Recently, TakaraTomy unveiled a number of new Masterpiece Transformers releases, while Hasbro unveiled a new approach to reissuing Generation 1 Transformers. In the meantime, we got some nice TakaraTomy TF Legends and Hasbro Power of the Primes toys. I may be a bit behind with the releases, but overall, I get the feeling that new Transformers releases for those lines – or even generally – may not look the same as we expect them to. We can see clearly what’s new, but what’s not new?
Since we just saw them in the opening picture, let’s talk a bit about Generations. I’ve generally been able to avoid buying POTP figures, helped by the selling of all my Titans Return and TF Legends figures, but the Prime Masters I find utterly irresistible. They are so close in appearance to the original G1 Pretenders, of which I own a few now, so they will eventually look superb together. The fact that they combine Headmaster, Targetmaster, Powermaster and Pretender gimmicks into small, sincerely fun Transformers toys really draws appreciation from me. So what’s not new here? Well, Submarauder and Landmine there are second wave, and much like the Titan Masters from Titans Return wave 2, we’ve already lost the extra paint application on the little figures’ faces. At least the shells are delightfully detailed, still. Another thing that will not be new is how TakaraTomy’s interpretation. They will sport no extra paint, accessory or difference; they are now one with Hasbro for the releases in this line. The packaging – I believe – will also be the same, including just a TakaraTomy sticker to distinguish.
The TakaraTomy Mall exclusive Legends LG-EX Greatshot also finally arrived in my hands. As predicted, it is the best use of the Sixshot mould thus far, with none of the loose joint issues that my LG and TR versions of Sixshot had. His paint and new moulding are utterly sublime, and I’m happy to have this toy be the sole souvenir from my two-and-a-half-year TR/LG adventure. What a spectacular figure. Standing next to the vintage Greatshot from Transformers Victory, you can see what a fabulous homage it is, just how much they got right. I certainly will not bemoan the fact that there’s nothing inherently fresh about repainting an existing mould into an obvious re-release, relevant for its native target market, because in this case, the results are wonderful and right up my street.
Here we have the brand new, Walmart exclusive reissue of Generation 1 Hot Rod. Completely out of the blue, a surprise listing seen from an Asian retailer, and certainly not the first time he has been reissued. Takara first reissued “Hot Rodimus” for the Japanese market in 2000 with vintage-style G1 Takara Packaging. Hasbro then released it for Western markets in the Commemorative Series packaging. Takara then reissued a Targetmaster version for the TF Collection reissue series in 2004. There was no Encore reissue for Hot Rod, so although fans feel like we are constantly getting Hot Rod reissues, it’s actually been fourteen years since we got the last reissue G1 Hot Rod – the exact same amount of time from Hot Rod’s vintage 1986 release to the first reissue in 2000. Fourteen years.
So what’s not new? Well, reissuing Hot Rod isn’t new! In addition, mis-transforming him for product shots is not new, either. Interestingly, he has no tampos, unlike the last TF Collection release. Instead, he not only has the foil chest sticker, but now the side flame stickers are foil for the first time. He does have Targetmaster-sized ports though, so the handguns are probably the same mould as that TFCollection release too. Interestingly, the feet are black like the second run vintage and original vintage Targetmaster release from 86 and 87, respectively. Finally, and most significantly, the packaging is completely in the style of the original Hasbro G1 Hot Rod – with some small updates to text language and inner packaging. If this is the start of a wonderful line of retro G1 reissues in proper vintage-style packaging, I will rejoice.
It was inevitable that TakaraTomy would repaint MP Sunstreaker into one of its Diaclone ancestors – actually considering we never got an MP Diaclone black Ironhide or Deepcover, maybe not. Yet here we are, the simply magnificent Diaclone Car Robot No.3 Countach LP500S Patrol Car Type, AKA Police Sunstreaker, as a Masterpiece. He’s designated MP-42 “Cordon”, so he’s mass release, a new character, and he has a toy-accurate head and missile arm attachment that people such as myself would have adored on MP-39 Sunstreaker. They’ve done the original Diaclone figure a tremendous amount of justice, really a fabulous job in all areas. I would have liked the Asahikage logo on the hood to have been as big as the original, but it’s a small complaint. So it’s a new Masterpiece reveal at last, G1/Diaclone based, but not a new mould, unless you count the head and missile accessory. Believe it or not, I’ve not been tempted to order this one as yet. All of my other Masterpiece figures, barring Megatron, have been sold. Seems counter-intuitive to go back and spend money again on MP when I could conceivably one day own the original again, but I am thrilled TakaraTomy are doing him, and so very well at that.
TakaraTomy also announced repaints of MP-29 Laserwave and MP-36 Megatron. There was a twist, however, in the shape of MP-29+ and MP-36+ being toy accurate editions where previously the “+” had implied anime accurate. Laserwave is now darker purple like the G1 toy, Megatron has a toy-accurate head, chest and a shinier appearance overall. Excellent stuff and catering to a different type of collector compared to just toon enthusiasts, I applaud the decision. What’s not new? The moulds being released, mainly. The only genuinely new Masterpiece toys they’re working on right now, that we know of, are MP-43 Beast Wars Megatron (gorgeous, btw) and Movie MP Ironhide. There have been rumblings about the potential demise of the G1-specific Masterpiece line besides these repaints and retools, but I think in time, we might see it pick up again.
If only every type of Transformer and fan would be catered for in Masterpiece, then we’d all be happy, right? Of course not, and that’s not new either!
All the best