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Rounding out the Fans Hobby Monsterbots is Flypro, their version of Grotusque.

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Two things immediately jumped out at me about Flypro- for one, he clearly shares some tooling and engineering with Fei Long.  For two, they must have agreed with my assessment that Fei Long would have had better proportions if his torso didn't expand, because Flypro's torso doesn't expand and he looks fantastic.  His proportions are spot on.  And his aesthetics are very much on point; he's still got some those Fans Hobby tampos (and is it just me, or do the ones on his knees look like batteries?) and some extra molded details in his torso, but overall the design and colors are on point.  Fans Hobby was even careful to make his crotch pinkish but his hip skirts white and to work some white into his abs.  The only area where he really departs from the G1 design is that he has a tail split on the sides of his legs instead of monster legs, and he's got little gray feet instead of, well, no feet at all.  Interestingly, these are two features also found on the Titans Return version, which released after Flypro.

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Unlike the other Monsterbots, Flypro comes with a ton of accessories.  In fact, a lot of the accessories are actually for the other Monsterbots.  You've got a double-barreled gun that's somewhat similar to the gun the G1 toy had, and two alternate faces for Flypro- one with gritted teeth, the other with a happy smile.  For Fei Long we have a pair of actual hands, a new front-half of the head, and two alternate faces (also teeth grindy and smirky smiling).  For Megatooth we get two new faces, gritted teeth and smirking, and replacement eyes that share the metallic paint of Fei Long and Flypro (verses the flat light blue he comes with).  Finally, we get four rubbery flame effect parts.

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Due to the shared engineering, Flypro's articulation is similar to Fei Long's.  His head is on a ball joint; mine is a little loose.  His shoulders rotate on a friction joint, and another friction joint allows him move his arm to the side 90 degrees.  They also have Fei Long's butterfly joints.  His biceps swivel, and a ratcheted elbow can bend a little over 90 degrees.  His hand are identical to Megatooth's (wrist swivel, fixed thumb, pin hinge at the base of the fingers, index finger is separate and has an additional mid-knuckle hinge).  His waist swivels.  His hip skirts are hinged, but unlike Fei Long's they can move independently of each other.  Hips ratchet forward 45-ish degrees, backward 90, and laterally 90 degrees on a soft ratchet.  His thighs swivel, and his ratcheted knees bend about 45 degrees.  His ankles are the exact same horizontally-oriented ball joint that Fei Long has, so there's some up/down tilt and some pivot but I'd have liked more.

Flypro's back to the standard Fans Hobby style for weapons: notch at the back of the handle, rails in the palm.  His grip is secure.

Swapping faces on Flypro is fairly simple.  Unscrew the back of his head, pull the front off, pop the face out, pop the new one in, screw everything back together.

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From the waist down, the engineering on Flypro is identical to Feilong.  From the waist up, transformation consists of nothing more than folding the monster head over his robot head, tucking his hands away and sliding his claws into place, and unfurling his wings.  And yet, for all his simplicity his monster form is extremely "G1, but we cleaned it up a bit."  His wings are properly on his back, behind his shoulders, instead of pegged into triangular bumps just above them.  The G1 toy's beer gut and robot-head throat tumor are mercifully absent.  His claws are G1, but larger, sharper, and with each one on its own ball joint.  The head is colored like the G1 head, with the blue throat and spots and pinky-purple lower jaw, but his eyes metallic and his teeth have all been chromed.  The only major departure (and again one that was also made by the Titans Return version) is that he's traded the two little white tails of the G1 toy for one big pink one, and I can certainly live with that.

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On engineering bit I'd like to highlight is that, like the G1 toy, the monster head is basically a backpack in robot mode.  And like the G1 toy, it folds up onto the top of the torso for monster mode.  Unlike the G1, his robot head doesn't fold over to his chest and chill out under the monster throat, sticking fingers in his ears, closing his eyes, and yelling, "You can't see me!"  Instead, the monster head simply folds over and covers his robot head.  Now, I'm sure some companies would have simply left the monster neck empty and hollow, and we'd have probably given that a pass.  But Fans Hobby put a little flap there.  When you fold the monster head over, the robot head pushed the flap into the neck.  And then the cool part is that when you fold the monster head back onto his back, the flap will automatically push back out and fill in the gap again.  It's a nice touch.

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The monster head is on a ball joint, so it can swivel, tilt up and down, or look side to side.  The jaws can open.  The arms are essentially still the robot arms and have the same articulation, save for the claws.  They don't have a wrist swivel, but each talon has its own ball joint at the base so they can fold down individually.  From the (locked) waist down the engineering and articulation is identical to Fei Long, so refer back to that.  His wings are on a swivel at the base to move up and down.  There's also a hinge at the base to fold the wings back and forth.  Each wing has two additional hinges, about one third and two thirds of the way to the tips.  The inner hinge can bend the wing back but not forward.  The outer hinge can bend back about 45 degrees, and forward until it's almost folded over itself.

Although Flypro still has the little holes that Fei Long's guns plugged into, Flypro has a circular hole above the upper screw hole on his back.  His gun plugs into it, in a manner not dissimilar to the G1 toy.

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As for the remaining accessories, Flypro has a tab in the back of his mouth that a flame effect part can plug into.  There's nothing really to plug one into Megatooth's mouth, but you can work one in so that his teeth and jaws hold it in place.  As for Fei Long, the tabs on the base of the fire effect parts fit into the peg holes in the dragon mouths.  This allows for all the monsters to breath fire, with is a nice callback to the spark gimmick the G1 toys had.  Fei Long can even use them in robot mode.

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Speaking of robot modes, as mentioned before Megatooth gets shiny eyes to replace the flat blue he comes with.  However, the flat eyes are a molded part of the stoic face, so to use the metallic eyes you'll have to swap to a non-stoic face.  Fei Long's eyes are already a separate part, but his stoic face is part of the original head.  To use an alternate face you have to pop the eyes out of the default head and put them in the replacement head with the face of your choosing.  Otherwise, the the process of swapping is the same as with Flypro.

Lastly, there are the hands.  They have pegs on them that plug into the ports in the dragon mouths, then you simply use the double joints to get the dragon head/jaws out of the way as best you can.  The hands are otherwise identical to the ones on Megatooth and Flypro, with the same articulation and even the rails for the notches on other Fans Hobby weapons.  Of course, since his guns have tabs on the handles instead, Fans Hobby did put slots in the palms for them, so he doesn't have any issues using the guns he came with.  Personally, I don't think hands belong on Doublecross, but it's a nice little extra for people who might prefer them.

I gotta be honest, Grotusque was always my least favorite Monsterbot.  I mean, he's some kind of winged cat thing instead of a two-headed dragon or the alien spawn of a bug and Gigan.  Plus he's pink, which was not a cool color to young boys in the '80s.  But due to continued improvements over Fei Long, who was already improved over Megatooth, Flypro is easily the best of Fans Hobby's Monsterbots.  His aesthetic is better hitting that sweet spot where it's still kind of stylized but G1 enough that you're cool putting it with your MPs, the proportions are better, and even the articulation (while still not great) is improved in both modes.  Plus he comes with more of the bonus accessories you might find on another company's MP figures.  At the end of the day I think you still might be having a discussion with yourself about whether or not you really need MP-ish Monsterbots, but if you're thinking that you might Flypro is the first one I feel like I can recommend without qualifying it first.

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Appreciate the Flypro review, Mike. FH did a good job on him. Honestly, the pinkish (magenta, I always thought) coloration never bothered me.  Anyway, I'm not sure what further improvements FH could have done beyond better articulation. It's  pretty spot on, and the flap in the creature head to cover the hole where his bot head goes is a really nice touch. Monsterbots were never really on my MP want list, but I'm sure someone out there wanted them, so it's nice that they're available, and that they're done pretty well, especially in the absence of competition. Thanks Mike, and Happy Holidays!

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Zeta's Movie Bee has a beautiful bot mode, and a decent car mode, but looks like it has a really fidgety PITA transformation. I'm not a big fan of electronics in my toys, but I'll give props for good application/presentation. Love the weathering. Pretty neat.

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If Nicee, and their follow-on version of Windblade are good sellers, I could see them doing a version of Blackarachnia,in this style.

Nicee's looking good- I wasn't expecting metallic pink, but it works, especially against the pearlescent white. I hope the thigh still opens to store her gun Robocop style:wub:, as was shown in the concept art- it looks like it opens, so fingers crossed. I've already got mine PO'd, so I'm just waiting for a release date.

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Honestly, I don't think she really fits the MP aesthetic- too many artistic liberties, especially those to overtly emphasize her femininity- but sometimes a toy stands on its own merit, and I think this does. T&A aside, the beautiful sculpt work itself, the paint, the features ( articulating hydraulic cylinders in her knees, and possible in-leg gun storage), the articulation, the ability to swap heads and reconfigure her fenders to create two different characters, and the fact that she pulls off a pretty decent transformation into a recognizable, albeit stylized, Arcee car mode all combined to make this a figure I felt I'd really enjoy for what it is on its own. I realize the sexualized nature of it may not be to everyone's liking (I'd actually prefer it to be toned down a little), but I can look past that one aspect to see the other stuff it offers, and overall, it appeals to me. I'll probably keep her on my desk along with a lot of my other disparate robot toys for which I have no related companions. Just a cool toy for cool toy's sake.:)

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44 minutes ago, M'Kyuun said:

Honestly, I don't think she really fits the MP aesthetic- too many artistic liberties, especially those to overtly emphasize her femininity- but sometimes a toy stands on its own merit,

I definitely agree with you on this point.  It's why, despite having a set of Gigapower MP-style Dinobots, two 3P CHUG-style sets of Dinobots, and the actual Hasbro PotP Dinobots I have, adore, and display on its own Planet X's Grimlock (even though I don't have any of the other Planet X dinos).  It simply has the best dinosaur mode of any Dinobot figure I own.

But I guess I'm just not that into Arcee.  I have the Takara version of the older Generations Arcee for my CHUGs, MMC's for my MPs, and that's all I really need.  I think Nicee looks, well, nice, and the paint looks fantastic.  But nothing about it really grabs me.

Windblade, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have a good representation at all.  I have the Titans Return version, and it's kind of meh.  There's some things that the Thrilling 30 figure did better, but it still seems pretty meh.  There isn't anything even remotely MP-ish.  And aesthetically what Big Fire Bird is doing with Windblade (albeit we're only going off of lineart so far) seems more interesting to me.

So I'm definitely not judging anyone who's picking up Nicee, and I hope I didn't come across that way.  I don't have anything against sexy robots or the people who love them.  If I had friends like Skullface who loan him figures all the time I'd gladly take a look and give a fair and objective review.  I'm just not into her enough that I want to own one.

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Nice group photo, Tekering. Lotsa third party love going on there. 

13 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

I definitely agree with you on this point.  It's why, despite having a set of Gigapower MP-style Dinobots, two 3P CHUG-style sets of Dinobots, and the actual Hasbro PotP Dinobots I have, adore, and display on its own Planet X's Grimlock (even though I don't have any of the other Planet X dinos).  It simply has the best dinosaur mode of any Dinobot figure I own.

But I guess I'm just not that into Arcee.  I have the Takara version of the older Generations Arcee for my CHUGs, MMC's for my MPs, and that's all I really need.  I think Nicee looks, well, nice, and the paint looks fantastic.  But nothing about it really grabs me.

Windblade, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have a good representation at all.  I have the Titans Return version, and it's kind of meh.  There's some things that the Thrilling 30 figure did better, but it still seems pretty meh.  There isn't anything even remotely MP-ish.  And aesthetically what Big Fire Bird is doing with Windblade (albeit we're only going off of lineart so far) seems more interesting to me.

So I'm definitely not judging anyone who's picking up Nicee, and I hope I didn't come across that way.  I don't have anything against sexy robots or the people who love them.  If I had friends like Skullface who loan him figures all the time I'd gladly take a look and give a fair and objective review.  I'm just not into her enough that I want to own one.

I liked the Grimlock design from Fall of Cybertron, and the HasTak version left much to be desired. The Planet X, which I've only seen in reviews, did a brilliant job of capturing the look, and imbuing the dino mode with a lot of articulation, which is an area where official toys often fall short when the alt is a creature of some sort.

I don't know why, but I have a soft spot for Arcee; I thought she was a good character, I love Sue Blu's voice through the character, and I really like a decent transforming toy of her, especially considering the challenges inherent in translating her lithe and nearly kibble-less (per the animation model) bot mode.  I was pretty excited for the Generations figure, the only toy representation we've ever had of G1 Arcee in any line, like ever. It was more of a shellformer than I would have liked (I think some of her car kibble could have been reduced while still presenting a decent car mode, but it is what it is), but overall, it was still pretty decent.  Prior to the CHUG Arcee, the closest we ever had in official form was Animated Arcee, which definitely took its cues from the G1 design, but was its own thing ultimately. I still love that mold, though. I have MMC's Azalea as my MP Arcee, and, IMHO, she's an excellent figure- well-engineered , lots of articulation, a good car mode (the cockpit area being the only concession), fun to transform, just all-around good. I'm hoping Nicee will share all these traits as well.

Ah man, Windblade just can't seem to get a good toy. I own three versions- Thrilling Thirty, Titans Return, and the Robots in Disguise versions. The Titans Return is the simplest to transform, followed by the RID, whose legs are bulky, and thus form a bulky aft jet section with, oddly, two sets of stabs.  The Thrilling Thirty is closest to the comic depiction, but fiddly, difficult to balance, and I hate that her toes stick up perpetually when she's in her plane mode. Would it have killed them to hinge those things so they flush in jet mode? Grrr  The TR version also has bulky legs, but I like the way the toes fold and tab into her back forming a more natural looking aircraft. All three toys just have the arms tabbing into the side of the plane, looking very much like arms. I hope Big Firebird find a more elegant solution for integrating the arms into the transformation, or at least hiding them out of sight in jet mode.

You're good, Mike- I didn't construe anything you said as negative or judgmental.  Everyone has his own preferences- that's just human nature, and it'd be a damned boring world if everyone liked exactly the same thing with no variance. 

I also wish I had friends like Skulface, only I'd just like the opportunity to check out some of these figs without actually buying them. Be nice if there was a toy library where you could check these things out for a week or two- just pay a liability fee plus S&H. Could get expensive....

Edited by M'Kyuun
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I see a couple of you mentioned Skullface. Does someone know him? Or were you guys referencing someone he knows? I just ran across his YouTube channel. I like it. I like the short "pod casts" on toy subjects. I like his review style too. I wish he did more that covered a more lines. Not judging, everyone has their thing. Jenius is great for Macross stuff and Kuma is great for Super Robots, Gundam (that dirty rat got me liking Gundam!) and Primes.

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4 hours ago, sqidd said:

I see a couple of you mentioned Skullface. Does someone know him? Or were you guys referencing someone he knows? I just ran across his YouTube channel. I like it. I like the short "pod casts" on toy subjects. I like his review style too. I wish he did more that covered a more lines. Not judging, everyone has their thing. Jenius is great for Macross stuff and Kuma is great for Super Robots, Gundam (that dirty rat got me liking Gundam!) and Primes.

I've interacted with him through social media, but I don't know him personally. In this particular case we're talking about how fortunate he is that people loan him things to review (at least Transformer-wise, I don't really watch his other reviews). Seriously, especially in more recent times, watch a couple of his videos and see how many times he introduces a figure with "This is on loan to me". 

I'm not pointing that out to be critical, mind you. I'm just lamenting that I myself don't have a network of like-minded collectors willing to loan me stuff. My reviews are limited to just what I buy. That doesn't just limit my output; since I'm only buying things I expect to like it can create the impression that I'm overly positive and not critical enough.

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Don't know Skullface;  like Mike, I just watch his TF reviews, and as Mike mentioned, Bobby shouts out to friends loaning him figures to review probably more than figs he actually owns, TF-wise, anyway. So, yeah, he has a fantastic network of folks willing to loan him stuff, and I'm a little envious.:p In all fairness, though, Skullface seems like a really honest and morally decent guy to deal with, and that's part and parcel to why so many folks are willing to go through the hassle of sending him their expensive, and oft fragile, high-end toys for review. It's  pretty damned cool if you give it a moment's thought.  I'd be nervous about losing my stuff in the mail, or having the reviewer in question inadvertently break my expensive, and perhaps difficult to obtain, toy. 

2 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

I'm just lamenting that I myself don't have a network of like-minded collectors willing to loan me stuff. 

You and me both, brother.

2 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

 My reviews are limited to just what I buy. That doesn't just limit my output; since I'm only buying things I expect to like it can create the impression that I'm overly positive and not critical enough.

One could get that impression, at least from the outside, since most of us buy what we like, and there's a tendency to create a false bias to justify a purchase when it doesn't live up to expectations. Having read a good many of your reviews, however, I don't get that impression. You call out the negatives as well as pointing out the good, so I think you do a good job of presenting a fair and objective look at the figures you review. And there's nothing wrong with liking a figure with flaws; nothing's perfect, after all. The delicacy of the situation is being able to acknowledge those flaws, call them out, along with the good, make a fair assessment, and offer an honest recommendation. You do these things, and that's what makes you a good reviewer.

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12 minutes ago, M'Kyuun said:

You call out the negatives as well as pointing out the good, so I think you do a good job of presenting a fair and objective look 

This is something missing from the business I'm in. People give glowing reviews despite the item being crap. I'm sure a lot of it is that people don't want to admit to themselves that they just spent $7500+ on the wrong thing. And some of it is because they're not qualified to review it. It's really hard for the customers that haven't purchased yet. They have to wade through the marketing lies from the manufacturers and then the faux reviews to spend big chunks of money. It's a shame.

It's so bad that I have been attacked (not literally, I'm a pretty scary dude;)) for giving accurate reviews on things I have purchased with my own money. It's kinda bonkers really. Just about everyone will agree that if you purchase something with your own money you're entitled to your opinion/review (in a vacuum). That is until they have the same thing and their emotionally attached/invested to/into it. I've had guys come at me like I just told them their new girlfriend used to party with the whole hockey team.

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I'm a passionate hater of needlessly sexualized female characters in my media.  I like my tough-as-nails Ashley in ME1 compared to the bimbo we got in ME3.  I prefer my leader Leia from ESB to the gold bikini from ROTJ.  I haven't played Overwatch, but I hate the design and marketing of their female characters.

 

And yet this Nicee toy looks absolutely fantastic!  I love the design, and I love how it crosses my personal line once and then crosses it several more times :lol:  The colours, what I've seen of the transformation... everything has my interest.

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9 minutes ago, CoryHolmes said:

I'm a passionate hater of needlessly sexualized female characters in my media.  I like my tough-as-nails Ashley in ME1 compared to the bimbo we got in ME3.  I prefer my leader Leia from ESB to the gold bikini from ROTJ.  I haven't played Overwatch, but I hate the design and marketing of their female characters.

 

And yet this Nicee toy looks absolutely fantastic!  I love the design, and I love how it crosses my personal line once and then crosses it several more times :lol:  The colours, what I've seen of the transformation... everything has my interest.

I'm not quite so vehemently against scantily clad female heroes, but the pragmatist in me thinks it's a little ridiculous and unnecessary, so we're similar in our views. Concerning Nicee, I still wish they made her chest smaller, or provided cup-size options (what a funny thing to be discussing when talking about Transformers):lol:, but on the whole, she's just a beautiful figure from various perspectives.  I'm still waiting to see if they kept her gun-in-leg storage feature, a la Robocop.:wub: I hope so.

Kinda curious where those huge jugs go when she transforms, or if they parts-form. That's a lot of volume to hide.:blink:

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18 minutes ago, M'Kyuun said:

Kinda curious where those huge jugs go when she transforms, or if they parts-form. That's a lot of volume to hide.:blink:

"Your new platform is inefficient.  It has low-volume hydraulics.... and is top-heavy."  God, I still love how Mass Effect could get some crap past the radar ^_^

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10 hours ago, Valkyrie Hunter D said:

Air bags to protect Spike.

:lol:

10 hours ago, slaginpit said:

20120801204104N.gif

What the...?   The Japanese-- shakes head and laughs.

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