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7 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

Yeah, those choices were about giving Pexus an insane level of articulation. 

Holy crap that's a lot of joints!

That they got that much Bendimus into him without compromising aesthetics or solidity of either mode is just amazing.

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One last recent purchase.  Well, not so recent; I guess I've owned it for three or four weeks, but I was hoping something else would come in so I could save on shipping, gave up, and finally just paid something like $12 to ship it by itself.  "It" being Fans Toys Smokey, their MP-style Dragstrip.

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With all three Dragstrips in hand I can finally do the ol' compare-em-all (note, it's XTB left, Fans Toys middle, and DX9 on your right).  And... yeah, Smokey looks pretty great.  Like the other two he's got two different yellow tones, but the difference is a bit more subtle than XTB or DX9's, but I think XTB's colors are closer to the Sunbow art.  I think I prefer the head sculpt on Smokey, and Fans Toys did the boxes on the sides of his legs better, but aside from that FT and XTB are really close for cartoon accuracy.  It might come down to whether you prefer your Stunticons to be be Seeker-sized or carbot-sized.

DX9 isn't awful, and I appreciate that of the three he's the only one that actually uses his spoiler for feet, but his short thighs, long shins, thin arms, and the engine in his chest more than his belly doesn't do him any favors aesthetically.

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Some side and back views.  Surprisingly, FT has the least backpack, but his back is significantly wider.  DX9 has a little back kibble, but he's not too bad.  XTB's is kind of mess from behind, with the front of the car sticking out of the back of his shoulders, the butt flap, and the halves of the safety bar dangling from his butt cheeks.  Both FT and XTB have the actual spoiler on their back sides, but I prefer how it's serving as Smokey's heels vs dangling from XTB's calves.

On aesthetics alone, I'd rank them as FT, XTB, and DX9 bringing up the rear.

Now, unless there's a problem I don't usually talk much about materials, but since we're directly comparing these three let me say that FT as usual is the heaviest, with solid plastic and a fair amount of metal.  Interestingly, some of the metal in his joints has a gold color.  While all that metal can give Fans Toys figures a heft that many find satisfying I have serious concerns about the weight of the Stunticons and how that's going to impact the combined mode.  DX9 is much lighter, but the plastic has a solid fee that makes you feel like you can mess with it without worrying about breaking it.  XTB's isn't bad and I'm not even seeing signs of the shoulder cracks many users seemed to have (perhaps because I took steps to file down some of the parts when I first got him?), but he definitely feels like the most fragile of the three.

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Smokey comes an alternate face with more of a smirk than his stoic default face, and a little half a driver for alt mode like XTB did.  He also comes with two guns instead of just one like every other Stunticon from every company.

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It's a bit interesting that all three companies were copying off the same Sunbow source and they all got the same basic details; round, three-segmented barrel, rectangular stock with the back upper corner cut in, rectangular detail near the barrel, and a scope on top.  But all three managed to have little differences in the handle placement, the extra molded detail, the proportions of the scope, and the overall size of the gun.  They're all fine, so I don't have a strong opinion about which is better than which.

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Smokey's articulation is a little bit lackluster.  Not as bad as Fans Toys' Aerialbots, mind you, and fairly on par with the competition (minus the ab crunch), but not as good as their Wildrider (double-jointed elbows and knees) or Breakdown (double-jointed elbows and knees plus and ab crunch).  His head is on a ball joint but he doesn't have much of a neck, so his up/down range is a little limited and his sideways tilt is almost non-existent.  That's slightly worse than DX9, much worse than XTB.  Shoulders rotate and can extend laterally 90 degrees, which is slightly less than DX9 and XTB but you can employ a transformation hinge to make up the difference, so tie.  Note, though, that the hinge for lateral movement is on the wrong side of the rotation, so like Studio Series Hot Rod he's stuck without lateral movement should he happen to raise his arm first.  While I think that's totally unacceptable on an MP-style toy in 2021, the fact is that's basically the same boat for XTB (he's got a bit of a butterfly due to his weird shoulder transformation), which gives DX9 the clear advantage there.  Biceps swivel, tie.  Elbows bend 90 degrees, tied with DX9 but far behind XTB's (which curl almost 180 degrees).  Wrists swivel, ties all around.  On Smokey the thumb is a ball joint with no additional hinges, and the fingers are all separate with a hinge at the base and a hinge mid-knuckle.  That's well beyond XTB, whose thumb is fixed and whose fingers are a single part pinned only at the base, or DX9, whose hands are the same as XTB's except the index finger is separate from the other three.  Smokey has a waist swivel, same as the other two, but he does not have an ab crunch like the other two.  Hips go 90 degrees forward and laterally, and a little short of that backward.  That's roughly the same as DX9, while XTB matches for the forward and lateral motion but has a bit less backward range.  All three have thigh swivels, but only Smokey's works by moving the thigh around the hip joint.  XTB's is cut right under the hip, and DX9's is cut mid-thigh.  Smokey's knees are ratcheted and can bend 90 degrees.  That's the same as XTB, and the same range as DX9 but DX9's knees are friction.  Smokey has no up/down foot tilt, something XTB and DX9 have at least a little of, but all three have (at least) 90 degrees of ankle pivot.

Smokey holds his guns using the usual tab on the handle into the slot on the palm.  The fit is very tight; perhaps FT didn't account for the paint on the handle.

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Swapping faces is fairly easy.  First you pull the purple part of his head off, then you can slide one face out and slide the other on before replacing the top of his head.  Normally I prefer a stoic face and I think the default one for Smokey looks fine- I'd have been happy if it were the only one in the box.  But I must admit that I do like this smug little smirk, so I'll probably keep that face on for awhile.

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Yeah, yeah, three pictures in a row before more words.  I mean... yeesh.  I think Fans Toys kind of dropped the ball on alt mode.  I mean, XTB's is by far the most realistic depiction of a Tyrrell P34, and is therefore automatically the alt-mode winner because I prefer realistic alt modes.  DX9 gets a little shade for having a head instead of a steering wheel in his cockpit and his kneepads chilling behind his engine, but the proportions are still pretty good and he's still got details like the safety bar behind the cockpit and the black port holes on the sides of the cockpit.  Not only did Fans Toys omit both of the those details (the port holes are technically present, but very small and they're yellow), but the proportions of the car are seriously out of whack.  Like, any reasoning human can see that DX9's is just bigger all around than XTB's, but Fans Toys gave us something slightly wider than DX9's but a tad shorter than XTB's.  You'll notice the tires are about the same size as XTB's, when they should be closer to DX9's based on the width and the size of of the cockpit.  It look likes like someone took a model Tyrell 34 in one scale from the cockpit forward and a smaller scale from the engine back, stuck them together, and filled in the sides to try to cover it up.

Aesthetically, then, XTB has the best alt mode, then DX9.  FT's coming in dead last on this one.

It's worth mentioning, though, that the transformation on Smokey is fairly straightforward and smooth, something you don't often associate with Fans Toys.  He's not quite as fun to transform as DX9's, but I found the experience to be much more enjoyable than transforming XTB's.

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The drive can sit in the cockpit, but he doesn't seem to lock in place in any meaningful way.  Oh well, he's going to wind up in a box, like XTBs.  The rubber tires roll just fine.  As for his guns, there are little rectangular notches under the stock in front of the handles.  These notches plug onto small tabs in behind and to the sides of his engine, with the handles tucking down in front of the spoiler.

As the worst of Fans Toys' Stunticons it's tempting to say that Smokey's a little disappointing, but the reality is that FT's Stunticons, Smokey included, are better than almost every other Fans Toys figure I've bought, and being the worst of the best is still very good.  He gets a recommend from me, but I'm pretty sure that I've recommended all 14 so far.  That said, after 14 of these things patterns are starting to emerge.

-Do you like to transform and play with your figures?  Buy DX9.
-Do you want the set with the least height difference between Motormaster and the other four?  Buy DX9.
-Do you want the Stunticons to be the same size as the Autobot cars?  Buy XTB.
-Do you want the best alt-mode Stunticons?  Buy XTB.
-Do you want the best robot-mode Stunticons?  Buy Fans Toys.
-Do you even think you might want Fans Toys?  Just buy them before the aftermarket prices get any more crazy (I paid a preorder price of $120 for Smokey, but most stores have already marked him up to $200 if they still have stock).
-Do you want all three?  Buy all three!
-Do you want all three, but you don't want three cartoon sets?  Buy Fans Toys for your G1 cartoon, buy XTB's "Youth" versions for G1 toy, and DX9's G2 versions.
-Do you want the least-expensive option?  Buy DX9.
-Do you want the best combined mode, regardless of price?  Jury's still out on that one.  At this point, though, while aesthetics are subjective, I do feel like you're better off with DX9 than XTB.  The transformation of XTB's overpriced trailer into Menasor's frame is unpleasant, stuff starts to come undone while you're manipulating him, and he's got some balance issues that may or may not be resolved by leaving Motormaster out of the equation.  While Wildrider and Breakdown could probably use a more solid connection to the back of the calves DX9's Mensor is still exceedingly solid and exceedingly stable.  I think it'll take a lot for Fans Toys to beat it, especially with the concerns I have about their overuse of diecast, but that's purely for a Sunbow Menasor.  DX9 doesn't offer any options for a more toy/OX style, which I strongly prefer.  Fans Toys will supposedly offer parts for both Sunbow and OX with their Wildrider, while XTB will eventually sell a "Youth" trailer for a more toy-inspired Menasor.  While I would NOT recommend XTB's regular trailer there's still a very good chance I'll buy the Youth version.  The decision I have to make in the meantime is whether I'll stick the Stunticons I already have onto it of if I need to sell them and buy all the Youth versions.

Edited by mikeszekely
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The J-20 is such a good looking fig; I'm trying not be tempted, but so few jet-formers ever look this good. These are the first bot pics I've seen with the wings closed, and I prefer that over their splayed look. It's a cool feature, but I think they look better solid.

I did bow to temptation for the helicopter fig, and I'm totally down for the Flanker.:wub: I'm hoping they show protos of the Flanker soon- the art looks gorgeous, and of course, the Flanker is a beautiful jet. I may not agree with Soviet ideology, but they can sure design a pretty fighter.

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I was going through a box of older Transformers figures and came across some very old movie toys.  That's partly relevant because we're discussing jetformers, and (especially for a Bayverse toy) Terradive was actually a pretty cool figure that turned into a just-different-enough-to-avoid-licensing Su-47.  He's got a little leg kibble underneath, sure, but a pretty interesting transformation.

The other reason it's relevant is that I realized what that transforming J20 reminded me of when I saw him in the box... RotF Breakaway.

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That Terradive was a pretty fun toy.

As a personal preference, I also liked how his engines became his arms, because you could have an engine exhaust out instead of a fist. My Terradive wvs always in megabuster mode.

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Terradive is a cool fig, and yeah, one of the better jetformers they've done over the years. Breakaway is a decent F-35 until you look at it from any angle but straight down. Fun toy, though, except when trying to monkey with his head inside the cockpit. I still wish they'd done more to streamline his legs in fighter mode.

I initially liked '07 Dreadwing, which resembles a Flanker, but I couldn't abide his lack of proper hands. Until now, I never realized his exhaust augmenters could open. As hands go, it's a 'meh' solution. His fighter mode is pretty decent, compromised only by the bulbous legs protruding down along his lower centerline, which I imagine a lot of folks probably just pretended was an oversized MK-84 or a big cruise missile tucked under there. His bot mode was wonky, but I still kinda dig it. Part of me wishes I'd picked him up now.

Transformers (2007) Dreadwing (Image #34 of 130)Transformers (2007) Dreadwing (Image #57 of 130)

Dirge from RotF was a pretty nifty neo-Harrier. His bot mode was bit unorthodox, and not the most appealing aesthetically. His upper body transformation reminds me of BW Megatron for how the arms form the cockpit and backbone of the jet mode. I kinda dig how they designed his legs, as they were more integrated into the shape of the jet, and the feet are the intakes turned 180 and cut at steep angle. I point it out only because many of these live action movie toys forced Takara out of their typical cube-focused design aesthetic, in large part due to Alex Kubalsky's influence, and we started to see more unusual angles and rounded edges involved in the transformations.

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen Dirge (Image #24 of 111)Transformers Revenge of the Fallen Dirge (Image #65 of 111)

It's fun to look back on some of these old figs. I still have a few of them up on the shelf.:)

 

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1 hour ago, derex3592 said:

Has anyone else seen this? His pre-production copy had some issues, but MAAAAN, I'm a sucker for anything 86 Transformers Movie! I kinda REALLY want one for ship mode!!!! 

 

Yeah, it's a little more than I wanted to spend right now, but I kind of want one to go with my Zeta/whatever Unicron.

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Surprised no one else has posted this yet. Zeta has a MP Seeker in the works. It looks a lot like MP-11.  Not really feeling it.

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Still hoping that MT are going to rerelease their Seekers, but their silence of late isn't very promising.:(

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48 minutes ago, M'Kyuun said:

Surprised no one else has posted this yet. Zeta has a MP Seeker in the works. It looks a lot like MP-11.  Not really feeling it.

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Still hoping that MT are going to rerelease their Seekers, but their silence of late isn't very promising.:(

Zeta's seekers were shown years ago under ToyWorld's banner. I'm fact, TW did release and I have their Coneheads. I can say that they're pretty good, definitely better than MP-11, although they're a little larger and they had kind of goofy faces. But, assuming the engineering is the same, I prefer Maketoys.

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On 2/24/2021 at 5:55 PM, mikeszekely said:

Zeta's seekers were shown years ago under ToyWorld's banner. I'm fact, TW did release and I have their Coneheads. I can say that they're pretty good, definitely better than MP-11, although they're a little larger and they had kind of goofy faces. But, assuming the engineering is the same, I prefer Maketoys.

OK, I knew a 3P company was releasing Seekers that looked pretty similar to the official MPs a few years back, but I couldn't remember who it was. I bought a few of the original Kawamori-tweeked Seekers (Greenscream, Wally exclusive Starscream and Skywarp, IIRC). I intially wanted to pick up some MP-11 figs, as I preferred the more show/toy accurate depiction, but ultimately, I hated the high placement of the head so much that I never bought another official MP Seeker. When the MT version came along, I was intrigued, but as usual, I fence sat through the first releases, picking up Skycrow on a rerelease. I have Meteor and their version of Thrust on PO, but given the way things have been playing out with them, I'm thinking those releases might not happen. I'm hoping that when MP-52 drops, folks will be selling off their MT Seekers relatively cheaply, and I can get Meteor and their Thundercracker then. However, the MT Seeker's a pretty good fig, and a lot of folks like me prefer it over MP-52, which is going to drive up the demand, especially if MT's throwing in the towel. I'm hoping the market will be flooded with MT Seekers, but I fear the reality is that a lot of folks are going to hang on to them, and the ones that do sell are going to go at an unpleasant markup. Dans le monde des jouets, c'est la vie.

5 hours ago, Kuma Style said:

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Kuma, you really know how to make a guy feel the ultimate non-buyer's regret.  Great pic of a cool figure, as usual.

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1 hour ago, Negotiator said:

It's a good idea, but they really needed to include a new stand that works with the bigger rings.

 

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Yeah, that's quite involved, but interesting. Got a little bit of a YF-21 vibe with how the shoulders rotated out. Anyway, enormous kudos to Zeta for nailing the F-4 mode, and for figuring out how to get that bot mode so screen accurate. It's an impressive figure.  The one thing that bugs me about the robot mode is that there appear to be four instances of landing gear forming the toes on a plane that has standard tricycle landing gear. That's what happens when CG happy artists with no knowledge of aircraft design these things. 

I didn't notice if this had a tailhook- even the Air Force versions had it.

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It does, and this one is by and large a very similar design to the Mechanical Alliance version, but after looking over them both, one of the reviews said that the Zeta version seems to manage its folding panels a lot better, and feels more sturdy. 

Just put down a deposit for one.  I think this one is arguably the more accurate F-4 mold, despite having less painted detail, since this one has much better looking horizontal stabilizers, and more accurate control surfaces and panel lining overall.  It's missing the USAF insignia, but I could easily add those myself if I want them (the MA one actually has the markings backwards, so I'd want to redo them anyway), and I like the shape of the tanks on this one a bit more.

Transformation wise, this looks like someone saw the Sv-262 and said "hold my beer." :lol:  I'm just fascinated by it, even if it is some sort of transformation-based masochism.

Edited by Chronocidal
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8 hours ago, M'Kyuun said:

The one thing that bugs me about the robot mode is that there appear to be four instances of landing gear forming the toes on a plane that has standard tricycle landing gear. That's what happens when CG happy artists with no knowledge of aircraft design these things. 

Totally agree

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I wouldn’t say this nails the F-4 mode. Looks more like an SD F-4 to me.

Chris

Edited by Dobber
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21 minutes ago, Dobber said:

I wouldn’t say this nails the F-4 mode. Looks more like an SD F-4 to me.

Chris

It might be a little foreshortened, but all the salient features are there, even the sawtooth at the winglet. From nearly every angle except from directly below, it captures the look of the F-4 without compromising bits of bot sticking out to ruin the illusion. As robots in disguise go, and more poignantly, as robots that turn into jet fighters go, this thing is quite accurate and a solid win. Do they get everything right- honestly, I'd need a side by side with a dedicated F-4 model to really find the flaws. I've been up close to the real aircraft, and this impresses me for how accurately it captures the plane. If one gave it an official AF or Navy paint job, would anyone be able to tell this was a Transformer at first glance? I don't think so.

This makes me wish, somewhat, that Zeta would do Shatter, concentrating on her Harrier mode. One of the things that bugged me was how incongruent in mass the alt modes were for the two main Decepticon protagonists in the Bee Movie. Just b/c anything can be done with CG doesn't mean it should, and something like Shatter's situation with two very different alt modes that really don't mesh well practically, should have been given more thought and perhaps fleshed out with practical models to ensure a better fit. After all,  this whole franchise is driven by the toys, so it would seem to me that Ha/Tak would have a vested interest in making sure these things are workable for the eventual toys. Guess not. Alas, I've been waiting and hoping for an accurate Harrier Transformer, and the SS version was terrible. If Zeta goes for it, I have hope.

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1 hour ago, Dobber said:

I wouldn’t say this nails the F-4 mode. Looks more like an SD F-4 to me.

Chris

It probably is, but much less so than the Mechanical Alliance version.  I'm primarily impressed with the fact that they managed to actually hide the robot, even if the plane is slightly cartoony.

Also, looking at the transformation, it looks like you might be able to keep the toes flipped the other direction and hide the little wheel struts.

Edited by Chronocidal
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Have both MA and Zeta on order as well.

34 minutes ago, Chronocidal said:

Also, looking at the transformation, it looks like you might be able to keep the toes flipped the other direction and hide the little wheel struts.

Exactly what I'm hoping ... can't stand those struts on my Studio Series version so I removed them...

Before

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After

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More power to anyone that likes it, I too think it is a nice looking bot  with impressive engineering. But the plane mode is just too fat and stubby. Not a good F-4 representation. They may have the details but the proportions are way off. To each their own though. 
 

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Edited by Dobber
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Yeah, definitely stubby, especially the cockpit.  I'd actually be really interested to see what would happen to the bot if it was stretched to the full proportions of the jet.

Think it will definitely be a fun display piece either way though.  Makes an interesting comparison to their Fireflight F-4 from the Zeta Superion actually, which looks like a closer overall length, but with a traditional chunky underside to the fighter.

 

 

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I just ordered the Lemontree Purple Potato from ShowZ. I saw this on pre order too. 
 

https://showzstore.com/top-toy-shenyang-j-15-cangjiao-white-shark_p2962.html

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looks like it has quite a bit of kibble underneath. But at least there are other companies making some jetformers.  Can’t wait to see what TFC’s Effort will look like as so far their other efforts look fantastic.

Chris

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Kudos to them for taking on J-15 (a Su-27 derivative). It's a slick plane and hard to make it less kibble. But it looks like the underside is totally off, no air intakes of sort and the vertical tails are off too. But the images said that it's still work in progress. Hopefully they can sort out the underside.

Edited by Firefox
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