REVIEW: FansToys FT-44 Thomas (part 2)

Time for the second round of taking a look at the Decepticon triple changers! Having already assessed them each in their respective land-based modes, we’ll now be getting them transformed into their second vehicular configurations to see if they take to the skies or land with a bump!

In the case of FansToys Thomas, he’s already made a sterling first impression in that signature locomotive form, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t initially a bit nervous about how it would go with getting him converted between modes. After all, the third party outfit are not exactly famed for their slick and straightforward transformation schemes, although in this case I was quite pleasantly surprised…

You see, despite there being some definite fiddly bits along the way, I’m happy to report that not only has the overall complexity of the conversion between alternate forms been kept relatively minimal here but just about everything clips together nice and solidly too, making your life a lot simpler in the process! It’s amazing to me how simple it is to get from train to shuttle considering that I honestly thought it might end up being a bit of a faff, but no! That’s not to say it isn’t without complication, but at the same time, it’s actually quite repeatable!

So props to FansToys on that score, and indeed for crafting a whole second alternate form out of this thing that yet again manages to resemble the animation model to a tee! There’s some clever engineering employed here, and no mistake!

After all, just have a look at that for a tidy and pleasing result, why don’t you? It’s instantly recognisable as being Astrotrain in his space mode, even down to the finer details. I’m impressed.

First things first, the overall shape and proportions are excellent here, entirely aping the character’s look from the screen in every respect. FansToys often have a knack for creating designs that look like they’ve been peeled out of the animation in a lot of regards, but this might be a particular triumph.

I especially appreciate all the little panels that fold or unfold to allow for better accuracy in both alternate forms. The orange flaps that fold away in the rear make the train mode come to life that bit more, just as the colourful tampos that rotate into view for shuttle form add a welcome dash of colour to the sides.

And speaking of colour, I think FansToys have done a good job here too. The predominate purple from the train mode is now mostly put to one side in favour of a warm-ish dark grey, although it manages to sidestep looking bland thanks to the numerous other highlights which have been incorporated along the way.

I also really like the look of the cockpit section, with its light blue windows and the surprisingly faithful shape of the enclosure all bringing the animation to life with further aplomb.

Elsewhere there’s some very welcome bling on the beautifully chromed thrusters at the rear and a couple of bright red sections on top which never fail to catch the eye. All in all, it’s a visual treat.

Thomas again manages to feel solid and weighty in shuttle mode too, with all of the tabbed sections holding firm and feeling cohesive on the whole. I do sometimes feel like the wings maybe don’t sit quite as they’re supposed to, as they seem to almost be pushing up a little if anything, but it’s not a major problem by any means.

There is just the tiniest hint of train kibble poking out from the sides of the wings if indeed you go looking for it, but frankly, why would you? Considering what this toy needs to do to allow for two alternate modes that look as good as these, I don’t feel the need to nitpick all that harshly. It’s a solid job and no mistake.

Of course, there is landing gear that can be utilised should you wish, or indeed you can fold up the train track accessory in a very intriguing fashion to make a flight stand too, in a bit of a twist! It’s an exceptionally clever inclusion and one that needs to be seen to be fully appreciated (which you can do by checking out my original unboxing video on this release).

It helps to allow you to imagine ol’ Astrotrain soaring through the heavens in many ways, with the toy itself so faithfully recreating the look that you won’t have to give it too much brainpower!

I have to say that I’ve been hanging on in for a Masterpiece-styled Astrotrain for so long now that this is a legitimate joy to finally see realised. I was elated when FansToys first announced Thomas, and to have seen it arrive in hand so quickly and so expertly realised, well, it’s a thrill indeed.

That’s especially true considering what a big hitter the character is in the fiction. His absence from the MP shelves always felt quite palpable, so being able to line him up next to any number of similarly-styled ‘bots is great to experience at last.

And of course, he’s not really in scale versus any of those toys in this mode but then, how would he be? Space shuttle alternate forms are the kind of thing that throw the light onto how ridiculous the whole notion of scale in the franchise is to begin with, especially when you consider that this particular shuttle is also supposed to be large enough for all the other characters to ride in somehow! As it stands he’s a little smaller than one Masterpiece-sized Seeker in this mode.

I mean, it gets even more silly once you start throwing in cars and whatever else, but I still think he presents beautifully all the same!

Perhaps it helps to realise that he’s quite comparable in size to fellow spacefarer, Ocular Max Volatus. I really like how these two toys shape up next to one another!

Then of course there are the other triple changers from our current trio. KFC’s Stratotanker arguably works a little better alongside Thomas in a lot of regards, although even its Boeing alternate form would no doubt stack up a lot smaller in reality.

KFC Ditka looks a little odd next to Thomas though, although a lot of that is down to what a bizarre jet mode it is to begin with! Realistically, should FansToys ever finally get round to finishing off their own Blitzwing, I can’t imagine it looking too much different to this, somehow.

Realistically though, it’s still a lot of fun to see all three Decepticon triple changers represented in this way, and whilst the aerial modes may not line up quite as well as their land-based alternatives, I’m still appreciating what I am seeing on the whole!

And hey, if nothing else then I have to say what a marvel Thomas is turning out to be on the whole! Two modes down already and he’s soaring for the heavens!

Let’s just hope he doesn’t burn up on re-entry on our way to robot mode then… we’ll be sure to find out next time!

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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