Wednesday 30 October 2019

REVIEW: Aoyi Mech / Black Mamba LS-11 Ancient Leader Scorn

Boy, Michael Bay's Transformers movies are a bit of a divisive topic, eh? And knock off toys too, huh? Well fortunately giant robot dinosaurs are definitely awesome and everyone agrees, so it's all good! Yes, for today's review we're taking a look at Aoyi Mech Ancient Leader, which is an oversized knock off (or OSKO) of an official representation of Scorn from the fourth TF film, Age of Extinction. I guess depending on how you feel about the first two topics then perhaps you've already made up your mind on this one, but I'll attempt to walk you through it all the same. So let's go!

Before we kick off, let me say a big thanks to the wonderful people at who have made this review possible. I'd definitely recommend giving them a look, as their service has been absolutely top notch in my experience - great prices, excellent free shipping options and reliable packing. They stock plenty of third party (and "fourth party") Transformers, so be sure to check them out.

Right then, what exactly is the deal with this thing anyway? Well, it's based on the Voyager release of Scorn from the toyline associated with The Last Knight. The original toy is considerably smaller and red, whereas here the designers have attempted to make it look accurate to how Scorn was represented on screen. Oh, and just to be clear that despite being billed here as "Aoyi Mech" those designers are actually Black Mamba, who previously created the OSKO of the Studio Series Grimlock which I took a look at back in January of this year. Why they've changed their name for this release I have no idea, but the output is much the same, and just as awesome. Check it out!

Oooh mama, that's a beefy big dino' lad alright. As soon as you free him from the box it's hard not to be overwhelmed by the sheer scale and presence of the thing. Even rocking a stoic pose and taking into account his comparatively drab colour scheme there's little doubt that he's one of the more distinctive 'bots on my shelves! He also does a very good job at capturing a likeness of the character as intended. There're a couple of small deviations such as the dinosaur arms hanging off the shoulder, but overall I think they've done a cracking job with this one.

Scorn doesn't come with any accessories to speak of, but he does have a light-up feature for his one eye which can be activated by a switch behind his head. Just like with Grimlock the batteries come pre-installed which is amazing for those of us who can never be bothered with such things! It really makes him look very imposing and brings the toy to life.

He's also a bit of a joy to pick up, play with and pose. He's pleasingly solid and has strong sturdy joints so is more than capable of being put through his paces. There are some points of articulation that are either absent or somewhat hindered, such as no waist swivel, but there's more than enough going on here to satisfy, in my opinion.

Honestly I've been really impressed with how this turned out, and especially so once I cranked him into dinosaur mode. Given his hulking nature and the complex-looking aesthetic you could be forgiven for thinking that the transformation was going to be a bit of a nightmare, but as with Grimlock it's surprisingly simple. The designers have kept the basic premise of the original toy so it's considerably easier than your average MPM Masterpiece release! Everything tabs in nicely too and produces a fairly tidy dino' mode overall, with only a few bits of kibble here and there. Even then, the uniform colour and overall style of the toy help to hide that quite a bit. And just look at him!

I was happy with the robot mode but I actually think the dino' mode might be even more impressive. The neck, tail and legs are all pleasingly articulated to allow for a lot of motion and posing, and he just screams character and presence. Scorn transforms into a Spinosaurus, which many will know as one of the main dinosaurs from Jurassic Park 3, and he certainly represents a unique take on the Dinobots for those of us who grew up with Generation 1 during our childhoods. However he absolutely works in my book, and is chock full of character. Just look at that noggin!

Again, there's a light-up feature for the dinosaur eyes which adds a touch of vibrancy to the proceedings, though what really makes him stand out is the sheer size of him! He's absolutely bloody massive, and even makes Black Mamba Grimlock look a little less intimidating by comparison! I'll admit that I initially wondered if he might even be too big, as surely logic would dictate that the leader of the team should be the largest, but it turns out that's nonsense and that actually this scaling is pretty spot on when it comes to representing the film. Either way, he's an impressive beast.

One slight nitpick is that some of his spikes were a little warped right out of the box, and I think will need use of a hairdryer to straighten them out, but it's no biggie. In fact the only thing making me slightly nervous right now is the idea of OSKO versions of the other Dinobots to ride alongside these two, as that brings up a lot of questions such as where am I going to keep them, how will I fit them into my photography set-up and how will I... oh, who cares, just look at the giant robot dinosaurs!

With Black Mamba Grimlock

I guess you could argue that this chap isn't actually big enough to be truly considered as "Masterpiece scale", given how ridiculously enormous the characters were in the film itself, but for my money it still kinda works. Yes, true MPM versions would need to be be larger, but I don't think my brain could even process that and these chaps already do a suitably impressive job at filling in the gaps.

With DX9 La Hire

With DX9 Challenger

With MPM Barricade

Of course the real test is lining him up with Black Mamba Grimlock, and there's no doubt in my mind that they look simply stunning together. If you're into this kind of thing and are tempted to give Scorn a go then I don't believe you'll be disappointed. I know that I cannot wait now for Black Mamba to unveil the rest of the team... just where on earth am I going to put them?

With Black Mamba Grimlock

Final note before we end, you can find this toy for sale at here!

Oh, and if you enjoyed this review and would like to help support me to produce more content like this (in exchange for some additional great perks!) then please take a look at my Patreon page here. I've only just got started with it, but a big shout-out to the following early adopters: Andrew Birmingham, Christopher McClure, Gareth Madeley, Jason Highley, Peter Hammerson, Spider-Bob, zindios - many thanks!

What's HOT?
Ridiculously impressive dino' mode and a cracking robot mode. The transformation is also pretty simple and the light-up features work a treat!

What's NOT?
There aren't any accessories to speak of, but then I wouldn't have expected any. He's arguably too small for MPM scale (despite being massive!). Oh, and some of the spikes were a little warped out of the box.

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