Review: DX9 War in Pocket Doombringers

The third party unofficial Transformers market has evolved quite a bit over the years. What started as simple upgrade kits evolved into full-on Classics-style figures, then became flooded with combiners, and now the trend seems to be Masterpiece-style figures. If there’s a consistent pattern to be found, it’s that once a certain type of toy becomes popular (combiners, Dinobots, etc.), you can bet that nearly every 3rd party company is going to jump on the bandwagon. As the market has grown, however, some companies have managed to find their own niches, separate from the “mainstream.”

One of these niches has been frontlined by DX9 and Iron Factory: the Legends-scale figure. The smaller scale still allows for the innovative transformations that make third party figures appealing, but also at a much cheaper price than typical releases. Whether by coincidence or cooperation, the two companies have managed thus far to avoid directly competing with each other, as each lines offer different characters. I’ll start the dive into third party Legends with the most recent release by DX9, the Doombringers: a 3-pack with variants of their previously released Plague (Scourge), Tyrant (Galvatron), and Hurricane (Cyclonus).

Vehicle Modes

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Plague is every much the flying shoe-boat that G1 Scourge was, only now in pocket-size! It’s a solid altmode, and it looks about as accurate as one can get. It doesn’t really do much (the head can’t pop up to recreate animation errors, sadly), and there doesn’t seem to be a place to store the gun, but it’s serviceable. Compared to the original 2-pack release, Doombringer Plague replaces white with a more cartoon-accurate pale blue (a color that also seems to wreak havoc on my white balance).

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Tyrant’s altmode is just as nonsense as Plague’s, only a lot less cool because it’s a stationary cannon. This is, of course, exactly what G1 Galvatron’s altmode was, but when it comes to Galvatron I like to see liberties taken when it comes to alternate forms. Still, it totally works for what it is, and I can’t fault it for being faithful. Just by looking at pictures, Doombringer Tyrant’s purple looks a tad more subdued than the original release.

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Cyclonus always had the coolest altmode out of the trio, and Hurricane… kind of pulls it off. It’s not quite the sleek space-plane of G1 Cyclonus, but it works. I wish something more could have been done with the arms, but at this scale, how much can you really complain? I will call out that even though there is a hole under his nose that looks like it should allow his gun to peg in, the handle of his rifle is too thick. Poor design or QC error (I’m guessing the latter). Like Tyrant, his shade of purple looks to be a bit duller than the regular release.

Robot Modes

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Starting again with Plague, who gets immediate cool points for incorporating automorph into his transformation. He strikes a nice silhouette, and I think the pale blue looks a lot nicer than the plain white. His head is a bit oddly cylindrical, but the facial hair is most definitely on point. (Quick note about plastic quality on these guys: the plastic is definitely solid, but it does have a noticeable stiffness and doesn’t feel as polished as MMC or official plastic.)

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Plague’s articulation is almost entirely ball joints: neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and wings. They’re all solid and tight joints (the knees especially), and combined with his waist joint offer Plague some really nice poseability for his size. He also comes with a black rifle that’s kinda-sorta modeled after G1 Scourge’s gun.

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Tyrant is easily the winner of the threesome, not only in articulation but also general aesthetics. Taking cues from both G1 and the early IDW Galvatron designs, Tyrant just looks damn cool, conveying the appearance of a powerful and imposing madman incredibly well at this scale.

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Tyrant is also mostly ball joints (shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, ankles), with swivels for his neck and waist. He also has transformation joints that can serve as double-jointed elbows and knees; the elbows are more convincing, but the knees are functional enough. These combined with the ankle tilts makes Tyrant the most poseable figure in the set. His trademark orange cannon can be mounted on his arm, or held in his hand, if you like to do things wrong.

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Hurricane again comes up as the weak link, looking a little too flat and awkward to match up with Cyclonus’s more flowing aesthetics. He’s certainly not bad-looking, and details on his face, chest, and hips show some heavy IDW influence, which is always welcome. Another odd change for this release is that his feet are now metallic purple instead of silver. Woo?

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Despite still having ball joints in his shoulders, elbows, and hips, Hurricane falls short due to frustratingly limited range on his shoulders. His neck and waist are on basic swivels that work just fine, and his knees swap out ball joints for a basic hinge. One major improvement the Doombringer version gets over the regular release is the addition of thigh swivels, which the original Hurricane was woefully bereft of. Props to DX9 for correcting that design flaw.

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Overall

Aside from Hurricane’s massively improved legs and some minor color changes, all of thes figures have been released before, so there isn’t really anything “new” about this set. However, Tyrant and Hurricane were originally sold as a 2-pack, and Plague was only in a 2-pack with Medilance (Ratchet). What’s more, both of these 2-packs sold for about $45, while the Doombringers set is only $10 more, which is a pretty great value. Third party Legends figures can often be a tough sell, as you’re getting a smaller toy for your money, but about $18 per figure is the best value on the market.  If you have a Legends scale hole in your collection that some pocket-sized Heralds of Unicron can fill, don’t hesitate to pick these guys up.

Where to Buy

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