Seems like the two hottest markets for third party Transformers these days are characters made in either the Masterpiece scale and aesthetic and, in almost the opposite direction in terms of manufacturing costs, the smaller, simpler Legends scale. As readers of my regular reviews have noticed, I am full steam ahead on Legends and the slightly larger Legends+ offerings on the market.
Mech Fans Toys is leading the pack as far as I am concerned. MFT set their sights directly onto their competitors in their earliest days. 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.
Their in house designer Mechanic Studio has been given the green light to focus on core season one and two Autobot cars. The company’s latest release makes the most out of a very popular 1980’s super car and gives us three unique toys – MS-05 Red Lightning, MS-07 Red Sentinel, & MS-05B Dark Lighting.
The sculpt on all three of these guys is virtually the same. MFT did go the extra mile to design unique head sculpts for each release. Sideswipe has his horns, Red Alert has his less aggressive cat ears, and Generation 2 Sideswipe has his snarling expression with gritted teeth! The base body is pure G1 goodness, with a lot of nods to the Takara Masterpiece, only at a much smaller 9.5cm. Proportionally this looks great, and in my opinion, looks even better than the recently released Transformers Siege Sideswipe mold. That one is just too stocky.
There are a lot of nice little touches here. Sideswipe and Red Alert are done in cartoon accurate colors. Their faces are white, and eyes are light blue to match the Sunbow animation rather than the G1 toys. The rest of the paint on Sideswipe are silver and black accents on the belt and knees of the robot mode and the vents of the vehicle. Red Alert features red accents painted onto the robot and vehicle as well as a tampographed fire department logo on the chest and each vehicle door. It’s crisp and clear, but the white on the chest isn’t as vibrant as the rest of the white on the figure.
G2 Sideswipe is an oddball. The vehicle features a metallic flake on all the black areas. This is a little odd at first, but it’s growing on me. It does couple well with the deep metallic red used on the vehicle windshield and windows. Again we see silver accents painted on the robot as well as a silver face to match the toy and Marvel comic appearances of the character.
There’s plenty of articulation on this newly designed body. Each features a ball neck, a hinge for transformation within the chest cavity that can be used for the shoulder to move higher or lower as well as ball jointed shoulders. There is swivel biceps, hinged elbows, wrist swivel, waist swivel, ball hips, thigh swivel, hinged knees, and a toe on a ball joint that allows limited amounts of toe bend/ankle rocker movement.
Sideswipe and Red Alert come with their individual blaster rifles, both with their own sculpt, and a shared sculpt shoulder mounted blaster. The shoulder mount can attach to a peg on either shoulder.
G2 Swipe comes with these same two weapons, as well as a cache of ’90s weapons. BFGs, a sword with scabbard that can peg into his back, and two spiked wheels that peg atop the shoulders of the robot to maximize the attitude this little guy has! If that wasn’t enough, MFT also included a KO Diaclone power suit with a black, gold and red paint scheme to accompany this figure!
Part of the reason Sideswipe is so popular no doubt lies in the vehicle form the original toy has. The Lamborghini Countach was THE super car of the 1980s. Originally released as the Countach LP500S robot in the Takara Diaclone toy line, and later reimagined as a hot headed Autobot warrior in bright red, the character was destined for admiration from every kid that passed by it in the toy aisle.
The vehicle is well represented here. The squared off angles, vents, low profile and famous spoiler are all present. Even the side mirrors. I think the only thing missing is the unique rims that are on the real world car’s wheels.
These three were around $22.00 each. I think G2 Sideswipe was slightly more. Considering his more limited run, the extra accessories, and the Diaclone power suit included (which is practically a whole extra toy) that’s understandable. MFT knows how to pack a punch in every release. They’re average retail is always below every competitor in this legends scaled market and it always seems like you’re getting so much more.
3.5 / 5 Wizard’s Stars
MFT has caused quite the reputation in the legends scale market and will continue to do so by creating their own original products in the Mechanic Studio sub-line, upscaling, retooling and knocking off existing product designs, and flat out beating everyone in terms of value. As the company is really just starting to get into the cast of Autobot cars from seasons 1 & 2, I can only imagine their popularity rising.
Enjoy the full gallery below!