Review: Mastermind Creations R-12 Cynicus

Thanks to the runaway success of IDW’s More Than Meets the Eye, fans of of comic have been clamoring for toys of any and all of the characters featured in the book. While MTMTE versions of existing characters like Rodimus and Megatron are in high demand, we’ve been seeing Hasbro fill in the gaps with releases like Skids and Ultra Magnus. The brand-new characters original to the comic, however, seem have been left on the pages, such as Rung, Riptide, and the Decepticon Justice Division. For these characters, fans turn to third parties, and Mastermind Creations is answering the call with Cynicus, the first of their unofficial DJD bots, representing the disturbingly creepy “Vos”.


Robot Mode

Impressively accurate to Alex Milne’s artwork, Cynicus is a very lanky, skeletal robot psychopath with a giant gun barrel stuck to his back. Almost every detail on the figure is straight out of the comic, from the handle on his right elbow to the sniper scope folded over his shoulders. Aside from some minor details that needed to be altered in order to bring the design to three-dimensional plastic, the only notable inaccuracies I can see are that the back-mounted rifle is a bit too big, and the lines of his face are a little bit off. Neither of these are particularly bothersome, since he’s pretty much spot-on in every other way.


One of the biggest draws of Cynicus is his impressive articulation. His head is on a delightfully-expressive ball joint mounted on a pivoting part that lets his head move forward and backward. His shoulders are on ball joints and swivel joints for shrugging action. His arms have bicep swivels, double-jointed elbows, and ball jointed wrists with an inward cut. His waist is a ball joint with plenty of range in any direction, and due to the construction of his torso you can also make use of another transformation ball joint as a mid-torso crunch, though I’m not sure if it’s intentional or not.


Moving down, Cynicus has some very stiff universal joint hips that have no problem moving forward or backward, but outward movement is hindered by the sculpt. In addition to thigh swivels, he also has double-jointed knees, a second cut swivel for his lower legs, and a complex array of ankle joints. The main rotation joint connects the feet to the legs and provides a solid ankle rocker. The connecting piece attaches to the feet themselves on a single rotation joint that allows the front and back of his feet to swivel. It all works very well, though I feel like he should have more of a forward range. Aside from the two minor limitations, Cynicus’s articulation is sublime.


For accessories, Cynicus comes with a two-part addition to his backpack that forms the entire barrel of his sniper rifle mode. The main barrel pegs into his backpack to give him his distinct asymmetrical silhouette, and the rear section of the gun detaches to form a smaller rifle that can be wielded by Cynicus. The handle on the gun is double-sized, with the lower portion sized for Cynicus’s slightly-smaller fistholes and the upper part sized for the typical 5mm. It’s a nice touch, but it does mean Cynicus always looks like he’s holding the very bottom of the handle.


The entire gun assembly can be wielded by Cynicus by plugging the larger barrel into the small gun, giving Cynicus a sniper rifle about the size of his body. Thanks to the ball-jointed bipod legs and the figure’s great articulation, you can pull off some reall nice sniper poses with this guy.


The final set of accessories is straight out of the DJD’s debut issue, where Vos quickly became the freakiest Transformers character ever by taking off his faceplate to reveal not only a blank, eyeless face beneath, but a disturbing array of spikes and drills on the other side of the faceplate. And then he shoved it onto Krok’s face asking him to “wear my faaace.” As such, Cynicus comes packed with a replacement faceless head and separate, drill-backed faceplate. Sadly, not only does the replacement head lack paint apps on the blank face, but the faceplate lacks any paint apps whatsoever. For such a small accessory I can understand leaving out the paint, but just a little bit of silver would’ve helped tremendously.



For a conversion that boils down to “turn this robot man into a stick,” Cynicus utilizes some fairly intricate and pretty clever transformation tricks to achieve his sniper rifle form. The way his torso folds in on itself a few times is particularly impressive. It’s a shame the front of the rifle requires partsforming, but I don’t see any way they could’ve gotten around it. It’s a slightly finnicky transformation (enough to not want to bother making a gif of), but it’s quick enough and simple enough to be no hassle at all.


Sniper Rifle Mode

All folded-up, Cynicus assumes the form of an impressively-sized futuristic/Cybertronian sniper rifle. It’s not a perfect gun mode, as the arms are just kind of there, making it clear that it’s a folded-up robot, but everything else is solid enough to make for a pretty slick weapon. The bipod, the scope, the ammo cartridge(?), and the handle on the side are well-integrated and really tie the altmode together. As a sniper rifle just sitting there, he looks pretty great, but who’s going to fire him?


An optional accessory is a big grey block that plugs into the rear of the sniper rifle, serving as a handle designed specifically for Feral Rex, MMC’s unofficial Predaking combiner. I don’t have Predaking, but I was able to find at least one figure who benefitted from the handle. I don’t know what use the Chaos Bringer would have for a sniper rifle, but hey. Options.


Thankfully, the grey handle can be removed in favor of flip-out 5mm pegs. This, however, is only marginally helpful when you take into consideration that Cynicus makes for a pretty damn big gun, and the pegs are pretty damn small. The only applicable figures I could find that look decently in-scale with the gun are CW combiners, but due to the limitations of their hands (and articulation), posing options are limited.


Now, in the comics, Vos has only been seen wielded by two individuals: his fellow DJD-mate Kaon, and his glorious leader Megatron. While you can get Leader Megatron to hold Cynicus in one hand, there’s nowhere else he can grip him (Megs’s fists are too big for the side handle), so you’ve got no chance replicating the pose from the panel. I’d say this one is more of a limitation on Megatron’s part than Cynicus’s, but it’s still a bummer.



Mastermind Creations continues to be in the top-tier of third party transforming robot toy-making companies, and Cynicus only supports this claim. With an incredibly fun and comic-accurate robot mode, an interesting transformation, and a surprisingly solid gun mode, Cynicus kicks off MMC’s “Reparation Department” releases with a pretty satisfying bang. It’s a shame about the lack of paint on the extra face or the unwieldiness of his altmode, but I can ignore these flaws just because of how cool it is to see the DJD in toy form. Cynicus will run you a steep $85 from most retailers, which is a hard price that I can’t really defend. All I can say is that you’re getting a really well-made figure for your money.

Where to Buy


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