Friday 17 March 2017

REVIEW: Fans Hobby Master Builder MB-02 Megatooth

Despite being a fledgling company, third party newcomer Fans Hobby have certainly made quite the initial impression. I've already put down my thoughts on their first effort, Archenemy, which has generally been met with a warm reception, and now already we are taking a look at their sophomore figure. In fact, Megatooth dropped at the same time as Archenemy, although he's definitely not been overshadowed!

So, what's the deal with Megatooth, eh? Well I would imagine that even relatively casual G1 fans might at least have heard of the Monsterbots, a fiendish trio of Autobots that were released in their original form in 1987 alongside the likes of the Headmasters and Targetmasters. Yet they've often flown a bit under the radar as, outside of a fleeting appearance in the original comic, they were never featured in the Western G1 media. However, they did turn up in the Japanese cartoon series Headmasters, and so it's not entirely unexpected that some enterprising designer might try to give them a Masterpiece-esque treatment at some point. I actually think Fans Hobby is playing a smart set of cards here, as neither Robots in Disguise Scourge, on whom Archenemy is based, nor the three Monsterbots are characters likely to be given a nod in the official line, meaning this feels like particularly safe territory for collectors. Of course, safe doesn't mean it's not exciting - just check this guy out!

So, Megatooth himself is meant to resemble the character of Repugnus. That name alone should suggest how repellent and nightmarish he is supposed to be, and whilst most of that is perhaps reserved for his monster mode there's no doubt that this robot form is also quite imposing. He's a big bruiser, and no mistake!

I'll admit that when I first saw pictures of this figure, I thought the proportions looked a little bizarre. How pleased I am that I became won over enough to give him a go, as he's definitely one of those figures that is better served by handling and proper posing. In truth, whilst his dimensions are no doubt exaggerated, they actually work exceptionally well and give a real sense of character. Whether in a stoic pose or something more dynamic, he cuts quite a fine form and certainly stands out. Ultimately, he looks like what he is; a hulking, no-nonsense warrior.

Another point to note here is how gorgeous this figure looks and feels in hand. Firstly, the colours used are so bright and vivid that it makes him really quite eye-catching. I particularly like the striking yellow matched against the somewhat-muted red. Secondly, it's exceptionally well-finished, and continues a welcome trend for Fans Hobby of producing a quality product. The plastic is sturdy and strong, there's plenty of diecast going on including metal mandibles and claws, and the paint applications are nothing short of flawless. Collectors who swear off unofficial releases for fears of poor quality need to be shown figures like this I think, as they're the kind of gateway drug that can lead to a change in paradigm and often to a widening of the collecting goalposts.

Speaking of that paint, there is one notably bizarre choice here however, which is the use of written tampos all over Megatooth's body. In a strange move, Fanshobby have printed their own company name, along with the figure's name and phrases like "Master Builder", all over the place. Fortunately the font is small enough that it's not too distracting, and it's certainly less noticeable than the "SONIC BOOM!" antics of Hasbro Masterpiece Thundercracker, but still it's an odd choice. I'm torn now as if the other Fans Hobby Monsterbots don't feature these sorts of tampos then they'll no doubt look a little inconsistent, but I'd probably rather go without them! Still, not a major problem.

Fortunately there are plenty of great things to comment about here, including that fantastic head sculpt. It's really rather lovely, and gives a great sense of character.

Megatooth is also surprisingly poseable for such a big 'bot, and thanks to welcome elements such as impressive ankle tilts, waist swivel and a wicked ab crunch, it's more than possible to manoeuvre him into any number of striking stances. It helps that those massive feet keep him feeling very stable too. In fact, perhaps the only thing ever-so-slightly holding him back is the lack of visibility for his head at certain angles, though tilting him forward a little using the ab crunch helps with this.

Of course, he's also fun to pose holding his one-and-only gun accessory, even though his fists don't quite close around the handle, which appears a bit odd. Still, I really can't get over how great Megatooth looks overall. I've had great fun posing him for photos, and it really makes me quite excited for the other two members of the team. In the meantime, we will have to settle for lining him up with some fellow Masterpiece-styled comrades. He does a great job at fitting in with the likes of the Maketoys Headmasters, for example.

With Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

With Maketoys Cupola, Iron Will and Contact Shot

With X-Transbots Ollie v2, KFC Transistor & Masterpiece Ultra Magnus

With Masterpiece Star Saber

With KFC Simba

Of course, the robot form is only part of the fun, as what would a Monsterbot be without a monster mode! The transformation between the two is remarkably simple and can no doubt be done without the use of instructions. Whilst I do love more complex figures, I have to say that it's a nice change of pace to handle a few that are so easy to convert between modes for a change. It's only a matter of a minute or two before you have Megatooth all monstered up and ready to go!

Boy, does this mode make quite the first impression. Let's be fair, it is completely ridiculous in so many ways, but undeniably awesome all the same! I always know when a figure pushes the bounds of craziness by my wife's reaction, and on that barometer alone there's no doubt that Megatooth's monster mode is pretty out there.

The great thing about this form is that it carries over a lot of the articulation from the robot, and so it's actually really easy to have a lot of fun with him in different poses. I was surprised at how much versatility there is in the arms, for example, though do be careful not to skewer your hands on those claws - this is quite clearly not a children's toy, as they will remind you!

If I had to nitpick, I'd say that the monster mode's head does look a touch too cartoony for my tastes, and it might have been cool to have some paint apps on the teeth or something to make this appear a little more detailed. Equally the kibble on the back of the head feels a touch inelegant, and the robot mode is arguably not very well-hidden, given that it sits right in the middle of the chest here. However, despite a couple of nitpicks, in truth this mode is already way more awesome than it has any business trying to be.

In fact, I have to say that the more I mess with this guy, the more and more impressed I am. I do actually think he's a better figure overall than Archenemy in many ways, and he's impressive enough that he's completely worn away any questioning I once had about the need for a Masterpiece-styled Repugnus, becoming almost essential in many regards. Just check him out versus some other figures!

With FansToys Scoria

With X-Transbots Ollie v2

So, if Megatooth and Archenemy are what we can expect from Fans Hobby moving forward, then I would say that the company deserve a prosperous future indeed. Again, I simply cannot wait to see this guy lined up with the rest of his Monsterbot comrades, but for now he makes a pretty great, and not to mention unique addition to the collection.

With Fans Hobby Archenemy

What's HOT?
One of the most utterly unique figures I have handled in some time! He's big, bold, sturdy, well-made and most of all FUN. Both modes are super-poseable and the transformation is beyond simple.

What's NOT?
The tampos are pretty naff, let's be honest, and I do wish that the monster mode head had just a touch more detailing, particularly the teeth. The robot mode head is also a bit too visible in monster mode. Mere nitpicks on a great figure, though, really.

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  1. Too out there for me, though I've been limited to marvel and g1 toon to the 3 part rebirth so no attachment to him at all. An easy pass this time. Seems well built tho, definitely a company to watch.
    Another great read, thanks Sixo.

    1. Thanks, dude, and glad it was a good read. He's definitely a less popular or less well-known character, but as you say a great figure nonetheless.