Sunday, 12 January 2014

MMC Bovis Review

Mastermind Creations having been slowly knocking out their 3rd party Feral Cons, which are updated versions of the original Generation 1 Predacon's.

Slowly is not an understatement, as the whole project was announced well over a year ago and pre orders up not long after. Bovis was finally released in October, whilst Fortis (the not Headstrong was pushed forwards to November, but then delayed until December. Leo Dux (not Razorclaw) was moved forwards to December, but has since been delayed until March (that is ages!)

So you can see, MMC are not shy in delaying their figures. I can't really criticise them for it, as if it results in better figures, then its got to be a good thing. When you are dealing with such expensive, collector driven pieces - you have to get it right. Thankfully MMC have embraced the online communities, and scored a lot of brownie points a long the way.

        Photo Courtesy of Lazyaza on TFW2005

The Feral Cons combine into Feral Rex (or will eventually), who is their version of Predaking. As you can see from the photo above, he looks amazing, which is why fans are literally salivating at the thought of getting all the figures for this guy. I have never been so excited for a set of figures, even if the wait is long (with many a winding road...zing.)

I got Bovis back in October, but never got round to doing a review of him due to forgetting he was even there. So when Fortis finally landed last week, I decided to do a joint review seeing as they are both almost exactly the same figure.

Doing this did not work so well, so I decided to just review them both separately.

So here is my long overdue review of the spectacular Bovis, Mastermind Creations version of the G1 Predacon - Tantrum.

Hit "READ FULL REVIEW" below, to see the complete review, and photo's, after the jump

Robot Mode

Bovis looks ace. When you first take him out of the box, its really surprising just how big he is and how much heft there is too him. Its the sort of quality you wish Takara were able to pull off with their Masterpieces, but then they are £35 toys, whilst Bovis is a £65+ figure.

He very strongly evokes Tantrum, whilst looking updated and displaying his own character.

You can see in this picture, how I forget to position his side skirts (those bits on the waist) downwards. This is like a signature thing of MMC's, and they seem to include it on ever figure. It looks alright, and was a bit of a novelty on Hexatron, but after a while they just start to get in the way. I suspect that the main reason they are there on these figures is to bulk out the waist a little, as without them the waist would be very skinny indeed.

One of the obvious things about Bovis, is how superior he is to the original Tantrum toy. Not just in articulation and modern engineering - but in looks.

G1 Tantrum's robot mode was a mostly dreadful looking toy with odd proportions, and just a very strange feel to it.

Bovis has excellent proportions, and looks like he really wants to hurt you - he just looks so mean and stocky. The original bot was not very menacing, so MMC upped their game and made Bovis ultra menacing. Just look at the figure, it looks like it wants to fight with you.

MMC also changed a few things from the original design, to make him his own bot. He now looks more almost Road Warrior-esque, with lots of spikes and pointy bits. Bovis looks like he wants to get up close and personal, when it comes to fighting, which I suppose fits the Predacons.

There is far more orange than in the original toy, but it works nicely, along with more red and grey - which also add a nice bit of variety to things.

The chest area has some great silver detailing, with the grill replicating the one from the G1 figure. Nicely, they even included a space to stick on a Decepticon symbol, which is handy as it definitely feels like its missing.

Poseability has not been forgotten, and Bovis comes ready to be posed in any way you want him to destroy Autobots.

The only restrictions are that his arm cannot go fully straight, due the bit the beast mode leg is attached to. But you won't really notice this. His shoulder armour also blocks outward movement, but MMC have thought of this, and there is a joint that opens outwards for foot mode, which can give you that extra bit of articulation if you need it.

So much effort has gone into this figure, that he can even balance well on one leg - the feet even have an extra hinge to give even more posing options.

The QC is almost flawless, and I only say almost as the net rage has kicked up a small storm about a smushed elbow. See, on Bovis right elbow, the gears can get crunched a little, due to a small tab. Its happened on mine, but its not something you would notice without really looking (my eyesight is pretty terrible right now), and does not affect anything - at least on mine. Obviously you are paying a small fortune for a 3rd party figure, so you expect perfect, but its not a big issue. Plus, MMC have said they are including replacement arms for Bovis and Fortis, with Talon (not Divebomb) and Tigris (not Rampage). Which is nice of them.

The head perfectly matches the G1 design, with the upturned animal head, and face sticking out of the jaw. The bull horns give him a terrifying demonic look, and you can only think he would be the sort of guy Autobots would have nightmares about.

However the face has been updated and feels like something that would have come from the Marvel comics. You can see on mine, there is random blob on his lip, that makes him look like he has got a spot.

It is probably just some excess paint, but you cannot see it unless you are really looking. I had not even noticed it, until I took that photo.

The box refers to him as "The Supply Specialist", so he comes supplied with plenty of weapons. I know the Predacons are supposed to be an elite Commando unit, but this is overdoing it!

He comes with 2 hand guns, and 2 sharp daggers. They are so sharp and mean, they even have spikes on the handles - terrifying.

Whilst the pistols slot into his hands with ease, the same cannot be said for the daggers. There have been plenty of reports of stress marks, or snapped handles, on the Internet and its easy to see why.

The daggers don't just slide in, they require some effort. I have found it best to leave the giant foot pegged into his hands overnight, to stretch the hands a little.
Otherwise, you have to slide them in at an angle, and then twist until they snap in. But it requires force that you may not be comfortable with, as it feels like the handles may snap.

Once in, they are very solid, but its odd that MMC designed the daggers in such a way.

The Predaking foot he comes with, can even be used as an extra artillery cannon. He is strong enough to hold it up and out facing forward, so its another demonstration of just how high quality a figure this is.

I prefer to use it as a drill though.

It can also store on the back of the figure, and amazingly he stands just fine with it on.

When Hasbro made FOC Bruticus, all of the individual bots were compromised in some way to accommodate the combined form, and even that did not come out well.

Be it due to the much higher cost of 3rd party figures, the designers genius, or not having the limitations of trying to fit everything into a $15 toy, but Bovis manages to avoid all of those problems completely. There are no combiner parts hanging off, or any compromises made to ensure Bovis forms a limb. Instead, the combiner port is hidden in his back, and you cannot see it.

Nothing is sacrificed, and we can only wish Hasbro had adopted a similar strategy with Bruticus.

Bull Mode

Bovis transforms into a mechanical Bull. (Haaaaaaaaaaaah)

The transformation is not difficult, though it does have a couple of awkward spots to it. Notably the way the feet rotate. Also, I am not sure if it is just my figure, but unplugging his hind legs to rotate them feels tougher than it should.

But once you have done it once, it ends up being very quick and easy.

He is very compact in this mode, and looks strong. He feels like a bull who would enjoy knocking down walls, or smashing into things.

Added to the heft of the actual toy, just like the bot mode, you can't help but look at Bovis and think he looks strong and powerful.

The legs have all sorts of articulation, but it does not really do much due to his alt mode. He does however have one brilliant extra, and that is neck articulation.

This is achieved by pulling the head out and it pops a neck joint upwards. Extra movement is then granted, and its a wonderful little extra touch.

Just like the original, the combiner foot can sit on his back as an artillery cannon. If you add all of his other weapons to him, it makes him look crazy.

There are 2 slots on the underside of the foot, which tab into the black tabs on Bovis rear end. Its not particularly secure, as the foot likes to jump up a little, but it still looks cool.

Overall, the Bull mode is cool, but there is not a great deal too it.

Combiner Mode

Bovis turns into a huge foot, for Feral Rex. I have put Generations Starscream into the shot, for a size reference.

Yep, the combined robot is going to be absolutely enormous.

Its a great foot mode, and the way everything folds away is very neat and tidy. Everything feels tight and secure too. I don't want to delve too deeply into it though, as I will save that for when the whole thing is complete.

Many people have Bovis as their favourite figure, or at least best 3rd party figure of last year, and its hard to disagree.

Evidently, the main event here is going to the completed Feral Rex figure. That's why we are all buying into this set, and it is how most of us will display all the figures - as one glittering, awesome, gigantic super robot.
But that does not mean Bovis is forgettable or suffers in any way, quite the opposite. Bovis is a wonderful figure in his own right, and every single part of him is done with the utmost care and attention.

That is probably the most impressive thing Mastermind Creations have achieved with Bovis, he is a great figure who stands completely by himself. Its probably the closest we are going to get a to a Masterpiece Tantrum we are going to get, at least for many years, and it more than lives up to that. This feels like a Masterpiece figure, maybe even better.

What the pictures don't convey, is just how much heft there is to Bovis. He is a heavy figure, and isn't hollow - nothing feels cheap or like it corners have been cut.
Hats off to MMC.

Bring on the rest of the Feral Cons, but just let me clear some shelf space first...

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