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MMC Knight Morpher Cyclops, Shockwave of the Seas

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MMC Knight Morpher Cyclops, Shockwave of the Seas

Post by Detective Barricade on Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:13 pm

Because it has been asked, I'm here to bring you people another review of a transforming toy not made by Hasbro. Mastermind Creations, or MMC for short, brought us a physical representation of Optimus Prime from IDW's Hearts of Steel comic series in the form of the Knight Morpher Commander. It...had issues from the start, and this could have spelled the end for MMC. But, they did what any good company does and learned from the experience to fix the mold and debut the fixes with the Knight Morpher Annihilator. Not too long afterward, MMC reissued the Commander with the fixes from Annihilator and won back the fans' respect. Now, we take a look at their most recent offering, the Knight Morpher Cyclops...and a bonus!

Micro Morpher Cyclops (MM Cyclops for short) is a steampunk style miniature submarine. For anyone interested, in the included comic this guy is Cyclops' true form, and he builds the larger Cyclops to join Tyrantron's Eliminators as their tactician. The metallic red-purple for the front stands out quite nicely against the primarily metallic purple plastic, and while fairly solid in this mode, the panels that make most of the sub's body are easily to bump out of alignment. The turbines don't turn, but then this guy is about the size of a Legends/Cyberverse Legion figure.

Transforming is pretty easy, yet far more involved than anything Hasbro would produce at this size. The robot mode looks almost exactly like the bigger Cyclops he's packed in with from the front, at least in the general silhouette. The head is very round, with a single yellow eye painted in to bring life to the little guy. He's got a ton of joints for such a tiny little figure, but this is where the problems lie unfortunately. The backpack isn't very stable, and the biceps are extremely loose. Especially the right one. The thigh swivels, left over from the transformation, tend to start sliding out when turned. The toes are ball jointed, but are easily popped off if you're not careful. Finally, the knees can be a bit loose. A bit of super glue or Future floor finish, two very popular methods for tightening loose joints, can fix some of these, but the right bicep also functions as a sliding/telescoping joint for transformation and there's no means to easily open the arm to get at where it may need the extra friction the most. The design does ask a lot out of the little guy's joints, and is still a cool surprise bonus, but I do hope that these issues are resolved should MMC do a second run of these. They've stated that while all releases of Knight Morpher Cyclops will include the little guy, the price for the second run will be more expensive. Apparently they underestimated the cost to make the set, but they didn't want to up the price for the first run.

Oh, and for those interested in size comparisons for him...

There ya go. Longer than Wheelie in sub mode, shorter than Wheelie and Cosmos in robot mode, but has double-digit points of articulation.

Knight Morpher Cyclops (KM Cyclops for short) has the alternate mode of a massive steam-powered, paddle wheel driven warship. Comprised of two very different shades of metallic purple, including a lighter shade that could almost be confused for silver, this 15" beast is a beauty to behold. How big is that? Well...

...About that big compared to ROTF Jetfire, Optimus, and Masterpiece Skywarp. However, Cyclops feels heftier than Skywarp, who has die cast metal in his frame! The boat mode has a fair few features. For starters, the paddle wheels actually do spin. There are a pair of flaps under the center of the boat that flip out to allow it to be displayed upright while also not interfering with the aesthetics. The turrets can both turn to point in any direction you wish. Cyclops also has an anchor door on the left side that can open, and an anchor with a real metal chain that can plug in and store there, although it's not easy to do the latter due to the anchor often coming at odds with the door itself if not exactly right. Speaking of doors, three doors on the bottom open up to reveal the docking bay for the mini-sub. It requires the propellers be folded against the sides first, but it can plug in there and the doors can close around it.

Transformation I feel to be fun, but VERY intimidating the first time or so. Let me explain. There are a ton of tabs that hold the boat mode together, many of them actually quite small. They can break if you're careless, and while generally speaking losing a couple won't hurt the integrity of either mode, (and certain ones may actually make transformation slightly easier) virtually ALL of the purple-silver tabs are vital to holding him together. The robot mode is held together by FAR fewer tabs, but the hook tabs in the middle of the body are VITAL to holding him together. To connect, line up the rail for the hinge piece with the midsection and the hook tabs with the slots they fit in, and then gently slide the body together FROM THE BACK so as to keep an eye on those tabs. To release, either push down and forward in the back, or gently push the hook tabs further forward until each one slides out of the slot and gently lift away, then work on the other side. Either way, if the body gives any resistance to being lifted apart STOP IMMEDIATELY. The ankle guard panels are actually glued onto the armatures that move on an L-shaped track. If you yank on the panel itself to try and get it to lift, it'll likely come off and will need to be glued back on. Just gently wiggle and lift the piece up until it's as high as it goes and then gently wiggle and push it forth. Gently wiggle and pull it back when going back into boat mode. And finally, the scariest part of the whole thing in the beginning: the back kibble. Each side has three panels, two of which are connected by three grey double hinges. You'll basically be folding the sides of the boat over themselves. What's scary is that the double hinges are kind of tight and resistant to your efforts...and there's absolute minimum clearance to work with. The grey double hinges need to be 90 degrees with the bottom panel to provide said minimum clearance for the middle panels to fold over. Go slow and be sure to readjust the hinges as needed if they start moving out of the required alignment before the bottom gets past a certain point. But the transformation is a complexity that is satisfying once you're through with it, and is kind of missing with official Transformers lately.

The end result is very imposing and chunky. To say that the design seems familiar would be most logical, for it is based upon Guido Guidi's concept design of Shockwave for the Hearts of Steel comics. So just how massive is this guy in robot mode?

About 10", or about Leader size. And again, he feels heftier than Skywarp, who has metal in him! The head is the more traditional hexagonal prism shape of Shockwave with triangular 'ears' and a single yellow optic staring back at you. Almost the entire back of the head is translucent yellow plastic just to get the optic to glow so well, catching whatever light happens its way and making him come to life, as opposed to looking dead because the light piping channel is so picky in how much and in what direction the light has to be in order to work. His body appears mostly solid, tiny gaps in the middle of his body aside, although the shoulders' connection to the body is pretty visible as being unnaturally low for a humanoid body. This is also where the forward/back shoulder joints are, and while the right arm's massive shoulder armor helps to mitigate the awkwardness necessity the same isn't true with the left arm. For weapons, the left arm of course end in a chaingun. The anchor's chain from boat mode plugs underneath the left forearm and you can have Cyclops wield the business end in his hand as a flail, or you can plug the anchor onto a peg on his back provided the sides of it are swung back. MM Cyclops can unite with his larger creation either in the same place he docks in boat mode or by plugging onto the back. I don't really recommend the latter, however. As for articulation, KM Cyclops has around 28 points of it. The hand alone has 4 of these, but mostly just to hold the anchor. The head is on a very expressive ball joint that the neck and surrounding collar hide really well. The feet can ratchet back if you reopen the back of his legs a bit, plus they have very helpful toe joints and almost absurdly wide-ranged ankle tilts to go with very effective hips, thighs, and knees. The arms' outward joints and biceps both work really well and are ratcheted for stability, but while they both have elbows, the right one is blocked by bulky parts on both ends. There's a waist joint, but due to the crotch armor it can only move a little either way.

There are a couple of issues, however. One I thankfully don't have, one I kind of do. Some copies of the KM Cyclops have a floppy right bicep. It doesn't seem all that common and should hopefully be non-existent with the second run, should that happen. The issue I do have is one that's all to familiar to owners of the first run of TFC Heavy Labor - the squeak of DOOM. What's this, you ask? Well, the teeth of one ratchet gear move past a catch that goes in the gaps between the teeth, flexing and deflecting just enough when sufficient pressure is applied to allow the ratchet to move to the next position, and then flexes back into its original position. With the squeak of DOOM, there's not enough lubricant, or none at all, to keep the friction from being too great and grinding the teeth away, causing an audible squeak. If ignored and the joint is continued to be moved, it'll soon lose resistance and become little more than a very loose swivel. Applying some lubricant into there, and cleaning out the fragments inside, solves the problem...but the damage to the ratchet itself is already done. Thankfully, if yours does have these problems, MMC is more than willing to send replacement parts out to you for free. Just send them an email and your shipping address, and I've heard that they will get back to you in a matter of hours - even on a Sunday.

So overall, what do I think? I really like this set. It pushes its engineering to the limits with a design we would never have expected possible. It's not perfect by any means, and the second run's preorder price of nearly $200 as well as some of the scary parts of the transformation I described may put some people off. The set does ask for some risk and patience for those buying it, but it also rewards with possibly the coolest Shockwave design we'll ever see...outside of a Takara Masterpiece Shockwave, of course. It's only logical.

...Or a third party Masterpiece style Shockwave. *cough*Fanstoys FT-03 Quakewave*cough*


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Re: MMC Knight Morpher Cyclops, Shockwave of the Seas

Post by Sixshot on Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:39 pm

Excellent review! I've watched Vangelus' Review of this bad boy, and it's not meant for the faint of heart or impatient Transformers fan to rush through while transforming. Lots and lots of tabs and swivel points. While it doesn't fit my collection aesthetic, at the moment, it's still none-the-less very impressive and has a transformation schematic that's both original and very entertaining to watch. I can only imagine the fun involved after you get the hang of it! Great review, DB!


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