REVIEW: FansToys FT-31B Magnum (part 1)

Stunticons are the current combiner-team-du-jour in the wonderful world of third party Transformers, with just about every unofficial outfit that you can think of taking a punt at the dastardly Decepticon line-up. OK well, it feels like that anyway, and with so many different interpretations on the go it can be hard to know which set is the right one for you. Fortunately, FansToys have impressed right off the bat with their offering, with both Road King and Spoiler garnering a warm reception on release.

And so here we are taking a look at the latest instalment in the burgeoning team roster, with Magnum being an unmistakable take on Decepticon daredevil, Wildrider. For a bit of a lowdown on the character in question (and some background to the toy itself), I suggest you check out my unboxing video before we get cracking below.

As mentioned there, Magnum is supposedly intended to represent a Ferrari 308, which is traditionally Wildrider’s alternate form as far as Generation 1 goes. However, eagle-eyed fans have clocked that FansToys appear to have served up the modified Ferrari 288 GTO instead, so that’s a bit of an oddity. Either way it has to be said that the car form clocks in a major first impression in hand.

First thing to notice is just how neat and tidy the whole thing is, with nary a whiff of kibble to be seen anywhere. Honestly this is one of the smoothest and most well put-together car modes I’ve seen in ages, and outranks even Spoiler in terms of how nicely it tabs together to feel rather notably flush once you’re done with the transformation. Even a side view will show how little robot-related junk there is to be seen on the underneath, almost to the point where you could imagine forgetting this thing can convert at all.

FansToys have also done a great job at delivering an automode which looks spectacular from every conceivable angle, with Magnum putting in a marvellous performance even on the rear. Those painted taillights are a particular treat and add a welcome pop of colour to the proceedings.

In fact there are plenty of attractive little flourishes all over this guy. The front bumper section is just as plasing to the eye, with some decent-looking headlights and well-applied paint applications all serving up a premium feel.

Indeed, it’s remarkable to spot just how much detail has been crammed into this guy overall. Even if they have opted for the wrong car model, FansToys have produced a vehicular form that’s hard not to marvel at on close inspection.

Gimmicks such as pop-up headlights offer a bit of a real-world spin, although perhaps my only grumble here is how fiddly they are to deploy, with a tool definitely being required in order to complete the process. I will say that it’s easier than on Spoiler at least!

Oddly, the lights are perhaps the one bit of the car mode that don’t *quite* sit flush, with the right one in particular on my copy just standing a smidge to attention.

The translucent red windows look remarkably attractive, and are dark enough that they cover whatever sins of engineering bits & bobs lie beneath.

The rear window is a painted on feature instead of being clear plastic, which is a bit of welcome attention-to-detail as well as being a practical solution.

The wipers are a welcome touch and the wing mirrors stand out quite prominently. It’s weird to see that they cannot be moved at all, which also makes me slightly nervous about accidentally breaking them at some point, although to be fair they seem sturdy enough.

Finally it’s worth paying attention to those blinging chrome wheels with the real rubber tyres over the top. They look nothing shy of spectacular, and represent the kind of polish a lot of FansToys collectors will likely tell you they think is missing in the official Masterpiece line these days.

Speaking of which, the overall fit and finish on offer here is extraordinarily high, with Magnum feeling like a weighty treat in hand. The plastic is durable and comes off as quality to the touch. There’s the definite evidence of diecast in the mix too, which is something I’m sure a lot of fans will have been expecting.

So all in, Magnum presents very nicely indeed. I have to be honest and say that I was ever-so-slightly underwhelmed at the idea of *another* pass at the Stunticons, but FansToys are steadily winning me over with these guys, one-by-one.

In fact in terms of car forms I actually think that Magnum may be one of the nicest-looking and most-polished Maserpiece-styled efforts I’ve seen in quite some time… no hyperbole…

He definitely packs a punch versus the official line!

Don’t get me wrong, that’s not a knock on official Masterpiece toys one bit. However it’s hard not to look at what FansToys are offering here and think that it doesn’t feel impressive by comparison.

In terms of size, Magnum lines up nicely versus the official Carbots, although he’s just a whit bigger side-by-side. He definitely feels more solid and “chunky” somehow.

At this point it’s probably worth lining him up with X-Transbots take on the character as well. Flipout is arguably more of an obvious stand-in to the official line in terms of proportions, and noticeably does a much better job at bringing the classic 308 form to life here, even going as far as including a splodge of paint in a nod to the manufacturer emblem.

That said, FansToys definitely takes it in terms of quality and finish, coming off as an overall more polished product in terms of materials, even if the design of Flipout is one that I’m very keen on. It’s hard to definitively say that one of these is better than the other, but it is very easy to be wowed by how nicely made Magnum is once you have him in hand.

Really, the big deciding factors between these two happen in robot mode, but that’s a story for next time, as we’ll see. For today, they both have their advantages and both do an excellent job for what they’re trying to achieve.

If you have opted for the FT set thus far though, I doubt you’ll be disappointed in terms of the latest vehicle mode offering. Megatron certainly seems impressed!

Joking aside, as the FansToys squad continues to evolve, it’s hard not to be more and more impressed with what they’ve got going on here. We’re 3/5 down and every one of them is a bit of a showstopper in car mode so far.

They’ve certainly proven by now that the full troupe of Stunticons is going to be a formidable force.

Of the two cars we’ve seen, I definitely think that Magnum is my preferred effort over Spoiler. There’s just something so sleek and sexy about him that it’s hard not to be bowled over.

Thinking back, it’s remarkable how many of FansToys’ previous efforts haven’t required them to produce real world vehicular forms. Dinobots, Skyfire, Insecticons… all weird and wonderful in their way but quite a different prospect to a range of well-known and very specific automobiles.

Fortunately it looks like they’re pulling it off with aplomb, with Magnum being just the latest evidence that they more than know what they’re doing.

In fact, looking at both their current Stunticon and Aerialbot line-ups, I’m almost hoping that they continue to pump out the more Earthern options moving forward, especially as it’s so great to see some of these typically underappreciated limb lads given such a decent due.

So, it’s a strong early showing for Magnum, as he’s certainly wowed when it comes to vehicle form.

Join us for part two when we’ll be talking transformation and taking a look at that robot mode!

SHOP FOR FANSTOYS AT TFSOURCE

TTFN

About Sixo

Transformers collector from the UK, collecting vintage G1/G2, CR/RID, UT & Masterpiece/3P. Find me at twitter.com/SixoTF or on YouTube at youtube.com/SixoTF

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