Monday 28 October 2019

REVIEW: FansToys FT-39 Jabber

It's been a good while since I've flexed my review muscles properly outside of doing monthly rundowns, but here we are back at it again with a new FansToys release. Yep, I've been inspired to get typing by heft and sparkly finish. After all, many of us have been waiting patiently for another stab at a Masterpiece-styled Blurr for a little while now, so let's take a look at Jabber and see if he absolutely, positively, definitely hits the spot.

Before we kick off, let me say a big thanks to the wonderful people at who have made this review possible. I'd definitely recommend giving them a look, as their service has been absolutely top notch in my experience - great prices, excellent free shipping options and reliable packing. They stock plenty of third party (and "fourth party") Transformers, so be sure to check them out.

Right then, Jabber. I think this toy is one that a lot of fans have been excited about for some time, and for several reasons. First, it kinda rounds out the primary movie cast delivered by FansToys, following up on their releases of Apache, Rouge, Koot and Hoodlum (assuming you're happy with Masterpiece Ultra Magnus, I guess). Secondly, it's only the second attempt at a not-MP Blurr that we've seen, and with Unique Toys' Buzzing not having met everyone's tastes there was definitely still room on the table for it. So how does he shape up? Well, straight out the box you'll notice he's a handsome lad!

He has the usual FansToys weight which I know plenty of people love, and certainly ticks the box when it comes to nicely-polished finish, with the sparkly blue paint really shining in the light and making him appear very premium. He's also a well-proportioned 'bot overall. His arms are maybe a touch larger than on some robot modes but it's kinda expected for this character so it definitely works. He's also very sleek and tidy, with only the fin from the top of his car mode betraying a sense of animation-accuracy from a rear view. Hell, even his little buttflap can be found on his original cartoon model! Overall it's a very nice-looking robot form.

What is a bit weird is how you have to make a few transformational adjustments right out of the box, such as flipping out heel spurs etc. I suppose the main one I am thinking of is a peg inside his backpack which keeps his entire torso section tabbed together. It's not made apparent until you begin transforming him, so I initially thought that maybe the robot mode just wasn't as solid as it actually is! How strange. You also need to peg the head section in properly straight away which can take a surprising amount of force, but once it pops in everything becomes a lot more stable. But oh boy, is he a lot of fun to mess around with! I'll admit I wasn't sure about how he looked from a lot of the final pictures I'd seen, but in hand he's really won me over. I've had a lot of fun playing around with him in robot mode and posing him, and found that he really gives me a good vibe of the intended character.

FansToys have caused a bit of controversy with this one though, in that they switched the darker blue colour for a different shade after showing off their official production photography. It was seemingly set to be a slightly lighter, more royal and less sparkly blue than what we've received on the toy itself, and it's fair to say that not everyone is happy about it. I've also read some concerns that it's closer to purple than dark blue, although I definitely don't find that to be the case. For what it's worth I think the final colour choice looks great, and entirely in-keeping for the character as far as I'm concerned, although I can also understand why people prefer to know what the colour scheme will be before the thing turns up in their hands.

Accessories-wise Jabber comes with a few options. He has no less than three guns, including a Targetmaster companion. The main two guns are really well done, although I did find that they don't always peg super securely in his hands. There's also an alternate "shouty" face which initially I thought might look a little vacant (kinda like how Dreamwave used to draw every robot's mouth agape), but actually looks decent in-hand. Oh, and to cap it off there's a different translucent chest piece to give a slightly see-through car windshield, but I haven't bothered with that myself, to be honest.

The Targetmaster himself is nice enough, although I'll be frank and say that I think his best asset is gun mode. The robot form, whilst well-articulated for such a little lad, is just a bit bland for my liking, and sorta pales in comparison to the likes of TakaraTomy's efforts with Masterpiece MP-40 Hot Rod or MP-37 Artfire's companions. Still, he does the job.

And on the subject of frankness, let's talk about this toy's weakest aspect - the transformation. I'd read that it was a bit of a nightmare and so went it thoroughly prepared. I got about 90% of the way through and honestly I thought "what's so bad, this is fine!" Then came time to tab the car mode together and oh, my word, the fun went out of the window. It's just the manner in which you have to secure the arms and then peg in other parts on top of them that becomes very fiddly and somewhat frustrating, which is a shame as up until then it'd all been relatively straightforward! I will say that the return to robot mode was much easier and I'm not exactly put off by the thought of repeated attempts, but still it's a shame it's not quite the intuitively butter-smooth conversion we've become accustomed to on some official releases of late. Oh, and it's also worth mentioning that I've seen a few reports of damage caused during transformation too, although I didn't find this to be a problem myself.

The car mode itself is pretty good and definitely looks like Blurr. Again, I think I like it more than I did from the photos I'd seen, although it will always be kind of an odd one seeing as how it's supposed to hover above the ground and that's not possible in toy form. Ultimately I don't suspect I'll be transforming this guy a whole lot but it's still nice to know that it can be done!

And otherwise? Well there are some nitpicks. If I was being really critical I would point out that it's a shame the ankle tilt is pretty obstructed (a similar problem to what we saw on FansToys Hydra), that it's slightly odd-looking how the legs rotate in the middle of the thigh instead of the hip, causing a bit of visual disruption, or that I'm pretty blasé to see a hip skirt like this in 2019 when we were already complaining about it as a design choice ten years ago. But hey, nitpicks. The good this guy does definitely outshines all of that, and overall I've come to really enjoy it as a toy and as a representation of the character.

With FansToys Koot & MP Hot Rod

With Maketoys Cupola & Contact Shot

With FansToys Grinder

With Unique Toys Buzzing

Where he definitely shines is in a line-up, as he looks really great alongside both FansToys' other efforts and official MP toys alike. For my money he blows Unique Toys Buzzing out of the water in all but one regard, doing a much better job at capturing the likeness of the on-screen character in both modes, sporting a nicer finish and making for a generally better 'bot mode. Where that toy perhaps has the edge is in the fluidity of transformation, but otherwise Jabber is definitely stepping up to take the spot of "Masterpiece" Blurr as far as my collection goes. Maybe there's still enough on the table to see another version attempted at some point in the future, but if that never happens then FansToys have given us a pretty good stab overall.

Also with MP Targetmaster Hot Rod

Also with FansToys Dracula & Lupus

Also with MP-9 Rodimus Prime

Also with FansToys Rouge

Also with FansToys Quietus (T version)

Also with FansToys Tesla, Apache & MP Ultra Magnus

Final note before we end, you can find this toy for sale at here!

Oh, and if you enjoyed this review and would like to help support me to produce more content like this (in exchange for some additional great perks!) then please take a look at my Patreon page here. I've only just got started with it, but a big shout-out to the following early adopters: Andrew Birmingham, Christopher McClure, Gareth Madeley, Jason Highley, Peter Hammerson, Spider-Bob, zindios - many thanks!

What's HOT?
Cracking robot mode despite a few visual flaws, a pretty decent car mode and a lovely finish. It's a good overall package.

What's NOT?
The car mode is pretty frustrating to tab together and there have been reports of breakages elsewhere, so be careful. There's also a few small nitpicks elsewhere but nothing major.

Keep in touch:


  1. I honestly don't know about this one. He looks nice, don't get me wrong, but I'm sorta bothered by that unsightly crotch flap on the front... and it's hard to miss, since it's right front and center of the toy.

    I'm surprised to see the difference in height between Buzzing and Jabber. I rather like the more lanky version of Buzzing as well as his stature, so I think I'll be keeping him.

    On another note, seeing Lupus once again makes me regret so much not buying him. Second market prices are nuts. Do you think FT will ever put out a reissue or should I just jump on a second hand Lupus which has a reasonable enough price (preferably below the $800 now up on ebay...)?

    1. FWIW I didn't find the crotch flap to be such an issue in hand. It is annoying when you're trying to conduct some more extreme poses, but for the most part it sits in place and doesn't need moving for simple stances etc.

      As for Lupus, that's a toughie. I cannot believe he's going for such crazy prices (although that $800 listing is a joke, quite frankly). I'm not sure if they will reissue though. I guess it might happen after Chomp is released but it's hard to say with FT!

    2. Just pulled the trigger on a $300 Lupus. Painful and highway robbery, yes, but that'll teach me to hold out when I should buy. :/ Seriously though, I sometimes wonder how newer MP collectors cope. I started out in 2015 due to the Apollyon craze (still love him, btw) and even then I had some catching up to do. Someone starting their MP collection in 2019 has so much more catching up to do, money to spend and some characters aren't easily availiable anymore. Having fun finding a reasonably priced Tesla, Sovereign... or Lupus for that matter.

      Oh, I forgot to compliment you on the photographs. A pleasure to view as always. My photographs never look that good, but then again I bet you're using some kind of camera with a huge and expensive lens. I've tried to convince a friend who does bird-watching to let me use her camera to make some pictures of my collection, but so far I haven't managed to convince her. :D I think she's afraid I'll drop it.

    3. Yeah, it must be difficult. I'm definitely glad I got on board when I did, as opposed to coming to it now.

      As for the camera, it's a Canon 70D. Typically I shoot with a 35mm prime macro lens. Nothing too fancy but not shabby either!