Archive for the ‘Takara’ Category

Probably the most anticipated Transformers Masterpiece ever, Rodimus Prime\ Hot Rod has now received the most nerd rage since “The Phantom Menace” with his release by Takara. Here are my thoughts and review on the figure I received.

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

My shades are too cool for haters!

I was never bought a Rodimus Prime as a kid, or have I ever collected one as an adult, I think this was mostly to do with him looking rather rubbish, not even as good as Hot Rod. So I was extra excited when I ordered this Masterpiece version after seeing just how perfectly it matched the cartoon. Well I guess it could have come with a whiny soundbox. I particularly wanted the Takara Rodimus Prime version and not the yet-to-be released Hasbro Hot Rod version without the trailer, because I think the Winnebago \ Campervan extension is part of what makes the Character and is half of what makes the toy.

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

Let's go camping!

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

So let’s start there! When all is connected and plugged together and aligned it looks absolutely perfect, you can just picture him smashing through Unicron’s eye and out into space. Getting everything into place isn’t easy and there is a qc issue which I will go into later that needs to be sorted first. However, from a visual standpoint, there is nothing like it for accuracy and because it looks so damn cool! Rubber tyres, lots of Chrome, lots of paint details, so yeah it is a big box on wheels but is awesome!  Now remove the cab front, slide him out of the Trailer, reverse the roof… pull down the.. er.. then erm…. Half an hour later….

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

Ride in style!

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

…Hot Rod! Again a fantastic rendition, perfectly drawn from the movie, it even has an engine on springs so you can pretend it is chugging along if you are so inclined! The original G1 car version wasn’t bad to be honest, but it lacked the curves and the Masterpiece solves that and adds all the extra details. His cab opens nicely and is almost begging for a Daniel figure to fit in there, I would race it across the floor if it wasn’t so damn expensive and….

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

Hop in kids!

…if it wasn’t a pain in the ass to get the mode lined up right! OK.. OK it’s not that hard, but it is finicky and especially with the first time transformation. Zooming him along a table and then realising that not all four wheels are touching the ground and that you have his waist plate or noggin scratching along  … does kind of interrupt Stan Bush singing “Dare” in your head. It’s all in the position of the feet and angle of the joints in the ankle, and making sure the knees are correctly bent, and getting the panels to click into place, and to make sure his head is pushed back correctly and getting his arms……… etc etc. Yes it isn’t that intuitive but the end result is worth it. Anyway reverse all that cursing and Transforming and by the time it gets dark you get..

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

You want me!

Hot Rod robot mode! I really cannot find anything wrong with the look of this mode, the detailing, the face, the poses, he oozes smarminess on a level only springer could beat. Now stability wise, well he likes to slump ever so slightly forwards and if you haven’t got his roof slider and window connection bit quite right his backpack will not reach the white clip designed to hold it to his back. In fact not a lot will make that click in without it looking like it is stressing the crap out of it. Quite a few people have commented on this but mine is tight stays up of its own accord anyway so there are no tears from me. He has the duel guns as shown, and on mine at least they click into his hands OK, but just OK, not snug and great, if Masterpiece Grimlock even farts in his vicinity they will drop. Now onto some pretty damn cool accessories….

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

Fear my Frisbee hand, I mean saw!

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

For all those "Fixxx me Hotrod..." moments.

All are nice additions and work pretty well, though I have heard some people have his zoom goggles fall over his face unrequested, mine only appear when swivelled. They help with the possibility and are also handy for the thousands of fans eagerly updating their stop motion 86 movies on Youtube. You know who you are. Anyway the final accessory ,the Matrix.. leads us onto…

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

I've got the touch!!!

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

So Depressed...weight of leadership.. blah blah

Rodimus Prime! See the difference, crank his hips up a notch and extend the Shoulders up and flip over … or is it under.. the face and the inept yet loveable leader of the Space Opera g1 years is displayed in all his glory! His two hot rod guns even combine to make his ridiculously large rifle, which mine can still hold!! I love the quad Transformation gimmick of this toy, and the resulting character change in the figure is enough, for a Transformer fan, to believe he has indeed grown and matured from Smarm Rod into Sulkimus Prime. Job done by Takara in my eyes. Just take a look at the despair in the face mould!

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

Whimper..

Just to finish the job off, that Matrix that Hot Rod was holding up, can be stored in his chest cavity, just so he can prove that no matter how temporarily, he was the chosen one.

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

Stupid £%£^£ Matrix...

Overall, at least on display this piece is deserving of the Masterpiece title, I could not ask for more. Now here are where things get a bit iffy. The Transformation is complex, not just hard but it is at least initially a little stressful. I always do the first Transform by discovery and not by the manual, but with Rod I feel it probably would be better if you totally ignore that the manual even exists. It is useless, you would be much better getting yourself on YouTube and find some, non-clubfisted, individual to show you just how the feet line up for Rod’s Car mode. The arms are also a pain to get lined up and clipped in. The Transformation has to be tender and you need to keep the joints supported when you are moving things. There is no clunk-click satisfying 5 minute job. He will probably be the least transformed transformer ever.

Last but sadly not least with this figure is the QC, here at least even fanboys of the figure like me can agree. Corners were cut. One of my side leg panels arrived with the connection piece cracked and subsequently fell off before I had Transformed him once. Unfortunately mine is not an isolated incident, just google it. The whole connection of that piece could have been designed better by pretty much anyone, barring whoever designed G1 Wheelie, and there is a good chance yours will break. Secondarily a blanket problem for all figures is paint transferal between the Trailer and the Spoiler of hot rod when inserted. More specifically, the orange paint of the slot leaving marks on the yellow paint of the wing. The solution, a nail file to get rid of the orange paint in the slot, I recommend taking it down to the red plastic to be on the safe side. Annoying but at least easy to solve.

In summary, I can understand the rage, but the plus points and the fact he is visually perfect can wash over the annoyances I have with this figure. I recommend him but many more picky fans might not, a little more effort by Takara would have polished it nicely and any kids who receive the Hasbro version WILL break him. Like Rodimus he looks the part, but he has his flaws.

G1 Accuracy: 10/10

Paint Work and detailing: 9/10

Transformation: 7/10

QC: 4/10

I had been waiting for this guy for a long time, maybe even 26 years, but finally he arrived and here is the 2010 Takara G1 Unicron in all his glory!

2010 takara unicron review

First thing to mention is that I have never previously owned this mold, not in it’s Armada or Energon form, which I could have got for considerably cheaper. I passed on them because although they looked good, they don’t look G1 right. This guy changes all that, as soon as I saw the preview shots, he had to be mine. This is the Unicron of the 86 movie.

2010 takara unicron review

It is hard not to be impressed by the figures sheer size, he is much bigger than I had thought, not near to fort max, but taller than the Masterpiece range and fatter all round.  It is indeed a very bulky mass, and a very solid one at that, weighty, clunky and very stable in robot mode.

2010 takara unicron review

The new head mold is spot on, with the dead, sinister stare evoking perfectly his presence as a merciless creature of destruction. It matches the 1986 movie almost perfectly and is a massive improvement over the Armada offering.

2010 takara unicron review

Now, let’s not forget that this release was an expensive figure by any standards and as such I had high expectations of the detailing. On this level, the paint applications are fantastic, easily one of the best I have ever seen. It is well applied, with high quality paints and a lot of time has obviously been spent ensuring that it matches his cartoon appearence correctly and with the right colour pallete.

2010 takara unicron review

Where the Armada Unicron had a transparent plastic chest piece, this has a fully painted, detailed version. The waist and his “abs” are perfect. To top it all off, there is a perfectly applied wash covering much of his form, this highlights the detailing inherent in the Armada mold brilliantly.

2010 takara unicron review

Overall the robot mode looks perfect as far as I am concerned, the only minus point I would give is with the design of the figure, which I have to remind myself is dated by today’s standards. His leg posabilty is pretty poor, realistic posing options are straight or the semi splitz. Anyway gimmicks, gimmicks……

2010 takara unicron review

He comes with a minicon to activate his missiles and chest rocket, I’m not against the idea, but I think I would have preferred his gimmicks to be changed to operate manually. I quite like them, although the chest one is a bit of a pain to get back in, the cavity itself is fantastically detailed and it would make a great end of play destruction weapon.

Gimmick No.2 is the electronics, he features the above clear hand and transparent optics due to the inclusion of red flashy LEDs. They work well and are bright, in fact, it worries me a little that his whole head flashes in the dark, but they would have been much nicer green, indeed the head sports transparent green plastic so it must have been semi-planned at some point.  However, it is still a nice feature, I especially like the hand, it looks almost like glass.

2010 takara unicron review

The minicon is pretty cool, turns into a nice ball, doesn’t really have much of a face, and again I could have lived without him if some opf the molding had been changed.

2010 takara unicron review

Transformation time! Now, you can experience this for yourself, there is alot of popping off and swivelling and a bit of mild annoyance and all this is mainly down to the surrounding ring in planet mode. I can’t say it is a particularily fun or interesting task, but the end result makes it more than worthwhile.

2010 takara unicron review

It’s definately Unicron the moonbase eater. Despite some not so hidden features, overall it is a great reproduction 0f his most destructive form.  Again thanks to the addition of the painted “shell” it is a vast improvement on the Armada deco with the blackwash completing the job.

2010 takara unicron review

Sadly, poor QC has stricken again and although minor, it is something that could easily have been avoided. As you can see above, mine comes with two sets of the same teeth, so they cannot close together but hit each others tips. In addition the minicon falls out of the storage crater with such ease that I have had to add a little tack to keep him in. Annoying!

2010 takara unicron review

Anyway… the box is also a great design and matches the Primus box nicely to form a joined portrait. The inners are not noteworthy, being bare cardboard and twist-ties, no plastic trays here. Obviously included are the instruction, which are again pretty cheap. It would have been nice to get some masterpiece like touches, with a little pamphlet in or something, but it would only give me more clutter! :D

2010 takara unicron review

In conclusion this is a fantastic figure with excellent detail and paint and some fun gimmicks. From a G1 fan point of view, it makes me almost cry with joy that I have my 1986 Unicron and that he is near on perfect. None of the other deco’s with the old head mold did it for me, and they could never substitute for the fantastic job that Takara did for their 2010 celebrations. Despite some annoying Quality Control issues and the high price, as a centerpiece of the ultimate G1 movie collection, nothing comes close.

I came across this guy again, whilst sorting through some of my original collection. It was one of my childhood “TF’s” and I also had a gold eggbot that turned into a Lion,  but unfortunately that did not survive. I remember my Uncle giving me them both in about 1987, but I have no idea what packaging they came in.

Heavily armed eggbot

What I do know is they are from the pre Transformers Takara Microchange line, which also included Soundwave, the casettes and many more that were later used.

The Chrome Nightmare

I really like this guy though, he fits in perfectly with the 84 era Transformers and has Metal in his feet and various joints. He was originally a fully Chrome sphere but  as you can see in the pics mine has faded and blackened in some places.  I don’t think this takes too much away from it though, he looks a bit battle worn.

I transform into!!.... a metal ball?

He comes with twin blasters, which can be mounted in round peg holes in his hands, or when in sphere mode, there are peg holes to place them in. In addition there is a cool stand, with Microman inscribed on it. I like having the sphere in this stand with the guns mounted, it looks like some sort of future Anti Seeker gun.

Better alt mode than Soundwave Cybetronian Lampost?

I have never seen anyone else with this bot, so I don’t know how rare he is, or what he is worth, but still he is one of the highlights of my collection.

There is a brochure picture of this guy and the lion, please visit this site for more information on Takara bots. http://1501bc.com/pretf/microman.html