I suppose everything about FansToys FT-27 Spindrift came as a surprise to me. I was not expecting them to veer into the world of early Generation 1 minibots, but they had a brief foray into the Autobot cars with Willis, so I should not be too shocked to see them deviate at short notice. I was surprised he came out and I received him for review, because as with FT-09 Tesla, FansToys did not send any early test shot review samples to any of the other reviewers. Surprise or not, here he is, in his extremely cute little packaging featuring box art from FansToys I actually noticed for once.
Spindrift comes packaged in a fashion similar to his original Japanese G1 release, nestled in a little bed of styrofoam. There’s a more squared off alternate head that I never bothered to engage with as I was happy with the stock headsculpt. There’s the collector’s card, instruction sheet (of moderate use), a handgun and two blue outer wrist attachments.
First impressions are that Spindrift is solid, with nothing giving me the impression that it would break or snap on initial handling. Undoubtedly it will pay dividends to be careful with the fan blades and the barrels of the wrist attachments, I’d suspect those could be susceptible to heavy-handed contact. Spindrift’s robot mode proportions are really nice, almost heroic, if you could possibly attribute that description to this gurgly fellow. On screen and with many incarnations of the character (including other contemporary Masterpiece scale 3rd party versions), he is often depicted as rather dumpy and…middle-heavy. Much as I prefer the more heroic (and probably screen-inaccurate) proportions of Ocular Max Artifex over the competition, I feel much the same about Spindrift. Of all the 3P MP versions on the market, it’s the FansToys version that wins for me, visually.
I am finding that without a red insignia on his torso, the large section of white can come across as plain, so that’s something I’ll be looking to fix shortly with a reproduction sticker. Posability of the arms, shoulders, waist and knees is very good for a figure this size. There is an ankle tilt but it does not allow the foot to sit flush with the surface at more extreme angles. The above is about the best I could do and make it look natural. The gun grip is ok, but not secure enough to survive an errant finger or knock. The attachments on the wrist like to pop off when provoked too, especially when you’re trying to rotate the wrists and hold the arm to do so. Always be mindful of paint on die cast sections, vigorous action can see it flake.
The double-jointed knees are a very welcome addition because of the increased number of poses they put at Spindrift’s disposal. Yet another surprise to me was that, despite his lack of an outward ankle tilt, he pulled off a terrific run! He has balance and weight distribution sufficient enough to hold it convincingly, and that’s with the die-cast he contains. I guess those huge feet serve a purpose! The surprises aren’t done. With a figure this small and simple, I expected to do a very short 15 photo gallery with just a handful of robot mode images, but he started to sing in front of the lens and I just wanted to pull more and more poses out of him. The photo shoot itself, after a week of ownership that had proved inconclusive, sealed my affection for the figure.
Spindrift is obviously Masterpiece-scaled, and he compares very favourably with the likes of MP-21 Bumble and the larger Masterpiece figures like the Decepticon jets and Artfire. The main question for you as a collector will be whether or not it bothers you that his proportions are more lithe than lumpy. He cuts a very neat silhouette too, not much in the way of kibble. But then, you should never have anything beyond the fans as kibble with this character, so maybe even those folded up flaps behind his back should not be let off so lightly. This brings me onto his transformation quite nicely…
It is certainly possible to over-complicate something that should be straightforward; manufacturers of 3rd party Transformers toys are masters of this. My first impressions of Spindrift’s transformation from robot to hovercraft were precisely along those lines. Why did something so basic require so much double-hinge driven panel faffing for his mid-section? I couldn’t tell from the instructions why there were points when one hand would plug into the feet to make the blue vehicle base whereas the other would not plug in fully, or why I could not get the chest to clip into the surrounding parts. With repeated practice, I started to see how important it was to get things done in the correct order, and that some sections could be compressed further than I initially expected. Once things are aligned properly, and done in the right order, Spindrift does indeed clip together securely and neatly for hovercraft mode. The T-shaped white flap that sits between the yellow thighs on top of the vehicle occasionally needs to be pushed back up from underneath as it can flop between those thigh parts. I just went back to the transformation now to see how a week’s focused attention on him had affected my technique, and I had zero issues. Fastest I have managed to convert him yet, and I would even class it on the correct side of the complicated/engaging line, now.
From the rear, in hovercraft mode, it might annoy you that so much of the back of his head is still visible. Hiding his head seems to have been a perennial issue throughout the various toy iterations of the character, Titans Return included! I am torn as to whether I am pleased or not that his two blue wrist attachments can also be added to make a semi-attack mode hovercraft. I think it looks nice, adds extra visual appeal and interest to his alternate mode, but those little guns sure are small and those barrels sure seems thin. No issues to report so far, other than how often they popped off his arms.
I should note, when going back to robot mode for the first time, I could not quite get the white side panels to unplug from the blue vehicle base. The best way to get everything split again for conversion to robot mode is to first split the front end (feet), then wiggle each leg free of the clips by bending them downwards at the knee joint.
Yes yes, I know. A hovercraft should utterly dwarf a Volkswagen Beetle. This is a Generation 1 homage though, and above all, a minibot. Robot mode proportions appear to be the defining factor in a figure’s relative scale, so this was always going to be where Spindrift weighed in size-wise in alt mode. I doubt FansToys will hear too many complaints about that, honestly. I think he looks really nice alongside Bumble.
I initially believed that FansToys Spindrift was conceptually similar to the legends class Titans Return figure in design. Much of the transformation follows a similar overall path and shape, but the TR toy has a sub-one minute transformation process whereas, Spindrift required almost 10 minutes of fiddling to achieve the same thing. This was an unfair assessment. On repeated play, and it did take me about 5 to 10 conversions to really get the hang of it, I reckon Spindrift has a perfect transformation for the scale and complexity of the overall figure. I would not even call it complicated at all, I think it’s pretty smart in places. You are then rewarded with two handsome modes which capture the feel of the character beautifully, a great deal of posability and – subsequently – personality. I even like the name “Spindirft”, and in a week where I threw out pretty much every single 3rd party box I own, Spindrift’s is one I’d like to keep. Overall, a quality package.
I’ve got to give FansToys credit; after Sovereign, Grinder and Phoenix, I figured they were due a dip in form and that Spindrift was that dip. While it’s not going to trouble anyone’s figure of the year top spot, it’s a toy I enjoy a lot now. I’m happy for him to be my Masterpiece-scale representation of this character indefinitely, and I guess as far as success goes for 3P companies nowadays, that’s kind of the definition of it.
All the best