I think the Mantis Mech was probably the turning point for me for the 2.5" line. Most of the early stuff I had seen, the Wave Crusher, the Dune Runner, the hang glider...it was all neat, but didn't blow me away. When I went to Toy Fair and I saw the Mantis Mech standing there, nearly a foot tall, I immediately knew this line had "cool" potential. Everything from the cockpit styling, to the unique design of the arms and legs really made this thing look cool...it looked like it could work within the animated series, but best of all, it looked like it could be a great toy.

Well, months later I finally have it in hand, and I gotta say, if you're going to start out with one 2.5" item to measure the potential of the line, grab this one. It's got something for everyone.


Like the other sets I've seen so far, the packaging for the Mission: Mech Strike set is fantastic. From the dramatic, crisp, realistic art on the front, to the way the mech itself is packaged...even the back of the package is beautiful, and don't get me started on the cool Mission Manuals I have now fallen in love with:

As with the other sets, the layout of the Mech Strike Mission is fantastic. A nice realistic lowdown of this absolutely huge weapon of destruction, and a great starting point for kids to get an idea of what missions to take their Mantis Mech on. The presentation of the Mission Manual is fantastic, and breaks down the different modes the Mech can be transformed into. For even more information on these different modes, you can also check the instructions that come with the Mech Strike:

The Toys

Now, how about the toy inside?

Absolutely fantastic.

Of course, it's not perfect...no toy is. But the Mantis Mech has a wealth of options, a terrific design scheme, and is just flat out fun to play with, which is pretty much all you can ask for from a toy, especially one at just a ten dollar price point. First of all, you gotta just sit back and look at how cool this toy looks. Just from a design standpoint alone, the canopy, the arms, the legs, the pinchers...it's just all got this amazing "insect" theme, and the minute you look at this thing you can imagine it tearing across the rocky terrain on all four massive limbs, bearing down on hapless G.I. Joe members.

It perfectly combines the narrow sleekness of a quick-strike robot, and the bulky power of a potent offensive juggernaut, and meshes them both together into one formidable looking robotic suit of destruction, and the fact that it is almost infinitely customizable only adds to the appeal.

In its typical attack mode, the oversized shoulder armor gives it some topside bulk and protection, then you get to the sleek design of the mid-body, and the great looking rounded arms and legs. The legs are designed to bend backwards almost like animal legs, which gives it a very menacing appearence. Everything about this toy is large and threatening straight out of the box.

The cockpit itself is very reminiscent of the Pulverizer 3 3/4" mech, and it seems obvious they come from the same design concept. The way the canopy is sloped and just molded looks really impressive. Even the canopy and the handlebars are on individual hinges so they can move independently.

One of the complaints I've seen so far about the Mantis Mech is the loose joints, and yeah, I do have to admit that is somewhat of a nagging problem. Every joint here is a ratchet joint, so the limbs twist and lock into place, but between those two ratchet points, the limbs do flop a bit, which is a problem. It can be somewhat challenging to get him in a great pose, but once you find a few good poses, this mech is very cool. It can be tough to get him standing on two legs in good, threatening poses, but I'm pretty sure I'll use this as a four-legged mech, which does most of it's moving on it's arms and legs, then only raises up to strike or attack. Using these concepts, there are a number of great positions you can put this mech into. I personally love the "gorilla" look, where the arms are low and touching the ground, and his legs are pushed up a big, giving him a very animal appearence. Beyond the loose joints issues, I do think that the mech is somewhat under-armed. It comes with a pretty nice rocket launcher that can attach to various places on his body, but beyond that, it's got pretty much nothing. I would have loved to see some ports on the arms for arm-mounted cannons, or even some sculpted on machine guns here and there. As it is, you end up with a mech that is large and threatening, but has little capacity to attack long range.

The play features for this toy are simply the huge numbers of potential customization points. His arms and legs are made up of several different ratcheting contact-joints that lock together well and allow for large freedom of movement. I must admit, though, I'm not really wild about the different modes mentioned in the instruction book. They are all just minor variations of the main design, and aren't really different enough to go into great detail with. The basic "Attack Mode" is by far my favorite mode to have the Mantis Mech in, and I don't see much of a reason to change it. But still, all of these different ratchet joints and contact points give you so many options for customizing the mech and turning it into whatever you want it to be. Not to mention the fact that all of these ratchet joints are not only 2.5" compatible, but also work with 3 3/4" vehicle contacts as well. There really are a ton of different options for customizing your Mantis Mech.

So, just by a few weeks, this is the first Sigma 6 Destro figure released, and I have some mixed reactions. The figure design itself is great, and very "Destro-esque", with his high red collar, European aristocrat uniform design, and huge, imposing physique. His COBRA medalian and the fact that they can maintain the open shirt look without making him bare-chested really works for me. I do wish he had elbow joints and kneejoints, which would make him more versatile, as it is he's kinda stuck in a strange position, which really, really works for the mech pilot, but once you take him out of the mech itself you're kinda restricted as to how he can be used.

He is relatively poseable with swivel shoulders and swivel hips, and has really, really nice detailing, which are all big pluses. The overall pose of the figure limits other uses, but he is still a pretty nice display piece for inside the mech. He shouldn't be a selling point of this toy, though, and isn't meant to be.

Lots of detail (especially for a smaller figure), a good solid mold, but a somewhat restrictive pose. Still a neat pilot figure and works.

3 3/4" Compatibility

Okay, I'm about to make some people very happy...

The Mantis Mech WILL WORK with 3 3/4" figures. And it works with only minor modifications. As you can see from the picture above, the 3 3/4" figure is somewhat cramped, but even cramped, the figure DOES fit inside the canopy. There is a clip that holds Destro in, and I ended up bending mine out of position (which puts some serious white stress marks on it, so I'm not sure I heartily recommend that, but if you want to use it for a 3 3/4" figure anyway, it doesn't really matter), and just tuck the knees up in and you can even still use the footrests. As you can see, I even took the screw out of the footrest, to see if I could easily remove it and adjust it, but it's going to take more to get it out of there than a simple screw removal. I still don't think it would take much customizing to get it to work.

So, the 3 3/4" figure is obviously somewhat oversized, but it fits in the canopy with only minor troubles. Those who are itching to use a dremel could easily cut off the 2.5" clip and glue in a 3 3/4" clip, and then remove the footrest and either move it further down, or just take it off. Either way, it would not be at all difficult and can work really well for the larger figures, in my opinion.


The Mantis Mech from the Mission: Mech Strike set was the first vehicle that really grabbed me and showed me that this 2.5" vehicle line really had a ton of promise and had a fantastic design team associated with it. Every single vehicle in the second series has done nothing but prove this point to be true.

The huge stature of this mech, the incredible, almost animalistic and insect-like design all just combines together to give you a terrific looking engine of destruction. It's the exact type of futuristic mechanism that Destro and COBRA would use and puts them at an immediate advantage over pretty much any force to go up against them. Combining the customizing potential with the overall look and function of the Mech just gives you an out of the park home run with this toy. Whether you're a 2.5" or a 3 3/4" collector you can find lots of redeeming qualities in this toy, and at a ten dollar price point, this thing is a no-brainer. You have to be patient with the loose joints a little bit, and work with it to get some great poses, but it's worth the trouble, in my opinion. Some of the contact joints can be a little loose the more you work with them, but when it all comes down to it, this mech is a fun, fun toy.

It may not be for everyone, but I don't regret the purchase one bit, and I think people can find something to really like with this particular toy.














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