Haven’t we been here before? I feel like we have.
For years Reflector has been a criminally under utilised character within Transformers, but here we have the third attempt from a third party manufacturer in under a year, Having reviewed the previous two, today I complete the Tri-Force and bring you an article taking a look at a test shot of The Opticlones from Keith’s Fantasy Club.
Usual caveat of “this is a test shot so may not fully reflect the final product” applies and thanks to TFS Express for loaning me this test shot.
Keith’s Fantasy Club may be knocking out their not-Reflector last but it doesn’t feel like it’s been left behind.
As far as Reflectors go, it follows the standard design template established by the cartoon. Cast in primarily grey plastic from the front, with the signature red stripe winding around the body, either side of Viewfinders visible green chest piece. One piece that doesn’t conform to the animation model is the lens which is molded in black rather than being grey and is a separate piece which can pop on and off. If you remove it, it does reveal a closed shutter which is a nice touch.
Where the Visualizers formed a solid brick, the KFC Opticlones are a little loose in a few places and the side pieces can sag from the sides of the core. Each side piece plugs onto that core, but they do so on panels which snap into place and because of the weight and movement, they often partially unzip leaving you with an unsightly gap. You have to treat it like a badly creased shirt and just keep pressing and pressing until it fits together.
On either of the side bots is a small T shaped piece that flops about loosely in a peg hole and it annoys the hell out of me. I have no idea on this Earth why that is there, and during transformation it got in the way so much I removed both of them and left them off which made things better.
Not only does it take it’s size cues from the Visualizers – it also boasts an array of camera like features. There is no fake display or anything like that, Maketoys were the only ones who cared to do that, but KFC loaded this set with its fair share of gimmicks.
There is a removable flash which opens to reveal a rack of missiles and a springy button on the right – standard Reflector stuff I hear you cry. Well what about sound effects? Yep, Keith’s Fantasy Club one-upped Maketoys by adding sound. I can’t show that in photo’s ( I could add a novelty speech bubble for comedy effect) but it’s a very distinct shutter noise reminiscent of Bob the Goon in Tim Burton’s Batman movie.
Yep, that’s where my mind goes – dodgy bloke in a hat stalking Vicky Vale.
Both the Visualizers and Spotter possess the ability to add any standard tripod if you so want to ramp up the real worldiness, but the KFC Opticlones lack this feature. Don’t fear though, KFC just created their own.
Instead of screwing into place, the small tripod that is included clips into the underside of the camera…loosely. Maybe that will be tightened on the retail release but I found with the slot being so far forward on the underside of the camera, it makes it back heavy with a tendency to topple off without needing an earthquake.
Keiths Fantasy Clubs Opticlones split into three parts, as you’d expect with each following the same transformation scheme. Un-clip the legs, pull the arms out from inside the lower legs (clever), rotate chest and legs, fold the back pack up and that’s it in a nutshell. With no instructions or hand Youtube videos I was fumbling in the dark like a teenager drunk on 20/20.
Of the three third party-Reflectors this one has the easiest transformation and I say that from a place of having spent more of my life than is healthy transforming and reviewing each of them. Nothing jumps out as frustrating or irritating like Maketoys mystifying lens transformation (khaaan!) or Spotter’s enraging rotating back pack piece (whyyyyyy?!!).
What may bug you (it doesn’t bug me) is the amount of panels that appear and have to be moved in order for the transformation to run it’s course. All three of the backpacks take parts of the camera and flatten them on a variety of hinges to allow them to press up the bot’s backs but Optix 1 (washing machine chest guy) has a back pack that never locks together tightly. You touch it – it moves. Worse still, part of it on him is supposed to press up to the back of the neck to secure his head in place but it doesn’t do it tightly so his head likes to flop backwards as if drunker than I get whenever England loose a penalty shoot out (it happens far more than you’d think).
The only thing that nudged me out of head bopping to fist clenching is the feet. You look at them and think they look fine, but there are so many parts to them and it becomes exhausting having to constantly readjust them. A small flap sits on the front of each, but without instructions it’s easy to miss (as myself and Benscollectables did) because it is so flat and flush with the rest of the foot. On the first foot I flipped the toes forward without moving that flap, because I had no idea it was flap, causing it to pop backwards into the foot with no easy way of fishing it back out. I imagine the instructions will make this part pretty clear though, so I wouldn’t worry.
It was the only thing that put a negative on an otherwise great transformation to robot mode. As it’s Keith’s Fantasy Club, you might be wondering which part is most likely to break, but thankfully everything is sturdy and the plastic feels strong and of a high quality.
Freed from their blocktacular prison the Opticlones burst into life and look every inch the modern Reflector…or Buzz Lightyear.
KFC took a different road to Maketoys and Fanstoys by not obsessively following the animation model and instead opting to pump their lads with indomitable proportions. Those fat blocky shoulders look as if they were drawn by Pat Lee (or someone Pat Lee paid pretend to be Pat Lee) and add some nice personality to each figure. He still looks traditional, yet the modernisation goes beyond the usual scratching of lines to call detail, the proportions look like a comic book come to life.
Don’t worry though, this attempt at Reflector still retains that classic visage of a medieval bloke in a funny hat and ye olde smock.
Fanstoys and Maketoys offered buyers a range of different faces that let you cobble together your own personalised group. KFC’s Opticlones beat the face sculpts on those by some distance – just a shame it’s the same face.
No alternate options are provided with this test shot so whilst they are handsome bunch, you can’t put your own stamp on them and have a mixed group interacting. Shame, because Reflector works best for me when put together as a jock like trio playing off one another. You get more character out them than a single figure, because by nature they are all about interaction and you play with and display them as such.
It is their greatest strength and turns bog standard individual figures into a great set.
Each of the trio comes packed with details that carry over uniformly across all three. Clearly Optix 1 (Viewfinder wannabe) has a different tummy, and also collar, but he still looks broadly the same as the rest of his brotherly pack.
All are draped in purple, grey and white with the large, iconic, green chest arguably their most prominent feature. Atop this sits a small red and white rectangular badge that suggest they are playing for the Peruvian national football team.
The only missteps are the blue shins which look awkward and out of place. Keith’s Fantasy Club must have interpreted the lighter shade of purple the animation model used as blue, and sadly it’s an extra colour that breaks up the otherwise cohesive design.
This is a test shot so this may change, but those shins are not only weirdly coloured – they love to move. As part of the transformation from camera mode, those panels flip round but they don’t click into place. Pick any of them up and it’s almost guaranteed that you will nudge one of the panels causing it to move out of alignment. It doesn’t even make much sense why they rotate because they just serve to break up and make the back of the camera look messy – it’s not like they are pulling the wool over your eyes and making you think it’s a real camera.
By itself it’s not a huge problem, but when you factor in the backpack on Optix 1, and the finicky feet – it all starts to feel a bit fiddly.
Articulation is fantastic with tons of joints and some lovely clicky leg ratchets that have me cranking them to the Magnum PI theme tune. Each arm has a great range of motion, as do the legs, and the bulky backpacks never gets in the way of either.
Feet can often be a problem, usually with stability and on the Opticlones they feel over engineered. Toes and heel spurs are forged from die cast which means when planted they are stable, but with so many joints involved moving the figure often causes them to shift and you find yourself having to straighten them out again as otherwise they can become back heavy and topple over.
I am making that sound like more of an issue than it is, but during my adventures with these figures it was the only thing that bugged me.
The irony is that having so many joints in the feet gives you incredible articulation. Each foot can move up and down at the ankle, has a huge tilt inwards and with the added toe and heel joints you can make movement look incredibly natural.
Do you like light up features? If your answer is yes then you are going to love this guy. Optix 1 is KFC’s Viewfinder analog which means he’s the guy with the washing machine for a chest. Within that green tinted clear plastic window is hidden an LED which glows when you press the switch. Well, it does if you have inserted some batteries…which I didn’t…because I don’t have any.
For me they could have left out the light and sound features and I wouldn’t have cared, but they are done in such an unobtrusive way that having them doesn’t hamper the figure. Sometimes figures get ugly backpacks or hindered articulation to accommodate a batteries and electronics but here it is all hidden and with no cost to movement.
Hard to complain about something when it doesn’t get in the way.
The Optix trio are hit and miss when it comes to the weapons. Lacking their own hand held pistols or rifles, they can instead scavenge the parts leftover from camera mode and craft their own weapons, in veteran Fallout 4 style.
Faring best of these is the rocket launcher that appears from the flash, with two handles flipping out either side to be held like handlebars. I adore this because so often toy companies just stick a handle on the bottom leaving the figures to hold them like any gun regardless of how dumb it looks.
Sadly the rifles don’t live up to that standard, they are the runaway winners of weakest part of this set award. The idea is sound, use the lens to fold up, and combine with the tripod legs to form a gun…but they don’t have any gun detailing so they look like chunks of lens for a tripod leg poking out. I’d be embarrassed wielding those if I were the Reflector bros, and would just try to dazzle them with all my purpliness instead.
If you are wondering, there clear plastic lens piece can peg into the camera shutter on Optix 1’s back – so that is nice. The base of the tripod does not share a similar fate, but doubles pretty well as a tray for serving canapes.
Standard “Reflector in camera mode” accessory is included if you wish to pose them taking selfies. It’s nicely detailed and much smaller than the equivalent pieces that come with Maketoys and Fanstoys efforts, making it more handy for your other Masterpiece figures to wield. Seriously, mini Reflector cameras are the new Masterpiece Megatron gun accessory.
Lastly, you also get 3 clear pink Energon cubes and what makes these so darned great is that they are all different. You get standard box cube, partially filled slurpy cube and pile of laundry cube. Keith’s Fantasy Club get a lot of love from me purely for going to the effort to make the Energon cubes all look different and not just like 3 plastic boxes.
Please do remember that this figure is a test shot so may not be reflective of the final product.