Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Treading Water - 3rd Party Rundown 2022 Part 2

The Third party Transformers scene is one that is constantly changing. Through the years we have seen many companies just disappear without a trace and other newer ones popping up to take their place. In the previous post, I covered companies that have most likely called it a day and are no longer around. This time, I will go over companies who are sort of stuck in a sort of holding pattern. While we haven’t seen anything really new from most of them, for one reason or another, I’m not quite ready to consider them done.

Just like the companies in the last post, we haven’t heard much from these guys either, at least in terms of brand new releases. The big difference here is that these companies still are showing some signs of life in the shape of reissues and recolors of previous releases. It’s the best way for them to make an easy profit without having to spend on more design and tooling for an all new toy. At this point, they aren’t quite sunk or moving forward, they’re basically just treading water.


DX9 is one of those companies that tried to do everything. Starting out like most companies with CHUG styled releases, and then moving on to the currently more popular masterpiece styled and legends scaled releases. Casting a wide net, they have released quite a number of Transformer toys through the years. And I basically passed on most of them because there always seemed to be another company that had a better version of whatever they did. The rare exception for me would be their take on a masterpiece Rodimus Prime, Carry. While many would argue that Carry is too stylized to fit in a traditional G1 MP display, I just feel he is just so much better than the only other MP Rodimus Prime option out there, which would be the official one by Takara.

Technically, I do have another DX9 release in La Hire, which would be an MP take on Hot Rod from the live action movies. But what I really have is a really a knock off version of the DX9 release, but I guess that still counts? kinda?

Anyway, DX9’s last major release was their MP Menasor set, Attila, which I believe was completed early 2021. And just like many of their previous releases, I passed on it too because I went with what I felt was a better Menasor option from X-Transbots. While I could be wrong, that seems to have been the last new release from DX9 to date. But I’m not ready to call them done as a company because they have been releasing a G2 recolored set of Atilla which is still in the process of being completed.

Bad Cube

At one point, Bad Cube, was one of the more active 3rd party companies churning out quite a lot of masterpiece styled Transformers. And despite their rather overcomplicated and sometimes messy designs, I liked them quite a lot. In my opinion, despite their overly-ambitious engineering, most of their stuff made sense to me. After “exploding” into a jumbled mess during transformation, they somehow eventually worked out, leaving you with both solid robot and alt modes. Over the years though, I have slowly been replacing my Bad Cube pieces in my collection for other more refined releases from other companies. And the only ones I still have left are living on borrowed time.

Anyway, after their initial success in the MP lane, they decided to branch out into more original designs and concepts. They announced a new subline called “Natures” in 2018 with their first release under that line oddly called “Captain Huffy” released in 2019. Unfortunately I don’t think the “Cap” did very well since aside from some additional concept art for future releases, there has been nothing new from Natures…or Badcube. The only thing “new” from the company have been a bunch of re-issues of their previous MP releases. And that’s it.


In my opinion, Maketoys made their first big splash in 2012 with their 3rd party Devastator, and since then they have had one impressive release after another. It’s no surprise to me since apparently, Maketoys was started by designers who broke off from early 3rd Party pioneer Fansproject. Anyway, I didn’t get too much of Maketoys stuff, which isn’t really a reflection on the quality of their output. They just made a lot of stuff that I wasn’t particularly into.

Anyway one subline I did get into was their take on MP Autobot Headmasters. They released two out of the four, Chromedome and Hardhead, and showed  prototypes for Brainstorm and Highbrow in 2018. And that was it. Which is why I consider Maketoys the most frustrating company that I am covering in this post. It’s just a case of leaving things unfinished. And this isn’t the only case. They also set off to make MP Coneheads and managed to release the first one, Dirge in 2020, they have yet to release the final two, Thrust and Ramjet. While I didn’t go in on this set, I can imagine the frustration of those who did.

So what have they been doing instead of finishing these aforementioned sets? Well…recolors of other previous releases of course. The most recent one was a purple recolor of their now obsolete seeker mold that I can’t imagine anyone was waiting for. So while I am still hoping against hope that Maketoys will eventually get around to finishing up their Headmasters with Brainstorm and Highbrow, I’m not holding my breath. I think it will be more likely that they will end up seeing recolors of Chromedome and Hardhead instead!


Gigapower is known in the 3rd Party community for two things, making 3rd party Dinobots and taking their sweet time doing them. Their first release was a take on Snarl, called Gutter in 2015. And their last one, Gaudenter, aka Swoop was finally released late 2019. That’s 5 years to finish 5 toys! But if you were in on these guys from the start, then your patience was handsomely rewarded with a set of amazing and awesome Dinobots for your MP collection. And while there were teases and concept art for future releases such as Omega Supreme and Sky Lynx way back in 2016-17 there hasn’t been any news about either up to this point. While I am quite happy with my Omega Supreme from Fans Toys, I would have loved a Gigapower styled Sky Lynx!

In the meantime Gigapower have just decided to rest on their laurels and reissue and recolor the same five Dinobots over and over again. But who could really blame them? If I invested so much time and money in these guys I would milk them for every cent. Besides, the demand for MP Dinobots is definitely there. Despite the fact that the DInobots are must haves for any serious G1 Transformers display, the only other company doing MP versions of these guys are Fans Toys with their Iron Dibots. And reissues of those guys are selling at almost twice the price of Gigapowers. And with new collectors coming in every year, I don’t see that demand waning any time soon.

And that pretty much covers it for this post. At first glance, it seems rather useless for a company that no longer issues new toys and just subsists on recolors and reissues to still be around. These guys may not matter that much to long time collectors like myself. But they help new ones get into the collecting game. For those who missed the boat on earlier releases that are now fetching crazy prices in the secondary market, these reissues can be a Godsend to help them catch up with everyone else. And the more collectors there are, the more the hobby grows for everyone.

So with the exception of Maketoys (please finish your Headmasters!), I wouldn’t really mind if we didn’t get anything else new from any of these other companies. Especially since there still are quite a number of other companies still alive and kicking that will keep our cravings for something new satisfied.