Thursday 8 December 2022



I chopped in my MP-22 Ultra Magnus early, pretty much a few days after the announcement from X-Transbots. I liked the look of their offering immediately, so much so I did what I did. I have previous form when it comes to Ultra Magnus, he was the first Optimus Prime I had. That doesn't make sense I know but it’s true.

never had an Optimus Prime as a kid, initially my parents couldn’t get me one due to him being scarce (Christmas 1984), later it was down to me just being distracted by other characters. Not that I’m complaining, no. Christmas 1984 was good to me in the shape of Megatron, Soundwave (Buzzsaw), Rumble and Ravage. But back to Magnus. Christmas 1986 and Santa had left me Ultra Magnus and Galvatron, with Cyclonus and Scourge in tow. I’d been aware of Ultra Magnus for a while thanks to the Marvel UK comics and liked the character from the start, a feeling cemented by his appearance in the Movie that December 12th. So there’s a little background, which brings me to Commander Stack. Will this toy live up to not just my nostalgic baggage, but the hope put into it from seeing those initial teaser images…. Time to deal with this review!

Box & Accessories

X-Transbots do some good packaging. They are always nicely illustrated, sturdy with a lovely matt finish and highlights. What I also like about them is the inclusion of the ‘battle scene’ on the rear, very reminiscent of the Generation 1 boxes. Having being impressed by the polystyrene that Janssen was entombed in, it feels like a step back with the plastic clam that is used for Stack. I’ve said it many times before, I do appreciate the polystyrene, it gives off that ‘Premium’ feel, but I’m also aware that it does have cost implications too. Standard collectors card and instruction booklet are present but I cannot remember the last time I used an instruction booklet, I tend to hit YouTube up for a transformation video and pause where necessary.

Accessories wise, we get a whole bunch of faces, a gun, a matrix, translucent eyes and a human avatar of Magnus from that episode! You know, the one where they did that thing and then….. There is also a voice box and light up eyes, more on those later. The extra faces are okay, not much variation in expression and no idea why some have a goatee? I’d have much preferred a sculpt that is reminiscent of the 86 Movie poster, where it looks like he’s wearing shades. The Matrix is a little too big and so does not fit in his chest well, drops out when you open him up. Gun is a nice size and painted well, however I personally prefer the guns to be painted, well, a gun colour. But I get it, it’s like that in the cartoon. And lastly the avatar, it’s nice I suppose, sculpted and painted well but I’d not have missed it had it not been included.


I decided to touch on this here, as normally I comment upon this in the Robot Mode section, but there are a few things I want to say about it. The transformation is not difficult, however it is involved and certain parts need a force that makes you feel like you are about to break something. This is down to tight fitting tabs, very little clearance and pins… lots of pins and foldy flaps. I’d suggest dumping the instruction manual and tacking a look at the three links (below) for the transformation guide for Stack by YouTuber ‘Transforms Into A Guitar’, you’ll thank me later. I was hesitant at first but after familiarizing myself with the sequence I now feel confident with the process of transformation and have no qualms in doing it.

Robot to Vehicle: Here
Extra Bits: Here
Vehicle to Robot: Here

Vehicle Mode

My first thought was, oh he looks like MP-10, which he does. I’m curious as to the thinking behind that, what with the robot mode going the cartoon route for it’s looks. It’s no major issue, it just got me thinking is all. Overall the vehicle mode is good, if you intend to leave it alone and not play with it. The cab is essentially a shell, with not much structural integrity. A little too much pressure here or there and it cracks open like an egg. Very slight rotation on the fifth wheel giving you a minimal angle. Then those tight tabs strike back as not all fit in fully and leave panel gaps, or in the case of the rear of the trailer, the ‘arms’ can get stuck if you insert all the way onto the tab. Id suggest not doing so and it very well may break or stress the tabs.

I’d assume that if all tabbed and locked into place as it should, it would be quite sturdy, but to achieve this I’d need to trim or shave some of those tabs. Something I’m not in a rush to do, as to be honest, Stack after this review will remain in robot mode. Rubber tyres, it’s a thing for me, and rolls well with no hindrance. As you’ll see form my pictures, the Takara MP cars fit well on Stack’s trailer (figures sold separately), and scale very well. The cab doors open and inside there is some detail, I’ve not tried it but it looks like the Spike figure that comes with MP-10 will sit comfortably inside.

Robot Mode

Commander Stack’s robot mode is really nice, honestly, it looks bloody lovely. His pose and presence really capture the essence of the character, heroic, powerful and serious.  Proportions are good, that is when you don’t have the arms extended to utilize the double joints. Which, if you are using those, would mean that the arms aren’t down by his side, making those proportions go ape (pun intended). As for the articulation, that too is very good, some real dynamic poses are achievable and under his own stability, without support.

Die-cast helps the weight distribution, giving him that supporting center of gravity. I do believe that the whole figure is painted too, which looks lush if a little flat. Again, I know, the cartoon but a little fleck or shiny flake in the blues would've made him really pop. In robot mode you can play around with his light and sound features. Two LR621 batteries for the light up eyes and three LR44’s for the voice box. To activate the eyes, a quick double press of the button to the rear of Stacks head, and to activate the voice, one long press for a couple of seconds. Now, my eyes won’t light up, I’ll get to that later but the voice box does work. A selection of phrases from the ‘86 movie invigorate your audio receptors briefly until you realize that the voice is not Robert Stack. I don’t know who it is but it sounds like the guy from those YouTube videos, the ones where he says lines from movies and stuff. Interestingly the names of Transformers used are swapped out with the names of X-Transbots product. For example, using Apollyon instead of Megatron etc. Just a random fact, Apollyon is Greek for an angel of the abyss, in Hebrew that name is Abaddon. Megatron to Galvatron anyone, lol.

As for the overall build of Stack in robot mode, that too is great. The tight tabs and such work in his favor in this mode. With everything all in place nice and snug it makes Stack feel solid. This is a more streamline representation of Magnus, not as bulky as the Takara offering, or what I assume the Fans Toys version to be when it’s released. It just looks so tidy from any angle, with no kibble on show whatsoever. The back is tidy and the but flap is proportioned right.

Closing Thoughts

Okay, so as some of you who follow me may know, me and Stack didn’t get off to the greatest of starts. My box arrived already opened, I had a left shoulder issue, hairline crack on the waist flap and the eye circuit board being non functional. All these issue are being dealt with by the retailer, of whom has been of great help and assistance. Non of these issues being their fault etc. Now thankfully, my excess issues appear to be in the minority, although the hairline crack seems to be getting more and more reports. But as I say, all are in hand and have not swayed either way my thoughts on this figure or X-Transbots as a 3rd Party manufacturer.  At this time I have secured the issues with a temporary repair to allow me to review and display until replacement parts arrive.

So, these issues aside, what do I think of Commander Stack. X-Transbots have produced a solid figure here with Commander Stack, even if at times it can come across as delicate or fiddly and overly complicated. My prior experience with X-Transbots has been Eligos, Andras, Boost and Janssen, all good figures in their own way but not on a Fans Toys level. However, as I stated in my review for Janssen, I think X-Transbots are getting close, real close. Their output is getting better but they seem to make some small errors or odd choices with design, materials and such. This I feel keeps them just behind, which is a shame as they are hitting that price point that could totally undermine Fans Toys.

Commander Stack displays very well and fits in with both Official and other 3rd Party Masterpiece in terms of scale and aesthetic. The latter due to it’s influence by the animation, as are most figures nowadays. I’d say he’s a viable option for those that wish to upgrade from MP-22 and perhaps not be keen on the way Fans Toys develops their offerings. I for one am tempted to get the Youth version, especially if X-Transbots decide to release a Youth version of their upcoming Abaddon. I can see the recreation of Geoff Seniors artwork in Target: 2006 taking place. I also have to admit, if they are reading, X-Transbots how about a Delta Magnus repaint?

Yes, it's still sealed, I ain't opening it.

Commander Stack was purchased from Omegalock, the link to which can be found in our 'Recommended Sites' section.

The New Leaders Are Here!

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and catch you all soon.

If you’d like to see more reviews, photos or idle, yet potentially insightful thoughts, then why not head over to our Instagram page…. we’re are also on Facebook and YouTube. Also keep us locked into your browser favorites at Vaults of Iacon