Having been in the making for something like 4 years, a hefty lead time even for the most sedate 3rd party release schedule, Mastermind Creations’ Reformatted R-11 Seraphicus Prominon is ready to be released. The Moritorus Sovereign, as the box calls him, is almost an amalgamation of characters from the Aligned continuity and the IDW universe of Transformers going by the aesthetics of the core robot and the armoured bot respectively. Whether that was the designer’s original intention or not is another matter, but that’s certainly how it appears when each element is studied individually. First teased in 2012, MakeToys have since released Hypernovae who references the same character, but MMC finally unleash their own version, which at around $200, is not exactly a cheap alternative. Let’s see if it was worth the wait and the cost.
In a move that has annoyed certain sections of the collecting community, MMC have chosen to release R-11 as the “Core” robot with two glow in the dark katanas not unlike Hexatron’s weapons in shape and design (but obviously not the same material), a small Matrix-like object called the “Ancient Amber”, and a separate release which makes up the armour set. its storage closet (referred to as the “Power Cradle”), together with the blaster/revolver and Matrix-featuring sword. The core robot turns into a futurist/Cybertronian truck cab, and the armour and closet become the trailer.
My lasting first impression of the Seraphicus Prominion renders were the same as my lasting impression after handling it for a few days. The same thing stayed with me as struck me in the first place, those fabulous angel wings on the mould. A defining characteristic of this robot and figure, I do wonder how anyone could justify picking up just the Core bot and not the armour, but that’s easy to say when one is receiving a product sample as opposed to shelling out a couple of hundred big ones, and I think ultimately that is going to have an enormous effect on the success of this figure.
Beyond considerations of price, I do think the Core robot is very signature MMC in feel, design and aesthetic. That’s great in a way because collectors of the Reformatted line will have their preferences and expectations. Posability is very good and although it does not have an outward thigh swivel (reminiscent of Anarchus), the lower legs do swivel at the knee and they have some very nice paint apps across them. Overall the white, blue, grey and yellow highlights work to make an attractive looking Cybertronian with a powered feel. The translucent blue sections on the robot back, ankles and forearms are right up my alley.
I’m not a fan of the glow in the dark katanas, and it is a bit tricky to get the Core bot to grip them well. Same issue with the Stun Revolver blaster, it is a real squeeze to get it into the Core bot’s palms, and you can see the plastic of the semi-cylindrical slot flexing when you get the right angle of entry for the grip. It’s great that a bot of this size has individually articulated fingers, but the ankle tilts are far more restrictive than I have come to expect from MMC. There’s also quite a broad chest that really tapers down to a thin waist, giving a very top-heavy appearance. This is somewhat offset by chunky lower legs that do look really good. Head sculpt is very Cassy Sark and could do with being a little deeper overall, but it’s on a stork and ball joint so there’s plenty of movement there.
Transformation of the Core bot to truck mode is a mixed bag. Transforming the legs is easy and involves folding the feet into the calf panels then folding the lower legs up to make the back of the cab and closing said panels. The transformation of the arms and shoulders, especially the way they tuck under the front of the cab is a real pain. I almost always have to refer to the instructions to see the exact orientation needed of shoulder, bicep and forearm before it can all squeeze together, allowing the top of the truck (previously the Core’s significant backpack) to snap over it. There’s a lot of flexing of plastic and squeezing bits together, including the threading of the hands through two long, thin, flexible protruding prongs that the robot chest and belly normally clip into. The whole thing – protruding clips on the front and back of the Core, compression of the arms, snapping over of the truck cab – just seems questionably conceived. When the shoulders clip onto the tiny translucent pegs underneath, there is a great risk of peg damage. And sure enough…
…one of the small pegs on the translucent section has snapped off and left a white stressed circle in its place. Once transformed, it’s actually quite a dense, compact and pretty Cybertronian truck cab. Very sleek, plenty of curves and translucent blue, and even an opening hood to reveal the “Ancient Amber”! I like the separate modes, just not all aspects of getting there. As you’d imagine, it is far more stress-free and enjoyable, as well as intuitive going backwards to Core robot mode. You can see in the images above, adding a few bits from the Power Cradle armour can help beef up the Core robot mode. It should also be mentioned that there is a hilarious face underneath the Core helmet.
Taking the Power Cradle armour trailer and attaching it to the Core cab is a very sweet feeling. The resulting Cybertronian armoured vehicle is a beauty, begging one to get down on the floor and make truck noises, rolling it along with the 12 futuristic mostly-covered wheels. I like this vehicle mode a great deal as there’s great consistency in the colours and aesthetic from front to rear, with bulk and detail to appreciate all over.
An interesting size comparison there with Classics Prime in vehicle mode, I’m sure you’ll agree. The giant Stellar Sabre sits nestled in its sheath atop the trailer, and there’s even a slot towards the front of the trailer for another sword – I am guessing it’ll be the Planet Steel Express exclusive orange katana(?). The cab is articulated, but it’s not as simple as just turning it about the lynch pin pivot on the roof of the cab. When the back of the cab comes to clear the front of the trailer, there is usually some light contact and obstruction. It’s not a major issue, but it is a little untidy.
Then there is the combined robot mode. This is easily my favourite feature of the figure(s) and the absolute strength of – and reason for – this release. The armour is really easy to detach from the closet and attach to the Core. In fact it’s a lot of fun and user friendly too. Putting those majestic wings on the back is the absolute treat of the piece, they clip over the torso with the chest armour like a vest, and the connections are secure and satisfying throughout. It should be noted that you must mis-transform the Core robot’s neck (raise it up much higher than where it’s supposed to sit clipped in) so that once everything is connected and you put on the combined mode helmet, the head does not sit too far sunken into the chest.
The above images demonstrate how the head would sit, sunken in, if you follow the instructions. Another thing the instructions omit is the addition of the bicep armour. It’s there in the final image and on the box, but when they go to such lengths to systematically point out where each piece of armour attaches and leave the bicep parts out, the result looks a bit funny. You also get a size comparison there of Seraphicus Prominon and leader class generations Jetfire and voyager class Generations Springer. R-11 sits somewhere in-between, and I have to admit it’s smaller than I was expecting. Then again, the original character in the IDW comics wasn’t exactly combiner-sized.
What I can’t deny, though, is that I am deeply impressed by the fully combined mode. While it is not to everyone’s tastes (as evidenced by the reaction of some to my photos online during the weekend), it works for me and really dominates any shelf it goes on, thanks in no small part to the gorgeous wings and the translucent orange plastic. Weapon grip is far far better with the gauntlets attached, and there is all sorts of articulation available with the wings, sporting 4 points of articulation on each wing, not counting the movement available to the orange ‘feather’ elements.
While Seraphicus Prominon in combined mode can kneel, can do The Run and can rock the most fierce idle stance with one of the most beefed up robot modes I can remember, posing him can be frustrating. The first things to pop off are the thigh missiles as the bottom half of it will catch against any excessive outward lower leg rotation or bending. Some poses required me to remove the thigh missiles altogether. The bicep armour and shoulder pads can pop off with ease too. There’s not a lot of available movement in the feet thanks to the obstruction of the massive shin armour and the large foot pads. The ankles were not that articulated on the Core bot to start with. The gauntlets and wings are rock solid, though, as is the shin armour. They aren’t going anywhere. The chest flap on the armour opens up, presumably to help one access the “Ancient Amber” in the Core robot’s chest, but due to the nature of the clipping in of that section, the Core’s chest flap cannot open to reveal the Ancient Amber anyway. Odd choice. The independently articulated flaps on the crotch piece are welcome.
As awesome as I think this mighty chunky beast of a combined figure looks, I can’t get past how awkward it is to pose. I just tried to bend the elbow and rotate at the bicep and the bicep armour pinged off. Tried to bend one knee forward and rotate the other leg to make it look natural, the thigh armour popped off. It works as a posed statue with armour attached in many poses, but don’t expect to be able to pick it up, pose it as your imagination dictates and then be able to put it back down…you will invariably have to reattach parts between posing sequences.
Seraphicus does not feel that small when posed with other figures from the Reformatted line, and once more his astounding wingspan dominates even Feral Rex’s winged silhouette. There’s a fair amount of hollowness and lightness to R-11 overall, if that’s the kind of thing that bothers you. While I can’t see myself picking the figure up to play with very often, much less transform it, I do think all of the individual modes and configurations are strong display pieces, but each one has issues with functionality as I have described above. Transforming the trailer from armour wardrobe back to trailer is actually quite interesting. Clipping the armour parts back onto the cradle is instinctive enough and I only needed to refer to the instructions the first time. It should not be understated, the way that the armour clips onto the cradle, compacts into a trailer that looks that good, and then becomes a lovely looking set of armour for the Core bot is nothing short of amazing. I just wish all of it stayed more firmly attached.
So overall, Seraphicus Prominon – in my opinion – wins on looks in all modes and configurations. On display, he’s truly stunning combined, although he does need a slight mis-transformation to get the best proportions out of him. There’s also the question of what to do with the Power Cradle once the armour is attached. Once you’ve handled him for a day or so, nothing will present difficulty apart from folding those shoulders and arms into the cab which remains a hassle with potential for damage. The price is prohibitive for most and some believe the design and desire for the figure belong in the past, but not all of us feel that way. I was a fan of this character’s original inspiration and visual representation, and it’s a great option for those who appreciate the MMC aesthetic. I wish it was just a bit bigger, though.
The overall price of the set is high as it is, so I don’t think the purchase of just the Core set justifies that expense, there’s not enough there to command that price tag. The accessories are fantastic, but apart from the Ancient Amber and two clear bendy katanas, they all come packaged with the Power Cradle set. The questions, then, are how much do you want this character in your collection, how much do you need it to be taken care of by MMC as opposed to the chances someone else will tackle this again in the future, and how much will you fiddle with the figure compared to leaving it on impressive display? The answers to those question will determine how well this figure will suit your needs.
Those wings, though. Those wings.
All the best