Wednesday, 15 January 2014

MMC Fortis Review

mastermind creations fortis review

Bovis is the 2nd of Mastermind Creations Feral Cons to be released, though was originally intended to be the 5th. MMC bumped him forward, and delayed the others in order to make a couple of changes to them. It makes sense, as the only other one that is out, is Bovis and he is pretty much the same figure - so the mold did not really need changing.

I put a review of Bovis up recently, so please read that for more thoughts on the mold. As it is, I will speed through this one, as there is not a great deal off difference.

A disclaimer is necessary though. I had a real hard time reviewing this figure, trying to find new things to say about it, whilst trying not to be critical of how similar it is to the previous figure. Bits have bee rewritten, deleted, changed, started again - so it may not be as coherent as I would like, and I apologise in advance.

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

Robot Mode
mastermind creations fortis robot

Fortis is MMC's attempt at Headstrong, and is a very good figure in his own right. He will suffer from being the next figure in the line after Bovis, and essentially being the same figure, but he is still a wonderful toy.

He is a huge, chunky yellow and red robot, with lots of spiky bits. Straight away, again like Bovis, he looks mean and like he would do very well in a brawl.

mastermind creations fortis head

Unlike Bovis, he has a very nice red and yellow colour scheme. It works beautifully, and really helps to separate him from his twin. Red and yellow always go together well, but they contrast in a way that ensures no designs get lost. The black arms, hands, legs and feet also help to make it almost look as if there is a black frame underneath, and the red and yellow bits are chunky armour pieces. I love this, as it does make the whole design flow, whereas the original was red and yellow from  the waist up, but completely black from the waist down. It was a large contrast, whereas this feels less jarring.

The first change, is the the obviously different chest. At first glance, it looks like a whole new chest but it is actually just a new piece stuck on over the same chest as Bovis. This is not an issue, as it looks great and integrates seamlessly - you can only really tell if you are looking.
Such as if you are taking lots of pictures and reviewing them...

Lastly, the panels just above his feet now have a more lined/vent look to them - where Bovis had little silver triangles there. This is only a small change, but its very effective.

The final change, is the head.

At first glance, it looks the same as Bovis's head, and that is because they are really similar. Fortis has a grill on his forehead, and that's about it.

I think the expression is also different, but its so subtly different that its hard to tell - and I have both figures stood in front of me!

The heads on the original figures were very almost the same, so it does work, but at the same time it would have been nice if they could have differentiated them a bit more.

Its a running theme, only very subtle changes from his mold mate, but they are enough to make the figure feel different.

mmc fortis guns

Now this is where things get completely different.

It sounds funny to say that, whilst then going on to say that like Bovis he comes with 2 dagger weapons. But they are very different to the ones that come with Bovis. For a start they appear to be designed to be held upside down, and then they have extra knives going up the entire blade and handle. Its like a shiv, that's how dark this figure is!

They feature a slot on their hilts, which I assume will be for when they combine with the other Feral Con's weapons to form the huge sword for Feral Rex (Predaking!)

Fortis also comes with 2 cannons, that look more like vintage camera's. The barrels extend out, and I think these also combine to form Feral Rex's large arm cannon.

They are not really guns he can hold, but they do fit into the array of peg holes on his arms and legs.

Everything he comes with, fits with making him feel like a close quarters combatant.

One thing I missed from the Bovis review, was that they both come with slots on their backs to store their weapons - in this case Fortis daggers.

mmc mastermind creations fortis bovis

He does come with the other foot for Feral Rex, and like Bovis, it can also attach to his back. He is perfectly balanced, so he can stand with it attached, without toppling.

If you want to get creative, he can wield it as a giant dual cannon device, or a surfboard....but that's just me standing him on it.

mastermind creations fortis weapons

It is very hard not to judge Fortis robot mode, based on it being so similar to Bovis. But that does it an injustice, as it is a fantastic figure by itself. If it had been released first, we would be saying all the same things - but the other way around.

So he does suffer for it.

Alt Mode
mastermind creations fortis

Fortis turns into a bright red and yellow robot Rhino, and looks a bit like a brick on legs.

Its a very squat, strong and tough looking beast mode and captures Tantrum nicely enough.

mastermind creations fortis bovis

What is clever here, is that the default transformation for Fortis involves not twisting him the waist, giving him a different look to Bovis.
This is a very intelligent bit of design on MMC's part as it requires no remolding, but ends up looking excellent. It gives him a much needed distinguishing feature, to make not just look like a different coloured Bovis.

You can also transform Bovis in this way if you wish, but I personally think it looks better on Fortis.

mastermind creations fortis

Other than the colours, and slightly altered transformation the only real difference is the beast mode head.

Fortis has a whole new head piece, that looks like a very angry Space Rhino. The horn is made from a sharp bit of plastic, so be careful or you might lose an eye.

mastermind creations fortis rhino

The mouth of the beast mode does open (I don't think I mentioned this on the Bovis review), but as you can see - it makes the robot mode face plainly visible. For pure comedic effect though, this gets top marks.

If you open the mouth only slightly, you get a decent look, and cannot see the faces, but I like that it looks like a robot has been almost swallowed whole by some crazed beast.

mastermind creations fortis combiner foot

You can seriously tool him up in alt mode, as every weapon attaches to him somewhere. He then becomes a Rhino of war.

The Combiner foot attaches to his back, but owing to the transformation it mounts further forward. Its another clever way to separate Fortis and Bovis, and it looks pretty cool. The knives and cannons mount on peg holes on the side, and look sort of silly, but awesome at the same time.

mastermind creations fortis

The foot mode is achieved in exactly the same way, there is absolutely no difference.

You get him most of the way into alt mode, then connect him to the foot plate via 2 peg holes on the insides of his legs.

Side by side, the feet look brilliant, and really help to give you a sense of just how awesome and massive this thing is going to be once its complete.

Its hard not to judge Fortis, based on Bovis. Taken as a completely separate figure, then he is awesome. But he is not a completely individual figure, he is supposed to be part of a Combiner and its that, which brings him down a little.
One of the most important features of the G1 Combiners, was that they were unique, individual characters who combined into one larger robot. They all had completely different robot and alt modes - but with a unifying theme of whichever team they were part of. Here, Fortis and Bovis are almost identical figures, with very few differences.

Fortis is just too similar to Bovis. If they could have maybe made the lower legs, or the shoulders different as well, then maybe it would have been better.

It seems really odd to be saying that such a great figure is really disappointing, but its purely on the back of it being so similar to the one before it. It loses something, which is what brings about the disappointment. If Fortis had come out later in the line, then maybe it would have felt better as it would have put some distance between him and Bovis, and given you another experience with a figure from the group in the mean time. As it is, we have got the 2 most similar figures right from the start, so its dampened my enthusiasm to a degree.

During Energon, Hasbro released combiners with multiple limbs that were the same and they were a disaster. Obviously, this is nowhere near that bad and makes a perfect limb unlike Hasbro's attempt, but it does feel like something has been lost.

When Hasbro are knocking out repaints for around £10, you can let it slide a little but when a 3rd party is doing it at £65+ - then it is harder to be quite so forgiving.

I have to recommend him though, as I have been at pains to say how good a figure he is, and how important he is to the Feral Rex Combiner.

It feels really odd, to on one be so critical, but on the other actually really like the figure. Whereas Bovis was a brand new experience, and a spectacular start to the group - Fortis just feels like more of the same.
Which is crazy, as he is such an amazing figure in his own right.

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