Friday, 13 May 2016

Mastermind Creations Reformatted: R-08Z Zinnia (Parapax Medic)

(Femme-Bot Friday #37)
You'd think, by now, I'd be well and truly bored of Masterminds Creations' femme-bot mold or, at least, being rather more choosy about which ones I pick up now that I have both exclusive versions and the adaptation into the female Prime. In truth, I probably should be, but there's something compelling about this mold, and I really did want the Paradron Medic version, not least because the 'missing' backpack components/fenders were included with Salvia Prominon.

Of course, buying things second hand on eBay always comes with risks, so I'm sure you're all itching to know what went wrong with this one.

Again we have MMC's standard heavy card packaging for the Reformatted line, with a nice, clean print of a CGI image on the front and toy photos on the back. Nothing really new to report here, at this point. I gather lots of people were upset by the 'missing' swords, but my impression was that they were never intended to be included with this figure. Likewise, apparently, those backpack components/fenders... but fan outcry led to them being made after all, and made available separately...

...Which is why I was more than a little surprised to find a pair bagged up in this very box. So now I have two sets of Zinnia's missing parts. I guess I could sling them up on eBay, but I may just add a page to my headers here for the time being, listing a few items I'd be willing to part with.

Vehicle Mode:
Yep, it's pretty much the same thing as all the others, just in a minty green colourscheme - not really quite bold enough for the traditional Paradron Medic, and certainly paler than the 'official' limited edition Paradron Medic, based on the Energon Arcee mold, and released by Takara Tomy/Toy's Dream Project. Like the Asterisk Mode repaint, this one comes with translucent windows and 'wings' but this version goes a step further and makes her stand translucent as well.

Here's where things get really fun, though: those fender parts that were 'missing'? The moment I tried to attach them, it became obvious that they were never meant to be included in this set, because the extra panels attached to the robot's shoulders get in the way of the inner blocks on the fenders. That said, her vehicle mode does look incomplete without them, and it's easy enough to make them fit simply by removing those inner blocks - they're only pegged in, and they make no difference at all to vehicle mode. Disappointingly, there's no paintwork on the fenders, neither on the upper surfaces, like Asterisk, nor the 'headlights', like the other two variants.

As with all the others, her guns (or are they some form of medical implement now?) can be attached to the rear panel in vehicle model for preference but, given that those are her only accessories, they could just as easily be attached to the pegs on her thigh armour.

Robot Mode:
And so we have MMC's 'cool mint edition' Arcee analogue. A lot more of the translucent green plastic is visible now - the main part of her shoulder and the central part of her chest - but I can't help but think this would have been a lot more interesting with more translucent plastic versus the others. What it does have is more of a paint job than the original Azalea, with the linework on the hip armour and a couple of details on the opaque shoulder armour painted in a slightly yellower shade of green. I would have like the linework on her chest to have received similar treatment, not least because the translucent section actually gets a bit lost, but she looks OK without. This version also lacks the silver paint on the waist of the original version and the coloured paint on the lower legs of the Asterisk version, making it about the plainest version, except for its upgraded shoulders.

As mentioned, she comes with the same handguns as every other colour variant, these being appropriately coloured in minty green metallic paint. Since she has no other weapon accessories, they can be stored easily on her back flaps or her hips, without fear of clashing overly with other parts. It's disappointing that she wasn't given Paradron-specific accessories, but I'm honestly not sure what accessories they have tended to be depicted with. Maybe a toolkit?

Probably the most disappointing aspect of this figure is that it uses exactly the same head sculpt as the other three versions. Granted, the G1 animation model used Arcee's head and much of the associated fiction has done the same. There have been instances of Paradron Medics looking different, however, and, given that both limited editions simply repainted or recoloured the same head, this seem like a rather cheap and very blatant recycling of the mold. The eyes may be a slightly paler blue that those of Azalea, but that may just be an effect of the contrast with the silver paint here, versus Azalea's pink face. I'm actually somewhat tempted to swap heads between this and Azalea because, while Arcee was depicted with a pink face in the TV show, so were the Paradron Medics... and I think the contrast between the pink face and green body parts might be interesting.

Obviously there are no differences in transformation between this and the other variants, but I do find slotting her head into place atop the chest is slightly less reliable than on the other versions - it never seems to go in all the way, though it's no more likely to pop out accidentally. This is likely be a plastic tolerance issue, and I've just been lucky on the others.

Having already picked up three versions of this mold prior to caving in and buying Zinnia, she has ended up being more than a little disappointing, and the daft part is that I'm still left with a pair of her fenders with nothing to attach them to. That said, having picked this up for less than £30 (same as the Stealth Assassin, lucky me!), I've brought the unit cost of owning all four variants down to about £65 - the only one I paid over the odds for (though still below its usual price) was Asterisk, and that's a much coveted limited edition.

While it would have been nice for MMC to vary the head sculpts a little more, rather than only making new heads for the final two models in the set, Salvia Prominon and Eupatorium (and, yes, I would have bought the mythical Predaqueen variant if it had ever been made), the standard head is admittedly appropriate to this model. What I do find odd is that she was given no new, character-specific accessories, but I do rather get the impression that this was pretty much intended to be nothing more than an obvious, cheap-and-cheerful repaint of the basic Azalea figure.

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