I’ll preface this review by saying that I look forward to every Fans Toys release about as much as the birth of each of my children. Or the official Takara Masterpieces, whichever come first. I actually plan to name my next three Grenadier, Mercenary, and Forager. Fans Toys are probably best known as the company that brought us Quakewave, the first unofficial MP scaled Shockwave. Quakewave has held the title of one of the most desirable third-party figures for years. That is until Takara recently announced an official Shockwave (or Laserwave) release next year as MP-29.
You can’t just upscale a figure and call it a Masterpiece, there is a certain aesthetic needed as well. Now obviously the designers over at Takara are not working for Fans Toys, so you aren’t going to get that exact style. But FT does a pretty great job of capturing it pretty closely. Both Maketoys and Fans Toys are in close contention as far as figuring out that elusive Masterpiece aesthetic.
Grenadier comes with a few optional parts including a clear chest and more G1 accurate bug legs. Unfortunately, I managed to strip the screw clean on his chest flap, so there will not be any clear chest in my future. I am a little bummed about that because I wanted to see how he’d look with it too. If anyone out there on the internet has any pro-tips for removing a tiny stripped screw without destroying Grenadier in the process I would LOVE to hear about it!
Now the G1 accurate legs are one thing I didn’t think I’d ever want, but once I put them on I realized they are totally adorable! They don’t have a huge amount of posability since the articulation scheme is very minimalist. However, he is still able to kneel and hold out his front legs similar to a dog who wants to shake hands. The new legs are certainly more functional but lack that cuteness factor I require in my little robot bug men. The other advantage of the vintage legs is less kibble in the back.
All in all both sets of legs are great choices for the figure, however, I think I’m sold on the vintage. I hope this means the rest of the bugs will include similar options.
Besides the optional parts that you can surgically attached he also includes a very chromed out gun and three little Energon cubes. The inclusion of the cubes is great but I want more now though! I wish Fans Toys would just offer a pack of twenty of these things to litter around my display. Once I get the rest of these guys I’m going to need some serious Energon to harvest.
Our little bug man has some nice weight to him thanks to the diecast upper body and feet. The lower legs are thick and have a really nice ankle tilt which makes for some nice posing. The transformation is also incredibly simple and satisfying. Everything tabs together nicely and he seamlessly transforms into a sadistic beetle with a laser cannon nose.
Grenadier goes for anywhere between $80 – $90 and comes with an option for a purple or grey chest (FT-12 is the grey chest and FT-12T is the one you see here with the purple chest). He’s a solid “value” Masterpiece release and Fans Toys did their best to include as many options as possible to sweeten the pot. I love him. Whereas I think they may have gone too blocky with their upcoming Reflector release, this guy seems to be the perfect marriage of hard angles and curves as needed. That head sculpt is also dead-on to me. I’m pretty excited to get the rest of this team in my hands … and maybe grab the grey chested versions if they ever see a decent discount.
I haven’t pulled out Soundwave in a while. So here is what I’ve been waiting for all night, the sass off!