TFC Toys Iron Army T-34 vs J7 Shinden and Tiger-1 vs P-51 Mustange figure review
TFC Toys got its name in the Transformers world by making the 'Hercules' (aka Not-Devastator) and has a new 2-part set out, the Iron Army. These original-character-bots aren't based on Transformers licenses (perhaps a first in 3rd Party toys) so they're not breaking any copyright laws and you won't head into trouble owning them. I was absolutely thrilled to see a 3rd party company taking the first step towards going legit and hope to see more original transforming robots in the future. So let's see what we have here.
Packaging is a sturdy, voyager-sized box that contains two sets of bots in vehicle mode and looks nice doing so. There's no bio on the box but you get instructions and two trading cards (cardboard) with neat sketches of the real live vehicles along with their specifications. As mentioned the alt modes are real life vehicles and their robot modes sport a look supporting the country of origin. Tiger Tank bot has a German helmet and iron cross, T-34 has a Russian star and Cossack hat on. Cool!
Sculpt for the vehicle modes is really well done and matches up fairly close to the real life vehicle source material. There are exceptions like the giant PCC port at the front of the tanks and the planes have been shortened a bit with smaller jutting wing fins. Still they're recognizable and sharply sculpted with care. Tank turrets swivel and raise. You get a hand and a foot with each set and the foot unfolds into a hand weapon.
Transformation to robot mode is a snap, just unfold and unpeg. You could do this without the instructions but the pictures are there if you get stuck. Each bot is somewhat of a partsformer, the planes having removable tail/front sections that fold into weapons and the tanks holding their turrets as weapons. This is totally acceptable and looks pretty cool considering the weapons are also held by the combined robot.
Articulation is scout-like with ball shoulders and hips. All bots have a waist and knees tho the Shinden's arms are less posable than Mustang's because of the design. The planes have a bit harder time standing than the tanks because of their small footing and that the hips are very close together. The tanks have fold-out feet and can get into cool running poses. Paint work is crisp and clean all the way around down to their tiny eyes and nation chest symbol.
Each bot is a bit larger than a regular PCC limb and therefore cannot be mixed or you'll end up with lopsided combiners. This means you need to buy both VS sets to plug on to your official Transformers Power Core Combiner commander. This is partly because of the hand/foot additions. The foot has full front/side tilt action as does the wrist. However to turn the wrist you need to unplug it manually as it has a PCC port there.
Now for the meat of the review, combined mode. I'm using Power Core Combiner Heavytread who I reviewed earlier for most of the pictures. His Core mode is a little shorter than that of Bombshock or the others but the Iron Army looks amazing when attached. Points of attachment are much sturdier than drone limbs and will not pop off. The planes' waists extend to allow for their waists to become elbow hinges which works amazingly well.
Your chosen PCC Commander core will now be able to step forward, bend his arms, and in some cases even kneel or cross them depending on how the core has the blue PCC blocks hinged. Here I used Transformers PCC Skyhammer as the core and the combiner gains an inch or two. The plane wings can be positioned different ways for different looks and you can alter the turret direction of the tanks if you want.
The combined robot or 'Gestalt' if you prefer can hold the plane sections or turrets as weapons. It can also holster its weapons on the sides of the tank treads and each weapon/turret has a scout sized peg atop a 5mm peg so any class of Transformer can hold it. After swapping PCC cores I've come to like either Heavytread or Skyhammer as the torso, though Steamhammer or the black Huffer can look decent as well.
So what's the verdict on the TFC Iron Army sets? If you want to breathe new life into your PCCs buy them. The plastic/combing mode is sturdy, well painted, and the articulated bot modes make these awesome. You can give them your own names and perhaps savvy customizers could turn them into named Transformers. Our sponsor Big Bad Toy Store has them for an excellent price and super fast shipping. You can also pick up their Power Core Combiner cores if you want so you have more matching choices. You will need to check ebay for Heavytread as he's pretty hard to find right now.