Iron Factory If EX-31 Dubhe, aka TINY TARN.

It probably seems obvious to some of you that I’m more of a Decepticon fan than Autobot, and with that, I come across as fanboyish over many characters. That said, I am nowhere near as bad as some members, or characters, including IDW’s Tarn, a fanboy who was so dedicated to Megatron he became the leader of a team of living weapons whose only use was to scare the ever-loving bejeezus out of any Decepticon who even thought about of not toeing the line. That was until Megatron became an Autobot, then Tarn went a bit mad, suicidal and then tried to kill the former Decepticon leader. He was promptly ripped apart by anti-matter cos he killed Ravage.


There are currently only two Tarn toys out, the other being Mastermind Creations Kultur, which is expensive, so here comes Iron Factory to give us a smaller more affordable of Tarn. And there was much rejoicing. Until the QC issues started turning up, but we’ll get to that.

So, Tarn’s robot mode is gorgeous, lovely colours all around, far more vibrant than MMC’s offering and with a great amount of articulation.  All this in a package small enough to be of no threat to anyone.


One of thing things that caught people’s attention when Tarn was his face, being a stylised Decepticon symbol, it’s done quite well here, though this and my previous copy (again more on that later) did have some marks on it from where it had been cut off a sprue. Still quite nice, and also is part of a nice feature of this guy.


Underneath the mask, you have a fairly seeker-esque head, which is accurate to the comic, and while my camera doesn’t pick it up very well, there’s even some moulded damage under his left eye, again accurate to the comics. Quite frankly the amount of detail on something at this scale is astonishing.

But that’s not all, along with the mask, you get two sets of extra hands for Tarn one of which allows you to HOLD HIS MASK.


I really like these opening hands. Along with his great articulation, Tarn can pull off some expressive poses. Such as the “MINE IS AN EVIL LAUGH.”




And the always fun “I’m not mad, just disappointed that you pissed on the carpet.” Well known to dog owners everywhere.


He also comes with a set of open hand’s that allow him to hold weapons compatible with 5mm ports. Like his double fusion cannon


Tarn’s vehicle mode is a tiny adorable tank of death.


As with some other Iron Factory toys, the vehicle has no wheels, which is fine. Oh, he also turns into the central unit of the Deception Justice Division combiner that Iron Factory is doing with his teammates, but since I probably won’t be buying them I’m not going to bother. It’s a shame that the transformation is where this guy comes apart a bit, almost literally. It’s quite fiddly for his size and you must line up some things just right. I especially find getting his fusions cannons in place a bit of a chore, since you have to clip them between their legs, but they don’t like sitting flush easily. I end up dismantling the cannons to make it much easier. But this isn’t where things go wrong. Oh no, it’s only on probably his most important part!


So, you can see those two purple struts that Tarn’s arms are attached to, those are made of flexible plastic. Probably a good idea in theory, but it’s also where the arm joints are. This is a problem for two reasons. The first is that, as Peaugh pointed out in his video review if you follow the steps in the transformation as presented in the instructions, it feels like you apply far more pressure than the plastic can take at the 90-degree bend, causing stress marks. Better to rotate them while they remain locked in by the tank modes front treads and chest plate in robot mode.

The second and my personal favourite problem is that there are a lot of reports of the joints for the arm rotation being WAY too tight. As hinted at, this is my second Tiny Tarn, and it is precisely for this problem. The first had some big stress marks due to the transformation, but his left arm became so goddamn tight after opening him, doing a single 360-degree rotation damn gave HUGE stress marks on the bit that plugs into the arm. One more rotation for a test and I just knew that any more would break the damn thing off. Other problems include the hold the ball joint is in breaking at the plastic seam, necessitating a replacement, as this was a gift from my wife I didn’t want to get a refund.

However, there is a relatively easy solution, again promoted by Peaugh, shock oil. It’s a lubricant that people use for lubricating the parts on remote control cars. I picked up a bottle for a couple of quid at my local hobby shop. And hoo boy does it make a difference. Both my arm joint on my second Tarn were tight, but a dab on either side of the joint, and on the hinges on his shoulders for good measure, and voila! Fixed. Now I can move his arms without fear of breakage and they still hold the pose. As a bit of help, here’s the shock oil I got so you know what to look for if you have concerns.


So, essentially, what we have is a brilliant robot, with a fiddly transformation to a cute tank with the added risk of breaking the thing when using it as intended. This is a big step down from Iron Factory’s usual quality. I still like their stuff, but I’m hoping these QC issues don’t come up on their future releases. Anyway, off to the collection Tarn goes!


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