Review - Mastermind Creations R-13 Spartan

It started with a book. An amazing, world changing book. IDW's The Transformers: Last Stand of The Wreckers. A pivotal moment in both my comic book and toy collecting life. This is the book that breathed new life into my Transformers obsession and reinvigorated a dormant interest that had been only a small component of my adult life. I couldn't put it down, I was entranced by the incredible writing, gorgeous art, and far from child friendly tone of the series. This was not the Transformers that I grew up watching on the TV. This was war! It was real, and gritty, there were consequences and not every hero made it out alive. Not every Autobot was an altruistic, almost godlike force for good, they didn't fight fair, they did whatever it took to win. This book was absolutely life changing for me. One of the most inspiring characters LSoTW had to offer was Impactor, the former leader of The Wreckers, dishonourably discharged from the group for doing what he felt necessary, for "going too far" in the eyes of the other Wreckers and the Autobot council. 

It's not a question of might, this will hurt!

In 2013, Hasbro released an incredible voyager class Springer, very clearly inspired by Nick Roche's designs. The same year brought us MECH iDEAS Demolition Crue, Apex and Geminus, shortly followed by Gauntlet, incredible third party representations of Twin Twist, Top Spin, and Ironfist/Fisitron almost ripped from the pages of LSoTW. There was a fire inside of me absolutely burning for a LSoTW inspired Impactor figure to display with these guys and it didn't look like Hasbro had any plans on the horizon. There was a deluxe retool of FOC Onslaught (along with a slew of other Wrecker inspired retools) but that just didn't scratch the itch. Enter Mastermind Creations, with their Reformatted R-13 Spartan figure. A third party homage of the highest standard, perfectly replicating the violent, morally incoherent bruiser that is IDW Impactor. Tight budgets and life commitments kept me from obtaining this figure for some time but with the imminent arrival of Mastermind Creations Carnifex I couldn't wait any longer. I sold a few items from my collection and bit the bullet on the aftermarket for a now discontinued and out of stock Spartan and I couldn't be happier to finally have him in my collection.

"Mine is the drill that will pierce the heavens!" 
(I'm not sorry.)

Vehicle Mode

The bots in LSoTW spend most of their time in their robot mode but Impactor does spend a few panels transformed into an armoured bulldozer turned tank. Mastermind Creations did a phenomenal job of replicating this design while also incorporating their own recognisable style. A lot of people cite the tank mode as resembling something from the video game series Metal Slug and I can see where they are coming from. Spartan's tank mode is full of lovely curves and edges that are very atypical from your usual transforming tank toys. This isn't an H-tank or an earth battle tank mode this is pure Cybertronian goodness. 

The poor duck that sacrificed his bill for that cannon.

The bulldozer blades on the front help to hide any folded up robot parts you might have been able to see from the front and while the rear has a bit of a gap I don't find it's enough to really worry about. The entire top portion of the tank mode is covered and seam lines are tight and cohesive. He doesn't look like a puzzle ready to pop apart like some other tanks (Looking at you Generations Blitzwing). The turret is made up of Spartan's entire centre mass, with his chest on display without any apologies. On any other bot this would look lazy or out of place but it honestly fits the overall look so well that I can't fault it. It would be cool if the torso did more for the transformation but I can't really think of anything other than maybe compacting down a little more so it didn't stick up quite so egregiously. It would also be fun if you could mount Spartan's drill somehow to the front of his tank mode but as this isn't an apparent feature of Impactor I'm not all that surprised that it wasn't incorporated into Spartan.

The Expendables... wait I think that one's taken.

 The turret on tank mode can move very slightly side to side using the waist rotation of robot mode, with the cannon able to tilt up and down on a single axis. Disconnecting the false pistons that connect the torso to the tank mode can allow for full rotation of the tank turret. The grey portions of the piston disappear into their cavities on the top of the tank and the purple sections connected to the torso can become smaller blasters to add a little bit of firepower to Spartan's already intimidating vehicle mode. Speaking of extra firepower you can also slide out small gun barrels from the sides what would be the front of his feet in robot mode. These can be angled forward or up to 90 degrees to the side. You can also attach Spartan's pistol to the top of the turret using the 5mm ports on either side. Feature wise that's about it for vehicle mode. It should also be noted that Spartan's treads are moulded plastic and non functional. While functional treads would have been nice, I can't really see any way for them to incorporate them given how he transforms. Given how little reference material exists, and how accurate the robot mode turns out, I am very satisfied with this Cybertronian tank-dozer. 

Welcome to the gun show!

Robot Mode

*cue choirs of angels* 

Sweet Primus what a work of art! Spartan is a beefcake! Looking like he stepped right out of a comic book MMC Spartan is the definitive IDW Impactor. From head to toe he is covered in comic accurate details, his proportions are spot on and his presence is awe inspiring. Mastermind Creations took every step needed to make sure Spartan was the spitting image of Nick Roche's Impactor from Last Stand of The Wreckers. He has so much personality even when standing still. There's something just primal and powerful looking about him, he constantly looks like he is stalking, looking for a fight with anyone and everyone. No other bot on my shelf exudes this kind of energy. He's like a robot version of Judge Dredd, Captain Hook, and Wolverine all rolled up into the most bad-ass bot in my collection.

Shhh... No words for a moment. Just use your eyes.

The first thing you'll notice when you get Spartan in hand is that he is heavy. This is not a cheap, hollow cavity filled main-line Transformers action figure. Mastermind Creations has a reputation for using some of the best quality plastic in the business, coupled with solid construction and incredible design work. Spartan feels incredibly substantial and he carries his weight in all the right places. 

 
 

Only one thing fighting for order in the chaos: Wreckers!

Spartan's face is a bit plain, I'd almost describe it as flat if that makes sense, but the angry, snarling expression they have sculpted in there is incredibly effective whether Spartan is engaged in combat or just striking a pose. His striking green optics catch the light very well and almost make him look like he has LEDs installed in the right light. The panel lining on his helmet is a bit of a point of contention for some. I think it looks good and it is a notable characteristic of the source design but it does stand out and I feel like if it had been a little more subdued. maybe a dark grey instead of solid opaque black, it may not have been such an issue to some. His neck has a ball joint with a great range of movement, full 360 around, a great amount of upward tilt and a decent down, as well as side to side tilt for added sass. 

That Crocodile won't know what hit it. Tick Tock!

His chest is massive with large silver guards and sculpted details throughout. His arms are a nice balance of bulk and sculpted detail with large shoulder pads and more of that brilliant orange on the bicep. Universal shoulders coupled with double jointed elbows and a combination ball joint/peg for the wrist means you can get his arms into almost any position physically possible and they look very natural. The signature "relaxed hand that kind of looks like it's holding a weapon" that MMC uses on most of their classics scaled figures is present here as well. I wish there was also a closed fist option but it's not the end of the world. He just looks a bit silly punching Decepticons with an open hand. The bulldozer blades on his elbows have a tendency to pop off on my copy, but after they popped off once or twice I took the time to line them up perfectly and really press them in tight and they haven't caused me any trouble since. If they are particularly loose on your copy a dab of glue in the slot shouldn't hurt anything but personally I like to keep them friction fit as having the option to remove them for comic book accuracy is nice. 

 
 

"I hope you're hungry... Because I'm going to punch the rivets out of you!"

Of special note are his hands and wrists. Impactor's signature weapon outside of his shoulder mounted cannon is his right hand or lack thereof. Impactor chose to have a multi-functional tool port installed instead, rumoured to be inspired by the "Freelance peacekeeping agent" Deaths Head. This can be equipped with a powerful drill or an energized harpoon capable of being used as a melee weapon or a long range grappling tool for combat or manoeuvrability. MMC gave Spartan these options and also opted to include his original right hand for anyone wanting a pre-Battle for Hell's Point Impactor. They also included some very nice wrist extension pieces that help to add bulk to his arm, keeping the harpoon from looking like a wimpy peg replacement for a hand. 

*Not a licensed Cybertronian Proctologist.

Spartan has waist rotation, just be careful of the purple flap on the rear. He also has a separate waist ring that moves independently, holding the bracket for his back armour/tank parts. If you've handled any of Mastermind Creations' figures in the past you'll know this double waist ring is a bit of signature engineering on a lot of their figures in some shape or form. None of this is intrusive at all, as it all moves with his body and does not hinder articulation in any way. His legs are attached at the hip with universal joints. The joints are tight and hold incredibly well in any position. There is some limitation caused by the collar piece at the top of the thigh but this can be rotated separately to facilitate more extreme poses. The top collar piece is incredibly tight on my copy and takes quite a bit of force to move which can be a bit frustrating as it is necessary for transformation. This is the only point of articulation that doesn't have near perfect tolerance on my copy of Spartan.

 
 

He's like a Mecha Juggernaut.
Nothing can stop him! Just get out of the way!

His knees bend to just under 90 degrees. This is due to the engineering of the leg transformation and while I don't feel it takes away from the toy I like my figures to be able to bend just past 90 degrees to facilitate a realistic kneeling pose.  Heavy boots and gigantic feet paired with incredible ankle and toe articulation allow Spartan to maintain balance in almost any position I tried to put him in. He can pull off a full sprint with almost no fiddling, Just set him up and watch him work! This toy is absolutely brilliant when it comes to balance and weight management whether by design or coincidence. I don't think I own any other figure at this size class that is this easy to balance. 

"I'm going to do what I always do in these situations...Think with my fist!"

Accessories

1 x Shoulder Cannon - Impactor's signature shoulder mounted cannon. MMC managed to capture it's unique design very well and a hinged 5mm handle allows it to move up and down while mounted to Impactor's shoulder. It can mount on either side of his body using 5mm ports and can even be held in his hands if you want to go the less traditional route.

*Kotobukiya Muzzle Flash accessory not included.

1 x Pistol - Modelled after the pistol Impactor used to execute the members of Squadron X on the planet Pova. It's a strange design for a pistol, looking almost like a label maker or something but it is comic accurate so what are you gonna do?

 
 

I'm not going to tell him it looks silly, you go ahead.

1 x Drill - A silver drill, very simple but effective with sharp details. It's got a 5mm peg to allow it to plug into either of Spartan's wrist sockets when his hand is removed.

Great for home improvement and violent disembowelment!

 1 x Harpoon - What you get is what you see, a 5mm compatible harpoon to plug into Spartan's wrist socket. Just like the drill the paint work and details are crisp.

"This isn't a negotiation. Your sentence is death."

1 x Replacement Hand - A mirror replacement of the stock left hand that comes equipped. Pegs in just like the weapons.

Wrist extenders and peg - 2 identical wrist pieces for use with the hand replacement weapons. It was nice that they included 2 in case you want him to dual wield the drill and harpoon. The small orange plug that is included was a bit of a mystery to many collectors when the figure came out. One bonus to getting this guy well after his initial release is that everyone figured out what it was and now there is no mystery. It's designed to connect his arms together in alt mode for a more solid connection but in my opinion is really not needed. 

Comic book/Instruction Manual and Collectors Card - The instruction manual has a full colour comic in the back detailing an adventure of the "Demolition Crue" including appearances by Spartan, Apex, Geminus, Gauntlet, Salvia Prominon and more. The collectors card is a hard plastic card with a cgi render on the front and tech specs on the rear. 

What's in the box?


Final Thoughts

In case you couldn't already tell by my constant gushing during this review I absolutely love Mastermind Creations R-13 Spartan. This is easily in my top 3 transforming robot toys of all time. Solid construction, incredible articulation, tons of personality and a nearly perfect rendition of one of my all time favourite and most wanted characters from the IDW Transformers comics. Spartan is sold out from most retailers, I even had to go the route of begging to buy one on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter until an awesome Instagram user sold me one for a very fair price. After getting him in hand I can see why most collectors were not willing to part with him. Mastermind Creations has done re-issues before and if any toy deserves to be in more hands it's this amazing work of art. Interest has been reignited in Spartan even more so due to the release of Mastermind Creations Carnifex, their rendition of IDW Overlord (Who will be gracing this website with his presence just as soon as he arrives) so I'm hoping we see a re-release some time soon.

"We're waiting on you Carnifex... Come get some!"

I don't want to say Spartan is a perfect toy but honestly he's so close I might as well. He's so awesome he even made Masterpiece Optimus Primal take a back seat for photos and reviews despite my frothing at the mouth ever since his announcement. If I wanted to be really pedantic I would like to see someone offer a replacement head with a little more depth to the facial expression, and maybe some replacement hands moulded in fists (or articulated) but honestly I don't care if that never happens. Spartan gives me a happiness that I can barely describe in writing and I can't stop pulling him off my shelf and posing him. He is 100% absolute pure toy joy. If you don't have this guy in your collection you owe it to yourself to try and at least spend some time with one in hand, you won't regret it! Wreck and rule! 

If you have any thoughts or comments please let me know down below!

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