FT-06 Sever – High Hopes or Severed Dreams?

What did you hope and dream for when it came to a set of  modern day high end G1 inspired Dinobots? Did you hope that Takara Tomy would follow Masterpiece MP-8 Grimlock up with the rest of the crew, all equally engineered to a high quality and representing toy and cartoon faithfully? You may have had enough of waiting and thrown your hat into the 3rd Party ring where we find FansToys and their Iron Dibots, or GigaPower and their Gigasaurs. So far FansToys have given us FT-04 Scoria (Slag) and FT-05 Soar (Swoop), all gorgeous, die cast, chrome-soaked and screen accurate to various degrees. Do you now have high hopes for FT-06 Sever (Snarl) to reach those same heights and surpass or are your dreams of a complete set of Masterpiece-style Dinobots/Dibots in danger of severance?

The wait for FansToys’ FT-06 Sever has been markedly different to that of Scoria and Soar. GigaPower and their HQ-03 Guttur have ensured that the third installment in FT’s Iron Dibots (mind that spelling, lads) series has had serious competition and constant comparative scrutiny at every stage of development. Guttur is bigger and shuns screen accuracy in favour of toy accuracy, has hit the market first and achieved positive reviews from a number of sources, myself included.

With a significant number of collectors now offered a genuine alternative to FT, previously considered the only serious player in the MP-style 3rd party market – especially for Dinobots, the larger scale toy accurate ethos of GigaPower and even G-Creations means that FT have to achieve a number of things in order to remain top of the faux-Masterpiece pile.

These targets include, but are not limited to, once again nailing a G1 cartoon screen accurate representation of a Dinobot, a figure in perfect scale with Scoria, Soar and all relevant contemporary Transformers Masterpiece figures, achieving a believable and well proportioned dinosaur mode with none of the quality control issues of Scoria or the fragile knee clips of Soar, and doing it all while going head to head with a competitor. So, have all of these targets been met?

Scale wise, I guess being a noticeable amount smaller than GP’s Guttur puts him in the acceptable window of scale when compared to other FT dinos and Masterpiece figures like MP-10 and co. Sever still stands a little taller than the other Iron Dibots and Grimlock-avec-boots. All other things aside, I guess for the consistency of my collection thus far, I would choose Sever over Guttur to maintain the aesthetic of my Dinobots and the general concept FT are going for. However, It’s not entirely fair to decide in one figure’s favour over another based purely on the fact that one company got a couple of Dinobots out before the other had launched their first. Despite its smaller stature, Sever weighs in at 1394 g compared to Guttur’s 1027 g.

In terms of poseability, you get everything you’d expect from Sever, with the exception of outward ankle articulation. Like Guttur, the waist flaps open all the way around to allow for freedom of movement in the legs. The waist swivel on Sever is ratcheted, as are the shoulders, thighs and knees. Very nice and secure indeed, none of Scoria’s looseness or Soar’s squeaky tightness there, just good honest ratchets.  The squeaky tightness resides in the thigh swivel, goodness me. Sever is really easy to pose securely thanks to the tightness in the arms and legs, and the solid hunks of concentrated metal that are his feet, and the considerable angle the ankle tilt can achieve. I very much enjoy how easily Sever can be made to look up and down, it makes for more expressive posing.

There’s no denying that Sever has a massive chest that from afar appears to be a red cuboid with limbs, but it’s accurate to the character, as is his red waist – if you’re going for cartoon accuracy. The top of the helmet looks the part too, but a few are bemoaning the fact that it doesn’t carry on to become cartoon Snarl’s slightly dopey looking bucket-head silhouette. I agree it’s not screen accurate, the apparent ethos of FansToys for these toys, but I’m not massively bothered by that fact.

The pre-release imagery made me believe Sever could be the prince of the Dibots, the most beautiful head sculpt evoking memories of Venger from Dungeons & Dragons. As it’s turned out at this test shot stage, I’m not all that pleased with how the face looks at all. FansToys have said they will adjust the eyes (which are currently far too small), so I look forward to the results of that. I wish they’d reduce the size of the mouth/pout as well. I should mention, the front of the head pops off without difficulty, so the replacement snarling red-eyed face should be easy to switch between. I didn’t have that alternate face included with my test shot, unfortunately.

Both the weapons – sword and hand gun – are awkward to grip for Sever. When you are spoilt with things like Masterpiece Wheeljack and Ultra Magnus for solid and well-engineered weapon grip, FT’s solutions to this seem to fall short of the mark. I couldn’t get either to tab in so securely that Sever could still keep them well-connected without the fingers wrapped around the hilt/handle tightly. Once he’s got them though…

I think it’s high time we spoke about how good Sever looks as a robot. The chrome on him is glorious and completely in keeping with how shiny Soar and Scoria have been. The relative proportions of the arms are more in line with what I want from an MP Snarl, less overtly beefy than Guttur, actually you could say that about Guttur from head to toe. Sever just seems that much more athletic and relatively slimmer all over than Guttur. However, that’s not to say it’s better, because if beef and excess bulk is what you want from your Dinobots, Guttur delivers there in spades. Sever does the amount of dino tail and back plates visible in robot mode well too, they don’t feel as if they are dominating the upper body (as if that chest would let them).

The way FansToys have engineered Sever’s legs to be able to accommodate both the dino head halves and the front legs of the stegosaurus is impressive, different to how Guttur leaves the dino legs on the outer robot legs like the G1 toy. Do I find the chrome-laden inner legs a distraction? Yes I do, and I’m glad for it. They remind me of the stunning, intricate inner workings and structure of an old automaton. I’d say even that funny face looks good as part of the package when it’s not being given an unflattering extreme close-up, especially when the eyes disappear a little under his brow. I guess my biggest gripe with robot mode is the fact that the rear dino feet are so visible under the forearms, the last photo above demonstrates this perfectly. Seeing the backpack when the waist is rotated might bother some as well.

To stegosaurus mode, and another stern test for Sever and FansToys. I must admit some of the early images of this mode left me wondering how it could have passed the concept stage with such glaring proportioning issues. Those have evaporated now that I have the item in hand, because it’s a damn fine dino mode. There are no ‘holes’ in the back of the dino feet, and those making an issue of the hollow section underneath between his front dino legs will see it’s a complete non-event in the flesh. The front half of the dinosaur does feel ever so slightly elongated compared to Guttur, which nails the G1 Snarl dino look almost perfectly. I am completely satisfied with this mode, and therefore both of Sever’s modes, ticking another important box. The dinosaur head obviously is based heavily on the screen representation of Snarl.

Sever has all the articulation you’d need in dinosaur mode as well, with a tail offering more motion than GigaPower’s Guttur as well as upward articulation in the dino head. However, that does mean the panel the head rests on has to be rotated up, leaving no visible (biological?) connection between the head and the neck of the dino. It won’t please everyone, but at least the option is there, whereas with Guttur it isn’t. The plates/spikes on Sever’s back are all plastic and seem delicate, be careful where you grip him during transformation. Those are die cast on Guttur, I think I would’ve preferred them as such on Sever too.

Regarding the transformation, I felt that GigaPower’s Guttur transformed precisely as I expected it to, just what I thought a heavily toy-based Masterpiece-sized Snarl would convert like. Sever, however, has a few sections which got me to raise my eyebrows, and I really do want that out of a figure in this price range. The way the red plastic halves on the dino’s rump fold into the cavity behind the robot chest and the relative complexity of the dino hind legs surprised me genuinely. So much so, that most of my first pictures of dino mode had the hind legs completely mis-transformed.

There is one section of transformation I am concerned about, though. When you fold up the forearm covers and rotate those sections to reveal the fully chromed lower hind legs of the dinosaur (see image of forearms below), that friction of rotating plastic across the chrome will leave circular scratch lines as things stand currently. That’s an issue I’ll be reporting back to FT. Other than that, you have to employ the same care as you would when transforming Soar, so in that respect GigaPower do have an advantage because you can truly manhandle Guttur, really give it some beans when you’re transforming it. Then again, maybe I felt that way because my Guttur was the painted metallic version, not the chrome. Sever’s transformation takes longer than Soar’s, and I’d say longer than Scoria’s as well, but it’s every bit as enjoyable as either.

FansToys Sever FansToys Sever FansToys SeverAn interesting question I saw in discussions about Sever was why the FT version has the circuitry detailing on the side of the dino’s torso, especially as the front dino legs are not stored in a cavity on the outside of the robot legs ala Guttur and Generation 1/Diaclone Snarl. Well, why not? It’s a characteristic of the Dinobots, and let’s ask ourselves, do we really want these figures to be completely screen accurate right down to the lack of detailing on surfaces?

I like the big space on top of the dino head moulded in for an inevitable Autobot symbol. I like the articulated jaw but not how hard I have to work to get both halves of the dino head to actually stay stuck together without a gap. I wish the whole spike/plate section on the dino back would sit against the shape of the back more flush as it does with G1 Snarl and Guttur.

As you would expect, Sever looks right at home next to Masterpiece figures. Don’t expect me to post a scale chart picture here, I’ve got my own ideas about how these things should compare and I’m happier with how Sever fits in with my Masterpiece figures than I was with Guttur.

Now, the group shots we really want to see…

It’s true that Masterpiece Grimlock increasingly seems to scale less favourably with the slow but sure increase in size of the Iron Dibots. I do still feel that MP-8 is necessary in this display to ground the whole ensemble in its original purpose and reason for being. Along with everyone else, I’m utterly fascinated to see what FansToys do with their eventual Grimlock. You can see that Sever’s chrome is much closer in colour to Soar than Grimlock and Scoria. I’m glad they’ve gone that way as leaving Soar completely on his own in the warmer, richer chrome department would have jarred with me. Sever is definitely winning in the exposed chrome stakes too.

Snarl was my first Dinobot, my favourite G1 Dinobot toy, I’ve come to realise. The first Transformers toy I bought as an adult in 1998 after nearly a decade of thinking Transformers were out of my young life forever, a relic of my childhood. It’s the reason I’m here today in this hobby in many ways. Since getting Scoria and understanding why a set of Masterpiece-style Dinobots is essential for a toy collection, I’ve been eagerly anticipating Sever. It has not disappointed me, not even with a face only MP Smokescreen could love, or chrome scratch on the hind legs. I firmly believe FansToys are getting better at making these Iron Dibots with each release. Sever could have been licence to go insane with the die cast, but if anything they’ve cut down the die cast content to the benefit of the figure.

So, to the judgement. Screen accurate? Yes, in the correct measure. Believable dinosaur mode? My opinion is a resounding yes. Scales well? Absolutely. Quality control? Be careful with the plates and I don’t see why there should be problems. Cosmetically, there could be chrome scratching as it stands on the hind legs. How has he fared compared to Guttur? I want to be clear here, I love FansToys’ work, a great deal actually, but I acknowledge that GigaPower did a fantastic job with Guttur. It’s a hulking great brute of a Dinobot which is fun to interact with, does nothing wrong and will appeal to a significant portion of collectors. It can be handled with more abandon than Sever, it’s bigger, it’s toy accurate and comes with an arsenal of fun accessories that Sever can’t touch, and it does weapon storage in both modes.

Sever, though, is going to be my Snarl of choice. Not just because it fits better with what I already have, but because it looks more refined. I prefer the proportions of the limbs in robot mode, and while neither Guttur nor Sever get the face sculpt right in my opinion, there are angles that I have photographed and posed Sever in which remind me of the first pre-production imagery from FT. I prefer Sever’s transformation as it’s more interesting and I believe it has better dino mode articulation in the all important dino head and tail. I acknowledge that most of what I prefer about Sever might be precisely what someone else uses to decide Guttur is a better fit for them. It’s a credit to both FT and GP that neither figure crushes the other comprehensively across the board. After experiencing Guttur first, I’m just thrilled that FansToys have given me an MP Snarl that makes me as happy with my choice as GigaPower customers will be with theirs. So have high hopes, choose your concept, your design philosophy and then your Snarl. None of you – us – will be disappointed.

You can buy FansToys FT-06 Sever here at TFSource.

All the best
Maz

About Maz

Diaclone and TF collector & writer from the UK. I also write for & own TF-1.com and TFSquareone.

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