Review: Mastermind Creations R-13 Spartan

If you’ve been keeping up with my reviews, you should know that I’m a big fan of the IDW comics Transformers continuity, and I have a tendency to immediately throw money at any IDW character designs rendered in three dimensional plastic. While Hasbro has jumped aboard the comic-inspired toy train with figures like Skids, Brainstorm, Ultra Magnus, and the upcoming Rewind, the more comic-accurate designs still come from third party companies, the most prominent being Mastermind Creations. I’ve previously reviewed Cynicus (DJD member Vos) and loved him, and though Anarchus (Kaon) is hopefully hitting soon, MMC tides me over with Spartan, and unofficial toy of the notoriously-toyless commander of the Wreckers, Impactor. Time to wreck and rule!

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Vehicle Mode

Since Impactor was created for the original Marvel comics and was a relatively minor character, he never got a toy in the G1 line. Being a minor character, he also never actually got an alternate mode in the pages of the comic itself. It wasn’t until Last Stand of the Wreckers came out that Impactor was given an altmode, and to the surprise of no-one, he’s a bigass tank. Instead of merely copying Roche’s design from the comic, however, MMC did something a bit different and gave Impactor an original altmode based heavily on a Metal Slug. It’s not 100% a Metal Slug and it’s not 100% Roche design, but it’s a really neat mesh of the two with a dash of MMC style.

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I was a little skeptical of this altmode at first, but now that I have it in-hand, I think it looks great. It’s big, beefy, and solid as hell. I particularly love the curvature of the tank’s profile, looking sufficiently alien and unique compared to any other Transformers tank modes, official or unofficial. That being said, I can also totally see how this may not be someone’s cup of tea, as it is a very different and borderline-silly looking tank design. The turret’s a bit small and the pistons, despite looking cool, prevent it from rotating more than about one degree (though you can just choose not to connect them, giving the turret full 360 range). Spartan also has no wheels on his sculpted treads, which I’m sure someone, somewhere is angry about.

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Robot Mode

One surprisingly fun and intuitive conversion later, you have one mean-looking purple and yellow robot soldier man. Spartan stands tall, roughly Voyager sized, but with an added beef that reflects the price and production quality. And he looks a lot like Impactor! The Roche design inspirations are a lot more obvious here, particularly in the head and chest, but just like the altmode it’s not an exact copy. The colors are a bit duller and more washed-out than I’d like, but it’s a decent match for Josh Burcham’s coloring from Last Stand. The panel lines on his head definitely stand out a bit, but I don’t mind them.

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As far as the generally look of him goes, his huge legs and relatively small arms were a bit off-putting to me at first, but, like his altmode, they look much better in-hand. His legs are still huge, but they come off looking more armored than disproportionately big, and the shovel/shield bits on the backs of his arms help beef them up. Spartan’s proportions in general are what primarily separates him from the Roche design, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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Bulky as he is, Spartan still manages to rock some impressive articulation. He has a ball-jointed head with an impressive range, tight universal joints for shoulders and hips, double-jointed elbows, ball-jointed wrists, swivel waist, bicep and thigh swivels, single-jointed knees, ball-jointed ankles, and a toe bend. His ball-jointed ankles and huge feet allow him to hold just about any pose you can manage, though his thigh swivels are tight as hell. Also very tight are the armor panels on his upper thigh, which can rotate to avoid bumping into his waist.

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Spartan comes packed with a fair selection of accessories, starting with two hand replacements: the drill Impactor used in his pre-war mining days in Chaos Theory, and the harpoon, which Impactor has pretty much all the time. Both come with an extra cuff piece for added comic-accuracy and look fantastic.

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For ranged weaponry, Spartan is armed with his shoulder cannon, which can be removed and held in his hand if you’re weird. If you’re not, he also comes with his distinctive prisoner execution pistol, perfect for committing terrible war crimes! It’s a bit small, but it’s straight out of Last Stand and fairly iconic in its own right. The only other accessory I could think to include is the club/gun barrel that Impactor carried around and smacked people with in the Marvel comics, but I’m really reaching on that one. He could’ve just come with the harpoon and I’d be happy.

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Included with the accessory bag is a peculiar yellow peg, which is meant to keep his arms attached in tank mode. It’s not necessary as his tight joints keep his arms from wobbling around, but it adds an extra touch of solidity and doesn’t look too out-of place in robot mode, should you choose to keep it attached.

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It’s also worth noting that Spartan has the highest quality of plastic and construction that I’ve ever felt on a third-party figure, even compared to other MMC releases. Cynicus had great plastic quality, but his thin and spindly nature still made me wary. Spartan is all chunk, and not a single part of him feels fragile. More than any other unofficial release I’ve handled, Spartan really feels like a high-end toy.

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Overall

Mastermind Creations is easily my favorite third party company on the market, not just due to their focus on IDW designs, but also the fact that the quality of their figures get better and better with every release. Spartan looks fantastic and feels incredibly solid, with a great set of accessories that allow for multiple display options, as well as an uncommonly fun and intuitive transformation (a pleasant reprieve from figures with maddeningly complex conversions such as Azalea). The $85 pricetag may seem like a bit much to swallow, but if you’re a Last Stand of the Wreckers fan, this toy is a must-have and well worth the price. But if purple and yellow isn’t your thing, you do have other options…

Where to Buy

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Comments
4 Responses to “Review: Mastermind Creations R-13 Spartan”
  1. I can not wait to get mine…plus I have their Turmoil on order as well.

    Like

  2. cthulhu78 says:

    Impactor wasn’t toy-less. He was a remold/redeco/recolor of Onslaught in the Fall of Cybertron line. He was the torso for Ruination.

    Like

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