying shades of almost turquoise, and it’s fairly noticeable. Thankfully those are relatively small parts so they don’t ruin the look of the alt mode, but it is something to keep in mind when making your purchasing decision. If you are handy with a paint brush I’m willing to bet you could fix those fairly easily.
He scales very nicely with the other Masterpiece figures released in recent years, including fellow mini-bot Bumble(bee). I apologize for using the “s-word”, but I do appreciate good scaling between figures which is why I’ve moved away from classics/deluxe type figures and into Masterpiece in the past year or two. Comparing Arkose to to the aforementioned MP-21 Bumble, MP-12 Sideswipe and the just released MP-27 Ironhide, he fits in very well. Well, aside from not being something you’d normally see on the streets in to 80’s that is!
Arkose comes with some nice accessories, which work well with his character and reference the Season 2 episode ‘The Golden Lagoon’. These include a G1 toy inspired head with faceplate, his gun, an electrum (gold) plated hand and 3 small birds. The hand pops on and off fairly easily on the mushroom peg that is his wrist. The 3 birds are well painted for their size, and are similar to those shown in the referenced episode of the 80’s cartoon. The face is also very easy to swap out, but unless you have some fingernails you might need a flat head screwdriver or some other prying tool to get it off.
There is also a decent instruction sheet and a nice bio/tech-specs card. The instructions are not real clear on a couple of steps, but once you get him figured out it’s a fairly simple transformation. The bio card is made of a nice thick plastic, so there are no worries about creasing it or rouging up the edges.
Arkose is one of those figures that I can see many collectors skipping, due mainly to the fact he is from X-Transbots. I encourage you to think twice before dismissing him automatically due to that. Even though I had some QC issues with my figure, I’m willing to bet that is the exception rather than the rule on this guy. The paint is very well done, the poseability is excellent, he is super stable in bot mode, and the alt mode is very accurate (if a bit plain looking due to the large swath of blue). You may want to wait for a V2 release (if that’s something X-Transbots will do, I know they did with Apollyon), or see if a sale drops the price a bit. But even at the regular retail price I paid for him I’m pretty happy. Once I can get those replacement pieces via The Chosen Prime, I’ll be even happier.