Unless you’ve been living in subspace for the last year or so, you’ll be aware that there’s a new Masterpiece Convoy being released! MP-44 Convoy (or Optimus Prime as we’ll call him here) is the third rendition of the character in the MP line, and comes with a whopping price tag (something that’s caused a lot of discussion). But what do you get for your money? For today’s Countdown we’re running through all of the key features of this elaborate toy, showing off a load of new photos as we unveil 44 MP-44 facts you need to know!
Oh, and before we begin, if you want to know about the transformation then I’ve done a whole Twitter thread about it. It is complicated, but for what it’s worth I found it pretty good fun too!
Today I will be mostly transforming MP-44. pic.twitter.com/QM9jFemxyA
— Sixo (@SixoTF) September 6, 2019
Anyway, on with the list!
#44. The truck mode is lush
Perhaps it goes without saying but the truck mode is really something to behold! We’ve already seen this character done in Masterpiece form twice but still there’s a thrill to be had here. It’s incredibly shiny and notably well-tabbed together.
#43. It’s quite different in style to MP-10
I can remember thinking that MP-10 was just about as good as any Optimus Prime toy was going to look in vehicle mode, but dare I say I think 44 edges it. The smooth shininess of the grill is definitely better to my eye, he features actual windows on the doors this time, and somehow the proportions just work a smidge better too. That said, not everyone will like the non-painted wipers, but hey, cartoon accuracy and all. The back section is not as tidy as MP-10 either, but again, I think the proportions are preferable.
#42. The cab features weapon storage
It’s a little random, but you can store Optimus’ rifle at the back of the cab mode if you so wish.
#41. This release comes with 3 human characters
Where MP-10 came with just Spike, 44 comes with 3 characters – also featuring his father, Sparkplug, and Carly.
#40. They’re quite a departure from previous MP humans
The new human toys are significantly more articulated than before, with ball joints and even a twist at the waist. They’re still somewhat featureless which might put some folks off, and I will say that for my money I found them to be pretty fiddly. It’s common for legs and arms to pop off, which can be frustrating. In fact I’ll say that I definitely prefer the previous Spike by some margin.
#39. The humans can actually sit in the cab
In a nifty feature the cab doors actually open to reveal a tiny bit of interior in the cab. You can even have the human characters sit inside there, although it’s a bit of a squeeze and I found them a pain to get out again!
#38. The trailer has no blue stripe
One of the most obvious clues that this is a more animation-accurate toy than MP-10 is the lack of the blue stripe on the trailer. I like the new look a lot myself, but I know some people have grumbled about it. To me it looks very stylish.
#37. It can still hold MP-scaled cars
MP-10 made a big deal of being able to store MP-scaled cars in the trailer, and of course 44 replicates that. The ramp is even a bit longer this time, allowing them to drive down a little easier.
#36. This release also comes with a Roller
As expected, Roller puts in an appearance here, and can be driven by the human characters exactly as with MP-10.
#35. He feels more premium than the previous version
However this time he has a nice paint job! The wheels also feel a little more sturdy this time.
#34. He can wield Optimus’ rifle
Another feature replicated from MP-10, although the rifle in question this time is a lot more proportionate to the toy (as MP-10’s always felt a little small…).
#33. And the fuel nozzle from the repair bay
In a new feature, 44 comes with a fuel nozzle accessory that homages a similar part of the package from the original G1 Optimus Prime toy.
#32. Also included is a mobile combat deck
In a change of pace this time, MP-44 also features a mobilised version of the Combat Deck, as seen in a couple of G1 cartoon episodes. Whilst MP-10 featured a static version of this unit inside Optimus’ trailer, this is the first time we’ve seen it able to be detached and wheels deployed for independent movement. Oh, and it’s pretty cool to say the least! It features pop-out cannons and can seat one of the human characters inside the cockpit.
#31. The combat deck cockpit can be mounted on Roller
The cockpit section of Combat Deck can also be removed and mounted on top of Roller too, for a bit of added play value.
#30. It also features a lot of articulation
Combat Deck features an articulated crane arm which can be used to display it in all kinds of positions.
#29. You can feel the Diaclone influence
Anyone who’s remotely familiar with TakaraTomy’s Diaclone reboot line will no doubt feel the familiarities at play here, with the various configurations available from Roller and Combat Deck a sure sign of influence. Just look at the way Roller can tow the Combat Deck along!
#28. Combat deck also attaches inside the trailer
Of course, the Combat Deck module can also take its rightful place inside the trailer section.
#27. Combat deck can hold Optimus or other MP-scaled cars
It’s maybe a small point, but the inside of the trailer is specifically designed to house either Optimus or other MP-scaled cars in vehicle mode.
#26. The inside of the trailer has magnets
In a nifty new feature (and another obvious Diaclone nod) the human characters have small magnets in their feet, and so can stand very stably on magnetised strips within the trailer section. Very cool.
#25. And features little seats for the humans
This is something MP-10 did too, but the detailing inside 44’s trailer looks better to my eye.
#24. You can also deploy combat deck in trailer mode
Look, there’s not a lot this thing can’t do, to be honest!
#23. Or deploy it at the front, with Roller driving
It’s not unusual to have Roller able to tow the trailer section, but it is something to see Combat Deck poking out the front like that! Unfortunately I found that the weight of the trailer meant Roller didn’t quite sit with all six wheels touching the floor, which is a bit annoying. I had to prop up the back of the trailer to make this photo happen.
#22. The robot mode is a thing of absolute beauty
Transformation done, the robot mode is revealed, and my word it is stunning! It really captures the essence of the character so well!
#21. There is a backpack, but honestly it’s not a problem
One thing I was really concerned about from pics was the size of the backpack, which looked to be a bit mahoosive. Fortunately, it turns out to be a total non-problem in hand, and if anything it ends up looking about the size it should do for the character model. Just shows how when you focus on stuff in photos it can seem worse than it is, I guess. Of course the backpack also houses a voice chip, which features both Japanese and English dialogue… voiced by Peter Cullen!
Transformers fans: "MP-44 is too expensive, I don't want to pay for loads of gimmicks."
*video of Peter Cullen sound chip is released*
"SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY" pic.twitter.com/ub3IFS9O1j
— Sixo (@SixoTF) August 30, 2019
#20. The robot mode is incredibly poseable
Just like more recents MPs such as Sunstreaker and Megatron, Optimus is poseability personified, with every conceivable joint and articulation point being made the most of. I found him an absolute pleasure to pose and play with, and it was easy to contort him into any number of dynamic stances. Oh, and he can run!
#19. It can even pull off a wicked kneel
I think a pose like this tells you all you need to know about a toy, and MP-44 can do it with ease. I’ve heard some complaints about the knees though, so do be careful if you decide to pick him up. Fortunately mine seem ok so far!
#18. It looks like it stepped out of the cartoon… genuinely!
It’s when you put 44 into any number of iconic Optimus cartoon poses that you fully appreciate just what an outstanding job the designers have done of capturing the character’s on-screen likeness. The ultra-toon aesthetic may not be for everyone, but my word it’s played to beautiful effect here.
#17. There’s a second head for even more accuracy
Similar to MP Inferno, Optimus also includes a second head which allows him to look accurate to whichever screenshot you’re viewing at the time, such was the weird way his appearance shifted a little throughout the cartoon. I definitely prefer the stock head.
#16. He comes with blast effect pieces
And similar to the recent MP+ Bluestreak, Optimus has two blast effect pieces that can be attached to the end of his rifle.
#15. You can store his rifle on his back
Whilst I admit to having no particular memory of him ever doing this in the cartoon, it’s still quite a cool feature. It’s not as tidy as MP-10’s rifle folding up to fit in the backpack, but then the rifle is a much better size this time too.
#14. Or on his bum if you absolutely must
Er, yes… I don’t think I’ll be using this feature much.
#13. He has his holo-axe of course
Every MP Optimus has had one so far, and so of course 44 also features the holo-axe from the first cartoon adventure. I’d say this one is actually the nicest so far, and requires you to remove Optimus’ hand but allows for a lot more articulation at the joint. It looks way better than the MP-10 version.
#12. And you can flip open his chest to reveal the Matrix
Come on, you surely expected this? I will say that the window panels sit a lot more flush than on MP-10 (which was often a problem), and 44 looks much more natural when holding them open. It’s also possible to pull the housing for the Matrix forward so that it’s easier to pull the accessory out. A nice touch.
#11. The matrix is essentially the same as before
The Matrix itself is remarkably similar to the one that came with MP-10. It’s nicely painted and catches the eye though.
#10. He also comes with damage effect pieces
The instructions show these as being a homage to the classic season 3 episode Dark Awakening, but literally everyone knows that they really reference the 1986 Transformers movie. You get another spare head and a clip-on piece for the ab section to look like the fatal damage inflicted by Megatron.
#9. And a final head that resembles Starscream
OK, this one’s new, and really kinda cool! It’s a homage to Megatron’s Master Plan where Starscream dresses up as Optimus, and requires the use of another spare head and a set of intakes that clip on Prime’s back. It’s a bit of fun for sure, but it’s also amazing to see such a wonderfully-designed headsculpt for Starscream! Come on now, if they did a v3 Seeker mould with that head on, you’d be into it, surely? To my eye it puts previous efforts in the shade.
As people keep asking, here’s the MP-44 Starscream head on MP-11 & Maketoys Meteor (G2 version).
It doesn’t attach though as there’s no way to do so. Makes me want a v3 Screamer though! pic.twitter.com/TfQlpXFu12
— Sixo (@SixoTF) September 5, 2019
#8. There’s a clip-on rocket pack
Another accessory! This time it’s the rocket pack given to Prime by Sideswipe in the climax of the first G1 cartoon story. It essentially clips over Optimus’ back and looks spot-on. I’ve heard a couple of people say it’s led to paint chipping on their copies, but that hasn’t happened on mine so far. Best be careful though!
#7. And yes, MP Sideswipe can wear it too!
In a neat twist, the rocket pack can also be worn by MP Sideswipe (it’s painted to match the + version), and he looks HENCH AF.
#6. You can use the blast effect pieces with the rocket pack
The effects pieces from the rifle can also be used on the rocket pack accessory, and the whole thing can then be mounted on top of the trailer section too if you so wish!
#5. You can set up a repair bay mode
As with MP-10, there’s the option of a repair bay mode with MP-44. That essentially means standing the open trailer up onto it’s end and positioning Optimus as though he were being treated by the Combat Deck module. 44 adds a few extra touches to the mix however, with flip-out panels for the human characters to stand on (making use of those magnets), and a slot for the fuel nozzle to tab into. It looks ace.
#4. You can store his accessories in a hidden drawer
Here’s a nifty new feature! With so many accessories you might be worried about losing some of them. Well, the designers have crafted a small drawer underneath the trailer which has slots for most of Optimus’ bits & bobs. The rifle and fuel nozzle can then slot inside the trailer itself. It leaves the Starscream attachments left over, but this is still a fun (and practical) gimmick.
#3. He looks perfect alongside recent MPs
As expected, MP-44 is the big daddy of the more recent MP ranks. He fits the uber-toon accurate design aesthetic perfectly, and looks right at home next to more recent designs like Sunstreaker as well as the + versions of some of the older lads. This is definitely making me look forward to Hound!
#2. Especially MP Megatron
However if there’s one toy that MP-44 is most clearly designed to line-up against, it’s MP-36 Megatron. Everything about the proportions, the sculpt, the aesthetic, the engineering… these two are a perfect complement to each other, in a way that cannot be said of any two previous MP toys to the same degree. Honestly, if these were all I had of the line, I’d be a happy monkey.
#1. He definitely improves on MP-10 in a lot of ways
So, the big question… is he better than MP-10? Well, yes and no, I guess. Certainly he improves on a lot of aspects, including articulation, gimmicks, engineering, proportions and cartoon accuracy. That last one will be a bone of contention for some though, as there are plenty of people who think the anime look has gone too far. Ultimately it’s up to you, as these are both amazing toys and certainly if you’re already happy with MP-10 then you don’t necessarily *need* to upgrade… especially considering the price! That said, if you are considering picking up the new MP-44 then we don’t think you’ll be disappointed, as he’s bloody awesome!
So, that’s our list! Are you planning on picking up MP-44? Let us know your thoughts!