Friday, 22 November 2013

FansProject CA-12 Causality: Last Chance

The penultimate component of FansProject's homage to the Stunticons is Last Chance... kind of a strange name, considering the original was 'Dead End'... Still, what's in a name, eh?

This is the one I was looking forward to the least, because photos of the robot mode looked rather awkward and, unlike the rest of the team, his vehicle mode is not only physically nothing like the G1 original - a Porsche 928 - it's not even a car by the same manufacturer.

Vehicle Mode:
Yep, rather than a Porsche, Fansproject chose the Ferrari FXX as the disguise for Last Chance. I guess it could easily be because, while Ferrari and Lamborghini still manufacture cars vaguely resembling their 308 GTB and Countach, Porsche don't make anything like the 928 anymore... The 911 is a whole different style of car, while the rest are strangely samey... And then there's Porsche's strange fixation on entering into the 4x4 market. Considering the car FansProject ended up using, it's a little surprising that they didn't instead use the Porsche 2014 LMP1 and have him transforming in a similar way to Down Force... though, in all honesty, it would probably have ended up too similar.

Despite the massive shift in vehicle design, it's immediately obvious who this car represents due to the beautiful metallic burgundy finish and the gold and silver stripe running the length of the vehicle. The colourscheme suits the vehicle well, even though the stripe is broken at the front due to the design of the bonnet. As with all but Down Force, his windows are opaque and painted on, rather than being transparent plastic, and a couple of other details on the bonnet are painted the same dark metallic colour.  Aside from the hubcaps, the only other painted bits are the grille on the back and the rear indicator lights. This might seem a bit plain on any of the other cars, but the burgundy plastic really is quite stunning. That and the molded detail of the FXX makes up just about any shortcomings in paintwork.

It's nice to see that, in terms of the rear of the car, Down Force was the only one to draw the short straw. Last Chance looks great from any angle. The only problem I've had with him is ensuring the groin and hips are in the right place in vehicle mode, otherwise they drag along the ground and prevent him from resting on all his wheels.

Speaking of, Last Chance is the only member of this Causality team to have four complete wheels - none are cheated the way they were on the other three members. Granted they're all slimmer than they probably should be... and they're not exactly detailed in their own right, but they are certainly fit for purpose.

Again, there's no vehicle mode weapon, but his pistol splits into two pieces and can be pegged in on the underside, either side of the robot's hips. They're a bit fiddly to insert, as they only fit on in one specific configuration, but they do go.

Robot Mode:
Straight off the bat, I need to mention that Last Chance is slightly mistransformed in the photos below - the sides of his lower legs are meant to fold round to become the backs of his lower legs, and I completely forgot to do that before taking the pictures. Because of the way the rear of the car is arranged - folding up and out to become the kneecaps - it doesn't affect poseability, and stops the legs looking so hollow.

Next up, there's an element of 'WTF?' about this one. Strange as Down Force was, he at least managed to look like the rest of the team. Last Chance somehow doesn't quite fit. Part of me wonders if the long delay in getting him out was due to FansProject struggling to get the Ferrari FXX to turn into a decent robot, and the end result suggests they kinda gave up and went with what they had out of desperation. He's not as tidy as any of the others - Down Force included - and is the only one lacking proper feet - instead, he has strangely-shaped blocks of car body, extended on a hinge and sitting on ball joints, with hook-like heel pieces swung out to improve stability.

Other than that, the legs don't look too bad... but the arms have large side panels sticking out of the shoulders on hinges. In theory, this should allow them to move out of the way when his arms move... but it doesn't quite work that way. The car bonnet chest is also a radical departure from the aesthetic of the rest of the team, but it does give the chest a welcome splash of colour.

Of the set, the head sculpt given to Last Chance is easily the most G1 authentic: it's predominantly black, very square, and he has a gold face. His eyes are picked out in a pale metallic blue, which is odd, but I guess yellow or red wouldn't have stood out quite so well.

His handgun is pretty cool-looking, detailed for its size and well-suited to the robot. It's larger than Down Force's dinky Nerf gun, but still substantially smaller than the guns supplied with their other two team-mates. One rather cool feature is that there's a peg on his back which allows him to stow his weapon in robot mode - as far as I can tell, he's the only member of the team who has this facility. Interestingly, it's even depicted on his box/card art, which has him reaching round to his back to grab the gun... though it doesn't connect the way the artwork suggests.

For the most part, Last Chance is far easier to transform than any of the others, particularly once you understand the many, many joints in his arms, their purpose and their correct orientation. The only problems are stowing or retrieving his head (which collapses into the body and has to be manoeuvred out by hand) and switching his legs between modes. The legs are by no means as complicated as those of Car Crash and T-Bone - in fact, they're more like Munitioner in the way they work... which should give you an idea of how and why they're so troublesome: there's very little clearance when folding them in and out of car mode, and the ankle joints are just plain awkward. Also, the lower part of the torso is meant to collapse backward at an angle to ensure good clearance when it becomes the underside of the car... but the joint that accomplishes that isn't very intuitive, and I've had trouble getting it into position.

In spite of weird feet and the large car panels on his shoulders, Last Chance is very well articulated. His arms are a mass of joints, though the joint in the middle of his forearm is, obviously, for transformation only. No matter how his feet are arranged, they never quite seem to be perfect but he doesn't have much of a problem balancing, even when they're not completely flat. If I have a serious gripe, it's that his waist articulation is made redundant by the car's bonnet, which folds down over the chest and pegs in to the groin, below the waist joint.

Much as I disliked the fiddly, bitty Down Force, Last Chance could well be the duffer of the set, despite the awesome colourscheme, in particular that amazing metallic burgundy plastic. There's something a little half-arsed about the design (the ugly, blocky feet, the afterthought car panels on the shoulders, the waist articulation hampered by proper transformation) but it still manages to be a better figure - even a better TransFormer - than any of Hasbro/Takara Tomy's recent efforts with gestalts... and when one can say that about the low point of a set, it's clearly an excellent set.

Roll on, the final component, Diesel...


  1. Can you pleeeeeeease cool the random spam of italics?

    1. Nevaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!
      (Or, to put it another way, it's neither random nor spam. The html instruction is called 'emphasis' for a reason)