Feral Rex (Reformatted Series): R-02 Talon (Aerial Assaulter) by Mastermind Creations

I know, I ended last week with a third-party convert-o-bot, and I’m beginning this week with another. I do like to mix things up a bit, but I’ve got the final Feral Con, Tigris, arriving any moment now and I really wanted to get Talon his time in the spotlight beforehand. Despite his number, Talon is the fourth release in MMC’s Feral Cons series, and I’ll be referencing the others a fair amount in today’s feature, so if you aren’t caught up yet, by all means take the time to check out the others. If you haven’t guessed yet, Talon is intended to be an homage to the Predacon Divebomb and he does indeed combine with the other Feral Cons to form Feral Rex, a big fella that bears a striking resemblance to a certain Predaking. I’ll also point out here that Talon took absolutely forever to arrive from the place I pre-ordered from, making it all the stranger when Tigris dropped in just a handful of days later. Ok, I’ve got a lot to cover and I want to do it all in one shot, so let’s get started.

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There’s the packaging and it has remained consistent and uniform throughout this series. Of all the third-party series of changebots I own, I like the packaging for the Feral Cons the least. There’s nothing really wrong with it, it’s just a matter of personal taste when it comes to the deco. The boxes are quite large and they need to be to hold these beefy Voyager-plus sized figures and all their extras. The box is collector friendly and features a front flap that opens to reveal a window to display the figure. The side panel of the box tells you who the figure is, so if you’re like me and store these packages lined up on a bookshelf, it’s easy to see which box has which figure in it.

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Inside the box, Talon comes on a clear plastic tray. You get the standard combo instruction and comic book, a profile card, and some replacement parts for previous figures that have had some QC issues. I’m not even sure what these replace, as I haven’t had any issues with any of my Ferals. Additionally, you get a separate baggie containing Talon’s arm cannons. There’s no place for them in the tray, but I just pop them back into the baggie and put them under the tray when I store the figure in his box. In looking back through my other Feral Con features I realize that I was all over the place when deciding whether to start with robot or beast mode. I guess this time I’ll just go ahead and start with Talon’s robot mode.

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Just one look at this guy and it makes me so happy that I decided to invest in this set, but then that’s been the case with every one of these fellas. In robot mode, Talon is everything I could possibly want out of a Masterpiece style Divebomb. I actually expected him to be smaller than the others, but apart from lacking some of the bulk of Fortis and Bovis, and looking a bit leaner, he still measures up to his teammates. While Talon represents a fresh new mold, there is still a delightful degree of consistency among these figures. You see a lot of the same design tropes and features throughout whether it be between shared molds like Bovis and Fortis or the originals like Leo Dux and Talon here. They all have the same style of jointing and articulation and they all use the same high quality yellow, orange, red, and black plastic. They also all feature a number of sockets to store their weapons on. Of all the third-party combiners I’ve invested in, MMC’s Feral Cons feel the most like a unified team.

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As is the case with the other Ferals, Talon’s mold is just loaded with detail. I’m particularly fond of his upper chest design with the two deep set vents, directly pulled from the G1 toy design, and the indented shield provided for placement of a Decepticon logo, which I have yet to do. The shoulder design looks really good, as does the way his bird feet fold up onto the front of his lower legs. His robot feet are attached to hinged arms via ball joints and this gives him a wide range of movement for wide stances and action poses. These worried me at first, as to how they could support the weight of the figure, but the retract completely giving Talon all the support he needs. Surprisingly enough, even with a lot on his back, he’s still a very well balanced figure.

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Of course Talon’s most impressive quality is his set of wings. These are absolutely magnificent. Each lushly painted gold blade is articulated and so they can be fanned out for a grand and majestic display or closed up to allow him to stand shoulder to shoulder with his comrades. They are also hinged, so you can angle them back a bit (my favorite look!) Or you can fold them straight back to give him a cleaner and tighter profile from the front. I also really dig the way the back part of his wings looks kind of like a jetpack.

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MMC has had some winning head sculpts with this line and Talon is no different. He has a very human looking face, painted red and with an orange “helmet.” The eyes are meticulously painted with a metallic red to make them stand out. You also get a very generous ball joint in the neck to allow some great and expressive movement.

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Before we transform him, let’s check out Talon’s arsenal. For starters, he comes with a pair of double-barreled cannons, which mount on his arms and actually stay put during his transformation to provide his bird mode with some basic firepower. These can also be held in his hands as pistols and can be stored by plugging them into the side panels on his legs, which act like holsters.

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Next up, you get a pair of short swords, with some pretty wicked looking crooked blades. I’m usually not a huge fan of edged weapons with my giant robots, but in some cases it feels right. These guys are supposed to be savage animal-robots and so I’m in favor of them having some blades. These swords also look particularly nice when slung on his hips. As with the other Ferals, it can be a little tough to get him to hold them just right, but once they’re in he gets a pretty firm grasp on them. Of course, thanks to all the versatility of his weapons, you can also mount the swords on Talon’s arms. I really dig the way this looks, especially when he’s armed with his pistols.

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Lastly, Talon sports a sniper rifle with a stock that can fold up to form a scope. I love the idea of Talon carrying this kind of weapon because he can just hover over the battlefield and snipe away at targets from above. Surprisingly,  he can even hold the rifle by both grips. When not in use, the rifle can be slung onto Talon’s back. Ok, enough about his gear, let’s check out Talon’s bird mode…

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I honestly didn’t know what to expect from Talon’s transformation seeing as how simple the conversion should theoretically be. In the end, it’s still rather simple, and nearly all of it involves packing up his legs. At first, I thought this one might be the weakest of all the Feral Cons alt modes, but I think that falls in line with the original toy. It is, afterall, no easy feat to turn a humanoid robot into a bird. Nonetheless, this mode still works just fine for me and there are a couple things about it that even impress.

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One is that even with Talon’s robot head folding into the bird head, there’s still articulation in the beak. Secondly, just like in robot mode all of Talon’s weapons store comfortably on his bird mode. The arm cannons can stay right where they are, the swords can mount on his wings, and his rifle can peg right into his back, giving him that extra little bit of firepower. He can even stand just fine on his own, which frankly surprised me.

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Talon is another exceptional release in this line and as I write this I see that my Tigris is out for delivery to my door so I’m pretty damn excited to finally be completing this team. For me these gestalts are always about the individual robots first and the combined mode second, and while I’m expecting Feral Rex to be amazing, the important thing is that each and every one of these figures has blown me away strictly on their own merits. Even at just under $100 I still feel like my money was well spent. I can’t recommend these guys enough and MMC continues on their way to overtake Fansproject as my favorite maker of third-party conversion-bots.

 

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