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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Savannahtron's review: Fortress Maximus

Name: Fortress Maximus
Function: Headmaster leader.

"Prepare for war, but strive for peace"

Valiant, courageous, a warrior without peerÖbut peace is his most fervent wish. Fights only out of necessity; believes all violence is ultimately pointless and counter-productive. Transforms to battle station and city modes. Armed with Retractable pulse cannons, twin automatic machine gun batteries on wrists, twin laser-guided mortars on legs, heat-seeking dual laser blasters and fusion-powered photon rifle. Has communications, detection and repair equipment. Controls two armored vehicles, Gasket and Grommet, which combine to form Cog. Head transforms to semi-Autonomous Cerebros, who is binary-bonded to the Nebulan leader, Spike.

Alternate Modes:

Fortress Maximus has two alternate modes: city mode and battle station mode. Both are huge and are really designed for the Autobot cars (or the deluxe sized figures today). I usually like to keep my bots in robot mode for display, but my Fortress Maximus is complete in the box, so I only bring him out from time to time. I actually transformed him into city mode and battle station mode for the first time to take the pictures for this review. Now I had Brave Maximus before, and the toys are same size, so I was familiar with the toy, but as far as creating an atmosphere, Fortress Maximus is awesome in either city mode or battle station mode. Honestly, I am glad they released the guy because he is the largest Transformers toy, but he is so large and heavy, I am not sure how any kid would want to transform him a lot, as it was somewhat of a chore.

Fortress Maximus in robot mode is just daunting. He is the same size as a small child and I can see where the child safety laws did not let Hasbro import Brave Maximus as this guy is heavy, has hard plastic and if dropped, could do some serious damage to a small kid or household pet.

City mode:

City mode transformation is relatively easy; you remove the head of Fortress Maximus (Fort Max for short) to form Cerebros (who is a Headmaster himself). Then you fold and flip the legs to form what I like to call Cybertron high rises which hold the jail and repair bay. The waist flips up to form a control tower with a Cybertronian information HUD. The arms and arm armor flip up and fold out to form the car ramps and there is a shuttle lever that could be used to push a car out of the bay. Did I mention the helipad for our flying brethren? Oh yeah, there is a cool little helipad for smaller Autobots to land.

Fort Maxís city mode also has a rotating radar dish and an elevator! The tower has a slot that opens where the Headmaster can sit so I imagine Spike would hang out there and run things.

Battle station:

Fort Maxís battle station mode is huge. All of the big guns come out, and Fort Max turns into a gargantuan wrecking machine. Armed to the hilt, the battle station mode is the place to be when flying, rolling or soaring into battle against the Decepticon forces.

Robot Mode:

Fortress Maximus has no equal. He is the largest Transformer and makes all others look puny by comparison. His rival, Scorponok is rather large as well, but not even close. Fort Max transforms from either city mode or battle station mode and is just massive. He has some articulation, like the arms move, and the fists swivel. Also, you can move the hips if you wanted to, but he does not have the articulation of a modern Transformers. For me, the lack of articulation does not matter because he is the ultimate Headmaster.

"Armed with Retractable pulse cannons, twin automatic machine gun batteries on wrists, twin laser-guided mortars on legs, heat-seeking dual laser blasters and fusion-powered photon rifle."

Not taking into account Fort Maxís role in the cartoon or comic, the toy itself has so many features unique qualities that make the toy special. When Fort Max was released, the Transformers had started waning in popularity in the US a bit, but the Headmasters and Targetmasters were still pretty cool. Fort Max is not only a Headmaster, but his head transforms into Cerebros, who is a Headmaster himself. Spike (as I will always remember him as the kid doing construction with his dad running around with Bumblebee) is Cerebrosí head and the Nebulan leader.

Fort Maxís impressive arsenal in battle station mode is all there in robot mode. One could almost say he has robot mode and attack mode because most of the lasers and guns are either hidden away or flipped down, giving him a different look. Not to mention, he has the largest Transformers toy guns that any figure used (not including those that actually transformed into a gun) as accessories. Iíve always wanted the Grand Max sword for Fort Max, but Iím content having the complete figure.

Special Features:

As mentioned earlier, Fortress Maximus is a Headmaster. He is also a triple-changer, the largest Transformer and a Headmaster within a Headmaster. Cerebros forms Fort Maxís head, and Spike forms Cerebrosí head. Gasket and Grommet are armored vehicles, which combine to form Cog. Cog is a lot like Metroplexís six gun, where accessories form to create a new robot. Kind of cool, but offers little more than a filler bot. Had Grommet and Gasket turned into some sort of transforming weapon for Fort Max, Fort Max could have been a Targetmaster too. Fortunately for us, the overkill was capped out by boxing up the most features that any Transformer had ever had before and made Fort Max one of the most desirable Transformers for collectors ever.

Last but not least, scale of Fortress Maximus versus Metroplex in the Transformers Universe is one of the more debatable items, yet many people offer an opinion. The actual toys are no comparison, Fort Max looms well above Metroplex, yet both are robot, battle station and city mode. In the cartoon and the comic, Fort Max is always shown about the same size as PM Optimus Prime, and Metroplex is shown as a huge robot. The same can be said for Trypticon and Scorponok. In this writerís opinion, Fortress Maximus is smaller in scale in the Transformers Universe than the actual toy comparison. Between the two, I actually like Metroplex more than Fortress Maximus, but that is for another discussion at another time.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 6/10. Fortress Maximusí transformations are not complex, complicated or difficult. The sheer size of the toy is the only distraction as Fort Max is rather large and heavy.
Durability: 10/10. Fortress Maximus is a super brick of a toy. G1 goodness.
Fun: 9/10. Fortress Maximus is an absolutely fantastic piece for my collection. Since I collect the toys, I really donít play with the figures, but he is a lot of fun to have in my collection.
Price: 10/10. An average complete in box Fortress Maximus goes around $1,000 USD and up. I have seen a few at lower price than that, but if you want a complete Fort Max, expect to pay more than the average collector piece.
Overall: 10/10. Since I started collecting Transformers again as an adult (back in 1998), I always wanted to add Fortress Maximus to my collection. Sure, there are naysayers in the community, but if price were not an issue, some of those same naysayers would gladly add Fortress Maximus to his or her collection. For me, the price is not really an issue, as Fort Max was a bot that I wanted. I watched various auctions over the years and finally found one that was in the condition I wanted, and came with the box as I wanted.
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