For more pics, click on the image above
Prelude: Legal stuff first as always. Kultur is not a figure released by Hasbro nor by Takara-Tomy and thus isn’t officially a Transformer. He hails from third party company Mastermind Creations and is of course meant to be Tarn, the leader of the Decepticon Justice Division from the IDW comics. For legal reasons he can’t be called by that name. Not sure why MMC chose the German word Kultur (engl. culture), but that’s his official name.
Robot Mode: Design-wise Kultur is, to me, one of the coolest looking robots in a long time. Both in shape and in color he is the quintessential Decepticon. Of course there is his mask resembling the Decepticon crest, but his torso has also been designed to somewhat mimic the symbol. The triple tank treads that form his shoulders make him look enormously wide and powerful and the double gun on his arm completes the look. Yes, this is a robotic bad guy, a Decepticon. No doubt at all.
Kultur is about the size of a Voyager-class figure and very nicely articulated. He’s even got opening hands and poseable toes. The design of his shoulders makes some of his arm movements slightly awkward, but that’s really just a minor thing. So neither in looks nor in articulation do I find any room for complaint here. The two guns on his arm can be removed and held in hand if you want. Additionally Kultur has missiles in his toes, though those are more for use in tank mode.
It is possible to remove the Decepticon mask from Kultur’s head to unveil his face. Now I must admit that I am not quite certain whether or not Tarn’s true identity was already known by the time this figure’s head was designed (it was released in early 2017, Tarn’s identity was revealed in July 2016), so while Kultur’s unmasked face somewhat resembles that of Roller (wrongly suspected to be Tarn for a long time), it also bears some resemblance to the restored face of Glitch (the actual Tarn). Basically it’s generic enough to be almost anybody. Anyway, Mastermind Creations later on released a second head for Kultur alongside its Tyrantron (Megatron) figure, now revealing the cyclops-eyed face of Glitch underneath the mask. Use whichever head you prefer and read the remarks below for the somewhat complicated story of Tarn’s identity.
Overall I can only repeat what I wrote above: one of the best-looking robot designs in a long time. Very nicely done!
Alternate Mode: A surprisingly simple and straight-forward transformation changes Kultur into a science-fiction-styled tank. The twin gun from his arm goes on top as a turret and there is no sign of a robot mode to be found anymore. Nicely done. As additional weapons besides the twin cannons, the tank features three opening panels (though the middle one can only be opened when the turret is removed), unveiling missile launchers. The center launcher merely has sculpted missiles, but the two side launchers (previously the toes of the robot mode) have actual removable missiles. Four tiny missiles of perfect size to clog the airways of pets and small children, in fact. Best leave them inside. Bottom line: a very nice tank mode, no complaints here, either.
Remarks: Among the most interesting characters introduced in James Roberts’ lengthy run on the IDW Transformers comics was Tarn, the leader of the Decepticon Justice Division. The DJD was specifically tasked with hunting down Decepticon traitors and deserters and Tarn was among Megatron’s most fanatical and devout followers. He fashioned himself a being of culture (hence the name, I guess), liked to listen to music, and preferred talking his enemies to death by using his special voice to modulate their spark into self-destruction. Tarn’s face was hidden behind a mask resembling the Decepticon symbol and his true identity was a long-running plot point.
Sadly the reveal of said identity was rather anti-climatic. For a long time Tarn had been teased to be Roller, an old friend and comrade-in-arms of Orion Pax (aka Optimus Prime), who disappeared shortly after the war began. That turned out to be a red herring, though, and Tarn was revealed to actually be… Glitch! And if you have no idea who Glitch is, don’t worry, that’s perfectly understandable. Glitch appeared but briefly before this reveal, namely in two flashbacks to pre-war Cybertron, where he worked with Orion Pax to oppose Cybertron’s corrupt Senate. So… yeah, while I really adore James Roberts’ run on the IDW TF comics in general, this was not one of his better plot twists. Much like Darth Vader, Tarn was a much better villain before we got a look at the man/bot behind the mask.
Side note: as mentioned above the MMC Tyrantron figure came with an alternate head for Kultur/Tarn that would reveal the visage of Glitch behind the mask. Nice, but not entirely accurate, as this new head shows Glitch with the single cyclopean eye of an Empurata victim (this was how he looked in the flashbacks mentioned above), but when he was unmasked in present day he sported a humanoid looking face, revealing that he had his original pre-Empurata face restored before hiding it behind Tarn’s mask. But that’s just something for the avid comic fans to complain about.
As for the figure itself, it has the usual downside of a third party figure in that it’s quite a bit more expensive than an official Transformers toy, but otherwise I really don’t have anything bad to say here. Kultur is looking great, has no design flaws, and even if you are not a comic book reader and have no relation to the character, I daresay he will be a piece of pride in any Decepticon collection. Fully recommended.
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Phil's review of Mastermind Creations Kultur aka Tarn
Posted 13 September 2018 - 05:56 AM
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