20 March 2014

PE-DX03 - Perfect Effect Warden aka IDW's Fortress Maximus - a short review

This is one of the best third party toys I have ever seen.

It's not an embellishment, it's quite the truth.

I have been there from the beginning, since FansProject's City Commander, commonly regarded as the third party toy that started it all. And I still think Perfect Effect's PE-DX03: Warden is one of the best third party toys out there.

It hits all the right notes. It's highly detailed, beautifully sculpted and there is so much play value - it transforms into so many relevant things. Also, there are die-cast parts and the tank threads are rubber!

Amazing yeah?

It is at once (1) IDW's Fortress Maximus (based very closely on Milne's design way back from Spotlight Arcee); (2) an add on kit to G1 Fortress Maximus; and (3) a headmaster of the G1 variety.

I am truely delighted, yet surprised, that PE could make the jump from what to me were a string of pretty mediocre releases to this marvel of design, engineering and construction.

So here it is, with a Milne page that is no doubt the inspiration for the toy.

It's a dead-ringer for IDW Fort Max. He appears in More Than Meets the Eye issues #4, #5, #6 and #15 (oh, and in Spotlight: Arcee and Last Stand of the Wreckers too!)

I just could not live without it having an Autobot symbol. So I cut a piece of thin white plastic into the shape of the recess in his chest and stuck an Autobot logo on.

Before symbol..........

...... with symbol. Now officially Fortress Maximus!

The full IDW look.

Close up details - if you are familiar with IDW's More Than Meets the Eye, you will see that each detail that Milne draws into the comic FM is almost 100% faithfully replicated in this toy. It's truly marvellous.

Check out that detail on the inside of the shoulder.

That circular detail under the arms is definitely an original Alex Milne detail in his drawings.

Die-cast parts.

Close up of the back. Look at the detail. Love those vents.

Rubber tank threads.

Vehicle Mode

Head Mode

It's quite a lot bigger than a G1 Fort Max head, but it does fit on the G1 toy.

With the crew of the Lost Light!

Swerve having some fun

Overall, I would give this toy a rating of 9/10, possibly one of the highest ratings I have given for third party toys. It is up there with Quakewave in my mind as being one of the best third party toys out there.

My recommendation? Definitely get this, more so if you enjoy More Than Meets the Eye and Milne's fantastic artwork.


Edit of 21 March 2014, a few more photos.

The tank threads can become its own little scout car or vehicle and the head of Warden transforms into a little guy to sit in there.

"Spike" at the controls of the Warden tank

CHUG! Ultra Magnus (with FP City Commander armour), PE Warden, Hot Rod (w/ FP armour), Henkei Convoy and Generations Skids.


  1. I have been tempted to get this since the first pics surfaced, it's been put off until TFcon this year, but it is on the radar. Nice review, it's neat to see some of the details more up close

    1. highly recommend you get this buddy. You won't be disappointed, I'm sure!

  2. I was really interested in this figure, but I ended up decided against it. While the robot mode looks awesome, the tank mode looks like a brick, and the G1 head mode is pretty superfluous to the IDW character. Even still, I would have picked him up but for the hefty $150 USD pricetag.

    If I ever find him discounted closer to $100 I might pull the trigger.

    1. I also own this and for the most part would agree that the figure is incredible. If I have to nitpick about the robot mode or rather the super robot mode (with treads at the back), it's that the proportion is a little bit off from the comic i.e. the treads here can make his body seems small. I think he is worth 150 if you have a G1 Fort Max, because his tank mode is laughable especially with the face at the back and how the cannons don't really click. 120 would have been a fairer price IMHO. Also where are his leg guns? He uses them when the Lost Light's under attack.

    2. @ Botch:

      Hiya dude, I do highly recommend this figure man. If I had to choose, I’d rather give up 5-6 Generations figures and use the cash to get this. I say that in hindsight of course, because not having held it, I guess a person would be less convinced.

      The tank mode is what it is. We never really saw him transform in the comics but know that he is a tank – well, a tank is simply a big cannon on threads, which is what we got, so in that sense I am fine with it. What I didn’t show is that the little head transforms into a little man, that sits in a compartment in front of the tank.

      Agree the G1 head mode seems superfluous, but I just see it as a bonus – I’d still have bought this if it only transformed between robot and tank, so having the head mode is just a nice little extra. It does not appear like any significant sacrifice has been made to the robot or tank mode just so it can become a head, so that’s a plus too.

      If you looked at it another way, this could also be seen as a G1 FM add-on kit – robot becomes big head; tank threads attaches to the back of FM; big cannon can be used as G1 FM’s gun.

    3. @ Anonynmous:

      Yeah, I agree there that its worth the 150. I bought mine for 125, but I would have paid 150, no issues.

      I think its always possible to nitpick, but what’s more important is to weight the good against the bad points. And in this case, I can say that the good points far outweigh the bad (in my opinion). Also, if we were to really nitpick, we’d be picking almost each and every Hasbro regular release figure apart. Quite ironic I know.

      I’ve heard about stuff not clicking from a couple of friends. I have no such issues, but to be fair, pretty fine and minute adjustments have to be made to make everything click, takes some patience – that’s the price to pay for an articulated figure versus a G1-brick, where if you push a part all the way back into place, it must click – there is no tolerance, no room move otherwise, etc. But ball-joints and all these other new joints are different, really gotta be patient to adjust it until it can click properly.

    4. Hi HD, he did transform in the comics. See the part where he is about to "whoop" Overlord and he is not a tank. To be fair, PE probably had this guy designed before the comic came out. I like the alt mode in the comics better, but it's all water under the bridge now.

    5. yes, i think you are right, he did transform! I knew i said something wrong as soon as I clicked 'Publish'.

      I'll relook at what he transforms into tonight, but i do think that a tank is a valid interpretation still....

    6. Hm... if a tank is a flat vehicle with no cannon, I suppose a Ferrari is a tank too. The only thing that's tank like about the vehicle is that it has treads. Anyway here's a picture: http://www.tfw2005.com/boards/attachments/transformers-comics-discussion/27359940d1366673162-pic-request-idw-fortress-maximus-image2.jpg

      But as I said, PE designed this before the comic came out, how are they supposed to know what the official one should look like. But I surely hope Scorponok does not transform into a head.

  3. The toy is listed as created under the Perfect Effect DLX team, rumoured to be a seperate division made up of mainly Japanese designers, with help from those who recently joined Fansproject.

    Its so incredibly designed ,I'm really impressed by the flawless paint application. They have created concept images for a IDW inspired Scorponok I think based from the Maximum Dinobots design, hopefully will be out this year.

    Thats a nice idea with the the symbol, ima use it :D

    1. So I take it you bought the figure?

      This figure is really very different from all previous PE releases from the plastic, to the molding to the details and pain apps and even the packaging. In fact, I think its even better than FP’s designs, which most of the time is very difficult to transform or figure out (don’t get me wrong, FP designs are ingenious, but just a pain to transform most times).

      I didn’t know about the Scorponok. Will have to check it out.

  4. This is an incredible figure in hand, I had zero interest until I held it up close a few months back, and I was genuinely spellbound. It was a day full of new toys; Smart Robin, Gen Whirl etc, but this eclipsed them all. I fully understand your enthusiasm, were it not for the can of worms it would open all over my new budget collecting, it'd be here with me now.

    Great pics, thanks B!

    All the best

    1. Wish I have ‘new toys days’ like you Maz, that sounds fun. Like I said, this one blows many a third party toy out of the water – perhaps the only one that can stay in the water with it is FT’s Quakewave. The transformation is ingenious, especially for the large G1 FM head – how it folds into a head, which parts of the robot is used to make up and compose it into a head. It’s amazing.

      Since you are no longer into CHUG, I can understand your apprehension at getting this – might end up having to other Lost Light related figures and all. But, does it help you along now that Fortress Maximus is the new Enforcer of the Tyrest Accord? *hyuk hyuk*

    2. Don't even tryyyyyyy it!

      Sadly those "New Toy Days" are where other people bring their toys out to the pub and I pretend I would never buy them, and then Morgan slips a Cubex Huff into my bag.

      In all honesty, I think this figure is so good, it doesn't need to fit in to any line I collect, it could happily exist around the house as one of the finest figures I've ever seen. But alas, It won't I shall just have to enjoy it here :)

      All the best

  5. Nice review HD. Was curious about his guy, but not being all that much into 3rd party TFs, am unwilling to make the jump.

    So, this guy transforms into a "tank" and a head? Does the head look good on G1 Maxy?


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