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Series: Perfect Effect
Allegiance: Autobot
Year: 2014

Prelude: So here we have a toy from 2014, repainted from a toy released in 2013, representing a comic book character first shown in 2008, based on a toy from 1987, but now wearing the colors of a repaint of that toy from the year 2000. Got it? Good, moving on. Perfect Effect Guardian is, of course, intended to be IDW Fortress Maximus, but colored to resembled Robots in Disguise Brave Maximus. Being a third party figure, he is not officially a Transformer, of course, but we shall not dwell too much on that. I have reviewed Perfect Effect Warden before, of course, but that was nearly eight years ago. So let’s say go!

Robot Mode: Guardian is one of the most beautiful robots I have ever seen in toy form. I just love his design and in my not really all that humble opinion he looks even better in the Brave colors. He is about the size of an Ultra-Class figure and his articulation is excellent as well. The robot is partially made from metal, mostly in the legs, giving it a very solid stance. He also comes with a display stand for jumping and flying poses, if you are so inclined.

In terms of arms Guardian has a handgun that is made from the forehead of his head mode. Not the best hand weapon ever, but its serviceable. He also has two large (non-firing) missile launchers, which he can clip to his shoulders or his legs. There is a chest harness that Guardian can don, making him broader in the chest and giving him the ability to flip open his chest like the original toy and the character in the IDW comics. He also has a detachable rucksack with tank tracks on them, which extra missile launchers to clip on them. Finally he has a very, very big gun, which he can hold two-handed like a huge mini-gun. Not sure how practical it is, but it certainly looks cool.

So bottom line: we have a very cool, slim robot with an awesome design that can bulk up into a heavily armed super robot with a huge, huge cannon. What’s not to like? Just about the only slight downside here is that he could use a better handgun, one closer to the rifle of Toyworld Infinitor, for example. Otherwise, though: a pretty perfect robot mode. Two thumbs up.

Partner / Accessory: Guardian is a Headmaster, so his head comes off and transforms into a smaller robot. The smaller robot has not received a name by Perfect Effect. The Headmaster of the original RID figure was called Plasma. The small figure is decently posable for its size and can sit in the cockpit of the tank mode and inside the head mode.

Guardian’s tank track rucksack can detach and becomes a so-called scout tank, basically just a small platform situated between four big tracks. The chest harness of the robot mode is clipped onto the top and becomes a sort-of cockpit for the Headmaster figure. The small missile launchers can be attached to the tank tracks and serve as armaments. Overall it’s a nice little extra, but not really the main selling point of this figure.

Alternate Modes: We only ever saw Fortress Maximus’ alternate mode in a single panel in More than Meets the Eye, where he became some sort of tracked vehicle. The vehicle mode of Guardian does not really look like the vehicle we saw a very brief glimpse of there, but it still looks pretty great. It’s basically just the robot mode folded in half, but with the added extra parts (tracks, missile launchers, big gun) it becomes a very nice science fiction style tank. Fair warning: while the finished tank mode looks pretty good, getting there is a bit of a chore. The whole vehicle needs the smaller missile launchers as clips to hold together and snapping the tank tracks to the underside takes a bit of work, too.

The cockpit for the Headmaster in front is comprised of the forehead-gun and the shoulder-harness. It works, but unless everything is tabbed together properly, it will easily pop out. The tank tracks are articulated, of course, so you can either have them flat on the ground or position them at an angle (kind of like Animated Ironhide). The big gun on top is fixed in place, of course, but still looks pretty cool. So all in all a very good-looking sci-fi tank, but getting there does take some patience.

Of course, Guardian’s main alternate mode is his head mode. In a much more complicated transformation than the tank mode, he becomes a head that fits onto RID Brave Maximus (or G1 Fortress or Grand Maximus, too, of course). Sadly he does not fit onto Titans Return Fortress Maximus, but given that this figure came out a few years after Guardian, he can hardly be blamed for that. Guardian’s head mode is a bit larger than Brave Maximus’ original head, but still fits quite nicely onto his body. The big gun fits nicely into Brave’s hand and the tank tracks / scout tank can be stored on Brave’s back.

The fact that Guardian, a rather tall, slim robot, becomes a pretty solid, square head is a great piece of engineering and the fact that the small Headmaster can sit inside of it is even more amazing. Of course you need Brave Maximus (or any of the other versions of the mold) to actually make the most of it, but even without it: a great head mode. Nicely done.

Remarks: Fortress Maximus appeared numerous times in the IDW comics, first as the warden of the Autobot prison planet Garrus-9, then later as a crew member of the Lost Light, and still later as the newest enforcer of the Tyrest Accord. He never wore the Brave colors in the comics, nor did he ever transform into the head of a Titan, but that doesn’t really matter much. His design is very cool, a great upgrade of the already very cool G1 design, and as mentioned above, I like it even more in the Brave colors.

Side note: there is a hard-to-get upgrade set for Warden to give him leg-guns and a normal-scaled rifle to hold in his hand. To my knowledge there is no variant of this upgrade set in the Brave colors to match with Guardian.

Bottom line: my favorite figure from Perfect Effect and a great incarnation of Fortress/Brave Maximus, too. Despite lacking a proper hand weapon and the somewhat complicated-to-achieve tank mode, I really like this figure and when I got the chance to get the Brave/Guardian version of it, I quickly jumped on it, despite already owning Warden. Fully recommended to all fans of Fortress/Brave Maximus, even if you don’t have any version of the G1 figure.

Rating: A

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