War for Cybertron: Kingdom Voyager Cyclonus Review

Oh boy, it’s another mainline Cyclonus figure! That makes this his…sixth. Really? And that’s barely counting Armada. Wow, no love from the bosses from Hasbro huh? Though considering his boss in fiction is the legendarily loopy Galvatron I guess he’s used to it. He’s the Kif Kroker to Galvatron’s Zap Brannigan, but not a complete pushover.

Robot mode is a tall glass of…plastic. One of the first thing’s you’ll notice about old Circle Wind here is that he is much larger than a lot of voyagers over the past few years. He towers over all the other Siege/Earthrise voyagers and even comes up to match a few leaders…whatever the hell that size class is these days. Though maybe “size class” is the wrong way to think about the various price points. They don’t mean just “the big one” anymore, but that’s a discussion for another time.

While I usually like a darker shade of purple on my Cy-guys, I gotta admit this lavender works well. The only place I didn’t like it was on his Decepticon badge, which was a bit too light and quasi-blended into the chest piece. This is why I stuck a silver-backed reprolabel on, just makes it pop a bit more.

One great thing is even at his size at a voyager is that he hasn’t lost anything in the articulation department. Wrists, ankle rockers, waist, the whole shebang, allowing him to bust out some great poses. Due to the transformation, even the knees can pull off a decent double bend, though because of said transformation where the thighs compress into the legs, it can leave a huge gap inside his calves. Putting that aside, this is the most articulated Cyclonus I own outside of MMC’s Boreas, and even then, it’s probably a tie. I love how poseable his neck is, it’s got a load of motion which allows him to look down on his other mainline toys with disdain.

Transformation to jet mode is fun, featuring a rotating cockpit and a telescoping nose cone that doesn’t involve sliding a piece of plastic out of the end and seeing it hang limply like a depressed banana. And it comes out looking the sleekest of any Cyclonus out there.

Of course, this is mitigated somewhat if you do the weapon “storage”

Christ does this look good, there are no awkward gaps like the Classics, no obvious robot kibble as the Combiner Wars guy, it just works. Hell, I think it looks better than some of the masterpiece third party guys out there.

Overall Cyclonus is a great toy, the minor issues I have are just that minor, namely, I wish he had large shoulder pads, the aforementioned washed out Decepticon logo, and his cavernous calves at certain angles, otherwise, brilliant and well worth a purchase.

Earthrise Voyager Snapdragon Review

Everyone has their favourite characters. Oh sure, everyone likes the big guys. Optimus Prime, Megatron, Bumblebee, Soundwave and so forth. But then when you get deep into a fandom, you might find a more obscure character. Maybe it’s a one-shot guy who died nobly, ala Scrounge in Marvel, or maybe they are part of a particular niche you like. Guys like Spinister, Scoop, etc. They may not be big names but there’s some personal connection there. Perhaps nostalgia for when you were a kid and they were one of the few Transformers you had that weren’t your older cousin’s hand-me-downs.

Snapdragon is none of those things for me. He barely had a role in the G1 cartoon (though almost murdering Daniel comes close), did fuck all in the comic and I never owned him as a kid. And yet, he was one of my most anticipated Earthrise releases, and more than that, I’m incredibly satisfied with him.

ANYWAY. So why is Snapdragon so good for me? Well, he’s a Decepticon triple changer with a healthy amount of black and purple, turns into a sci-fi version of one of the greatest aircraft ever created and a reptilian mode right out of some Ray Harryhausen/Toho Kaiju mashup.

Oh, and he’s far superior to his mate Apeface.

In bot mode, he’s got a good amount of articulation, including a full waist swivel. He’s only really limited in three areas. His head, due to being the Head/Titanmaster Krunk, has no up or down movement at all.  His wrists lack a swivel due to them transforming into another mode’s feet and a bit of movement in his elbows. This possibly could have been mitigated by being able to extend his arms a little to allow clearance of his arm kibble. But sacrifices had to be made for this guy to make the modern voyager price point. Aside from that, he’s an all-singing, all-dancing, dual purple gun-wielding murder-boy.

But before he can kill, he has to get there. And by turning into a very sci-fi rendition of an SR-71 Blackbird, he’s gonna get there faster than anything.

I mean, there’s not much to say here, but that this thing looks like it could break the sound barrier and not bother to offer to pay for the repairs. The SR-71 is one of my favourite planes of all time, but I could never bring myself to buy the various movie Jetfire versus off it (look I like some movie designs but old man Jetfire never worked for me) and the TR Overlord was too simple of a transformation to mess with due to being an oversized duo-con. This though? Lovely. The details are great and I love the little cockpit controls you have for Krunk.

But when he gets to the battle, what better way to commit multiple monstrous murders than to do it as a giant lizard?

And things get more murder with his second mode, a dragon/dinosaur thing.

OK so technically this is Snapdragon’s worst mode. His articulation extends to his tiny arms, his legs,  a bit of neck movement and his torso doesn’t tab as securely as I would like…but I don’t care. He looks fantastic. And getting him to this mode is probably the most fun. How the fuselage becomes his tail and how you plug the titans master into the top of the dino head to great the lower jaw. Ok yes, it’s not the most cohesive head ever, but it works. Can’t you just see this thing being driven by an evil Power Ranger?

So yeah. Snapdragon is good. Buy him. No higher praise I can give really. And as a bonus, it makes that Apeface you bought worth it since they look really good together.

Earthrise Leader Doubledealer Review

It took me a while to figure out how to start this review. Mainly because I’m out of practice. Usually, I would talk about the character for a bit and make a joke, but honestly? Doubledealer is kind of a non-entity. He’s had precisely three toys in his thirty years, and the previous one to this was a repaint of the worst Blitzwing toy. I owned it, cos I like the character’s concept. A mercenary playing both factions? That’s a fun idea. However, that toy was godawful. So as soon as this new version got announced I sold it on. Good luck with those shoulders whoever the hell I sold it to!

Thing is, aside from the concept there’s pretty much fuck all to know about Doubledealer. His most prominent role is in the Japanese Masterforce cartoon, and that’s not even him! He’s a suit of armour of a blue-haired orphan with an inferiority complex.  And then we had him in IDW where he got beaten by a magic 8-ball (who later turned out to be one of the Transformer’s gods…sort of, but still).

But after all that I just decided to sit down and write because I need to get this done and back into writing as a whole.

So, we have the first “proper” leader of the Siege/Earthrise line. Ok yes, we had Astrotrain, Prime, Shockwave etc, but they were Voyagers with bits of armour or boxes. While there’s a little bit of that with Doubledealer because of his accessories, but he has enough mass to him to feel like a leader class. His bot mode is rather lovely, featuring colours you don’t see much in the franchise melded together to make a brick wall of a robot armed to the gills with weaponry and a good amount of articulation to boot. Hell, he even has wrist swivels. The only real point of contention elbows could have done with being tighter, as there are many reports he can barely hold his giant gun. Mine can hold it fine in his right arm, but not the left.

As for his gimmick, well it works. See way back in the far-off year of 1988, Doubledealer had three modes. An autoboot robot mode, a Decepticon bird mode, and a “neutral” ICBM launcher mode (which is a weird way to describe a mobile nuke launcher). Those were accessed by his two Powermaster partners, a Decepticon bat and a Not-Rumble/Frenzy. Since you know, complicated parts like that would probably make this guy cost like £100 at least in today’s economy, Doubledealer now accomplishes the same with hinges on his shoulders

Yeah, I tend to put his as a Con because due to his bulk, colours and weaponry, he doesn’t scream Autobot. And this is even taking guys like Roadbuster into consideration. And I’m glad they did this, allowing him to be a Bot or Con in robot mode rather than his original incarnations way.

Speaking of awkward segues, let’s talk about his Powermaster partners Knok and Skar! Because they’re back! If you shelled out £25+ for a pack of 4 sub-legends class toys because dammit you want Rumble (FIRRIB FOR LIFE!) for your Soundwave.

Yeah, that’s about all you can say. They’re fine for bots that turn into rectangles. Just like the rest of the Soundwave tape guys. Though speaking of Soundwave, Doubledealer managed to steal his schtick, as his chest opens up allowing you to stick one of his little buddies there for storage, or to flip around and display him like a Powermaster. He even features a small engine block which you can stick on little guys pegs for that later 80’s nostalgia. Still it only really works with Knok, as he is the same colour as Doubledealer’s chest since he pretty much was the bot mode chest back then. Also at least on mine Skar seems just that bit too small to fit securely.

As for his other modes. Well, they’re fun! But they’re kind of a pain to get to. Transforming his torso for both modes is fine, but his goddamn legs are annoying. For both modes you have to fart on with his double-jointed knees, positioning them just right so they line up with slots. However getting to vulture mode is the most pain in the arse way, because you have to sort of fold the knees in on themselves so a tab on the bottom of one joint can slide into a tab on the other joint and if you don’t get the knees in just the right position to allow this, it feels like you’re going to break the damn things.

And after all, that, are the results worth it? Kind of!

OK, this is one daft looking vulture, what with the front half of an ICBM launcher hanging off his arse…but it works. I dunno, it’s just stupid looking but weirdly nice at the same time. Sure, his articulation is limited to his toes, wings and head but it’s just a daft piece of fun.

And yes, you can store his missile on his crotch so he has the big bird dick if you want.

As for the ICBM mode, honestly, it’s a great mode in both transport and launcher mode, although the way his head is kinda just sticking out the back looking up makes the disguise a little daft. The rear ramp also allows you to connect him to other Earthrise bases and/or robots who turn into bits of a road for reasons.

I like Doubledealer, despite his problems. Yes, he’s got some loose joints, his transformation is finicky. He’s also technically a partsformer, but I’ve found myself softening on that now as long as it’s done OK and doesn’t involve taking the robot apart and putting it back together again. His concept is a fun one, and I’m glad they went with the robot mode allowing him to have both factions rather than being some sort of weird reverse Punch/Counter-Punch gimmick.

Transformers Energon Ultra Megatron Review

So, I recently did a poll on my twitter of four figures to review. After the results came in, two were tied. I chose one to do…then wrote this one instead.

Could a career in politics be far behind?

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So yeah, it’s another Robot Revolt Retro Review. I got this guy a while ago in an old nerd shop, not realising it was sun-damaged. I tried to paint it but it did not work. After buying a missing accessory on eBay cheap I shoved him at the back of my Megatron shelf…until a junker one was being sold for cheap. One hasty Paypal payment later I own a slightly knackered but non-sun-damaged toy and a knackered Armada Galvatron which I honestly forgot where I put it already. Two hours of careful disassembly and reassembling later, I have one very nice condition Ultra Megatron from Energon!

A show I hate.

Yes, it’s well established I make poor financial decisions.

Anywho, so Energon Megatron then. He’s certainly a weird beast. I’ve previously said I like certain anime-esque features on my TF’s, and you can’t get more anime than this. Strictly speaking, this guy is somewhere around the region of your modern voyager in terms of pricing at the time it was on sale. Though this particular version is a smaller version of the mahoosive leader class and still has all the same features. The main one being the smaller version of his Armada tank mode which works as his fusion cannon, the holder of his sword, houses all the electronics and a spring-loaded missile (which I don’t have because they’ve all been eaten by everyone’s 5-year-old) And yet he pretty much dwarfs any recent Leader toy in terms of mass. And features electronic sounds! Well, two sound anyway, as his sword clangs when plugged into the tank.  Couple that which the bland yet good colour scheme, based on G1 Galvatron’s toy, and you get a very unique Megatron.

Pity he has all the articulation of someone who’s broken at least one bone in every limb.

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Yeah, whereas this guy is made of some damn nice plastic and features ratchet in all of his joints…it has almost zero ability to pose decently. Yeah he has a load of ratchet joints, but they’re quite usless because the guy is so back-heavy it makes posing him a bugger. I think this is something that a lot of people who miss “the good old days” of Transformers, they couldn’t pose for shit. Hell, this guy’s previous incarnation in Armada didn’t even have knees…and he was the only one in that line. Meanwhile, this guy’s knees are almost useless.

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Transforming this guy is pretty fun though, which bits that slide, rotate and click leaving you with either a spaceship or the world’s most pissed off swan.

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Yes, it is daft but I love it for that. It looks like a ship from a shoot-em-up game like R-Type that I’m really bad at. This is only enhanced as it has another feature. HYPER MODE.

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This is daft but I like it, you can do it in robot mode as well but it doesn’t change much except make his backpack take up even more shell space.

So…what do I make of Energon Megatron then? I like it, but I find it hard to put my finger on why. Perhaps it’s just because it’s so different to almost every other Megatron I own. Is it good? By today’s standard, not really. But he seems to have some undefinable quality to him.

Either that or I’m such a Megatron fanboy I’ll buy anything with his name slapped on.

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Transformers Armada Deluxe Thrust Review

So, does anyone remember Transformers Armada fondly? I do, in a way. It’s what made me aware that Transformers was still a thing back when I was a kid, and through it, I got into the fandom. I took a while to really deep dive into it as I was, unfortunately, part of the Sonic fandom back then.

Yes, it is exactly as bad as you think it is.

Anyway, it’s also where I remember why I liked the Decepticons a lot more than the Autobots. Sure, the Decepticons were always fighting each other and a good chunk of them had the combined I.Q. of a blade of grass, but they had personality. OK perhaps not the deepest personalities, but they were still a load better than the Autobots. I find it a shame we haven’t had more revisits to it in the Generations line. I would sell my sister’s soul for a new Demolishor toy (and for them to spell his sodding name right). Man, this has got me all nostalgic. How about we do a Robot Revolt Retro Review of let’s have a look back at one of my favourite toys from the line? Thrust.

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Ah yes, Thrust. Cybertron’s most brilliant tactician…who I don’t think ever won a fight? But he stood out from the cons visually, with his slightly more subdued colours and a unique silhouette, topped off with a head that was more squid than cone. Still, he manages to pull it off, and I keep forgetting this guy has his roots in being Starscream recolour number six.

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He does have some rather…odd design elements though. Yes, the hands are dumb as hell but I like their concept. I imagine him using them as flamethrowers or for using bursts of acceleration to blast around the battlefield in something akin to robot capoeira.  Certainly, more useful than the fiction fire missile launchers in his knees that only point at his own feet and cause problems with pretty much any pose. I guess he’s got his spring-loaded missile launching Min-Con partner Inferno for fire support. I personally wouldn’t like to be backed up by someone that looks like a cross between a toucan and Colonel Klink but there you are.

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God, Armada was fucking weird, wasn’t it? I mean the toys were all essentially squares with horrible articulation. They sacrificed pretty much everything for the Mini-Con gimmicks and it wasn’t always worth it.  With guys like Megatron who had loads of electronic sounds and other bits, you could forgive the fact his legs didn’t move. Then you have guys like Hotshot who sacrificed everything to get a shitty missile launching gimmick. Thrust kinda falls somewhere between the two, he has plenty of useful articulation and a terrible gimmick. Behold his assault mode!

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Yeah, this is a stupid gimmick. The “shield” keeps getting stuck on the none removable missiles launchers.

Why did I like this toy again?

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Oh yeah that’s the good shit.r

Thrust becomes a stylised F-35 and I love it. It’s a very smooth jet mode from a toyline where most of the jets were bricks with tiny wings on. He even has a nice little platform for Inferno to sit on. The transformation is fairly fun too, tucking the legs away neatly and a rather unique way of hiding the head. No clearly visible robot head for this guy.

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So yeah, I like this toy. It’s holds up a lot better better than most of his contemporaries. Be nice if he got a new version of this Seeker that wasn’t exclusive to Japan with a bunch of toys I didn’t want.

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War for Cybertron: Siege Deluxe Spinister

There was just something about the first volume of IDW comics wasn’t there? Sure, it took a while to get going, but when it did it made us look at established characters in a new way, introduced some wonderful relationships, and in the case of the Scavengers, introduced people to some characters for the first time. OK yes I mean you may have known Krok existed, but aside from the fact he was an Action Master could you tell me anything else about him pre IDW? Thought not.

For me, the Scavengers were a breath of fresh air. They weren’t big-name Decepticons trying to murder their way to peace, they were a bunch of nobodies who were just trying to survive and bumbling their way through life. I think a lot of first-generation millennials can identify with that. And then we got toys of the buggers to boot! First, we got Misfire and Krok in Titans Return and in Siege we got Skytread/Flywheels and the subject of today’s review, Spinister, the idiot savant (emphasis on the idiot) surgeon of the Scavengers. Able to repair brain damage that would give Ratchet chance to pause, and yet able to be distracted by a laser pointer.

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Spinister’s robot mode is gorgeous. Yeah, the colours are not your typical dark Con colours but the pink purple and blue make him pop. And that face sculpt is sublime, the eyes and blue-green faceplate really stand out against the black helmet. I’m glad they went with a yellow for the eyes as it makes them stand out more than his original toys blue and gives him another colour to the mix of beautiful bullshit this scheme is. That combined with Siege’s wonderful articulation make this one of my favourite deluxe toys of the line, and an improvement on this still rather good Botcon version he got of the TF2010 Tomahawk mould.

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He doesn’t have much in the way of accessories, coming with two guns that resemble his G1 target masters, which I prefer to double up. But he could have come with nothing and still be my fave. Before I get into the transformation, I gotta say I love the way they handled his rotors here. Most chopper-formers have them either hanging off an arm or just kinda there on their back. Using a bit of the alt-modes vehicle detail and a small hole in his back allows Spinister’s robot to stand proud and strong as Primus intended.

And that transformation, wow. Honestly, I feel Spinister’s conversion is to chopper-formers what Triggerhappy’s was to jets. There’s a lot more to it thank you think but it’s weirdly simple and effective at the same time. The funny thing about it was that when he was first revealed and everyone saw the double cockpit legs (a throwback to his original G1 toy) everyone, myself included, was like “Oh how the hell does that work? Where does the other cockpit go?”,

It goes underneath. Yeah, we should have figured that out.

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OK so since I was a kid, I have fucking LOVED the Apache attack helicopter. It’s an ugly piece of shit but that doesn’t matter. It is designed to do a job and that job is to blow things up. It’s why I also love the A-10 Warthog. I mean sure I like your hi-tech fighters like your Raptors and Typhoons, but there’s just something about military vehicles that look like blunt instruments that do it for me. So, for Spinister to give us my favourite brick of a helicopter and give it such wonderfully horrible colours is a weirdly specific dream. And it’s not actually that bad of a representation of an Apache either, with the arms becoming the turbines and the decently accurate back end, and the cockpit of course.  It’s just wonderful and brilliant and other positive adjectives.

I’m having a hard time thinking of negatives for this guy, aside from some minor issues getting the hidden cockpit tabbed in chopper mode, and how I’m fairly certain his left bot mode foot sits slightly higher than his right, but that could just me how I have him stood…multiple times. I suppose you could count how his hands are just kinda there in copter mode as well, but aside from that, there’s really nothing.

I suppose the worst part is that we still haven’t got a new official Crankcase yet and I doubt we’re gonna get a Fulcrum, so I fear my Scavengers crew will never be properly complete. But then again, I never thought we’d get Spinister to begin with so fingers crossed. I’m happy with Spinister and I’m sure his fellow losers will too.

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War for Cybertron Siege Leader Astrotrain.

So, Astrotrain then? He’s a weird guy. He’s one of those legacy characters who are popular despite not really doing much in the original pieces of media from the ’80s.  Yeah, he had an episode of the cartoon where he managed to convince a bunch of aliens he was a god, but I think I put that more down to their isolation and gullibility rather than his intelligence. I mean he also tried to take over the Decepticons with a bunch of trains. Not transforming trains. Just regular trains. So yeah, intelligence isn’t his strong suit.

After that his most notable accomplishment was Galvatron getting his name wrong in the IDW comics. But we love him regardless. Because he’s a Decepticon triple changer with the coolest alt-modes out of the lot of ‘em. A space shuttle AND a steam train? Yes please!

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For the longest time though he always seemed to get kinda shafted in toy form after his original toy. The concept was always compromised by size or design. The Classics mould had a decent shuttle mode but was happened by kibble in other modes. The Titans Return toy has a great robot mode…but the alt-modes suffered from weird design choices such as quashing the shuttle mode and stretching what you could convince people a train was. But it was decent enough in bot mode that people were mostly happy to say “Yeah that’ll do as my main Astrotrain even if the colours aren’t right unless I wanna fork out for the Japanese release.” Mainly cos he was a decent size.

But then along comes Siege with the best goddamn Astrotrain in years! In the right colours! And in the leader size class! And there is nothing wrong with him!

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So yeah, let’s get it out the way. Siege Astrotrain is another one of these “leaders” like Shockwave and Ultra Magnus where’s the main toy is a voyager and he gets extra bits. Ultra Magnus had his normal armour, Shockwave got a surfboard that became some actually cool armour in robot mode and turned his “totally not and laser-gun” alt-mode into a damn good-looking battleship.

Astrotrain gets a box that turns into boots and a backpack. Oh, and LOT of guns, that can also combine into one mean BFG.

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Yeah, this is where all that extra plastic went. You could have gotten a bigger one if say they only gave him one gun instead, but honestly, I don’t mind him at his normal size. He frankly looks so good, and as hinted at in the second image, due to how he’s constructed there’s almost no hollowness to him, making him solid as hell. He also has far more articulation than any other Astrotrain toy, including a waist swivel and ankle-tilts.  Plus, the box has other uses, but more on that later.

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I like the shuttle mode. It looks like his G1 toy/cartoon self, boxy fuselage and all, but beefier and mode robust.  Yeah, the back end is a little skeletal but you always gotta sacrifice something in a triple changer. And honestly, the transformation is pretty fun, with some nice intricacies like how the arms become the rear and connect to the boosters and keep the tail fin in place. It’s fun and looks like it’s cartoons elf, which I’m not usually needing but I’ll take it here. Like the bot mode, it features a whole load of ports so you can stick the guns all over him and make the world’s deadliest shuttle. Or you can store them in the box, which can also become a makeshift launchpad, but it looks a bit doofy so I didn’t bother taking any pics.

But honestly? The best mode is the train mode.

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I love the train mode. I love the detailing; I also love how this makes no goddamn sense as his Cybetronian mode. But it’s big, purple, and girthy. Yes, I know how that sounds and I don’t care. It just works so goddamn well. Plus, you know that box of his? It can be used as a goddamn tender!

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I have no idea why this excites me so much, but it just does. It looks fantastic. Plus, since this mode doesn’t feature as many weapon ports as the shuttle mode adding the tender means you have enough to make the DEATH TRAIN.

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So yeah, he’s short because he has a box, but I love this guy. He’s easily made it into my top ten figures of 2019 right at the buzzer. It’d be nice if he wasn’t so short but what we get in lieu of his size makes up for it. Buy him.

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Mastermind Creations Kultur, aka Big Tarn.

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Magic Square Space Skimming Review

So, after reviewing a 3rd Party Cyclonus, what should I review next? I ask twitter.

They said a different 3rd party Cyclonus so here we are.

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So as previously mentioned in my Iron Factory Dubhe/Tarn review, the Legends size class has become another battleground for companies to fight in, as people start running out of room for multiple versions of a Masterpiece Megatron. The main two I am aware of are, of course, Iron Factory, who dabble almost exclusively in the size class, and DX9 who are mainly known for their Masterpiece scale stuff. Magic Square is a relative newcomer on the scene, starting in the Legends before recently going in for the Masterpiece scale with their cartoon accurate Optimus Prime mould and making an impression. I wasn’t really aware of them previously, but then I saw their Cyclonus, or rather their “Space Skimming,” I jumped at it. And for his size, he (mostly) doesn’t disappoint. Especially in robot mode.

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Honestly, this guy has no business look as good as he does in bot mode. He seems to get the cartoon proportions right. His main purple plastic is a little bluer than I’d like, but it does seem fairly close to the movie and animation model they were going for. I like the face with its little painted goatee. In fact, most of the paint is done really well, and I can’t find a single smudge or buggered up bit anywhere.  In addition, he has some gorgeous red light piping for his eyes. Honestly, there’s not a lot to say apart from “he looks good.”

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He also trumps pretty much any non-Masterpiece Cyclonus (official or not) in terms of articulation as well. While his head is on a simple swivel, all the essential stuff is here. Arm swivel, (slightly loose) waist swivel, shoulders, elbows, thigh rotation etc. But he also manages to throw in slight ankle title and an ab crunch. What this means is that he can out-dab his contemporaries quite easily.

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He is rather lacking in accessories, only coming with a single gun, but you can tell the budget was well spent elsewhere for this guy.

Not really on the vehicle mode though…

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Well in fairness at this size there’s only so much you can do with a non-standard jet mode, but he does seem to have sacrificed a lot for the bot mode. DX9’s smaller legends class Cyclonus is technically a worse toy because it has less articulation, a less involved transformation and doesn’t look as close to the G1 character as this guy does, but the jet mode feels far better because it’s a lot more cohesive. I mean, look at these two and tell me which one is the more convincing jet?

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The weirdest thing for me though Is that the cockpit seems rather large and out of proportion with the rest of him. Aside from that, it’s a half-decent effort. Just unfortunate that there’s nowhere to store his gun. The transformation itself is fairly good, though his shoulders can be a bit of a fiddle sometimes if you’re not careful. But then again considering the range of motion they allow him in bot mode, I think it’s more than worth the extra one second of attention you might need to pay to them.

Overall if you want a good Legends sized Decepticon, Space Skimming is a good choice that won’t break the bank. I got him for £22 on eBay and I think he was very much worth it.

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Mastermind Creations Boreas Review

The last few reviews I’ve done have been focusing on characters I’ve liked since I first discovered the Transformers franchise, aka Megatron, Shockwave, Soundwave, and Starscream. Cyclonus is a somewhat more recent favourite. I’ve always like his design, but something about the James Roberts More Than Meets the Eye version of the character made me start going out of my way for Cyclonus toys. Even going so far as to order a 3rd party version of the character. As one of the breakout characters from the series, it’s great to have a representation of this version of Cyclonus.

Pity the toy ain’t that great of a representation.

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Boreas comes from Mastermind Creations and is there quasi-sorta Masterpiece interpretation of the character. And well, he’s kind of a weird one. See Mastermind Creations, instead of strictly adhering to a specific G1 aesthetic tries to put their own spin on characters. It sometimes works and doesn’t. Case in point, their Terminus Hexatron, aka Masterpiece-esque Sixshot, is a great figure. The over the top details works really well for that guy and he is one of my favourite figures.

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ANY WAY, here on Boreas…well it doesn’t really work with his normal head. See I modded figure because the default head has a very G1 head which also has two horns. And quite frankly it looks kinda plain and just doesn’t go with this arguably over-designed body. On the other hand, the alternative IDW V1 head looks better, but only comes with one horn, which makes it look just off. I know this was the look Cyclonus sported for a good while in the comics, but neither “normal” head looked right to me. Please see these images by Starcream’s Toast over at Gear4Geeks for his review on behalf of Kapow Toys for what I mean, cos I couldn’t be bothered digging out the normal head from the box.

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Essentially I had to disassemble the heads, cut some plastic away to allow me to replace the faces, and it works so much better like this for me. The samurai/daemon head works far better and should have been the default version if you ask me. Hell, his hands are even sculpted as claws like in the comics! Considering the amount of detailing and the bloody comics sword he comes with, I honestly feel this was designed to be an IDW Cyclonus and then they bunged the G1 head on for…reasons? He just looks so much better when modded.

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Now that we have his face sorted out, let’s talk about the rest of the figure. From the front, he looks good. He’s tall, lanky and slightly alien. I know the sci-fi greebles and detail won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it works for him. I just wish he was a deeper shade of purple. While the light blue/purple he has going on here is fine, I just prefer a slightly darker breed of resurrected Seeker/Insecticon corpse.

However, problems start at his shoulders, which are just badly designed. They move down the body during transformation, but they don’t actually lock in for robot mode, meaning they feel loose and can make posing a pain. They do have some nubs and recesses to help this, but they don’t work very well. The shoulders also have a tendency to be blocked by his head and backpack, depending on the angle. Speaking of which, I’m also not a fan of his back, mainly because there’s no way to have his wings folded outwards and not make it look kinda daft. The closest I can get is to have them like I do here, set out flat and pointing up. Meanwhile, the “official” way is to have them pointing down. You can also store the sword on his back thanks to magnets, which is nice.

To be blunt, the backpack reminds me of every single version of Silverbolt, aka a robot that wears a jet on his back. But without the excuse of being a combiner torso.

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Articulation wise he is very good, featuring everything from rotating wrist, double bends at his knees and elbows, (slight) ankle tilts, bicep swivels etc. Throw his included Sword int the mix and you can get some good sword fighting/fencing poses. Perfect for dated jokes.

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There is ONE big pitfall of one point of articulation, but we’ll get to that after we have a look at the jet mode which is beautiful but fraught with danger.

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The jet mode looks sleek and dangerous and is one of my favourite things about the toy. He takes the tall lanky nature of Boreas and kinda squashes it out to give him an impressive wingspan. The colours work and then you get stuff like his knees becoming jet boosters and it’s lovely.

However, despite it being one of my favourite things about the toy, I always have a knot in my stomach when transforming him, because THIS is where the fairly well-known problem with this toy and its other versions (Death’s Head and Lockdown) comes up.

His waist snaps like a Kit Kat.

This is actually my second toy. As the waist on mine broke within a day of owning it. The guys at Kapow swapped it with no hassle but this is where I found out this is a known issue with the toy. Basically, when you transform him the legs end up on top and tab into the fuselage. HOWEVER, if you don’t do it 100% correct you cause an issue where the legs pull on the tiny fucking waist joint and after maybe 5 transformations it’s just gonna snap the waist and then you have two halves of a Cyclonus and a dent in your bank account.

So, you have a few choices. Practice getting it 100% right, only for the thing to break anyway, never transform him, or miss-transform him slightly so that the legs don’t fold fully and don’t sit 100% flush with the fuselage and cause the boosters on his knee to point down slightly. The latter is the least bad option as seen in the pics.

This guy actually turned me off Mastermind Creations other stuff, as I don’t want to pay a large amount of cash for something to just break. He’s also kind of indicative of criticism of MMC I’ve seen pop up every now and then. They seem to focus on making a mould then making it into as many characters as possible, rather than making a good mould itself. That kind of philosophy can lead to things like missing these big problems with the waist. I mean, repaints are fine and all, but you gotta make sure the thing works.

Still, despite all the issues and having to do some work to get him looking “right,” I do find myself liking Boreas. But I must stress you gotta be careful with this bugger. That said he’s still easier to get a hold of than the Maketoys Tailgate that came with a kit that made your deluxe Generations Cyclonus an IDW one. And you can get him for roughly the same price. I got mine from Kapow Toys for less than £60 in a sale, but I wouldn’t say he’s worth more than that.  For those that have the extra cash you’ve also got FansToys Quietus with its accessories to make him the comics version if you so choose, but if your budget doesn’t stretch that far this guy could probably fill that space in your collection.

Basically, Boreas is for people who like Porsches but buy the Boxster cos they can’t afford or don’t want to put the money down for the 911.

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