PHOTOBER THE 27TH – Mega Construx ATV Ground Recon

I kind of wanted to do a whole week of Mega Construx, but that would have meant needing to build more of the kits I have piled up. But three entries over the month is probably just fine since they’re all things I’ve been really pleased with.

Call of Duty ATV Ground Recon kind of defies my normal criteria for buying Mega Construx, which usually requires a unique or interesting figure and/or accessory selection. This kit has a relatively ordinary while vaguely futuristic-looking soldier, who only comes with one rifle and a couple pieces of gear for the tactical vest. No, this one was definitely about an interesting looking vehicle build and probably also because I would have found it at discount retail for I imagine around $12. Maybe $16.

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Of course, saying “ATV” to me more calls up the image of a little four-wheeler, but this is a big jeep-thing. I’d have still bought it if it were Jeep-Thing Ground Recon. The overall shape is nice, with just the right blend of unreality and practicality to be fun but not ridiculous. Ridiculous can be good too though! But with this it’s some of the smaller details that stand out and really endear it to me.

The interior is reasonably detailed with two distinct seats, a couple bricks with printed displays for the dash panel, a steering wheel, and a gear selector that’s movable on a ball joint. For the wheel and gear shift lever, the remarkable thing to me is that the driver can actually have a hand on both of them at the same time, and look quite natural doing so. I’d hardly expect that of bigger figures with scaled vehicles, and it kind of blew me away finding it in something like this.

The mechanical detail level is I guess decent, but it doesn’t blow me away quite like the motorcycle earlier this month, for instance. They have you build suspension details for the wheel wells, and they fill the opening hood with generic shapes to imply complexity, alongside a winch with a cable and hook that you can extend or rewind. I’d say it’s all just enough, and no more.

There’s only one figure included with this set, but the vehicle is a functional two-seater, if a bit of a tight fit. Despite the overall volume, the interior space with two figures riding reminds me more of sub-compact cars my family used to have. But I’m still quite entertained at being able to convincingly accommodate both driver and a passenger. Especially if they are Picard and Data, respectively.

There’s a gunner position in back. A rear deck behind the driver compartment theoretically gives access to the rail-mounted machinegun. The machinegun itself is a pretty slick bit of design. A mounting bracket connects it to a curved rail that’s part of the roll cage. The bracket further provides a swivel joint for the gun providing a tremendous range of movement. Far more than can even be reached with a figure operating the gun. It’s not perfect though. The height of the turret seems not to have been entirely well-considered versus the height of the rear deck. You might just barely manage to get a figure holding the gun’s handles and looking like it’s actually using the weapon while keeping the feet almost on the deck. But more typically and likely the figure will be floating suspended by the gun. It really needs another brick’s worth of height as a further step-up. That could be customized given a few choice spare parts, but it’s a shame the build as described didn’t account for this.

As for the figure, the only particularly notable thing about it is the design of the head. It’s a close-fitting helmet with a probably-supposed-to-be-permanent visor. The clear piece can be removed, but the way it feels doing so makes me think it’d eventually get damaged from being clicked off and back on. And the face sure doesn’t look any better with the visor off.

I couldn’t care less about Call of Duty as a franchise, but I loved picking up Mega Construx product based on that license. This is a great example of what you can get out of one of the smaller-end of the mid-size building sets. I only wish I’d had the space to get a few of the bigger ones on the rare occasion I saw them hit a nice price reduction. They looked even better.

Only a few days left! Continue the countdown to the end of the month tomorrow with Photober the 28th!