Non-affiliated, Non-lengthy, Non-articles about Transformers

Monday, 19 June 2017

MMC Reformatted R-22 Boreas

Do you remember when people used to joke that Mastermind Creations would take years to get things to production? They had some justification with the likes of Talon, Seraphicus Prominon and Carnifex, but I feel as though they've been pumping out the releases relentlessly in the last 12 months. Jaegertron, Anubis, Carnifex, Continuum Set for Carnifex, Titanika, Kultur, Dicamus and now Boreas - their version of Cyclonus. We haven't even mentioned their Ocular Max line, and let's not forget that Calidus is shipping now. R-22 Boreas is loosely based on the IDW Cyclonus seen in More Than Meets The Eye/Lost Light, but he's obviously from the same mould as Jaegertron and Anubis.

The Reformatted line is hurtling along, just as desirable and successful as ever, despite the increasing catering of 3rd Party Transformers to the Masterpiece scene. The quality and style of these toys has remained high, maybe even improving with the shift towards simpler transformations. MMC continue to give TF comic enthusiasts some very specific love, with Tarn (Kultur) and Death's Head (Anubis) being particularly well received. While Boreas here is neither G1 Cyclonus nor a 100% MTMTE Cyclonus, you would not blame a single person for happily adopting him into a Lost Light display.

The fact that Boreas comes with a sword like that and the MTMTE Cyclonus head sculpt with the broken horn signals their intent quite clearly. It's not a straight up comic homage because there's still a lot of Lockdown and Death's Head compromising going on. For example those Lockdown style spikes (which are just too rounded) on his shoulders are not particularly characteristic of any Cyclonus. That said, the mould does make for a really lovely looking Samurai-style Cyclonus. The gorgeous soft lavender colour that dominates his body is wonderful in hand, too. The bright pink and orange highlights work in harmony with the grey across the toy to break up the purple.

The clawed hands are very well articulated at the wrist, and it makes up for the lack of any finger articulation. The sword is gripped well, and it has a magnet on the hilt that allows it to connect to the wing as shown above. Nice touch, I guess it saved them the trouble of having to mould a scabbard or some kind of home for it on his back. One thing I have been asked repeatedly about Boreas is whether or not he has the same issues as mould-mates Anubis and Jaegertron before him. If one of those issues is the shoulders not clipping in completely, then yes Boreas has the same shoulders. However, I have never found them to be a hassle or constantly coming out of their sockets when the lower arms are moved. This is a non-issue to me.

The more G1, two-horned head without the frightening skull-jaw dimples is my preferred head for Boreas. Replacing the heads is mercifully easy, just pop one out of the ball joint socket and shove the other one in! Posability across the figure is pretty good, with a waist swivel, double-jointed knees and elbows and an outward ankle tilt working wonders for the dynamic cause. There's a lot of stability here and no looseness, so your imagination can do a great deal for Boreas. You can see how beautifully the articulated wrists allow for him to hold his sword in natural-looking poses.

Look at him go, such a range of display options thanks to his many points of articulation. He's no weed either, filled out in all the right places to give the impression of strength that Cyclonus should exude. You may also have noticed that in each picture I have tried to vary how his wings are folded and positioned across his back or outwards, just to demonstrate the many options. There's no doubt that his backpack is sizeable and that he does house some kibble behind him, but you can see that it's not a great hindrance. Fun fact, his belly piece can be removed to give a more concave look there.

One point of articulation that does bug me a little is his neck. Considering the fact that it's on a ball joint, you'd imagine there are no limits to how you could pose it. However, I do find it limited when turning it to the sides; suddenly there's not a great deal of up or down motion to work with in order to truly nail that expressive pose. I have, though, been able to position every other part of his body to still maximise each pose and bring out the character. At least I hope so! One other thing, I do still find it weird how the design of the knees means that you can never completely straighten out his legs. Even when they are extended as far as they'll go on the ratchets, the knees still feel as if they're a bit bent. 

Transformation is not a complicated affair, just one that requires some precision and patience. Forming the nose of the jet is a piece of cake, and actually the forearms fold up and clip to the shoulders far better than on Jaegertron and Anubis. As a result, this means that the main wings are able to connect more securely to the arms in jet mode. A win so far. Now, I found that folding the knees over requires a very precise method, and it involves repeatedly going back to the thigh guards and rotating them to the right position more than once to ensure the knees can double-bend enough to get the feet close to the main jet body. This in turn allows them to stay pegged. Otherwise, you get the same issue as with Anubis, and that's hovering feet in jet mode, just behind the canopy. It's also important to angle the thighs upwards when the legs are folded over, so it's not a case of both parts of the leg being parallel to the length of the jet. In all my attempts, I'd say I got to a 95% level of satisfaction with how the feet were pegged securely onto the main jet body.

Once Boreas is in jet mode, he's very Cyclonus indeed. I think they nailed the proportions of the length of the nose compared to the wingspan and overall length. Perhaps the thing that stops it being the best Cyclonus alt mode out there is just how high the rear of the jet rises, making the whole thing just too wedge-shaped and not sleek or aerodynamic enough. The G1 Cyclonus still cannot be beaten for overall sexy.

Just to prove my point about his rising rear end being the problem, see how this shot from underneath makes him look like the best Cyclonus jet mode we've ever gotten:

You may have seen above that he scales rather well with Scourge from Titans Return, and I think there's a good deal of mileage in displaying him with toys from that and the TakaraTomy Transformers Legends range.

There's a lot of complimentary scaling going on there, and Cyclonus has always been a little on the big side compared to Galvatron and Scourge...well, not always. They were quite equal in some G1 cartoon episodes. The greatest disparity is between the deluxe class Scourge and Boreas in robot mode, but then Scourge is kinda dwarfed by voyager Galvatron too.

With Boreas being aimed at MTMTE collectors in part, it is inevitable that fans will try to get some displays going with LL crew members, and most appropriate of all is Tailgate. Above you can see Boreas with the G1 reissue Encore Tailgate, the one with the gorgeous extra paint that allows him to pass as an MTMTE stand-in, in lieu of Generations Tailgate or MakeToys Rear-End.

So, what I believe we have here is a very good-looking Cyclonus toy that waffles a bit between being a completely new and stylised take on one of my most beloved Transformers characters and being a partway-MTMTE Cyclonus. His posability makes him highly expressive and supremely enjoyable to mess with. Quality is very good, but he falls mere micrometres short of overcoming the mould's historic quirks. The sword is lovely and he wields it with charisma, magnet and all. I wish he had some more, though, maybe a G1 gun? He can even rock G1 Nightstick, as you can see above. Jet mode is very good, but not perfect and not to everyone's aesthetic preferences, I'm sure.

I much prefer Boreas to the Universe/RTS Cyclonus toy because I think he does the jet mode better, and there's more to him. I actually find myself enjoying the hybrid appearance of the figure, and the colour is bewitching. The biggest plus for me is the amount of fun I have had finding convincing poses for him. If you are on board with the looks, then dive in, because he's a solid, lovely take on a majestic character.

All the best