Wednesday, 29 July 2015

FansProject Causality CA-01 Warcry

The first entry into the Crossfire offshoot, Causality, was a simple repurposing of the other half of FansProjects' Energon Bruticus upgrade set, Munitioner (aka Swindle) based on Micromaster Growl and not, as I'd assumed, a G2 Swindle-inspired repaint - thanks to Colbey Hopper for pointing that out! I'd stopped collecting by the time Micromasters rolled around, and only even saw any back when some were rereleased in the Universe line, around the time Cybertron/Galaxy Force was doing the rounds.

But, if the homage is lost on me, is a standalone remake of a third party combiner limb replacement still worth having?

Packaging:
Like that of Flameblast, the box Warcry comes in is rather more interesting than Munitioner's due to its window, showing off Warcry himself while keeping his accessories hidden. The colour=faction thing seems to apply, as Warcry comes in a very Autobot Red box (marking him as an homage to the Japanese version of Growl, since Hasbro's version was a Decepticon) with another excellent bit of artwork on the front, showing the character in a pose that's easily achievable with the model, along with all the expected logos. The back of the box shows genuine photos of the product in both modes and along with its accessories.

Inside the box is the collectors card featuring the box art and a bio, apparently written by FansProjects' very own Warbot Defender. Written in English every bit as broken as Flameblast's bio, it seems to suggest that Warcry may simply be Munitioner with amnesia, and that he retains the potential to become part of Colossus (aka Bruticus), though he'd have to borrow Munitioner's accessories, as he doesn't come with the necessary parts himself.
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Vehicle Mode:
As far as I can tell, the only remolded part on the vehicle is the rear section, now featuring a metallic-painted mounting which allows storage for his two large gun barrel accessories. The rest of the vehicle seems identical to Munitioner except in colour. This is no bad thing, as it was an excellent mold. The front and sides have much the same paintwork as the original, only with the windows in black rather than sky blue. The headlights, front indicators and the grille in the bonnet are all painted in much the same way - and in much the same colours - as Munitioner, but the rear lights were left unpainted. His hubcaps also got some paint, but it's a very dark metallic colour that doesn't stand out especially well against the plastic of his wheels.

Aside from the two large gun barrels, Warcry has an entirely new accessory in the form of an armoured roof turret. It's basically locked pointing forward, and looks a bit of a jumble (because it is - the accessories come into their own in robot mode) but it's fairly cool. The dinky gun barrel seems to be out of alignment, grazing up against the side of one of its armour panels, but it can be directed upward.

The only other accessory is a strange covering plate for Warcry's combiner port. It looks kind of like a landmine or bomb and, due to the flaps molded onto two sides, it can only be plugged into the port in one orientation... which then prevents the combiner port fitting into place. The whole thing can be rotated round to hide both port and attachment but, again, it can't go all the way back inside because the cap gets in the way. Alternatively, it can be rotated down, so that it looks like it's going to deploy the mine, but then it looks a bit scrappy.
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Robot Mode:
Just like Flameblast, Warcry is 99% identical to Munitioner in terms of molded detail, with the only new part being the head. Unlike Flameblast, however, he retains his progenitor's virtually cubic head rather than anything especially new and exciting. In fact, it looks very much like it could be Munitioner's sculpt with the addition of an orange-painted visor over his eyes and what looks to be an armour panel, painted silver, just above that... as if it's a visor for covering his visor...

The paint job loses all the purple and changes much of the original's gunmetal paint for a sort of off-white, adds a few more patches of off-white, and then has the 'internal' tech detail of the chest in a very dark gunmetal colour. That's actually the best part of the paint job, which is otherwise quite plain and dull, and the fact that most of the vehicle mode colour is lost on the upper body serves to emphasise both how plain Warcry is, and what a stark contrast he makes to Flameblast. It is quite true to Growl, but Micromasters tended to be quite plain simply because they were so small - this one has no such excuse.

The accessories in this mode reconfigure slightly to become a wrist-mounted cannon and... a sort of buckler which may or may not have a secondary cannon, as the 'spare' barrell is attached to his arm just below it. Both weapons plug into his hands, while the cannon also tabs onto his arm, albeit not very securely. As far as I can tell, they can only be attached the way they're shown on the box and in the pictures below: cannon on the right arm, buckler on the left. The cannon I like... I'm rather ambivalent toward the buckler.
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Warcry, like Munitioner, is fairly easy to transform, apart from getting his feet into their windscreen position. There's also a bit of a stress mark on one of his 'toe' ball joints, but I've seen no sign of it getting worse over time. I do have trouble getting his side panels to line up with the roof, but the same was true of Munitioner.

He retains the back-heaviness of his predecessor, and it's rather disappointing to note that no changes have been made to his heel spur to improve its effectiveness. However, with careful positioning, he can be made to balance in all kinds of cool poses.

Considering FansProjects' more recent output, this sort of release seems almost unambitious, with a reduced (albeit entirely new) set of accessories and nothing but the boring, miserly paint job and a new head to differentiate it from Munitioner. In its favour, though, both Explorer and Munitioner were excellent models, and it seems a shame to leave them permanently plugged into Energon Bruticus rather than showing them off, and these sets allow the models to be shown off to their full advantage. That said, the real shame of this package - and Flameblast - is that they didn't come packaged with alternate accessories for Bruticus, to allow a gestalt remix to be made using the two Crossfire components and the two Causality remixes.

This is still an excellent model, and features a similar extent of new accessories, but they're not quite as interesting as Flameblast's new sword/tail fin and boosters/gun holsters, even though they interact more convincingly with his vehicle mode.

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