With TFCon Chicago having just been underway, there’s the usual glut of third-party reveals for us to feast over!
Among those was a very welcome update on FansToys Ethereaon, their take on the Aerialbot combiner known as Superion. This project has been gestating since 2017, with the first toy appearing two years later and the second and third entries following in 2020. However, since then, it’s all been a bit quiet, so a fresh glimpse and an acknowledgement that things are gradually moving forward is welcome!
Let’s take a look at how it’s all shaping up.
#10: The combined mode looks STUNNING
Firstly, the combined Superion form looks an absolute beast, with our best look yet provided at TFCon this weekend. Seen here as a grey prototype, it gives a much-needed update from the initial renders we’ve been pouring over for years. By and large, things look identical to how they were, but it’s still great to see the thing in the plastic at last. Despite other options on the market, this is likely to be the Masterpiece-styled Superion that many collectors have been holding out for, and at least based on these pics, it looks like it won’t disappoint!
#9: It’s very cartoon accurate
Needless to say, FansToys has also opted for a heavy dose of cartoon accuracy in the design, as Ethereaon shapes up nicely versus the Superion animation model from all those years ago. There’s a little bit of artistic licence taken here and there with how it’s all translated, and there are definitely some more details added into the mix, but the right cues are all there. Interestingly, given how long this design has been in development, it’s less ultra-slavish to the screen than some of FansToys’ more recent output. Yet, it seems sure to satisfy collectors looking to represent the impressive Autobot warrior on their shelves.
#8: It features Superion’s signature arm cannon
A big part of bringing Superion faithfully to life is that FansToys have equipped Ethereaon with the character’s signature arm cannon, seen here connected on his right bicep in a manner, not unlike the animation model. Previous attempts at Superion in MP-style have opted for a more traditional handheld blaster, and whilst this toy can satisfy that requirement should you prefer, I’m sure the arm-mounted option will be a must for many.
#7: As expected, the bulk of the combined mode will be made from ‘faux parts’
Although everyone had already worked this one out on their own, this prototype still gives the best indication of how the combined mode will be formed. With the full-colour Maverick toy glimpsed at the rear of the grey prototype, it’s more evident than ever that the bulk of Etheraon will be made of a large set of additional ‘armour’, much in the same way as Zeta’s Superitron comes together. You can expect this ‘faux’ piece to include everything from the combined mode head and torso down to the upper legs and knees, with the five individual Aerialbots plugging in to form the limbs and Maverick making up the back of the body. It’s not a solution that will win everyone over (and it’s a far cry from the more integrated approach of projects such as TakaraTomy’s Raiden and Ocular Max Assaultus). Still, there’s no arguing with the results, at least.
#6: It features two distinct looks
Again, we knew this would be the case. However, it’s still exciting to see how Ethereaon can be switched between a very cartoon-accurate form and a more Generation 1 toy appearance, essentially giving you the two in one. Presumably, this will be accomplished by using a different set of the combined mode ‘armour’ mentioned above. Either way, it’s a definite draw for collectors who prefer the second option’s more traditional face and stylings.
#5: The combined mode shell makes a flight stand set-up
The big news from the TFCon update was that the combined mode armour can also transform into a kind of flight stand for the five individual team members to be displayed on whilst in their alternate modes! We’ll have to see how this looks when it’s in full colour, but there’s no denying it’s an exceptionally clever approach and just the ticket to help mitigate any fears about so much of the robot mode being made of so-called faux parts. I see this being a great display option for those that want it.
#3: We still don’t know the exact combined mode height
One of the oddities of third-party combiner collecting is that you often jump on board with a project before many crucial details about the combined mode are even revealed. That’s certainly been the case with some of FansToys’ releases, as collectors have given a lot of good faith toward how they would eventually turn out. One such detail is how big Ethereaon will be once he’s actually standing in your collection, with the best guesses being somewhere around the 20-21 inches mark. That would undoubtedly track with how sizeable the individual toys have been thus far, although we’ve yet to see any real comparisons with other toys.
#4: The remaining individual toys are shaping up nicely
As exciting as the combined form is, we must remember that we’re still two team members left to go! Fortunately, both Viper and Jester (yes, they’re sticking with their Top Gun names!) look pretty swish based on their grey prototypes, making us all the more excited to hopefully get them in hand before too long. These figures are, without a doubt, the most cartoon-accurate attempts at the individual Aerialbots thus far, so this extended wait for them has certainly felt like a long one. That said…
#2: There’s no word on an exact completion date yet
Yes, as good as it is to get an update on this project, we’ll have to be patient for at least a bit longer, as there’s yet to be an end in sight. There’s clearly a way to go before the final two team members and the combined mode bulk are ready for retail, and with no release date on the horizon at present, it’s anyone’s guess when Ethereaon will finally come together in collections. Watch this space, then!
#1: And no sign of his Decepticon counterpart…
There was also a noticeable lack of updates on FansToys’ other big combiner project, with their ‘Marauder’ Stunticon big man currently AWOL. Like Ethearon, this has been in the works for years, and with only one team member left, many collectors are holding on for it to finally be finished. Hopefully, with the Aerialbots moving forward, things are still moving behind the scenes. Time will tell.
So that’s our list! Are you excited about FansToys Etheraon?