Sixshot remains one of my favourite Transformers. Although first imagined as “A vile, nasty murderous sort who carries out his job with ferocious intensity” he was given one redeeming quality in that he always speaks well of his victims, those he has sent to “the great junkyard in the sky.” In the G1 cartoon, he really played the part taking down all the Aerialbots on his own at Galvatron’s command. The Headmasters series in Japan will give him the dubious honour of killing Ultra Magnus cleanly. The series also is infamous for a mistranslation that gave him the dubious title of “Ninja Consultant”. Later on, however, they would expand on his character giving him some sort of a samurai-like code of honour and a redeeming arc in which he saved human kid Daniel.
The Decepticon S. T. A. G (Solo Transformers Assault Group) was also developed in IDW Publishing comics as both a ruthless machine of destruction, but not a mindless one. He’s highly intelligent. In this continuity, he was one of the three Phase-Sixer Decepticons capable of laying waste to entire planets, along with Overlord and Black Shadow. In his last appearance, he’s supposedly crushed by Metroplex but the comic ends with his hand still moving.
So, in this episode, besides revisiting the character, we’re going to take a look at FansToys’ take on G1 Sixshot. This is FT-28 Hydra, and there’s no doubt this is the infamous six-changer himself. The toy has become pretty legendary too, in the sense that everyone knows Sixshot is primarily a presence in his robot mode. His alt modes, basically are known for being a half decent futuristic jet (aka starfighter mode), a less acceptable wolf-mode, and from there on, we go through kind of an armored car, sort of a tank and finally the less than stellar gun mode that has recently been re-dubbed as a submarine. Sure. They’re all here, all recognizable.
The robot mode is where Hydra shines, and to shine a bit brighter, he’s also considered to be a bit of an outlier, with ninja powers that sometimes allow him to appear in all his modes at once or to become invisible. It’s not like he needs any of those powers though. His concussion blaster rifles have a cool metallic silver finish, similar to his wings. He also gets a sword that splits in two. There’s an alternate chest piece, but honestly I don’t know why you would want a plain chest piece with less detail that the one he has. GCreation’s Sixshot version, GDW-03 Fuuma may have greater threatening presence in robot mode, but that’s IDW Sixshot, not G1 Sixshot. I would say Hydra plays the cool silent assassin look much better, while Fuuma looks more like the extreme force of destruction.
The flexibility is good. Arms, shoulders, bicep rotation, waist rotation with even a waist crunch, leg rotation but the feel barely pivot slightly. This is however compensated with a great balance – much better than any other version I’ve seen so far. You can make him stand straight and he won’t fall backwards. This allows for a less battle-like stance and more calm and cool pose which for me fits more with his persona. He’s more cold-blooded and calculating than hot-tempered or at least that’s how he’s always look in his robot form. Unfortunately, Fuuma’s balance is beginning to show given his dependency on his heel hinges which are getting looser with time. Fuuma is still more colorful for pictures. That is not to say Hydra doesn’t command a presence – he does.
The wolf mode is serviceable, meaning this is not going to fool anybody because there are no giant winged wolves in nature. I’ve always seen his wolf mode as a melee battle mode. Hydra, as it turns out, puts a lot in the wolf mode, and honestly it takes a little practice to master that leg transformation. The front paws have chromed claws which I think is a nice touch. I’d love it if they’d done chromed claws for the back legs and chromed teeth for the mouth but that’s just me asking for the moon.
The “starfighter” jet mode is a Sixshot classic and I have to say that Hydra pulls it off much better than GCreation’s GDW-03 Fuuma simply because it keeps the concussion blaster rifles on the wings. That being said, Fuuma’s chest wings look better due to the more pulled back angle. Hydra’s chest wings finish straight which kinda annoys me because they don’t look as cool in pictures. Hydra’s chest wings look a little too simple without any decals. I wish Hydra’s chest wings would be angled slightly backwards. The actual jet wings do look better on Hydra with the metallic silver finish. The wings can also bend on Hydra, which is not something I thought I wanted but at least that way he fits inside my shelf furniture.
The armored car has sort of the figure of a truck, for which Hydra has the wheels. It’s important to point out that the design actually does put an effort into making the front look sort of a vehicular, using transparent details for windows and lights. It also makes sure to have some sort of a grill. I appreciate that attention to detail, which goes a bit far enough but obviously gets lost for the rest of the vehicle. The wheels are rubber, and curiously enough have a mechanism that allows you to hide the front wheel in the bicep. I find that one a bit curious, because there’s really no need to try to hide the fact that Hydra’s alt modes just contains parts from every other alt mode. In the same way than the original Sixshot, you can actually lift the trigger as some sort of radar/sensor array.
The other aspect of coming up with ways to hide stuff comes along in the next mode, the tank. Which I’ve always seen more of a mobile anti-aircraft platform. For the tank, Sixshot has always have treads via shape and stickers. Fuuma went one step ahead actually using rubber treads, which unfortunately have fallen prey of humidity and cracked up. Hydra decided to simply put treads highlighted by color and paint, which I like but also decided to go a similar route than the wheels and has opted for hiding the them. I’m kinda on the fence here, because as cool as the mechanism to hide them is, the problem is that it’s stiff as heck and there are no hidden wheels to make Hydra roll on tank mode, so it’s only for the visuals. Then again, everything is for the visuals on a toy.
Both tank and gun make use of these small rollers that I think were going to be wheels for some mode but ended up as mini-cannons, similar to the ones on the original G1. Unfortunately, everyone that has come up with a way to replicate both tank and gun’s cannons has never realized that the G1 Sixshot actually could accommodate the concussion blaster rifles from inside his legs. This was never used in any media, so it’s not official, but it always seemed like that would be the logical step. That being said, none of the media that followed illustrated that. Anyhow the gun mode is definitely the worst of all alt modes, to the point that on one of the official recreations of Sixshot made by Hasbro it was turned upside down and called a submarine or naval ship of some kind.
In the end, I was not looking for Hydra to necessarily create a more believable tank, or wolf, or armoured car, or much less a believable firearm. I wanted a G1 Sixshot that was articulate and could kickass on my shelf, with the same cool jet mode and the familiar winged wolf. The rest are really just extras that look the way they should look because Hydra is really the better G1 Sixshot just like Fuuma is the better IDW Sixshot. And as much as I wished Fuuma would have done the tracks the way Hydra does, and for Hydra to have the decals and chest wings from Fuuma, I know they’re the better versions of each. Hydra has the commanding and killer presence of the original Ninja Consultant and he still embodies the phrase, “Life is worth living as long as they’re enemies worth destroying.”
That will do for now.