Ocular Max figures usually don’t disappoint, and Artifex is no exception. However, I find myself overcoming my OCD and and being willing to split up a pair. Despite his great engineering, I simply prefer Badcube Lorry as my Hoist.
For some reason, my copy of Artifex holds together in vehicle mode so much better than my copy of Terraegis did and looks much cleaner than Lorry. Unfortunately, his rear tires also have a habit of splaying out. The undercarriage is very clean. He rolls quite well on large rubber tires. His trailer hitch is hinged in three positions with a swivel for the crossbars. I don’t think you can mount any of his accessories in vehicle mode.
Transformation is pretty similar to Terraegis. I was careful with the leg panels this time so nothing broke, but those legs still caused me some frustration. The rest of the process was easy enough. I wished that the backpack would tab into place. Coming back to vehicle mode was a little fiddly, but nothing too bad.
I like his head sculpt and am fine with the color. He has Die-cast in his spine, calves, and feet. No new paint applications are revealed in robot mode. What is there is clean and well-applied.
I only have a couple of nitpicky complaints. I find his leg sculpt is more suitable for Trailbreaker; Hoist has more rounded knees. This was something that Lorry didn’t get right either, but Badcube definitely made more of an effort to differentiate the two figures with completely different legs and feet. I also find Artifex to be too svelte. Trailbreaker was the tall one with the flat tummy while Hoist was the shorter tubby one. In that aspect, I find Lorry to be more true to how I remember this character.
Like Terraegis but unlike Lorry and Speedbump, Artifex has solid knees. It’s not that Lorry or Speedbump will just fall over like KFC Ditka. I just find those knees to be sort of wonky because the ratchets aren’t very strong. Maybe it’s also because they bend in the reverse direction. I never understood why that is necessary in knee design.
His head is on a swivel and hinge. He can’t really look down, but up is not a problem. His shoulders are on hinges and swivels that let him raise his arms out and upward to 90 degrees. The wings are attached to his arms by swivels and hinges. Although you get some flexibility on how to pose the wings, they are always in relation to the arms. He swivels at his biceps, wrists, waist, and thighs. His thumbs are on ball joints. The rest of his other fingers are single pinned and articulate individually. His pointing fingers have two articulating knuckles. His elbows and knees are single-jointed and only curl to 90 degrees. His thighs are on universals with ratchets along the transverse axis. He can achieve a full Van Damne for both front and side splits. He has ankle rockers but only toe tilts. The armature behind his head connects to his back by a peg, but has a ball joint connection to the weapon. The alternate shoulder armature pegs directly into a socket and only has the ball joint connection to the weapon for articulation.
His accessories include a pair of hand cannons and mounting claws, a pair of hammers, his over the head weapon and mounting options, two alternate heads, an extra pair of sideview mirrors, and an alternate head for Sphinx. Like Terraegis, the hand cannons are chrome with a hinged tab for mounting on his shoulders. The back halves can be removed to reveal mounting pegs. I couldn’t find anywhere to attach the mounting claws. The hammers are two pieces of white plastic. One piece is clipped into the arm, providing a port for the rest of the hammer or a hand cannon to peg onto. The mechanic is entirely too fiddly. His over the head weapon is chrome and can also be positioned over the shoulder instead. He also comes with one green head with a visor, one green head with separate eyes, and one grey head. Initially, the heads were very difficult to split in half to perform a swap. The alternate head for Sphinx looks like a different shade of blue than the one that came with Terraegis. The hand cannons, over the head weapon, and mounting options look identical to what came with Terraegis.
I’ve temporarily moved Terraegis to my Masterpiece shelf next to Lorry. Artifex will stand on my Ocular Max shelf. I definitely prefer his vehicle mode over Lorry. In robot mode, I enjoy playing with Artifex more because of his solid knees. I just like Lorry’s tubby robot look more. Overall Artifex is a great figure. I can’t wait for the next entry from Ocular Max.
Parting question – is it possible that the conflicting origins of the Constructicons, as shown on the cartoon series, can be resolved by including Hoist, Grapple, and Hauler in a larger collective group of Constructicons, with the eventual six robot team being the only ones having been reprogrammed by Megatron?