Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Transformers Kabaya: Fortress Maximus - Part 1 of 4

A few years ago Takara Tomy and the company Kabaya re-teamed together to release new model kits for the Japanese market.  Long before the blind packaged craze hit the U.S. it was a common practice for companies in Japan to release small toys / model kits to grocers and other small stores.  Usually packaged with gum or some sort of candy, these toys are usually found in the candy section.  Takara and Kabaya's relationship goes back to the 80's during the original run of Transformers.  These model kits were very small and usually molded in solid colors.  I only have one authentic vintage Kabaya model kit (which I plan to share eventually), but the kit is fully transformable.  Now these kits can go for high dollar on the secondary market and there are numerous bootlegs floating about.


Today's Kabaya kits are larger, a little more detailed and most kits have a slew of stickers to apply.  I'm used to kits such as these as I've been buying all of Bandai's Mugenbine candy toys since they started several years ago.  The problem I have with these are it takes time to assemble and sticker and time isn't something I always have a lot of!  Needless to say when I got my newest kit (Fort Max) I didn't waste any time getting this one opened and put together.  We'll be looking at the kit in 3 separate posts since that is how he was packaged and sold. 

Fortress Maximus is the first in the larger DX sized Kabaya kits.  The packaging style is reminiscent of the Landcross Micromaster DX reissue.  Thankfully however these weren't blind packaged as each box was labeled #1-3.


Set #1 contains the center portion of Fort Max along with a bonus...Windcharger!  I obviously can't read anything printed on the box, but you get an idea from the thumbnail photo on the bottom of what is included inside the box.


The top of the box shows a better image of what is contained inside.  It may be hard to see but there is also a perforated pull tab right through the middle to help open the box.  I like to keep the boxes as intact as I can so I opted to open the box the old fashioned way - sliding a knife underneath the glued down flaps.


While the front of each box features unique art, the back of the boxes feature the same image - showing Fort Max in each of his 3 modes.


The sides of the boxes show off each kit - with the right side showing a larger image of Windcharger.


The left side of the box features a cross sell for the other 2 kits in the series.


One side of the box has a perforated edge allowing you to carefully open the entire box and fold it flat.  As you can see the instructions are printed on the inside of the box as opposed to a traditional instruction sheet.  The instructions do a good job showing you the steps to assemble the kit and apply the stickers.


Everything included in the kit comes packaged in a plastic bag.  Of note each "sheet" of parts are snapped in together to the next layer.  Was this to make the parts more compact or to protect the parts from damage?  Also included is a small piece of chewing gum.  Since this was a new kit and most likely hadn't been sitting inside a dusty warehouse I went ahead and chewed the gum.  Tasty.  Nothing weird.  The flavor however went away fast.  This ain't no piece of Extra brand gum!


In traditional model kit fashion each piece is individually numbered.  I found that the pieces came off the spruces relatively problem free.  I only had to take a razor blade to a few pieces to shave off the excess plastic.


One of the things about Fort Max being sold in parts is it allows you to use each kit as a stand alone "battle station" if you will.  Obviously most people won't care about this feature as they'll be buying all 3 kits at the same time so they can build Fort Max, but keeping in mind these were sold individually this wasn't a bad idea.  Granted each kit in it's alternate form is small and very simple, it's still a nice jesture by Takara Tomy.  What really surprised me about this set was it has a functioning ramp that "launches" Windcharger down the ramp.


On the back side of tower is this rounded bar piece.  You simply lift it up and it pushes up the ramp on the other side.  I really wasn't expecting anything like that so that was a pleasant surprise.



As you can see the included Windcharger toy is pretty small.  Molded in mostly red and gray plastic the included stickers give the toy most of it's detail.  Even though the wheels are molded solid pieces of plastic w/ stickers, Windcharger does feature a smaller set of rollers on the underside allowing the car to roll.


Windcharger transforms just like his G1 version...only the legs want to snap off the connection point at times.  The arms are also a little floppy.  Do you see the aforementioned wheels on the chest?  They blend in quite well.


Most of the stickers in this kit are for Windcharger.  Fort Max's stickers are limited - two for the ramp, divided faction symbol and one for the window on the reverse side of the tower.  After getting this set assembled I was even more eager to get the remaining out of their boxes.  Keep reading as we'll look at the second set very soon.

1 comment:

  1. *Sigh*....I think I'm going to get this. For one thing, I'm not going to get Encore Fort Max, he's a lot. This version is deluxe sized, so he'd fit well with my MTMTE set.