Fansproject continues to be one of the forerunners of the whole third-party transforming robots scene. They impressed me with their “Cars That Turn Into Evil Robots But Are Most Definitely Not The Stunticons” team and more recently, I was able to finally pick up Code, the first release in their “Transforming Robots Whose Heads Also Turn Into Robots But Are Most Definitely Not Headmasters” line called Function. The next Function figure in the line is Quadruple-U, a figure that some may say bears a striking resemblance to the Hasbro G1 toy, Weirdwolf. Let’s check him out…
The packaging is similar in format to Code’s. You get a blue folding shoebox type deal with a clear illustrated sleeve that fits over it. I do dig the artsy nature of this packaging, but I’m sure there are plenty of collectors who would have preferred a more traditional window box. I can see the merits of both, but when you’re paying $60 for a Deluxe sized Transformer, it’s nice to have it presented in a package style that you wouldn’t see sitting on the shelf at Walmart. It does look really nice standing on the shelf beside Code’s box, and I imagine will look even better with FP’s third Function figure, Smart Robin, on the other side of it.
Slide off the sleeve, open the box, and you reveal Q-U in robot mode between two clear plastic trays. His sword is bagged and there is an instruction booklet behind the figure at the back of the box. I know that I usually start with alt modes, but since this guy’s alt mode is a robotic beast, I decided we’ll just kick it off with his robot mode.
And what a spectacular robot mode it is! Q-U takes all the essence of the G1 figure, throws some spices into the pan and… BAM! It kicks it up a notch. You still get that great classic G1 boxy look to an extent, but there’s so much going on with this guy’s sculpt that you get the best of both worlds with a superb modern update. The balanced proportions, the stylish raised shoulders, the way the wolf head tucks neatly on the back, it all works so beautifully. Yes, this is one dead sexy looking robot! I’m reluctant to ever throw around the word perfect, but Q-U’s robot mode comes damn close in my book.
If there’s one thing about Q-U’s design that keeps him from that perfection, it’s the rather unusual hand designs. He doesn’t have conventional fists, rather he sort of has paws with a long hinged thumb that closes up the hole, allowing him to hold his weapon. Unless you count the stylish wolf head on his back, the hand designs are one of the few areas where this figure makes a sacrifice for his alt mode. Is it bad? Not at all, just unconventional and somewhat surprising at first. Truth be told, they still work great and this is an alien robot, so why should he have to have human looking hands?
If the sculpt and design is amazing, the deco is just as good. Like Code, Q-U primarily makes use of colored plastic with paint apps used sparingly. It’s a great way to go if you’re using good plastic and the quality of the plastic here is fantastic and the yellow and blue-green colors make for a vibrant figure. The grey and black balances out the deco nicely and the little bits of red paint pop beautifully.
Q-U comes with his jagged sword, which he holds quite well. It’s also worth noting that the figure has four different fold out points where it can be attached for carrying. By folding down the handle you can attach it to either hip point, or either shoulder. It’s a wonderful idea, which really shows how FP is willing to go the extra mile to add value and features to their figures. In practice, it works only Ok. It looks a little strange hanging off the shoulder. I prefer it on the hip, but even there, it’s held completely horizontally, instead of at a more stylish and functional angle.
Obviously, the whole point of the Function line is to pay homage to the Headmasters, so Q-U’s head pops off to transform into a tiny robot. Let’s call him Not-Monzo. The head sculpt itself is amazing. The helmet is wonderfully complex and there’s even a translucent red visor over the painted yellow eyes. Popping the head off allows you to unfold it into the nifty little guy. It’s pretty straightforward, except for the visor piece, which requires a tad of finesse to slide it into place.
Transforming Q-U is a delightful surprise. In theory, he’s very similar to the old G1 toy. The arms become the front legs, the legs become the back legs, and the wolf head flips up from the back. How can FP possibly update that? Well, there is some enormously clever engineering at work here. The sides of the torso, for example are on hinged arms, so that it actually becomes longer and leaner for the wolf mode, while still allowing a cabin for the Headmaster to ride in. The upper legs join together around the sword-tail to form the back half of the wolf with the bottom of the robot legs folding out and doing this crazy thing to become the back legs.
With transformation complete, you get a really sleek looking robo-wolf. Comparing this guy to the stubby original Hasbro toy is as fun as it is unfair. How dare you, $10 toy from the 1980’s not look as good as this $60 toy from 2013!!! You suck!!! Seriously, though, the alt mode is every bit as good as the fantastic robot mode. He does tend to favor standing with his ass up in the air, much the way my cat stands when he wants the base of his tail scratched, but it’s a good look. It makes him appear as if he’s ready to pounce. The legs retain good articulation and even the mouth will open and close.
As already mentioned, Q-U’s wolf mode can open up to form a driving cabin for Not-Monzo. I absolutely love this feature as it reminds me of being able to put the little figures into the old Diaclone toys and makes the whole Headmaster gimmick function in both modes.
I could probably go on and on fapping figuratively to how great Quadruple-U turned out, but I’d rather just wrap things up now and actually go play with the toy. While there is no shortage of third-party developers out there now putting together impressive Transformers homages, I think Fansproject remains the one truly consistent front runner in the group. Q-U and Code are both exactly what I want out of third-party transforming robots and while $60-70 is still a lot to pay for a large Deluxe Class figure, you can clearly see where every penny went into the quality and engineering of this toy. Bring on Smart Robin and Diesel, Fansproject. Bring them on and take my goddamn monies!!!