TF-Parallax City Commander
following is a guest review. The review
and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford
or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the
Saotome checks in tonight with a look at a great Transformer - take it
Prepare for a new adventure across the vast, countless universes, to
battle an elusive enemy with unbelievable allies. Are you ready to
befriend familiar looking foes? Will you confront friends who are now
farfetched in their nature… Welcome to: TF PARALLAX
Today’s review is going to be a little odd. Not because it has to do
with Transformers, a toy line that really isn’t covered in Mike’s
reviews, but because the City Commander ‘figure’ is made up for two
different parts. In order to make the figure you will need part A: A
Transformers Ultra Magnus Classics figure by Hasbro and part B: The
City Commander armor set by an independent company known as FansProject
Ltd. Ultra Magnus came in a Target exclusive 2-pack with Thundercracker
last year. However he was simply a white and lighter blue repaint of
the Classics Optimus Prime (which can also fit inside the armor, same
as the SDCC Universe Nemesis Prime) and fans clamored for a true
‘Generation 1’ Ultra Magnus which featured armor and a trailer.
They designed and released the City Commander armor under the
TF-Parallax line that would combine with your classics Ultra Magnus to
form a complete figure with full range of motion, weapons, and still
transformed into a semi with trailer. With massive fan support the
armor was released. So what was the end result? Well read on and we’ll
find out. Keep in mind that the armor is completely separate from the
Hasbro produced figure and both are needed to complete City Commander.
It’s a medium-sized white
box with some lettering on it, hmmm. There are no pictures of the
product inside but the design looks nice enough with the basic company
website info, some warnings on the bottom, and the name of the item
inside. On the back is the cryptic sounding message you read at the
beginning of this review. Oooh, mysterious! Pop open the flap and out
comes a 100% user friendly plastic tray in a cardboard insert showing
off a rather blue trailer. Though I wish the box had some art of the
figure it was still done very nicely and quite sturdy for collectors
wanting to keep it on the shelf. No twisties either!
The trailer itself is sharp looking, no soft sculpts here. The fact
it’s made of all hard ABS plastic helps this and there’s no flaws at
all for being a kit in nature. While the trailer is complete you’ll
still have to take it apart to form City Commander and combine it with
your Ultra Magnus. Here’s where the sculpt really shines. The head,
shoulders, chest, waist, arms, and legs all come together beautifully.
They attach right on to Magnus and you can’t really tell he’s wearing
armor, it’s that well designed. This alone blew me away because the
trailer armor wasn’t made by Hasbro, yet fits on the figure perfectly
as if the same designers had worked on it.
The new head and face of City Commander is beautiful, fitting in with
the TF Classics theme of ‘upgraded G1’ sculpts. He’s big and blocky
just like Ultra Magnus was in the cartoons and comics. Everything about
him screams Transformers and looks the part so much I honestly can’t
tell it was designed by another company. Something else neat about the
figure is that the license plate on the left toe can be flipped similar
to James Bond’s car, to display two different plates. It’s the only
action feature so I decided to include it with the sculpt, since it
affects how the figure looks.
The trailer/armor is molded
primarily in base plastic colors but what paint is there is flawless
with crisp colors, sharp edges, and absolutely no slop. Since this is a
specialty figure I would expect no less than perfect paint apps,
however you only get solid colors here with no kind of shading or
highlights like with other lines of action figures. That’s not a big
deal here because the Hasbro Transformers figures are the same way and
they needed to make sure the trailer matched the Ultra Magnus figure
perfectly. When matched up against the colors of the base figure you
can’t tell the difference and that’s pretty amazing!
Articulation - ****
Often when you get removable armor for a figure it limits the
articulation because of it’s bulk and weight. But here the armor
actually adds articulation! You start out with the base movement of
your Ultra Magnus figure but the City Commander armor adds cut wrists,
a ball-jointed neck, and tilt-ankles! Each hinge or flap of the armor
that is movable for the transformation from trailer to armor has a
metal pin and feels quite durable. The armor doesn’t hinder the base
figure’s articulation at all which was pretty extensive to begin with.
I was really impressed with all the moving panels and the ability to
give him tilt ankles for a sturdy stance on my shelf.
Technically the armor is the accessory, but still has one for the
figure, the BFG. (big freaking gun) This large weapon has two modes, a
shoulder missile launcher and the BFG mode. The weapon fits great in
either hand and you don’t need to remove it to transform modes, just
fold it down. It’s rather heavy in BFG mode and depending on how tight
your joints on the base Ultra Magnus figure are, you might end up
propping the gun up on his knee. But man, it sure does look deadly!
Speaking of accessories, the base figure’s original accessories can be
stored on the back of the shoulder columns when he’s holding the BFG.
That’s some smart designing there. You also get an assortment of
license plate stickers for the revolving plate
Now for the really cool part… the instruction booklet. While a figure’s
instructions are almost never mentioned in reviews I feel it’s a huge
part of the figure just as the comic book was with the old Toybiz
Marvel Legends figures. Why? Because the instructions are actually a
comic! This was an ingenious idea because as you’re reading how Prime
is doing battle with some Egyptian-looking baddie it swaps into a
detailed view of how to take the trailer apart and assemble it into
City Commander... right in the middle of the action using the same art
style! The art for the comic/instruction is top notch too, though it
doesn’t say who the artist is in the booklet.
Looking at the trailer you don’t really see the complexity and multiple
parts right away until you start taking it apart. Transforming to the
armor and attaching it to your base Ultra Magnus figure is a snap, each
part folding and fitting exactly how it should, and tightly. There’s no
loose armor pieces here and you won’t need to force anything. The
chestplate has springs that lock it firmly in place which was pretty
neat and the arms/shoulders/waist/legs lock on firmly. Transforming
back into a trailer is easy too, just reverse the directions. Both
modes feel quite sturdy as well.
Wow….. I can’t remember when I had this much fun actually playing with
a figure. If you remember the old G1 Ultra Magnus back from your
childhood toybox then you are going to have a blast with this one! Your
kids too, though it’s not really intended for children under 15 as it
states on the box. But the armor and paint is just as durable as the
Transformers figure underneath so I wouldn’t worry about your child
rolling it around on the carpet and transforming it with supervision.
At first glance $76.00 is a lot to pay for an accessory, or so you
would think. But this armor wasn’t mass produced for retail shelves. It
was designed by fans that started their own company and used durable
materials topping it off with a great paint job. We’re not talking
about a specialty company like NECA or Mezco, we’re talking about you
and your friends making something from the ground up and getting it
into production with no flaws whatsoever. That is truly impressive and
combined with the design, application, and durability, makes this City
Commander armor well worth the price tag.
to Watch Out For -
Zip. There are no quality control issues; the armor is sturdy once
attached. I didn’t feel as if anything would break when transforming
the trailer to armor and the paint was perfect. I guess one could break
the neck on City Commander if they tried to bend his head too far back
but that would still take some effort.
I am stunned. Here you have
a small company that put out a truly amazing product for a license they
don’t even own. This gives me high, HIGH hopes for other small
companies who are making their own figures/toys and if FansProject Ltd.
could do it, great things are in store for the future. I don’t think I
can say anything else about the figure other than if you’re a fan of
the Ultra Magnus character as he appears in the original Cartoon/comic
then you’re going to want to go to the ends of the earth for this
figure. Remember that it’s just the armor though and you’ll need some
version of Classics Prime to complete it.
This is Jin Saotome saying thanks for checking out the review and look
forward to more!
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ***3/4
Accessories - ***4/5
Transformation - ****
Fun Factor - ****
Value - ***
Overall - ****
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Figure from the collection of Jin Saotome.