Lost Exo-Realm Volar with Velos (LER-03) by Fansproject, Part 1

[If you dropped by last week during my temporary shut down, you may have gotten a raw preview of today’s Feature. I had forgotten it was scheduled to go out and it was indeed not yet complete. It was probably up for a day or so before I stumbled upon it while tinkering with the site, spat Jameson all over my monitor, and quickly took it down. Anyway, here’s the finished, final version and hopefully the last of the wrinkles from last week that I have to iron out. -FF]

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that every Third-Party Convertobot company out there has been taking a crack at their own versions of The Dinobots these days. While some of these companies have been brazenly shooting for “as close to copyright infringing G1 likenessas as they can get” styles, Fansproject has been presenting us with a little more of a unique look to these prehistoric-based Transformers. That tickled my fancy enough to get me to shell out the monies for the first two, Columpio (Not-Sludge) and Cubrar (Not-Slag) and I was quite pleased with what I got. To me these are something more akin to what we would get from Hasbro if they ever did a proper Generations-updated style of Dinobots, only far more detailed and complex. The Lost Exo-Realm figures flirt with the G1 designs just enough, while still bringing plenty of originality to the table. I can’t see any rhyme or reason to the order these guys are being released (I mean, who starts with Sludge?), but their third release is Volar (Not-Swoop) and this guy landed on my doorstep last week.

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There were some differences in the presentation of packaging between Columpio and Cubrar, but things seem to have settled down now as Volar’s box is very similar to Cubrar’s. There’s some great artwork on the front and lots of pictures of the toy on the back. The front flap is secured by some of the strongest velcro I’ve ever encountered and lifts up to reveal a window showing the goodies inside. The contents include the two figures, a bag of weapons, and an instruction booklet. Also included with my purchase was a replacement pelvis and hips for Columpio, which some may remember shipped with some rather loose hips. Getting bonus parts to improve on earlier releases is something I first encountered with Mastermind Creations, but it’s cool that Fansproject is following suit. Will I swap them? Probably not. It’s not a huge issue with me, but it’s nice to know I have the option. Anywho… as has been the case with past LER releases, Volar comes packaged in his alt mode and that’s where we’re going to start.

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I don’t know what’s what in the dinosaur world anymore, but back when I was a kid we called something like this a pterodactyl, although I seem to recall Spike calling it a pteranodon in one of the episodes of the Sunbow cartoon. Either way, it’s one of them flying dinosaur sum’bitches. Overall, I think this mode is pretty well done, but I’ll also admit that I’m grading it on a curve because this is a tough alt mode to do much with. In a lot of ways it reminds me of FP’s Sigma-L (Not-Mindwipe) because you’re pretty much always just going to have the robot feet tuck in to be the animal’s legs, and the arms tied into the wings. Volar does a few interesting things, like the way the arms fold behind him to form a sort of jetpack and the fact that he has a cute little dinosaur tail, but looking at this mode still tells almost the whole story of how this thing is going to transform.

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That having been said, what’s here is pretty damn cool. I totally dig the head, which is extremely evocative of the G1 character design. The wing configuration has more of a hooked profile than I remember the original toy having, but it’s quite distinctive and pretty vicious looking. The wingspan is an impressive 13-inches or so when fully extended and there’s a lot of articulation there to work with. Each wing has universal movement at the point of connection to the body and is hinged in two places, so you can fold them up and put them at his side when Volar is standing at rest. The head features some limited movement at the neck, but mostly up and down and a little tilt side to side. The jaw is fully articulated and can open pretty wide.

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If you’ve been collecting the retail releases of this line, you know what to expect from the deco. Volar is mostly molded in red and gray plastic and features that same great satiny gold paint that we saw on Cubrar and Columpio. There’s also some silver and blue accents as well. One thing Volar is missing is the shiny metallic silver found on his two predecessors. In this case the silver is more like a satin finish to match the gold. Swoop comes with a red torso, but if you want to mix it up for a little Sunbow cartoon accuracy, a blue torso is included so long as you’re willing to do the work to switch it out. I’m not one for disassembling my $100 toys, so pardon me if I don’t show you both versions.

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Volar features a pair of (non-firing) missile launchers, which can be attached in a couple of different ways. They can be clipped onto his back, or more specifically, they are held by his robot hands, which jut off the sides of the jetpack. They can also be pegged into his wings for a more G1 accurate look, either front or back.

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Of course, one of the cool little bonuses of the Lost Exo-Realm line is that each figure comes with a little Targetmaster-style buddy. I don’t know if it’s really appropriate to call the previous two Targetmasters because they turn into some kind of chopping or bludgeoning weapon, but in this case, Velos is some kind of crossbow. I love the idea of these little guys and they have featured some really impressive sculpting and design work, but having the huge weapon shaft sticking off of their backs has been a downer. I’m happy to say that Fansproject fixed that problem with Velos by having the the end of the shaft unpeg to become his weapon with the rest of the shaft pointing upward behind his back. Ironically, apart from this huge improvement, Velos is probably my least favorite of these three little figures. He’s perfectly fine, but I like the looks of the others better and their own little weapons were much cooler.

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Aaaaand, that’s where I’m going to break today because my trusty word processor is telling me I’m well past my arbitrary and self-imposed word count limit. Tomorrow I’ll swing back and check out Volar’s robot mode and Velos’ weapon mode!

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