Fighter Team Jet
Review by VF5SS
For the longest time, fan created toys was largely confined to the realm of garage kits. Nowadays, companies like Fansproject have created their very own original toys and accessories all in the name of enriching the Transformers brand. Most of these items such as Warbot Defender and Scouting Force X are wholly original and are not cobbled together from a previously produced toy. The company iGear has done things a little differently. Probably their most well known item is the oddly named "Faith Leader," which is a copy of the Masterpiece Optimus Prime scaled down to what some consider a more palpable size.
Wouldn't an unlicensed copy of a toy produced in a different size be considered a bootleg? This is where things start to get a little questionable. By all reports the Faith Leader and its subsequent repaints are all high quality figures and a far cry with what one usually associates with bootlegs.
So here we are at iGear's next major line of figures, the Fighter Team series. These toys use the Masterpiece Starscream design as their base with major modifications to represent the classic "Conehead" trio from the second season of Transformers Generation 1. The first of these is simply called Jet, which is dangerously close to what people will be calling it: Ramjet.
I first want to show off the custom outer shipping box as it reveals iGear's plans for their Fighter Team line. As you can see, there are a total of nine different toy numbers on this box. The first five have been revealed already. The top three are the so called coneheads while the next two are "Storm" and "Current," which are slightly altered copies of the original Masterpiece Starscream mold. I must say, nine toys is quite ambitious.
Next is the toy packaging itself. As with many of these third party Transformers, it is quite well done. While not in the style of the official Masterpiece toys, it still looks very legitimate. The reverse side has a picture of Jet in jet mode.
Starting off with the toy in jet mode, Jet is a modified Masterpiece Starscream with new wings and some changes to its engineering. The overall build quality is almost indistinguishable from the official toys. Nothing about it screams bootleg. In you didn't know it was a third party product you'd have a hard time telling it wasn't legit.
It still features all the little details as the official toy such as the air brake, radar dish, landing gear, etc. It also comes with the same accessories including the clip for holding the Megatron gun (from Masterpiece Optimus) and an in scale Dr. Arkeville figure (called Dr. Evil on their website). It also comes with stickers, a character card, and a comic. No instructions were included with my figure.
And also like the official toys it includes the two-part display stand for use in fighter mode and robot mode. The molding on the stand is much less precise than it is on the figure itself as the arm of the stand doesn't really fit into the base without excessive force.
Despite the molding issues, the stand still works well enough for displaying Jet in robot mode. For details on the transformation and the changes made, check out the video at the end of this review.
The most prominent of the new parts is of course the head. It's very bland all things considered. The face doesn't really match the Masterpiece toys and it has the obvious cheat of not being made from the fighter mode's nosecone. Plus the balljointed neck on my figure is really lose and tends to flop around.
Jet still features the manly breast missiles like Masterpiece Starscream.
New to this toy is a pair of wrist communicators inspired by the ones on Masterpiece Optimus. Now I don't recall Ramjet ever using this kind of device in the cartoon much less talking to Soundwave and Skywarp (well I'm assuming that's Skywayp). It's kind of an odd thing to add to the toy and is pretty forgettable.
Now this is the part where I hope TheEnthusiast isn't reading because this toy has a major problem with standing up. Now this is not a problem with the original Masterpiece Starscream mold as in the video review you see me plop down Masterpiece Thundercracker next to Jet with no problem. Something is just really off with the modifications made to the original mold.
I was told that if you leave the leg wings untransformed then it is easier to make Jet stand up but all I found was it made Jet lean forward instead of backwards.
Of course you can mess around with his hips to made him stand a little straight but that just produces crotch thrust.
If you get creative you can sorta put Jet in different poses but there's not a lot that can be done with the legs.
Fighter Team Jet is not all in all a terrible toy, but one with a lot of problems that stem entirely from all the modifications made in the name of fan-pleasing silliness. Sure it looks good on paper, take the Masterpiece Decepticon jets and modify them into the Coneheads just like how it was done with the G1 toys but here it just doesn't work. The new head is passable but putting the entirety of the fighter mode's wings onto the figure's legs makes it completely unbalanced and more or less breaks the toy. Add to that the price for Jet and the other two Coneheads is sixty dollars more than what they're asking for the less modified ones like Storm and Current. So you have to pay more for a toy that is inherently less functional. iGear really should have made their own design instead of adapting an existing one and completely botching it up. I was excited about getting Jet at first but after handling it I can't help but be extremely disappointed. I can't recommend this toy to anyone.
Comments22 comments posted
Very good review and I appreciate the honesty in your writeup/video. Even after the negatives you pointed out, it wouldn't be enough to deter me from buying it on that alone cause like you said, a fan of Ramjet would probably like it anyway. While not a huge Ramjet fan, I like the color scheme/conehead/aesthetics. However $166 is way too much for me to spend on this. I would prefer to pick one of the other MP Jets available since all I have is a Skywarp (which actually has trouble standing on its own)
You had pointed out the broken wingtip but I couldn't help noticing something else while scanning the figure in your video. Is the right arm (Ramjets right) chipped at the elbow on the upper white shoulder piece? or is it s black piece of flash sticking out? I can't quite make it out.
BTW, my first foray into 3rd party TF will be the Hercules (the Not-Devastator) I hope for my first experience into the 3rd party world to be a good one.
Ive often wondered that myself, I mean its mostly the exact same thing! Ive read about GM suing chinese companies for making cars that not only looked like copies, but the panels were interchangeable between both vehicles. Essentially, this is the same thing.
I highly doubt that will happen. Both companies (Hasbro & Tomy) have been aware of these kinds of knockoffs for a long time. They could've slapped them a C&D notice to them by now. Also, I read one story about a 3rd-P designer had the seal of approval from Hasbro to produce a G1 Arcee KO toy of their own & sell it on the market without paying a fine.
Oh Dear...We are quickly approaching a day when no toy actually stands or is expected to stand, but will instead hover prettily above something called a "stand." I actually did have a problem with the Ghost MP Starscream I reviewed, but I'm told it's workable.
Nice review tho. Have you seen all of the jet product at kotoys? No idea as to build quality (probably terrible), but much much cheaper than this.
KOToys.com is based out of China and sells direct knockoffs of existing figures in terrible, terrible quality, with some of the worst customer service in the world. They are a blight, best to be avoided.
It IS rather amazing to me that these Jets got made... they are so far off the deep end compared to the add-ons and 'compatible' original design figures. Add in the fact that they cost almost four times as much as the base toy at US retail, and we're getting into troubling waters. Then again, many of the third party non-TF manufacturers were AT BotCon, including with new designs based directly off of some existing TF characters. I just would hate for their eyes to get too big compared to their stomachs and have them push the boundary too far and get shut down completely.
Are your Ko toys issues through personal experiances or what have you read online? Ive ordered from him and had no issues.
I've been on forums when the owner has had some pretty spectacular spats, and he's a nut. I've never bought from them, but horror stories of long delays, broken items, and an open and notorious 'black list' system of customer dealings has kept me squarely away.
Yeah I don't get the appeal of actively courting bootlegs of existing Transformers just because they come in weird color combinations.
Not even just weird colors. KOToys makes a point of making sure to have direct knock-offs of hard to find currently on the shelf guys, like the new Windcharger figure. They're way beyond a third party manufacturer or an endearing bootlegger.
Ive dealt with them twice and its been positive both times. I am ashamed (not really) to say I have purchased G1 knockoffs of Sunstreaker, Devastator (wish I would have known about the reissue) and Grimlock and I am astounded at how well made they are. If I didnt know they were bootlegs I would be very easily fooled, they have Hasbro stampings and such and the plastic used is amazing. Chrome is PERFECT. Cant speak for the other weird bootlegs though. I found the quality far surpasses what Ive experienced buying legit encore figs. This is in no way saying that none of the negatives written about them is not true, this is just my experience.
Back on topic, I wonder how these 3rd party figures are made. Do they make direct copies of the pieces and modify them or do they just measure everything, CAD it up and make exact copies with slight alterations? I'm wondering because if they are starting from scratch with measurements, they can easily just CAD up their own designs using inspiration obtained from the legit figs instead of making almost exact copies that make it obvious they are copying. They have the resources to manufacture and become legit, yet they would rather copy copy copy. Didnt they shrink Masterpiece Optimus? All that trouble to make a small duplicate.
Thanks for the honest review, I've been curious about these figures ever since they were first announced. I guess Has/Tak have decided that having these guys around is good for business? Fansproject is, that's for sure, think about how many people went out & bought that piece of crap Bruticus set because of Fansproject's add-on figure sets, granted, the Hasbro Bruticus was obviously never aimed at adult collectors.
This review re-sparked my interest in picking up the MP Skywarp. Are there any known issues with the Hasbro version compared to the Takara one?
Both versions have the same quality. They're just painted slightly different. But I recommend getting the Takara version just because it's in a big, sturdy box w/ a trading card & a cool instruction manual.
I'd love to have the Takara version had it been available at a decent price product and shipping wise. These days any shipping method below expensive trackable Express to my location is basically condemning a package to limbo.
The Hasbro one I'm looking at right now will run me 120$ plus shipping. Hard to accept paying more for a bigger box and black tail wings.
I did forget to mention how expensive the Takara one is but I think you can find it at a discount price @ BBTS.COM. I do know the Hasbro one is 50% off the 100 Bucks. I should've recommend that toy to buy as well.
I paid 30 for my Skywarp after passing on it when it was 60, then found an endcap with tons of skywarps for $17, went back with cash and they were all gone. ....$17!
Were the $17 MP Skywarps sold at a flea market Mr. Chachi?
I was able to get both Skywarp and Thundercracker off of HLJ back when the Yen was fair. They were actually discounted Thundercracker rather heavily too. The aftermarket prices are pretty stupid for toys nobody wanted.
That advantage always works for the patient scavengers..
Man, and these are fairly pricey aren't they? Too bad, the idea had potential, guess it doesn't work.