Third Party Plastic Quality

Discussion in 'Transformers 3rd Party Discussion' started by Necare, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. Necare

    Necare Well-Known Member

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    IMHO plastic quality is the biggest variance in 3rd party figures. Certainly design, aesthetics etc are all real important, but I find that the plastic quality and existence of die cast makes me feel better or worse about my purchase than any other characteristic. I wanted to get everyone's take on their rankings of the plastic quality of released third party figures.
    Here's my list: (obviously owning the figures will vary)
    Ranking is best quality to worst:

    1) Fansproject - SteelCore plastic (Core is solid and paint apps are clearly defined, steel is ok)
    2) Fansproject - Protector Armor (Feel similar to Steelcore)
    3) Perfect Effects (Not Reflector)
    4) I-gear PP Weapons and Medical specialist
    5) Fansproject City Commander armor
    6) TFC - Hercules
    7) Hegemon
    8) Fansproject Superion Add-on Kit
    9) Kup Head for Classics
    10) Fansproject Munitioner and Explorer
    11) I-gear PP01 Faith Leader
     
  2. MC Rap Throne

    MC Rap Throne cancelled artist

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    Actually the only ones I 'trust' are Hegemon and iGear's Mini-Warriors. All the rest have that garage kit resin feel to them.
     
  3. jop

    jop Sesquipedaliacon

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    What criteria are we using here to judge the quality of third party plastic? For instance, TFC's Hercules figures are half-way down the list; and yet they are only one of two products that I would feel comfortable drop-testing (and I suspect the other, Perfect Effect's Scouting Force X team, would survive more by dint of weight (or lack thereof) than quality of plastic per se).
     
  4. Necare

    Necare Well-Known Member

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    Great question. I was going by personal opinion. If you were to recommend to someone a figure and had to judge the plastic quality what would you say?

    My personal view on the plastic quality is:
    1) heft (weight in the hand, thickness of plastic)
    2) durability (have little fear that the plastic is not tough and long lasting)
    3) finish and feel (how the surface feels, rough and grainy, or smooth)
    4) precision and fit (meaning how well do the pieces fit together)

    Granted some qualities would fit certain figures while not others, but overall, how would you rank your figures in terms of their plastic quality.

    If you want a drop test to be in there, so be it, this is based on your opinion, I'm just curious to see where fans come in. (No need to list your criteria but if you wish, would be great to know.)
     
  5. brr-icy

    brr-icy MP Collector

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    your list confuses me, munitioner and explorer were made of the same feel/timeframe/quality plastic as protector
     
  6. deaculpa

    deaculpa Stand Alone Complex

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    ^still this.
    I own igear's thrust (not mentioned above) and I think it's one of the best figures plastic-wise that I own. City commander and SFX are excellent as well. PE'S F/R combo are great but the paint was sloppy, the molds weren't terribly sharp, and nowhere near the quality/precision of SFX. PP05 is one of my least favorite figures I own because I feel like I'm going to beak off those flaps on the back of his legs. Plus he doesn't stand up for shite.
    where's seali when you need him?
     
  7. bacon4e

    bacon4e Resident Cheesehead

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    ^ but they kind of felt like model kit plastic, at least to me
     
  8. Darcemeus

    Darcemeus Well-Known Member

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    I've handled model kit plastic and let me tell you the plastic on Munitioner and Explorer is in no way as fragile as that stuff is.
     
  9. jop

    jop Sesquipedaliacon

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    You've raised a very thought-provoking point; I had not previously given significant consideration to my own criteria for judging plastic quality. No time like the present though, eh?

    First and foremost, I prioritize the durability of the plastic. However, this stems in no insignificant part from the fact that many of the third party purchases I make are not for myself, but for my daughter and her burgeoning Classics collection. As such, durability is a must; especially given the general difficulty in sourcing many third party items after their initial offering.

    It seems to me that the durability of a figure might be secured in two ways. The first is in its construction; by installing elements that resist hyperextension and other such injuries (i.e. ball joints), or ensuring a particular thickness and appropriate shaping of material so as to avoid obvious weak points. This strikes me as more an issue of design that actual material quality per se; however, as you yourself cited thickness of plastic as indicator of quality, we may perhaps consider including it as a measure.

    Secondly, there is the actual plastic material itself. There are an entire range of possible compositions available; differing in hardness, flexibility, heat tolerance, and so forth. For instance, I find the plastic used by FansProject, MakeToys, and iGear to be more akin - in terms of brittleness - to what I would think of as 'model plastic'; whereas the plastic used by TFC Toys appears to conform much more strongly to the standards of modern 'toy plastic'.

    Dispensing with durability; I myself would uphold the thickness and quantity of plastic in general (as more raw material is, in and of itself, an indicator of quality), along with the finish, feel and fit of the parts (although any issues thereof would most likely be attributable to the design of the item, and the manufacturing process -and by extension, the molds used - rather than the choice of plastic itself).

    I should probably also add that third party manufacturers are, of course, liable to change their choice of material and any other part of their production process. Their are significant leaps, for instance, between TFC's Battle Rollar figure and their newer work on Hercules; similarly, although I do not yet own a Steelcore, I've been hearing very good things about the quality of the figure's plastic versus earlier FansProject offerings. This being said, my earlier comparison between the various manufacturers should probably be taken with a grain or two of sodium chloride.
     
  10. jop

    jop Sesquipedaliacon

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    Agreed; but the phrase 'model plastic' does rather embody the texture, brittleness, and comparatively fragile nature of the material used for those two figures. I would also accept 'resin-like'.
     
  11. Bountyan

    Bountyan Well-Known Member

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    I like the finish Fansproject has been using for their newer toys since the Insecticons came out. It feels more like the plastic Hasbro uses.
     
  12. hardreturn

    hardreturn Ian Reid

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    i agree with this, i'll actually say i like it better.

    awakening version of mastermind seeker feels great too.

    also - love the matte look of green giant
     
  13. Detroa

    Detroa Well-Known Member

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    Actually, there's not a lot of "different plastics" used by third party companies. Most of the time, what makes the figures more fragile or stronger is the design/engineering.

    Thin and intricate parts will always be more fragile than thick and solid ones using the same plastic.
     
  14. originaljk

    originaljk Technobot

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    Except that Fansprojects figures since Explorer and Munitioner are all made of ABS plastic which is not model plastic and by no means fragile or brittle. Most models are injection molded polystyrene plastic which when made too thin is easy to break and even flex. Fansprojects toys are not so easy to flex, bend, or break. That's not to say that they haven't broke but its not common.

    Resin plastic is more what you get from Renderform and Maiden Japan, which is commonly used in garage kits. By the way OP, great thought provoking subject.
     
  15. AnAutobot1985

    AnAutobot1985 Well-Known Member

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    Not an expert here. Hegemon seems to have pretty good plastic quality. And so do my FP insecticons. Only other 3rd party figure I have is Super Alloy Wheelie and he's just n/a in this discussion.
     
  16. jop

    jop Sesquipedaliacon

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    Please don't take my comments to be literal; I added quotation marks around 'model plastic' and 'resin-like' for a reason. :)  I simply meant that the material used for the earlier FansProject releases was more reminiscent to me of the sorts of plastics one might find used in the model arena, as opposed to be actual, literal model-grade plastic.

    I will also add: my daughter's Colossus has the unfortunate distinction of being one of the few FansProject releases to break; it fell flat on a wooden shelf (no actual drop; it simply tipped over) and this was enough to fracture one of the shoulder joint flaps. It is perhaps a testament to both FansProject and my daughter that I was prepared to go find a replacement long after the figures had left the primary market. :) 
     
  17. Alpha Omega Trion Supreme

    Alpha Omega Trion Supreme One of the longest handles in the fandom!

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    Good topic for conversation. This is one of the reasons its so important to me "who" makes these figures. Fans Project, MakeToys, TFC and certain iGear figures(Arcee, the minibot line), are pretty high on my list. MMC is pretty low. Most of these figures do have different feels from each other.

    Here's a kind of list from best to worst, although most are pretty close to each other:

    1. The FP insecticons really do feel Hasbro quality to me, as do the latest iGear minibots: Hench and UFO. I'm hoping FP notBroadside is similar.

    2. MakeToys everything. Giant, G2 Armor, notSeaspray and notPowerglide minibots. There's some minor engineering quirks in all these, but the plastic quality itself is excellent, near Hasbro quality.

    3. TFC Hercules. I think my primary concern with TFC Hercules is the engineering. There's too much "floating" going on between ratchets in the hip articulation, and I think the connection ports could have been done better. The plastic quality itself is very good, and as mentioned above, I also feel confident this could handle a drop test.

    4. The FP armors are excellent, but really have their own feel. They're the type of plastic that are much more durable than you at first think. I recently bought the Protector armor and am amazed at how well designed it is. I've taken it on and off Rodimus repeatedly without any issue or concern. FP notSpringer is at this level too, and I think he would have been helped tremendously had they opted to do the diecast parts in plastic like the rest of the figure.

    5. iGear first wave minibots: notHuffer and nonSeaspray. Very good quality, and being small and simple helps. iGear Arcee is probably a bit above these in quality.

    6. Impossible Toys Quintessons, exosuit Spike and Daniel, diaclone driver Spike and Spark Plug. These are all excellent, imo, which don't have the complications from needing to transform, so they really should be much lower on this list. The exosuits don't really transform, despite what the production descriptions says.

    7. MMC Knight Morpher Commander. Not KO quality, but I handle my Knight Morpher Commander, and it just doesn't feel high quality. I see board members like Vangelus review this and wonder if I'm being too harsh. I frequently consider selling it off. Its just not something I like handling. The plastic just doesn't feel as solid as any of the aforementioned. It's also why their Screamer was an easy pass.

    8. Impossible Toys Arcee. It's not so much the plastic quality as it is the bad design, sloppy paint, and thinness of parts, especially the arms.

    Engineering plays such a factor in all of these, where the plastic quality plays even more of an issue when concering thin parts.

    I saw a youtube review of Xovergen's Patriot Commander and automatically knew it wasn't worth the money, even at a huge discount. I can still hear the "squeaking" the plastic was making as the reviewer showed off the articulation. This is also why the new Powermaster trailer/armor is going to need some glowing reviews before I even consider giving it a serious look.

    If its MakeToys, Fans Project, or TFC, I feel confident I'll have something worth the money. iGear requires a little bit more homework, but is generally just as good, if not getting better with their minibot line. Impossible Toys is pretty reliable quality for the nontransforming figures.
     
  18. DBarricade

    DBarricade General Nutcase

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    I'll say that Perfect Effect RC has pretty good plastic quality, albeit a bit thin in places. At least to me she is. And SFX is pretty good too considering each is smaller than a Legends/Cyberverse Legion figure. FansProject makes stuff that can be quite durable. Not faultless, but still can take some abuse on occasion. KM Cyclops is more troubled by his crazy-complex design than any fault of the plastic. And Hercules has the feel of something Hasbro could have made prior to the recent stuff. But I'm not about to touch ANYTHING of Impossible Toys with a 39.5' pole. And I'm unsure if I want to try iGear at this time.
     
  19. Sidecutter

    Sidecutter Evil Former Dealer Scum TFW2005 Supporter

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    Something to keep in mind is that the aesthetic qualities of a particular blend of ABS (feel, look, texture) really have almost nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of it (suitability for a particular purpose, level of flexibility, resistance to damage, brittleness). A plastic may feel "light" or "cheap", but in fact be much better for the job than a plastic we would describe as "sturdier".
     
  20. originaljk

    originaljk Technobot

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    Not taking it that literal just clarifying for those that may not know what the difference was.