Fans Toys Phoenix – Skyfire
I never had a Skyfire figure when I was a kid, not even a Robotech Valkyrie. I was happy when I got a hold of Henkai Skyfire and ecstatic when I picked up Generations Skyfire. When FansToys Phoenix arrived, my family knew it was something special by the stupid grin on my face. It’s not a perfect figure, but it’s still a great figure.
He is a very large sci-fi jet. There are some gaps in the form, especially under the thruster backpack, but I like his overall shape. His main canopy opens to reveal a chrome and detailed cockpit. His underside does a surprisingly good job of hiding robot bits. It is not the mess of arms and legs of Generations Skyfire or most other Transformer jets. He rolls quite well on his Die-cast landing gears. I could not find a way to store his rifle.
Transformation to robot mode is straight forward. You have to yank out his legs, which is step that I don’t like. The process reveals some die cast parts in his chest/nose cone. Yes, he kind of has a gerwalk mode but it’s not that good looking because it’s not complete. There are too many gaps in the body and you have to turn his thighs completely backwards on a sculpt not really meant for that. I think I put some dings in the top of the thigh sculpt while attempting it. Going to jet mode is just as simple a process as going to robot mode. Overall, it is a satisfying set of steps. Coming back out of jet mode, one of the little screws on his right wing fell out; it appears to be stripped.
Fans Toys face sculpts usually have a bit of the odd duck lip, but Phoenix does not. I like it a lot actually. He has some line work, but not too much. Transparent colored plastic and metallic grey paint provide highlights. Otherwise, he’s a very white figure. There is a bit of red chrome on the sides of his lower legs. Although a nice touch, I would have preferred it match the red elsewhere on his body. He is a little back heavy so heel spurs would have been appreciated. Such tricks don’t bother me, but it’s worth pointing out that he does not have a faux cockpit on his chest.
This is how articulated fingers and wrists should be designed for all figures going forward. The amount of expressiveness in his hands is pretty amazing, without the fragile ball joints of KFC hands nor the annoying nubs that pop off from friction tabs. His thumbs are on big ball joints, with two additional hinges at the knuckles. The rest of his fingers are single-pinned with three knuckles each. The base knuckles of each have an additional hinge for sideways articulation. In essence, he can spread his fingers apart without the awkwardness of KFC or DX9 fingers. His wrists are also on hinges so he can hold out his hands in the stop sign.
His head is on a swivel and hinge that allows him to look up but not down. His shoulders are on ratcheted hinges and swivels that allow him to raise his arms out to 90 degrees. He swivels at his biceps, wrists, and knees. He has single-jointed elbows that can achieve full curls. His ratcheted, single-jointed knees can only curl to 90 degrees. He does not have a waist swivel. His thighs swivel only a little because they are hindered by the sculpt. His hips are on universals with ratchets along the transverse axis. Jean-Claude Van Damme would not be impressed by his front or side splits. He has ankle tilts and rockers, with additional toe tilts.
His accessories include his rifle, an additional chest plate, an additional eye piece, and a flight stand attachment. The rifle is large and all black. There is some line work, but no paint. Despite using a Masterpiece-style tab, it works pretty well. Maybe it’s the little notch to account for the screw in his palm. I like how his trigger finger can fit inside the guard. The additional chest plate lets you have one with the Autobot symbol and the other with the Decepticon symbol, or one with no symbol at all. The extra eye piece is translucent blue plastic, presumably for a light-piping effect. I’ll be keeping the default metallic blue eyes. He doesn’t come with a full flight stand, only an attachment to be used with the one that came with one of their previous figures.
Phoenix will stand on my FansToys shelf. Despite some limited articulation, I still love this figure. Fans Toys figures rarely disappoint me. Phoenix is no exception. I can’t wait for more and to start working on the cast of The Movie.
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Fans Toys Phoenix – Skyfire
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Mastermind Creations Boreas – Cyclonus
Jaegertron is my least favorite of Mastermind Creations offerings. I don’t dislike the figure, but I’m not as fond of it as others in the line. Boreas doesn’t bring anything new to the sculpt to change my opinion on it, but I still enjoy the figure.
I like his space fighter mode more than Jaegertron’s. It seems to hold together a little better. There are still gaps in the body. His nose cone looks like it should close up more securely, but it doesn’t. Although his cockpit canopy doesn’t open, he has working landing gears that let him roll along pretty smoothly. Generations Brainstorm still has my favorite space fighter mode though. The guard of his sword has a magnet that lets it attach to metal circles underneath either wing.
As is usually the case, transformation to robot mode is pretty straightforward. On my copy, the wing of his left leg won’t stay tight against his leg. Going back to his space fighter mode, I had trouble getting his right side to stay tabbed together. His feet keep popping up and his instep covers won’t stay down. When I saw stress marks forming on the backpack pieces of his wings along the joints, I stopped trying to squeeze him together.
Like Jaegertron, his arms reach to his knees and his legs are never really straight. I wish the wings would either have a solid click for being extended or tab to his backpack instead of flapping about loosely. I’m not sure that I like the pink lines running throughout his body. Perhaps red or purple lines would look nicer. The paint is clean though. I like the face sculpt on the head with the missing horn. As expected, there is no shortage of line work for lots of visual interest.
I think his head is on a rod at the end of a ball joint, but it is effectively a limited swivel with virtually no vertical articulation. His shoulders are on swivels and hinges. The swiveling plates they rest on stay in place more readily than they did on Jaegerton. Unfortunately, he can only raise his arms to about 45 degrees before his shoulders hit his head. He swivels at his biceps, forearms, wrists, waist, and thighs. His elbows and knees are double-jointed, but only his knees have ratchets. He can almost perform full curls at both joints. His fingers are fixed in an open grip. His hips are on universal joints, with ratchets in the frontal axis. He can achieve a full side splits, but not quite a full front splits. His feet are on ball joints.
His accessories include a sword and two heads. It’s more or less the same style of swords we’ve been getting with the Reformatted figures. There is some metallic gold paint application on the base of the blade and the guard. He holds it just fine in his hands. One head has both horns intact and gold eyes while the other has a missing horn and red eyes. I wish he came with a rifle.
Boreas will stand on my Reformatted shelf. This is not my favorite Mastermind Creations mold so I hope it’s the last we will see of it. However, I’ve yet to tire of these figures so I can’t wait to get more.
I only have vague memories of the Monsterbots. I think I had the Doublecross figure when I was a kid. Fans Hobby Megatooth is a big and chunky version of Repugnus that I’m glad I finally decided to pick up.
Beast mode is really odd looking, but so was the original character. He’s huge and is practically the same height as in robot mode. His claws and and mandibles are chromed. The bug head really creeps out my daughters. I love it.
His articulation is mostly the same in both modes. His beast neck is on a ball joint. His mouth can open quite a bit. While his mandibles can only widen a little, his claws can spread pretty wide. His arms are on swivels and hinges, with swivels just above the elbows. His double-jointed elbows let him bend his arms 90 degrees in both directions, but the lower joints are really loose. His feet claws can tilt upward.
Transformation between both modes is extremely simple. Not only are there really few steps, but there is absolutely no fiddliness. Everything lines up easily and readily. Those looking for a challenge may be disappointed.
In robot mode, his chest proportions are a little odd and his backpack is pretty large. Despite that, he is very well-balanced. Although the few paint application that is present is cleanly applied, I do not care for the Fans Hobby branding on his legs and crotch. It’s nothing that can’t be fixed in Photoshop if I use him in a project.
His head is on a ball joint and his neck sits on a tilting platform for transformation. He can look down more than up. His shoulders are on hinges and ratcheted swivels. They can raise outward and upward to 90 degrees. He swivels at his biceps, wrists, waist, and thighs. His thumbs are fixed. The rest of his fingers are single-pinned and articulate as one unit, but his pointing fingers have an additional articulating knuckle. His elbows and knees are ratcheted and double-jointed. His elbows can achieve full curls. It seems as if his knees would be able to as well but for the claws hitting the back of his body. He also has an ab crunch. His hips are on ratcheted universals that allow him to achieve full front and side splits. His feet are on hinged ball joints for a wide range of motion for ankle tilts and rockers. Although he doesn’t need it, the claws on the back of his feet can be folded down to act as heel spurs.
His only accessory is his rifle. It is white plastic with panel lines but no paint. The barrel detaches. The handle and his hands use a slot and groove mechanism, similar to that of the Maketoys Headmasters. Unfortunately, it is not as secure as it should be because of the hand sculpt. The rifle will eventually rise up and fall out of his hands as you manipulate his arms, but it’s nowhere near as bad as most Masterpiece-styled tabs.
I’ve reorganized my display along companies and lines. Megatooth will stand next to the Headmasters from Maketoys. His beefy proportions may not be completely true to the original character, but I find it sets him apart from most of the other figures on my shelves. Although I’ll probably skip their Archenemy figure, I’m definitely looking forward to getting my hands on the rest of the Monsterbots from Fans Hobby.
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This was definitely an impulse purchase born out of curiosity. As a Voyager-scaled stand-in on a CHUG display, Wei Jiang Alcee is more than adequate.
She definitely does not hold together as well in vehicle mode when compared to Generations Arcee. I think some tabs are missing when compared to her official counterpart. The console and steering wheel has some detail though. Her plastic tires don’t spin very well and parts of her undercarriage touch the ground. There is storage for her weapons.
Yes, there is some parts-forming with the top portion of her car, but it’s entirely optional. My biggest complaint with Generations Arcee was that her backpack makes her look like she’s carrying a car around. With Alcee, it can be removed. Transforming between both modes is pretty easy and straightforward.
Alcee is basically an upscaled version of Generations Arcee. There is plenty of paint applications to break up all that pink and white. It looks pretty clean too. She has nice light-piping that works very well. I wished they had included her eye visor gimmick, but the official version didn’t have that either. The pink of her face is more peach than pink and she could have used some line work in her face. My copy has some paint splotches on her thighs and flashing on her shoulder pylons.
Her head is on a ball joint. She can look up but not down. Her shoulders are also on ball joints. She can only raise her arms up and outward to about 45 degrees. She only has swivels at her biceps and lower thighs. Her hands are fixed in an open grasp. She has single-jointed elbows and knees, with ratchets in the elbows. Both joints can curl a little past 90 degrees. I’m not sure how to describe her hip joints. They are almost like universals with ratchets along the frontal axis, but you have to engage a separate hinge at her thighs to get her to do a side splits because her thigh sculpt gets in the way. Van Damme would not approve of her range of motion. Although she is capable of doing a full front splits, her abdomen gets untabbed. She has ankle tilts but no rockers.
Her accessories include her rifles and her swords. She has one pink rifle with gunmetal highlights and one smaller black rifle with silver highlights. The pair of transparent swords are identical. Gunmetal paint combined with the line work on the blade make for a visually interesting design. All her weapons use rectangular handles that fit very securely in her hands. They can also peg onto her thighs, but the guns make more sense visually.
I’m not quite sure she is suited for a Masterpiece shelf, but I think she’ll look okay standing next to Masterpiece Hot Rod. I’ll probably put her on my CHUG shelf next to Generations Springer, especially since there are options coming from Fans Toys and Toyworld.
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?
The one thing I have always enjoyed about Toyworld is that their figures are usually playable. They may not always have my favorite aesthetic amongst the various offerings, but I don’t worry about breaking them either. Except for one thing, Toyworld Combustor could easily replace Masterpiece Ramjet in my Masterpiece collection.
His jet mode looks really good. I remember having a little trouble keeping the wings on Ramjet leveled and tabbed together; I have no issues with Combustor. The red paint on his wings has metallic flakes, giving it a higher end look. Unfortunately, the paint stripes on his air intakes and wings are a bit sloppy and the white of his body is a little dirty with stray paint in places. His canopy can open to reveal a two seater cockpit with a hint of a control panel. Like on Masterpiece Seekers, the air brake flap can be deployed. He has three landing gears. The rear ones are easy to pull out, but I had to use tweezers to pluck out the front one. One nice touch is that all the landing gears have shock absorbers. He rolls about very easily. His null rays can peg under his wings in one of two positions. His rear thrusters are on ball joints.
I found the transformation to be pretty easy and more satisfying than the Masterpiece Coneheads. The legs unfold like Combiner War figures instead of that yanking mechanism found on Masterpiece Seekers. The chest conversion mechanic is also done very well. There is no fuss and everything fits neatly into place. Yes, there is a bit of parts-forming with the null rays, but I’ll take that over the problems of the official Coneheads and Seakers. Reversing the process back to jet mode was pretty easy too.
Unlike Ramjet, Combustor only has a single cone in the right place. He doesn’t have flappy panel along his backside. His torso feels solid. The propellors on his chest can spin and the panels can open to reveal missile pods. Too bad there is no paint on the missiles. I like the metallic paint on his face. He has light-piping, but it doesn’t work because of the cone. He has Die-cast in his feet and his knee covers. If not for the scale, I would happily use the entire trio of Toyworld Coneheads in place of the Masterpiece versions. I do have issues with balance though. His feet tend to collapse on their ball joints. Despite his jet thrusters acting as heel spurs, they can’t be angled sufficiently or placed far back enough to keep him from falling over backward. His wings don’t touch the ground so can’t be used to prop him up. I find that if you don’t slide the wings up all the way, the red pointy parts can help with his balance.
His head is on a ball joint. He can look up but not down. His shoulders are on swivels and hinges. He can raise his arms outward and upward to 90 degrees. His null rays peg onto the shoulder flaps and can swivel about. He swivels at the biceps, wrists, waist, and knees. His double-jointed elbows can almost achieve full curls while his double-jointed knees can only curl a little past 90 degrees. His thumbs are on ball joints and his fingers are single-pinned. They also hinge at the second knuckles, but lack third knuckles. His hips are on universal joints that allow him to achieve full side and front splits. He also has inexplicable and unnecessary hinges at the upper thighs. His feet are on ball joints that don’t do anything for his stability. His thruster heel spurs don’t really help too much either.
His accessories include his null rays, a gadget, two flight stands, and some screw covers. His null rays also serve as spring-loaded missile launchers. One launcher had a bent spring so the missile wouldn’t even stay in place. Fortunately, the null rays are easy to disassemble by removing the caps on both ends. The bent spring was easy to straighten out, but then I found both launchers have overly sensitive triggers. I stuffed some museum putty into the barrel to keep the missiles from inevitably disappearing behind the shelf. Putty is a bit messy but less permanent than superglue. The included gadget is two pieces joined at a hinge, like a flip phone. I think it’s a device of his from the comics. It has some line work and dabs of paint. The two flight stands are black and can be connected. The screw covers go on the side of the cockpit. Make sure to line up the contours and panel lines to the appropriate holes. One piece kept falling out during transformation because of where I was holding the nosecone. Museum putty kept it from falling out again.
Combustor will stand on my Toyworld shelf alongside his slightly too large brethren. I can’t say I’m all that enthused about this new scale Toyworld has introduced. Although Megatron 2.0 and some of the car bots probably don’t look too far out of scale, he’s way too tall next to a Seeker. This figure does highlight how crappy the Masterpiece Coneheads are. Combustor has a few flaws, but he gets so much else right. Now I can’t wait to open up the other two Coneheads. Hopefully, Toyworld will give us the first season Seekers as well, but after fixing those feet.