Am I late to the party or what ?
I have no excuses, no mitigating circumstances, the dog did not eat my homework, my house was not catapulted to an LSD nightmare of a world inhabited by dwarves and psychotic witches, I never saw or fell into a rabbit hole and I most certainly did not take the red pill … or was it the blue pill … bugger.
So here I stand, cap in hand offering you my thoughts, musings and opinions on Fans Toys FT-15 Willis.
Late to the party yes but maybe, just maybe there is a little more reviewing to eek out of this figure.
Packaging & Accessories
Fans Toys presents to us FT-15 “Willis” in a rather nice glossy embossed box with a distinct military vibe, I think we can safely say this is down to the camouflage backdrop. I like the box but not a big fan of the camo motif, I get why it’s there but I’m more minimalist when it comes to my packaging preferences. Fans Toys claw it back though with the lovely polystyrene insert, love me some polystyrene around my figures, reminds me of when I picked up the Toyworld Dinobots … mmm the smell.
Anyway, I think more 3rd Party companies should do it.
Willis is encased in his robot mode which is a change for me as most of the figures I’ve picked up lately tend to be in their alt modes. With this comes the usual accessories, collector card and instruction manual. Little bit of a issue here for me, I’d have liked to have seen the instruction manual a little smaller so it would not have had to have been folded to get it in the box, crease lines.
Accessories we are supplied with are made up of; shoulder mounted rocket launcher, animation style gun, G1 toy style gun, M2 machine gun, spare wheel, jerry can, mounting peg for rocket launcher, spare head with cartoon tone face colours and a translucent face visor.
In vehicle mode Willis is a solid and sturdy presentation, a pretty standard looking period army jeep, okay he’s not really to scale with other MP cars available but that’s not a major gripe for me. Looking more closely though and there are some rather nice attentions to detail; moulded shocks under the wheel arches, rear view mirrors, indicator light pods, the front mounted winch, steering wheel, dash lights, studs on the wheel rims, rubber tyres and the rear mounting spare wheel and jerry can. Special mention to the silver petrol filler cap, love it ! Willis does freewheel in a fashion, he won’t do it under his own steam due to the rear wheels being a little tight but again no major issue for me. I feel Fans Toys have managed to capture the realness of the actual vehicle it’s inspired from whilst also making it enough of a contemporary homage to it’s G1 predecessor. Not much in the line of action or features other than the adjustable steering wheel and seats (this is more a necessity for transformation rather than intelligent design), windscreen does move but not in the forward direction as would on the actual Jeep. Finally the ability to attach the various rear mounting guns, which include the “G1 inspired” hand gun, a detailed M3 machine gun and also Willis’s shoulder mounted rocket launcher via an enclosed tab adaptor. Spike from the MP10 release can sit comfortably in the drivers seat but as I mentioned earlier, he’s massively out of scale, it would appear driving open top vehicle in the wet can cause shrinkage.
* Transformation *
I just wanted to make a special note here regarding my efforts to transform Willis from robot to vehicle for the first time. Now I don’t know why but I struggled a little at first, he seemed quite fiddly and I was aware of a sense of me being over cautious as though I was going to break him. In my over cautiousness I did in fact drop him … luckily I was sat on my sofa and he had the good sense to roll down my legs first before hitting the carpet. Once the adrenalin washed out of my system and after a thorough inspection I was relieved to find no damage. After having a word with myself I continued on and found no further problems, maybe subconsciously I was unsure of the manufacturers quality and tolerances, who knows. Since then all has been well and I have this sequence down.
After finally getting him back into robot mode (remember he comes packaged in robot mode), Willis looks amazing, no really he does. I’ll pause a moment as I’m about to contradict myself here … but what I immediately love about this figure is his likeness to his animated counterpart. I know, hypocrisy thy name is Eddie ! After spouting about MMC and Backdraft et al and their evolved G1 toy feel and not warming to MP Inferno due to his animated blandness, I go and throw this opinion into the mix. I have a good explanation, no really I do so come closer and I’ll tell. In my opinion Fans Toys has done with Willis what MMC didn’t with Backdraft and what Takara hasn’t done since the initial MP cars, it’s the balance between animation and G1 toy aesthetic. That’s not a criticism against MMC, far from it, I love what they do and hope they continue as they are my go to guys for my G1 toy inspired fix. Takara, yes that is a criticism as they’ve gone too far, recent figures have just looked bland, like a clothes shop mannequin bereft of clothing. So yeah, clearly inspired by the animation model rather than the G1 toy … but swiftly getting back on topic, Willis has good articulation but some poses may require support as he’s a little top heavy. There’s a lot of die-cast in this figure and it’s concentrated at the front end for the most part, so he has a habit of falling over at times (pose dependant).
He does fit in well with other MP figures, both official and 3rd Party and his bot size is just about right I’d say, unless you wish to recreate the fight scene with Frenzy !
Accessories wise he can utilise both guns, his animated style blaster and toy version rifle and he also has the shoulder mounted rocket launcher. If you wish you can attach the spare wheel to his back and also swap out his head for a more cartoon tone face sculpt. When using this head you can also attach the underwater visor which covers his face, this is from the same episode of the cartoon that he has his fight with Frenzy I believe and also engages in questionable activities with Spike (a brief Google search will enlighten you).
I regrettably missed out on Willis upon his initial release, no specific reasons other than he just slipped under my radar. However I was able to rectify this recently (thanks to Oliver, you know who you are good sir) and I’m so glad I did. He’s been an absolute joy to have, handle and play around with although it could have gone so wrong. When I first removed him from the box I noted just how loose the ankle support were (see picture to where I mean), this wasn’t right so I decided to try fix. After taking his lower legs apart I saw that this ankle panel was held on by a small screw and washer, I would assume usually this kind of joint would have a pin over a screw. Regardless all I did to fix was remove the screw, carefully applied a small amount of super glue in the threaded recess, reassembled making sure no glue over ran to bond the whole joint together. After leaving it overnight Willis was now standing tall, proud and firmly.
Overall the paint scheme is really nice, no stand out tone differences or blemishes. Some minor panel gaps in vehicle mode but these are restricted to the rear end and are concealed when the jerry can and spare wheel are attached. Same again for the robot mode, everything tabs in nice and snug where it should be with no unsightly gaps or kibble, colour tone continuing the standard set in vehicle mode.
This is my first Fans Toys figure and I’m impressed, even with the above issue and I look forward to obtaining others in the future, namely FT-10 Phoenix.
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