Recently, I had a nice eBay windfall; I got a really good deal on a Fansproject 3rd-party not-Transformer called WB004 Revolver Core. One of a group apparently called the Warrior Robot Exo-suit Collective who Kill Evil Robots. Well done with that acronym, guys: Wreck’n’Rule!
Anyway, he’s a nice solidly-built robot who turns into a sci-fi-esque half-track thing, carries a pile of guns, and has a little man who rides around in the Jeep and turns into the robot-mode’s engine.
Most of his joints are nice and solid, all his parts peg into on another nicely in robot mode, with exception of his wrists, which sometimes do this:
Weird wrists aside, his robot mode is pretty nice, with ball-jointed hips, decent elbows and shoulders, and surprisingly functional feet. His head is on a ball-joint, but since his shoulders are so big, it can’t actually turn much. HE can look up and down quite well, though.
My only niggle with the vehicle mode is that the two halves of the wind-shield don’t peg together well:
This transformation is satisfyingly complex with 28 steps, which is about 10-14 more than you’d typically see in a Hasbro product of similar size. Pleasingly, he has almost no parts which need to be taken off and repositioned, which is always annoying. (This is definitely an issue with some of the older Fansproject products in my collection.) Indeed, the Transformers fandom has coined the nickname “Part-formers” or “Lego-formers” (surely Kreo-formers am I right?) for this annoying trait from older Transformers designs which seems to have resurfaced in some modern third-party designs. Well, there is no part-forming whatsoever with this guy, he’s a solid, monolithic design, in more than one sense.
So… fans of G1 transformers will see that this figure bears a certain resemblance to Hasbro’s Transformers character Roadbuster: indeed the previous owner of my eBay-obtained figure has added a large red Autobrand to the centre of the figure’s chest; I could probably remove this sticker, but I don’t have any good reason to do so.
I guess that when Revolver Core was made, a couple of years ago, it didn’t look like Hasbro were making a new Roadbuster in their Generations toyline, but indeed, Roadbuster has since been re-released at Voyager Size alongside his Wrecker buddy Whirl. Roadbuster and Whirl’s association pre-dates the Transformers brand: their original molds were originally based on designs created as by Takatoku Toys as tie-in merch for the anime 特装機兵ドルバック (Special Armored Battalion Dorvack), which bombed – the mechanical designs were generally acknowledged as pretty good, but the storyline was apparently rather boring. Takatoku went into administration and Hasbro acquired the molds, creating new characters for them to represent. The new Generations mold of Roadbuster has attracted a lot of criticism from other reviewers. Hollow accessories that look unsightly from a lot of angles, and quality-control issues with the shoulders; are both common complaints. This is a shame, because the Generations Roadbuster figure looks really nice otherwise, with a G1-accurate face and a really-nice alt-mode, but these issue are enough to spoil him IMO.
I suspect that the extremely good price I obtained this not-Roadbuster for might be connected to the timing of Generations Roadbuster finally reaching the UK’s shores in retail outlets. There’re piles of Roadbusters in my local B&N, which indicates that he’s
Fansproject’s “Core” characters, such as Revolver Core, all have a pilot/driver figure included who transforms into an engine, and clips into the back of the larger toy when it’s in robot mode. An obvious point of reference is Takara/Hasbro’s Powermaster gimmick from Transformers Generations 1.
I just wanted an excuse to put this commercial into an article: pity the poor 80’s metal-dude who had to sing all these toy commercials just to feed his
Anyway, the advances of the last two decades in plastic & engineering have resulted in much nicer little engine-dudes: with ball-jointed neck, shoulder and hips, and actual knee- and elbow-articulation, the little guy looks beautiful but feels fragile. It’s clear that this is a product aimed at nerdy toy-collectors like myself, and not even slightly for kids.
Of course, the inclusion of a pilot with this toy could be interpreted as an homage to the original Dorvack anime, where the transforming mech-suit was piloted by a human hero: they even have the same glasses casually pushed up onto their foreheads!
If the Revolver Core pilot wore grey and had pink specs, then the homage would be undeniable, but as it is, it’s just an allusion.
Interestingly, the releases to follow WB004 are 2 more “Core” characters, based on the same mold as Revolver Core, but with new heads and alternate equipment: Riftshot Core and Recoiler Core. These guys aren’t borrowing from anyone else’s IP or particularly biting anyone’s style. It’s interesting to see a company who have previously focused on doing third-party transformers branch out into doing something truly original. Interestingly, these characters are packed with extra parts that can clip onto Revolver Core, beefing him up into the genuinely huge “Ultra Revolver Core”. I must admit that egregious shipping costs are pricing me out of the market for either of these two, which is a shame because I absolutely love Recoiler’s face and long-nosed rifle.
In Conclusion, WB004 Revolver Core is a pretty cool robot, and a nice homage to a character who was getting little love from his creators at the same that Revolver Core came out. His design (and that of his original-character partners) contains some interesting ideas, and it will be interesting to see where Fansproject are going with it.