So, a while ago I did a review of Iron Factory’s Dubhe, their take on IDW’s Tarn. In it I mentioned that despite its flaws I was happy with it and satisfied I had an alternative to Mastermind Creations Kultur that didn’t cost the earth.
Then someone decided to sell their Kultur for £65, so here we are!
So MMC Tarn then? Not gonna lie, he’s made my top five 3rd party figures already, though his final placing is still in flux at the moment. See, MMC tend to go their own way in terms of aesthetics for a lot of their figures. In theory, a lot of them tend to lean towards IDW Alex Milne era of comics, but I’ve not found that to be 100% the case. They tend to add a lot of detail that doesn’t always work. My Sixshot is nice, but their Cyclonus doesn’t carry it as well. However, with Tarn, they seem to have really toned it down. To the point where this guy doesn’t seem that out of place next to CHUG figures.
It’s not that he’s lacking detail, it just seems to be used more effectively. I especially like the chest piece. With that said, he doesn’t quite match the design of the comics. It seems flatter, and less of a “living machine” aesthetic than Alex Milne managed to get across with his art. In that regard, Iron Factory does get that across a little better with its less blocky proportions and more dynamic colour palette. Though in fairness neither’s colour scheme is exactly spot one to the comics. MMC’s is more muted, but IF’S is a little too bright to be as accurate. One way to compare them is to compare the masks. While MMC’s is good, IF’s has the more angular and comic accurate sculpt. He’s perhaps not as dynamic as IF, but in fairness you had to swap Dubhe’s hands out to get him at his most expressive, so I can deal.
However, after saying all that I like both versions for different reasons, and they weirdly look good together.
Honestly, though I think I prefer Big Tarn overall. Yes, a lot of this is due to his size. But he just works so well at this scale. He’s bigger than a Hasbro Voyager, so he can suitably loom over a lot of bots, but he doesn’t look half bad next to pretty much any design aesthetic, even the bigger Masterpiece bots. A favourite of mine to pose him with is Maketoys Rioter Despotron. Even though Tarn’s sculpting is more muted I think it works well with Despotron’s anime-inspired design.
As above, Tarn’s “real” head is Roller. The guy everyone thought he was going to be because James Roberts likes to troll his fans. Is this MMC betting on the result early (as the toy was released before the reveal of his actual identity) or just using it because Tarn shares a lot of parts and engineering with their Roller. And their Thunderclash. And…you get the point. That is still a minor bugbear since my review of their Cyclonus, making a mould that gets used a lot rather than being suitable for the character. But hey, this works well for Tarn. Plus, Hasbro has made an entire franchise that so it’s fair game.
Aside from the mask Tarn comes with his double fusion cannons, which can peg on the tank mode turret piece to rest on his farm or come apart to be handheld. They even swivel on their axis so you can position them to be more comic accurate.
He also has missiles in his feet.
Articulation wise it’s what you would expect of a £90 3rd party toy, including a good ab crunch and toe bends. This means you can get some really good poses, though his shoulder does get in the way of his cannons and vice versa so it can be a bit of a faff to pose those right. Also, because of how solidly built he is, which surprised me due to how MMC’s Cyclonus is well known for breaking, he holds all of them well without much support. That’s another plus for him against Dubhe, who had a LOT of QC issues on his first release, still has others that hope up. I ended up having to get new arms from Iron Factory directed because the socket straight-up snapped making them loose as hell. I don’t see that happening with Kultur at all.
Another plus is the transformation, which is a lot simpler than I’ve come to expect from this level of 3rd party. Hell, it’s actually easier than Dubhe! And the results are good.
So, this is not really that accurate to Tarn’s tank mode in the comic, again due to the fact that this mode is three other guys as well. If you want a more accurate tank mode, we gotta go to Iron factory again. But that said, Kultur doesn’t have his hands sticking out the back.
As you can see, he also has some extra features. Those toe missiles make a lot more sense with how his feet end up in vehicle mode (and aren’t glued in so be careful when the hatches are open), and he also has some sculpted grenade/rocket launchers just under where you peg the fusion cannon/turret. If you want him to be a bit more comic accurate, you can angle the chest piece downwards but it makes the thing seem less cohesive. I mean, he’s a tank he should be a big solid block of steel and this gets that across.
So yeah, MMC Kultur is brilliant and definitely worth getting. I was very lucky to get him for the price I did, as unless MMC do another reissue, you’re not gonna get him for less than £100 on the secondary market, most likely more. Does he replace Iron Factory? To a degree, but I still like the Lil’ guy too. And frankly, it’s a lot easier to get the entire DJD from them instead of MMC. Plus they combine. However, if like me, you just wanted Tarn either is a good choice, but I’d have to go with the big guy overall.