Mastermind Creations regularly pay homage to prominent comic book characters from the Transformers universe with the continuing excellence of their Reformatted sub-line. With Reformatted R-18 Anubis, they bring Death's Head to the 3rd party scene, and as a transforming figure no less. Anubis uses the same mould as Jaegertron (Lockdown) as well as the upcoming Cyclonus, so there are inevitable compromises. This Marvel-born "Freelance Peacekeeping Agent" seems to be something of an expensive exclusive, but there's no shortage of interest in him, yes?
Number 18 in the Reformatted series, Anubis maintains the very uniform packaging and presentation style MMC have established, except the (quite cool) comic is now attached to the inside of the box's main front flap instead of being untidily squeezed into the contents. Anubis comes with a range of accessories including the gold shield (which can only be worn on his back), four vicious-looking melee weapons including a mace and axe, a chainsaw, two hands and his signature blaster.
I'll give MMC credit for taking what is essentially Cyclonus and making a believable Death's Head out of him, even managing to take the space fighter's wings and arrange them in such a way as to evoke feelings of a caped figure. The spikes on the ankles are more suited to the Lockdown version of the mould, but the yellow chest and belly as well as the colours throughout are quite spot on.
|Pic courtesy of TFWiki|
His head sculpt is tremendously distinct, faithfully recreated but maybe lacking some metallic finish as would have really suited him, but then that could be said about his finish all over. I'm sure some collectors would have preferred an even more slavish reproduction of the comic book model, but even this took me some time to warm to after initially finding it hideous. I am that rare (and oft-mocked) breed of UK collector who had no exposure to the comics as a kid. Speaking of the head, articulation is a bit odd as when you turn at the neck, it angles the head too, such is the joint the head sits on. The neck section can be rotated so that Anubis can look upwards, and it can be clicked back a notch, higher up his chest to again provide extra expression and variety in posing.
Here we see some of what he can do with the accessories and wings. In the first picture above, the nose halves of the jet are angled downwards so that it appears he has a low-hanging cape, but in the second pic they are folded upwards. The same functionality was available with Jaegertron. In fact you may wish to read my Jaegertron review since I go into the details of my experience with the mould there, and am focusing more on Anubis's unique points in this piece. The first pic shows that his hands can hold the melee weapons but the grip is far from natural or convincing. The blaster is held very well, though. The second pic shows that the hands can be popped off and the melee weapons attached directly to his wrists. Honestly, I'd have preferred it if he could just have held the weapons normally. Also those hands of his would make an amazing base for custom Titans Return Scourge hands!
The chainsaw, which is my favourite accessory here, is also attached directly at the wrist in place of a hand. Anubis has a wide range of motion in the legs and arms - and just like Jaegertron - his shoulders don't stay clipped in, but I continue to have zero issue with this. A bigger concern for me is the lack of much tilt in the ankles. It's also annoying how he cannot point his arms fully straight at the shoulder thanks to the obstruction caused by the backpack. He's highly expressive though, and one of those toys that the more I mess with him, the more I grow fond of him. And remember, this is with zero frame of reference, attachment or context for the character.
About that backpack, one of the main complaints I heard about Anubis was that the melee weapons would not fit into the holes on his backpack as intended. I had this issue myself for the first few weeks of ownership. When I was taking the photographs for this article, I decided to really give it the beans and tried to get them jammed in there. As you can see, I was successful! I don't know if that's to do with repeated attempts, attachment to the wrists creating more malleability or what, but it works now and I am most grateful as he looks great - and accurate - with a backpack full of weaponry.
From a relaxed or defeated walk to a convincing kneel or full on dynamic run, the waist swivel and outward ankle articulation, together with double jointed knees and elbows give Anubis a very respectable range of achievable poses.
The insanely badass looking alternate mode for Anubis is where my love for him started to flourish. What a fantastic series of pointy wings and sleek lines allied to genuine presence. As with its mould-mate Jaegertron, the transformation is refreshingly simple for a 3rd party figure at this size class and price point. The main things to remember are to get all arm parts properly folded at 90 degrees so they tab together all nice and flush, and to repeatedly make sure the thighs have not swivelled outwards during the bending of the knees. Despite this, Anubis cannot have his feet tabbed around the cockpit as intended, not even close. The wings, however, tab better than those on Jaegertron, as does his cockpit (but that's not saying much).
In all honesty, for a transformation so simple, it is kinda unforgivable that there are any tabbing issues at all for a figure like Anubis. My Feralcons were always excellent at tabbing, and once I cracked the method for Commotus/Spartan, that was faultless too, so quite why MMC haven't aced it for this mould, I don't know.
You can see in the above images that the melee weapons can be attached to where the wrists are in alt mode too. Anubis has no proper undercarriage or landing gear but the upcoming CYclonus version does, so Anubis has to make do with sitting on his thighs and shield.
So in conclusion, I really do enjoy this figure just as I did Jaegertron. The lack of tabbing on the feet bothers me, but the shoulders not having a final click-in position does not affect me at all. Not once have I tried to move the forearms or wrists and had the shoulders get into a mess as a result. I think the ankles are limited, and yet Anubis still strikes some killer poses. I love the accessories, and once they squeezed into the backpack I no longer had a problem with any of them.
Sure, I wish he could hold his shield in some fashion, and sure he could use some proper landing gear/undercarriage assembly, but this is Reformatted doing what it does best: re-imagination of beloved characters from TF lore. What provides collectors with the biggest obstacle, though, is the price tag. Varying from £90 GBP on UK sites to over $150 on US sites, I can understand how even the smallest of flaws can suddenly become a serious stumbling block at that price. It's not much more money to get an uncompromised Carnifex, and that figure is definitely a notch or two above Anubis in terms of overall polish and experience. If, however, you love Death's Head and you like the look of this freelancer from the above photos, I'd recommend you give him a try because there's a lot to enjoy.
All the best