Non-affiliated, Non-lengthy, Non-articles about Transformers

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Ex-Factory Gladiator

What we have here is the Ex-Factory Gladiator, a 3rd Party Masterpiece Transformers-scaled representation of the Generation 1 Centurion Droids as seen in "The Key To Vector Sigma" episodes. These droids guard the Vector Sigma supercomputer, are supposed to have impervious armour and be highly-skilled fighters. Interestingly, they are not supposed to be armed, but Ex-Factory have equipped them with a handgun. 

These Gladiators are of course non-transforming, they are meant to be very posable Masterpiece-scaled figures aimed at scene recreation and display. The design of their fishbowl heads means that no articulation is necessary there, but you get a very decent range in the arms, wrists, hands, shoulders, waist and legs. That said, there is not much range in the ankle articulation and the crotch plate restricts forward movement of the thighs. Gladiator has double-jointed elbows, an individually articulated index finger, wrist and bicep swivels but just over 90 degrees in knee bend and not too much outward thigh swivel.

This figure being entirely different shades of green, has a very eerie but retro alien feel to it that I like. There's also just the right amount of panel, rivet and circuit detailing across the figure so as not to overwhelm visually, and it helps the thing fit in nicely with the Masterpiece and G1 aesthetic. I especially like the detailing on the inside of the shoulders, there's a proper ancient Cybertronian vibe going on there. For a figure with no face, there is a surprising amount of expression available to it. You can see that he can do a very good kneel, and a semi-decent run.

The weapon grip is quite weak on Gladiator, just moving limbs will cause the blaster to come un-tabbed, so that's something to be aware of. It's a very G1-styled blaster, reminiscent of what MP Bumblebee and Ironhide have but longer. On this test shot, the two halves of the blaster have come apart a few times, and I just had to snap them back together. They also feel quite light and flimsy. There is no obvious way to store the gun when he's not holding it.

You can see that in terms of height, he's right there with the signature MP-10 era Masterpiece toys. I reckon we must be enjoying a quite a special period of toy releases when 3rd party companies are confident enough to put out a whole figure around £40 that does not transform and references one specific episode of the US Transformers cartoon. They are also hoping that collectors troop build this figure, and I can totally see that happening. I certainly found it easier to understand the point of this release by having two in hand for review.

Screen cap courtesy of TFWiki

Screen cap courtesy of TFWiki

Overall, I'd say he feels quality enough for a 3P figure on the cheaper side of the spectrum for his size, maybe a bit light and a tad hollow in certain spots (certainly the gun). He has good posability, but for something that does not transform, I expected exceptional posability, and the ankles especially disappointed me as well as that obstruction of a crotch plate. Gladiator scores very high in terms of accuracy to the source material (see above screen caps) apart from maybe the coloured rectangle on his chest being green instead of whatever colour it looks in that screen cap! He looks powerful and is a good fit for the toys he's been designed to sit with. Maybe most importantly, he has the character to allow scene recreation and work with a Masterpiece TF diorama, which is what I imagine he was conceived for. Also, comedy.

All the best


  1. Yeah, I had three of these pre-ordered but I think I'm going to cancel. I really appreciate the fact that someone is making it... but at $55 based on the two reviews I've now read, I feel they're overpriced. If they offer a discount for purchasing 3+ then maybe I'll re-consider.

    1. These have not made it to market at all, have they? I hope everyone got their money back from the preorders :(

      All the best