I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while! Ever since I picked up Fans Toys’ Quake Wave (a Masterpiece scaled Shockwave figure in case you weren’t aware) my excitement for their next project was at a feverish peak. When it was announced that they would be doing Scoria, a Masterpiece version of dinobot Slag, I practically blew a gasket putting down a preorder on day one. I probably wasn’t the only one because shortly after preorders were announced Fans Toys followed up claiming they will be doing the remaining dinobots. Of course these guys aren’t official dinobots, they are instead “Iron Dibots.” Scoria is first in the line and he will be followed by Soar (Swoop) and then Sever (Snarl) later in the year. Seeing as how many delays Scoria went through I figure that Soar will make it out before the end of the year, but I expect Sever in 2015.
Scoria comes shipped in his robot mode, encased in a giant lovely black window box with an open and close flap. The artwork on is done by Spike Art who coincidentally does a lot of the third-party box art. Fans Toys probably could have proofread the bio on the back seeing how it is rife with grammar issues. However, I read it as if Scoria actually wrote it and at that point the whole thing just comes together!
Scoria comes packed with a gun and sword that both have a light up feature. They are slightly different from how Masterpiece Grimlock’s works in that the actual items light up instead of his fist being used to light the sword/gun. He also includes and alternate head and two red face plates in case you want to replace the silver ones. The face plates are removed similar to Maketoy’s Trash-Talk and Gogwheel by taking out the screws in the back. Unlike the Maketoy’s figures you do not need to unscrew in order to switch heads; they pop out and snap back in quite easily. I never felt like I was going to break anything doing a swap. There is one other accessory included which was an incentive for the buyers of this figure’s first run: Grimlock “lifts.”
Basically these are two pieces that can be plugged into the bottom of Masterpiece Grimlock’s feet to make him slightly taller and more in scale with Scoria. This appears to be a temporary solution as Fans Toys has expressed interest in doing their own version of Grimlock in the Iron Dibots line. If you are the type to keep Grimlock in his dino mode the lifts can also be connected and used as a backpack for the big guy. The backpack looks great. The lifts are a little jarring at first, but after having them on display for a weekend they have started to look natural to me.
First I’ll take a look at bot-mode because Scoria is a GIANT! I’d heard from a few people when I reviewed my 3A Robot Heavy that they felt since he was so light that he felt cheap. I can understand the sentiment and when you drop around $200 for a figure a little heft goes a long way into giving the perception of value. Scoria has quite a bit of heft to him. Similar to Quake Wave he is also anchored down by die-cast feet along with die-cast dino-mode feet on his arms and a large panel on his chest. His dino-mode head is all vac-metal which can be a bit scary from a quality-control standpoint, but I’ve inspected mine pretty thoroughly and I didn’t notice any chipping or tarnish.
His transformation is surprisingly easy. This is also helped out by clear instructions which Quake Wave and most third-party figures lack. Most everything is straight forward, but he has a pretty cool gimmick to pack all his back-end into the bottom half of his legs. There isn’t any rub up against the vac-metal so you don’t end up having to live in fear of scratching it during transformation. The lower jaw of his dinosaur head seems a little loose. It will hold a pose fine, but the looseness also helps you out if you end up pushing the lower jaw too far up into the head. A few taps on his snout and it will fall back out. If you line up the legs correctly everything will tab in perfectly and you will have a wonderful Triceratops!
I’ve seen Scoria described as a “giant potato” which I can confirm is a 100% accurate description of his dino-mode. The Triceratops mode looks incredible from just about any angle. Personally though I think the side profile suffers a bit from the flatness of the crown behind his head. His four legs don’t have a giant range of motion, but they can pull off some decent poses. As can be expected though he looks best standing on all fours. Even though the official Masterpiece Grimlock looks smaller next to him in bot mode, they fit together pretty well as dinosaurs.
Is there anything to look out for with Scoria? I’ve heard that some people have issues with loose joints, especially around the shoulders. My shoulders will give a little, but they feel fine and he does not have a problem holding anything. Vac-metal is always a scary thing as well, but I am happy to report I did not have any damage in that department either. What I got was a very large and quite solidly built robot.
I’m very satisfied with Scoria. He’s my second figure from Fans Toys and you can feel the leap in quality from their previous Masterpiece scaled offering. All around Scoria is a great figure. I realize the price, which is around $200 with shipping, would hold a casual collector back. But Fans Toys now has a track record of high quality releases. I would not hesitate to get the “early bird” discount currently being offered on Soar and Sever. This collection of dinobots is going to be something special when it’s complete.