So, my first foray into 3rd party masterpiece scale transformers was a Fans Toys product. Truth be told, I was in two minds over Willis and MakeToys RM-02 Gundog. I ended up choosing Willis for two reasons. 1 – he was in stock and 2 – he looks a better representation of G1 Hound than MakeToys’ ‘not skipped leg day’ presentation.
I opened the packing case and nervously slid the shiny box out. The box-art on Willis is great. You get a nice camo-green and gold box with a smart cartoon representation of Hound. The back of the box has a couple of photos of Willis himself with a bio of the ‘bot himself.
Slip the seals and open the cardboard and you’re got a nice secure polystyrene capsule for the bot himself. That’s enough about the box though. Time to get my hands on the robot.
Willis comes shipped in robot mode. For me, this is awesome and a tragedy all at the same time. Why? Well, as you’d expect, a huge part of owning a new transformer is actually getting to transform the thing. I’ve had to transform him to jeep mode once just to experience a 3rd party take on transformation and to see how Willis looks and feels in alt-mode.
Willis in robot mode, in the flesh (plastic), is glorious. The paint apps on my version are unblemished and smooth. The paint shade between the plastic and the die-cast parts is almost seamless. Willis has a great weight to him in the right places also. He’s not top-heavy, despite the die-cast chest.
Willis’ legs, on my version, seem a little weak. The knees are slightly loose. This makes meaningful poses a little hit and miss. It’s not a figure breaker by any stretch of the imagination, but some ratcheting would’ve been great. The feet have some movement, making stability a little better and the feet are, frankly huge. I wouldn’t want to have to find Willis some slippers that fit, let’s put it that way.
There are a few things with Willis’ arms that are concerning. There’s a flap that goes over the rear of the shoulders that is clearly a bit of an addition from the alt-mode. The arms, despite this, give some great poses. Shoulder the gun, point and shoot, Willis has the lot.
Willis’ alt-mode is a G1 accurate US Army Willy’s jeep. Nice shade of green. My particular model has some issues with roll from the rear wheels. I’m not really that bothered, as for my display, Willis won’t be in alt-mode. Other than that, Willis’ alt-mode looks great for the most part. There are some gaps in the floor of the vehicle. From the side, you can’t see it. Chuck some accessories on him, and you’ll be far too busy driving him up and down, pretending Spiderman is fooling some daft G.I. to get the Autobots to the doors of the Decepticon’s base.
Willis’ transformation is, compared to some of the other masterpiece range, a bit of a faff. Getting the chest\bonnet and head affair all flush took more time and a lot more swearing than I expected. Everyone was mentioning the legs, but I found them quite accommodating. It was satisfying, to get him all tabbed-in and smart, but ultimately, I probably won’t transform him again unless I really have to.
Willis comes with the following accessories, all designed to give you the best and most authentic G1 cartoon experience.
- White faced head. Slide the equipped silver faced head off and replace it with this for a different, almost goth-look.
- Spare wheel. Handy if Willis gets a puncture. You can hang it off the rear of the alt-mode, or off the rear of Willis in robot mode. It’s green.
- Clear face-mask. Yes, they’ve actually included an accessory featured once in the cartoon.
- Gas can. Just like the G1 toy, Willis comes with a gas can that clips on to the back of the jeep mode. Handy if you’re running out of juice.
- 2x hand guns. That’s right 2! One is cartoon accurate and the other is more toy accurate. The toy accurate rifle also doubles as an alternate jeep vehicle gun.
- Black vehicle machine gun. What army jeep isn’t complete without a platform mounted machine gun?
- Shoulder missile launcher. Sadly, this doesn’t launch any projectiles, but it does look the part.
Fans Toys FT-15 Willis, is a fantastic figure. There’s a definite Willis \ MakeToys Gundog split in the fanbase, which is fine. I’m firmly in the Willis camp, not only because I have him, but because he’s got a beautiful weight to him, with great articulation and paint apps. The knees on mine are a little loose but he can still hold a pose. Transformation is a bit of a faff, but to get the opportunity to feel Willis in alt-mode once, it’s worth it, even if you will spend more time on the steps than you’ll probably want to. Would I recommend Willis? Why, yes. Yes I would.
So, what do you think? Comment below if you like the format, would make changes, disagree, agree, don’t care or have some stellar betting tips.