FansProject Warbot Steel Core
Gonna try something different this go around, both NurseMidnight and myself (Reigner) got this guy on the same day and wanted to try a tag team style. Not sure if this will work as well as it would on say a Youtube video, but let’s give it a shot!
Reigner: While a transforming robot, Steel Core is a character created uniquely by FansProject, and thus has no real design cues of any specific Transformers related robot, but despite my best efforts to not try and see an homage I can’t help but think that if Cybertron Defense Scattorshot was designed in the War Within fiction and given a Breastmaster gimmick then Steel Core would be that figure,though that may be due to the Macross Missile Spam pods concealed in his shoulders. The sculpt is typical FansProject, very blocky and chunky, and although there is no die-cast this time around the plastic feels the sturdiest of any FP release to date. Transformation is surprisingly simple (yet still involved) for a FansProject toy with strong tabs holding just about everything in place. Be careful of the crotch joint though, the instructions aren’t clear that it’s movable, and it’s so tight on mine that it feels like I’m about to break it.
Nurse Midnight: I own nearly every Fansproject release and aesthetically, I’m going to have to say this one is my favorite. As a fan of cold color pallets, Steel Core’s paint scheme hits me just right, topped off by the fluorescent green eyes and translucent green canopy. When I first got the figure, I was afraid that the transformation was going to be as complicated as Warbot Defender, Steel Core’s predecessor in the Warbot line. (While a great figure in itself, Defender was a pain in the butt to transform) As Reigner mentioned, transformation is surprisingly simple compared to Defender’s “miss one step and you have to start over” transformation scheme. Even the gun is a part of the transformation, becoming the rear end and trailer hitch of the vehicle mode.
With Vehicle mode, for those asking, the vehicle does roll and sports several moving wheels. A neat little hidden feature is that Steel Core’s Vehicle Mode can pull the G3 Trailer, as the tab for the trailer fits right over top of the trailer hitch on the rear of the vehicle. You can’t turn the vehicle while it’s pulling the trailer, but it’s still a nice extra feature.
Reigner: It’s not often on a modern transforming robot toy that accessories are considered a talking point, but Steel Core is once again an exception. He comes packed with a fun little rifle, that can transform a number of ways itself. Also included is a clear green plastic piece that can attach to one of the gun formations in sort of a nail-gun looking configuration. It’s a shame though as it really feels like a missed opportunity to not include some way for the green piece to attach as a bayonet in Rifle mode. Also it seems that there’s nowhere to store the accessory in vehicle mode, at least not an officially documented place anyway. With that, I think I’ll let my associate talk the main attraction: HEART ON!
NurseMidnight: One of the fun things about Steel Core is that there’s something extra to the figure aside from the normal transformation. Steel Core is what Fansproject calls a Heart Master, a concept similar to Powermasters and Breastmasters on the Transformers fiction. In short, they’re little humans or robots that transform and plug into the chest of the larger robot.
Now that, that’s out of the way, the main “accessory” of the figure is actually a separate little robot called Steel, which in Fansproject’s fiction is actually the main robot, while the larger body is called Corer. Steel’s molded in dark grey and a vibrant bright light blue, about a hair darker than Hasbro’s “All Spark” blue, with silver and black detailing on arms and legs. While some may not like the lighter color blue when Steel is connected to the chest, I think it breaks up the color pallet enough to add complement the cold color scheme. Steel doesn’t have very many paint apps being a smaller figure, but the detailing is up to par with the larger Corer figure and very nicely done, even on the very small head of the figure, where a red visor and silver faceplate are present.
Steel has ball-jointed head, arms, and legs with single hinge joints for knees and elbows. A Perfect Effect Minibot, it’s not, but it still has a good range of motion for its size and its transformation gimmick. (Perfect Effect is a company that specializes in 3rd Party Transforming minibots that are highly articulated and are really tiny)
Steel’s transformation reminds me a lot of Ginrai/Hi-Q from Powermaster Optimus Prime and feels like the natural evolution of what Powermasters should be in 2012. Transformation is simple as you fold in both halves of the robot and flip up the legs leaving you with an engine like piece. Just remember to turn the head around before you push it down into the connector piece, so you won’t damage it while connecting it to Corer. Unlike Powermasters, connecting Steel to Corer doesn’t unlock the transformation from vehicle to robot mode, but if that was the case, I think it would have hindered the figure due to how it was designed.
Reigner: Steel Core is standard fare for articulation. Ball joints where they need to be, swivels joints almost where they need to be. The shoulders are surprisingly mobile. You’d think with shoulder pads that big that there’d be a lot of collisions, but with a large clearanced ball joint and double jointed biceps, arm articulation is a breeze! My two biggest gripes here are single jointed elbows and no wrist articulation. It really seems to limit him more than you’d expect especially considering how absolutely expressive his legs are (can legs be expressive?). Also detaching the backpack gives Steel Core both a waist swivel AND abdominal crunch! Great touch that didn’t need to be there. Also the hips can be a tad finicky, despite the crotch joint being really tight, in robot mode it has a bit of give that will move a bit when posing the hips. It’s nothing major but it’s something to take note of if you’re picky about your joint tolerances.
Nurse Midnight: Compared to its subline partner, Warbot Defender, the articulation on the Warbot line has improved immensely. You can accomplish a large variety of poses with Steel Core than you couldn’t with Defender, though, that’s probably due to Defender’s complicated transformation scheme. At any rate, Steel Core’s articulation is very good and on par with the Insecticon Ninjas that came out last year. Steel Core even sports a toe joint
Reigner: As Steel Core is sold out, it hard to really recommend buying him. He’s a fantastic figure, and I’m always happy when I can support new endeavors (and a non-Transformer transforming robot made by a third party company known for its fantastic homages is one helluva endeavor!) It’s stuff like this tha makes me really wish more companies, including Hasbro would return to making toys with essential accessories (headmasters, powermaters, targetmasters, etc) I know why they don’t but that doesnt have to mean I have to accept it! If this gets a repaint, a re-release, or you see someone selling it for not an insane price, buy it. You’ll thank yourself (and maybe us) later.
Nurse Midnight: I’ve been waiting on this figure since first laying eyes on the grey prototype at Botcon 2010 and it does not disappoint. Fansproject’s figures have come a long way from simple addon kits and that really shows in Steel Core. When more become available for purchase, I can’t recommend one enough if you’re a fan of well engineered transforming robot figures. But! Don’t pay more than its retail price for one unless you absolutely have to have it now or it’s reasonable. The first run of the figure was a limited run, so it wouldn’t surprise me if another production run is on the way. It’s happened before with several of their releases so don’t fret, you too can experience the Corelation with time and patience.