Hasbro's Masterpiece Optimus Prime

Article written by:
slangards
Author: slangardsWebsite: http://jointjunkie.blogspot.com
Dennis Domingo is a covert agent or mercenary of feudal Japan specializing in unorthodox arts of war. He is skilled in espionage, sabotage, infiltration, and assassination.

Details

Okay, so I started a new job and find myself with a lot less "disposable" income than I had before. I've had to cut back on my vices in order to, well, eat. To celebrate my new found sense of fiscal responsibility, let's take a look at something that cost me more than I should have probably spent: Hasbro's version of the MP-10, otherwise known as Masterpiece Optimus Prime.

Ever since Takara's MP-04 (the Convoy Perfect Edition) came out in 2006, I've wanted to purchase one of these "Masterpiece" transformers. I'd missed out when the MP-01 came out in 2003, so the new one with the trailer was tempting. However, I couldn't afford it at the time.

I did get the Ultra Magnus version, a re-issue of a re-color without the trailer. It was much cheaper and not so in demand. While I didn't end up keeping it, it did clue me in on a few issues that I didn't like about the line. For one, die-cast parts.

Now I know there are collectors that LOVE die-cast parts, and I do too to an extent. The early Masterpiece toys however had a lot of die-cast and it made for a very unwieldy figure that didn't play well. The piece felt unbalanced to me, with a very heavy chest. Despite having so much metal in his legs, I remember worrying if the Magnus figure would fall off the shelf while I was asleep, crashing down on my face and killing me dead.

I watch a lot of CSI.

Takara went back to the drawing board with the MP-10 (and Hasbro then copied it for US release). They replaced most of his parts with heavy plastic, which still feels pretty solid. They refined his transformation design so that his truck mode looks much closer to the way it did in the show, while still keeping a very nice looking robot mode. Then they simplified some of his parts (like his hands) and made sure that there were pieces that locked everything down where they should be (the chest doors for one).

Another thing they did with this version is make him smaller.

Their first try was scaled for the old Binaltech line of toys, which were also die-cast re-imaginings of the old cast from the show. The MP-04 had a trailer that could accommodate those cars (which are about the size of today's Human Alliance line of toys from the movie). This one is scaled for the more popular Classics line of toys, also known as Generations, Reveal the Sheild, Universe, or whatever else their calling the lines that feature Deluxe class toys with character designs inspired by the old 80's cartoon show.

The smaller scale also means that this guy comes with an accessory that was missing from the MP-04: Roller. Roller is the little go-cart drone that is housed inside the trailer with the repair bay. In the original G1 toy, you could fit him into a spring-loaded launcher and he'd speed right out of the container and down the ramp. Huge fun. This version also has a working Roller (without the launcher, though), as well as Prime's energon axe and plasma rifle.

You also get a removable die-cast Autobot Matrix of Leadership (the G1 version, not that crappy Bay one) that fits in his chest, the aforementioned trailer that converts into a battle station/repair bay, and a mini Spike figure that almost matches the scale of the newer Human Alliance figures.

 
 

Let me start off with a look at the main figure: Optimus Prime.

As I mentioned, this toy is a totally new design, and different from the first version in most respects.His feet have been trimmed down and some changing parts added so that the silhouette in robot and truck mode is transformed. The thighs look much more refined, and their articulation works better while feeling much more solid. The same goes for the shoulders and elbows. Proportions are nicer with this new figure; his chest is wider and his head smaller, while his "boots" and hands look bigger compared to the rest of him. It gives him a vibe that's closer to the show.

Of course, there are things that had to be compromised. He's got almost no die-cast (there may be some inside somewhere, but the only obvious piece is the Matrix) for one thing. He no longer has the individually articulated fingers (though his trigger finger is separate from the other three and the groups each have two points of articulation each) nor the communication screen on his arm. The fancy pistons that were apparent in his knees and elbows were taken away and replaced with a simpler hinge design.

 
 
I can't comment on which figure is more "accurate" since it's been some time since I watched the original cartoon, but this figure does look more natural to me compared to the first one. The pieces just seem to fit together right while the MP-01 looks a lot like a group of boxes smooshed together. Okay, the MP-01 was light years ahead of the G1 bricks, but the MP-10 feels at least several astronomical units away from that one.
 
  

Articulation is just about perfect for a toy this size. In fact, it's pretty amazing how much he's got available to him, despite being this big. You get a ball jointed head (with articulated "ears"); hinged and swivel shoulders that allow you to pull his arms out and back, while still maintaining a 360 degree rotation; hinged elbows and swivel wrists, with the aforementioned finger articulation; a swivel waist (HOLY SHIT?! On a Transformer?!); double-swivel/hinge, ball-type hips that are a lot like those on Marvel Legends figures (which are HOLY SHIT, ratcheted); his hinged knees are also ratcheted and he's got swivels right underneath, before his "boots"; then he has some nice hinges at his ankles that tilt and give his feet some nice pitch and yaw action, keeping him stable.

 

Read the rest of this review and see more photos a jointjunkie.blogspot.com

   

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