It’s been an exceptionally busy time for new Transformers toys recently. It seems like wherever you look, there’s just a plethora of excellent new product available, be that official or non. So much so that it feels harder than ever to keep up, which is probably why I’ve found myself so busy with unboxing efforts that it’s taken me until now to make time for doing another full photography review!
Not that I’m complaining, mind – far from it! Especially not when the opportunity presents itself in the form of a toy as gorgeous at this one! You see, today we’re taking a look at the latest effort in FansToys’ expanding Aerialbot roster, as they follow up on previous efforts Maverick and Goose to bring us Iceman. Wait, I’m starting to see a trend with these names.
Yes, despite the movie being famous for featuring F-14 jets when none of the Aerialbots actually turn into that model, Top Gun is very much the theme as far as third party names go with this set. Hey, it’s all planes, right? Well, make no mistake, this is an excellent representation of the character known as Air Raid and his F-15 Eagle alternate form, which we will be taking a look at it detail today!
And behold, he makes quite the fine first impression, as rarely has a jet mode looked quite as striking in Masterpiece-styled form! You really have to credit FansToys here, as they have well-and-truly nailed not only the overall look, but some of the smaller details too, as we’ll see.
It’s interesting too, as when you think about it, realistic Earthern vehicle forms are not exactly rampant in their repertoire until this point. Take their currently ongoing Aerialbot & Stunticon line-ups out of the equation and it’s surprising to consider how little experience the popular unofficial outfit have with this kind of thing. After all, the only toys of theirs that I can think of that fit that bill prior to 2020 are FT-15 Willis & FT-27 Spindrift, as they’ve mostly occupied themselves with an assortment of Dinobots, Insecticons, movie crew and other futuristic Cybertronian modes.
They’re more than making up for lost time though, as aside from the aforementioned combiner teams, they’re pumping out the likes of FT-41 Sheridan, FT-42 Hunk and FT-43 Dunerider, with plenty more on the way. Oh, and it’s only fair to mention that they seem to be doing an excellent job with it too, especially taking Iceman here as evidence. Just observe!
The jet form is exceptionally tidy overall, with absolutely no trace of robot mode kibble evident on the top portion anywhere. Everything tabs together very cleanly too, and so even though there are some obvious panel lines going on, it all looks quite natural and sort of blended-in somehow.
A side view continues to present well, although you will naturally get a taste of some of the robot form peaking from underneath – such is the rather inherent nature of the Aerialbots’ design, I’m afraid. I’ve read a few complaints about how “obvious” the white & red portion of the robot body is in this form, but for what it’s worth I really don’t think it detracts too much, personally.
Sure, if you flip this guy over then it becomes all too obvious that you have a kind of squished-up robot hanging on the underside, but in reality it’s all stowed so neatly that I think FansToys have hidden it about as best as they could. There’s absolutely no wasted space in the design, either, as everything is compacted as much as it possibly could be. Besides, who is honestly going to display this figure upside down, anyway? Probably the only time you’re going to see it is if you’re swooshing this thing through the air like a boss, and then I would hope that you’re having enough fun that you can forget about the sanctity of the aesthetics for a moment or two.
So overall, I really do think Iceman presents exceptionally well in the jet mode, and if you’re going to let something like that undercarriage put you off owning an otherwise quite fabulous figure, then this set is definitely not going to be for you to begin with. True story.
Fortunately it all feels pretty robust, too. FansToys are famed for the usual quality of the materials that they use, and whilst I will say that in my experience it’s not been an impeccable track record overall, Iceman proves that they can more than live up to their positive reputation when they choose to. This thing feels exceptionally solid and well-built, which is especially good considering some of those smaller parts and thinner sections such as the rear fins.
The plastic feels tough, though it has that now almost typical FansToys “squeak” to it when you move panels against each other. The finish is really rather excellent too, with a very eye-catching sparkly quality showing off all of that beautiful moulded detail atop the jet. It’s quite hard to quantify the exact colour of this toy, but it’s certainly not as straight-up black as the character’s animation model. In truth it’s an exceedingly dark grey, if anything, but it does feel like there’s a slight tint to it as well. Overall it looks really rather appealing and never fails to have me admiring it whenever this guy is in vehicle form.
The paint applications are excellent, with very crisp, well-applied lines all over. It’s most notable with the stripes on the wings, which carry over nicely from one panel to the next, showing just how well everything lines up here as well. Stylistically those stripes are an interesting choice, too, as they’re not actually very reminiscent of the character’s animation model (where he was sporting much simpler white stripes at the front of his wings), but instead provide a very definite callback to the original Generation 1 toy.
It’s not the only way that FansToys continue to deviate from the more cartoonish trend of the official Masterpiece line at the moment, as they’re definitely embracing the realistic nature of a real-world vehicle here too, although I’m sure a lot of people would agree with me in saying that it looks all the more resplendent because of it!
Seeing the level of detail crammed in here, especially on areas such as the rear thrusters, is what really makes this guy sing, to me eye. Somehow it would have been slightly disappointing if they’d stripped out all of that gorgeous moulding in favour of a more simplistic aesthetic, so I for one am definitely grateful with the design choices made here.
In terms of functionality, there are a few little gimmicks to keep you occupied, although perhaps nothing that isn’t expected. Of course there is landing gear that can be folded at the front and back, allowing the jet mode to stand very stably but also to roll well, should you wish. As an aside, I would certainly advise being careful if you’re going to stand the jet mode without the landing gear in use for some reason, as the painted finish from the robot form underneath will be at some risk!
I will say that of everything going on here, the rear landing gear is probably my least favourite aspect of this jet form overall. The little panels that fold down to allow the wheels to pop out form part of the robot mode knees, but they look far too obvious when deployed here. It’s a choice that I can’t quite wrap my head around, and although it’s far from being something that detracts too much from the overall appearance, it still comes off as a little odd.
Fortunately the cockpit section looks nothing short of marvellous, with a beautiful translucent plastic look that catches the light well, a nice painted trim and a lovingly-moulded interior. It’s a shame that humanoid figures such as Masterpiece Spike are naturally way too big to fit in there, but it looks superb all the same.
You can also fold up the robot mode guns and stow them under the wings for a spot of alt’ mode armament, which looks predictably tasty.
It’s a very strong showing for Iceman overall then. In fact he’s nothing short of breathtaking once you have him fully assembled in his jet mode, especially given how large it is! It’s great to finally see a set of Aerialbots done in comparative cartoonish scale to their Carbot colleagues, even if real world scale would have them being much larger, of course. Still, for those of us who grew up wishing our Generation 1 equivalents could be at least a smidge larger than they were, this is a dream come true.
That becomes even more so once you start lining him up next to his current roster of teammates, such as Goose. Seeing these two together is definitely making me very excited for the remaining two members of this team to be realised (not to mentioned the combined form, although that feels like a little way off yet!).
The only possible consideration that occurs is where one could reasonably display or store such a set of ginormous jets, as all five of these buggers will be a hefty amount of space taken up indeed!
Still, I’m going to file that one firmly under “Future Sixo’s Problems”, as for today I’m living for how much fun these guys are so far. It’s funny, as I can’t help but continue to think of those original toys from my childhood, and how much six-year-old me would jump for joy at locking eyes on these things back then.
In fact, I will never forget the day my Mum surprised me with the gift of a complete set of Aerialbots. They were second-hand and a bit worn, but she’d managed to scoop up the full squad in one swoop, and had lovingly displayed them on the table for me to witness for the first time. It was an incredible moment of excitement, marred only by the subsequent realisation that the heads had been snapped off all four of the smaller toys inside Silverbolt’s joints.
I still appreciate the gift, of course, although it’s funny how those memories remain so vividly entrenched in our consciousness for years to come. The day I assembled a full G1 Aerialbot line-up in later years was a proud achievement in my collecting, and in many ways I’m just as excited to see the rest of this roster completed some day soon, given how well it’s shaping up so far.
For today though, Iceman will do nicely even as a standalone piece, given how wonderful this jet mode looks overall. It’s definitely my favourite vehicle mode of the set, so far.
We can only hope that FansToys continue to bring the goods with the final two team members, as assuming they do then this is going to make quite the display overall (regardless of where you put them!).
Join us for part two when we’ll be talking transformation and taking a look at that robot mode!