The Transformers Masterpiece series has been going very strong for nearly 10 years now. It’s a line of very high-end Transformers figures where each character is designed to be somewhat of a mix between their vintage figure and their model in the G1 animated series. They always feature a lot of articulation, accessories, and play features, making them not only great collectibles, but also genuinely great toys as well. Because of the high amount of engingeering, and the size of the figures, these are not cheap action figures. They can range from $80 to almost $300 depending on the character and if it’s a Takara or Hasbro release. This brings us to the figure we’re taking a look at today.
Takara released their MP-10 Optimus Prime back in 2011, but Hasbro released their version just this year as a Toys “R” Us exclusive. This just came out a couple of months ago and has been extremely hard to find, since each store only gets in usually two at a time. Regardless, he’s highly sought after right now and called by many as the definitive Optimus Prime action figure.
Because this set requires a lot of information, I will be changing up the review format to better accomodate the amount of text and pictures involved. So join me as I take a closer look and see for myself if this really is the Optimus Prime figure to own.
PACKAGING – Optimus Prime comes in a giant horizontal window box to accomodate all of his accessories. Everything the set comes with can be seen plainly from the front. They even posed Optimus inside with his spark chamber open, exposing his Matrix of Leadership so you can clearly see he comes with that as well. We also get “Masterpiece Optimus Prime” at the top and the Transformers logo at the bottom with some small thumbnail photos of his accessories in action.
the back gives us a bio for Optimus Prime as well as some more photos of the figure and the accessories, letting us know some of the play features it comes with. The pictures don’t do it justice, but it really is a huge package for this set to come in. It’s quite impressive to see on a toy shelf, and it does a good job of letting you know many of the features the set has, making it very informative.
SCULPT – This figure stands at about 10″ tall. The sculpt on this figure is incredible. It seems to be a perfect blend of the vintage figure and the G1 cartoon design. The shape of the body, particularly in the torso area feels very much like the original cartoon, as does the fact that in bot mode he has these flaps that flip over to cover the wheels on his legs. In the original cartoon, you couldn’t see his wheels in bot mode, and it’s clever how they implemented this into the design of the figure. He actually more resembles the cartoon than the vintage figure, which I imagine is how most people picture the character anyway. I’m sure the vintage figure would have looked more like the cartoon if it weren’t for the technological limitations of the time. He’s got a lot of really great detail sculpted into him, with lots of panel lines that help sell the robot look. His Autobot symbol is sculpted onto his left shoulder, which is a nice touch.
I also really like how the detailing on his pelvis is actually translucent yellow, and not just painted on. He get a peek at some of the mechanisms underneath Prime’s surface which adds depth to the figure. From the back, he’s still got a lot of great detailing, but you can see all his screws here. It’s a bit of an eyesore, but I can’t imagine anyone displaying their Optimus Prime with his back turned anyway. visible screw holes are just something Transformers fans have had to deal with since the beginning.
Prime’s alt mode is just as great as his bot mode. It’s the same COE (cab over engine) semi-truck design that the vintage figure was. All the panels line up nicely to help sell the illusion of him being a truck. Of course you still have to deal with his giant legs being the back end of the truck. That part kinda does break the illusion, but it’s a problem nearly every Optimus Prime figure has had, and when the trailer is attached it’s really not a problem.
Speaking of, the trailer attaches easily to the back and is on a loose swivel so it turns incredibly easily with the truck, and really makes it look complete. He also has a couple of other cool features. His rearview mirrors have the ability to swivel in and out, and his smokestacks can be made short or long. You can push them in to make them short, or pull them out to extend them. That’s one of those features that only the most pickiest of nitpickers would want, and it’s great that it’s an option for those who would want it. It’s definitely not necessary to me, but it doesn’t ruin the articulation or integrity of the figure, so it’s pretty cool that it’s there.
PAINT – I love Optimus Prime’s color scheme. It’s incredibly vibrant. He’s colored in very brilliant reds and blues, making him even closer in appearance to his G1 cartoon counterpart. I know the original Takara release had very dull colors to match the vintage figure, but I much prefer this. He’s got all the appropriate accenting on him too. Silver for the vents on the front of his shins, as well as on the tips of his toes, the yellow arrows on his forearms and the lights on the top of his cab. His smokestacks, front grill, and fuel tanks are done in vac chrome which comes off looking very good on this figure. It doesn’t stand out too much, but in fact blends in with the overall design. His upper legs and pelvis are a dull gray. No wash or air brushing here, but that’s ok to me.
I really like the correlation to the cartoon, and adding too much intricate paint detail might detract from that. Some may find it too toy looking because of that, but it doesn’t bother me. His windshields are tinted blue, once again harkening back to the original cartoon. The head has the same vibrant blue as what’s on other parts of the body. His eyes are done in a very bright, light blue color that really makes this figure feel alive and gives him character. All the paint lines are very clean on the figure, and I couldn’t find a single flaw.
ARTICULATION – Optimus Prime is loaded with articulation, though not all of it is the same as a conventional action figure, but I will do my best to approximate the names for each joint. He has a ball jointed neck, ball jointed like shoulders, bicep swivel, single elbows, finger hinges, waist swivel, ball jointed hips, single knees, boot rotators, and ankle hinges and rockers.
His joints all have great range of motion. His head can look up and down as well as swivel side-to-side, and the entire head and neck assembly is sitting on a hinged panel (meant for swinging the head inside the body for alt mode) that allows for even deeper up and down motion. His shoulders are actually hinged with a rotator on the outside where they attach to his arms. You can also push the shoulder hinge inside the body, completely hiding it for when you just want his arms posed next to him, or pull them out for some really dynamic arm poses. This is one of those little brilliant pieces of engineering that helps maintain articulation and the design aesthetic of the figure.
For his finger joints, his index finger is separate from the others and on its own hinge, while the other three are stuck together and move as one. It’s not as posable as some previous Masterpiece figures, but it works fine for this one. Prime’s ankles have good back and forth motion, and can rock side to side as well. if you want even deeper rocking motion, you can slide the ankle outward and get an even larger range of motion. I will note though that his ankles aren’t the tightest joints ever. You have to keep that in mind when posing him, because sometimes he is wont to tilt forward. Otherwise, his articulation is solid and allows for a plethora of posing and display options. Continue to Page 2…