3 Nov 2013

Always bet on black - Takara MP repaint black that is!!! ;)

Ever since I saw prototype pics regarding the release of MP-10 Optimus Prime, I've been hooked on the Takara Transformers Masterpiece line of figures. I even went back and got MP-8 Grimlock and MP-9 Rodimus (v2) to round out the range of figures that were deemed "must-have".

One area that I was able to resist for a while were the inevitable repaint releases. Based on comics or other sources, these repaint characters had never really appealed to me before. So even though photos of MP-9B Black Rodimus looked awesome, and then reviews of MP-10B Black Optimus were gushing, I still resisted!

But Takara marketing knows how to turn up the heat on repaints and the pressure to buy. Takara released MP-13 Soundwave & Laserbeak, and then quickly released MP-15 and MP-16 cassette minion packs. But for G1 fans, one cassette was missing - Ratbat.

Immediately rumours abound that Ratbat would be released with the inevitable black repaint of Soundwave known as Soundblaster. And lo and behold, Takara recently announced MP-13B Soundblaster & Ratbat for early 2014.

Being the G1 tragic that I am, I knew I just had to get Soundblaster, but who would he be displayed with in the glass cabinet? The only logical choice were the two previous black repaints MP-9B Black Rodimus and MP-10B Black Optimus. And so here we are! :)


UNBOXING

As with all Takara Transformers Masterpiece boxes, both MP-9B and MP-10B come in the large matte black boxes with really nice photos for the box art. Takara always finds the best way to show off their figures. Some folks have said they would prefer drawn artwork, but I definitely prefer the photos that Takara do themselves.






I really like these Takara boxes because they are nice enough to display on their own if you have the room to put the boxes out on display. The pics of the figure and accessories are always very nicely done.






Again as with all other MPs, the figures come in clear clamshell packaging, and everything is securely placed. Opening up an MP is always a giddy experience for me, as much as when I open up a new Hot Toys figure!






MP-10B gets the cheap treatment and doesn't come with any trailer. But MP-9B retains the trailer so that he can transform into the full Rodimus mode. Again, both figures come with their own collector card with some artwork and tech spec information. And I always love how the instruction manuals are done, even if the instructions could be more descriptive some times. The full contents of both figures are shown in the pic below.




MP-9B Black Rodimus Convoy

Before I ordered MP-9B, I had previously read about all the issues with the weak knee joints. I still remembered those discussions when I received my order, but stupidity meant I didn't think there would be any problems with mine.

But as soon as I opened the box and took the figure out, I was in trouble. I simply tried to gently bend the knee to set a dynamic pose, and the left knee joint immediately gave way. The teal knee joint just crumbled in my hands, and my worst fears were realised.




The plastic that these joints are made from is extremely weak, and definitely not of the same quality as the original MP-9 figure. After checking some forums, it was a simple procedure to unscrew panels on the thigh to check the right knee joint. Now I hadn't even touched the right leg at all out of the box, but you can see in the pic below that the right knee joint was already showing a stress fracture near the teeth of the ratchet joint.

So I immediately emailed the photos to the seller, and asked if they could send replacement knee joints, otherwise I'd have to get a full replacement. Luckily the seller indicated that they had dealth with quite a few replacement issues with the joints, and were able to get replacement parts from Takara. So they shipped me the replacement parts, and I commenced the required surgery.




Even with the new joints, as soon as I placed them over the round blue protrusion that they fit on, I could see new tiny fractures forming! This joint is just purely a design flaw where the circular hole is every so slightly too small of the protrustion it fits over. So the simple act of placing them together causes fractures!

The cracks are small enough that there won't be any real issue unless I try to bend that joint. Luckily the knee consists of the upper joint, and a lower joint that connects the lower leg. This other joint is strangely very strong in comparison, so dynamic poses can be made just by bending this joint, not the weak one.

Unfortunately, there is no way that I am going to risk another full breakage by trying to transform this damn figure! So bot mode will be how it stays, and luckily it looks totally awesome in bot mode. The transformation for the MP-9 mold has always been a frustrating one that I hated, so it's not overly problematic for me.




The combination of black, purple, blue, and teal is strangely hypnotic, and the figure has some real presence on display! It appears MP-9B has all the QC fixes that were made for MP-9 v2, which is definitely a good thing!

Check out the video review below on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel for a more detailed look at the figure :)





MP-10B Black Convoy (Black Optimus, Nemesis Prime)

With all the issues I had with MP-9B knee joints, I was reluctant to do anything with MP-10B, but as soon as you see that amazing glossy black paint, it's impossible to resists having a closer look at the figure. And it is AWESOME!!

To me, the mold is every so slightly an improvement on the original MP-10 figure! The ankles were a little loose on MP-10, but in this black repaint, the ankles are slolid as anything! I heard there were accidental falls with MP-10, but there's no real risk with this one.




As I said, the black paint app is the highlight of this figure, and gives it a sense of ominous power in the display. The blood red Matrix, axe, and the figure's eyes make for an awesome looking piece. Compared to the original MP-10 figure, the extra glossy paint app on the head, the crotch, and other places make it a figure that surpasses the original in almost every way. Posed together, they simply look outstanding! :)

The only real fault that I can see is again the eyes. They do have a reflective blood red paint behind the eyes, but in natural light there's just no way to get it reflected enough to see. This gives the eyes the same dead look as the original Takara figure (the TRU MP Optimus release solves this problem by simply painting the eyes a light blue as per the cartoon). It would've been better if they had painted MP-10B's eyes a little better. 




But that's a minor quibble, and the transformation to alt mode more than makes up for it. The transformation is a nice balance between complexity and still being enjoyable (unlike the nightmare that is the MP-9 transformation).

And the alt mode of the MP-10 mold is perhaps the best the truck has ever looked!! It simply looks like it jumped out of the cartoon, and just has a nice clean finish to it. Icing on the cake would've been a trailer with the Decepticon logo, but I guess this would've bumped up the price more than most collectors could justify.




Overall, I am so happy to have MP-10B in the collection! It is certainly a superior figure to MP-9B, and perhaps I like it even more than the original MP-10! Check out the video review below on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel for a more detailed look at the figure :)




SUMMARY

On display, both figures together simply look amazing, and cry out for more dynamic poses that I've given them. I'll have to look up some poses on the internet because I have seen some really great ones with these figures before.

I think once MP-13B Soundblaster comes out, the demand for these might even increase, as all three black repaints together would make for one very kool Decepticon display. I can't wait to get it early in 2014!

Hope you liked that quick look at both figures. Remember to check out the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel, subscribe, like, and comment with your thoughts/opinions on these figures too! Talk to all again soon :)