Keith’s Fantasy Club got their start with transforming cassette bots, and while they are still releasing new products in that line, the subject of today’s review represents a bold step in an ambitious direction. From their roots in a niche subgroup of tiny rectangles that turn into tiny robot animals, the company’s new E.A.V.I. METAL line features bigger and more complex designs and characters with a much wider collector appeal. I’m certainly excited for their upcoming Sencho Barbossa and Haiku releases.
I mean really, Captain Shark? Awesome!
But as cool as those are, KFC brought out their big foot for that first bold step. Standing at a whopping thirteen inches tall and transforming into a mack truck with a car carrier that can haul around Masterpiece Autobots, with Citizen Stack it’s not so much a first step as it is a high kick that hit me right in the MP shelf. But with the impending release of Takara’s Ultra Magnus, does Stack have a leg to stand on? What about the plastic quality and the articulation? What are the special features? Will I continue with the foot jokes?
Read on to find out!
First thing’s first, this is a review of a sample sent to me by TFSource.com and Keith’s Fantasy Club. Regardless of sponsorship, this is an honest review. I like being a positive guy, but regular readers of MattBooker.info know that I don’t have a problem talking about if something bugs me on a TF, and even post mod guides showing how to fix those things. I liked the design of Citizen Stack already, but rest assured you’ll get a fair shake when it comes to my opinions on it, warts and all.
KFC Citizen Stack’s alt mode is a cab over engine semi with a futuristic car carrier that’s based on what the 1980s thought 2005 would be like.
It definitely fits the aesthetic it’s aiming for, but retains enough realistic detail that it doesn’t look out of place among the more disguised robots of the Masterpiece line. Shiny chrome on appropriate parts like the hubcaps and grill really sell the modeled metal look, and in a feature not seen since MP10, the tires are rubber. The trailer is permanently attached, but has a good turning radius, and it’s almost as long as Optimus saddled up to his combat deck. The trailer also features a rear gate that allows for the loading of up to three standard size cars.
Click the pictures for the full versions!
There’s not much I would complain about with the alt mode. It would have been nice if a fourth car could fit in the bottom of the trailer, but that’s not a deal breaker for me. The top section can be a bit awkward for low clearance cars, but they sit well enough once positioned. If you take a look at the picture showing the trailer loaded up, you’ll see that Prowl is sitting at an angle, which is because of Stack’s knee guards. Those fold up and help lock the alt mode into position, but as pictured it can cause a car to sit at an angle. Those knee pads can be folded back, allowing the car to sit level, but that does unpeg part of the alt mode. I went with those pegged in for the picture, but even without them pegged in the alt mode isn’t going to flop apart thanks to the tabs on the lower section of the trailer.
Something I’ve seen a people mention as a concern is the cab section being hollow. That actually doesn’t bother me because not only is it required for the transformation to bot mode, but also because you really shouldn’t judge a tiny plastic giant robot on the underside of its alt mode. Jets can be an exception, but do you really care if a car TF has robot parts visible when you’re looking underneath it? And if it’s a concern about it being fragile, the hollow cab is still more sturdy than your average (and more expensive) Masterpiece Macross toy.
So, things to be aware of, but for me those don’t outweigh the rest of it. It’s a solid, great looking alt mode and one that fits in just fine on my Masterpiece Autobot shelf.
KFC Citizen Stack’s robot mode is based on a certain Captain America colored bot from a famous cartoon about mechanical aliens that were more than meets the eye. Considering the original toy version of that was a white robot standing in a red and blue block with arms, Citizen Stack gets most of its design from the cartoon’s character model. That goes even further in the design of the transformation, in that it’s not just a small white robot wearing clip on armor.
Those with more nostalgia for the original toy will find that more of a problem than those who prefer the cartoon, where only only the bigger bot and the alt mode were shown. I know some people that are completely against having it be just a smaller bot in armor, though personally I don’t have that much of a preference either way. I like the armor for modern versions like in the IDW comics, but armor on tiny plastic giant robots tends to either fall off easily or make for a brick of a bot when it comes to articulation.
Citizen Stack doesn’t have to worry about that, and the design is better for it. It’s bulky in all the right spots without looking awkward, and is about the right height for robot mode scale with Masterpiece Transformers. With an imposing size and striking colors, the bot mode of Citizen Stack is easily the best part about it.
Click the pictures for the full versions!
The only thing I could complain about for the bot mode is that the way the waist and torso lock together would be better if there was something at the back to secure it even more. The two folding tabs on the sides of the waist do a more than decent job of keeping it all together, it’s not something I’m worried about breaking or coming apart. Still, when the back piece on the waist is folded up it seems like it should be tabbing into something like the two on the sides, but it’s just filler. Maybe that’s something small to point out, but I wanted to mention it.
But as for the rest of the bot mode… KFC Citizen Stack is one beard away from demanding its own shelf. It’s huge in all the good ways, having the size of something like MP01 without being as heavy, and can actually take advantage of it’s ample amount of articulation.
ARTICULATION AND POSEABILITY
KFC Citizen Stack has an ample amount of articulation, including balljointed heels and toes!
And here’s a picture of KFC Citizen Stack doing a high kick test to show off balance. I made sure there was a shadow in this one to show that it’s not leaning up against the back of the shelf.
FEATURES AND EXTRAS
KFC Citizen Stack comes with a comic book as part of the instructions. I’m not going to show any pics of that to keep from spoiling it, but it has good artwork and references to things like Transformers The Movie and The Untouchables. X-Transbots Krank and Stax even make an appearance!
The two shoulder rocket launchers on Stack have two positions in alt mode. The one that I prefer is shown in the above pictures, but you can also attach them from the top of the shoulder stacks.
Citizen Stack also comes with a blaster.
The handle folds up for storage in alt mode.
For bot mode, the arm guards can be positioned either on the back or bottom of the arm.
Citizen Stack can also store the matrix from MP10.
KFC Citizen Stack scales nicely with Masterpiece Transformers in both alt and bot modes. I’ve seen a few people say it looks too tall, but the character Stack is based on is supposed to be huge. G1 Optimus already towered over the other bots in the cartoon, so if he put on a car carrier worth of armor then he should be even bigger. Being one of the bigger Autobots is one of his defining features.
Regardless of scale, KFC Citizen Stack looks good with other MP bots.
Click the pictures for the full versions!
Is it good enough for a Masterpiece display?
If you’ve been paying attention at all during this review, you should already know my answer to that.
My criteria for a Masterpiece includes:
1)Does it look like the definitive version of the character?
2)Is it sturdy and worth the price?
3)Is the bot mode scale close to accurate?
4)Does the bot mode look good?
5)Does the alt mode look good?
6)Is it fun?
KFC Citizen Stack scores a YES! to each of those questions.
But how does Stack stack up? Is the plastic quality any better than their cassette bots? What about Takara’s Ultra Magnus? WHEN WILL THERE BE ANOTHER FOOT JOKE?
Stack may be a shoe-in for my collection, but those questions are good reasons to tread carefully about the purchase, and that’s what honest reviews are for. With the improvements in third party companies, my general rule for advice on this subject is that if it looks good to you then you’ll probably like it. It’s rare for me to say otherwise, just because quality is good across the board.
Transformers collectors demand a lot of durability from their tiny plastic giant robots. Take a look at other collectable toys and you’ll see fans who have to deal with things that require clear plastic stands just to get a basic pose, things that require special tools to move tiny parts for transformation between modes, and fans who pay hundreds of dollars for fragile toys that have line-wide factory errors that they know about beforehand.
For instance, after years of handling mostly TFs and retail toys, I bought a Toynami Masterpiece Voltron and was surprised to find just how flimsy it felt compared to a ten dollar deluxe Transformer.
And ‘retail’ is the key word there. Hasbro and Takara stuff, even the MP bots, have to follow safety standards. They have to survive drop tests and rough handling, so they are made from more durable plastic. That’s the kind of thing most Transformers collectors get introduced to first. So when a collector starts buying Masterpiece TFs and third party bots, they expect just as much durability as quality.
The plastic on KFC Citizen Stack feels fine to me. It’s not as high quality as a MMC Feral Rex bot or FansToys Quake Wave, and it’s not quite as good as the plastic on an official Takara Masterpiece, but it’s still in the ballpark of good. It feels like a complete improvement over their earlier products. I can handle it without worrying about parts breaking, and that’s a must have for a bot this big.
And Stack is a very big bot, being one of the biggest in my collection. I’ve seen a few people complain about the price, but those people probably don’t buy a lot of third party tiny plastic giant robots, or even official Masterpiece TFs. A third party scout size robot can cost between $30 and $60 depending on the company, while Citizen Stack costs about as much as importing an official Takara MP while being even bigger than those.
But what about Takara MP Ultra Magnus?
There are a lot of different factors to consider for that. Takara has been making some very cool MPs, so it’s most likely going to look good. Whether it will look better is entirely different, and that’s up to personal preference. It’s also supposed to be a smaller bot with armor bits forming Ultra Magnus, which bothers some people and brings up a few design issues that Takara has to get around. Until the official one comes out, it will be hard to say which one is better, but what we can say now is whether KFC Citizen Stack is good for what it is.
And for me, the answer to that is another YES!
I have a few more posts coming involving Citizen Stack, including some direct comparisons with MP Optimus Prime and some action pose posts. Check back for those later on here on MattBooker.info.
So, dear readers, what do you think about KFC Citizen Stack? Did you fill out the requisite forms and submit a request to your commanding officer before reading this review, as per standard Autobot regulations?
Leave a comment and let me know! And don’t forget, you can share this post with your favorite social network using the links below.