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Mastermind Creations Ocular Max PS-03 Backdraft

August 4th, 2016 | posted by Eddie


It’s been almost 3 weeks since I received this figure, a long time to get round to doing a review. Two reasons, I’ve been busy of late but more than that I’ve just not been able to put him down long enough to put pen to paper. As soon as I opened up the parcel from Kapow I knew I’d made the right decision, believe me I’ve made enough bad ones in my time to know what I’m talking about.

I’m going to try be as balanced and as fair as I possibly can with this review but I’m making no promises. My fingers are all a tingle, lets get on shall we……..

 

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No less than three 3rd Party Inferno’s to choose from (*cough*, plus one official) but at the time of writing only two of the three are available. Maketoys Hellfire, Mastermind Creations Backdraft and X-Transbots Dante, the latter being the one not as yet released. All have their pluses and minuses, each will appeal to collectors in different ways which is a good thing, choice is always to be encouraged (there is no right or wrong). Personally I chose MMC over Maketoys simply down to it being the one that reminded me the most of the G1 toy, in robot mode I may add. My love for collecting Transformers started first and foremost with the toys, it’s all about the die cast and plastic, always has always will. I’m more than certain I’ve said this before, it’s the toys first, Marvel UK Comics second with the cartoon coming in a respectable third, well the first season anyway.

So this was the route I decided to go down.

The box carries on that Diaclone / Transformers retro feel, sharing the same colour and styling we have seen before with that of PS-01A Sphinx. Window on the box lets us see Backdraft in fire truck mode, tech-specs to the rear with a mixture of illustrated images and actual toy photo’s. The box is larger to accommodate the larger alt mode (obviously), with the same time, effort and care continuing to go into the design, again as I will have mentioned previously I do appreciate good packaging.

As ever with great care the box is opened to remove the contents, the toy nicely contained in that pyramidal clamshell and a thick baggie with the accessories / gubbings in.

Accessories included with Backdraft are a gun, alternate (animation style) head, 2x sticker/decal sheets with application guide, tech-spec decoder, instruction booklet and collector card. Additionally an adhesive instruction has been put on the baggie to highlight special care to be taken whilst transforming Backdraft, I like this as it shows an attention to detail plus an acknowledgment that there may be areas of issue which may need avoiding.

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Backdrafts alt mode is based upon a Mitsubishi Fuso F-Series FT fire ladder truck, now whilst not an identical likeness it’s close enough for me. This fire truck mode reminds me so much of my early (pre transformers) childhood when die cast cars and trucks ruled the toy box. Well okay, they shared a space with some figures from a galaxy far, far away but stay with me… I’m on a roll here. Backdraft is heavy, real heavy and sturdy, there is a reassurance in this, a quality feel that is lacking at times even in official product.

As well as quality there is detail, lots of detail on this truck. Chromed accents here and there with the engine detail, cab horns, front and rear bumpers, front grill, ladder hose, pivot hose and whilst not chromed I’ll make mention of the die-cast retractable stabiliser legs. Other points of interest are the hoses on the truck side, silver painted grab handles, ‘bot mode wings doubling up as exhaust pipes, chequer plating and rubber tyres. Play worthy parts in this mode include opening doors, moveable door mirrors, rotating and extending ladder (with working piston), the retractable stabilising legs and swivel rear mount hose. Going back to the doors, when opened they reveal a fully detailed interior complete with seats and steering wheel, all this and the scale to allow the Spike figure from MP-10 to fit and sit in the cab more than comfortably. Yeah, I know….mind blown, I may be premature but I think this is my figure for 2016….maybe.

Now after watching one or two reviews for this figure and seeing some photo’s I’ll mention what some of you are waiting for me to get to, tabbing and panel alignment. Okay, there can be some issues BUT if you exercise patience and caution you can get everything to fit just right. Fiddle around for a minute or two (okay maybe 10), leave the gun out of the truck mode (it’s a neat way to store but not necessary) and you can get Backdraft to line up great and stay that way. Even if you are defeated on this and he’s still got gaps and wonky ness I find that it does not impede his ability to roll and “brum” along.

*Must mention the ladder; it’s not as sturdy as the rest of the figure but if you recall neither was the ladder on the original G1 Inferno. It does its job but don’t be rough or pull it too hard and it may come off in your hand.

There is a mixture of painted and coloured plastic parts on this figure but you’d be hard pressed to tell, it’s an amazing paint job, this shade of red is lush and combined with the chrome and dark tinted windows it just looks great. The tinted windows aside from looking good also help hide the internals which include the head and shoulder mechanism. There have been reports of paint application issues, mine has some slight overspray on the smaller silver detailing to the rear of the truck and thin application for the white of the hoses but that’s it. Reports of paint chips, flaking and scuffing have so far been thankfully absent from mine here in hand.

Finishing up here on the truck mode and have to say that the only minus some collectors may have is the scale issue, it does not scale in vehicle mode with other MP’s. Truth be told I’m not concerned about this, as much as I like the truck mode (or other vehicle modes for that fact), when not in their boxes I display in robot mode. And we know, for the most part, MP style figures tend to go for the robot mode scaling anyway.

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The first time I transformed Backdraft I was over cautious, I’ll admit that but I should have had faith as I have Sphinx. This was more a psychological thing rather than a question of durability. I’m slowly coming round to the fact that 3rd Party items does not always automatically mean inferior quality product. On the contrary I’d go on record here and say MMC is equal to if not slightly ahead (at times) of Takara, now there’s a controversial point of view.

There are some tightly pegged sections but if you are not heavy handed there will be no issues, do take note of the additional instruction provided on the baggie, it’s there for a purpose.

The figure has some good tolerances and after 3 or 4 times I’ve got the transformation down with no hesitation or fear of any breakages or stressing.

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Robot mode cuts a tall lean silhouette that fits right in with official MP product, as previously mentioned it is more than a match with regards to quality. It’s this slender look that separates it from the more “dumpy” offerings from both Maketoys and Takara with their bloated out chests, obviously taking their inspirations from the animation model. Backdraft is purely G1 toy inspired which I’m wholeheartedly glad of, this like the review itself is just my humble opinion, the designers may have had other ideas in mind.

He’s in proportion with no overly long arms or short legs, some have made mention that the head maybe a little on the small side but I feel it’s fine, this being the G1 style head and not the animation one. The ladder does not fold away but it does collapse enough to not be in the way or out of place, plus with the exposed engine detailing on the back gives a nice transformed look. One of the things I like about this robot mode is the lack of void spaces or gaps, every inch is accounted for. It may sound odd but I especially like the back of the lower legs, the panels that fold round there form what look like proper powerful calves, it makes Backdraft look agile and capable.

Head is on a ball joint giving it lots of range, in real life his line of sight would be buggered with it sitting in that recessed area, talking of which maybe it would have been an idea to have had a locating peg to hold the “wings” but it’s no big deal. Nice ratchet and friction joints to both arms and legs which also have double joints at the knees and elbows, good range on the ankles with the addition of jointed toe section. Waist section twists and tilts helping the posing dynamic but is frustrated by the crotch panel popping out, now I’m not overly sure if this is intended or not, I’d suspect not but would need to enquire about it.

Hands are super articulated with thumbs on ball joints and individual jointed fingers, double joints on the index finger are great when the need for pointing things out becomes necessary, they also help hold the gun in place as the peg slot is not great. Flip the panel down on the forearm and twist to swap out the nozzle, no parts forming here.

Lots of sculpted detailing on this figure which I love, gives it a real feel but obviously not too much though, we don’t want to be getting into live action movie aesthetic here ! With more than it’s fair share of die-cast this contributes to the figures heft and stability, with a good proportion of it being in the feet area which helps with balance when posing the figure, utilising its many points of articulation. The paint scheme continues to be consistent in robot mode, the body areas match up well, that glossy red really setting this figure alight.

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I continue to be impressed, not just with this figure but also Mastermind Creations Perfection Series as a whole, their output is amazing. If you’ve missed out on their previous releases then I cannot recommend them enough. Fully deserving of a place on your shelf next to your other MP figures, trust me you’ll not be disappointed especially when you take into account the upcoming releases or their take on characters such as Grapple, Trailbreaker, Artfire and Hoist.

Ocular Max have a great attention to detail and it shows in their designs and product. I did notice on social media the design team getting some hassle from some of the more intense fanbase, not cool at all. It’s okay to not like a product or figure but to go on the attack does little more than to make you look like an asshole.

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Me Grimlock not know why me here ?

So which Inferno do you go for ?

 

Well it depends what you want out of the figure I suppose. As I’ve only had Backdraft in hand to date then it makes it hard for me to comment too much on the other offerings; Takara are going full on animation inspired, Maketoys seem to be a mix of the two (animation and G1 toy) and X-Transbots looks ?

If you’re 100% official product only then it makes the decision process easy, but if like me you fancy a foot either side of the rails then it can leave you scratching your head.

I have no issue whatsoever getting this as well as Takara’s release. MMC’s Backdraft fills my toy version Inferno desire that the official one does not. Later on down the line Backdraft and his repaint mold buddies will double up as my “Diaclone” versions, taking into account the box artwork and style.

One last thought; with the imminent arrival of the official Masterpiece Inferno, does this now relegate both Backdraft and Hellfire to the realms of the seedy underworld that collectors maintain is a knock off ?

 

Burn Baby Burn !

Thanks to Kapow Toys Ltd, figures reviewed are available online via their website.

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