30 Dec 2013

Takara Transformers Masterpiece MP-17 Prowl, MP-18 Streak, and MP-19 Smokescreen

Takara has been upping the ante on the Transformers Masterpiece line over the past 24 months, with some awesome figures released in the new scale. From the release of MP-10 Optimus Prime onwards, the releases have just continued to astound and amaze with their incredible G1 aesthetics and state-of-the-art engineering design.

When the Nissan trio of Prowl, Bluestreak, and Smokescreen were first teased, that pretty much set off nerdgasms across the G1 Transformers fandom, and showed that Takara really were serious about pursuing and getting the official car licences needed for the Season 1/2 Autobot car lineup.

They had already had a home run with the Lamborghini releases of MP-12 Sideswipe and MP-14 Red Alert (on either side of the truly masterful MP-13 Soundwave). The Countach was one of the most recognisable and sought after designs from the original cartoon, and adding the Nissan Fairlady Z to the troupe was just more fuel to the now flaming fire that is the Transformers Masterpiece line.

I made the mistake of preordering all three in one order from Robotkingdom, meaning I would not receive any of them until all were in stock! With Prowl being released around August, Bluestreak around September, and then Smokescreen in early December, it was a long wait. But yes, as they always say, good things come to those who wait, and to say that these three are a "good thing" would be the understatement of the year!




The contents I received were truly beautiful to behold, as you can see above! Since these were from an Asian seller, I got the collectible coins and additional chrome shoulder cannons for free as part of the order, which is always a nice touch. But of course the main attraction are the cars themselves, and they did not disappoint!

Due to the popularity of the characters, the shape and design of the Nissan trip is every bit as iconic as the Countach, and Takara have nailed the mold perfectly, with minor variations for each car to suit their individual characters.




The paint app on all three is great overall, with Prowl definitely being the worst. Mine had a few paint blemishes and scratches, but nothing a normal person would probably notice. But for an OCD collector like myself you could probably go crazy over them. I've learnt to be a little tolerant if it's not too obvious, and RK are very good at giving some reimbursement for any paint blemishes you may find.

The paint app of Bluestreak and Smokescreen are pretty much perfect though, and really pop on display. One would think that the black and dark silver of Bluestreak would make him rather dull, but the shine and metallic finish actually makes it even more appealing. As for Smokescreen, the racing red colour is beautiful, and the only thing I dont really think are the somewhat unnecessary decals. Other than this, Smokescreen would probably be my fav paint app wise.




When displayed together with the previous Lamborghini releases, the group really shines, and just gives that little tease into what a full G1 Season 1/2 cast would look like. If Takara really does do the full cast (or at least the majority of it), I think G1 Transformers fans are in for a real treat over the next couple of years.




As with the Lamborghini mold, the Nissan transformation is neither too easy nor difficult, but strikes the perfect balance - as they say, an elegant engineering solution is always the best. But with me, I always have trouble performing the MP transformations, especially on camera (watch the video review linked below to see how much I struggle!).

One mistake I made after watching some Japanese reviews was thinking that the head piece needs to be completely pushed through the hood during the transformation. This is in fact wrong and could do some damage to the figure!

In fact, the head piece needs only to be pushed up against the tabs in the hood (not through them), and then gently pushed up tightly so that the side mirrors can be tucked into the slots properly (see the vid review to get a clearer idea on what I mean). Once that is done, the action of clipping in the torso holds it all quite tightly in place and the head piece sits nicely flush (not too high, nor too low).

The lower legs (rear of the car) transformation is perhaps the most ingenious part of the transformation. It is these parts of the sequence that truly separate the MPs from their G1 counterparts, and is the main factor (like with the Lamborghini mold) as to how they look so much bigger in bot mode to their vintage figure. The legs provide for awesome poseability and stability, and again perfectly capture their G1 aesthetic in a realistic manner.




Once the transformation to bot mode is complete, the beauty of the figures is almost multiplied tenfold, with the unique headsculpts the stand out feature for me. Takara have perfectly captured the look of each character directly from the cartoon, even with the much criticised bulkiness of Smokescreens visage. I mean, what are people complaining about!?! The MP line is all about cartoon accuracy, and these sculpts look like the characters just stepped out of the damn TV screen!

All the Nissans have the shoulder cannon mechanism inbuilt, although Smokescreen has the cannon parts removed. This is so that the extra larger cannon pieces can be slid onto the mechanism to complete his unique bot mode look.

For me, I go for the cartoon look, so my display has Prowl with no cannons, Bluestreak with his inbuilt cannons, and Smokescreen with his unique cannons. And together with the other Season 1/2 MP Autobots, they just look amazing. 




So the photo below is pretty much how my MP Autobots will look in the display at the end of 2013. It's an exciting time for G1 fans that collect the Masterpiece line. With essential characters like Wheeljack, Bumblebee, and Ultra Magnus confirmed for 2014, along with repaints for G2 Sideswipe and Soundblaster, 2014 is already looking like a great year.

If Takara decides to announce a new Megatron or Galvatron, or even more Autobot cars like Mirage, Jazz, Ironhide and Hound, G1 fans will certainly have much to celebrate! Here's hoping the MP line continues to amaze us for many years to come!




Here's the link to the video review of the MP Nissans on the Kool Kollectibles youtube channel! Hope you can check it out, subscribe, like, and comment! :)




Thanks, and talk to you all soon! :)