Sunday, 15 November 2015

Iron Factory Evil Lord review

Iron Factory have been carving out quite the niche for themselves over the past twelve months, bucking the Masterpiece scaled and styled trend and focusing on, of all things, the Legends Class market. The smaller side of Transformers is courting noticeable attention of late with this crew, Shapeshift, DX9 and Hasbro themselves all vying for your coin. At 3rd Party prices though, it's big bucks for little packages. Worth the punt? Read on.

Does whom this release homage require any introduction? Overlord made a significant impact in IDW comics' highly regarded Last Stand Of The Wreckers and went on to serve a pivotal role in the ongoing More Than Meets The Eye series. A living weapon turned sadist, saddled with serious psychological problems and the blackest of humours, Overlord has left a bloody stain on the current Transformers run.

Iron Factory have taken this delightful iteration of the character as a base point, as opposed to the characters original depiction in Super God Masterforce. But within this toy lies a great big nod to its roots too.

Packaged in robot mode, Evil Lord impresses immediately in hand. The colours are dead on, the sculpt mirrors its source material well and it's detailed enough without being busy. Excellent paint apps pick out all the important bits and he packs mighty weight in spite of small stature. He just looks the bomb and does Nick Roche's design proud. Sadly he isn't sporting the Caligula lips he became famous for in the comics, but given that his face sculpt is barely the size of a baby's thumbnail, the potential for cocking it up is so high I'll happily take a standard evil grimace over a self obsessed Facebook trout pout.

Continuing to impress in the articulation department, this pint sized instrument of destruction crams in more joints than your average Daily Mail baiting hooded menace, finding the time to include both hinged toe and ball jointed ankle action. Then you realise he has not only an ab crunch but upper torso movement.. and the swagger achievement is unlocked.

I'm a massive fan of meaningful articulation in my Transformers. When done right, the character you can give to your figures is a joy. And a guy like Overlord needs to flex maniacal. His mini me delivers in spades. I can pose him like a cocky crotch thrusting bastard and as a weighing up the kill stalking menace. Top stuff.

This can store on his back (badly), in the box (possibly) or in the fire (likely)

Accessory wise he carries a big purple gun and a shield that looks suspiciously like the nose cone of a jet. You have to pop out his wing kibble to attach the shield though. It doesn't bother me. At this scale, partsforming is no issue. In fact, partsforming doesn't bother me full stop which is handy because..



That's something, eh?

Technically Overlord IS a Duocon, so at some point you have to accept that two separate alternate modes are going to require splitting the figure apart but damn son, this is like Sid's bedroom or a G9 flashback or something.

Actually, this is all pretty clever stuff that still involves some actual transformation. But if this engineering is a dealbreaker, walk away now. The main thing I take from this is that these design choices allow for such a good robot mode. And let's face it, they didn't muck about with the vehicle modes either.

I know, I know.. that peg is sticking up like a man championing prescription blue pills so let's just get it out of the way - my weapon is knackered. My Evil Lord's weapon, yeah? Flash maybe, I dunno. Sucks for sure. Isolated though? Seems to be. It remains a decent representation of the IDW alt mode. Albeit one with the kind of QC error you wouldn't want on a crowded bus.

Jet mode looks beast, the newly dominant black adding a striking contrast to the tank and robot colour palette and the lines and curves indicating power and speed. This one is a winner. Tiny landing gear too. Joyous.

Which brings us to the third alternate mode. The G1 toy and Masterforce character sported a great base mode which Evil Lord seeks to emulate but doesn't really pull off. The side pieces don't tab anywhere, the gun goes nowhere and as said earlier, that front ramp will spend most of its life.. elsewhere anyway.

 But I see why they did it; nostalgia and toy accuracy, and appreciate the effort particularly at this size, but no. Just no. I would have rather had the extra cost go towards a Decepticon flavoured weapons pack as seen with their previous releases.

Evil Lord is an ambitious figure, and almost a very, very good one. The partsforming will push some people away, the scale almost certainly limits his appeal. And personally the base mode leaves plenty to be desired. Plus cost.

But this remains a beautiful rendering of a notorious character from a company fast gaining traction as ones to watch. In a time where Masterpiece style, scale and scandal dominates, Iron Factory's small but perfectly formed gear is a welcome alternative, as well as delivering something that's just plain fun.