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Series: Fans Hobby
Allegiance: Decepticon
Categories: Convention Exclusive
Year: 2023


Prelude: Should you be unable to remember that there ever was a G1 Decepticon called Talon, don’t worry, you are not alone. Talon was one of the European-exclusive Predators from 1992, a time when the original Transformers toyline was already over in the United States. Now, though, third party company Fans Hobby has discovered these mostly forgotten Transformers as excellent repaint material for convention exclusive figures. So here we have Marksman, an unofficial Masterpiece version of the Generation 1 Predator Talon, available at TFCon Orlando in 2023. Let’s say go!

Robot Mode: Now let us start by saying that, just like all the other Euro-G1 homages Fans Hobby has done so far (see below), this mold, too, was originally meant for someone else. Marksman began his existence as Fright Storm, an unofficial homage to G1 Powermaster Dreadwind (Fans Hobby also used the same mold for Destroyer to homage Buster from Super-God Masterforce, the Takara version of Dreadwind). Thankfully Dreadwind and Talon both share the basic Decepticon air warrior design, meaning a cockpit on the chest and wings on their backs, so that works out quite nicely.

Marskman is a pretty tall and slim robot, unlike the original Talon who was almost as broad as he was tall. Still, the paintjob is a very close match, being mainly turquoise and grey, with some bright purple (almost red) highlights and a head that just looks fabulous. Side note: one side of the package features an image of Marksman’s eyes, one of which shows targeting crosshairs appearing in his pupil, a reference to the original Predators’ Mega-Visor system. Sadly the actual figure does not have that (or any other reference to the Mega-Visor system). Still looks pretty great, though.

The robot is very nicely articulated, featuring pretty much everything you would expect from a Masterpiece-scale figure, including individual fingers, a ball-jointed neck, twisting hips, the works. Despite carrying a big rucksack made from the wings and rear of his jet mode, it isn’t particularly hard to balance Marksman, either. Most of Marksman’s joints are pretty tight (but not too tight), sadly the ones who are least tight are the ankle joints of all things. They are not loose or anything, but it’s pretty tough to bring Marksman into one-legged poses such as kicking. The fact that his feet aren’t the biggest makes it even more difficult. Tighter ankle joints and possibly a slightly bigger heel spur would have been nice.

Marksman’s hip is a little weird in that it always looks like he is doing the Dreamwave-style hip thrust a bit. This is entirely to the way the robot is put together, though, and does not impede his stability or posing ability. He can even do a bit of a hip wiggle, if you want to. Those little wings at the top of his breast plate tab into his shoulders, but not particularly solidly. Everything holds together well despite that, but I thought I’d mention it.

Finally, there are Marksman’s weapons and this is where the nostalgia hits me right in the feels. He carries two golden missile launchers with green missiles, reminiscent of the weapons the G1 Predators carried back in 1992. Those launchers were notorious for being made entirely of gold plastic and roughly 90% of them have probably broken off their handles by now. Thankfully the handles on these new ones are much sturdier, though sadly the launchers themselves do not have a spring-loaded firing mechanism.

So bottom line for the robot mode: pretty good. Bigger feet and tighter ankle joints would have been nice and overall the robot does feel a bit brittle (he isn’t, but he feels that way), but I still like him a lot. Just be aware that the nostalgia is strong with this one, so I might be biased a bit.

Alternate Mode: Marksman transforms into an F-16 Fighting Falcon jet. This is not really the model of jet the original Talon transformed into (that was a simplified and slightly deformed version of an F-15 Eagle), but rather the one G1 Dreadwind transformed into, of course. Still, the paintjob does quite a bit to push the resemblance regardless and it’s not like the exact model of jet was really integral to either character. It’s a Decepticon and it transforms into a fighter jet. That’s enough, really.

A few quick words on the transformation: it’s pretty straight-forward and experienced jet-Transformer-transformers can probably get by without the instruction sheet, too. The only thing slightly bothersome is getting the robot legs to properly tab into the bottom of the jet while keeping everything properly aligned, but it’s not particularly hard either. The finished jet looks very realistic (apart from the coloring) and even features an unfolding three-point landing gear, something that has been missing from a lot of jet-Transformers recently.

There are slits on the underside of the wings where you can tab in either the golden missile launchers or the green missiles themselves, your choice. So bottom line for the jet mode: nice, surprisingly big, and the only things I can really complain about are the slightly fiddly transformation (the legs) and that it’s a also a bit fiddly to get the front landing gear out and back in. Otherwise, though? A very nice jet mode.

Partner: And, of course, there is Marksman’s Powermaster partner. Again, this mold was originally meant to be Dreadwind, so this guy with the tiny bird-like mask is meant to be Hi-Test. The Powermaster (Fans Hobby did not give him a name of his own) is nicely articulated for such a small guy – though the legs tend to pop off when trying to bend them at the hip - and transforms into an engine, which can fit into Marksman’s jet mode. If you do not care for this gimmick, you can easily leave it aside, too, as the indent where the engine fits is easily covered by an extra plate. So bottom line: a nice little partner figure, but actually quite superfluous.

Remarks: Marksman is the fourth Fans Hobby figure depicting old European-exclusive figures from 1992, following after HuntsmanBossman (do I detect a pattern?) and… Lightning Eagle (okay, every pattern needs an outlier). So right now we have four Predators and four Turbomasters left to go. That will carry Fans Hobby through quite a few more conventions, I guess.

I have a soft spot for the Euro-exclusive G1 Transformers, so I am basically a sucker for this Fans Hobby subline, even though they are pretty hard to get, being convention exclusives. Thankfully my buddy Den was able to get a Marksman for me at this year’s TFCon in Orlando, just like my buddy James did with Bossman last year. Here’s hoping my luck will hold eight more times. What I was getting at, though: for me Marksman was a must for nostalgia reasons and he is a pretty good figure, too. If you have no relation to the G1 Predators, though, I am not sure you really need this guy. There are two other versions of him, portraying somewhat better-known characters, and at the end of the day he is “just” a Masterpiece-sized Jet-Transformer. A nice one, no doubt, but aside from the cool 90s paintjob and nostalgia value, there is little here is that revolutionary or surprising.

Rating: B

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