I’ve got two complete third-party combiners under my belt (TFC’s Uranos and Fansproject’s M3) and I love them both. So, it really means something for me to say that Mastermind Creations has been turning out the absolute best contenders in this field with their Feralcons. Bovis and Fortis are absolutely superb and now it’s time to check out their commander, Leo Dux (aka Not-Razorclaw). I split up the last two Feralcons into two features each, but I’m going to get to all of Leo in one shot, so let’s dig right in.
The packaging is the same style we’ve seen with the previous two releases. Pay no attention to the R-04 number, because MMC has mixed up the order on these figures and Leo is indeed only the third release in the series. The figure comes in a pretty standard box with an opening front flap and a window that shows off the figure in robot form. I’m on record as not being terribly impressed with the presentation here. It’s not bad, it’s certainly collector friendly, but I don’t think the renders they use for character art do the actual figure any justice at all. In the end, I think it just comes down to my personal taste. Considering that being underwhelmed by the box art is the worst thing I’ll have to say in this entire feature, that’s a pretty good thing.
In addition to the figure, you get Leo’s gigantic twin swords and some extra parts used for a few different things. Of course, also included are the ubiquitous profile card and a combination instruction booklet and comic book all in color. And lastly there’s a baggie of button batteries to be installed in Feral Rex’s head for a light up visor. I’m going to go ahead and start with Leo Dux’s alt mode.
Yes, he’s a giant robot lion and a mighty awesome one at that. The aesthetic here is right in line with the beast modes of Bovis and Fortis creating a definite continuity of style. The color palette is mostly black with some yellow and red and is mostly achieved through colored plastic with some gold paint to add some zing. ZING! While he may not quite rival the chunky brute force of Bovis and Fortis’ beast modes, Leo Dux is still a beefy and powerful looking cyber-beastie. The transformation doesn’t hold many surprises and I love the fact that he doesn’t look like a robot standing on all fours and imitating a lion, like a certain other third-party homage to Razorclaw. Sorry, TFC, I calls it likes I sees it. Leo is nicely proportioned and thanks to the articulation in his legs you can get some cool poses out of him, which include everything from sitting to pouncing and running. But mostly I just like to stand him majestically. And speaking of majestic that best describes this guy’s superb lion head. He’s an angry looking kitty with intimidating red eyes and an articulated mouth that shows plenty of teeth. The mane is comprised of a series of orange blades with some snazzy gold paint on the front.
The extra parts that came in the box are combined to complete the lion mode. Two pieces join together to fill in the lion’s breast cavity. The other parts combine to form his tail. If I had to choose something to nitpick here, I guess it would be the tail. It looks fine, but with only two points of articulation it’s very angular and stiff. Then again, maybe that’s what a robotic lion’s tail is supposed to look like.
Leo Dux’s lion mode is rocking two laser cannons on his back, which peek out just over his mane. These can also be deployed in an elevated position to give him a better range of firepower. Lastly, you can peg his massive swords into the sockets on his rear legs to give him some side blades. I didn’t think I would dig this as much as I do. It doesn’t make much sense, but it sure does look badass. I mean, he’s a freaking lion with giant blades coming out of him. YEAH! I also appreciate the fact that, like Bovis and Fortis, you can display Leo in lion mode without any leftover parts.
Transforming Leo Dux into his robot mode is quite straightforward and it feels just a bit easier than transforming Fortis and Bovis. In fact, the most fiddly thing about it for me was getting his lion mane packed up just right. As with his fellow Feralcons the plastic is incredibly high quality so there are no scary or precarious manipulations. When all is said and done, you’re left with an absolutely stunning figure. I literally love every little thing about this guy, from the way his lion head sits on his chest to the way the guns rise up from behind his back. And look at that head sculpt. It’s pure love. That is if love was a cold-blooded Decepticon. Leo is also a satisfyingly large figure, standing a good head and shoulders above Bovis and Fortis, and that’s not even counting his guns, which can also be angled forward into a firing position.
Leo’s colors even out a lot more in robot mode than in his beast mode where black dominated. Here he uses a pleasing mix of mostly yellow, red, and black plastics to give him his striking deco. The shades match perfectly with Bovis and Fortis and he brings some nice matte gold paint to the table to make him distinctive. Because of all the colorful plastic, there isn’t an overabundance of paint operations, but what’s here is clean and tastefully done.
As with Bovis and Fortis, Leo Dux makes use of all the parts in whatever mode he’s in. The tail and chest pieces all combine together to form a mace. I’ll admit, this is not the most exciting weapon, but there’s nothing wrong with it either and I give MMC points for trying. The two swords can be wielded in each hand or they can be combined together to form one big ass sword. Lastly, the back cannon can be removed and used as arm cannons if you so desire. And seeing as how Leo doesn’t come with any handguns, the option to mount the cannons on his arms is a very welcome feature.
While I now have enough parts to build the legs and torso of Feral Rex, I’m going to keep with tradition and save that until I have a complete set. Besides, this feature has gone long enough today, so I’m going to wrap things up. Suffice it to say, I’ve been blown away by MMC’s Feralcons from Day One and here we are three figures in and this set seems to keep getting better. The quality, the engineering, and the fun of these figures all delight me to no end. I’ll go one further than that: Right now Leo, Bovis and Fortis are without a doubt three of my favorite figures in my Transformers collection and that’s saying a lot. I’m even more excited about the last two, Talon and Tigris, just because they’ll each represent unique molds and add a greater dynamic to the team.