RRCo. - MMC's Kultur

Discussion in 'Transformers 3rd Party Reviews' started by Phoenix Blaze, Feb 15, 2017.

  1. Phoenix Blaze

    Phoenix Blaze Brain Waster

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    Refined Robot Co.: A Touch of Kultur

    In a first for the Refined Robot Co. (that blog some friends and I made a few months ago......) I'm going to try my hand at a toy review.......eh, maybe not a "review" but I'm definitely going to be focusing on a particular toy. I'm not going to point out which bits are red and which are blue, nor am I going to take you through the transformation and I definitely won't be pointing out that the toy has rolling wheels. I'm barely going even describe the toy. I'm mostly going to tell you why I bought it and why, try as I might I just can't tear my eyes away from it's sublime sculpted surfaces.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Tarn Mastermind Creations R19 Kultur.

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    Outside of the 3PMP toys there has never been a case where third party offerings have so closely resembled their source material than is the case with MMC's IDW inspired line of toys. They do not exist in their own world with their own aesthetic (although MMC do like to try) like those from say Fansproject which are often a departure from anything official from HasTak.

    With that in mind Kultur also represents the very core of the first toys to come out from the third party scene, that being toys Hasbro or Takara will never make and have no intention of making. Besides dabbling with the IDW look for a few releases in the past neither company has shown any interest in producing toys of comic only characters. Although I suppose in an age of combiners and headmasters it could happen one day (but it won't). So it then falls to the third party companies to give collectors what they want. Isn't that why Fansproject released City Commander? Because not only was there no trailer for Classics Ultra Magnus there was never going to be one!

    Moving on......

    Kultur is irrevocably, unashamedly Tarn. Replicating Alex Milne's superb artwork as best as plastic will allow, MMC have given us one of the hottest third party releases in recent months. Once final renders were shown there was no doubt I'd be pre-ordering this baby ASAP and honestly, I was pretty lucky to even get one as most retailers were sold out within minutes. It was only thanks to the hard work of Kapow Toys that myself a few others were able to secure this toy on its first run.

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    What exactly drove me to be so assured that this would be a successful release? Well it wasn't necessarily due to a deep love for MMC as while yes, I like their work and own many MMC toys they're not my favourite company. Their toys are often a bit too blocky and brutish for my tastes, lacking the finesse seen in Maketoys' and Fansproject's releases. But based on their previous releases I did have faith that MMC would deliver and by the Gods deliver they did. That and I was just desperate for a figure of Tarn........

    My primary driver, as you would expect was aesthetics. The super-robo style legs matched with an equally super chest plate, followed by bruiser shoulders, all topped with shoulder mounted tank treads provide Kultur with wonderful proportions. Bulky while not being cumbersome. I need to make special mention of the colour placement. True to the comics, MMC have coloured Tarn accurately but it's the hot pink that sets him off. It's such a lustrous colour in an otherwise dark palette. I'm glad they stuck to their guns to pull off what is a quintessential hallmark of IDW colouring. And finally the mask! The mask! Call him badge-face if you may but slapping a Decepticon badge on a character's face is quite a statement and I'm sure it caused a few nervous conversations among the MMC designers as to how they were going to cross this hurdle of outright IP infringement rather than the usual "homages" third party toys are supposed to exist within. I suppose when your entire line tries to be as close to IDW artwork is possible, IP infringement is an idea left behind at the bridge you just burned to the ground.

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    Of course good looks can only get you so far in life and the icing on this black and purple cake is the character himself. Tarn the psychopathic, murderous, sadistic, ruthless leader of the Decepticon Justice Division. For a while he was the big bad boogeyman of IDW's More Than Meets The Eye comic (both in universe and among readers) and thanks to the writing of James Roberts, had attained a near legendary status among readers. This is no small feat for a brand new character and possibly the first to be wholeheartedly accepted by the fandom since Transformers Animated introduced Lockdown.

    There will be some buyers who jump on-board the Kultur train with little knowledge of the source material. For long time readers of MTMTE though, the anticipation of a well made and well designed toy of Roberts' and Milne's creation brought excitement of Kultur's release to a fever pitch.

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    As with the comics, Kultur represents a shift in the status quo. With GCreation tackling their own IDW inspired line of toys, third party companies are replicating Hasbro sanctioned designs as best they can without any of the usual filters of a company's distinct style, only stopping at using licensed names and actually slapping faction logos on their toys (masks notwithstanding). They feel like the most official yet unofficial toys outside of "Masterpiece" style third party releases. This is a pretty big deal in my eyes. Could it lead to HasTak finally stepping in and taking on the third party scene? Unlikely. I don't think that day will ever come. If the release of several toys intended to replace your MP-10 didn't stir Hasbro or Takara to action, I doubt MMC's IDW toys will.

    Kultur also represents a change in my own collection, standing proudly as the leader of my Decepticon troops. Rioter Despotron it seems, has been deposed. And why not? Why shouldn't the purple and black guy with pink highlights be the leader a faction whose colours are rooted in such dark and subversive tones? (and I ain't talking about Skywarp) It also represents, albeit very mildly, the shift in my own collecting habits. That of moving away from branded set ups with Optimus Prime and Megatron as leaders but into a world of "who looks the best as leader". Now yes, this is very much informed by the comics but I like the idea of having a head-canon within a display. A story of some sorts, told through which bots are on a shelf and how they are grouped together. In this case, Tarn is very much the leader of my Decepticons and Kultur represents that as perfectly as I could hope for.

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    Mastermind Creations must have known they were taking a gamble on releasing toys of new characters, restricted to a single comic title. I assume that's why they first drip fed us DJD members Vos and Kaon (Cynicus and Anarchus respectively) to ensure people would be in for the long haul rather than just getting off the train at Tarnville. The sell-out tour of pre-orders across multiple retailers has shown that gamble has paid off but whether people are willing to hang around to complete their Decepticon Justice Division remains to be seen.


    Until next time, keep it #Refined
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2017
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