Fans Hobby are a new company and their first offerings in their MasterBuilder line of Masterpiece-scale toys are MB-01 Archenemy and MB-02 Megatooth. The latter is the focus of this article, and I’m going to waste no time in giving you my assessment of it: Fantastic. I have a test shot which seems pretty near production ready, and I love it. I have Archenemy too and that’s also blindingly good, so for their first efforts on the 3P market, I am rather wowed by this company so far.
MB-01 Archenemy (left), MB-02 Megatooth (centre) and MMC’s Titanika (right) represent three 3rd party reviews I am doing on consecutive weeks and I don’t mind giving spoilers away by saying how each of them has been superb. MMC have always been top of the pile or close to it, so for Fans Hobby to just come in – although rumoured to be using designers of previous note – and produce such polished items, well this is where I expected more 3rd party figures and companies to be by 2017. Good quality control, excellent looking and feeling toys, not to mention easy, fun and accessible transformations as well as boldly tackling toys we may never ever get officially at this scale. That describes MB-02 Megatooth pretty damn well.
So what do you get for $115? On the positive side you get an enormous figure that feels as though it’s made from top quality plastic, excellent joints, die cast in large amounts, in the right places and exudes immediate wow factor. On the downside it is based on toys and characters that a lot of collectors may have no affinity for and who – as a group – have been widely neglected in fiction until IDW’s Maximum Dinobots comic series. It also goes for a very extreme aesthetic that, while in essence is Masterpiece scale, does not fully recreate the proportions of the spark-spitting vintage inspiration from 1987.
Here is Megatooth with its monstrous vintage inspiration. We’ve gone from reasonably compact and gently horrific to gigantic, beefed up to 11 with die cast, chrome and a chest that has crushed galaxies. I – LOVE – IT. I love it because it’s accurate in so many delicious ways, I love it because it’s completely insane and cannot fail to make you smile. I love it because it inexplicably has the company name, series, character name and “Monster” tampographed across various parts of its anatomy, and for squits & giggles, it’s mis-spelled on the crotch as “MEAGTOOTH”.
I am pretty sure that you have already decided by looking at it, whether or not this is something you can spend that amount of coin on. At least you can be comfortable in the knowledge that all you need to make your decision is the above, because on all other fronts he’s reassuringly what you ought to get for this money. The articulation is excellent all over and virtually every joint has a quality ratchet, high-friction swivel or dependable ball & socket. I love that he can be displayed with the massive red panels on his chest like the Generation 1 box artwork for this character, or up on the shoulders like the stock photography for the affectionately repugnant original.
Man, I love posing Megatooth. He has extremely solid weapon grip, using a slide-rail interface like the MakeToys Re:Master Headmasters do. He can also employ the giant and highly dangerous die-cast monster toes as heel spurs to add stability when going for dynamic and extreme stances. I will say, though, that while the gun fits in his palm snugly, you cannot fully close the palm. This is shown clearly above in the last pic. The index finger is individually-articulated, and the other three are pinned together. The thumb is also static.
A very wide ranges of poses are available to him thanks to the weight distribution, proportions and joints. Yes, there is a gigantic bug head on his back, but that was a signature feature of the original so I would be tremendously disappointed had that not been recreated here. He also is not very lean or anime-styled, he is muscular and bloated…with a microscopic waist. So, maybe he is anime styled?! Anyway, I would not really want a monster of this nature to be standing shorter or thinner than MP-9, MP-10 or the like. How can you be a monster and just turn into generic Autobot car-shaped robot? He should be beastly, and my gawd is he beastly.
On that subject of size, here he is alongside one of the larger era Masterpiece figures, and while I may be biased, this is precisely the scale I want my post-movie figures to be. It’s why I’ve far preferred MP-9 to MP-28 and why the MakeToys Headmasters have rung true with me. Megatooth slips right into this size class effortlessly and brings some bulky character to the table too. You won’t miss him in a group shot and you’ll never forget him.
He also has duck lips. That’s a nice head sculpt, though, plenty accurate in terms of colour. I like that he uses a visor instead of separate eyes and the black highlights on the forehead work wonders for what would otherwise have been a far too yellow head. The overall bulky look is accentuated by the fact that Megatooth’s head is buried within his mighty shoulders somewhat.
I said it when I reviewed the G1 figure and I’ll say it again. Goodness me, what a thing this is. Disgusting, repellant, ugly, hideous, monstrous…repugnant. Just like that G1 figure, despite every fiber of you saying that toys this unattractive will never earn a place in your heart, he does. Instantly. Effortlessly. Before we get into the sharp and pointies of it, let me talk about this delightfully refreshing transformation. No frustration whatsoever. Not a jot, not a single dodgy joint, squeezed tolerance, immovable object or infuriating tab. Everything is as simple as the G1 toy, it’s over in a minute and it’s enjoyable. Hear that? Fun. Immediately repeatable. And one of the reasons for that is that Fans Hobby have bought into the theory that making it easier for human beings to manipulate a plastic mass using their fingers is an advantage! Sections have small tabs and ridges to help you get a nail or finger on them and pull them out. Success through simplicity, thank you Fans Hobby!
There is so much to like, and the proportions really do make sense in this mode. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the whole thing was designed around this mode primarily. Those giant chromed plastic mandibles are a clue to his name. The bug head is enormous, intimidating and highly characteristic. The claws on both his arms and legs are diecast and sharp, beware. Sliding out the claws makes that metal scraping noise when they pass each other that will haunt your dreams, it’s beautiful. Great bend in the knees, an articulated jaw and a significant backpack are standout things. I think some folk may be disappointed that the robot head is not better disguised, it just folds down into the abdomen and is not covered. With it being on a ball joint, too, it can easily attract attention if not aligned inconspicuously.
In order to turn the bug head to any serious degree, you have to lift up the kibble that extends down from the back of his head. This does make him look weird, but in an even more disgusting and alien beast kind of way. What really impressed me was that Megatooth could pull of a 100% convincing and well-supported running pose….in both modes. Seriously.
Picture that charging at you. I know much of what I am raving about relies on the collector getting on board with the aesthetics and the conceptual direction FH have taken with Megatooth right from the get-go. Every positive I’ve described could be hurled back this way as a negative for the non-believers. I just think that in a scene full of overly-intricate, cartoon-centric, unimaginative and delicate toys, something like Megatooth reminds us what the perfect amalgamation of accuracy, history, obscurity, quality, playability and collectibility looks like.
Some bug mode size comparisons for you there. It’s worth mentioning that his alt mode was originally described as a fire-breathing insect, and the vintage toy’s flint-operated spark mechanism fed right into that. The sparking has not been carried over to the 3rd party rendition of this memorable monster, so now I guess he’s just…insect. The fire is in your mind.
So, what else is there to say? Fans Hobby are off to an amazing start with MB-02 Megatooth and the above-pictured MB-01 Archenemy. I know some collectors will say “there’s no chance TakaraTomy will ever give us a Masterpiece of XYZ” and file this purchase under that justification, but that’s a horrible injustice to a wonderful transforming toy of top quality and enjoyable design. I am beyond excited for Feilong the double-headed dragon and Flypro the flying tiger monster. The vintage toys are a late discovery for me, but instant favourites. This company appear to be paying glorious tribute to them.
Solid, beautiful, easy, posable, characterful, I cannot recommend Megatooth enough. Keep away from children, though! Hard to see what Fans Hobby will improve for production release, I just pray that the quality doesn’t take a step backwards as some companies have demonstrated a penchant for from test shot phase to release. There’s something refreshing about Fans Hobby though, and this includes an almost endearing message on the paperwork that accompanied my Megatooth sample which read: “This is a MB-02 test shot for review only. The instruction manual is a temporary version for showing transforming process. Hope you still enjoy the MB-02!”
I did, guys, I really really did.
All the best