Sunday, June 16, 2013

[Toy] Galaxy Man / Formulator Force

Toy has posted a new item, 'Galaxy Man / Formulator Force'

Review by VF5SS
In my many years of collecting robot toys I have accumulated numerous off-brand
Transformers that are not bootlegs but original designs meant to ape the popular
brand. Thanks to the efforts of the B class transformer king, Butto, I was able
to discover the Japanese origin of some robot toys that were bought in an
American drugstore years and years ago. I present to you the strangely named
Galaxy Man line which in America was released under the banner of Formulator
Force. In Japan these were produced by a company called Nakai who seem to have
done nothing else. However, the style of the Japanese packaging looks similar to
that used by the main manufacturer of off-brand robots, Wing, so maybe there is
a connection there. Being rather crude look toys, these guys aren't so much a
case of "I had that!" but a more disparaging "Oh those guys."

This trio of mighty mutating machines lack the uniform colors of the original
Galaxy Man release and instead go for something more authentic. Or as I should
say, more authentic in toy terms. All three figures stand a little under seven
inches tall and are made of slightly rickety plastic.

The imaginatively named Super Car fills out the requisite car guy role in the
team. Mine has a slightly loose knee joint so he needs to keep one arm out to
stand upright. While his overall design is slightly less polished than a typical
G1 Transformer, Super Car does have a strange connection to one of the classic
Autobot cars.

For whatever reason, all three members of the F-Force have the head of G1
Sunstreaker. While it isn't a perfect one-to-one copy, the resemblance is
uncanny. The rest of Super Car's robot mode details come from a some generic but
strangely familiar spread of a Transformer body. The overall effect is somewhat
hampered by the bare patches on either side of his "waist" that betray the
simple way the torso is formed out of the car mode. It's like the Transformer
equivalent of a tuxedo t-shirt.

From the rear, Super Car's transformation methodology is readily apparent. He's
kind of like the less accomplished cousin of intergalactic super spy

Just re-position a bunch of car parts barely disguised as limbs to convert Super
Car into an adequate automobile. When I originally got this toy his hands were
installed backwards which prevented them from flipping in all the way. Some
quick work with a screwdriver sorted that mess out.

Super Car's vehicle mode is an 80's sports car. Judging by the front and the
single windshield wiper permanently frozen in mid wipe I think this is meant to
be a crude facsimile of a Ferrari BB. Color wise, the Formulator Force version
of Super Car is the closest to his Galaxy Man forebear. In some ways it works
better because now he has black tires instead of gold ones. In this mode Super
Car can roll along reasonably well and stays together alright given his bargain
bin construction.

The next member of the team is a transforming jet named Super Jet. He is easily
the most rickety of the three figures with tiny fists that can spin loosely
around at the wrist and a torso that has no way of locking in the upright
position. The large gaps in his torso and the weird detached arms seem to echo a
more abstract Machine Robo style of design than a Transformer.

Like many transforming jets, Super Jet isn't really sure what to do with all of
his wings and tailfins so he sweeps them back in an effort look more humanoid
from the front. The tailfins pull double duty as heel struts.

Thanks to a few basic joints, Super Jet can battle the forces of evil with a
jaunty stroll.

Super Jet also has his own version of the bizarre Sunstreaker head, which is
missing the characteristic "ears" making this toy just a little more creepy. And
for whatever reason the head can move...

From side...

To side....
It's just so weird!

Transforming Super Jet into an airplane is a pretty simple affair. However, he
is designed smartly enough to allow for an alternate transformation on the way
to jet mode.

Super Jet transformers into what I looks like a MiG-29, which is a jet that I
think is quite super. The gray, blue, and yellow colors work fairly well
together as it gives Super Jet a crude stunt plane look.

One of Super Jet's peculiarities in this mode is a nose wheel that far too tall
for the plane mode to sit level on the ground.

Despite the figure's bargain bin design, the jet mode is still fairly sleek.
While the drop tanks make terrible arms, they do make good underwing stores and
do a lot of give the jet mode some legitimacy.

You could easily see this guy giving Leader-1 a run for his money.

The last member of the Formulator Force is a beefy tank dude named Super Tank.
Unlike the other two, Super Tank is quite a handsome bruiser who proudly
advertises his vehicle mode with tread-bearing limbs and a big double-barreled
turret above his head.

Super Tank looks quite excellent all around with tons of detail on both his
front and back. I especially like the false rotation point in the middle of
Super Tank's back that looks like it connects to the main turret but instead
just rests underneath.

Again Super Tank has the odd Sunstreaker face that is embossed on a flat panel
that flips down for tank mode. His chest has some nice tank-y detailing and if
you look close you can see the remnants of the "made in China" sticker that was
affixed over his bellybutton.

With some satisfying clicks and clacks, Super Tank compresses down into a
powerful panzer.

While this tank mode is pure fantasy, the spread of mechanical detailing all
over it gives it the look of a functional future tank. The turret moves, the
guns elevate, and the whole thing can sorta roll on four plastic wheels so it
passes the toy tank test with flying colors.

Speaking of colors, the odd gray, purple, and turquoise combo manages to work
well with this big block of tank. Again a lot of this is helped by all the
surface details like the vents in the rear of the tank that denote the presence
of an engine. There's even an egress hatch on the turret.

The way the turret "floats" above the main body is a rather science fiction
inspired touch. If you look on the front you can see the rear of the head panel
and how it almost looks like it was vacuum formed to create the face. Like a
Sunstreaker death mask.

And so we have another set of drugstore transformers that actually have roots as
Japanese robot toys. I personally have only encountered these figures under the
Formulator Force banner but from what I have seen online they were released in a
variety of colors in other toy lines besides Galaxy Man. These are definitely a
fun curiosity for collectors of strange robot toys.
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