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Series: Fans Hobby
Allegiance: Predacon
Year: 2017


Prelude: Way back in 2018 I visited my good buddy James in his home in Kansas and expressed admiration for his Fans Hobby Red Dragon figure. Fast forward five years and James gifted me that very same figure for my birthday. Many thanks, James, you are the best. So here we have Fans Hobby Red Dragon, better known as Transmetal 2 Megatron from Beast Wars. Or is he actually Gigatron from Car Robots? Or maybe Doublecross from the Monsterbots? Let’s say go!

Robot Mode: Let us start by saying that this figure here began its existence as Feilong, a 2017 Fans Hobby figure that was an unofficial version of G1 Monsterbot Doublecross. Hence the reason why Red Dragon, who is supposed to be Transmetal 2 Megatron, has dragon heads on both arms instead of just one. The mostly red paintjob with golden highlights and the new head mold do their thing pretty well, though, easily marking this figure as the Predacon leader in his most powerful incarnation.

The robot is Masterpiece-scale… kind of. He is larger than both the original TM2 Megatron and the recent Legacy TM2 Megatron, but smaller than Masterpiece BW Megatron or Transart Metal T-Rex, so… let’s call him Masterpiece Junior. What he lacks in height, though, he makes up for in wingspan, as the large dragon wings on his back are, well, really large. One minor drawback here as he can only fold in the wings so far (first two pictures show them as far in as it goes), so if you want him to look wingless from the front (see third picture), you need to fold the wings so that they stick all the way out back.

As mentioned above the head is a good match for the original TM2 Megatron figure. The chest less so, as it lacks the big orb and the more organic-looking detailing, but that’s something you really only notice upon closer inspection. The chest assembly is a bit unstable (the outer chest parts slide apart during transformation and the middle part pegs in), but it’s only a minor thing, really. Apart from that, the robot holds together very well and the articulation is pretty good, only Red Dragon’s kibble parts and heftiness get in the way here and there.

Apart from the wings, the most prominent features of this figure are the dragon heads where his hands should be. Red Dragon does have hands, though. Slide the dragon heads up the forearm, fold back the lower jaw, and a wrist emerges where you can plug in a hand. The hands are extra parts, so make sure they don’t get lost somewhere. Of course you can also forego the hands and simply leave him with dragon heads for hands if that is more your kink.

While the original TM2 Megatron figure (as well as the Legacy version) had no extra weapons, Red Dragon comes with two swords that can combine into a lance. And if that weapon looks familiar to you, yes, it’s basically the exact same weapon carried by Car Robots Gigatron / RID 2001 Megatron. Why? Not really sure, to be honest, except that Gigatron also had a two-headed dragon mode, so maybe that was the reason. Either way, while Red Dragon doesn’t really need an extra weapon, he looks good wielding it. When not needed, the swords can be stored on the backs of his wings.

Bottom line for the robot mode: while it does show that the figure wasn’t originally intended for this character, the new head and red color manage to bridge that gap easily enough. A very nice robot mode, looking sufficiently powerful and exotic to portray the Predacon leader. Nicely done.

Alternate Mode: Naturally Red Dragon transforms into a dragon, a two-headed one to be precise. Here the difference to TM2 Megatron is a bit more pronounced, of course, simply due to the extra head. Closer resemblance to Car Robots Gigatron, though, so that is something. The beast mode is, of course, based on that of Doublecross, but with the red coloring it still gives a good impression of TM2 Megatron, so really not a problem.

The dragon looks pretty good and powerful, so no complaints in terms of looks. The dragon heads retain the full articulation of the robot’s arms, so that works pretty well. One thing that is a bit weird, though, is the dragon legs. For some weird reason the legs cannot straighten out at the knees, best you can get is about a 45 degree angle. Not only does that restrict the dragon’s ability to pose in this mode, it also makes it very hard to have him stand on just his two feet without using the tail as an additional stabilizer. It’s not a big thing, as a somewhat crouching pose fits with a dragon, but still: weird design choice. Just change the knee a bit in dragon mode and enable him to straighten his legs, how difficult could that have been?

Red Dragon also comes with two two-part flame effects you can plug into the dragon’s mouth (same socket as the hands) to simulate fire breathing. The effect parts look good in general, though they are a bit... flat? Cannot really describe it better than that. They work, though, so no real complaint here.

Bottom line for the dragon mode: fantastic look. Just give him better knees in this mode and he would have been perfect.

Remarks: Fans Hobby was only just starting out when they released their third party Masterpiece-scale Monsterbots and it shows. Red Dragon is a good figure, but it still has that slightly rough feeling of early third party figures, if you know what I mean. Cannot really explain it any better than that; if you have collected third party figures for a while, you probably understand what I’m talking about.

So what is my final rating for this figure? It’s difficult to be entirely objective here, given that he was a gift from a friend. Had I paid full price for him way back in 2018, I probably would have been a bit disappointed by the dragon’s knees, but I’d like to think I would still have enjoyed this figure overall. So taking into account that he is not perfect and doing my best to discount the friendship bonus, I’d say that he is a good figure for any fan of Beast Wars, Transmetal 2 Megatron, and beast formers in general. Not perfect, but quite good.

Rating: B

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