TFCon has come and gone again this week, and as ever, it means a slew of new ‘third party’ updates and reveals!
It’s become a recurring highlight for those who cannot attend the event itself, especially as there’s always plenty to pour over in the following days. In this case, we were treated to some big news in the world of unofficial robots, and particularly in the increasingly vague sphere of whatever constitutes ‘Masterpiece’ scale and style nowadays. Keeping that as a sort of focus, let’s see what’s on the horizon!
#14: Fans Hobby Blaster Team
Fans Hobby continues their lean into the early days of the Unicron Trilogy here with the reveal of another new Mini-Con set in development. We already knew they were working on the Air Defense Team, which became the memorable Star Saber blade, but now it seems their take on the Space Team won’t be too far behind! These little astro-themed robots have their own combined mode, the Requiem Blaster, so that should be fun to see!
#13: Maketoys Slip Swarm
This new Maketoys release had been glimpsed before the con, but it’s worth throwing in here all the same. It’s a surprisingly creative use of the now well-used Seeker mould in the form of fan-favourite character Slipstream, who has made a name for herself in more modern fare such as Cyberverse. Those colours are certainly something! It’s also available and in stock already, so there’s no waiting on this one.
#12: X-Transbots Ron
Just when you think that certain characters are already a lock in your collection, companies such as X-Transbots like to pop up and ask, “But what if?” So it is with this new reveal, as it seems we’re soon to see another Masterpiece-styled take on ol’ Ironhide before too long. The official attempt is (in my opinion) pretty definitive, though it’s only fair to acknowledge that not everyone agrees on that. Could this alternative find its footing?
#11: Ocular Max Ultio
The long-running ‘REmix’ subline from Ocular Max has proven popular with fans, providing real-world cassette scale interpretations of many of Soundwave and Blaster’s classic minions in cartoon-accurate style. Now the attention is turning to Ratbat, which could be good news for Marvel comic fans, too! It’s early days on this one, but it looks fab so far.
#10: Mechanical Skull Studio Sirius the Solowing
It seems like everything is coming up Armada at the moment! The 2002 series is already a sizeable focus of the official Legacy line, and now here we are with more third-party outfits getting in on the action besides. In this case, it’s apparent newcomer Mechanical Shell Studio, with their take on Starscream, now finally glimpsed in full colour and seemingly close to production. It looks superbly faithful, amazingly articulated and full of gimmicks, so expect this one to generate some buzz!
#9: Ocular Max recolours
Ocular Max has built up a lot of good faith with their Combaticon combiner team, so it’s little surprise that many collectors are eagerly anticipating the rest of their Protectobots, too! Still, although we’re only two-fifths of the way there on the main cartoon-accurate releases, we’re soon to be getting additional G1 toy-styled takes, complete with new head designs and weapons. That’s a neat touch and may be a favourable alternative for some!
#8: X-Transbots Bond & James recolours
X-Transbots ‘Bond & James’ figure is barely on the cusp of release, yet already they’re dropping the upcoming repaint reveals like there’s no tomorrow! Not that we’re complaining, mind, as the Punch/ Counterpunch design already looks pretty swish, but decked out in highly detailed real-world racing livery? Woof! They’ve also chosen some colourful and memorable designs for it (as shown below), so we can’t wait for them to be nearby. Real nearby.
#7: Robot Paradise / FansToys RP-01C
Next, we come to the first of several FansToys reveals on this list, and although it’s the smallest, there’s still plenty to be excited about here! Produced under the company’s ‘Robot Paradise’ branding, it’s a pack of four cassette minions for their popular Acoustic Wave design, although they should all fit alongside the official Masterpiece tapes, too.
In the set are several characters which are sure to be tempting for collectors, including the oft-overlooked Overkill and Slugfest, who did make a solitary (and very brief) appearance in the cartoon’s fan-favourite episode Call of the Primitives.
Alongside them, there’s an orange Buzzsaw repaint of Robot Paradise Laserbeak and a new take on the Autoscout, a device Soundwave used in the episode A Prime Problem to survey a bed of dangerous crystals. It’s bizarrely not the first attempt we’ve seen of it in 3P form, with X-Transbots having gotten there already, but it’s fun nonetheless!
Oh, and as for Ratbat… more on him below.
#6: Fans Hobby Purple Naval Commander
Back for more Fans Hobby UT goodness now, as they have a new take on their fantastic Naval Commander design on the way soon, although this time with a purple Shattered Glass-inspired twist! It’s an unusual but not entirely unprecedented idea, given the company did similar stuff with their G1-flavoured Power Baser mould, and it should be intriguing for plenty of collectors, I expect.
#5: Ocular Max Deletus
Moving into the true upper echelons of excitement surrounding the recent reveals, we have our first (but certainly not last) attempt at a cartoon-accurate Devastator on the way from Ocular Max. Again, they’ve shown they have what it takes with their Combaticons, so the idea of an all-in-one, no-partsforming crack at the Constructicons could prove quite exciting! It’s early days on this one yet, with only one team member, ‘Deletus’, properly on show, although we have been given a decent idea of the combined mode, too! Watch this space.
#4: X-Transbots Dececrator
Just as rousing is this update from X-Transbots regarding their stab at the big green meanie, and it seems they’re wasting no time in getting the set underway! We were treated to detailed looks at most individual team members, with MX-46 ‘Bigload’ (lol) now seemingly near to the production stage. Oh, and it turns out they’re huge, with not-Wideload standing just a smidge over eye-to-eye against the company’s Grapple design!
What’s more, we got a better look at the combined form, which appears to be shaping up nicely! There’s still a long way to go on this one but currently, it feels like XTB’s Devastator is pulling out ahead in terms of schedule. Let’s just hope the quality is there too!
#3: Ocular Max Maximus Pro
Speaking of 3P Big Men, we must not forget about Ocular Max’s other ongoing attempt, as if we could! Their Defensor may not be even halfway done yet, but all the evidence suggests it’s shaping up nicely, with new looks at team leader Ignis (aka Hot Spot) and the combined form provided at the con. This remains one of my personal most anticipated projects, so any update is welcome.
#2: FansToys FT-32A
Our third and final Devastator is, of course, on the way from FansToys! We knew the 3P behemoth already had an iron in this fire, but here they are with a full-colour look at the first individual team member (an as-yet-unnamed take on Scrapper) and a tease of the combined mode to come.
It’s fair to say that’s a sizeable enough vehicle mode, which should hopefully mean these guys bring some serious shelf presence when they’re fully assembled. If anything, the anticipation for this set is only slightly marred by the fact that FansToys already has two long overdue combiner teams in development. Let’s hope they manage to crank them all out before too long, eh?
#1: Robot Paradise/ FansToys RP-02
Finally, we come to what is undoubtedly my top pick from all the TFCon reveals, even if it is a ‘mere repaint’! Yes, it seems that FansToys (in their Robot Paradise guise) will be doing a black Soundblaster-styled repaint of their Acoustic Wave figure, and given that was one of my favourite releases of 2021, I couldn’t be happier about it!
Oh, even better, it comes with a small Ratbat cassette companion, making this feel like a very worthwhile alternative to the already quite spectacular official Masterpiece Soundblaster.
Does it come in black? Fortunately, yes, it does! Watch this space for pre-orders soon.
So that’s our list! Which of the reveals are you most excited about?