TFCon Chicago has been underway this past weekend, which means a slew of new third-party toy reveals!
There’s always plenty to talk about, and FansToys is typically towards the top of the pile. This time is no different, although if one release has caught everyone’s attention online in the last twenty-four hours, it’s their attempt at Ultra Magnus! Designated as FM-02 Margh, there’s a lot to say, so let’s dive in and get to it.
#10: The toy is being released under the banner ‘Fantastic Model’
One element of this reveal that’s caused a ton of confusion is the name of the company bringing it to life. I’ve seen numerous discussions where people have asked just who ‘Fantastic Model’ are and how likely they are to do such an ambitious release justice if they’re new and unproven. Well, have no fear because this is very much the old faithful FansToys behind the scenes, just presenting with a different name, the same as they did for the release of Robot Paradise Acoustic Wave (or Perfect Fusion Cesium before it). No doubt this is a way of flying slightly under the radar regarding potential licensing or IP infringement woes, presumably compounded by Ultra Magnus already being a character tackled in TakaraTomy Masterpiece form. Despite whatever name might end up on the box, collectors should expect this one to fall entirely in line with the usual design and presentation standards we expect from FansToys.
The remaining question is, with this toy being designated FM-02, what is taking the FM-01 spot? Will we ever see it revealed? Time will tell!
#9: We’ve seen it teased before
This release doesn’t come entirely out of the blue, as it’s not the first time we’ve seen it teased. The first reveal-of-sorts was back when FansToys Recorder was glimpsed as a somewhat blurry silhouette lurking in the background. Though this didn’t tell us much about what we’d see in prototype form, it gave us plenty to look forward to and clued us in on roughly how big such an attempt might be, too. Speaking of which…
#8: It looks to be a fair bit smaller than the official competition
Size is always hard to determine from photos alone. Still, there’s enough evidence to suggest that FansTo– sorry, ‘Fantastic Model’ has opted to keep their Magnus a little shorter than the official MP-22 toy from 2014. That figure has frequently been critiqued for being too large, especially next to the likes of Optimus and Rodimus Prime. Even the TakaraTomy design team copped to oversizing the robot mode to allow the vehicle form to fall in line with MP-10. Personally, it’s not something that ever bothered me (hulking Mag is fine as far as I’m concerned), but this new attempt being slightly smaller makes it more akin to X-Transbots’ Commander Stack design, which is also on the way soon. That appears to be roughly a head or so larger than MP-44 Optimus Prime, and whilst we can’t say how the Fantastic Model effort will measure up, odds are it will be pretty close from what we can see now. My best guess is that it may be slightly taller, although perhaps not by much.
#7: It’s remarkably cartoon accurate… from all angles!
Alongside TakaraTomy and other third-party examples, there’s no doubt FansToys has lurched towards a more slavish cartoon-inspired aesthetic in recent times. Hence, it’s little surprise to see Margh here following suit. What’s particularly remarkable, though, is just how accurate this design is to the screen, no matter the angle. Much was made of MP-22’s ‘buttflap’ on release, but no one could deny that the creators of FM-02 have gone the extra mile in bringing Ultra Magnus’ rear to life with surprising authenticity versus the cartoon model!
X-Transbots Commander Stack looks to be a strong contender in this regard too, so it will be interesting to see which of them wins fans over by the time the dust has settled.
#6: It comes with a whole host of extra faces
Extra faces are nothing new for either official Masterpiece toys or FansToys’ releases, but this is one area FM-02 clearly outdoes the TakaraTomy effort. There are many additional options available for Margh, with everything from “growling” to “I can’t deal with that now” all present and accounted for. There’s even a smiley face for the rare (but memorable) moments when Ultra Magnus allowed himself to relax in the cartoon! As for the final option, it promises to be very exciting indeed, as it’s a broken face plate revealing a more Optimus Prime-like design beneath, and you know what that means…
#5: It takes the white Prime in armour route!
Yes, FansToys has really done it. This is the ultimate way to differentiate their design from MP-22 and X-Transbots Commander Stack by supplying fans with something they’ve lusted after for years – a ‘white Prime’ in Ultra Magnus armour, akin to the Generation 1 toy. This approach was considered for MP-22 during its initial design phases. Still, since then, the idea has proven elusive for collectors who see it as a preferable route for the character over the all-in-one integrated attempt the toy ended up taking. It’s already caused a considerable amount of intrigue online and is sure to see this attempt become “the one to beat” in many collectors’ eyes. Quite how the armour will work is unclear beyond the pictures we’ve seen, but it appears as though it will break apart into multiple pieces, allowing the inner core robot to be revealed beneath. The promotional art is very evocative of a somewhat iconic bit of Dreamwave work, in fact…
Dreamwave’s Transformers: Generation 1 Vol. 2: War and Peace #6 (alternate cover)
This is the kind of thing that many have dreamt about ever since this comic art was first glimpsed back in 2003, so it’s truly exciting to see it made real in MP-styled toy form at long last.
#4: The inner robot mode looks stunning
So yes, you could argue that this release is two toys in one, as the inner Magnus robot looks to be every bit as intriguing as the fully-armoured-up combined mode. Although anyone familiar with the character will be expecting it in white, it does beg the question if FansToys plans on releasing the core component in more traditional Optimus Prime red and blues, perhaps even with a suitable trailer section to match. That’s a story for another day, although odds are we’ll see such a thing at some point down the road, I suspect. Either way, the inner robot looks terrific, bringing the classic Prime design to life with accuracy and a fair dose of articulation.
#3: The whole thing transforms into a truck mode
The nature of the armoured robot form and the lack of alternate mode pics with the initial TFCon reveal led to quite a bit of speculation in some circles that FM-02 wouldn’t transform at all! That seemed like it would have been an odd move from FansToys, but lo and behold, not a few hours later, pics of the truck form dropped, to everyone’s relief. Like the robot form, it’s shaping up very nicely, with a notable dose of cartoon accuracy and some great details. Presumably, the cab section will be detachable given that it forms the inner robot. However, we have yet to determine if the trailer can transform as a complete unit or if it needs to be detached into pieces and converted using partsforming. It’ll be fun to find out!
#2: When will it be released?
Naturally, the big question on everyone’s lips is when they can get hold of this thing, and the unfortunate answer at the moment is… we don’t know! There’s thus far yet to be an announcement about a release date, although with so much on FansToys’ plate already, it wouldn’t be a big surprise to think that we might have to be a little patient for this one to make it to release. The vehicle mode looks like it’s still being worked on in some areas, and there’s clearly a lot more development needed before this one is ready, so savour your enthusiasm for now and watch this space!
#1: Will this mean more repaints?
Not to get ahead of ourselves, but it’s no surprise the Internet is already dreaming up the many repaints we might see of this new design, both for the combined Ultra Magnus robot and the inner Prime design, too! I’d love to see it done in the obvious ‘Delta Magnus’ scheme, complete with a blue core robot, but beyond that, one can also dream of a Shining Magnus interpretation. One thing is for sure, I can’t wait to see how it all pans out!
So that’s our list! Are you excited about Fantastic Model Margh?