Transformers: Masterpiece Optimus Prime (MP-10) by Takara-Hasbro, Part 1

Holy shit, Toyhounds, this acquisition has been a long time coming. I didn’t get in on the original release of MP-10 because I convinced myself I wasn’t going to collect the Masterpiece line. When I could finally hold out no more MP-10 was sold out everywhere and going for in excess of three bills on the secondary market. The Hasbro release of the figure granted me no better opportunities as there are no more TRU’s within my happy hunting grounds and even that version was getting scalped for ridiculous prices online. It seemed like owning MP-10 just wasn’t in the stars for me. Thankfully the tables turned in a most bizarre way…

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Behold the Asian Exclusive MP-10 reissue based off the US Hasbro release. Say whaaaaat? Yeah, this is an odd duck. It’s the Hasbro version of MP-10 in the Hasbro packaging, but it was released for the Asian Marketplace. It was made readily available at all the usual collector-orientated online toy retailers and with a $159 price tag it may cost more than the TRU Exclusive, but it’s also a far sight better than the $200-300+ secondary market price that just about any version of the figure was selling for. At the time of this post it should still be available at many e-tailers.

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I thought I was going to bemoan the fact that I was getting the figure in Hasbro packaging, rather than a box that matched all my other Takara MP figures, but once I removed this behemoth from the shipping box, I was simply in awe. The box is massive and the presentation is absolutely fantastic. I’m not crazy about the fact that the deco is reminiscent of some of the movie packaging, but there isn’t much of it as this box is mostly a giant window. It certainly isn’t as collector friendly as the straight up boxes that Takara uses, but with a little care and patience, I was able to preserve the packaging through the unboxing process. I originally thought it was going to go into the trash, but it looks so good that I’ve decided to save it and use it to hold the trailer and other goodies while Prime is displayed in robot mode. It also juuuust barely fits on the top shelf behind him and some of my other MP’s and will make a great backdrop.

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This release of MP-10 also includes the bonus item, The Key to Vector Sigma, packaged separately in a little cardboard trapezoid box. This is a cool bonus, so long as you aren’t expecting anything amazing out of it. It’s basically a gold-plated diecast key stuck in a plastic orb. In my days as a much younger and more carefree nerd I could see myself wearing this on a chain around my neck and representing my G1 love to the world. My Cyber-Bling! Now, I have no idea what I’ll do with it. The truth is that if you’re pissed about already owning MP-10 and missing out on this incentive, don’t worry about it, you aren’t really missing much. Still, I think it’s certainly better than those collector coins that have come with some of my other MP figures. But enough about the packaging and extras… let’s get to the figure. Today I’m going to talk about Prime’s robot mode and tomorrow I’ll circle back and check out the trailer and alt mode.

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So, for starters, I’ll say that the robot mode is pure money. I love the proportions and I’m so happy to see that the stacks haven’t been snipped as they were on my 20th Anniversary Prime. The sculpted panel lines, rivets, and other details look great, but they don’t overpower the figure’s somewhat animated aesthetic and to me that’s a very good thing. I like the mix of chrome and grey plastic and the red and blue both look gorgeous. The translucent yellow plastic in the pelvis is a nice touch too. The wheels in the legs aren’t completely concealed, but they are shrouded from view from the front. I thought the exposed connecting rods in the shoulders would bother me, but I was pleased to find you can close the gap and conceal them when Prime isn’t posing his arms too wildly. If I had one gripe about the overall look of the robot mode it would be that the doors on his chest don’t always close up properly, but I’ll get back to that in a bit.

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After seeing the initial pictures of MP-10, I wasn’t too pleased with the scaling, but now that I have him standing beside my myriad of MP cars, I’m pretty OK with it. Some comparison pics will follow both parts of this feature. Suffice it to say, I would have liked a little less disparity between their heights. To me, characters like Prowl and Wheeljack should come up to at least the middle of Prime’s chest, but I appreciate that Takara wanted to keep the vehicle modes in scale and in the end I think they’ve won me over on this decision. Yeah, he is also a smidge taller than MP Grimlock, but let’s blame that on Grimlock and not Prime here.

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The portrait here is very stylized and I like it a lot, but I don’t know that I prefer it over the head on my 20th Prime. It’s not so much a question of one being better than the other, but two very different versions of the head. That having been said, I find the head on MP-10 to be clean and beautifully painted. I particularly love the paint they used for the eyes and the fact that the antenna rotate. It’s definitely some great work and a great rendition of iconic Prime.

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One thing that surprised me about this figure is how toyish some aspects of it seems. I’ve seen a lot of pictures of him, but didn’t know a lot about what to expect when I got him in hand. He feels a lot more like a toy than my 20th Prime and that’s in a lot of ways a good thing. I don’t have to worry about him taking a shelf dive because of diecast making him so poorly balanced. The joints are much easier to work with, making him so much more fun to play with. Anyone who’s tried to work with those ratchet joints in 20th Prime’s hips probably knows what I’m talking about. On the other side, there are some things about MP-10 that are disappointing for a figure at this price point. Seeing all those ugly exposed screws from the back is certainly one of them. It makes him feel like he isn’t quite in the same league as the MP Autobot cars.

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As hinted at earlier, Prime’s chest opens up to reveal the Matrix of Leadership and damn, it looks spectacular when opened and on display. I’ve never been a huge fan of this gimmick in my Prime toys, but I think this figure just nails it almost perfectly. The Matrix itself is diecast and while it’s a little hard to dig out, it’s a great looking piece. Unfortunately, I find that the best way to get Prime’s chest to close up perfectly is to leave the Matrix out, which is not at all a big deal, although I may find myself occasionally displaying him with the chamber open and the Matrix exposed.

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Naturally Prime comes with his trusty rifle and he can hold it quite comfortably in either hand thanks to the combination of a tab and hinged fingers. It’s a pretty light piece, so Prime has no trouble supporting it in pretty much any pose. And then there was this cool surprise…

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The rifle can fold up and store in the compartment in Primes’ back. Nice!

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You also get Prime’s energon ax, which is cast in translucent orange plastic and fits over the right fist. It’s a snug fit that makes me a little nervous pushing it on, especially with how fragile Prime’s fingers can be. His hinged index fingers have a habit of popping off, although they will pop right back on again. All in all, this weapon is not a bad looking effect, but I like the way the 20th Prime did this ax much better.

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I’ll point out that if it sounds like I’m nit picking MP-10, you have to keep in mind that I’ve been waiting to get this figure for a long time and my expectations have been building like crazy, especially considering the insane prices I’ve considered paying for him. The truth is, I really do think this is an amazing figure and I’ve had loads of of fun playing with him since the day I unboxed him. As much as I still enjoy looking at my 20th Prime, I can’t say the same for that figure. Anyway, I’m running out of time and I’ve gone pretty long already, so I’m going to break here and pick it up tomorrow with a look at some of the trailer’s features and then Prime’s transformation and alt mode.

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