Transformers Review: FansProject Warbot Defender 001 (G1 Springer)


Intro:
            The year was 1986; it was to be a momentous year for the Transformers franchise. It was the year the Transformers franchise went to new heights that also marked wholesale changes to the Transformers rosters. It was the year when the awesome animated feature film was released to the public. The animation may not live up to modern expectations, but the story was as captivating as ever. Children cried as they see their ultimate hero, in the form of the legendary Optimus Prime succumbed to his injuries, and also bear witness to the demise of many of their favorite Transformers characters such as Ratchet, Ironhide, Wheeljack, Brawn, Prowl, Silverstreak and many more.
            However, in darkness there will always be a beacon of light, in the form of new character lineups that would take the lead in the Transformers universe. The characters introduced here would have more depth compared to those from pre-86. The new Autobot leader Rodimus Prime was far from perfect – he suffered low self-esteem. Grimlock turned from a merciless, and no-nonsense warrior, into a bumbling stupid joker (imagine The 3 Stooges). Galvatron was never a good successor to Megatron, and probably never will be. Where Megatron used to be meticulous and methodical in his plans, Galvatron was just plain insane. Ultra Magnus and Cyclonus both served as faithful and unquestionable servants to their respective leaders, and Arcee, the 1st Transformers chick that played a much more significant role in the Transformers lore than by just appearing in a single TV episode.
            And finally, who can forget Springer, the triple-changer that reek of awesomeness, who uttered one of the most, if not the most awesome lines in the entire history of the franchise – I got better things to do tonight than die.
            I could imagine some Hollywood A-lister uttering that exact same line in some big-budget Hollywood production.
            Back in the G1 days, Springer was your bad-boy-cum-no-nonsense hero that would normally utters very cools lines. Think of Clint Eastwood in one of his western movies.
            I never had a G1 Springer figure before, but based on what I’ve seen in pictures, he was one heck of a blocky guy, not surprising for a figure from the swinging 80’s. Both of his alternate modes – the helicopter and the car – were quite believable, albeit a very futuristic one. And he was also one of the few characters, to steal a statement from a fellow reviewer, that actually carried the color green well. Think The Incredible Hulk, Yoda and Green Lantern.
            If my memory served, the G1 Springer was the only time that Springer, in figure form, appeared as a triple-changer. There were several other reincarnations of Springer from then till now, and to most of them, they share 2 other common traits – they were green and in most cases, they transform into helicopters. Apart from the Energon/ Superlink incarnation, most other figures were merely repaints and retooled from existing figures. And believe me; they really didn’t do justice to the character.
            Then came FansProject, who was inspired to do the unexpected – they took up the challenge to create the ultimate Springer. FansProject, if you guys remember, were the company that brought to us the City Commander/ Shadow Commander Armor for the Classic Ultra Magnus/ Nemesis Prime figures, and also the Masterpiece Starscream’s Coronation Set. FansProject were highly successful in providing additional accessories that accentuates existing Hasbro/ Takara-Tomy figures. However, to survive as a company, you couldn’t possibly be reliant solely on accessories, you’d have to be bolder, and hence, the creation of G1 Springer, or, in order to avoid any issues on copyright infringement, marketed worldwide as Warbot Defender 001.
            So enough with the history lessons and all the yadda-yadda and let’s get down to business.

Robot Mode:
Since Warbot Defender 001 comes packed in robot form, it is only natural that we start the review from here. Having being a figure released unsanctioned by the Big Two, Springer is devoid of any faction affiliations. This can be easily overcome by sticking a suitable-sized Autobot insignia on his chest piece. Of course, if you should prefer Springer to be a Decepticon instead, go ahead and at the same time, pray that no one calls you a retard.
Anyhow, as with the original Springer, he is predominantly green, with a little bit of grey and yellow, with a few dashes of black. In this mode, he wield a pair of blasters, which can be tugged into a pair of holsters beside his knees, and also a scimitar – you know, like the one normally used by Sinbad or Aladdin. 
Storing the Gun and Scimitar
He is about the size of your standard Deluxe-class figures and due to its predominantly die-cast (especially in the chest area) and good-quality plastic in nature; he really looks and feels durable. 
From left: Springer and Generations Red Alert
 
Articulation-wise, Springer is wonderful. His upper-body articulations are as follow. His head is on a ball joint. His shoulders are mounted on a two-hinged system: the first lets the entire arm to rotate 360°, while the second allows the arms to go in and out. The upper elbow also allows 360° motion, while the lower elbow is on a ball joint, and finally the fists turn.
 
Lower body articulations aren’t that bad either. He has a waist articulation. Hips are on locking rivets. Upper knees allow 360° range of motion, while the lower knee articulation allows standard knee movements. Finally, the ankles are on 2 level of hinges: one allows the ankles to go inward and outward, while the other allows them to go up and down.
Overall, a very nice and detailed figure, but my sole complaint is the chest piece itself – the chest plate where you would stick the allegiance insignia. Mine doesn’t seem like it wants to close. 

Car Mode:
            Now, to be perfectly honest with you, the car mode ain’t that good of a disguise at all. But since it’s supposed to be a futuristic kinda car (or an armored car at that), then I guess it is okay. All the dominant colors that were predominant on the robot mode were still visible here. 
 
             One thing that is worth noting is that this car mode is much more animation accurate compared to the original 1980’s figure, which is a huge bonus! 
            With all four wheels too roll perfectly, and I really do not see any faults at all with this figure.
Helicopter Mode:
            Springer will always be synonymous with helicopters, even though he’s a triple-changer. Even in the good old days, where at the end of the cartoon show you’d have the narrator narrates the biography of some of the characters of the show, Springer was marketed as the Mighty Helicopter, hence the reason why all of his subsequent reincarnations transform into helicopters, and nothing more. 
            So, it was more important for FansProject to make this mode, great.
            And the end result doesn’t disappoint us at all. In fact, I’d say it’s even more animation-accurate compared to the original figure. In this mode, Springer scimitar transforms into the helicopter’s rotors, which turns very freely. The blasters can be added to the sides of the helicopters for added firepower, making Springer someone whom the Decepticons really hate to face.
Summary:
            Springer is a living proof how non-HasTak related entities can excel well beyond expectation. This Springer action figure is by far the best ever figure to ever bear the Springer name, while still holding true to the essence of being Springer. Sometimes it really gets you to wonder, what the heck HasTak has been doing all these while. Why couldn’t they have ever thought of this first, even before FansProject did. HasTak should have even more resources to get it done than anybody else.
            As good as it is, as with the rest of FansProject’s product, Springer didn’t come cheap. For a mere Deluxe-class figure, he’d cost you about RM 300, mostly due to its limited in quantity. The transformation sequences are complicated as hell, but not impossible to master; it isn’t as complex as Masterpiece Megatron, but came pretty darn close if you ask me.
            Warbot Defender 001, a.k.a. G1 Springer is indeed worthy of your attention and definitely worthy of carrying the name of such an awesome character.

            Final verdict: 10/10.


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