Tube comes out of the box almost ready to go, you just have to rotate his forearms to the proper orientation.
You’ll also have to pry open his heels a bit and pull his feet loose so that the ankles can have a bit more articulation.
Since this is a Third Party, non-official item, it doesn’t come with a faction symbol. It’s best to get some stickers from Reprolabels/Toyhax.com to make this guy more “toon-accurate”. Alternately, you can also use “water slide decals” to make them look even more flawless (you won’t see the edges, unlike with stickers) but I’ve never really had the proper skills, or time (usually needs to be individually cut first) to work with those.
For water slide decals, most folks recommend the one from Ocean Studio. Here:
To apply stickers, I find the best way to stick the stickers on is to use the tip of a blade, or a flat, small-tipped object, this way you have more control over the application, as compared to using one’s stubby fingers. You can also use the blade to help gently peel off a corner of the sticker in case you didn’t center it right and need to re-apply.
Tube comes with various optional face plates. By default, he comes with “red eyes” variant installed. I don’t think I ever recall seeing this in the cartoons? Strange choice.
To replace the face plate, simply just pluck the front half off. I prefer to tilt his head all the back and try to pick under his chin to split the halves of his head open.
Alternate head “G1 Toy” face plate.
Lastly, he comes with his screen-accurate “blue eyes” face plate.
Brave, resilient and an excellent warrior, Pipes never quits when the Decepticons need to be stopped. In combat, Pipes uses smokestacks to emit corrosive gasses to take down enemies. During downtimes, Pipes is a known hoarder of used human gadgetry, using an unused section of the Ark as a mini-museum to house his acquired goods.
Diecast parts include:
-Sections of the torso
I got QC 34 this time.
A big part of me wishes Fanstoys designed Tube with wider heels to balance out the big backpack. He tends to fall backwards easily so be mindful of this when posing the figure in action poses.
Interestingly, the big white panel on the back of his head is actually a sticker and not painted or anything.
True to character, Pipes doesn’t come with any guns, since his forearm-mounted stacks are his weapons.
Accessories-wise, Tube doesn’t come with much, just Metroplex’s transformation cog, which was a plot device in the “Five Faces of Darkness” mini-series for Season 3 from the G1 cartoons. Pipes was instrumental in getting it back to Metroplex to save the day.
Surprisingly, Fans Toys did try to add some play value to the cog by giving it a ratchet inside. You can play with the cog by twisting the halves and hearing the ratchets click. Cute.
I didn’t have the time to break out Bad Cube’s Piper, but for reference, here he is. Fans Toys’ take on Pipes easily outclasses this release now.
Overall, Another pretty good release from Fans Toys. Excellent paint and tooling with plenty of diecast metal to go around. The transformation is fairly easy this time around as well (you might have some trouble with collapsing the knees for the vehicle mode, though). The set easily puts the older Bad Cube Piper out to pasture.
Admittedly though, it’s not perfect. I wish they gave the figure bigger heels to balance out the top-heavy backpack. The shoulder wheels also do tend to get in the way of posing the figure. Lastly, I also do wish FT added some more accessories or something for Pipes. But then again, he only had minor moments in season 3 of the G1 cartoons, so it is what it is.
On a negative side note, my unit did come with ridiculous amounts of lubricant lathered all over it. Luckily, it wipes off very easily without leaving any stains, but it was a bit gross to see the lubircant all over the figure the first time you open the package up.
With this release (along with the upcoming announced ones), the only Minibots left for Fans Toys to do are Windcharger, Tailgate and Cosmos.