The Sandstorm figure contained within this gallery was purchased directly from the former head of Boys toys at Hasbro Europe. The figure is an FEP (Final Engineering Pilot) of the Generation One Classics (Gold box) Sandstorm.
FEP is a name for a group of very final development phases, within the engineering world. Often this phase is subdivided into three distinct categories:
1. FEP stage 1 : FINAL ENGINEERING PILOT - This phrase is normally involves testing of fully developed and engineered item. It comes after the EP (Engineering Pilot) but can still contain inperfections and mold differences. The inperfections are removed before the 2nd stage begins.
2. FEP stage 2 : FINAL EVALUATION PILOT - This is the pre-production testing and evaluating final engineering. Some minor modifications can still be made at this stage before the third stage is processed.
3. FEP stage 3 : FINAL EVALUATION PRODUCTION - This is the stage that tests the final pre-production sample. Checks are made for build quality and quality control. When this phase is completed, the item is deemed ready for regular production,
This figure is either a stage 1 or a stage 2 FEP.
For those wondering where FEP falls into the general production cycle compares to other testshots and prototype that you often find around, here is a very rough guide to the production process.
1. Resin / Wood / clay sculpts - Most commonly called hardcopies. These are often pinned together.
2. EP, Engineering Pilot AKA 1st Shot. These are very early, and mostly unpainted, plastic engineering samples. They have no date stamps and are quite often have molding differences. The figures tend to be screwed together but are extremely loose. A lot of the figures have a handwritten EP on them.
3. FEP (Final Engineering Pilot) - See the three stages above 4. Productions Shots. These are the most common plastic testshots that you may see for sale. They are often produced in the final colour schemes, have the date / copyright stamps and are production, or virtually production quality.
As well as picking up "Milky Sandstorm" we also purchased as Classics Sandstorm so we could compare our original plastic toes version to both the FEP piece and the final release classics toy.
Perhaps its my sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for "milky testshots". We own a growing collection of prototypes in a variety of colours btu only a few of them are what we have dubbed the "milk-formers" These early white plastic testshots appeal more to me than many of the strange coloured 2nd shots that you can often find and so when the chance came to buy him I jumped at it. Having met up with the seller in person before the item became available I was already certain of its authenticity and, indeed, history and he became one of many pre-release items I picked up over the early spring of 2011.
So far I have been unable to find any acutal molding differences between the FEP and the final release classics version of Sandstorm so unlike some of the other prototype galleries I will not focus on those differences. Instead I would just like to say that I am glad I picked him up. Our original Sandstorm toy had been with us for over 20 years and is a little worn, so it is nice to be able to compare him to both a mint version and a FEP. Its als nice to have him joined by the FEP for G1 classics Octane.