The original four Stunticons retailed for about five dollars a piece while Motormaster was about double that back in the late eighties. So basically people were able to build the entire Menasor for roughly $30 – $35 back when the figure first debuted. This sounds like a great value in retrospect, but that would be looking at the situation with rose tinted glasses. Action figures and toys are always improving and have come a long way since 1987. Collectors and enthusiasts alike are looking for improvements as time goes on: more realism, more functionality, better value, and better aesthetic.
Hasbro and Takara have a split base to cater to, the collectors and the kids. Do kids still collect Transformers? I would say yes because my three year old still goes nuts over a Transformer. I would have to agree with him because cars that turn into robots are cool as all hell. Kids are a demographic that is fairly easy to satisfy because they have no nostalgia to hold on to. A kid will see a Mustang Bumblebee and the first thing they will think is “AWESOME!” In the same respect a collector who is now 30+ years old will see the same thing and wretch that Hasbro never could get a deal going with Volkswagon. They will also usually take to a message board and claim their childhood is being raped by Michael Bay.
Like I said, the collector market is more focused on men aged thirty and up who grew up with or were handed down Generation 1 Transformer toys in their youth. They want those classic characters as accurate to the original alternate modes as possible with a robot mode that has all the modern amenities such as articulation, paint, and accessories. Most “collectors” want something that ends up being a fully articulated perfect image of the cartoon character. Takara really took the bull by the horns with this concept by starting the Masterpiece series. Occasionally Hasbro trickles some of these releases to the US and no one finds the ones they want, but I suppose the effort is there, as flawed as it may be.
This is where we are at, people want Masterpiece quality Transformers but are at the mercy of Takara’s slow development cycle. That’s when we turn to Fansproject, Mastermind Creations, iGear, and other manufacturers of “Transforming Robots” to get us those ancillary characters we really want. The Stunticon team was one of those cool combiners that were never really given a fair shake past the original first generation release.
I’ve already done a review of CA-10 Car Crash, also known as Breakdown, and a lot of the sentiment I had for him would be the same for T-Bone because they are very similar molds. How rude of me to not make an introduction: T-Bone is the second part of the Stunticon combiner team representing Wildrider. He shares the same transformation as Car Crash, but has a different car mode with a black and red paint scheme. I’m not sure if all four of the cars will have the same basic transformation but it is nice that once I figured out Car Crash it made T-Bone a piece of cake.
Even though T-Bone is similar to Car Crash he has little details that help differentiate him from his companion. For instance since the body of the car is quite different this makes his bot mode have unique qualities like different feet and the parts above his shoulders. Obviously he has a different bot head as well, it would have been strange (and blasphemy) if they just repainted Car Crash’s head.
You are going to pay about $70 for T-Bone and I would assume this to be the same for the remaining two cars. No word yet on not-Motormaster but I’d have to guess he will probably be around double that price. Sure one single Stunticon costs more than the entire vintage Menasor team if you bought them in the eighties. But there are a few factors in play here, first this isn’t the eighties so stop sounding like my dad telling me a coke used to cost a nickel or that his first house was about ten grand. Second from everything we have seen this set of combiners is of Masterpiece quality and people that miss out will regret it. From the prototypes that have been revealed Motormaster will also actually be in scale this time and it looks like the cars will be able to sit in his trailer.
I’m not one to hold on to vintage toys for nostalgia’s sake. If something better comes out I will upgrade and put the old toy out to pasture. That’s why I am loving these Fansproject Stunticons because they really scratch that itch. Car Crash was great and T-Bone turned out just as good. There has yet to be a preorder for the remaining cars but I hope to see one soon. This is a set, much like Mastermind Creations’ Feral Rex, that is well worth investing in. Buying them as they come out instead of waiting for a box set (if that ever happens) also softens the price blow over time. Although a box set of alternate colors is mighty tempting, and Fansproject has done it before. Scary thoughts … my wallet aches.
* Side Note – The Slimes you see pictured will be going on sale 4/20 at around 9PM EST. Check out Doomkick.com’s store for all the details!
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