Transformers: Masterpiece

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Transformers: Masterpiece is a sub-line of the Transformers series by Hasbro and Takara/Takara Tomy. The Masterpiece series consists of redesigned toys of famous characters in the Transformers: Generation 1 toy line, as well as the live-action film series. The line's toys are larger, more detailed, more complex to transform, and more posable than their original versions, but their appearances have been kept as close to the original on-screen characters as possible.

Contents

Fiction[edit]

Unlike Transformers toylines such as Binaltech, Alternity and Henkei! Henkei!, the Masterpiece line does not have its own unique fiction, as the figures represent highly detailed versions of characters already seen in existing Transformers fiction, such as cartoons and comic books. The exceptions are the e-Hobby releases of MP-01B Convoy Black Version, MP-03G Starscream Ghost Version and MP-09B Black Rodimus Convoy, which include pack-in comic books not provided with the more general releases of these figures. The stories in the comic books detail the nature and origin of the characters they shipped with.

Takara/Takara Tomy releases[edit]

MP-01: Convoy (Optimus Prime)[edit]

Released in 2003. Includes Ion Blaster, Energon axe, Matrix of Leadership, miniature Megatron in gun mode complete with stock, scope and silencer, cardboard trailer for his vehicle mode, and collector's card which is unique to the Japanese release. This toy is made predominantly of die-cast metal. The vehicle mode is a red flat-nose truck which has a chromed grille, working suspension and wheels with rubber tires, and a hitching point at the rear for the cardboard trailer (or other compatible trailer). The robot mode features extensive articulation, including individual fingers, wrists, elbows (with a piston feature), biceps, shoulders, knees and hips, a head with a large range of motion, and a suspension feature in the feet, with additional pistons. Communicator panels on each wrist show Bumblebee and Starscream, and a button on the back of his head moves his mouthplate, to simulate talking. Opening the chest reveals the Matrix of Leadership, which can be illuminated via an LED bulb in the Matrix's container and a toggle switch near the toy's head. To recreate the proportions of Optimus Prime's tapered torso as seen in the cartoon, the figure uses a second false truck grille in robot mode, which is hidden away in vehicle mode.

MP-01: Convoy (Gold Version)[edit]

With the exception of the tires, fingers and antennae, this Japanese lucky draw figure is vacuum-metalized entirely in gold (the fingers and antennae are cast in a flat gold plastic). It comes in a box of the same style as the regular version, with the only distinguishing feature being some of the lettering changed to gold. It includes the same accessories and weapons as the original; a gold Ion Blaster, gold Megatron gun (with flat gold hilt and stock), gold Matrix shell with clear blue crystal, and translucent orange Energon Axe with gold hilt. The actual number produced is unknown, but believed to be no more than 20.[1]

MP-01B: Convoy Black Version[edit]

Released in 2009 as an e-Hobby exclusive redeco of the MP-01 figure in black, retaining all the accessories of the original release, although with a revised collector's card.[2] While the color scheme is frequently used for evil counterparts of Optimus Prime, this version is still depicted as an Autobot. However, rather than being a version of Optimus Prime himself, the comic included with the figure indicates that he an "Eldedroid"; a mass-produced drone unit made in the image of Optimus Prime in order to strike fear into the Decepticons, and equipped with the same black armor upgrade as his T.H.S.-02B form. The comic also reveals that there are 21 of the drones, and that most of them are controlled by the sleeper agent, Flip Sides.
Prior to its release by e-Hobby, the MP-01B figure also suddenly became available through Hong Kong sellers with a name plate in place of the comic book. No differences between the e-Hobby release and so-called "Hong Kong Version" release have been identified; the comic book and name plate were added outside the box in their respective releases.

MP-01L: Convoy Final Edition[edit]

Released in 2011, this version includes subtle revisions to the mold, which has otherwise remained unchanged through all previous uses. The changes include a correction to the alignment of the opening chest windows, which has been an issue since its original release, and the words "LAST SHOT" molded into the panels that form his robot-mode back and vehicle-mode lights. The figure's color-scheme is essentially the same albeit slightly brighter. The solicitations for the figure indicated that the included soundstage (like the electronic display stand included with 20th Anniversary DVD Edition Optimus Prime), which has voice clips from Genda Tessho, Peter Cullen's Japanese counterpart, would include a voice clip identifying the next figure in the Masterpiece line. The revealing voice clip was Convoy's announcement that he himself would be "reborn", which would eventuate in the form of a new-mold Convoy figure. As the name suggests, the release also saw the mold finally retired.

MP-02: Ultra Magnus[edit]

Released in 2004 as a redeco of MP-01 Convoy, retaining the original's articulation and features. While he carries the same accessories as Convoy, Masterpiece Ultra Magnus swaps his red and blue parts for white, resembling his "inner robot" form as depicted in Dreamwave's comic book series. In addition to the deco changes, the wrist communicator panels feature Optimus Prime on the right, and a waveform readout on the left. As with MP-01, the inner box can be folded into a cardboard trailer, this time resembling Ultra Magnus' car carrier. However, the trailer cannot form his "outer robot" armor. Unlike the MP-01 figure, MP-02 carries a black Ion Blaster rather than grey.

This figure was re-issued in 2008.

MP-03: Starscream[edit]

Released in 2006. Includes arm-mounted guns, decals, detachable missiles, a small figurine of Doctor Arkeville, a mounting clip to store the mini-Megatron (sold with all variants of Masterpiece Convoy) under the plane mode's nose cone, and a display stand. This toy's colors were selected to more closely resemble a real-life McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle rather than Starscream's depiction in the cartoon or original toy. The head features a face-switching gimmick, with a choice of straight-faced or smirking.

After prototype images initially surfaced in Japanese hobby magazines, the design went through some modifications. Most notably, some jet-mode parts were relocated to the robot mode's hips. Designer Shoji Kawamori explained that the redesign was intended to make the underside of the jet mode more closely match that of a real-world F-15E Strike Eagle.

MP-03: Starscream (USA Edition)[edit]

Released in 2008. After Hasbro released their own cartoon-accurate version of the MP-03 figure, Takara followed suit. For the most part, indistinguishable from Hasbro's version, Takara's "USA Edition" Starscream used the original unmodified MP-03 mold (as opposed to Hasbro's version, which was retooled to meet safety standards), added a Decepticon symbol to the nosecone and used a lighter detail wash. It was sold in the same packaging as the U.S. version, but with a sticker proclaiming "U.S. Edition" in Japanese in place of the "Wal-Mart Exclusive" label on Hasbro's.

MP-03G: Starscream Ghost Version[edit]

Released in 2010 as a version of the Starscream figure in translucent plastic. Originally rumored and then dismissed as a hoax, and represents Starscream's ghost as seen in two season 3 episodes of the original cartoon series, and one episode of Beast Wars, having been killed by Galvatron in the animated movie. While cast in translucent materials, the color scheme is based on Starscream's original cartoon and toy appearance, rather than the "real world" coloring of the MP-03 figure. The e-hobby release came with an exclusive comic.[3]

MP-04: Convoy Perfect Edition[edit]

Released in 2006. Largely the same as MP-01 figure, except this version adds a plastic/die-cast metal trailer for his vehicle mode. The trailer opens up to reveal the gun pod and repair arm. It is designed to be able to hold a Binaltech/Alternators vehicle. Notably, there is no Roller included with the trailer. There are some minor differences in the deco on this version of the main Optimus Prime figure, with slightly bluer windows and Matrix crystal, and Megatron and Grimlock on his wrist communicators instead of Starscream and Bumblebee.

This figure was re-issued in 2009.

MP-04S: Convoy Sleep Mode[edit]

A redeco of the "Perfect Edition" version of Masterpiece Convoy, complete with trailer, released in July 2010. While superficially a black repaint, the main Optimus Prime robot is decoed in heavily darkened blue and red, with faded grays replacing the chrome and light grey parts, depicting the draining of color as seen in his death scene in The Transformers: The Movie. The trailer is cast entirely in clear plastics, with only the tires not being translucent. The figure is limited to 2010 units in Japan, with each identified by "Serial number in Japan: xxxx/2010" on their character card, however additional units are available in other markets, with some indicating "C1 - xxxx/2010" on their card and others having no card at all. When the figure is transformed into robot mode, the lower left half of the torso has a molded battle damage piece from the fight with Megatron in which he stabbed Optimus Prime in lower left chest.This release is part of Takara Tomy's "Welcome to Transformers 2010" campaign, which celebrates the Japanese version of the third season of the original series (which was set in the year 2010, rather than 2006 as in the U.S. version).[4]

MP-05: Megatron[edit]

Released in 2007. Includes light-up Fusion Cannon/gun mode scope, energy mace, energy saber (used to slice Optimus Prime's abdomen during their fight in The Transformers: The Movie), laser pistol (used to fatally wound Prime in the same fight) and Kremzeek mini figure. An intricate version of Megatron, in scale with Masterpiece Convoy/Optimus Prime, which transforms into an oversized Walther P38. Like Masterpiece Convoy, this version of Megatron is designed to replicate his appearance in the animated series; for example, relocating the gun barrel to his back rather than under his left arm, shifting the trigger parts that were originally between his legs to the inside of his thighs, and incorporating a collapsible chest to recreate his animation model's proportions. The figure, however, does not come with a silencer and stock for the gun mode.

As Masterpiece Megatron resembles a realistic, if oversized, weapon, U.S. regulations require it to be sold with an orange plug in the barrel. Australian laws classify the figure as a replica firearm, with some states allowing ownership only if the owner is a member of a registered weapons collector's club, and others banning ownership entirely.[5]

MP-06: Skywarp[edit]

Released in 2007 as a redeco of MP-03 Starscream. Starscream's face-switching gimmick was modified for Skywarp, with the alternate face now a snarling expression.

MP-07: Thundercracker[edit]

Released in 2008 as a redeco of MP-03 Starscream. His alternate face is a growl.

MP-08: Grimlock[edit]

Released in 2009. Includes Energon Sword, the intelligence-transfer device from the G1 episode "Grimlock's New Brain", and beverage tray from the G1 episode "Madman's Paradise". While the robot mode's left hand has fully articulated fingers, only the wrist and the thumb of the right hand are articulated. This is due to a lighting gimmick in the right hand which illuminates the blade of the sword or the barrel of the gun when placed in this hand and activated by a switch on the toy's right shoulder. The eyes in both the robot head and the dinosaur head can be switched between blue and red, depending on whether the owner prefers a look more consistent with the U.S. cartoon or the original Diaclone toy.

MP-08X: King Grimlock[edit]

Released in 2009 as a Toy MarketHobby exclusive. Packaged in a comic book-style box and adding a crown in place of the original version's apron, tray and glasses accessories, this version uses coloring more reminiscent of his comic book appearance, with blue in place of the original version's black, and shinier silver and gold details.

MP-09: Rodimus Convoy (Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime)[edit]

Appearing first as design sketches in a Japanese magazine, and then later as a prototype at CybertronCon China, Masterpiece Rodimus Convoy is a new-mold figure joining Takara Tomy's "Welcome to Transformers 2010" promotion. Prototypes have shown the robot and vehicle modes, both closely resembling Rodimus Prime's appearance in the original animated series, as well as the trailer's Mobile Defense Bay mode. Gimmicks include retractable binoculars, spinning saw blade and the Matrix of Leadership, but the figure's main feature is the ability to transform into the robot and vehicle modes of both Hot Rod and Rodimus Prime. The transition between the two incarnations of the robot mode involves rotating the face plate and extending the legs, while the two vehicle modes incorporate unique front ends, just as the original toys had differing hoods and windshields. This figure was released in January 2011. Photos of the transformation sequence in Million Publishing's "Generations 2010" magazine revealed that the unique Rodimus Prime vehicle mode appearance is achieved by folding a false cab section, concealed within the trailer, over the Hot Rod car after it has been inserted (front-first) into the trailer. The Hong Kong release comes with a black display case with a windowed front and a reflective foil interior, along with a commemorative Rodimus Prime coin.

MP-09B: Black Rodimus Convoy[edit]

An e-Hobby Japan exclusive Decepticon redeco of the Masterpiece Rodimus Convoy figure in black with teal and purple flames. Released in October 2011.

MP-10: Convoy (Optimus Prime)[edit]

An all-new mold at a smaller scale than the MP-01 and MP-04 (and their variants). Convoy is approximately the same height as Rodimus Convoy in robot mode, more streamlined and less bulky - with the vehicle mode looking more like a real semi-trailer truck than the first Masterpiece figure. Convoy comes with his trailer, Ion Blaster (which folds and stores into a compartment in his back), a Roller unit and a Spike Witwicky mini figure. As with other toy incarnations of this character, the trailer opens to form a command center or a repair bay and can hold one Deluxe Class or Alternity vehicle. Released on Sept 22, 2011.[6]

MP-10B: Black Convoy (Optimus Prime)[edit]

A Decepticon redeco of the MP-10 figure in black with red windows. Released in March 2013.

MP-11: Starscream[edit]

An all-new version of Starscream released in March 2012. The new figure includes remolded parts, which restores the MP-03 figure's original hip kibble-free design. Also included is a hologram pilot figurine, as well as the crown and coronation gear used in The Transformers: The Movie.

MP-11S: Sunstorm[edit]

Sunstorm is an Amazon Japan exclusive orange redeco of the MP-11 Starscream figure, including coronation accessories, but not the stand. Released in August 2012.

MP-12: Lambor (Sideswipe)[edit]

In March 2012, Takara Tomy released a teaser picture of Lambor/Sideswipe being MP-12 of the Masterpiece line. The new figure retains his original Lamborghini Countach LP500S car mode and is officially licensed from Lamborghini. In addition, his car mode fits inside MP-10 Convoy's trailer. The Amazon Japan release of the figure includes a pair of chromed pile-drivers, reminiscent of those used by the character in the animated series, not available in the standard release.

MP-12G: Lambor (Sideswipe) G2 Version[edit]

Repaint and slight remold of MP-12 Lambor in black with red windows. New features include double weapons formed from large engine block that attaches to top, spiked wheels on shoulders, new face with grimace and G2 logo. Released in February 2014.[7]

MP-12T: Tigertrack[edit]

An International Tokyo Toy Show 2013 exclusive, Tigertrack (sometimes transliterated as "Tigerjack") is a redeco of MP-12 Lambor in yellow with Red Alert's head sculpt, based a color scheme variant of the original Diaclone Countach toy that ultimately became Sideswipe/Lambor. The figure is also a direct homage to the first Tigertrack toy, a Transformers repackage of the Diaclone toy sold as a mail-order exclusive on Figure-Oh magazine in 2003. He comes with black versions of Sideswipe's piledrivers. Tigertrack was released in June 2013.

MP-13: Soundwave[edit]

In June 2012, Takara Tomy unveiled their prototype of Soundwave, which stays faithful to his original cassette recorder form. The figure comes with a transformable Condor/Laserbeak with translucent pink microcassette case, a clear Energon cube that can attach to his chest, a detachable display grid, a forearm scanner attachment and a new version of the Megatron gun originally offered in MP-01 Convoy/Optimus Prime. The Amazon Japan release gains an exclusive Energon cube accessory. Aside from holding up to three newer Masterpiece cassette robots, Soundwave's chest can also accommodate the original G1 cassettes. Laserbeak in bird mode can peg on Soundwave's left shoulder or forearm.

MP-14: Alert (Red Alert)[edit]

As with other G1 incarnations of the character, Alert/Red Alert is a white/red fire department redeco of Lambor/Sideswipe with a detachable light bar mounted on the roof. The figure features a blue spark effect part that attaches to the head, replicating the scene in the season 2 episode "Auto Berserk", where he suddenly went paranoid. To further differentiate the figure from Lambor/Sideswipe, Alert/Red Alert has faux-wheels molded on his shoulders, small circular pegs on the top of his chest, and a different helmet sculpt painted red instead of black, which is consistent with the character's slightly different cartoon animation model.

MP-15: Rumble and Jaguar (Ravage)[edit]

Released on February 23, 2013, Rumble and Jaguar/Ravage are similar to Condor/Laserbeak with microcassette cases; both are designed to fit inside Soundwave.

MP-16: Frenzy and Buzzsaw[edit]

Released on March 23, 2013, Frenzy is a purple redeco of Rumble while Buzzsaw is a gold/black redeco of Condor/Laserbeak.

MP-17: Prowl[edit]

Released in September 2013, the new Prowl is faithful to the original toy's Nissan Fairlady Z patrol car form.

MP-18: Streak (Bluestreak)[edit]

As with other G1 incarnations of the character, Streak/Bluestreak is a silver/black redeco of Prowl minus the police light bar. Preview images indicate he also has his own unique head and a different waist panel. Released in September 2013.

MP-19: Smokescreen[edit]

Smokescreen is set for release in December 2013. The figure is a redeco of Bluestreak in blue and red with a substantially altered mold. A new rear spoiler, front bumper, remolded head, all new shoulder guns and the number "38" decals on the doors are just some of the differences.

MP-20: Wheeljack[edit]

Scheduled to be released in August 2014.[8]

MP-21: Bumblebee[edit]

Scheduled to be released in November 2014.[8]

MP-22: Ultra Magnus[edit]

Scheduled to be released in Early to mid 2015. Faithful to the original 1986 toy, this will be a white redeco of the MP10 mold, with a blue car carrier trailer that combines with the truck to form a larger, armored robot.

MP-M01: Starscream[edit]

Released in December 2010 as a redeco of Hasbro's Leader Class Starscream from the Transformers film series. Unlike the Hasbro version, this figure lacks the tattoos seen in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; instead, it has regular Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor camouflage, as seen in the first film.

MP-M02: Bumblebee[edit]

Like the MP-M01 Starscream, this is a redeco of a figure from Hasbro's 2010 toy line - specifically, the Battle Ops Bumblebee. Changes from the Hasbro version include chrome painted rims, an uncolored right hand and additional paint applications. The redeco is slightly similar to the Costco exclusive Battle Ops Bumblebee gift set.

Hasbro releases[edit]

20th Anniversary Optimus Prime[edit]

The MP-01 Optimus Prime figure was released twice in the United States. The first version in 2004 was almost identical to the Japanese release, but had black "battle damage" details applied and shortened smokestacks to comply with United States toy standards; however, the product photography on the box depicted it with the Japanese version's longer smokestacks. It initially shipped with a gray Ion Blaster; however a running change replaced this with a black blaster. The inner box is designed to resemble the combat deck interior of Optimus Prime's trailer.

ToyFare magazine named 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime number one on their list of "100 Best Toys Ever Made".

20th Anniversary DVD Edition Optimus Prime[edit]

The 2006 U.S. release of Masterpiece Optimus Prime occurred in conjunction with the 20th anniversary DVD release of The Transformers: The Movie. While it did not have the first version's battle damage, it used a lighter shade of scarlet, had gray grilles and smokestacks instead of chrome, a blue Ion Blaster, yellow details on the gun and head, and came with an electronic display stand with pre-recorded sound clips; however none of the clips were recorded by Peter Cullen. Like the previous U.S. version, its smokestacks were shortened compared to the Japanese versions. As it was sold in "Classics" packaging, it technically falls into the Classics toyline.

Masterpiece Starscream[edit]

The MP-03 Starscream figure was released as a Walmart exclusive in 2007, in Classics-style packaging. It was repainted to accurately reflect his appearance in the U.S. cartoon series, albeit with a black wash applied, and the mold was slightly modified for safety reasons. A similar version of this figure was also released by Takara Tomy as a "USA Edition".

Masterpiece Skywarp[edit]

Part of the Transformers: Universe toy line, the MP-06 Skywarp figure was released by Hasbro in 2009 as a Walmart exclusive, with a color scheme more consistent with the U.S. cartoon series. Unlike the Japanese version, Hasbro's uses the same pair of faces as Starscream.

Masterpiece Grimlock[edit]

The MP-08 Grimlock figure was released by Hasbro as a Toys "R" Us exclusive in 2010. The deco is primarily based on the MP-08 release, but ships in dinosaur mode rather than robot mode as both the Japanese releases do, includes MP-08's gun and sword, omitting the waiter accessories and transfer helmet, while adding the crown from the MP-08X version. Hasbro will re-release MP Grimlock in Summer 2014.

Masterpiece Rodimus Prime[edit]

The U.S. release of Masterpiece Rodimus Convoy by Hasbro does not come with the detachable trailer, but is offered with his Targetmaster partner Offshoot (renamed from Firebolt due to trademark issues) and a remold of Optimus Prime's Matrix of Leadership, which does not fit in his chest. Like the Takara Tomy version, a smaller Matrix that fits in his chest is also included. While the Japanese version is based on the animation design, the Hasbro redeco bears a closer resemblance to the original G1 toy. Parts of the figure's legs have been re-engineered after owners of the Takara Tomy version complained that the joints of the leg plates broke off easily. First offered for purchase at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con International, Masterpiece Rodimus Prime is a Toys "R" Us exclusive.

Masterpiece Optimus Prime[edit]

At BotCon 2012, Hasbro confirmed the U.S. release of MP-10 Convoy as the new Masterpiece Optimus Prime, to be sold as a Toys "R" Us exclusive. Like the Japanese version, this release comes with the trailer, the Matrix of Leadership, a Roller unit (molded in blue instead of silver), an energy axe and a Spike figure.

Year of the Horse Masterpiece Optimus Prime[edit]

A redeco of Masterpiece Optimus Prime was released in 2014 to commemorate the Year of the Horse.

Masterpiece Thundercracker[edit]

Released Stateside in August of 2012, Masterpiece Thundercracker is a Toys "R" Us Exclusive that uses the new Seeker design first seen on Takara's MP-11 Starscream. Unlike the Japanese figure, however, Thundercracker comes packaged similar to the other two Hasbro Masterpiece Seekers and includes the common display stand of MP-03, MP-11's "hologram" pilot [coated in silver vac metal] and a blue clip for MP-01's Megatron accessory. For obvious reasons, Thundercracker is also released without Starscream's coronation gear. His paint scheme loosely follows the Generation One cartoon but includes what many refer to as "tattoos" of fellow Decepticon Reflector and "Sonicboom" artwork on his tailfins. Despite the packaging's claim, Masterpiece Thundercracker does not come with an alternate head. The instructions included are for the original MP-03 mold and do not reflect the changes included by the MP-11 update to the Seeker mold.

Masterpiece Soundwave[edit]

Announced at the 2013 New York Toy Fair, Hasbro's version of Masterpiece Soundwave is repainted in a lighter shade of blue and features a yellow visor, closer to the original G1 toy colors. In addition, he comes packaged with all five cassettes. The figure is a Toys "R" Us exclusive and is designated as "MP-02" in a new Masterpiece lineup for the international market.

Masterpiece Acid Storm[edit]

Announced at the 2013 New York Toy Fair, Masterpiece Acid Storm is a green and black redeco of MP-11 Starscream. He is sold as a Toys "R" Us exclusive and is designated as "MP-01" in a new Masterpiece lineup for the international market.

References[edit]

External links[edit]