Monday, 27 December 2010

Fans Project DIA Commander and G3 Trailer.

FPhead
Warning 2042 words(not including these) and lots of pictures!

This review is related to Transformers, but it is not actually a Transformers product.  Recently third party Transformer accessories have been cropping up all over the shop, they have been around for a while now but have become really popular as of late ( as well as numerous).  Although not the founders of the custom designing scene, I am confident in attributing the take-off and success of these third party items to the team that call themselves Fans Project.

This is a combined look at the G3 trailer and DIA Commander accessories they designed for Classics/Henkei Optimus.
Why combined?  Well my dear friend, they are a homage to the awesomeness of G1 (and before even).  Please read on…

Henkei Optimus is an update inspired by G1 Optimus.  The idea was to recreate the original Optimus using the more advanced technology of today.  This review is not about Optimus, although I do use the Henkei version so the chrome bits match.  It’s about the other pieces. 

DIA Commander
What the heck does DIA commander mean?  Well since it isn’t a Hasbro or TakaraTomy made product, calling it by official lines would be dangerous.  It’s probably dangerous enough as it is considering the litigious nature of society today, so Fans Project (FP) have given all these bits code names that get the meaning across to fans, while not directly ripping off a possible trade mark.

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First some history.  The DIA is related to Diaclone which was the toyline was Transformers before Hasbro found them.  Diaclone wasn’t that successful.  It consisted of robot being controlled by Micromen.  Hasbro saw these toys and renamed them Transformers, dropped the men and gave the robots personalities, and that’s a very simple way of looking at how Transformers began.  Diaclone wasn’t very successful.  Then Takara adopted the Transformers idea and sold it’s (originally) diaclone moulds under the Transformers banner. 

The commander some from ‘City commander’ which was the name of the first version of this add-on.  It was made to give the Classics Ultra Magnus some armour.  Magnus’ function was the ‘City Commander’ and so commander stuck.  There was also a black version released called Shadow Commander.

So the inspiration for these colourings was from the Diaclone’s version of Ultra Magnus, who was called ‘Battle Convoy.’  BC was a blue truck and the trailer was in the same colours as this one.  I believe the Battle Convoy was an upgrade for Convoy (Diaclone version of  Optimus), whose name didn’t change from the line name change.  OK History over.

So here we have the trailer name DIA commander, it matches fairly well with Optimus (actually it’s Convoy) and clips nicely onto the truck mode.  Since the TF version was a car transport truck, you can see that in the shape, but the ability for it to carry any cars is limited to just dropping one on the top.  As you can see from the photos, it’s a pretty tight fit onto the back of the cab, so there is not a lot of room for any trailer swinging.  The blue and red plastic is a very close match to Convoy.

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Of particular note is the wheels are of the same design as Convoy, although they are just missing some holes in them, and the grey stripe that is near the front of the trailer lines up very nicely to the one on the cab as well.  There were some stickers that needed to be applied, but they weren’t too numerous or hard to put on and they stick very well.   On the back of the trailer is some lovely looking chrome (hence my usage of Henkei Convoy) and like most of FP’s goods, it has a cool little license plate on the back.  What I really like about this though, is once it is transformed, the plate flips over and can’t be seen.  Very cool that this was added in.
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The back of the trailer can be swung down, but as it is the cover fro the shins of Convoy in robot mode, they don’t resemble a ramp.  There is a little room inside, which is used to store the shoulder missiles and depending on which version you get, a case of ‘energon.’
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It is fairly large and manages to bring the size of Convoy to about an Ultra size if comparing it to regular Transformers.  Unlike the original Diaclone armour, it doesn’t transform as well, it is more of a disassemble job than anything else.  When it is on though, it looks pretty damn cool!

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It gives Convoy quite a lot of bulk when on.  Articulation uses the Convoy’s body to hold it all together, so non is added and due to the armour, a little bit is taken away.  Particularly on his hips, as he has a cod-piece that clips on, and moving his thighs up will make it pop off.  The arms a very close to the shoulders and the size of the fore-arms limit the movement there.  It does clip on very nicely and  still allow quite a wide range of movement though.    Putting him in his armour is fairly quick after a couple of tries, but be aware that slipping the legs onto Convoy’s legs can be somewhat nerve racking.  It’s a tight fit and feels like something is going to break.  It probably won’t but just be careful.  I suggest leaving the rest off and just practise on the legs a couple of times to get the feel for it.

I do like that they have added a hinge onto the ankles so that a wide stance can be used, because it is needed when you have a look at the trailer.  A lot of the trailer is used on  the shoulder, head and legs, but the central structure of the trailer becomes a gun.  It’s big.
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The big gun has two configurations options, one is the mega cannon  and another is a type of super pistol looking thing.  Both are too heavy for the figure to support on it’s own.  The mega cannon (as I shall call it) can only be pointed forward with a stand underneath it, or by balancing it on his knee.  Same with the pistol option.  If you don’t like the mega gun though, there are still options, as they have allowed for storage of Convoy’s original weapons.  His little blaster and wind shield gun thing can be mounted behind the DIA Cmdr.'s shoulders or popped into his fists.  they don’t look too small either.  Which is a good thing because that mega cannon looks a bit silly.

He has nice bits of chrome on his shins and surrounding the chest plate.  The combination of colours works well and none over power the others.  Paint applications are good quality as well.  It is well done armour, especially for a a first attempt at designing something like this.  I got it in the thought of giving to my Shattered Glass Optimus (since he is purple), but since he isn’t on display I have added to Henkei here and since it can connect to the back of the G3 Trailer, he now becomes more like a convoy than ever before.

That’s a nice intro to ….
G3 Trailer
Oh ho ho hoooo (in the voice of Eggman), this my friends is a beauty.  So it should be as it wasn’t cheap.  The G3 trailer (G3) here was made for Henkei/Classics Convoy, as Hasbro deemed it that he no longer needed trailers, despite the extra levels of awesome that they can add.  So FP got designing and came up with an absolute corker of a product.

You can tell it’s a ripper from just looking at the box.  Even though there is no Convoy, they have included a space to pop him in there and seal it up.  Whooo, how very G1 Optimus box!
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I likes that I does.  Once the G3 is out though, it just gets more and more awesome.  A you can see, it is heavily inspired by G1 version trailer, including the blue strip, although I believe the blue stipe goes up at the back of the trailer in G1.  The Autobot symbol on the trailer is a sticker of my own that I added.  It seemed to fit quite nicely for some reason….  From the top of the box you can see Roller Carrier and the small set of chromed bonus weapons for the other Henkei characters. 

The trailer itself is very nice.  Good quality plastic with well mixed colours creating a great effect of the metal of the trailer.  better even than the Encore Convoy I got recently.  It has nice moulding details on the outside and as an appropriate update to the original, it ha doors that swing outwards and the ramp behind that.  There are a lot of hinges and flap looking bits that can be seen on the outside and although not terribly noticeable, they are there.  these are because it has an extremely cool option.

Back in the day of the G1 cartoon, Optimus only used his trailer twice I think.  Once was in the 3 part starting series “More then Meets the Eye,” when he is attacking Megatron and the trailer gets blasted and one other time that slips my memory.  But it always showed up for his truck mode.  Where did it go when he was in robot mode?  It just got left behind, or slid off screen.  Well cleverly FP planned for this and with a bit of snazz and unfolding of panels the trailer goes into …

Stealth mode.

Clever hey?
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Pretty schmick hey?

*I need to add, the actual panels are a lot shinier, they come with protective plastic to stop scratching, which I haven't as yet taken off, due to clumsy fingers and fear of ruining it*
Once finished with that mode, crack it open to reveal the base mode which has nice lovely storage places for all of those extra weapons as well as Convoy’s normal ones.  And There is Carrier and the Drone pod hiding in there as well.
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As you can see, there is some nice blue to break up the grey of the trailer and Carrier can even clip under the drone and be launched out via a switch under the trailer.  the Switch is actually connected to the hinge that connects onto the cab of Convoy in truck mode.  The back ramp has a small extendable inner piece, making for a nice easy exit for Carrier.  The Drone has a claw and the missiles, there is a nice bit of self transforming of the Drone, as well as the ability to be used by Convoy as a mounted weapon via some extra handles at the back.  .  This was seen first in THS Hybrid Style Convoy as well.  It can also be stood up and used as a repair bay.







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Carrier is pretty cool and an appropriate looking update for Roller.  he still has a bunch of wheels, but has lost the seats, which were for Micromen anyway.  He gets a space for a license plate, as does the trailer and can be extended for carrying the aforementioned case of energon (which I don’t have) or mounting Convoy’s hand guns on top.  I like the look of this Carrier very much.  Again the Autobot symbol on the front I added myself.  He clips solidly into the trailer and comes out quick nicely when launched.




This trailer can also be adjusted to  allow the DIA armour to join onto the end, making Convoy one massive, double articulated road train!  It’s so cool!  There are so many good things about this trailer, the way it still has the base stand for holding up the side flaps, it even has a stand for when it is just a trailer with no Convoy.  The only real bummer was the initial cost of it.  Phew, at almost $100 it’s a toy in itself, but to allow my Classics Convoy to have himself a G1 like trailer, and one that is so cool and packed with playability as a base and as a trailer, it is completely worth it!

Extra DIA Commander Pictures.
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Extra Trailer and convoy Pictures.
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Animated gif time!
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Final Set of Trailer photos that I took when I first got it, please excuse all the crap in the background.
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