235 – Mech iDeas DC-03 WAR Gauntlet (Renderform Custom Edition)

The first Vangelus Central look at Mech iDeas’ Gauntlet (nee Mach5) comes in the form of…its limited-run convention-exclusive variant!

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  1. Andrew George

    Great video of a great looking toy, but I would like to discuss the use of the phrases “independent toy”.

    I understand your desire to differentiate within the broad term that now represents “third party” figures. Third party has come to represent a spectrum. Between toys that straight up steal or slightly alter the molds and/or parts of other previously existing figures, IE “Knock-offs” for lack of a better term, to toys like this figure or entries from other similar toy companies like Mastermind Creations or FansProject where the figures are created using the conceptual designs created by a separate and from what I have seen uncredited entity or individual (Hasbro, Takara, specific artist, etc) who then create unique figures and transformation sequences from that point. To put it bluntly, the term “third party” represents a level of idea theft that can range from simple initial concept inspiration (MakeToys’ Quantron for example) to other examples of strait up copying with minimal to no unique design or engineering effort (i-Gear Masterpiece Coneheads).

    Independent toy would imply they are coming from a place of more pure creativity, which would include the formation of the initial concept. Figures like Gauntlet and other third party figures fail to do this. In my opinion, projects like Steelcore or the Glacial Lords would be better described as “independent toys” because they feature wholly unique designs and characters despite being heavily influenced by other properties like Transformers. These figures are created from the ground up to be unique and come from a more creative mind space than the third party figures that bring to physical form preexisting characters .

    I believe it all comes down to intent. Calling toys like this independent when the intent of it is to make a physical representation of a preexisting character not created, designed, or cleared for use by the figure’s designer(s) diminishes the meaning of what an independent toy is and can be. Simply put, I feel independent toys should denote they come from independently created designs and/or ideas.

    Please note, I do not intend to diminish the effort that is put into many third party figures as I have a vast amount of respect for creative talent that goes into projects like this and many third party figures, however I do feel there are certain realities we must face when discussing them. I hope this post does not come off as too harsh or condescending as that is not my intent. I only wish to have a civil discussion on the topic. Thanks, and keep up the great work.

    • Because “third party” has been misused to such a degree that many people assume it HAS to be describing something unlicensed (or that the term means to “represent a level of idea theft”!), I’m far less interested in taking an active role in its propagation as collector vocabulary. There are now plenty of licensed third-party Transformers products, and as such I am tired of using a piece of terminology that is, in this context, becoming more misinformed. There are some who are absolutely convinced that an item like Art Storm’s EX Gokin Alpha Trion is not a third-party piece by definition of the term, and that is completely wrong.

      Asserting that “independent” implies a representation of original IP in the product being discussed applies quite a stretch in assumed meaning, and I cannot imagine an average reader or viewer making such a conclusion. The term is more clearly rooted in established vernacular, and I don’t really see how its definition does not fit the smaller companies that make unlicensed IP-infringing figures.

      • Andrew George

        I respect that cause, however I don’t think replacing one flawed phrase that has implied connotations in a fan base with another equally flawed phrase that also has implied connotations in the same or adjacent fan bases will end up solving anything. I believe, it will only lead to more confusion.

        While yes, these figures are created by small groups or individuals that independently own their companies so they fit a strict definition in that sense you would also have to consider the connotations that the phrase independent toy already carries within art toy and vinyl fandoms. When you call them independent toys the first thought that comes to my mind is a creation similar to a Kidrobot toy and it takes takes my mind off of what ever conversation is at hand.

        I tried to come up with a term that I thought would better fit this category of toys and If anything the calling them “unlicensed” would be a better representation of what is trying to be conveyed but even that isn’t perfect…

  1. Pingback: Vangelus Review 235 – Mech iDeas DC-03 WAR Gauntlet (Renderform Custom Edition) | Vangelus Central

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