Review: KFC Mugen Scope (Teal)

When it comes to independent unofficial Transformers companies, you generally have two kinds: you have the high-end, highest quality producers with a good, well-received releases like FansProject, MakeToys, and Mastermind Creations, and then you have, well, the rest, where quality begins to vary. Keith’s Fantasy Club is in the latter category, with very sketchy QC, questionable product designs, and an even more questionable name. They mostly made a name for themselves by releasing cassettes, until they branched out into full figures such as their most famous release, the MP-style not-Ultra Magnus called Citizen Stack. Before Stack, however, KFC’s primary release was Mugan Scope, a figure based on IDW Perceptor. Mugan Scope was criticized for poor build quality and strange color choices, and to fix those issues, KFC decided to… release the mold four more times as Soundwave, Scalpel, Shockwave, and Blaster. The latter two can be found as two-packs with the mold’s sixth variation, yet another Mugan Scope, this time with teal instead of deep blue. Did KFC fix anything other than the colors with this release? Well…

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Tank Mode

Before I go into too much about the overall figure, I’ll cover Mugan Scope’s altmodes, both of which practically scream “afterthought.” The first mode is what could generously be called a tank. It… really doesn’t look like a tank. The G1 Perceptor toy pulled off a tank mode much better than this. I guess it gives purpose to the treads, but they’re the only part of this mode that suggest ‘tank.’ The scope is trying hard to look like a gun barrel, but it just isn’t working. The worst part of this mode (and the next) is that NOTHING LOCKS TOGETHER. No tabs, no pegs, no anything. The feet and elbows look like they should lock in to give this mode some solidity, but they don’t at all. The only connections at all are where the forearms tab into the shoulders and the calves tab into the thighs on each arm and leg, which is entirely unhelpful. On a normal toy, this probably wouldn’t be too bad, but the ball joints are so loose that if you move this thing at all, it loses form completely. This is just an utter failure.

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Microscope Mode

The microscope mode fares slightly better as really all it needs to do is sit there and kinda look like a microscope like the original toy. And, well, it works. Nothing locks in, still, and the tiny ball joint connecting the scope armature to the back of the toy is horrendously loose and falls off at the slightest touch. Also, it doesn’t lock in anywhere, either. This is the only mode that somewhat works, but it’s a really dumb altmode anyway, so why would you even bother?

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Transformation

If you couldn’t tell by now, Mugan Scope’s transformation is really nothing more than standing up, turning the waist, unfolding the arms, closing the chest, and flipping the head out. It’s a very simple conversion, but it gets very scary at the “flipping the head out” part as the joint to flip it out is so damn tight. The only real place you can grasp to unfold it is the head itself, which rests on a tiny, fragile-looking ball joint that I’ll talk more about later.

Robot Mode

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Putting the altmodes, plastic quality, and everything else aside, this is a very good-looking robot. It’s not exactly spot-on to IDW Perceptor, but it does capture his lanky, edgy body design fairly well and boasts some pretty fantastic proportions. The overall excellent look of this robot mode makes it very obvious that this toy was designed as an IDW-style Perceptor robot figure, and the altmodes were entirely afterthoughts. If this were a less expensive figure, I’d be okay with that. Or if the plastic quality wasn’t so atrocious, I’d also be okay with it. The ball joints on his hips are very loose, but not to the point of being unable to stand, at least. The joints on his knees varied between too tight and too loose, but thankfully a screwdriver worked for that. The arms were fairly good, though the shoulder-torso ball joint is very loose thanks to the poor torso construction that seems to stem from the neck/collar panel being too big, thus scraping and stressing the plastic on the inside of the body and literally forcing the torso apart. Because of that, I don’t know if this toy will be able to handle too many more transformations… not that the results are worth it.

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Back to some positives, Mugan Scope boasts an impressive range of articulation: balljointed head, ball-jointed/swivel shoulders, bicep and thigh swivels, double-jointed elbows and knees, wrist and waist swivels, and ball-jointed feet with a mid-foot bend. The shoulder-mounted scope armature is very articulate and reminiscent of War Machine’s gatling gun, which is really cool and fits this version of Perceptor… but the tiny ball joint that connects it all is too loose to support the weight, and generally just falls off. To make matters worse, the scope has no solid mounting point on Mugan’s shoulder. No tab, no peg, no real indention, and certainly not enough friction to simply stay in place. I cannot comprehend why KFC a) chose to use such a tiny ball joint to support the entire structure, and b) did not think to include any sort of locking tabs for anything on the toy.

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Accessories

Another positive is that Mugan Scope comes packed with a fair amount of extras. His primary weapon is IDW Perceptor’s iconic sniper rifle that earned him the ire of many fans when his new personality was introduced back in All Hail Megatron. The rifle fits well into Mugan’s hand, but due to the molding there’s no easy way to put him in a good sniping pose. Also, because of how the hands are molded, the handle of the rifle is set an angle that makes it unusable for most regular Transformers toys. Boo. The same goes for the two pistols, which I know Perceptor used in Last Stand of the Wreckers. The pistols have neat storage on his thighs, but in another example of KFC quality, the pistols are a millimeter too thick to fit into their holsters properly. Pushing them in is worryingly tight, but trying to pry them out is downright scary. I had to shave down the plastic a bit just so I didn’t feel like I was going to break the damn thing.

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His final weaponry consists of a pair of knives that can replace the pistols in his thigh holsters (and are much better at fitting). Perceptor never used knives in the comics, but hey, I’m not complaining. They look adequately cool and aren’t at as much of an angle as the guns, so you can let another figure borrow them with ease. Unfortunately, you can only store one pair of weapons at a time, and there’s nothing for the sniper rifle to do if it’s not in Mugan’s hand.

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Aside from weaponry, Mugan Scope comes with a total of four heads to choose from. They’re essentially just two styles, each with and without the targeting monocle depending on your preferred Perceptor flavor. One style, which I believe is the original, is taller and has a very concave face, a pronounced chin, and an emotionless expression. The second style is a bit shorter, less concave, and has more of an unhappy, angry looking expression. I prefer the longer face with the monocle because I think it looks more characterful, but the concave face is really weird-looking from certain angles. It’s good that KFC gave the option to switch heads, but, unfortunately, there is a problem: the ball joint on the neck is small. Not as small as the one for the scope, but still small. Small enough to make me very nervous at how tight the connection to the head is. I’ve swapped the heads a couple of times, and I’m seeing a very clear stress mark at the base of the ball joint, and it looks like it could snap off at any moment. I’ve filed down the ball a bit, but it’s still scarily tight. I would not recommend swapping heads on this figure.

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Overall

I really want to say that this is a good figure. It has a pretty excellent robot mode and a great amount of accessories, but the plastic quality and design quality are just atrocious. The plastic feels awful and brittle, some of the the joints creak with stiffness, some of the joints are too loose to function… it’s just bad. Not to mention the utter failure at designing a functional altmode due to the inexplicable lack of any connecting tabs. It’s like KFC designed the robot mode, then decided it was good enough and rushed it into production. At least the colors are right on this one, but is that really enough? If you already have Mugan Scope, there’s really no need to buy this again unless you just need that teal, because the quality is just as awful. I don’t know why anyone would want the Shockwave version or really any other versions of this sub-par toy, but I honestly can’t recommend them, especially not at the roughly $50 per figure. For some reason, most of the main retailers are only selling the new Mugan Scope with either Blaster or Shockwave at a price of $100, which is terrible. I was able to get mine individually from AliExpress for $45 + shipping… which is now unavailable. If you absolutely really want an IDW Perceptor, try to get him individual for less than $50. Just keep in mind that you’re buying at your own risk.

 

Bots of science.

‘Bots of science.

Where to Buy

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