Sunday, 17 August 2014

Mastermind Creations Talon Review

I believe this figure was first revealed, and put up for pre-order, almost two years ago. Originally slated to be the first Feral Con released, he was delayed several times due to revisions and various other issues, and slipped back to being the 4th figure from the set to make it into fans hands.

Feral Rex is now just one member short of being completely, ready to dominate your shelves and finally give your wallet a little breather.

So after the long wait, does the figure live up to the hopes and dreams of many a collector?

Hit the jump to find out.

Bird Mode

I will start with the obvious, Talon’s wingspan is absolutely enormous. So big are they, that I had to take Talon outside to photograph him, as there was not adequate space indoors. Not that I live in a tiny box or anything, it is just hard to find somewhere to get decent lighting to take decent photo's of gigantonormous figures.

The wing's are very articulated, which each feather/blade/tip or whatever you would call them, being articulated. So you can spread them out for more dramatic shots, which works particularly well for the combined form of Feral Rex.

There are also joints where the wings connect the to the backpack that allow you fold them back or move them forward, and they can also pivot upwards, giving quite an amazing array of options.

The actual body is also pretty big, and looks like a piece of chunky plastic. Looking at it, you know it is intended to be G1 Divebomb, and looks wise they hit all of the right notes.
Almost every detail is there, but ramped up to about 852.

It is very impressive how MMC have taken the original character and completely modernised it, but in a way that it still looks spot on. In general, I lean to wanting my Transformers to look as G1 as possible, and whilst I liked Bovis and Fortis I would have preferred it if they had been a little more G1. It is the fanboy in me, I cannot help it.

But Talon takes way more from the original figure than either of the two aforementioned bots.

One area it does fall behind the original though, is where the robot arms sit in bird mode. On the original figure the arms collapsed inwards which gave the bird mode a streamlined feel, but on Talon they just fold up and peg onto the sides. It does not look bad, but you lose that sleek look that a bird of prey should have, though I don't want my Predacons to look like real Animals, I want them to look like robo beasts so it does not really bother me, and it still looks fantastic.

The back of the figure is very clean, largely owning to the huge tail, and there is no kibble or anything along those lines.

The tail is quite interesting, as if you clip the legs together it can fit perfectly over them and lock into place. That is quite a neat little bonus option, but I cannot imagine it getting much use as most people will prefer to have the legs spread out like it's dive bombing (sorry) and grabbing a hapless victim.

There are a load of peg holes here that allow you store the weapons in various ways, and if you look at the centre of the backpack you will tiny holes which is for storing Talons sniper rifle.

Also, if you have Leo Dux (which if you have this figure you most likely do) you can attach those two extra black pieces that only store in Lion mode, and form the hilt of Feral Rex's gigantic sword. For Leo Dux, there is no place for them to go in Robot mode, so it finally gives you some place to hide them, and also gives Talon extra booster engines or something.

In terms of articulation, this mode has articulated legs, claws and wings, as well as bit of a waist crunch to aid dynamic poses.
The head has quite a range of movement, with a ball jointed neck that is on a strange bit of plastic which never sits flush. This piece is designed to move out of the way so Talon's combiner port can be pulled out, but it never sits flat. It will annoy you, if you are like me, as you will spend a lot of time fiddling with it out of futility.

The head also has a hinge which allows it to fold forward and an opening beak, so you can terrorise worms in your garden with it if you wish.

When the first pictures of Talon appeared I decided to skip Feral Rex, as it did not look how the Predacon's looked in my mind. It was far too spiky and overdid that Mad Max style aesthetic that I have never been a big fan of.
The bird mode never looked quite right, and even right up until before I got it, along with Tigris it was arguably the one I was least looking forward to. What makes this crazy is that Divebomb is a toy is desperately wanted as a kid, along with Dinobot Swoop, and was never able to get.

As soon as I got Talon in hand, and transformed it, I fell in love with it and all of my pre conceived idea's were put to the sword.

Robot Mode

Transforming Talon is really simple, and by far the best experience of all of the Feral Cons. MMC have clearly learnt some lessons along the way and implemented them here, not least with the way the robot mode feet spin around a flap. This happens in much the same way as Bovis and Fortis, but you don't have to wiggle the foot round to get it just the right way to go past the flap-it is so much easier on Talon.

The whole transformation is a joy from start to end, you merely unpeg the arms, fold out the hands, open the flaps on the back of the legs, fold the legs out, spin the waist, flip the face down and you are pretty much done.

With Bovis and Fortis, I don't often transform them as it is not an enjoyable process. Talon is a completely different story and I have already transformed him more times than the other 3 Feral Cons combined. MMC's figures have always had complex transformations, I have Hextaron on a shelf and that figure has been transformed once to each mode and then left on the shelf, because it is a not a fun experience to transform. Leo Dux was a little better, but MMC have finally achieved something with Talon that 3rd parties all too often ignore in my opinion and that is a fun simple transformation that makes you want to play with the figure.

In essence, that is the whole point of owning Transformers (or transforming figures, I should say)- playing with them and enjoying them as more than just statues.

Once you get Talon into robot mode, you can marvel at just how gorgeous a figure it is. Further up, I mentioned that when I saw the first photo's, and even right up to before I got the figure in hand- it was one of the figures I was least looking forward to. It was just too spiky.

But once I opened the box, it all fell away as it is a stunning looking figure. Here, in your hands you have a Masterpiece Divebomb, because that is essentially what it is.

MMC have managed to put together an enormous figure that takes everything about G1 Divebomb and brings it into 2014. They have taken all of the original details, and then added new ones that don't feel overwhelming, which is often the case with 3rd party figures, or even Hasbro/Takara's updates.

The head is quite interesting as it retains all of the articulation of the bird mode, and the beak can slide down into the head. You can also leave it out to form a cap or sorts, to keep the sun out of his eyes when he is off sniping I would imagine.

Talon's face is quite nice, and the whole head looks very Egyptian- it would not be out of place in Stargate.

You can see under the chest a combiner peg, of which I am not sure of the purpose. Talon connects to Feral Rex via a port in his back, and the peg is a little too small (due to the chest) to really securely tab into the back of Rex.

The colours on this guys are lovely, with deep Oranges,Blacks, Yellows, Reds and Golds  all tying together to give you that classic Predacon colour scheme.

There is one tiny issue with quality control on the paint with my figure, and that is on one of the wing tips, where the paint has either come off or not been applied.

Everything else is really nicely applied, and QC wise there are no other problems. Joint's are tight, ratchets all work as they should and the legs hold the weight of the back pack in check, preventing it from becoming too back heavy.

The only thing I am not entire a fan of, is the way the bird claws fold up to cover some of the gold paint on the legs. It does not look as tidy as it should in my opinion, and it would have been nice if they could have found a way for them to store in the legs. Of course, you can fold them up to unblock the lower legs, but then you end up with huge knee spikes sticking out. In fairness, I am probably just being picky, but I always prefer clean robot and alt modes and the problem with the bird feet becomes more of an issue in combined mode.

I personally prefer to remove the arm guns and put them on the wings, as it looks a little G1 and personally a little nicer by making the bot mode a tiny bit more streamlined.

In terms of accessories, just like all of the Feral Cons, Talon comes very well stocked. He has the two double barrelled arm cannons that can unpeg and mount in any of his many peg holes, or be held in his hands as blasters.

He also comes with two swords, that much like the other figures in the set are not that easy to get into Talons hands. This is something I really don't understand, but all of the sword weapons on all of the Feral Cons don't just simply pop into the figures hands, they require twisting in, and then getting them back out often feels like they may snap. Talon is nowhere near as much of a pain as Fortis and Bovis are, but it is still an unnessecary annoyance.

The swords themselves are pretty cool and are themed so they match the others, which is handy as they form the giant sword of doom for Rex.

A sniper rifle completes Talon's list of accessories, which is a cool touch to add something new to the character. I have never thought of Divebomb as a sniper, but I suppose him being the flyer of the group, it makes more sense for him to specialise in ranged combat, and be able to get up to the top of buildings the others can't reach.

The weapon has nice detailing and paint, and on the back there is a hinge which allows a small section to flip over to act as a scope if you so wish. Conveniently, and this is genius that they designed it this way, but the hinge is the same size and shape as a standard peg, so it can attach to any peg hole too.

These MMC guys think of everything.

Talon is no slouch when it comes to articulation either. Often when a figure has quite a simple transformation, it usually leads to some articulation being sacrificed, but not here. I may be doing MMC a diservice when I talk about the simplicity of the transformation, and I am making it sound easier than it possibly is, but I am a huge fan of it- I cannot state that enough.

So you get excellent articulation with so many swivels and bends you can get any pose you want, and it helps that Talon is such a well balanced figure particularly to counteract the weight of the back pack. That does play a part in the poses you can do, and if you take it it off (it just pops off) you can go pose crazy.

There is a small ab crunch too, which I assume is due to Talon becoming an arm for Rex.

So after this super positive review- where do you think I am going to come down on Talon?

As I have mentioned, I really was not looking forward to this figure but it has completely shattered my opinions. It is a brilliant figure that is so fun to play with, which is a rarity for 3rd party figures. I did not dislike it originally, it just did not quite do it for me from the pictures but then in hand it turned out to be one of my favourite figures of the year and probably my favourite out of all the Feral Cons so far.

That bodes well for Tigris who is another where the pictures did not really do much for me but now I find myself loving the look of it and desperate to get it into my hands. Tigris shares a mold with Talon, and is unemcumbered by the backpack so should be an even more fun toy.

If you are already in for the set, and don't have Talon yet, then you are getting a brilliant figure and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. If you are still on the fence about the Feral Cons at this stage, then this review is probably not going to sway you to spend a small fortune on the set.
I would argue however, that even as just a stand alone figure without Feral Rex, Talon is a brilliant figure worthy of owning.

I have not taken any photo's of the arm mode, as I am going to save that for when Tigris arrives, and I take some photo's of the fully realised combined mode. But even now, sans Tigris, it looks AMAZING.

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  1. Hi. I think that the combiner port in his chest is for him to connect to Feral Rex's back, when Felisaber becomes the left arm... And awesome review by the way!!! ;)

    1. Thank you so much for the kind comment! I saw it whilst drinking away in Cancun, and forgot to reply!

      Ah that would make sense about the combiner port, though it looks like it would be a little short? Then again they are all super tight!