We’re back for the second part of our look at the recent FansToys Rig, which is their take on the malcontent Minibot known as Huffer.
Last time, we ascertained that the vehicle mode was a true thing of beauty, having already proven itself versus the major competition on the third-party scene in Badcube’s Huff. How will we fare on the route to robot mode?
As it turns out, very well! FansToys has become infamous for often very fiddly transformation schemes, although it would be unfair to say that every design they create falls into the infuriating camp, as Rig here can attest to. However, whilst it is a pleasure to convert between modes, it’s also a surprisingly intricate process!
After all, you may be wondering just how much there is to be done with a mere Minibot going from a fairly basic truck cab to a small humanoid form, especially as it’s not like his original 1984 toy was something that was going to leave you scratching your head. In this case, Rig goes to unexpected lengths to make both these guises appear as accurate to the classic Transformers cartoon as possible, and, as a result, boasts unprecedented complexity in getting between them.
This might sound bad to some, especially those still fearful of more of the same after experiences with FansToys figures of the past, but again, let me reassure you that they’ve most certainly got the balance right on this occasion. Rig is intricate, yes, but he’s also far from rage-inducingly complicated. In fact, everything glides easily and fairly logically into place, allowing you to marvel at how clever it all is as you go.
Put it this way, at no point did I expect the orange truck cab to split apart to form part of the robot backpack and his legs! Equally, I certainly didn’t anticipate the rear truck bed becoming the other half of the backpack. It’s all a bit topsy-turvy versus how you might imagine a Huffer transformation was going to go, but it makes for a hugely entertaining process.
What’s even better is how graceful it all is. Every hinge glides with ease, every tab secures with precision and every panel clips into place nice and flush. FansToys may not have always got it right with their transformations but at least based on the evidence before me, they can certainly bring the goods when they really apply themselves.
Fortunately, it also leaves us with an exceptionally charming (and quite equally entertaining) robot form! Huffer is one of the more unusual cartoon models from the early G1 crew, and right off the bat, I think it’s only fair to say that FansToys has captured the essence of that in a way I don’t believe I’ve ever quite witnessed in toy form before. This is cartoon Huffer brought to life with an alarming degree of accuracy!
Not that accuracy is 1:1 with excellence, mind. There have been more than a few pertinent examples of late where toys have been slavish to whatever particular source yet been about as much fun as cuddling a porcupine. Not so with Rig, who ably manages to bring the character to life yet retains a sense of being thoroughly enjoyable to handle. Bravo!
A sizeable aspect is how Rig interprets the awkward proportions and bizarre form of the character model, mainly the unusual shoulders. Huffer’s arms jut out quite considerably from his sides in a manner that barely makes sense in animation, let alone in 3D physical form. Yet where previous 3PMP attempts have gone for a more ‘natural’ approach, FansToys has seen fit to try and represent this as closely as possible, making Rig all the more successful.
There can be no better demonstration of this than placing him next to Badcube’s Huff in a line-up. We already saw in part 1 how Rig was distinctly more cartoon accurate in vehicle mode, but it proves to be no contest here, either. Where Huff is a good-looking ‘bot in his own right, there’s no doubt that Rig is cartoon Huffer brought to life with aplomb.
Again, accuracy doesn’t necessarily mean something is better in terms of aesthetics, although in this case, Rig claims the crown again. The presentation of FansToys’ offering is spectacular, with their signature sparkly paint and glossy finish never failing to catch the eye. Huff looks great too, but it’s no contest, in my opinion.
Of course, the look is significantly helped by the placement of an Autobot logo on the chest, but even besides that, there’s plenty to admire here. The head design alone is stunning, with gorgeous shiny baby blue eyes. It’s an all-round exceptionally realised design that, again, does the character justice.
Should you prefer, Rig also comes equipped with a swappable ‘shouty’ face, which can be quickly and easily supplanted to give the toy a different look and feel. Both options look fantastic.
There are more accessories besides, not least of which is a very sizeable double-handed rifle that gives Rig an undeniable sense of presence. I don’t recall Huffer being so well-armed in much of the vintage cartoon, but no doubt it references a particular episode that escapes me.
Either way, it has serious Scarface vibes and makes Rig look ready to unload!
There’s then a pair of handheld blasters, although interestingly, they’re quite distinct from one another in terms of design and moulding. Both clip into Rig’s hands very securely and look ideal for a spot of dual-wielding!
Finally, you can mount the two smaller guns on the sides of the rifle for a larger firearm that looks like the kind of thing Moe Szyslak would come up with. Again, I’m not used to thinking of Huffer as such a gun nut, but whatever the inspiration, it’s a fun set of accessories for this toy to wield.
It also allows for many posing opportunities, bolstered by this figure’s superior sense of articulation. FansToys has never been a slouch in this regard, and although Rig may lack elements such as an ab crunch, there’s still more than enough going on to ensure you’ll have fun putting him out on display. I’m not a big fan of the single hip flap, mind, as that does look a little unsightly.
Still, all in all, Rig proves to be a real force to be reckoned with when it comes to how he handles, and, combined with his good looks and the overwhelming sense of animation accuracy, it all makes him very much the Masterpiece-styled Huffer of my dreams. This is a character that seemed very tricky to get right in several regards, yet here we are.
It’s a genuine thrill to recreate cartoon moments such as this using this toy, especially as it’s further proof that it works so well both aesthetically and in terms of build. FansToys has done an incredible job overall, by my estimation.
All of which means that whilst there are still options out there, this one feels definitive as the Masterpiece-styled Huffer to beat at this point in time. That it also comes with a surprisingly inventive transformation is but the absolute cherry on top.
Perhaps it was worth waiting for the FansToys version, after all.
WHAT’S HOT? Fantastic robot mode, great vehicle mode, creative & enjoyable transformation. All the usual FansToys flair with none of the added complication.
WHAT’S NOT? The single hip skirt is a bit naff but really… who’s complaining?