REVIEW: FansToys FT-30B Iceman (part 2)

We’re back with the second part of our full pictorial review of the latest member of the FansToys Aerialbot line-up – here’s Iceman! Last time we covered off that rather impressive-looking jet configuration, so today we’re onto the robot mode… and what a stunner he is!

Iceman comes packaged in this form, and it’s only fair to say that he makes an immediately positive impression right out of the box. He’s a handsome devil all round!

Having since had the opportunity to transform him back and forth quite a few times, I can honestly say that it doesn’t really faze me much any more, even if the process itself has a few tricky elements along the way. I do think the conversion back to robot mode is far easier overall than getting him to his vehicle form to begin with (mostly because of the rather excessive force required in order to get the top part of the jet in position and all clipped together!), with the assembly of the backpack proving to be perhaps the major challenge here.

In fact, the oddest thing here is that the backpack is so weirdly mistransformed and misaligned out of the box, especially as the instructions simply do not cover how it is that everything is actually supposed to tab together properly. It means that there’s a fair dose of figuring this stuff out for yourself to be done (or hey, just check out emgo316’s video review, like I did!) as otherwise you could be left with the impression that the entire back section sort of flops around rather hopelessly. Fortunately this definitely is not the case, and once you have it all as it’s meant to be, everything feels quite secure and tidy. I do think that if you’re going to package a toy in a way that needs so much adjustment then you should account for that in the instructions, however.

Now that I know what to do, I find it a fairly easy process overall, especially as other than the backpack section it shares a lot of similarity with Iceman’s predecessor in this line-up, Goose. The way that the arms unfold from the chest and a lot of how the legs unfurl is all becoming rather textbook, as I suspect the remaining members of the team will follow suit.

As for Iceman? Definitely a looker, as I say. I’m a huge Aerialbot fan, as I indicated last time, so seeing a character like Air Raid done justice in such superlative 3D form is a thrill indeed. All he needed was the addition of an Autobot logo on the chest to make him really look the business!

With that in place, Iceman is rather stunning overall. The colours in particular are really striking, with that rich red contrasting superbly against the brilliant white and sparkly black sections. It’s interesting to note that he’s more of a pure white than Maverick, giving quite a nice look to the set overall so far.

It makes everything pop quite vividly to the eye and certainly draws your attention! I particularly like the sparkly finish that can be seen over much of this figure too, as it helps to make it feel like a thing of quality.

Then you have areas such as the translucent plastic on his chest, which is nothing shy of gorgeous. The previous members of this team have similar attention to detail, meaning that Iceman fits in well in that regard, too.

Paint applications are also looking crisp and on-point, and whilst much of the toy is bare plastic, where the paint is used it really adds something. Besides, that sparkly quality makes him sing overall, as I say!

The sculpt also looks excellent, with I think just the right amount of detail overall. Much has been made of TakaraTomy’s more recent swing to extreme cartoon slavishness, and whilst I do believe that FansToys have shifted their aesthetic just a touch in order to compensate for this, they haven’t gone “full toon” either. I’ve little doubt that many collectors will appreciate the balance they’re striking here, as Iceman proves to be a decent apprxoimation for the character as we know him from the screen, without feeling that he’s somehow “cartoonish” in style.

Naturally a large part of the success of that comes from the head sculpt, which in this case does a great job at bringing the character to life. It’s funny as when I first saw it, it almost wasn’t what I was expecting at all, and yet somehow it really works. It’s both classically “handsome” in many respects, whilst also quite unique and interesting, and boasts a lovely set of shiny blue eyes.

Should you prefer then there’s an alternate, “shouty” face included too, and it’s a very simple swap-out mechanism which never fails to keep me happy! I really like both options and suspect they’ll get quite a bit of use.

He looks pretty swish with the shouty face in place and both his pistols pegged into his hands!

So overall, Iceman presents exceptionally well, and also feels suitably sturdy and robust. I have some nervousness about the various fins, wings and smaller panels found over his rear side, but in fairness I also haven’t had anything even come close to breaking on me thus far!

That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t suggest you be careful though, as there are some small bits and bobs that could be prone to damage without proper care or attention, but he certainly doesn’t feel fragile at all. I’m quite impressed.

Where this figure does disappoint is in the articulation. Let’s be straight-up about this – it’s not a very poseable robot mode, by Masterpiece standards. It’s perfectly possible to get him into a nice stance and have him looking cool, but dynamic he is not. The above is about as creative as I was able to get with him, short of some major untabbing going on.

The main reason for that is obvious – there is no waist swivel at all. That’s something that might sound rather surprising, as waist swivels (and even ab crunches) are almost considered standard by many these days, but what’s even weirder is that the toy does actually allow for rotation at the waist, but then prevents it by how the backpack tabs together! If you wanted to use it, you would be left with a whole dose of plane guff flopping around all over the place, so it’s not really a viable option, in my book.

Is it a major problem? Well, no, there are other examples of MP-style toys with little to no waist swivel that manage to compensate for it in other ways, but I think it’s sort of compounded a little here by Iceman’s arms and legs not having the great range of motion available either. The elbows and knees will go to ninety degrees at most, and just generally he feels a little “solid” overall.

I honestly wouldn’t let it put you off too much though, as whilst he’s maybe not so lithe, he still looks the absolute business! I’ve no doubt that some collectors may find that large-looking backpack a bit of a turn-off too, but to my eye it’s entirely appropriate for the character design and about as tidy as you could expect. You can even fold the wings back, should you prefer.

In fact I’m quite enamoured with this toy, all things considered. I genuinely haven’t been too bothered by the lack of poseability, as something about the way he handles (and certainly the way he looks) more than makes up for it.

If anything, I think perhaps the greatest compliment I could give Iceman is that he doesn’t feel at all like a simple “combiner limb” robot, which all too often can be the case with toys like this. If you’re after a nice standalone version of this character (or indeed a good-looking set of Aerialbots in their individual forms overall), then it’s hard not to think that he does a great job in that respect.

Of course, he’s even better when partnered-up with some of his teammates, and looks positively brilliant next to the likes of Goose!

These two make a brilliant complement to each other, as even though they manage to remain quite distinct in terms of their design and moulding there are still numerous cues that tie them together.

I simply cannot wait to see how FansToys handles the remaining members of this set, especially in terms of how they work next to these two. It will be so interesting to see what differences they have but also whatever similarities they may share.

Of course we’re more than half done now, with Iceman and Goose looking terrific alongside team leader, Maverick. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is very much like a dream come true for me!

I mentioned last time how I’d be longing for a decent set of Aerialbots like this after a bit of childhood drama concerning the original toys, and so far I can only say that FansToys are delivering on my expectations. They have their quirks, but it’s a winning roster so far.

It’s funny because even though the end is almost in sight, I still haven’t got the slightest clue how these chaps are going to convert into the combined mode! We already know that FansToys’ Stunticon set is going to utilise a second Road King trailer in order to form the bulk of the Big Man mode, but will it be the same with Ethereaon? I guess we’ll have to wait and see for now!

One thing is for sure, it’s impressive to see how both these teams continue to grow, and with six out of the ten individual characters now released it feels like everything is coming together very well overall. There are a lot of little touches that tie them together design-wise across factions as well, such as the use of different-coloured translucent highlights.

One thing that is worth noting is how much bigger the individual Aerialbots are thus far, with the likes of Iceman coming up a full head taller than the Stunticon cars (who themselves are already very tall!).

I’m not going to whip the Holy Scale Chart out to debate the merits of that, as I think it’s up to you to decide if it works to your eye or not. They do look good alongside one another, either way!

For now, we can at least get an idea of the scale of the challenge ahead for both these sets by looking at them versus the likes of DX9’s Attila, or at least the shell of it that’s formed out of their Capone trailer section. It’ll be marvellous once we’re able to appreciate the full FansToys combined modes, as well.

Of course, the size of the Aerialbots does mean that they look quite imposing versus a number of other Masterpiece-styled toys, too. In fact both Iceman and Goose stand not that much shorter than the likes of MP-44 Convoy!

It means that they look quite massive when popped into a line-up of official MP toys, dwarfing the Carbots and even the likes of MP Ironhide too. I’ve no doubt some collectors will like that (on the logic of them being jets or whatever), but again, I think it’s up to you if it works to your eye or not.

I guess what surprised me was seeing that they’re also the same size as FansToys Apache, a toy that I had always thought of as being a bit of a hulking example, so they’re not small, by any measure!

They’re also larger than other previous MP-styled attempts, such as the Zeta Toys’ set, although it’s not hard to notice how much closer they swing to the animation models as well. For my money, the FansToys’ crew blow the Zeta lads out of the water in their individual modes so far, although I am a big fan of Zeta Superion, so I’ll save judgement on that until we’re able to assemble Ethereaon for comparison.

The fact that the FansToys’ figures do such a great job at bringing the characters to life ultimately means that regardless of their large size, they expand the Masterpiece Autobot roster very nicely overall. I simply cannot wait for the full team to be assembled and to see them in their rightful place alongside the rest of the troops!

If you read the previous part of this review, then you might remember the crushing disappointment a little six-year-old Sixo had back then with a second-hand set of Aerialbots. Today he couldn’t be happier seeing them come together in such fine updated form. Bring the rest now, please!

WHAT’S HOT? Stunning vehicle mode, very striking robot mode, beautiful finish overall.

WHAT’S NOT? The lack of waist swivel is the major kicker here, although he’s not all that poseable overall. The transformation back to jet mode has some hard-to-execute steps.

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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