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TFX-03 City Commander Add-On Set

December 3rd, 2009

Ultra Magnus is one of my favorite G1 characters. There’s a reason why the Autobot Matrix of Leadership was left with him when Prime was on his death bed. UM is both an excellent soldier and capable field commander. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if he had become leader instead of that punk Hot Rod. Maybe G1 Transformers never would have died and even today we still be in G1 (ok maybe not, but I can dream).

As a toy, UM usually does not get the love he deserves. In almost all toy lines, he is simply a repaint of the Optimus Prime toy in that line (only exception I can think of is TFA, which has a kick-ass UM toy btw). In the Classic line this was as usual the case. Hasbro repainted Prime into white and blue, packaged him along with Skywarp, and released this 2-pack set as a Target Exclusive in early 2007. Don’t get me wrong, I love this mold. Out of all my Prime toys, I rank this mold in the top 3. I just wish that Hasbro gave UM a unique mold, or make tweaks to the Prime mold to make UM stand out a little more.

Enter FansProject. In 2008 they released the TFX-01 City Commander, an armor set for Classic Ultra Magnus. In alt mode, this set is attached as his trailer. In robot mode, the trailer transforms into his armor that is very reminiscent of the G1 character. I won’t go into the details, but this set is perhaps the greatest TF add-on that has ever been produced. The units quickly sold out. It retailed for about $75. I had to ebay mine sometime later at around $110. 🙁

As great as TFX-01 was, it was not perfect. TF fans, being what they are (read: super picky), were quick to point out that the set did not include his missiles, and still did not address the issue of his very un-G1-like gun. In response to this, FansProject released TFX-03, an add-on set to TFX-01 that includes both the missiles and a new gun that is more in tune with the design of UM’s G1 gun. TFX-03 includes a few more items that I will go into detail for this post.

I bought TFX-03 from BigBadToyStore. I’ve never bought anything from them before, so as a first purchase I felt it was safe to try something cheap. TFX-03 retails for $11.99 only, not a bad item to try BBTS with. Cheapest shipping option was about $7 which made the whole thing close to $20.

The item arrived one whole week before Thanksgiving, but I was not home so I picked this up in person at the UPS office the next day. I knew there wouldn’t be much in the add-on, so imagine my surprise when they handed me this box. I placed it next to a soda can so you get a sense of the size.

I started to wonder if this would be something extraordinary, to have it shipped in such a large box. Imagine my disappointment when I got home and opened the box.

I put this next to the same soda can to show how puny this add-on set is. I guess for the price, this is what you get. But why did BBTS have to use such a large box? I think they could have used smaller packaging which would translate to lower shipping costs for their customers. So already my impression of BBTS is not that favorable. But this post is not about BBTS so I’ll stop ranting now.

As far as the packaging goes for TFX-03, I’m a little disappointed. Yeah I know it’s just accessories, but I still feel it should have come in a box. This thing feels like a cheap lunch bag. Some fans have pointed out that they did this so you can store the whole thing in the box of TFX-01. Maybe. But nevertheless I’m still not impressed.

I was out of town for Thanksgiving, but I finally got around to opening this today. Inside the package there is one cardboard that serves as the instructions and all the items inside bubble wrap. The pic below shows all the items.

There are two shoulder launchers, each with 2 missiles. The missiles do not fire at all, but they can be detached. There is the G1-like gun. I should have took pics of this, but the gun can transform as well. In this pic here, it is in cannon mode. It can transform into rifle mode. It’s not a complex transformation by any means, but it still looks kinda cool. The items inside the bag are extra replacement faces for the City Commander. My understanding is that it is hard to swap these faces, and I already like how UM looks, so I’m not even gonna bother with these. But in case you’re curious, there are three faces here. The top face in the bag is like the face for Shadow Commander. The middle face is like the one that is on TFX-01, but I think this one has the eyes painted white. The bottom face has UM’s mouth open. If you want to give City Commander a OMG look (like when Galvatron and the Sweeps are shooting him good) then you use this face.

Here is the alt mode with the missiles mounted. On the set I got, the launchers on the right side stays on ok, but on the left side they do not stay on that well. They are attached to the trailer by these slots that fit over some tabs toward the upper-front area. Just shaking the unit a little will cause the launchers to fall off, but I guess this is the best they can do when originally missiles were not designed for it. Also, the gun cannot be attached in the the alt mode, which is a disappointment.

At this point I should mention that there is a combined set that includes both TFX-01 and TFX-03 in one package, released in 2009. The items of TFX-03 are exactly the same in the combination set, but the trailer/armor is tweaked slightly from TFX-01 to better accommodate the new accessories. For instance, there are holes carved into the side of the enhanced trailer, and to attach the missiles you just use the pegs on the launchers. On the 09 version it is also possible to attach the gun to the trailer. I don’t know how, but the instructions show that it’s possible. The combination set retails for about $88 at BBTS, and that’s certainly a better deal than buying them separately. If I didn’t already have TFX-01, I definitely get this new set. Seems like it is better and cheaper too.

Here is the City Commander is robot mode. The missile launchers fit nicely in this mode. There are holes already punched into the shoulders, so you simply insert the pegs on the launchers. Some people have complained that these are loose and that they easily fall off, but mine seems to be ok. Seems fairly tight to me. He is holding the gun in cannon mode. I don’t think it is possible to hold it in rifle mode in bot mode, there is too much in the way.

Another shot of UM with all his weapons. Come and get some.

These missiles here are actual G1 missiles launchers on the original Ultra Magnus. They can be attached to TFX-01 as well, using the same holes on the shoulders. FansProject sure thought of everything. I purposely left one missile out so you see the custom spring I engineered into the launchers. These US G1 launchers originally did not come with springs so the missiles don’t fire at all, unlike their Japanese counterparts. When I was a kid, I found some springs and put them in. Now they fire at least 10 feet. An achievement I’m still very proud of to this day.

City Commander with original G1 launchers attached.

City Commander with ROTF Leader Class Optimus. With the armor, UM is only a tad smaller. I like to see some Decepticons try to mess with these two.

Well folks, there you have it. My final verdict is that TFX-03 is a good add-on, but a little disappointing due to the reasons I mentioned. If I was rating the 09 version with TFX-03 I might give it a higher recommendation, but as for those of you that already have TFX-01, only get the add-on if you really want the missiles, the gun, or the extra faces.

Transform and Roll Out!

Teletraan I Communiques

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews
  1. December 4th, 2009 at 04:52 | #1

    You forgot that TF:Robots in Disguise series had it’s own Ultra Magnus that was a different mold than the prime. The reason was that UM disassembled and became armor parts for Prime to become UltraPrime. Kinda cheesy, but I still like to get that UM so I can attach him to my Prime. Anyway, I’m disappointed in the packaging from BBTS and Fans Project. A huge box, then inside is a small envelope looking thing. What’s up with that? I’m still tempted to get that add on set, but it might not happen due to Macross stuff. 😀

  2. December 4th, 2009 at 22:32 | #2

    good catch. its not that I forgot, more like I didn’t know 🙂 TF RiD came during my “hiatus” from TFs, from 1988 to 2004. I’m not sure I like TFs transforming into armor for other TFs. Like Jetfire and Prime in ROTF. yeah next time I will not order from BBTS unless I see a great deal. but dude, I just found out there are imitation CC TFX-01s. Collectors beware!

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