Seems like the two hottest markets for third party Transformers these days are characters made in the Masterpiece scale and aesthetic and, in almost the opposite direction in terms of manufacturing costs, the smaller, simpler Legends scaled options. Don’t let their diminutive size fool you though! These tiny offerings are masterpieces in their own right.
One third party company that knows quite a thing or two about cost preventative measures is Mech Fans Toys. Hitting the scene several years ago, their first foray into the Transformers market included oversized direct copies of some of Hasbro’s Combiner Wars Legends Class characters. These were exactly the same as the mass retail release items, but increased in size by about 20%. Part of the spoils of directly copying a design and engineering is the ability to significantly reduce the price per unit. These early MFT bots were a great test for the budding company to iron out issues with plastics quality, paint applications, and assembly before moving on to other designs ripe for the picking.
Mech Fans Toys set their sights directly onto their competitors. Instead of keeping focus on global corporate toy tycoons like Hasbro, they turned attention towards companies like DX9 and Iron Factory who were pioneers in the traditional Legends scale market and had their own intuitive designers creating original toys related to the brand. These designs then made their way into the hands of MFT, and in their tried and true formula, the toys were upscaled, painted with a premium finish and often new colors, given unique packaging, and released to market with production numbers far exceeding the original toy that was knocked off. This repeating pattern of production has now created quite the library of characters. Borrowing from multiple companies and saving on many of the most expensive aspects of the design process has afforded MFT to hire their own in house design studio to create original toys on top of continuing to oversize and upgrade existing toys.
One such oversize and upgrade is VS-01 Head Warrior Chivalrouser, the 1987 Autobot Headmaster Chromedome from the Transformers Headmasters anime series that was exclusive to Japan. Originally released by Unique Toys in their Palm Series collection.
This toy looks amazingly accurate to the G1 Headmaster toy, right down to the sculpted tech specs under the hood on his chest. Proportionately the character very much looks like his Headmasters TV series counterpart. There are much more sculpted details present on this 12.5cm toy than the original 9.5cm mould this toy is based on. Some might think that MFT made this toy too big in their upscale, but you have to remember that the Headmasters were often seen as the same height as Rodimus Prime and other leader types on screen. Of course, the gimmick with Headmaster Transformers is that the head is actually a small robot of its own that controls the body. Here, MFT has added articulation to the smaller bot and increased the size to scale perfectly with the mech pilot Dianauts from Takara Tomy’s reborn Diaclone line!
The paint here is applied very cleanly and evenly. The very small orange face of the head bot, the face plate and metallic blue eyes of Chromedome, the red accents on the robot and vehicle modes are all crisp and have nice coverage.
There isn’t anything too mind blowing, but there is more than enough for a small figure. The head now features swivel neck articulation, an added feature not present on the Unique Toys release. The shoulder are ball jointed, there is a bicep swivel, single elbow, wrist articulation, waist, ball hips, a very deep knee bend thanks to the open space at the back of the leg, and some minimal ankle rocking for wider stances.
He comes with a total of four weapons. The original G1 rifles that can be placed into the hands securely or in vehicle mode, peg into the roof. There are also two shorter blasters that, when not in use, can store behind the legs of the robot mode and fill the gap there if that was an eyesore to you. Another fun thing that MFT consistently includes with many of their releases are KOs of Takara Tomy Diaclone power suits. Chivalrouser gets his own uniquely colored power suit partner with lots of articulation and an opening cockpit. Unfortunately it’s too tight of a fit for the Headmaster.
In vehicle mode, Chromedome is a futuristic earth vehicle. The anime series from 1987 was set in the distant future of 2010. So, yeah, this is totally what cars from that era looked like. Everything tabs in tightly, leaving very little gaps. His gold rimmed wheels all roll nicely on a flat surface.
There is a ton of value when it comes to a Mech Fans Toys product. This toy cost me the price of a current Hasbro Deluxe class Transformer, after shipping. It’s really two toys in one package, with accessories, great paint, and made to look just like he jumped off the screen of the 1987 anime series he was apart of. Plastic quality is on par with an official mass retail toy. I’m not afraid of anything breaking or stressing, even the tiny little head robot. It’s all solid and made for play.
5/5 Wizard’s Stars
A wonderful addition to my growing ranks of tiny soldiers. MFT has caused quite the ruckus in the legends scale market and will continue to do so by creating their own original products, upscaling other’s, and beating everyone in terms of value.