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Series: Perfect Effect
Allegiance: Autobot
Year: 2013

Prelude: Legal stuff first as always. This toy here was not released by Hasbro or Takara-Tomy, thus it is not an official Transformer. It’s a third party product from Perfect Effect and clearly meant to be Fortress Maximus, but due to legal reason it can’t be called by that name.

Robot Mode: Warden’s robot mode is mostly based on Fortress Maximus as he appears in the IDW comics. And he is one pretty robot, let me tell you that. The pictures can tell it better than I can, but I must stress that this is one of the most gorgeous Transformers robots I have ever seen. The look, the color mix, everything fits together really well. Warden is partially made from metal parts, so he’s got a nice, heavy feel to him and the metal legs give him a solid stance, too, so he’s got no balance problems.

Next up, Warden might be one of the best-articulated robots I’ve ever held in hand. He’s got joints upon joints upon joints and can move in just about every which way you can think of, the only limit being his bulkiness. He can kneel, he can kick, he can perform fancy kung-fu moves, no problem. He even has articulated hands, though only in the sense that they can open up. So bottom line, probably the greatest contortionist I’ve ever seen in this size class (he’s about Voyager-sized) and a strong candidate for best-articulated robot ever.

Now Warden comes with quite a few extra parts. He has two box missile launchers that can either attach to his shoulders or his legs. Next he has a big rucksack that’s basically just four tank treads attached to a harness. According to the box you’re supposed to have two of the treads pointing up and two down, but personally I prefer having all four point down. Matter of taste, naturally. Warden also comes with four additional missile launchers, which are meant for the tank mode, but can also attach to the tank treads in robot mode (not shown in the pics). Finally there are two guns, a small one that is formed from the brow of his head mode (see below) and a much, much bigger one that is a pimped-up replica of the big Fortress Maximus’ rifle. The big rifle has two handles so Warden can hold it Gatling gun style, which looks very, very cool.

So bottom line for the robot mode: excellent. Most excellent! I’d go so far as to say fantastic! I love this robot. Two thumbs up!

Partner / Add-Ons: Apart from the extra parts I already mentioned above Warden has a bit more in store. First off, he’s a Headmaster, meaning his head detaches and transforms into a smaller robot. Now in the Western G1 continuity this little guy was a Nebulon called Galen or the Autobots’ human friend Spike, depending on continuity and medium. In the Japanese G1 series he was the actual Fortress, while the bigger body was just a lifeless power-up. In IDW Fortress Maximus isn’t a Headmaster and can’t detach his head. Perfect Effect didn’t give this little guy here a separate name as far as I can tell, so I’ll go with the assumption that he’s the actual Warden himself, ditching his bigger body when it’s time to chill. Anyway, the little figure is nicely articulated for its size, having knees and elbows, and nicely detailed as well.

When the bigger body isn’t needed the small Headmaster can take a seat in Warden’s tank tread rucksack, which then becomes a scout tank. You can attach the additional missile launchers or leave them aside, your choice. Oh, and Warden also comes with a pedestal, a round black thingy that I left in the box and didn’t photograph, sorry.

Tank Mode: I don’t think we’ve actually seen IDW Fortress Maximus transform into his alternate mode yet, but given that he has tank treads, it’s safe to assume that he becomes some tank-like vehicle. Anyway, Warden becomes just that. A tank-like vehicle. Basically the actual robot folds together into a more or less rectangular thing that attaches to the tank treads. The harness forms a kind-of cockpit up front where the Headmaster figure can sit and the big rifle gun goes on top. I didn’t really spend much time on this mode, to be honest, and am confident in naming it Warden’s worst mode. Not that there is anything really wrong here, but it’s really just there to give the tank treads a raison d’être.

Head Mode: The big kicker for this figure – apart from the truly excellent robot mode, of course - is that the figure can transform into a head for the original G1 Fortress Maximus figure. The transformation into head mode isn’t easy (I recommend using the instruction sheet, at least for the first time), but everything folds together very nicely into a head that is slightly larger than the original G1 head, but nicely conveys the look in a more detailed and stylish way. It also gives Fortress a bit of a neck for the first time.

Additionally the big rifle is, as stated before, a near-replica of Fortress Maximus’ original rifle, just more detailed and shiny. And the tank tread rucksack has a place here, too, as you can slide it into the ramp hanging off Fortress’ back. So bottom line: a great update of / replacement for the old Cerebros figure that came with G1 Fortress Maximus. Very nicely done. The only downside is that taking those pictures above has really driven home how much my Fortress Maximus has yellowed with age...

Remarks: Despite being the biggest Transformers toy ever (no longer the tallest, but still the biggest) Fortress Maximus in the comic books was always portrayed as a normal-sized Transformer, though among the bigger guys. Case in point the current IDW comics, were Fortress was the warden (hence this figure’s name) of the Autobots’ prison on Gharrus-9.

Except for the Encore reissue of the original toy we haven’t gotten any official toys of Fortress Maximus since 1987, but Perfect Effect has given us a truly beautiful third party version here. It’s probably not quite for everyone, as it has a hefty price tag and the tank mode really isn’t much to write home about. The attraction is the robot mode and the fact that he can become a head for the big G1 toy. For me, that’s more than good enough to warrant buying him and giving him an excellent rating.

Rating: A

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