Masterpiece Transformers reveals are always a fun source of entertainment on the internet, both for the pictures of the new toys themselves and the reactions and questions they prompt! At the recent Wonder Festival 2020 in Japan we were treated to a close-up look at both some new and some previously-announced toys and, well, there are a few things to unpick. So today we’re counting down 10 key things to note about those latest MP reveals.
#10: Tigatron is the very definition of show accurate…
Photo c/o Dengeki Hobby
Many people (myself included) feel that the Beast Wars releases in the Masterpiece line have been some of the best over the least few years, and given the overwhelmingly positive response to Tigatron’s reveal online it looks as though that opinion isn’t going to change any time soon. As with other beast toys in the line, the design benefits from being quite stunningly accurate to the source material, no doubt made all the more possible given the computer-generated animation it’s based on. In a time where every G1 Masterpiece figure inspires a huge amount of debate about its proportions, face sculpt, degree of detail and aesthetic tendencies, the Beast Wars toys are free to fly as close to the sun as they like and feel all the better for it. If anything it’s even more accurate to his animated portrayal than I think any of us could’ve hoped for.
#9: …whilst Arcee’s design has caused a bit more debate
Photo c/o Dengeki Hobby
As I mentioned above, it’s the G1 designs that have become the most hotly-contested in the Masterpiece line of late, and especially so since they steered far closer to the goal of being “cartoon accurate”. That said, the weird thing with Arcee is that it’s arguably not an exact replica of her animation model to begin with, but presents something a little more stylised than we might have expected. People were quick to point out the rounded hips as one obvious example of how this toy seems to stray from the cartoon look we’re all so familiar with. To be fair, I thought the same thing of Hound in some ways, in that the design felt almost slightly exaggerated in order to achieve the “cartoony” look the designers are going for. In Arcee’s case, another point of debate seems to be around the face sculpt, which many people feel isn’t quite the dead ringer for the character they would have hoped for.
— 國安一気 (@ikkilo) February 9, 2020
Of course that wasn’t *the* biggest source of debate about this new toy, but we’ll get to that in just a moment…
#8: Tigatron is not just a straightforward Cheetor repaint
Photo c/o Dengeki Hobby
Naturally when Tigatron was revealed people started to compare it to Masterpiece Cheetor, which makes sense given that the original Beast Wars toys shared a mould and the subsequent animation models bore a lot of similarities as a result. A few people online further speculated that Tigatron was a kind of oversized remould of the MP Cheetor toy, but a closer inspection shows that there’s a lot more going on under the skin, as it were. First, Cheetor features a faux beast head on the chest of his robot mode (in order to better recreate the weirdly stylised way it appears in the cartoon), whereas Tigatron just straight-up moves his beast mode head onto his chest. That might sound simple enough, but the internal mechanics required for such a change will mean that there’s a fair bit of redesign gone on for this alone. Additionally, you can see extra engineering and joints evident in Tigatron’s beast mode legs on the back of his shoulders, and in the arms where there are a few hidden gimmicks (more on that below).
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow…"
(Masterpiece MP-50 Beast Wars Tigatron photo by TF_pr) pic.twitter.com/slnhAmfjxQ
— Daniel Arseneault "Protoman" (@Protoman) February 9, 2020
In any case, Beast Wars fans were surely expecting Tigatron’s design to stick pretty close to Cheetor’s in many regards, given how similar they are in the cartoon, but it will be really interesting to see all the extra effort that’s been put into recreating the character in 3D form once the toy is released.
#7: Arcee is not mistransformed
Photo c/o @5ColorsCo1
Of all the debates that were had following the Wonder Festival reveals, I think this was the most prevalent. Much of the source of the chatter comes from the chest piece on Arcee’s robot mode, which does at first glance look like it should maybe sit a bit higher up towards her neck line in order to better portray her animation model with accuracy. A lot of posters (myself included!) looked at the very first pics that came in and sort of assumed that there must be an element of mistransformation going on, given how it does kind of appear that the chest piece should be able to fold up using the fairly-evident white hinge joint on show. However as clearer photos of the toy on display came in, most of us quickly concluded that this isn’t the case after all, and the toy just looks like that. The main tell is how the pink and white panels line up on the sides of her torso, making it rather apparent that the chest piece is where it’s designed to be. However, despite the result looking a little strange, there’s evidence to suggest that this is entirely what TakTom intended…
MP Arcee isnt mistransformed. This design document from the Generations version a few years back shows that thats just how Takara want her to look. Just like the rounded waist. Not G1 cartoon accurate, but how they want to go now. pic.twitter.com/hctUxyRpMF
— Dan Ghile (@Aquatic_Dan) February 9, 2020
Still, there’s a lot of positive stuff to say about the design too, and it’s clear that there may yet be more changes to come before the figure makes it retail, so let’s see how this one progresses.
#6: Lio Convoy is shaping up really nicely!
— やまだたかひろ (@YamadaxTakahiro) February 9, 2020
MP-48 Lio Convoy’s release is on the horizon but it was still great to see him out on display and looking mighty fine at Wonder Festival! The character and design may not be overly familiar to all Western Transformers fans, but there are plenty of us that just can’t wait to see how this one pans out. The figure seems to be heavily animation-accurate (even to the point of incorporating the different lion faces in both beast and robot modes) and features a few fun gimmicks. Let’s just say that this one can’t get here fast enough!
#5: “Duck” is still happening and will hopefully lead to more Atmos Convoys
Photo c/o Dengeki Hobby
Rather unexpectedly we also had an update on Duck, the next collaboration with Nike to produce an MP-10 figure based around one of their Atmos Safari designs. Yep, this is MP-10ASD and yep, it’s pretty out there. I’ve no doubt that this particular deco isn’t going to be for everyone, but for those of us that kinda have a thing for weirdly-coloured MP-10 variants then it’s pretty exciting. If you’ve not been keeping up then this is actually the second Atmos Convoy after MP-10ASL Lebron Convoy was released last year.
But wait, there’s more! When Duck was first announced we also saw four other Atmos designs doing the rounds too, although there’s been precious little in the way of an update since then. Fingers crossed now that we’ve seen official promo shots of Duck that we can start to see more movement on Elephant, Viotech, Animal and Tiger, too!
Having seen the final pics of Duck, it makes me really hopeful that we will see Elephant, Viotech, Animal and Tiger also released. 🤞 pic.twitter.com/PayV1TTif0
— Sixo #GCWO (@SixoTF) February 9, 2020
#4: Both Arcee & Tigatron have a few noticeable gimmicks
Scan c/o TFW2005
Masterpiece toys are famed for their gimmicks and it appears as though the upcoming new designs will be no exception. As well as the usual integrated storage for his weapons and the like, it’s quite apparent that Tigatron features some built-in missiles inside his wrist panels, again in an attempt to faithfully recreate his cartoon portrayal. In addition, it looks as though his beast mode eyes can change colour from green (for beast mode) to orange (for robot mode), which again is exactly how they changed in the show.
Of course the real question is whether or not MP Arcee comes with a “dead Windcharger” accessory? pic.twitter.com/fzSf4Qqkde
— Sixo (@SixoTF) February 8, 2020
Arcee’s gimmicks are a little less obvious but we’ve seen that she features the weapon that pops out of the side of her car mode in the 1986 movie during the Junkion fight, so that’s something. All of the pics we have seen of her so far seem to include a stand as well, but it’s not clear if that’s an actual accessory or just to prop up the prototype for display. I’ve also seen a few people wondering if she will come packaged with an exo-suit version of Daniel somehow, but either way it definitely appears as though she’s not a Headmaster at all, so fans of The Rebirth might be a little disappointed!
#3: Arcee’s vehicle mode is stunning
Photo c/o Dengeki Hobby
Whilst there might have been a fair bit of debate about the merits or otherwise of her robot mode, there’s one thing that pretty much everyone agreed about when it comes to the new Arcee toy, and that’s how fantastic her vehicle mode looks! There haven’t been that many Arcee toys over the years, but every one of them seems to have compromised here or there in order to achieve the fairly unrealistic transformation scheme required. Well, it’s clear the Masterpiece designers have made sure that the alternate form here is not given short shrift, as every angle of it looks fabulous. It’s by far and away the best-looking Arcee car mode I’ve seen, bar none.
#2: The Masterpiece lines continues to be a pricey one
At this point fans are kinda expecting the Masterpiece line to bear a hefty price tag, and unfortunately it looks as if some of the new toys are going to follow that trend. It’s already been confirmed that Tigatron will retail for a whopping $220, which has been enough to put at least a couple of fans I’ve spoken with off the idea of ever owning him. He does appear to be a pretty sizeable toy, and maybe the high price is indicative of TakaraTomy not feeling enough demand to produce the figure in overly large quantities, but still it’s a tough pill to swallow for some collectors. Arcee is not as expensive, coming in at the $145 mark, although I’m sure many fans will feel this is still too high for a Masterpiece toy of this size. Ultimately it will be up to each collector to decide if the price of admission is worth it or not, but there’s no doubt the price tags continue to be a sticking point for some.
#1: No, we’re not getting an MP Rhinox or Rattrap… yet
Seeing quite a few peeps wondering about the Rattrap and Rhinox on display with MP Tigatron. They’re the Generations toys, and not new MPs sadly. Still a fun pair o’ lads though. pic.twitter.com/PaRZhzpllm
— Sixo (@SixoTF) February 9, 2020
Whilst Tigatron and Arcee were dominating headlines after their reveal, there were a couple of hopeful fans who thought they’d spotted another scoop after they clocked a pair of Rhinox and Rattrap toys hanging at the back of the Wonder Festival display. Could these be previously-unannounced attempts at Masterpiece versions of these characters? Well, sadly not – they’re just the Generations toys from a few years back! That said, the toys themselves are pretty great (as is the accompanying Waspinator) and the LGEX versions especially do at least make a passable attempt at standing in next to an MP BW line-up (although Rhinox is really too small!). Still, here’s hoping we see MP-proper takes on these character soon enough, eh?
So, that’s our list! Are there any points we’ve missed? Thanks for reading!