So I figured it was time to do an End of 2016 Collection update video for my MP collection as it stands right now. I'm still absolutely loving this series of figures, with some of the best TFs ever made!
In thinking about the video, it got me thinking about what figures were released each year, and how the series has evolved over the past few years. So click through to the video below on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel to check it out. And also scroll down for more of my thoughts and pics on the figures classed by year of release :)
2012 and before:
I started collecting the Transformers Masterpiece figures in 2012 after hearing about the release of the new MP-10 Optimus and MP-11 Starscream. The MP line was just rebooted with the release of these two characters, and it was certainly a great way to start getting into the MP series! I was hooked as soon as I opened the box!
After researching a bit more, I decided against getting the earlier figures such as MP-1 Optimus and MP-5 Megatron because they were out of scale with the new reboot and just didn't have this new aesthetic. But I did go back and get the original MP-8 Grimlock and MP-9 Rodimus figures that were released a year or more before 2012.
MP-10 Optimus was designed to fit with the scale of MP-9 Rodimus, and I made sure to get the v2 that fixed a lot of QC issues with the initial Rodimus release. I think both Grimlock and Rodimus still fit in fairly well with the new MPs, although Grimlock is a little undersized.
By the end of 2012, I don't think many collectors thought the series would take off like it did into essentially a new golden era of Transformers toys in 2013!
I think in late 2012 or early 2013, teaser pics had already been shown of a new mold for MP-13 Soundwave and Laserbeak that looked amazing. And then with videos and interviews with the lead Takara designer on about MP-12 Sideswipe, the buzz around the MP series was building at a huge rate.
What a fantastic year it turned out to be, with even more new molds that shot the Masterpiece series straight into the stratosphere! Not long after the release of MP-13 Soundwave, the cassettes (MP-15 and MP-16) were released, with little engineering marvels in characters like Ravage and Frenzy.
The release of MP-12 Sideswipe and MP-14 Red Alert signalled the start of the amazing official car licenses that Takara would use for their Autobot cars. Starting with Lamborghini was perfect, raising hopes of a Sunstreaker announcement that unfortunately has never materialised.
But brand new designs were then announced for the Nissan Fairlady 280Z with MP-17 Prowl, MP-18 Streak, and MP-19 Smokescreen being announced and released in quick succession later in 2013. The new Lambor and Nissan molds really did take the G1 design aesthetic to another level.
Takara never goes a year without a repaint of an existing mold, so MP-12T Tigertrack and MP-10B Nemesis Prime were also released, both having very high quality paint applications.
All in all, 2013 was a defining year for the Masterpiece series, and meant Takara was seriously back in full force with G1 styled Transformers. With the new state of the art toy engineering, I think these are amongst some of the best Transformers ever made.
In comparison, 2014 was almost a failed year for the most part. For much of the year, only repaints were released with MP-18S Silverstreak, MP-12G G2 Sideswipe and MP-13B Soundblaster/Ratbat being released. These are no doubt nice repaints, but new molds is where the real MP action lies!
So it was fantastic news when rumours started with three characters to be released late in the year, which turned out to be the long awaited MP-20 Wheeljack using the official Lancia license, MP-21 Bumblebee using the official VW license, and MP-22 Ultra Magnus. These three closed out 2014 with a massive bang, again being the best ever representations of these characters in toy form.
Only two new molds were released this year, with MP-24 Star Saber and MP-25 Tracks using the official Corvette license. I was never all that interested in Star Saber since it was a character from the Japanese G1 continuation cartoon that was never aired in Australia or the USA. But I couldn't resist, and overall it's a solid figure. My favourite has to be MP-25 Tracks though, despite the many complaints it received from collectors.
I personally don't think the complaints are all that warranted in comparison to the earlier Autobot cars such as Sideswipe and Prowl. They all have their faults for the nitpicky, and I think the overall design aesthetic and great articulation make Tracks a stand out.
With only a couple of new molds, the year actually turned out to be a defining moment for Diaclone repaints! Takara loves their history, and love to give little homages to original toys where they can. Diaclone and Micro Change toys were the precursor to the Transformers brand as we know it today, with the original toys being used as the basis for the first series of Hasbro Transformers toys based on the cartoon.
Each mold has some unique colour variants from the Diaclone and Micro Change series, and this was the year Takara really took the homages to the next level with 5 variants in MP-23 Exhaust, MP-18B Bluestreak, MP-21R Red Bumblebee, MP-26 Road Range, and MP-14C Clampdown. They threw in the MP-21G G2 Bumblebee as well, with a great gold metallic paint application.
Of course, a couple of repaints ended up being perhaps the biggest releases for me in 2015 with the long awaited releases of MP-11SW Skywarp and MP-11TC Thundercracker! The quality control for these two was a little questionable in some areas considering the high exclusive asking price. But getting these two to complement Starscream was something that had been a long time coming! In the end, the classic colourways in the MP-11 mold just made these must-haves in any MP collection!
And now we reach 2016, which in comparison with previous years shows it to be one of the best yet! I did pass on MP-32 Optimus Primal, but overall the 2016 lineup makes it almost one MP figure per month released by Takara, which is pretty damn awesome.
The new mold for MP-27 Ironhide and MP-30 Ratchet had a lukewarm reception when the prototypes were shown. I disliked the side hip panels, but in hand they didn't turn out too bad at all. The all-in-one transformation from the officially licensed Nissan Cherry Vanette is another engineering marvel, and the large assortment of accessories was a nice change from the more barebones previous releases.
New molds in MP-28 Hot Rod and MP-29 Shockwave also divided opinion in the collecting community. But for me, I think both figures are pretty awesome, especially Shockwave. I previously had the Fans Toys Quakewave figure, and it was a great stand-in at the time. But again compared with official Takara products, the 3rd party figures just lack that unique MP cartoon accurate aesthetic that I prefer with my MP figures. The all-in-one transformation with Shockwave is another highlight for me.
We also finally got some MP Seeker Coneheads, with the release of MP-11NR Ramjet and MP-11NT Thrust. The releases were marred by quality control issues (eg. incorrect shoulder assembly on Ramjet and floppy waist on Thrust), but luckily both of mine did not have these issues. Again I love the cartoon accurate design, and really hope Dirge is announced soon to close out the core Seekers from the cartoon.
Diaclone repaints showed up again with the awesome MP-25L Loud Pedal and MP-31 Delta Magnus. Both are great homages to their rare Diaclone versions. Takara tested the waters with their MP-14+ Red Alert being a more cartoon accurate colourway for the original MP-14 Red Alert. I definitely prefer the anime version in bot mode, but the original version wins out in car mode for me.
So here's my entire MP collection at the end of 2016! It's been a pretty awesome few years of MP collecting, and I think the series is just going from strength to strength. We already know 2017 will bring characters like Grapple, Dirge, and of course the big one in Megatron finally!! I think Takara still has some surprises up their sleeve for 2017, so I'm still hoping for more officially licensed characters from the core Season 1 cartoon cast.
There's definitely no better time to be a Transformers collector. I can't wait to see what 2017 brings, and hopefully you can subscribe to the channel and stay tuned for all the reviews to come :)