Monday, December 10, 2012

Transformers Masterpiece: Optimus Prime

Oh how long have I waited for this figure!  Back in 2003, Takara created a new series of Transformers called Masterpiece.  These large scale, intricate figures featured a mixture of die-cast metal and plastic along with articulation that Transformer figures just didn't have.  A lot of the figures featured homages to their cartoon counterparts and were a smash hit with collectors all over the world.  Convoy, MP-01, was the first release in the Japanese Masterpiece series.  I can still remember my excitement over this figure.  I gladly dropped $65.00 down on a pre-order and began to (impatiently) wait for the figure's arrival.

3 years later Takara released MP-06.  Largely Convoy (or Optimus) was unchanged, but the selling point for this release was the inclusion of his trailer.  I oh so wanted this toy, but the $200 or so price tag was a major roadblock for me.  I remember seeing a few guys at Botcon in 2006 walking around the dealer room holding this mammoth box.  I remember that ugly green monster starting to rear it's head as well.  I never did grab the figure.  For awhile I regretted my decision of not going after the MP-06 release, but thankfully that is all in the past now that I have the Hasbro version of Takara's MP-10 release.

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Masterpiece Optimus Prime comes packaged in this huge box.  Like with other Masterpiece figures previously released by Hasbro, the box is constructed of a bottom cardboard tray with a thick plastic "shell" forming the top half.  The box does a good job showing off his included accessories including his rifle, energon axe, Roller, Spike Witwicky figure and the die-cast metal Matrix of Leadership!

As you can see in the packaging, Optimus Prime comes in robot mode with the Matrix exposed.  Sadly I forgot to take pictures of him with this chest exposed once I got him out of the packaging...so take a good look at the above pictures.

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Hasbro's release of MP-10 features a more cartoon accurate look while Takara Tomy's release had a more G1 toy look.  I prefer the Hasbro look for two reasons.  1) Lower cost and 2) I just think the figure looks better in these colors.

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I can't even begin to explain how awesome this toy is - how much improved upon it is over the original MP-01 release.  This is the definitive version of Optimus Prime to own.  Optimus has a lot of articulation for a figure it's size - head, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, fingers, upper torso, thighs, knees (hinge & swivel) and ankles.  Even his iconic blaster rifle is articulated - kind of.  One of my pet peeves about the old G1 toy were the removable fists and the rifle.  What do you do with them after you've transformed him into truck mode.  The fists could fit in the cab's front thanks to the old Diaclone feature, but you were left with keeping up w/ his rifle.  Not anymore!

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Optimus' rifle folds up nicely into a rectangle shape and can be easily stored in a new compartment on the back of the figure.  This may be a small feature about the toy, but I love it.  Self contained figures/accessories are a winner in my book.

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In addition to Prime's blaster rifle, you also get this cool orange energon axe that he used in battle against Megatron atop Sherman Dam in the old G1 cartoon.  The bottom part of the axe is molded to simply fit over Optimus's fist.  It fits snugly and looks pretty darn cool if you ask me.

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The trailer can double as a repair bay for Optimus when in robot mode.  On each side of the trailer is a gray piece of plastic that folds out to store his weapons...another small, but very nice touch.  I don't particularly use the trailer in this fashion, but it's nice to see that the designers included this feature.

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Optimus Prime is equally as impressive in truck mode as he is in robot mode.  The truck cab is so beefy...I love it!  From the rubber tires to the subtle additions like the yellow lights on top, I'm so impressed with the vehicle look.  If I had the space and could afford a second MP Prime, I'd be all over it as I would love to display this toy in both forms.

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One of the included accessories is a small Spike Witwicky figure.  Spike is scaled perfectly to sit inside Prime's truck cab.  Both front windshield panels swing open to reveal a seat for the small figure.

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One of the other accessories is Roller.  What G1 Optimus Prime release would be complete without his little buddy Roller?  Even this version of Roller has been given the Masterpiece treatment.  Not only can he hold Spike, but the rear compartment can open up to haul Prime's trailer (which sadly I forgot to photograph!).  He can also wield Prime's rifle so he isn't this little defenseless Autobot anymore.

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Roller fits nicely inside Prime trailer.  The rear of the trailer's doors swing open and the a ramp extends from below allowing Roller or the newly released Masterpiece Lambor (Sideswipe) to drive up inside.

Prime's trailer opens up just like the G1 variety and features pretty much the same look.  The small "battle stations" on each side that were originally designed for the small Diaclone figures have been upsized as well and scaled for the included Spike action figure.  I didn't bother to photograph this it  becuase when when I originally took these pictures it was late and I was in a hurry to wrap this up.

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How iconic is this?
As I said earlier, this is the definitive version of G1 Optimus Prime to own.  While I love the original MP-01 release, this toy is superior.  First of all I like the smaller scale and the inclusion of the trailer puts it over the top.  The toy is exclusive to Toys 'R Us stores so it isn't the easiest to find.  It's original MSRP was $99.99, but has since climbed to $119.99.  He's readily available on the secondary market, but be prepared to pay as much as double.  If you can grab him for retail or close to retail then do it...you won't regret it.

Before I wrap this up I had to grab G1 Prime off my shelf and snap a few comparison pics so you could get an idea of the new MP scale.  Take a look.

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Tried to recreate the death of Optimus scene from the '86 animated movie



6 comments:

  1. I have the Takara version, and it's as sweet as the Hasbro version. They fixed so many things that I felt were lacking from the original. I do like the blue Roller better than the grey version.

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  2. Convoy perfect edition with trailer was MP-4 not 6 ;) hehe

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  3. Awesome! My friend Dannie picked up the original release, but if I'm ever lucky enough to encounter this one I'm definitely grabbing it.

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  4. Not to be a Dbag, because believe me, EVERYONE does it, but you missed a panel in truck mode. There should be one last section that flips down between the cab and silver tanks. It fills in that gap so he looks even MORE perfect than he already does!

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  5. totally agree that this is the definitive version of Optimus Prime. MP-01 is like a prototype test compared to this - the ultimate on Prime awesomeness. I generally like the Takara version's colours better (and its grey Roller), but I LOVE this versions eye colour. That alone almost made me pick it up from TRU despite me already having the Takara MP-10.

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