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Series: Fans Project
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Triple Changer
Year: 2012

Prelude: Legal stuff first as always. Warbot Assaulter is not an official Transformer, as he wasn’t released by either Hasbro or Takara-Tomy. He’s from third party company Fansproject. So despite the fact that he’s a clear homage to G1 Broadside, he can’t be called by that name.

Robot Mode: First off, Assaulter is a really big guy. He’s about Voyager-sized, I’d say, and easily towers over most Deluxe-class figures. His proportions are such that he seems really strong and wide, basically a big brute. His relatively tiny head also fits that image. Basically he looks like the kind of guy who’d rather smash things than have a philosophical discussion. Considering that Broadside was a member of the Wreckers in the comic books, that fits him quite well.

Despite his heavyset appearance, Assaulter is articulated quite well. The joints that connect the legs to the hips are incredibly stiff, though, so moving his legs always makes me sweat in fear that I might break them off. The legs are also partially die cast metal, giving Assaulter a very solid stance. So no point deduction here, articulation is very well done and no balancing issues, either.

Detailing could be a tad more pronounced, especially in the upper body, but still Assaulter does quite well here. The legs look very nice with their multi-colored lines, and while he’s mostly grey above the waist, that still manages to look pretty good. The only thing I would have done differently is the head, which is all-white (except for the blue visor). A bit more color would have brought out the sculpted details some more. Otherwise, though, no complaint.

Finally, the weapons. Assaulter carries two multi-purpose weapons that also become integral parts of both vehicle modes (see below). When he doesn’t need them, the weapons can be stored on this back (his lower back, to be exact, as they hang off his ass, so to speak). The weapons can be used either as guns or flip out blades to become axes. In either configuration Assaulter can hold them in his hands or attach them to his forearms. Not the most spectacular weapons of all time, but very fitting and fully integrated. Nicely done.

Bottom line: an excellent robot mode. Some more color on the head is just about the only nitpick I can think of. And here’s hoping the hip joints move a bit easier (but not too easily) with continued use.

Secret Mode: Some background on Assaulter's second, "secret" robot mode. When the first pictures of the new Broadside toy appeared in toy catalogues in 1986, Broadside looked like this. All his Marvel Comics appearances are based on this prototype picture. Of course when the Broadside toy came out, it looked very much like this. To confuse matters further, the cartoon actually used two different character models for the character's sparse appearances. In the comic books since Broadside has consistently been based on the actual toy (except for the Regeneration series, which continues from the Marvel comics). But basically this means you have two different versions of Broadside. And Fansproject wanted to pay homage to both.

The "secret" robot mode isn't that different from the first one. You turn the legs around, flip out the fins on his feet, turn around the cockpit on his chest, and flip up his helmet to expose the face underneath. Done. Seeing as the two robot modes don't really differ that much, it's a matter of taste which one you prefer. Interestingly I originally didn't like the red face at all, but it's really grown on me since, even though it's tiny and grumpy-looking. Everything else is the same in this mode, naturally. Still, I very much like it that they managed to include this aspect of Broadside's (rather brief) history in the toy. Thumbs up.

Alternate Modes: Assaulter is a triple changer, so he has two different alternate modes. Let’s start with the jet mode. This is where Assaulter really excels, because not only does a very brutish, hefty-looking robot transform into a really sleek and powerful-looking jet, there is also no giant undercarriage or anything. The only other jet Transformer I can think of who has managed to be really brutish as a robot and sleek as a jet is Leader Starscream and even he had more of an undercarriage than Broadside does. So two thumbs up for a very sleek and cool looking jet mode. The jet even features a landing gear and if you want, you can also move the wings (where the robot mode weapons form most of the length) for a forward-swept wing configuration. No further gimmicks or anything here, but the jet mode really doesn’t need it. Sleek design, excellent detailing (including sculpted guns) and no undercarriage or kibble. What more do you need?

Sadly Assaulter’s second alternate mode doesn’t manage to match the brilliance of the first one. The original Broadside had an aircraft carrier as a second mode (probably the most out-of-scale-with-himself TF toy of all time), but while Assaulter certainly does incorporate some aircraft carrier-like attributes into this mode, it’s actually supposed to be a space cruiser (again, vastly out of scale with himself). With a separated bow and the legs becoming thrusters, the cruiser is a strong homage (intentional or not, I’m not sure) to the classic Robotech vessel SDF-1 aka Macross. Sadly the whole thing looks pretty half-hearted. The robot mode head sits openly between the two struts out front, you can still clearly distinguish the legs, and there is a piecemeal quality to the cruiser. No stability issues, but it still looks kind of tacked-on as an afterthought. Only the central control tower and the little plates that flip out in front of it are specifically intended for this mode only, the rest... well, never mind. So all in all I don’t mind that Assaulter has a Macross-like space cruiser mode (being a big Robotech fan), but it’s nowhere near as good as the jet mode.

Side note: some small vehicles are included with Assaulter, depicting the vehicle modes of Warbot Defender (both of them), Steelcore, and presumably Roadbuster and Sandstorm (fellow Wreckers and possible future Fansproject figures). They are in scale with Assaulter’s cruiser mode (meaning: really tiny), but I forgot them during the picture session. I’ll include picture of them on the cruiser later.

Remarks: Most of the six triple changers released by Hasbro in 1985 and '86 went on to become rather important characters in either comics or cartoons. Astrotrain and Blitzwing were among the most prolific Decepticons and late-comer Octane is best-known for becoming pals with Trypticon and Starscream's ghost. Springer was one of the main characters of Season 3 and the leader of the Wreckers in pretty much every G1-based comic incarnation. Sandstorm was also a Wrecker in the comics and the leader of his own planet in the cartoon (plus, also a pal of Octane). And then there is Broadside. Also a Wrecker in the comics, but more the background type. Same goes for the cartoon. His most memorable scene might be where he transformed into an aircraft carrier in mid-air to crush Devastator beneath him, but otherwise... yeah, Broadside wasn't exactly a prolific character.

Assaulter is accompanied by a mini comic that continues the story from the comic included with Warbot Defender (and presumably Steelcore, too, but I don’t own that one). Steelcore has rescued Defender from his evil clone and they meet up with Assaulter, who has rescued Defender’s comrades, whom they plan to revive with Core Technology (aka the Powermaster process). Then they take off into space and we’ll wait for the next comic.

Final verdict: an excellent figure. The robot mode is lots of fun, including the “secret” mode, the weapons fulfill a function in all three modes, the jet alternate mode is brilliant, and while the cruiser mode isn’t exactly great, it doesn’t hurt the figure in any way, either. So bottom line: yet another win for Fansproject. Recommended to just about everyone.

Rating: A

Revisited 2022-11-13:

Prelude: Ten years ago Fansproject was still the number one Third Party company for Transformers figures, and I wrote a review for a figure called Assaulter, Fansproject’s unofficial Broadside figure. Now it’s a decade later and my buddy James asked me to revisit this figure to see whether it still holds up. So, does it? Let’s say go!

Robot Mode: First off, Assaulter is a big robot. At the time of his release he was easily the size of a large Voyager, nearly an Ultra (meaning he is at least a Leader by today’s standpoint). The resemblance to the character he is (unofficially) portraying is there, though with some liberties taken. Still, he is recognizable as Broadside (both of them, more on that momentarily), so no complaints about that.

Looking back at my original review of this guy, even back then I mentioned the incredibly tight joints connecting the legs to the hip. I actually opened up the legs to take a look at the joints (see picture no. 15), because they seem to have only gotten tighter with age. Moving the legs back and forth is okay, but spreading them? Man, that is an exercise in anxiety as you’re putting more an more pressure on and wondering whether the ratchet will finally move or the plastic will break first.

Apart from these incredibly tight joints, Assaulter is still a pretty great robot with, for the time, excellent articulation. The looks are great as well, the only slight downside being that his back is kind of open if you look at it closely. Still, that is the worst of it and considering that he is a triple changer, there is almost no visible kibble or vehicle parts on him. Very nicely done. He carries two rifles that can also double as bladed weapons, which he can hold, attach to his forearms, or store on his back (or his ass, to be precise).

Finally there are his two modes. One, the “normal” robot mode, is referencing Broadside’s G1 toy look, as well as how has appeared in every non-Marvel Transformers comic since. His secret mode, however, references his G1 prototype look, which is the one used in the Marvel comics. Basically you switch the legs around, spin the cockpit in his chest 180 degrees, and open up his helmet to unveil a red face. The differences between the two modes are really just cosmetic, so decide for yourself which one you prefer.

Overall Assaulter’s robot mode is still very good, apart from those ratchet joints in his hip. No idea why they made them so tight apart from maybe stabilizing the spaceship mode (see below). Apart from that, though? Still love this guy.

Alternate Mode: Assaulter is a triple changer, so he has two alternate modes. The first one is a jet and even after 10 years I am still amazed. A rather simple and straight-forward transformation turns a big, bulky-looking robot into one of the sleekest Transformers jets I have ever seen. No visible robot bits, no underbelly, just a sleek, beautiful-looking jet. The only slight downside is that, in order to transform him into his mode, you have to spread his robot legs outward, and those incredibly tight joints will make you sweat all the way. Apart from that, though: beautiful. The jet even has an unfolding landing gear.

Assaulter’s second alternate mode is not so much an aircraft carrier, but rather a spaceship with certain similarities to the SDF-1 from Robotech / Macross. But while I am a huge fan of Robotech and the SDF-1, this spaceship mode has several problems. It’s really just the robot lying on his stomach, arms tucked in, and the robot head clearly visible between the prongs. The only part really dedicated to this mode is the white command tower in the middle, but it does sit a bit strangely on top of jet nose.

Assaulter also comes with a number of tiny vehicles to give scale to the spaceship mode. These are the vehicle modes of Fansproject Defender (both of them), Steelcore, Revolver, as well as a buggy and two cycles which I assume to be the vehicle modes of planned figures for Sandstorm and Wreck’n’Ruin (which Fansproject never made). The tiny vehicles look good and work nicely with the spaceship mode, but still: this is Assaulter’s worst mode. At least, though, the very tight joints ensure that this ship is very, very stable.

Remarks: Most of the G1 triple changers were characters with a lot of media exposure. And then there is Broadside, who was never more than the big guy in the background. So it’s not that surprising that there are only very, very few Broadside figures available. I can say that Assaulter is easily the best Broadside figure we have, but that is a pretty low bar, seeing as the only other contenders are the G1 figure and the more recent Titans Return version. (There are also a few Mini-Cons called Broadside, but that was just name recycling).

Apart from being the best Broadside figure we have, though, Fansproject Assaulter is still a very nice figure even a decade later. Back then I gave him a straight A. Today, given the extremely tight joints, the open back and the not-so-great carrier mode, I have to revise that a bit. Still, even after all these years, I still like this figure a lot and would still recommend it with but minor reservations.

Rating: B+
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