Saturday, 23 February 2013

Review: FansProject Assaulter

I have a love/hate relationship with FansProject (FP). They make incredibly high quality toys, with big chunks of metal, but they also make their not-Transformers stupidly complicated to change from one mode to the other. The not-Insecticons I can just about manage, the trailers take a bit of fiddling about with the pieces before I can get them to fit, but to get not-Springer into all his 3 modes it's instructions every time.

Assaulter is the latest release from FP. Whereas Steelcore, the previous release in the Warbot line, was an all-new character, Assaulter follows the Defender mould and is honestlynotatallbasedonanexisitingHasbrocharacter. In this case, Broadside.

I'd never heard of Broadside before Assaulter was announced - or so I thought. Turns out he's one of the Wreckers and thus I probably had read about him in Transformers comics, but I'd never taken much notice of him. Since I have zero nostalgic tie to him, I can openly declare that his 80s toy was pretty terrible - turning from robot to aircraft carrier to an apparently aircraft carrier-sized plane. Ah, mass-shifting, it lets you get away with anything.

So how does Assaulter fare?

The first thing you notice when you get him out of the box is... Actually, you notice this before you get him out of the box - he's really, really heavy. Hasbro may shun metal, but FP love it. Assaulter is a giant block of metal - so big that he's slightly mis-transformed in the box to ensure he'll fit inside.

Honestly, this guy is like a brick. If he'd been released in the 80s many people would have died from having this guy thrown at them (children are cruel like that).

His appearance is an amalgam of Broadside's various appearances over the years, with added tweaks to 'FPise' him. The white head looks a bit odd, but you can thank the 80s for that. Articulation is extensive and despite the weight you can pose him almost any way you could desire. His hip joints worry me a little every time I move his legs, as there's a big click eminating from his crotch and I fear breakage. His ankle joints are a little weak compared to the body weight they have to contend with and he will start to lean (and then topple) forward if you're not careful with how he's posed.

Aircraft carrier-mode is replaced by a similar 'cruiser' mode. This looked pretty poor on preliminary photos and in hand it looks no better. It reminds me a little of Sixshot's 'gun' mode. I know as a flying vehicle Assaulter probably doesn't worry about this, but not being able to sit flat on a table is going to annoy anyone who wants to display him in this mode. In all, it reminds me of a mode someone's just made up when transforming from robot to...

Jet mode is far better. There were a couple of bits I couldn't get to clip together very well, which was annoying, but generally the jet is wonderful. It's around Voyager-size, if you want a Hasbro size comparison. I've heard the proportions described as 'odd', but personally I don't see anything wrong with it.

Finally, there's a 'secret' mode, which changes the appearance of the robot slightly. I had no idea what this was all about, so diligently looked it up and found it's to make Assaulter look like Broadside as he appeared in an episode of the G1 cartoon. Nice touch, but not a mode I'll be using much even though the addition white in this mode makes the head-white look less out of place.

Weapons-wise he comes with 2 guns which transform into axe-like weapons. There're also essential parts of the jet and cruiser modes, becoming the wings and front, um, bits. In addition he came with a bunch of tiny vehicles which are supposed to sit on him in cruiser mode. These are a bit rubbish. You can tell this because I couldn't be bothered digging them out of the box to take a photo.

This isn't the best figure FP have released, but, considering it's size and weight, there's a good chance it's the best value for money. The poor clippy-together bits are a disappointment, coming from FP, but overall I like him and, at the very least, he makes a great offensive weapon.

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