He was supposed to be first, but he is coming out fourth. Mastermind Creations (or MMC) are about to unleash R-02 Mercenary Aerial Assaulter Talon on the fandom at large, representing their interpretation and considerable update of the Transformers G1 Predacon Divebomb. Talon is the fourth member of Feral Rex (MMC’s Not-Predaking) after R-03 Bovis (Not Tantrum), R-05 Fortis (Not Headstrong) and R-04 Leo Dux (Not Razorclaw). Here we have an advance copy of Talon for your viewing pleasure. Ladies and gentlemen, the eagle is landing.
Over a year after being revealed, and delays that meant Bovis, Fortis and Leo Dux saw the light of day before him, MMC’s Not-Divebomb is about to reach collectors and Feral Rex figures everywhere will have arms! Such is the desire of collectors to complete Rex that some have bought multiple Talons, one to act as right arm and one to act as left. If taking such a long time to perfect the figure is what has caused the delay, a few minutes in Talon’s company and all is forgiven. The figure comes with two daggers, a sniper rifle, collector’s card, the fourth (er…second) installment of “Battle At Moritorus” written by the talented Ceno Kibble and replacement parts for Bovis and Fortis elbows/arms.
When it comes to memorable robot mode silhouettes from the Transformers history books, Divebomb ranks very highly. The design of the original toy has some standout features that needed to be carried over to MMC’s Talon without compromise. Those are the eagle’s head acting as a robot helmet and the totem-like eagle wings. As you can see, MMC have nailed those features as well as introducing a couple of new characteristics that slot into what we would expect of Divebomb’s character perfectly, and it’s that sort of artistic interpretation and character/figure evolution over the original that consistently makes the members of this team standout individual masterpieces.
Picking up beautifully where the original left off, Talon faithfully reproduces just about every moulding feature and aesthetic of the original you can see above. Where G1 Divebomb was limited by technology, budget and the philosophy of the time (especially where combiner limbs were concerned), Talon manages to infuse the original design with endless posability, heroic and strong bodily proportions which may have brought him into the generic 3rd party figure bracket, but instead accentuate everything that makes this design so special, that unique silhouette has never looked so beautiful and iconic.
So those new and amazing features, what are they? For a start, Talon now comes with a “Particle Beam Sniper Rifle”. Originally the character had two handguns in G1 but then all the Predacons did. This helps distinguish the character and give him a specific role in the team beyond just being Predaking/Feral Rex’s fancy backpack. It’s completely believable that Talon would be perched up high, picking off targets with his beautiful weapon. It fits with the fact that eagles have such incredible vision for spotting their prey a long distance away. Where Divebomb had one gold sword, Talon has two and they connect to the gigantic Feral Rex sword like the rest. They can be held, stored on his back attached to the wings or even on his thighs as if they were sheathed. The ability to separate his gold ‘feathers’ is probably the most striking, brilliant and expressive new feature of the figure.
The extra double-barreled guns on his wrists add a degree of immediate firepower that the sniper rifle doesn’t – that being a more measured and considered weapon – and the swords alone would leave him at a disadvantage compared to his peers. That’s actually the core quality of the figure, how he takes all of the best features and aspects of the rest of the Feralcon team and refines them into one incredibly high-scoring all-rounder. We can see above that he’s not lacking in armament or standout unique distinguishing features like Bovis’s growl, Fortis’s colours or Leo Dux’s weaponry, bulk and lion chest.
As far as posability is concerned, he’s marvellous. Just look at those running stances, the weight distribution is as good as with Leo Dux and the freedom of limb movement is enough to allow such athletics. The slightly kibbly tail feathers are completely excusable because I simply don’t know what else they could have done with them, and they are as iconic as the wings. In fact, they add to the whole cloak/cape look of the robot when the wings are appropriately positioned. Nothing is floppy or cumbersome, he tends to go exactly where you ask him to and hold virtually any pose your imagination can conjure.
Money shots. Other Transformers or 3rd Party figures that have tried to make interesting guns a central appeal or feature of the figure failed in other areas. KFC Micro Robo is a good example, given a sniper rifle and hand guns with holsters, great robot mode posability but weak alternate modes and transformation, to say nothing of quality. Talon takes the sniper rifle, his ability to hold it comfortably with both hands and line it up with his eyes and laughs at those figures with his variety of gymnastic posability and expressive stances.
Talon certainly doesn’t drop the team ball when it comes to an aesthetically faithful beast mode. The eagle mode is more parts technological than organic, while clearly avian, Predacon and convincing. Keeping the wings in glide mode, not spreading the feathers in other words, is just a shade less effective in the aforementioned convincing. You can see that the weapons can be attached in eagle mode, in keeping with the other team members who leave nothing on the side. Somewhere along the line it became unforgivable to have redundant accessories in any mode, but this is not an issue Talon has to deal with. I have pictured him with them attached, even though my personal preference is to leave them aside in eagle mode.
There’s more than enough expression and articulation in the wings and head to achieve a satisfying display pose without needing weapons. Spreading those feathers immediately draws the attention away from his folded up robot arms in eagle mode, truly one of the most breathtaking features a Transformers/3rd Party figure has ever enjoyed. Sure Hyper Novae and the like had it too, but this is Divebomb’s look and he carries it naturally. I think the only way this mode could have been improved, and considering what you already get it’s asking a lot, is if the grey eagle feet were on ball joints or tilts because their position is entirely dictated by the legs.
That aside, how does Talon compare to the rest of the Feralcons when it comes to transformation? It’s not a contest, he’s the easiest and quickest to transform of all the Feralcons. This helps the owner enjoy every mode separately more often and without frustration or length of transformation being an impediment. Talon’s transformation steps are a significant refinement of MMC engineering solutions used on previous Feralcons, such as the robot foot transformation seen on Bovis and Fortis. Talon’s feet now have much better clearance of the shin during their swivel circle. The fold and clip move on the forearms is smoother and better aligned than on the Fortis/Bovis mould too.
The penultimate test. How does he look with the Feralcons released thus far? Bovis and Fortis were a pair of beefy mould-mates that were distinguished by colour and subtle moulding differences, then Leo Dux came in as the undisputed larger and more complex leader while obviously being cut from the same cloth. From the above shots one can be left in no doubt that Talon clicks into place as comfortably as he did in G1, sporting the same colours while at the same time taking up his place as the airborne and slightly more delicate or diminutive and agile member of the team. There is more to it than that, the inclusion of his sniper rifle singles him out as less of a brute, slightly colder and more calculating than the others.
Just before we challenge Talon to a clean sweep of all the prizes, inter-connectivity of parts was a big feature of what made Leo Dux so incredible. Just 2 weeks ago we looked at how the guns from Bovis and Fortis could be combined with his own considerable firepower to make a one-bot-Predaking. Talon doesn’t need guns to achieve the same level of connection with Leo, you just slap his wings on Leo Dux in either mode and you have a winged angelic robot or a griffin!
So here it is, the final test. What does Talon bring to the table in terms of the full Feral Rex combined form? Obviously the big guy can’t stand without his feet, and the central lion head and mane are as iconic a part of a Transformers combiner that has ever been. To answer this, let’s remind ourselves what Feral Rex looked like when all we had access to were Bovis, Fortis and Leo Dux.
And now, post-Talon?
It’s almost as if it was MMC’s plan all along to leave Talon to the back end of the queue. The release schedule thus far has allowed us to build Feral Rex from the ground up. What could we have done with Talon on his own had he come first besides play endlessly, pose him precariously high up in the branches of trees and wear his wings on our own heads to make our little daughters laugh? With Bovis we had the astounding “Ambulon Mode” – simply the best combiner-limb mode display ever, then we had two feet with Fortis, eventually getting something central to connect him with featuring a massive teaser in Leo Dux’s Feral Rex head. Every step and release effectively sating our appetite with something novel and unforgettable for that gaping interstellar space between releases.
Talon allows us to see the complete Feral Rex – scratch that – the complete PREDAKING. Well, from one side at least. The wings on his back thrust home the true span and width of the combined behemoth, while an actual arm connected to one of Feral Rex’s hands lets us bear witness to a sight Transformers collectors will never forget: the first time MMC Feral Rex held his rocking great sword. By some twist of holistic magic, adding Talon to Feral Rex brings the size of the combined head into sharp focus, and suddenly it does not seem so small.
What Talon has done, above all else, is continue to meet and raise the standards expected by collectors of 3rd Party and MMC products. With Divebomb having specific appeal from the days of G1 toys and Marvel Comics, the figure also has that very rare power and ability to capture the eye of non-believers in such a fashion that should he be perfectly executed, one can be turned. MMC Talon is indeed perfectly executed.
You can pre-order your own MMC Talon at TFSource HERE.
All the best