Once upon a time there was a Diaclone, not just exclusive in colour and country, but also retailer. Its existence was questioned by all and sundry until proven beyond a reasonable doubt. A legendary Japanese collector teased enthusiasts across many lands with wordless images and scattered hints. The truth did surface, the world did learn, but a mere four specimens have ever been found boxed. Few they may be, but fully documented they have been. The 1984 Takara Diaclone Corvette Stingray was released in black and grey colours only in Finland as an R-Kioski retailer exclusive for a short time. While the 2002 Takara reissue lucky draw Black Tracks loosely referenced that Diaclone, it wasn’t until 2016 and the Tokyo Toy Show exclusive Masterpiece MP-25L Destron Sonic Sapper Loudpedal that Finland’s legendary gem was paid proper official tribute. This could be the best Masterpiece toy homage we’ve ever had.
I have covered the R-Kioski exclusive Finnish Diaclone “Black Tracks” in great detail before, as well as the $3000 custom fake Black Tracks scam that was perpetuated by North American collectors in 2012. I have also reviewed the Masterpiece MP-25 Tracks that “Loudpedal” is a retool of, so this article will focus more on the toy homage credentials of MP-25L.
The name “Loudpedal” is a reference to the accelerator pedal on a vehicle, used in sentences like “step on the loud pedal!”. He has been re-imagined for Masterpiece as a Decepticon for the 2016 Tokyo Toy Show and further stock has been distributed through TakaraTomy Mall and Hasbro Asia channels. His bio makes reference to him having been in collusion with Exhaust, joining the Marlboor corporation and gaining special sonic powers. The packaging features the same black and white motif as previous TTS MP exclusives Tigertrack and Silverstreak, and it features artwork over stock photography as they did too. The collector’s card features the older design grid background, he comes with the same attachable mirrors as Tracks and Road Rage did, and you also get a stickersheet (same as Tigertrack and Silverstreak). Unlike Road Rage, Loudpedal retains the figure display stand, and a Raoul figurine, both repainted in Decepticon and alternate colours respectively. This is the tip of the iceberg in terms of how much effort TakaraTomy have gone to with Loudpedal.
A black Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is a stunning sight in any era, at any scale, on any Transformer. It captured the imagination of vintage G1 and pre-G1 collectors back in 2000, and again in 2002 with the reissue lucky draw exclusive. Even in the time of Binaltech and Alternators, the Corvette Z06 convertible vehicle mode of BT-11 Ravage/Battle Ravage was irresistible. Loudpedal here comes with a very cleverly repainted Blaster accessory, the colours matching that of the blue pre-G1 Micro Change Series MC-21 Radiocase Robo blue variant. Raoul is coloured to match his second appearance in the Sunbow Transformers cartoon, the episode “Auto Bop”. Loudpedal, being primarily a Diaclone homage shoe-horned into the Masterpiece repaint ranks, has a pre-determined faction. As a result, he comes out the box with a giant Decepticon symbol on his chest flap and also a Decepticon logo embedded in the flame deco on his hood.
He also comes with purple tinted windows, a point of much contention for those who wanted a straight up Diaclone homage. I honestly thought I’d be more offended by them, looking for an immediate fix (even ordered an extra MP Road Rage in anticipation of said offence), but they are just so delectable in hand that I have decided to keep him as stock. This has, of course, been aided by his other enormous strengths and enormous nods to historic features of the rare vintage toy. You may have noticed my Loudpedal specimen above does not exhibit any Decepticon allegiance, and that’s because I flipped the roof/chest flap around to be blank, but more importantly, I applied the stickers off the exquisite stickersheet. Loudpedal comes with a small 4-sticker sheet featuring the “CS” stickers for the hood flames and the “D” stickers for the wings. The significance of these are that the original Diaclone toy had “D” on the wings for “Diaclone” and “CS” on the hood for “Corvette Stingray”. Loudpedal’s story has the “CS” referring to “Cymond’s Shadow” but we all know what the real inspiration was.
Knowing everything that was included with this set pre-release, my level of excitement came crashing down to earth on receipt of my Loudpedal because, bizarrely, my sealed brand new specimen came with a used stickersheet. Except, the stickers were nowhere to be found, I just got an empty stickersheet. Bollocks to that. I bought a second Loudpedal and even got an extra stickersheet off an extremely kind TFW2005 UK board member. The second stickersheet was to use on my MP-26 Road Rage, another MP Diaclone homage that required just that extra step to complete the vintage look.
The incredible attention to vintage detail comes thick and fast in robot mode. Unlike the 2002 reissue that took some liberties with the deco, MP Loudpedal absolutely nails the grey colour for the limbs and wings, it features the toy accurate gun in grey that Road Rage also had, it replicates the sticker design mostly, with toy accurate colours and most importantly, this mould finally gets the proper masked toy accurate head sculpt. Prototypes of this head sculpt were seen on unpainted MP Tracks test shots prior to the announcement of Loudpedal, and I featured them here.
You can see I have now applied the “D” stickers to the wings too. That face sculpt is utterly heavenly, and TakaraTomy have returned to the Tracks mould configuration allowing you to snap the neck up into place, giving more solid head suspension, unlike Road Rage. The feminine leg and hand moulding has reverted back to Tracks moulding as well. Notice the signature turquoise face colour of Loudpedal, directly paying tribute to the Finnish Diaclone’s most recognisable robot mode feature. Remember, the 2002 black lucky draw reissue had a gold face and didn’t exhibit historically accurate arm or leg colour the way MP-25L does.
Sure Loudpedal has purple Decepticon-influenced windows, and he has microscopic cartoon-style missile launchers as a MP-25 Tracks carry-over, but just check out how faithful he is overall to the vintage Finnish Diaclone! If all of the above isn’t enough to convince you of his toy credentials, how about the metallic silver paint TakaraTomy have used on Loudpedal’s shins to simulate the die cast metal of the vintage toy? Just tremendous. You may also have noticed that I pose Loudpedal (and Road Rage) with the wings perpendicular to the body in order to recreate the vintage look, instead of angling them upwards in a stylised manner. MP-25L Loudpedal rocks all the wonderful poses and stances that MP Tracks should be admired for, as well as being riddled with the same issues as the mould has suffered from since the first MP-25 release (insecure shoulder tabbing, raised hood not sitting flush in car mode etc).
I haven’t yet mentioned the stunning gloss finish of the shiny black paint used on Loudpedal, such a treat in hand and a change from Road Rage’s matte appearance that many disliked (despite being toy accurate). Originally advertised on the English-language Finnish box (and the Japanese) as a triple changer, it would be remiss of me to not feature the attack mode. Yes it’s obnoxiously Decepticon-flavoured with the stand, but it does look exceptionally good. I know a fair number of MP-25 Tracks stands broke, so having this in clear plastic does nothing for my confidence in its structural integrity.
The attention to detail stretches all the way down to the smallest accessory. Although, I do wonder why they didn’t stick a Decepticon logo on the mini blue pre-Blaster. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled they left it off, I would have preferred that Loudpedal be free of any faction tampos, leaving the owner to apply faction stickers if desired. They did this with Tigertrack and Silverstreak, but since Diaclone repaints have become mainstream or common (Road Rage, Bluestreak, Clampdown and Exhaust), the faction symbols have been tampographed. I prefer to have the choice, but am confused by the lack of consistency across the concept.
I once had all of these Corvette colours as a vintage and reissue G1/Diaclone collection. I have written so much over the years about the Finnish Diaclone releases, specifically the black Corvette Stingray car robot. Multiple articles, hundreds of forum posts and photographs, and I like to think that the material I have produced on this figure is the definitive source on the Internet for anyone interested to learn about Finnish Diaclone “Black Tracks” and the history behind the wonderful Masterpiece Loudpedal homage. I’ve gone to great lengths to protect my photographs of this amazing vintage treasure that I no longer own, this figure of whom only about 12 boxed, loose or wrecked specimens have ever been accounted for.
What I am trying to say is that this figure and its history mean the world to me. I was even told by a source I trust that my articles on the Finnish Diaclone were used to help shape the appearance and features of MP Loudpedal to some degree. He tell me! As much as I would love to believe that, I’m naturally opposed to accepting that kind of credit, so I am happy to believe the folks at TakaraTomy just cared a great deal about making Loudpedal as accurate and meaningful as possible.
Having owned two of the twelve vintage specimens found, If I can love this item as much as I do and be as deeply impressed with the lengths that TakaraTomy have gone to in order to do it justice, I hope it can lend Loudpedal’s toy accuracy and Diaclone legitimacy the sort of credibility that earns collectors’ respect and affection. It really deserves it, TakaraTomy deserve it. The purple windows, the faction symbol, the red eyes – these newer features are comprehensively steamrollered by the outstanding Diaclone accuracy. Accuracy from one of the most obscure Diaclone variants ever!
The Masterpiece scale Diaclone collection has grown to the point where collectors can legitimately call it a sub-line of its own. When you add in BadCube’s Sentinel Blaze (Diaclone red pre-Sunstreaker) and Ocular Max’s Liger (Diaclone red pre-Mirage) from the 3rd party arena, then take into account the wonderful MP-31 Delta Magnus due out in August together with the year’s standout TakaraTomy DA-01 Dia-Battles V2 figure, 2016 shapes up as the year of Diaclone. I have never had so much use for, or interest in my vintage Diaclone writing as I do now thanks to TakaraTomy’s rapid expansion of their Masterpiece Diaclone range. Loudpedal stands as the absolute centrepiece of this collection in my eyes, the one with which I am most touched because of the details, the effort, the respect shown for history. To me, Diaclone is all about history, significance and what I’d consider to be square one for my Transformers collecting and interests. Thank you TakaraTomy for MP-25L Loudpedal, the best toy homage ever.
All the best