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Series: Fans Project
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Triple Changer
Year: 2010

Prelude: To get the legal stuff out of the way first: The Warbot Defender is not an official Hasbro / Takara-Tomy product, so he's not a Transformer in the strictest sense. He was created by Fansproject based on the G1 Autobot Springer, but they can't call him that for legal reasons. Still, if I do slip during this review and call the Warbot Springer, I hope you'll forgive me.

Robot Mode: The Warbot is about the size of a Deluxe-class figure and comes in Springer's classic colors, green, yellow, and grey. There is little doubt that he's supposed to be a warrior. Apart from his ample armaments (more on that below) he's got munition shells (or possibly grenades) on his forearms and hips and his build is very powerful, too. This heavy, powerful look is only enhanced by the fact that he's made partly from die-cast metal. Minor changes aside the look of the figure, head and body both, is clearly Springer, no matter the name.

In terms of posability the figure really shines. The two arms alone have seven points of articulation each. The head is on a ball joint and the rest of the body is no slouch, either. The only slight flaw here is that Springer could really have used some heel spurs, as he is a bit prone to toppling over backwards. Nothing he can't compensate with his excellent posability, but heel spurs would have made even more dynamic poses possible. Still, no reason to deduct points here. The Warbot is truly a contortionist.

Now, you'd expect someone called "Warbot" to be pretty solidly armed. Well, this Warbot certainly is. He carries two double-barrelled handguns which can be stored in his 'boots', so to speak. They fit into the empty space between his knee joint and the alternate mode wheels on the sides of his legs with the handle sticking out front, ready for a cross-draw. Well, he's not quite posable enough to actually pull off a cross-draw, but it looks cool. His second weapon is a big sword, actually the rotor blades of his helicopter mode. The sword, too, can be stored on his body, more specifically the back. It attaches to the right side of his backpack and once again, he's almost posable enough to pull off pulling the sword from behind his back, which makes for some nice visuals.

So overall a pretty cool, practically flawless robot mode. Whether you like his look is, of course, subjective, but there is nothing wrong with his posability, detailing, or weapons. So two thumbs up for the robot mode.

Transformation: Some words on the transformation involved. I don't usually write much (if anything) about the process, but in this case I feel I should. When I first opened the instructions for this guy, I was very much taken aback. Page upon page of very complicated-looking step-by-step instructions. This 'bot seemed to be a transformation nightmare of Masterpiece Megatron proportions. He really isn't, though. It's not a two-steps-and-you're-done thing, but the instructions make it seem a lot more complicated than it really is. The only thing you need to get down is how to arrange the arms for the two alternate modes, the rest is fairly simple. I had it down after the second time and only used the instructions the first time. It helps (did for me, at least) if you look at how the forearm-wings are supposed to end up in each mode.

Alternate Modes: Being a triple changer, the Warbot has two different alternate modes. Just like G1 Springer never had a proper "Earth-Mode", but rather two Science Fiction style vehicle modes, the Warbot also doesn't see the need to imitate any real Earth vehicles. His first mode is a kind of heavily armored ground transport vehicle. Can't really call it a car. It's six-wheeled, built very low to the ground, and looks like it could easily plow through any barricade ever built. The Warbot's sword is stored underneath the vehicle, while his two handguns attach to either side of the cockpit (they actually plug into and hide his robot fists at the sides) to give the Transport sufficient fire power. Overall a very nice mode. No robot bits visible (as long as you leave the guns in), everything fits together well, only the rear of the vehicle seems a bit unfinished, but it's not a big thing. So no complaints here.

The second alternate mode is a helicopter, though the term 'gunship' is proably more appropriate for this armored, armed flying machine. The sword now serves as the rotor blades, the guns plug into the sides of the 'nose', an additional cockpit panel flips out over the ground transport cockpit, and a tail unfolds from the back. No rear rotor, but one assumes the Cybertronians have solved the problem of stabilizing a helicopter's flight path even without one. This, while still an overall nice mode, is the Warbot's weakest mode for two reasons. First, he's got the ground transport wheels sticking out as 'wings', which is better than G1 Springer's fists, but still not quite perfect. And second he's missing some sort of landing gear. According to the instructions there is a sort of stand you can buy for the helicopter, but it comes extra. You can still stand the helicopter on the ground, no problem, but the front section rests on the guns, which isn't exactly a perfect solution. So while the helicopter looks good, it could have been a bit better.

Remarks: The Warbot Defender came with his own comic book in which he was the leader of a unit of robot warriors (let's call them Wreckers for simplicity's sake), who returned home after a long campaign only to find their headquarters devastated. Going down to the surface, the group found itself under attack by a fierce warrior, who turned out to be a clone of the Warbot Defender and... well, that's where the comic ended. Left me a bit confused, to be honest. But this guy here's Springer, of course. A bit bigger, a bit badder, and much more metal (die-cast, that is). Don't let anyone tell you that he isn't.

The Fansproject people seem to be big fans of the third season of the G1 cartoon series. We already have the City Commander enhancement for Ultra Magnus, now this guy, and there is a Rodimus Prime enhancement in the works for Classics/Henkei Rodimus, too. I certainly won't complain about that, as the 1986 Transformers get far too little loving as far as I'm concerned. Don't get me wrong, I love me the classic first two seasons of G1, too, but season 3 had its own charme and some memoriable characters to boot. Such as Springer, who was even more bad-ass in the comics as the leader of the Wreckers, the Autobot elite commando unit.

This figure here is as close to a perfect update to the classic Springer figure as you're ever likely to get. He captures the look of the classic figure with some minor updates, translates both alternate modes very nicely, and even though the helicopter mode could be improved a tiny bit I have absolutely no complaints about the rest of the figure. It's probably not for everyone, as it's very much tailored to the nostalgic G1 fan. It's certainly not a toy meant for a small child to be played with. But for a collector such as myself, he's an easy choice. Two thumbs up and fully recommended.

Rating: A
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