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Knightdramon's Review: MMC R12 Cynicus

Name: Cynicus
Function: Investigator
Subgroup: N/A
Size Class: N/A

Almost a year to his release anniversary, Cynicus has reached a relatively stable balance of arguments for and against his overall qualities as a figure.

The facts? First DJD 3P full figure out [excluding the shapeways projects] by MMC. Due to a factory move/PR backlash, came out with two/three separate price points during his preorder phase. Very articulated, compatible with all other MMC releases.

Cynicus is MMC's fairly accurate take on Vos, the smallest member of the ever so popular DJD team from the pages of MTMTE. The Decepticon Justice Division is a group of torturers, blindly obedient to Megatron, with many of their members having some part of their anatomy configured for torturing the poor stray Decepticons that end up on their list. Or Autobots. Vos transforms into a sniper riffle, relatively mundane for a torture device, right? Except in robot mode, his faceplate detaches and a springloaded array of hooks and drills and spikes awaits any victims that get the "chance" to wear his faceplate.

In terms of transforming figures, Cynicus is unique in that he's one of the relatively few full-sized [ie not targetmaster or minicon] gun formers. Seeing as he's a sci-fi sniper riffle that's barely bigger than an envelope, he won't cause you any problems in customs to pretty much any country.

Cynicus was available for pre-order roughly a couple of months before his release for the relatively low price of 50odd USD, putting him on part with the slightly smaller MMC Azalea mould. Some logistics nightmare scenarios later, MMC upped the price twice during the pre-order phase, with the final price capping at 85 USD, almost putting him on par with some of MMC's Feralcons, all of which were bigger, heavier, and had ratcheted joints.

I got mine for the 85 USD price due to ordering late. A second run has since been released, still at that price-point. 85 USD from exactly the same company can net you the chunky Spartan/Commotus mould or even Anarchus [Cynicus's partner in crime], who are all much bigger and heftier figures.

With that background information in mind, let's check how Cynicus fares and if he is worth the price of admission.

Robot Mode

Cynicus follows in the footsteps of Azalea/his wave-mate Salvia in that the transformation process from alt mode to robot mode is straightforward, despite being a tad tricky the other way around. The only part that needs to be removed is his riffle barrel. There are locking tabs that hold everything in place, and after some clever unfolding and re-tabbing you are greeted with quite a sinister looking fellow.

Cynicus stands 15 cm tall to the top of his head and roughly 19 centimetres tall to his riffle barrel, if you keep it attached on his back. While he is deluxe-sized, he is also rather lanky [true to his design] and thus appears smaller than he actually is. He is also quite light for his size and features many thin parts.

The sculpting works really well with all the extra paint that MMC have added. Many of the "glowing" energy details alongside his panels and limbs [courtesy of TRON Legacy and WFC 6 years ago] are replicated with an orangey-pink paint over his dark purple main plastic colour. To its credit, this sort of effect is difficult to replicate over darker plastic, but it works very well.

Cynicus has a lot of layered panels on his limbs, much like Salvia/Azalea. His "boots" and gauntlets replicate this effect quite nicely, with his torso mimicking the effect with sculpting, plastic parts separation and painted details on top. His enormous feet have got pistons moulded on the inside [and picked up in grey paint], with his thighs having a [painted] grey indentation for detail on the outside. The inside of his thighs has got moulded details and pistons but is not painted.

His hips are separate dark grey pieces with light gray crescent details painted on them [again, note how difficult it is to apply a lighter colour over a darker] and the waist/pelvis panel is a separate purple piece. I would be lying if I said that said piece can stay in place. It needs to rotate 180 degrees for gun mode, but there is no tab to secure it in either position, so it lolls around -very- loosely.

His upper body features his characteristic chest crest over a lithe frame. His torso is made up for two interlocking panels [purple with light and dark grey detailing], the purple crest and two recessed collar lines picked out in gold. The arms have virtually no kibble--two thin purple pieces adjourn the shoulders and are on a freely rotating pin joint over a circular joint, allowing you to have them either as shoulder ornamental armour or out to the sides or even behind. The thin pieces are uneven so one side stick out more than the other. The lower arm features purple gauntlets with orangey pink lines through them. The gauntlets only cover half the lower arm; the inner arm is white plastic with ridges as detailing but no paint. His right arm has his riffle supporting hand grip sticking out, light grey with purple paint on the finger cover. The grip is on a pinned arm which ends on a ball joint at the base of the grip, so you can either have it sticking out or tucked behind the forearm.

A protruding backpack dominates Cynicus's back. The backpack has many ends sticking out [non-symmetrical] with some detailing picked out in light grey. The two halves [again, asymmetrical] of the riffle scope split up and stick out from either side of Cynicus's head, though they do not block any movement. On the top of the scope platform two crescents are picked out in the "energy glow" orange/pink paint. The ends of the sniper scope are painted light grey but feature no paint for the actual scope lenses.

An optional gun grip scaled and configured for Feral Rex [moulded in dark grey, with light grey details painted on the grip] can also slot on the backpack's left side. The backpack and the grip have two slots, but tabbing it on in robot mode requires you to use the lower slot of the backpack and the upper slot of the grip due to clearance, unless you want the aforementioned riffle scope floating loosely. This riffle barrel can also plug on the right side of the backpack sticking up, with the support struts pointing up or down.

Last but not least, Cynicus's head is exquisitely painted and sculpted, with his faceplate, cheek guards and top of the helmet painted in light grey, his ear pieces picked out in gold and his eyes and crest in dark red. Of note is that his eyes are slightly asymmetrical, with the right one being smaller, as if he is grinning or taking aim via a scope.

A healthy combination of ball and swivel joints make Cynicus extremely poseable and expressive. He is more poseable than Azalea/Salvia and far more poseable than his team mate Anarchus. His feet alone have four joints, with moving heel and feet pieces, a very deep ankle tilt [via a screw joint] and the entirety of the foot moving forward and back as well. He features a double jointed knee and a swivel just below the knee. A fully rotating swivel is also found on his upper thigh, with almost uninterrupted back and forth movement on the grey hip joint. Due to the moulding he cannot spread his legs very far apart, but can strike some awesome dynamic poses.

His waist is linked via a ball joint on a very open socket below the purple torso area. A second ball joint is present on his chest [just above the purple torso area] with somewhat limited range of motion, but if you untab his backpack the range of motion increases. The arms connect to the body via a ball joint with a very open cut for back, forth and upwards motion and a pinned joint on the shoulder bit of the arm. The arms then feature an uninterrupted swivel joint just below the top bicep part, pinned double hinged elbows and a ball joint for the hand/wrist with a wide cut for inwards movement.

His head is on a balljoint atop a neck that swivels back and forth at the base. All in all this means that he can get into some -amazing- and extremely expressive poses. The sniper rifle barrel can separate to form the barrel and a much shorter assault riffle [serves as the base and handle of the riffle], giving him dual riffles if one wishes to do so, or a handheld gun while his iconic riffle is on his back. He features an alternate head with no faceplate [and hollow eyes] and a separate faceplate with the spikes activated on the inside. To swap the heads you need to pop them off the ball joint, and the faceplate can be loosely placed on his open fist. The downside is that neither the head nor the faceplate are painted, thus looking a bit under detailed.

On paper, this all is great and there could be no downside whatsoever, right?

This is where production issues come to play. For unknown reasons Cynicus is manufactured using different, more brittle and thin plastic than Azalea. This makes him much lighter [he can be carrier around in sniper riffle mode by deluxes, leaders and voyagers] but it also makes a lot of his parts flimsy in robot mode. Many pins and swivels were already very loose on mine, and even after partly disassembling him and coating him in glue and paint to strengthen the joints, he is still very loose. His legs can dangle back and forth and his waist ball joint is too weak and open to properly cradle his lower half if you pick him up.

All this makes him a chore to pick up and re-pose as he can't hold many poses easily, and when transforming him it is easy to either stress some of his joints, pop a ball joint off, or get very annoyed at how loose another joint is. Since he locks together the end result is tight, but getting there can be frustrating. Also note that his sniper riffle is too heavy for his thin joints, so it's either a dual-handed pose, sniper riffle barrel on the ground or floppy mess.

Riffle mode

Cynicus stands just a hair over 15cm long in sniper riffle mode. His torso panels open up outwards, exposing a skeleton frame that folds in on itself while the crest rotates around [exposing some nifty vent chest details] to tab everything together. His head rotates back and hides between the torso panels that lock together, while the backpack untabs, folds back on the loosest ball joint EVER, unfolds the gun score on a separate loose ball joint frame, which needs to tab on the rotating pelvis piece and the entire armature is then locked between some tabs and slots on his legs.

You need to then attach the sniper riffle barrel on the cavity where his head was and loosely tab his arms on the sides of the riffle, with his fists holding on to some numbs on the back.

The grey handle/Feral Rex extension can either be tabbed between the lower legs and used as the primary handle or plugged on the bottom part of the backpack as some sort of battery/ammo.

His feet form a shoulder grip/rest and you can fold down a small handle for 5mm fist holes from his lower legs. His legs have a handle each so you can accommodate left or right handed poses better.

The fancy hand grip extends from on side and thanks to the movable pin and ball joint combination it can be used by a variety of configurations.

There's not much playability here---you need another figure to wield him. His sniper riffle barrel has got two balancing legs, each on a ball joint attached to the side of a freely rotating circular piece, meaning that if you want to, you can place him on uneven ground and still have him balance. No new colours come into play although all the orange-pink energy effects flow on the sides of the gun, from the back all the way to the barrel, emulating a nice "charging for a shot" feel.

His feet are still fully poseable so he can "grip" the shoulder of a larger figure for a better hold, although I have not been able to put that theory into practice.

In the hands of Anarchus or Azalea/Salvia, he is an oversized riffle that is very unwieldy to hold. It takes a LOT of fiddling to make Hexatron appear to be in a sniping pose, and that's more like holding the gun sideways and then twisting the waist and neck joints to make it look dynamic. He features five grips overall [one on the base/handle, the extending arm grip, the base grip of just the riffle barrel and the side grip of the riffle barrel] so with some effort he can get into the hands of Anarchus and just stay on the display like that.

I would echo my comments from Salvia and say that this is a very mixed release, but for different reasons. His robot mode is very unstable due to poor joints as part of his plastic composure, his alt mode must be used by another figure to make full use of it but it's unwieldy and the end result is not always worth it, and he frankly doesn't have much more going for him.

Unlike Spartan or Azalea, who are based on characters which have a strong fanbase and a history of not having enough toys, Cynicus is based on a character that on paper is great but hasn't done much, the toy is not much to write home for and the price it commands is not justifiable.

If you are a fan of the design or want a team of the DJD, then by all means go for it, as he can still strike a lot of creepy poses and look good as part of that team. If you have 85 USD to spend on a figure there are far better and bigger options for you out there, especially from the same company.

Of special note is that some owners have reported his grey ankle pieces disintegrating and joints loosening over time without any use. He is also available as a special, glow in the dark paint variant as part of the Asterisk exclusive repaints. The price difference between the regular version and the Asterisk exclusive version is minimal at the time of this review.

Transformation design: 7. Not bad for a made up riffle. The torso does some neat compressing and the backpack unfolding is interesting, but it loses points for the joints being too loose. I feel I might snap something off if I try to pry apart the riffle when going back to robot mode.
Durability: 3. If I grip him and squeeze down, parts will shatter, no question about it. He already has stress marks on some of his tabs, he is loose all around and I already have replaced his torso and spine as they developed some very big stress marks due to some joints being stiffer than others.
Fun: 6. If he was sturdier he'd be at 7-8. He can strike a lot of creepy poses, suited to his character, but he doesn't do much on his own beyond that, and he needs another figure to take advantage of his alternate mode.
Aesthetics: 10. Can't go wrong. Paint is flawlessly applied, every bit of detail is picked out and he's about 95% accurate to an already great comic design. He fits the part of the creepy interrogator just fine.
Articulation: 10+. Much like Azalea, he's loaded with joints. Whether those joints can actually support much is a different story.
Value/price: 2. As much as I like MMC and want to support them, he costs the same as 3 figures that are 35-40% bigger. If you can get him for his original 50ish USD price, then that's upped to a 6. As I said before, he looks great, but can't do much by himself.
Overall: 5. If you want him as part of a cool DJD display, go for it. Anarchus is already out and Kultur [Tarn] is confirmed. I do not know if MMC will tackle the other 2, but even the 3 of them are iconic together. If you want him as a standalone figure, there are far better figures to purchase and enjoy.
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