Monday 26 February 2018

REVIEW: Mayhem Mekanics The Unrustables MM01

Whilst I'm sure that many people, like me, tend to appreciate the wonderful world of Transformers as our sole collecting focus, that doesn't mean that we can't branch out occasionally and have a bit of fun, does it? After all, despite my rather exclusive appreciation of the infamous robots in disguise, I do also make time to keep up with the recent Diaclone reboot, for all its joys. I mean, it's all transforming robots at the end of the day, isn't it? And so it is that I find myself excited to check out new third party company Mayhem Mekanics' first figure, which is also the debut of their Unrustables line. And boy, is it an absolute corker.

So look, before we start running off with ourselves here, what actually is the deal with this thing, anyway? Is it supposed to be a Transformer? Well, most definitely not. In fact, Mayhem Mekanics have done what seemingly very few unofficial outfits are willing to do these days and crafted something entirely original - not just a new character that is supposed to inhabit a pre-established world, but rather an entire world itself. That's not to say that there isn't some clear influence here, however, which possibly comes as no great surprise when you read a little bit about the talent behind this project; all folks who've been heavily involved with other third party projects that you'll no doubt have heard of and possibly even own a few figures from. The experience is notable and lends some decent weight behind the whole Unrustables project, which began as a kickstarter. You can find out more about the whole thing here.

As for the fictional story behind the Unrustables (or rather, "Unrustable Bastards", to use their full name!), they're a mechanical biker gang from a distant alien planet. If you've ever watched the show Sons of Anarchy you'll understand the rough idea, but just imagine it's set in space with robots instead! Sounds like fun, no? In fact, I'd recommend that show as an easy and entertaining way to immerse yourself in the requisite lingo, including prospects, sponsors, chapters, patches and so forth. Each figure features a small "rider", actually the character itself, and then a bike that they combine with to form a larger robot. What's interesting with this release is that we actually have two characters in one figure - Burley, the biker gang's leader, and Iride, who is billed as this story's main protagonist. A simple head swap on both the small rider and the larger robot is what differentiates between the two, as we will see shortly.

So what of the figure itself? Well, first thing to mention is the rather attractive packaging, which comes decked out win a wonderful comic book theme. I also love that they included a smaller window for the rider figure - a definite homage to packaging seen on some vintage Transformers such as those with Targetmaster or Powermaster companions.

Once inside the packaging, you will uncover all of the entertaining accessories on offer here. As well as the bike and rider themselves, we have a total of four swappable faces for the larger robot as well as some swappable chest plates, and two heads for the rider. As for weapons, he’s sporting two smaller pistols, two larger rifles and a rather menacing chainsaw. Finally, there is also an Unrustables patch of your very own, which is rather a unique and certainly a fun inclusion! It’s a great package overall.

If indeed this was a Transformer, I honesty think it could legitimately claim to have one of the absolute best motorcycle alternate modes of all time. That might sound like all too much hyperbole for an opening examination of the vehicle mode, but just look at this thing. It’s really rather wondrous from every angle. It’s wonderfully proportioned, sleek and sexy, and just generally all round gorgeous.

It helps that going beyond a mere cursory glance reveals a whole raft of lovingly-crated detail, including the gorgeous handlebar section with its moving mirrors and tampo speedometer, the eye-catching highlights such as the rear exhausts, or the beautiful sleek black wheels that roll perfectly on top of sparkling silver rims. There’s an immediate feeling of polish and finesse here that puts your mind at ease about how well this product is going to fare; quality and plastics-wise it is very reminiscent of a lot of Mastermind Creations products, which is perhaps no surprise given its origins. Once you realise that this guy was designed by the same person responsible for that company’s Feral Rex, it should give you a reasonable expectation of what you can expect. Needless to say, it looks and feels great.

It's also possible to kit out the bike with either sets of guns included in the package, by use of two small clips either side of the windshield section. The clips themselves can also move about a bit which enables you to position the guns in a variety of interesting ways, and I have to say the effect looks pretty cool! I like that the smaller guns seem to fit really well under the small groove of the orange body section, but equally the massively large rifles just look so ridiculously menacing that it's hard to not want to switch between them. The clip itself does make me wonder how well it will stand the test of time, although to be fair I've seen no evidence thus far of it being worn at all, so that's a positive sign.

As for the rider, he’s an incredibly intricate and articulated little dude! It fact the sheer amount of poseability on offer with this guy is really quite remarkable. He looks pretty menacing, especially with his black helmet and red visor. This default look is of course meant to represent the road captain character of Burley, with the alternate face, sporting a grimacing mouth, intended for the separate character or Iride. In truth, I much prefer the former look, and actually didn't even get round to swapping out the heads if I'm being really honest. I would have done if it appeared to be a little simpler, but as it seems to require the use of a screwdriver I was a little turned off. I somehow also missed that you can seemingly clip this figure's guns into the riders hands, as I have since seen it in other people's photographs, though to be fair I did give it a go and couldn't seem to get them to fit. Regardless, he does look really cool and is a fun little thing all to himself.

Of course, the really fun moment is to have the rider, y'know, actually riding the motorcycle! Unsurprisingly he fits really well, and sits very stably thanks to the use of a peg that fits into his back. He also looks the absolute business in his rightful place, really making this entire mode come alive! What a fun set.

Transformation to robot mode is a surprisingly simple affair, though not without its clever touches! I was particularly impressed with how the legs fold down and into place considering the placement of the wheels, and there's a really nice moment involving the movement of the wrists and how the arms come together, uncomplicated as it is. Overall, there's really nothing here that should present a challenge to anyone, and now I find I can complete the whole conversion is a mere couple of minutes very easily. Of course, the rider himself folds up into a kind of engine component that assembles and clips into the main body of the larger robot - very cool, and no doubt a further homage to the likes of Transformers' own Powermasters and even Brainmasters.

The end result is a particularly striking robot form. At once rather spindly and almost gangly in its proportions, yet still managing to look powerful and intimidating, it's fair to say that this chap makes an impression if nothing else! Whilst not entirely kibble-free, it's also clear that the robot mode was never designed to be either - in fact, I'd argue that it wears its motorbike kibble with absolute pride, showing off exhausts, wheels, handlebars and other bits & bobs to great effect. And whilst a side view of the abdomen might feel a little disappointingly hollow, you still have to commend what a great job they've done at creating a humanoid robot form out of that bike mode. Fantastic stuff!

So, as I mentioned earlier, you have the option of representing two characters here - Burley and Iride, each of which features two heads respectively. Burley is the stock face that comes installed on the figure, showcasing a motorcycle helmet adorned with a rather ominous skull emblem. Not only is it really nicely produced, it looks exceptionally cool and is no doubt my favourite look for this figure. Alternatively you can use Burley's other face, which is what he's meant to look like with the helmet visor flipped up. He features a pretty impressive scar on the one side under his eye, and the face itself is very distinctive, although no doubt I prefer the skull! As for Iride, he has a very cool-looking helmet featuring green translucent plastic, which catches the light really well and looks great. Again, he has an alternate face to show what he would look like with the helmet visor flipped up, in this case a much more "heroic" visage with a singular green visor. Of all the faces, the two which represent helmet visors are definitely my favourites, although it's great to have so many options and credit to Mayhem Mekanics for pouring so much character into this figure. You can also swap out the two panels on the breast plates, although only as I am sat here now typing this have I considered that each option is likely supposed to correspond to one of the two characters, wheres I've used them rather at random until now! Either way, they look good. My only gripe is the need to use a screwdriver to swap the faces over though - a very third party touch and detracts quite a bit from the play value element!

"Burley", with helmet down

"Burley", with helmet up

"Iride", with helmet down

"Iride", with helmet up

So, this figure no doubt has the looks, but has it got the moves? With such a limber-looking 'bot, you would of course be hoping for some decent poseability, right? Well, you absolutely won't be disappointed there, as this guy is something of a contortionist, more than capable of pulling off any number of dynamic stances. Observe!

There are so many moveable elements of the robot mode that it makes it very possible to twist and turn this guy to your heart's content. The end result is pleasingly far from fiddly, though with moving parts aplenty there's certainly much fun to be had.

I'm a particular fan of some of the more unusual elements on offer here. Stuff like the ball-jointed wrists really help to make the figure a bit more dynamic, as do freely-moving ankles. These little touches are often what's missing on some figures, but make all the subtle difference in terms of selling particular poses or making everything feel just that little bit more natural. Of course, he has all the usual points of articulation too, including a rather wicked knee bend, waist swivel, full-range shoulders and a ball-jointed head. Good stuff.

It obviously helps that there's a lot of possibilities for mixing this guy up with the different heads and of course the different guns. Every new element helps to make him feel somewhat fresh all over again, and adds that extra dose of character. Honestly, I had great fun just messing around with him, taking some time to run through a long series of poses and display options. It will take you a while to get bored!

So, pretty good overall, eh? Yes indeed, especially as I'm honestly struggling to think of any particular nitpicks of note for this mode. If you pushed me, I would say that hollow mid-section does look a little unfortunate from certain angles, though proper posing can certainly help cover it up. Additionally, I did find on my copy that whilst generally all of the other joints are very tight and stable, one of the arms felt like it could just be that little more solid at the elbow. To be fair, it hasn't given way at all, but sometimes it's just a slight feeling during handling.

I suppose your other question might be which other figures to display him with. Well, fortunately Mayhem Mekanics have plans for more releases in this line, with a second kickstarter already in progress, though for my money they don't look completely ridiculous alongside some current Transformers figures for now, at least. Something about this guy almost fits alongside the Masterpiece MPM figures, for example!

With Masterpiece MPM-4 Optimus Prime

With Masterpiece MPM-3 Bumblebee & MPM-5 Barricade

Really though, I'm not sure that this figure needs any comparisons for now. It belongs in a category all of its own, and if anything deserves the opportunity to carve out its own identity moving forward. It may wear its Transformers influences with pride, amongst several other notable examples, but it's fair to say that Mayhem Mechanics have also carved something entirely unique in its own right, and I for one can't wait to see what they do with that potential next. Fantastic work!

What's HOT?
Amazing motorcycle mode, and a great robot mode. The whole thing feels well-put-together, and represents a fun, quality package overall. Plus there are tons of options for extra faces and accessories that will keep you busy.

What's NOT?
The 'bot mode is a little hollow in the chest area, and my copy has an ever-so-slightly weak elbow. Also, I really wish you could swap out the faces without the use of a screwdriver!

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  1. Oh, wow. Looks damn nice. In your opinion, how well would this fit in a regular G1 MP collection? It looks like it will fit aesthetically, but how would it fit size wise?

    1. Hmm, interesting. Well, MP-10 Optimus is essentially the same size as MPM-4 (shown in comparison above), if that helps? So he'd still be pretty tall!

  2. I got my first one for my BDay back in Feb & was instantly in love, I've since gotten 2 more (Spector, the white bike & Otomo, the red bike) and I still absolutely love them! I do know that rhey have plans for more figures in the line, from smaller scooter-like characters all the way up to bigger SWAT-style vehicles. I dunno how long the wait will be, but I'll happily follow this line as it grows! Great review!

    1. Thanks Dax, and pleased to hear you're enjoying the line. They are nice toys!