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.
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