Non-affiliated, Non-lengthy, Non-articles about Transformers

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Fans Hobby MasterBuilder MB-09B Trailer

When Fans Hobby released their first figure - MB-01 Archenemy - they said they would eventually do a proper in-scale trailer for it. MB-01 Archenemy was of course their Masterpiece-scale version of Car Robots Black Convoy / RiD Scourge. The repaint of MB-01 was MB-04 Gun Fighter II, their take on the original owner of the vintage sculpt, Generation 2 Laser Optimus Prime. Gun Fighter II was fantastic, even improving on the excellent Archenemy, and now his trailer is nearing release. Soon, collectors everywhere will have the chance to complete the Laser Prime look and package as he was originally intended by Fans Hobby.

The trailer comes packaged with a ton of accessories that we'll look at in a moment, and within a mock-up box for now, but perhaps the most significant thing here is the sticker sheet. I have a very good relationship with Fans Hobby, in fact I imagine almost every reviewer does, such is the ease with which one can communicate with the excellent group that make up this 3rd party Transformers manufacturer. Knowing they had the trailer for Gun Fighter II on their to-do list and having as many Marvel UK loving collector friends as I do, the conversation inevitably came up between my friends and I about how great it would be if MB-09 could feature a similar artwork style to G2 Laser Prime's unforgettable trailer.

Geoff Senior, legendary Marvel UK Transformers comic artist (as well as Dragon's Claws, Action Force and more), was who we mistakenly believed had done the artwork for G2 Laser Prime's trailer, originally. One of my aforementioned friends, James Wilson, suggested I talk to Fans Hobby about the possibility of commissioning Senior to do the art for Gun Fighter II's trailer as well. I had a very open line of communication with FH, and James showed me how to contact Geoff Senior as well, so I raised the idea with them both. Geoff was keen but surprisingly revealed that he was not the artist for Laser Prime's original trailer sticker! It's still a mystery to me as to who is responsible for that unforgettable piece of work, showing Prime decimating a forest with his flamethrower.

Fans Hobby loved the idea and once I'd connected them with Geoff Senior, they took care of the rest. I had to chance to speak to Geoff at TFNation last year and he was genuinely thrilled to be part of the project. That's what you want, isn't it? Enthusiastic company, enthusiastic and beloved artist, coming together and producing something fans will genuinely adore. Look at that artwork, simply spectacular. 100% the correct feel. Nailed it, guys.

Aside from the excellent multi-section sticker sheet, Trailer comes with a ton of other goodies. There's a radar dish, 6 flame effects with removable parts, two arm bracers, 6 small and 6 large rockets, 5 discs, 3 trailer adaptors and a newly sculpted, more accurate G2 Prime head for Gun Fighter II. That trailer is a bit lovely, too.

The trailer itself is weighty and gloriously finished. I've not owned the original toy, but from what I can see, it's an extremely faithful re-creation, and that does not end at the visuals as you'll notice later. The connection - via the adaptor - to Gun Fighter II is secure enough when being rolled around but lift the trailer and it just comes apart from the truck cab straight away. No real friction there. The trailer also has a stand that swings down from underneath. I love the sculpted and painted details across it. This could have been a very cheap accessory exercise, but they've poured some real love into this.

The trailer absolutely completes the look of Gun Fighter II. You'd be forgiven for questioning the strategy of releasing them separately when they so obviously belong together. Chicken or the egg, but either they knew how much was going into the trailer and deemed it worthy of a separate release, or upon deciding to do it later, had to cram as much into it as possible. Whatever the reason, the final result makes for a gorgeous truck with a well-scaled trailer to pull around and look mean alongside.

It's all about the sticker, though, so on it went. I must admit I found it easy to mess up the very long central part of the sticker, thanks to the curve of the tanker. Also, the instructions rightfully advise you to unscrew the red tubing on the side of the tanker to apply the stickers, which is easily done. There are more stickers too, the red and white stripes and the rear licence plate. The stickers have pretty strong adhesive, so if you misapply something, better catch it early! The amount of oomph those stickers bring to the trailer is unreal. This thing looks phenomenal.

But this is not just about looks, as the original Laser Prime trailer had a great deal of play value and functionality. Fans Hobby have not dropped the ball here. The trailer unfolds in all directions once you unclip the front of the tanker. The base mode is enormous with a lot going on. There are a few configurations you can use, leaving parts of the trailer unfolded or standing up. The dish and Gun Fighter's weapons attach, with bays for the missiles and even the sword. The guns can attach to various locations as well. There's storage for pretty much everything in the set, at least all of Gun Fighter's kit. You'll notice that I have now attached the new head to GFII, and yes you will need to unscrew to do it.

Up to this point, I was pretty happy all in all. The trailer looked amazing on the truck and the base mode was plenty displayable, with G2 Masterpiece figures filling out the picture beautifully. There's a bonafide team now, even moreso if you have G2 Iron Dibots from Fans Toys lying around. Most 3rd Party companies - and even TakaraTomy - just do missile launchers and their projectiles as single or glued moulded pieces. No functionality beyond looks and accuracy. Fans Hobby? Sod that bollocks, here we have a rocket-launching central mega-gun, rocket-launching missile ports and a proper disc-launcher! It's absolutely amazing, so much fun and a huge reminder that some of us really do enjoy the extra aspect this type of functionality brings. I'm so impressed. 

The flame effects work brilliantly with the various turrets and spots scattered across the trailer, GFII himself and the weapons. The flame effects are three piece-items; the long part, the spiky base and a small peg at the end which must be removed to fit them to GFII's shoulders. You might also notice GFII sporting arm bracers in the top pic above and there's a hole there on each to attach his regular weapons. Looking at the disc launcher behind him, there are two fold-out support panels to help keep it from sagging, although mine is strong enough to stay in position. Both the disc and missile launchers on the trailer are very well articulated for pointing in many directions.

So why does GFII need arm bracers?

That's why. This utterly humongous rifle/missile launcher/flamethrower(?) is the central console and weapon from the trailer. Twist and remove for instant BFG action. GFII holds it via the rail-fitted grips very securely, but maybe in anticipation of its weight negatively affecting the friction of the wrist joints, Fans Hobby have included arm bracers to help keep the wrist flaps closed. I have not experienced a need for them as yet, but glad that they're included should things - literally - start to go South. The main barrel of this weapon can be swivelled around to have his double-barrelled handgun visible on top as opposed to underneath this weapon. There's a flip up sight on it too. 

This same item can exist in the trailer as a central weapon in two configurations (refer to earlier pics). It can be in an L-shape and attached to the trailer, or balanced on the central black panels and configured to be longer - with pull-out handles for GFII. Just brilliant, so many options and highly displayable. There's a great, strong quality feel to all of the parts involved in this trailer.

One of the things I absolutely love the most about MB-09B Trailer is how much it has allowed me to fall in love again with Gun Fighter II, now that the pair of them are reunited. GFII was always a superb figure, I said as much in my review of him last year, but the degree to which the trailer rounds off the updated Laser Prime legacy truly makes the difference. The display quality is through the roof.

The fact that GFII is a simple toy to transform, tremendously solid and highly playable in and of itself just makes the package feel exactly as you'd expect an official Masterpiece stab at Laser Prime to feel. When you combine the options for play between the two releases - flame effects, rockets, discs, base mode display, truck mode display, robot mode display, Matrix, guns, sword, extra head, various weapon amounts to a lot of value for money. For the price of MP-scaled 3P figures of this quality, the price has to be justified by the products themselves, and thankfully that is very much the case here.

That's not all. I had already been enjoying just how well the trailer allows the collector to store GFII parts when they are not in use (handgun and sword on the inside, arm braces and trailer adaptor under the trailer), but its compatibility with MP-10 Convoy and even MB-06 Power Baser are added bonuses. Can't quite believe how good it looks attached to MP-10, here.

I feel that the conclusion to this review requires me to reiterate a pertinent point that permeates throughout all of my thoughts regarding MB-09B Trailer; this could very easily have just been a cash-grabbing extra accessory that owners of Archenemy/Gun Fighter II would feel semi-obligated to pick up in order to complete the truck mode for the rare occasions that most of us display toys in alt. mode. Instead, Fans Hobby have created a trailer fit for individual release and appreciation that - combined with GFII - elevates both above the sum of their individual parts. This is now more than a complete toy, it's a play set. Because you do genuinely get to play. Firing missiles, multiple display options, three legitimate overall modes (bot, base, truck), removable and highly store-able parts, action effects, a sticker sheet to enjoy and a major contribution from an iconic Transformers legend.

It's tough to herald a simple trailer - originally just part of a single toy release - as a contender for toy of the year, but the level to which the entire GFII package has now been elevated by its existence is worthy of notice. Well done Fans Hobby for DOING IT RIGHT.

Many kind thanks to Fans Hobby, Geoff Senior and James Wilson - it's been an honour to be invited in this excellent project.

All the best


  1. Can't agree anymore with you this set looks amazing and if it's half as good as the GFII I'm sold. For $99.00 USD you can't go wrong here. Just outstanding.

    1. Really fun indeed, so much stuff to keep you entertained in the trailer and adds beautifully to the whole package.

      All the best