Review by Optimal III
FansProject is one of the oldest third-party companies pumping out Transformers toys, and they've run the gamut, starting in accessories and upgrade parts for official products and then transitioning into full-fledged figures. I think they may also be the first group to produce their own original toys. I've mostly heard great things too, so me purchasing something from them was inevitable. And that literally happened at TFcon in Charlotte. As I was picking up a reservation, I asked the rep if he knew whether anyone had Positum on hand, and sure enough, the guy standing next to him was an FP staff member who had just opened a case.
The Function X series thus far has consisted of Headmasters and Six-Changers, Positum being the former. I can't remember when exactly FP announced they were making an Optimus-inspired figure, but it was a ways back and no further details were given till a couple of weeks before he was released. So it was definitely a surprise to see him presented like this. The box is brick-shaped and compact, decorated by a plastic slipcase that has some interesting print on all four sides.
The manual has a shared cover and last page because this figure shares bodies with Crox, FP's take on Skullcruncher. Besides color deco, Positum is also different in that his Headmaster component is a re-deco of the one included with Code, their version of Chromedome. An all-new or retooled head would have been nice, but I think they made a good choice, since Chromedome's face as depicted by Takara has always reminded me of Optimus Prime, which is the look FP went with.
If you're wondering where Positum came from, it's an early season two episode of the G1 cartoon called "City of Steel". In it, the Decepticons capture Prime and disable him before he can defend himself. As a precaution, Megatron has him disassembled. He keeps Prime's head alive and for himself as a trophy, but lets the Constructicons have their way with the rest of his parts. And they use most of them, to build an "Alligatorcon" that fends off the Autobots while they search for the local Decepticon base. It isn't till they recover Prime's head that they realize their sensors weren't wrong in indicating the beast was Prime too, because it was made from parts of his body.
So we have this robotic alligator before us. It matches the animation in color placement (white head, red body, red & blue legs, blue tail), but the similarities stop there. The source material wasn't that detailed to begin with, so I'm really glad FP opted for fancy over faithful. Of course, this is a shared design with Crox, so Positum is a Headmaster, which is why he has a cockpit on his back.
Transformers without alt modes based on real things have a lot more design freedom, so I can't fault Positum for anything on that front. He's supposed to be a robotic alligator (or crocodile, or caiman, I don't know, I'm not a herpetologist) and looks the part, without any obvious signs of a concealed robot. Besides the long-snouted head with a mouth full of pointy teeth on a hinged neck, he's got pudgy clawed feet on all four legs.
The front pair are on ball joints mounted to hinged flaps while the rear pair hinge at the ankles. The front legs swivel above and below their hinged knees and attach to swivel shoulders on a sort of flexor.
The rear legs only have ball-joints for knees.
The tail swings just beyond the initial stump.
Between all of that and his vertically arching waist joint, he's about as poseable as the animal. If his head could turn side to side and swivel, that'd be perfect, but at this size, that wouldn't work with the way he transforms, so I'm fine with what he can do. And speaking of size, he is long at just over 9-inches. It's actually hard to get a full-length shot of him at this resolution, which is why I didn't use any.
Coming back around the other side, I now started to really notice all of his detailing. The ridges on his rump and tail go with the claws and teeth as "organic" features, but there are also pistons, panels, rods, lights, and vents. He is a mechanical monster.
Rolling him over reveals more tubes and wiring, what could be a pair of thrusters, a plate, and a socket. If I'd thought about it, I'd have put his head on to make the gator equivalent of a veritech. Some people have even figured out how to get a faux-truck out of him, but I haven't tried that yet.
Besides his claws, teeth, leg blades, and tail, his mouth contains a couple of spinning wheels covered in more blades, so he's definitely ready for short-range combat.
In typical Headmaster fashion, the cockpit opens to provide a seat for the operator. There is some molded paneling and displays on the inside, so it's not plain even without paint. I just wish the pieces comprising the control panel locked together more tightly. The connection is sort of loose, making this the one tricky area with transformation and my one minor gripe with the figure as a whole.
One last look at alt mode before moving on to robot mode. All I need is a modern Hound, Ironhide, sewer play set, and I'm all set.
The operator is a nicely sculpted and colored figure around 1-inch tall. His face somehow looks sunken in even though it isn't.
Articulation consists of swivel shoulders and hips, and hinged knees that are pinned together, limiting his ability to stand. He can do just enough to not be plain.
This form puts a unique spin on the classic Optimus Prime design. I'm especially fascinated with how the chest comes together. I really wish I had a matrix to put in there, but I don't think any of mine will fit.
The original Headmaster operators transformed by flipping their arms down by their sides and legs forward against their upper bodies, with a flip-up cover to reveal the face. This does the same thing with the arms, but the legs actually collapse onto themselves, and it's that little bit of motion that rotates the eyes into position.
Positum is quite the dapper robot. Most Transformers get taller or longer when they hit robot mode, but he comes in at just over 6-inches. The tail makes the difference. Going into this form is easy but it's got enough steps to make you feel involved.
Compared to some of his forebears, he demonstrates most of the Optimus trademarks besides red and blue. He's got some silver on his forelegs, yellow lights around his waist and wrists, a grill and stripes on his abdomen, exhausts on his shoulders, chest windows, a mouth plate, and helmet fins. All that's missing is some silver on his head crest.
From any angle, his profile is solid. Looking from behind, he also has the semi-classic Optimus backpack, which makes him look flight-capable
For this size range, his articulation is complete and sort of robust. Most of his joints are used in both modes, but some of them change in interesting ways. He has the expected hinge knees (albeit with a very deep bend), swivel thighs, ball-joint hips, but his ankles tilt and swivel. And they do it from out front by mounting onto his forelegs. He doesn't have significant heels, but the strength of his "hydraulic" feet has got it covered.
His arms are the same here as they are in alt mode, but with vertical onset, they're more dynamic because the shoulders are swivel on the outside and now universal on the inside. If he actually had wrist swivels and jointed hands, his arms would be completely articulated. Still, they're perfect for everything he needs to do, which mitigates the fist cavities.
Even the socket for his head, which rotates, has an inner socket that extends up. Though weird, his head can turn and tilt forward/down. It just can't tilt from side to side or back/up.
I almost forgot his knees can push forward just past the cap. So he can even achieve those heroic animated stances too. His swivel waist also hinges slightly which enhances the effect.
So yeah, it's not surprising that he can reach behind himself to grab his weapon of choice.
The original Skullcruncher toy came with a gun (demolecularization gun) and sword/club, but it seems like official fiction mostly depicted him using the sword/club as an all-in-one. I imagine Positum goes with that motif so this is equal parts long-range and brutal destroyer.
Obviously the bladed tip is patterned after Prime's famous axe. This is also the one place I've seen any paint blemishes, but I couldn't even see them till I saw this picture.
Exhaust is trying to explain how he only promotes cigarettes, not make them, and that he isn't the bad guy here. But Positum ain't listening.
Also, Positum has a small missile rack inside each shoulder. I wasn't sure at first since they're all red, but they're painted on Crox. The right one has a hole in the cover for transforming purposes, but I guess it works too if he wants to be discreet and launch just one at a time.
He has the power!!
And he looks good on his own, but he'll look even better with more Function-X characters by his side.
Quality wise, he doesn't look out of place in the MP crowd, but he'll scale better with CHURGALs. I just don't have many around at the moment.
Going into this, I was expecting Positum to just be pretty good or nice, but he's even more than that. I'd call him excellent! He's not quite the technical feat ToyWorld's Orion is, and his size isn't impressive. But I chalk that up to FP's whole style. Their figures don't go for the same scope and scale as most other groups, and being smaller makes them more manageable and slightly more affordable, which really counts considering how many toys are out there these days.
He's equal parts fun and cool, and the G1 gator motif really puts him over the top. I'm not sure which mode I like more, but I'm feeling him as sort of a barbarous swordsman. Maybe this is what Optimus Prime could have been if he'd been in Beast Wars or if Transtech had happened. Regardless, he's worth it if you're keen to spend money on 3P and an Optimus Prime lover like me. I paid $90 direct to FP to pick him up at TFcon ($10 more than Crox via retail), but if you can't wait for the next event (seems like he's going to be a traveling exclusive for a while), I'd go as high as $125. That said, he's in my top three for modern Optimus figures, tied with Orion and somewhere beneath MP-04.
|Posted 1 November, 2015 - 14:59 by Optimal III|