Reformatted R-06 Mercenary Shock Trooper Tigris, the fifth of Mastermind Creations’ Feralcons, is starting to make its way into the wild. With the release of this fifth member of the Feralcon team, collectors can now finally combine the five members to form Feral Rex, MMC’s Predaking-inspired 3rd Party combiner. Bovis, Fortis, Leo Dux, Talon and now Tigris have been – in my opinion – among the most anticipated items in the community, official or otherwise. The Predacons were originally very deeply loved within the G1 Transformers community, so the whole Masterpiece-style combiner project that MMC embarked upon was always going to be met with the greatest scrutiny and held to the highest standard. We need not have worried.
Looking at the whole situation in a little more detail, there is still one more Feralcon to see release, Felisaber who can also be attached to the combiner as an arm, moving Talon fully to the back. But for those who want as G1-like an appearance and construction, Tigris makes five, and five make Feral Rex. This article was withheld until I had the go-ahead to finally share the photographs of the advance Tigris copy I received as well as the “Completion Kit”, but the upside is the next article featuring the full Feral Rex is just a few days away.
Everything about MMC’s version of the Predacon Rampage could have been formality. It could so easily have just been “That bot we need to make Feral Rex”, or “The Missing Arm”. He even had the dubious honour of holding up the completion of Feral Rex’s weapons, pinching Razorclaw’s (Leo Dux) and Predaking’s (Feral Rex) iconic arm cannon and withholding the main hilt section of the gigantic Oppenheimer sword. Speaking of gigantic, did you know one of Predaking’s pre-release names seen on concept Sunbow paperwork in Generation 1 was “Giganticus”?
It gets worse, Hello Kitty here was also hanging onto 3 sets of arm-fillers that can be used on Talon, Fortis and Bovis to fill the inner-arm cavity and add a blade, bombs and mini-cannon as well as the missing panel for Feral Rex’s waist piece, “The Completion Kit” in other words. But, just as Hello Kitty was this week outed by her creators as not actually being a cat, MMC have also ensured that Tigris shall never be remembered as the last limb, the hold-up or the formality. Make no mistake, the high standard and quality of MMC’s Feralcons has been maintained right up until the end.
Despite the above billing, I was worried about Tigris. He doesn’t have the honour of being the first out of the box and thus the enormously pleasant surprise that was Bovis, or his refined-mould brother Fortis, was lost on him. He doesn’t have the hulking stability and grandeur of Leo Dux nor the majesty of Talon and his legendary wingspan. Apart from the beast head on his chest in robot mode, there were no really solid distinguishing characteristics…although one could argue that his beast head on the robot chest is different enough to Leo Dux for it to be memorable in its own right.
Turns out I needn’t have worried, his distinguishing feature that stands out above all else among the Feralcons is that – and this is a personal opinion – he has the best beast mode of the five. He is very lithe, his accessories attach easily and stay attached with little effort. On top of that his waist sections can be aligned in such a way that he pivots and can growl sideways allowing him to simulate to some degree the curve of a wild cat when posed, despite his obviously techno-organic aesthetic. He has very thin hind legs, but I found the disparity between front and hind legs more noticeable on Leo Dux. The tail is articulated on one pivot and the weight distribution means that he rarely collapses under the weight of the front or rear of the beast, another big plus. Definitely, for me, the best beast mode to fiddle with and display. While Talon is a remarkable display piece thanks to those wings, his avian feet don’t allow for as wide a range of posability.
That same doubt about Tigris’s appeal in robot mode compared to the other luminaries in the team vanishes once in hand and once you have had an opportunity to explore and pose the figure. He is light, slimline, super-posable and has a quite unique smaller physical stature when stood next to his teammates. The feet and inner legs function roughly the same as Talon, as do his thighs and waist, but the shoulders are unique in that they require sliding up or down at the correct orientation to achieve the right look in either mode. He also has knee pads that help lock the rear leg assembly into place in beats mode, that’s new and caught me off guard when I was transforming him back to a robot, wondering why despite the inner leg flap being wide open, the legs simply wouldn’t budge! The collar sliding up and down is something to master as well in order to effectively hide the robot head in beast mode.
Speaking of the robot head, Tigris was originally shown as having a yellow mouthplate and that look has been immortalised in the “Battle For Moritorus” comic that accompanies these releases, not to mention in the G1 cartoon and certain Marvel comics. However, this was altered to match the G1 Rampage toy deco and the production release of Tigris has a red mouthplate. I did very much like the all yellow mouthplate as it evoked memories of a misspent youth playing as Scorpion in Mortal Kombat, but with the red added to the plate, and in conjunction with his proportions, Tigris looks quite the ninja. The swords can be stored on the thighs, as can the handguns, or on the shoulders etc as with the other Ferals.
One thing to be wary of are the rear paws during transformation. If they are rotated 180 degrees compared to what you have seen above (the claws should be pointing out as shown when stored in robot mode), then you are going to have to stress and bend black plastic to get them to swing out when going from robot to beast mode next time as the claws will catch on the piece of plastic they should be clearing with ease. I struggled with this and informed MMC, who in turn said their video reviewers would highlight the issue. Speaking of paws, some may find it jarring to have no tabbing of the front paws on the forearms, leaving them hanging down, but you get used to it and it helps that not every single part of every Feralcon is the same.
Once Tigris is ready to go, his many included parts can be used to augment every single other Feralcon. Above you can see Leo Dux sporting not just his own considerable weaponry, but also the cannon that he originally got released with as a G1 toy. A fully weaponised Leo Dux is a sight to behold, truly wonderful and quite frankly, inches away from marking him out as the pick of the team.
With Tigris and Leo Dux ‘complete’ the cavities on the other three Ferals can be filled with the Completion Kit accessories. They don’t sit perfectly in any of the forearm spaces, but at least it’s tighter on Talon than on Fortis or Bovis. They are not constantly falling out or anything like that, but an accidental knock will mean they need re-positioning, they do not securely tab on. As I mentioned last time out with Talon, I am not one who believes fervently that every single accessory must be used all the time in every mode somewhere, but I can’t deny that I am impressed with how the Feralcons can incorporate pretty much everything they are packaged with in every mode, be it solitary or combined.
This bomb – a plot point in the “Battle For Moritorus” story – can be found in Tigris’s chest compartment which was originally where his connector port was going to be positioned. Had you ordered your Tigris from Planet Steel Express you would also have received a secret chromed exclusive bomb too. Now that you know about it, I bet you want it like crazy. I did. For five minutes. To be frank, it’s the Feral Rex collector’s card I most covet of the bits I don’t have.
So Tigris is anything but a formality, and he has just as much character, identity and unique appeal features to allow him to stand out in the Rex crowd. He does absolutely everything required of him, and he does it right. From superb poses to daggers that fit his hands better than any other member’s fit theirs, he brings as much to the team as any other Feralcon. He arguably brings more considering all the goodies the package arrives with. It is still an amazing achievement that whichever Feralcon I am holding at any one time could be considered my favourite. I’ll put down Leo Dux sure in the knowledge that he’s the cream of the crop, pick up Bovis and see those wonderful shoulders and horns, and feel the love and sentiment of my first Feralcon rekindled. Has there ever been a combiner team where every member was so tremendously accomplished?
Speaking of combining, that is after all why we came to this party in the first place…
All the best