Thursday, December 8, 2016

FansToys Lupus - Weirdwolf

Instead of my usual light tent and desk lamps, I tried to do white seamless with flashes instead. Think I need a little more practice with this technique.

I think I dropped out of Transformers about when the Headmasters were introduced. I remember owning Brainstorm as a child, but didn't get to any of the others. Despite a couple of faults, I'm glad to start filling in the gaps on my Decepticon shelf with FansToys Lupus.

As a robotic wolf, my favorite feature is the head. The general shape and expression is appropriately menacing. The canopy on his back opens to reveal a nicely detailed cockpit, with painted buttons and a tilting steering wheel. Monzo fits, but it's a tight fit and you have to bend his knees in the reverse direction. The cockpit collapsed on me once because it's on a sliding mechanism, which I hate. I think the base of the neck is made of Die-cast, as are all four paws. His butt is a bit wide and there are some gaps in the hind quarters. His mouth opens fairly wide to reveal a bunch of pointy teeth. There is a swivel at the base of his head and at the base of the neck. He also has a tilt just behind his head for looking down. Unfortunately, he can't do a howling at the moon pose because his neck and back do not arch upward. There are tabs on the leg pieces that look like they should peg into the waist, but I can't quite get them to reach so he retains an ever so slight waist swivel. His tail is hinged at three points, but you can't waggle it back and forth because it locks straight as a sword. There is a swivel at the base so he can get the curve in the other direction. All four legs are on swivels and are double-jointed. The rear legs can hinge outwards at the hips, but they keep scraping past panels. All four paws are on tilts and rockers. Ocular Max Jaguar still takes the trophy for articulation and posability. I could not find a place to store his rifle.

Monzo is a nicely detailed little Nebulon, who holds together very well as a head. Unfortunately, no attempt was made to cover the face on his back in his Nebulon form, a detail much appreciated in the FansProject line. Well-applied metallic silver paint and line work on his chest and a bit of sloppy metallic red paint on his face give him some visual interest. His head has no articulation. His shoulders are on hinged balljoints. His hips are also on balljoints. He has single-jointed elbows and knees, both of which can get to 90 degrees. His feet are on balljoints so you can position them as well. I do worry about scraping the paint on his head because of the tight fit in Lupus' neck socket. All in all, Monzo is a decently made Nebulon with a bit more articulation than is usual for such a small figure.

Transformation to either mode is very simple and straightforward. There are some extra moving parts with the forearms and feet so it's not Beast Hunters Predacons level of simplicity. There was no fiddliness with lining up tabs. I did have to use a spludger to force the sliding mechanism of the cockpit to move. The FansToys QC sticker fell out of a forearm compartment.

I think his robot mode is much more successful. The wolf head backpack isn't any more obtrusive than the same on Masterpiece Grimlock or Planet X Vulcun. He has Die-cast in his chest, feet, and hip skirts. He is covered in beautiful metallic paint, but it's a pain to photograph. The red and silver highlights look to be cleanly applied. Opening his chest plate reveals his tech specs, which are also painted on in rich colors. I do wish the sliding tracks along his flanks had covering panels. Maybe I transformed him wrong, but his wolf legs sit under his feet and they are not flush. This makes him look like he's floating a bit off the ground. 

His head is on a hinge and a very loose swivel. He can look down a bit but not up at all. His shoulders are on hinges and ratcheted swivels, but do not butterfly. The range of motion on his shoulders stop well before those shoulder pylons come near his head. It doesn't look as if the body sculpt is getting in the way so it's a shame we don't get a little more range. He swivels at the biceps, wrists, waist, and thighs. He has double-jointed elbows that barely get to 90 degrees and double-jointed, ratcheted knees that go well past 90 degrees. His thumbs are on balljoints and are pinned at the second knuckles. The rest of his fingers are single-pinned and articulate individually. They all articulate at the first and third knuckles and are all missing their second knuckles even as a sculpt. His hips are on universal joints with ratchets along the transverse axis. He has a little bit of a feet tilt, but not much of rockers - at least not without breaking the leg sculpt. His wolf feet can function as heel spurs, which he really does need. He's closer to Tesla's more limited level of posability than to Quakewave or their Insecticons.

His accessories include a rifle, a sword, and an alternate face. His rifle is painted a metallic blue-green and has some decent line work. There are no screw holes, but the rear of the gun is splitting at the seams. A little bit of superglue should be able to fix that issue. His sword is painted a metallic silver and also has well-done line work. It doubles as his tail. Both weapons use Masterpiece-style tabs that work reasonably well. The alternate face has more or less the same neutral expression as the default face. The lips have a slightly different shape.

Although it does have its issues, Lupus will definitely be standing on my Masterpiece shelf. His finish and aesthetics does make him stand out against the Maketoys Headmasters, but it's not so big of a deal that they can't share shelf space together. If Maketoys handles the Autobot Headmasters and FansToys handles the Decepticons, we'll have the complete set in no time, relatively speaking. I'm looking forward to getting more.

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