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Shortpacked! - Look out, Galvatron.
October 27th, 2008
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Look out, Galvatron.
Shortpacked!: That stuff smells good enough to eat!

"City Commander" is an unofficial trailer/armor add-on for Hasbro's Classics Ultra Magnus toy. It's a fan project, which should be apparent by the name of the folks who put this impressive product together: FansProject. They were also responsible for the Classics Cliffjumper add-on set that gave him a new head, weaponry, and vehicle mode customizations. I own that one, too, thanks to a helpful friend, though that first attempt wasn't nearly as ambitious or as good-quality as City Commander. Their Cliffjumper parts felt rough to the touch, as they were probably resin, and I was a little uneasy that City Commander would be the same.

I am happy to report that it is not, as City Commander is made of sturdy, shiny plastic. (Though it does have some texture.) Do be careful about the corners and edges, though. I'm used to converting these toys as fast as my little hands will allow, and the edges are sharper than real Hasbro product. You won't cut anything, at least not with realistically moderate handling, but the corners may cause your hands to ache a bit. The important thing is, it's sturdy.

One of the best things about City Commander is its instruction manual. It's presented in the form of a comic book, albeit one that pretends it's not a Transformers product. The Transformers cast is viewed through a psuedo-Egyptian lens, with robots who look like Jazz, Wheeljack, and Ironhide fighting against the evil "Pharaoh-tron" in the name of their god "Ra-mus." All but Ironhide are brutally slaughtered by this tyrant before the arrival of the toy in question. His subsequent transformation sequence is presented step-by-step, page-by-page as the instructions, and the combined form battles his opponent. "Your justice is flawed!" he trumpets, Japanesily.

Glorious.

Indeed, as you can probably guess from the photos, City Commander is a partsformer, meaning the trailer comes apart into pieces and you connect those pieces onto the base robot, rather than keeping the whole deal together throughout. As a result, it doesn't keep up the tradition of most Transformers toys, but anything other than snap-on armor pieces would have immobilized the poseability of the combined form.

Perhaps more cheatsy is that 40% of the vehicle mode is left over, and this chunk becomes his weapon. It doesn't look much like a weapon, as it's obviously a chunk of left-over trailer, but it does have missiles molded onto the front and a handle. It can either be slung mostly over the shoulder (as seen in the second photo) or reconfigure to look more like a gun, with the handle in back. However, Magnus's arms aren't tough enough to hold up that kind of weight, so I prefer the over-the-shoulder configuration.

If the bigger-than-himself weaponry ain't your cup of tea, he can wield Magnus's guns as well. While he's not carrying them, they can stow by pegging into the backs of his shoulders. There are also peg-holes on either side of his shoulder which the original Generation 1 Ultra Magnus missile-launchers can fit into. That's thoughtful!

In vehicle mode, you can see just how excellent the color-matching is. The blue FansProject used on City Commander is a perfect match for Classics Magnus's blue. I've noticed that in photos the truck/trailer combination looks a little "chibi." That doesn't really hold in person. It's not the longest trailer in the world, but it feels long enough.

FansProject also provides a sticker sheet with various choices of license plate designs. There's a panel on one of City Commander's boots for you to apply it to, and the face of the panel can rotate back into the leg in case you want it hidden in either mode. (Or if you want to apply two stickers and switch between them as desired.)

One of the other best things, after the instructions, is that this design isn't just a carbon-copy of the original Ultra Magnus design. It takes some liberties, and because of this it fits in much better with the Classics aesthetic, plus the Classics Magnus toy itself. That alone impresses me.

City Commander is scarce to come by these days, but preorders for its black repaint counterpart (meant for Comic-Con's Nemesis Prime) have recently been made available at online stores. The set is roughly $80, which is pricey, but you get more than what you pay for if you take its very limited run into account. The quality of City Commander puts most fan projects to shame.

FansProjects, if you see this, three words: Powermaster Prime armor.

Transformers Wiki link of the day: Cindy Newell

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Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:fifthie
Date:October 28th, 2008 03:16 am (UTC)
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Pfft, whatever.

Leslie + Ethan = OTP!
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From:everflow
Date:October 28th, 2008 03:21 am (UTC)
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that isn't a gun that is a GUN!!!

on the shortpacked christmas is coming up and I was hoping you would possibly maybe do print or two to get for fans or have people got for the fan's in your life...

I will beg it won't be pretty but I will
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 28th, 2008 03:30 am (UTC)
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I'm not entirely sure I understand what you're talking about.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
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From:ironbite
Date:October 28th, 2008 03:22 am (UTC)
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I'm gonna steal your's just on princible.
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From:gwalla
Date:October 28th, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC)
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There is no apostrophe in "yours".
From:thoughtcrimeinc
Date:October 28th, 2008 03:32 am (UTC)
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I can excuse not getting City Commander or Nemesis set just due to difficult and cost. But God... if they did Powermaster Prime set I believe I'd have to cave and get it. Especially if it came with Hi-Q. (I don't even wanna think about how much more of their bitch I'd be willing to be, if they included the Apex armor as well.)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 28th, 2008 08:09 am (UTC)
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Last I heard, FansProject had canned a proposed Apex Armour set and had begun early stages of a regular Prime trailer (with Roller). But they're concentrating on City Commander and it's various redecos right now, so new large-scale projects such as new trailers might be a long way off.

- FFN
[User Picture]
From:sanityormadness
Date:October 28th, 2008 03:37 am (UTC)
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I have to wonder... why does the face look like he's sucking his cheeks in?

Seriously, looking at the last picture, that is a pretty terrible face mould. Not even "bad as Magnus", just "bad".
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From:shortpacked
Date:October 28th, 2008 03:53 am (UTC)
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I think that's just the shadows covering up the lower half of his face from the lights on either side of him.
[User Picture]
From:yostimagu
Date:October 28th, 2008 03:44 am (UTC)
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The Touch just played in NBC's Chuck. I thought you should know.
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From:lbd_nytetrayn
Date:October 28th, 2008 03:53 am (UTC)
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I have to know, though I'm not sure if you'd be able to tell me: Can Metroplex hold the giant gun? I mean, will it fit in his fist/with his arm?

Because I just find something appealing about Magnus hauling around this giant-sized superweapon for the city he commands to use. Along with the thought of him possibly using a weapon that would normally be reserved for said citybot.

--LBD "Nytetrayn"
[User Picture]
From:shortpacked
Date:October 28th, 2008 03:54 am (UTC)
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I don't have Metroplex, but I don't think the gun would be compatible. There's some plastic on either side of it that would probably get in the way.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 28th, 2008 04:16 am (UTC)
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I agree with the awesomeness of city commander's armor. Its so awesome. Magnus can command my city any day!
[User Picture]
From:casualcollector
Date:October 28th, 2008 04:18 am (UTC)

Combat Heroes Serpentor!!!

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I know how you love Serpentor so here's a link just for you...

http://toynewsi.com/news.php?catid=9&itemid=13620

THIS! I COMMAND!!!
[User Picture]
From:cholma
Date:October 28th, 2008 04:33 am (UTC)
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I could really go for some of Robo-Vac's Double-Chocolate Diabetes-Bits right now!


Don't forget to vote YES on Prop 469!
[User Picture]
From:landbasered
Date:October 28th, 2008 04:49 am (UTC)
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I'd still like to see a strip where it passes. That could make a whole story arc as robin discovers leslie's addition to it, objects to it, discovers herself (yeah, I went there.) Ethan will be secretly happy and amber will watch helpless. Also, no cancer.

(is it just me, or is amber becoming like klaus from american dad?)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
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From:jonwes
Date:October 28th, 2008 04:35 am (UTC)
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That is really cool. Classics Magnus is one of the few Transformers I kept after my recent toy purges. If I had an extra $80 lying around I'd so get one. But I have to save up for MOTU Classics. :)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 28th, 2008 04:54 am (UTC)
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The "Shadow Commander" armor looks awesome, and now that I have Willis's word on the quality of FansProject's work, they're probably about to get my money.

I already love my Nemmy, and this will just make him so much cooler. He'll tower even MORE over the puny 2-pack Classics Prime.
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From:landbasered
Date:October 28th, 2008 04:57 am (UTC)
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Yay! But, wouldn't it just look like a "nemesis magnus"? I mean, its cool and all, but isn't he supposed to be an evil prime? Maybe if its just like an upgrade he uses every now and again for an extra boost, like armada jetfire.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
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From:the_s_guy
Date:October 28th, 2008 04:57 am (UTC)
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CC really has had stupendous amounts of fanpolish and cake put into it. The holes for the G1 launchers, the rear shoulder holes for the Classics guns, the rotating foot-licence-plate, the color matching, the overall visual design in both modes, the instructions/comic, and the precision with which it attaches to the base toy are all amazing.

Then there's the way that the airfoil gun, previously looking like it was torn out of a Beast Wars character, now actually looks like a modern version of the G1 Magnus white gun.

The comic, I think, got me most. I couldn't believe that Hasbro hadn't caught onto this combination of minicomic and instruction sheet. It just seems so obvious when it's done the first time.

Oh, and then there's THIS:
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 28th, 2008 01:05 pm (UTC)
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That's reallly great. I played it the first time without sound, so I was surprised when it wasn't the Cybertron theme in the background - this works really well too.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 28th, 2008 05:43 am (UTC)

Just freekin' GREAT!

(Link)
Now I'm gonna spend the day thinking about Amber TASTES like!

Thanks a lot.
[User Picture]
From:ashuraou
Date:October 28th, 2008 07:24 am (UTC)
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Some "new" Pat Lee/Dreamwave douchebaggery I just ran into; Apparently Drew Struzan (you know, the guy who did all the Star Wars posters and Indiana Jones posters and, well, any really classic ones - http://www.drewstruzan.com/illustrated/) did a book with them called Oeuvre, and invested a lot of his own money into it and lost all of it... plus didn't see a dime off of the book.

Talks about it here:

http://www.a3upodcast.com/files/audio/bonuscontent/BonusDrew.mp3
http://www.a3upodcast.com/audio/download/176/035DrewStruzan.mp3

It's also mentioned here, I think:

http://sidebar.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=260125
[User Picture]
From:lbd_nytetrayn
Date:October 28th, 2008 08:15 am (UTC)
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Couple of thoughts on the City Commander armor I was hoping you could address.

1) How does it connect to the truck when in trailer mode? The truck has no hitch, so I've kind of wondered how it stays together for awhile now.

2) You mentioned (and showed) the missiles from G1 Magnus attaching to the armor in robot mode; is there a place for them in trailer mode?

--LBD "Nytetrayn"
From:begbert2
Date:October 28th, 2008 02:52 pm (UTC)
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I don't have CC but I'm looking at Magnus and mine, at least, has a small rectangular 'bump' where the hitch would be. Perhaps the armor hooks onto that? Given that the original Prime just had a slightly-less-small cylindrical bump in the same place, I don't see why the new mold's rectangular bump would be substantially less effective. (Excepting for going around corners, of course.)
[User Picture]
From:sabre_justice
Date:October 28th, 2008 11:46 am (UTC)
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What happened to the NSFW fanart gallery I heard about on TVtropes anyway?
[User Picture]
From:sabre_justice
Date:October 28th, 2008 11:50 am (UTC)
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Also, that gun is officially a BFG.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 28th, 2008 01:31 pm (UTC)
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POWERMASTER PRIME SET! YES!! YES!! YES!!

~Cov~
[User Picture]
From:style92
Date:October 28th, 2008 02:47 pm (UTC)
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Okay, I would so totally buy unofficial powermaster prime armor for classics prime it's not funny. But it has to at least transform into his trailer as well. And if they're really clever, then the base mode would be great too.
[User Picture]
From:style92
Date:October 28th, 2008 02:46 pm (UTC)

Walky, I bought 25th anniversary Optimus Prime today.

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Haven't opened it yet, but I was fiddling with the sound box through the "try me!" hole, (heh heh) and it's got a bunch of sounds and 2 Optimus quotes, Peformed by PETER CULLEN! (although, his voice aged, the quotes make me think of movie prime more than G1 prime now, but close enough.) And you wanna know what one of the Optimus Prime quotes is that he performs for the sound box?

"I AM OPTIMUS PRIME!!!"

Believe me, if you grew up with G2 and had the G2 Prime with the black and orange trailer and the autobot shaped sound box, you know why "I AM OPTIMUS PRIME!!!" is an important quote to me. I nearly wept with joy at it.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 28th, 2008 08:08 pm (UTC)

Re: Walky, I bought 25th anniversary Optimus Prime today.

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I would very much like to hear this.
[User Picture]
From:repowers
Date:October 28th, 2008 04:24 pm (UTC)
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Man, it SUCKS to be Classics Galvatron right about now.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 28th, 2008 08:04 pm (UTC)
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Nah. He's just about the right size to have a punch up with Classics Rodimus, at least.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 28th, 2008 07:18 pm (UTC)
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Walky, way back when you did art of the Japanese G2 Magnus thrashing Galvatron based upon that famous comic panel, how about you do a similar photo of this toy thrashing somebody like Energon Galvatron (the only really G1-looking Galvatron toy with decent articulation and styling that's close to Classicy-toys).

OR hell, do some fan art of this toy kicking Universe Galvatron's ass!

:D

- FFN
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 28th, 2008 09:27 pm (UTC)

ultra-wuss

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in the movie and G1 cartoon, Ultra Magnus seemed Ultra Worthless. He seemed to never succeed at anything. in fact, I only remember him firing those shoulder missiles of his one time.
Re: ultra-wuss - (Anonymous) - Expand
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 29th, 2008 02:38 am (UTC)

AMBAR

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jesus ever since she got that haircut all amber does is act like an unfunny bitch
[User Picture]
From:kanedax
Date:November 1st, 2008 07:04 pm (UTC)
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I just got my City Commander in the mail. I totally agree with you that the gun has to be thrown up on the shoulder. Even beyond the weight issue, it just seems floppy when it's flipped out.

With the minor complaint that his waist piece REFUSES to stay if I even tap the thing, it is a beautiful beautiful piece.
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