Eight years. That’s how long it’s been since the very first Diaclone homage in the Masterpiece line. Eight years of trying to assemble something resembling a complete line-up of these toys, and, crucially, eight years for us to receive what is, in many ways, the poster boy of the whole endeavour to begin with.
True, the Masterpiece line as a whole is now eighteen years old and running (seriously, kill me), but still, eight years is a long time to be chugging away at such a list of characters, especially given how none of them are actually big names in the Transformers franchise itself.
Of course, we’re not done yet (as my recent article on the subject will attest), but Masterpiece Spinout here does at least represent one of the more notable entries to tick off the list. After all, it is a homage of the very first Diaclone Car Robots toy, No. 1 Countach LP500S, as I already hinted at.
And hey, I think everyone who collects this stuff has been waiting with bated breath for a red repaint to happen ever since Masterpiece Sunstreaker was first unveiled back in May 2017, almost four years ago (what even is time, eh?)! So perhaps it’s fair to say that Spinout here is maybe a little overdue, if anything, but still he’s making a fashionably late and very stylish entrance all the same.
I mean, just take a look at that, why don’t you? As soon as you clap eyes on Spinout, he’s absolutely spellbinding. The original MP-39 was already a thing of beauty, but there’s something about this rich red re-do that just singes the eyeballs with delight.
Now, I’ve already waxed lyrical about how wonderful the design of this mould is at any given opportunity over the last four years or so, but still, I think it bears repeating. This is a very, very good-looking vehicle mode indeed. In fact I dare say not many Transformers toys quite compare!
Let’s first acknowledge how prevalent Lamborghini Countach alt’ forms are in the franchise, eh? I mean, they’re everywhere! In Masterpiece and third party alone, I’ve quite genuinely lost count of the number of toys seeking to recreate the iconic ’80s car design in 3D form. Yet despite being a bit of a departure with the ‘super tuning’ influence at the rear, this one does it better than most and makes it look effortless at the same time.
First, the proportions and the cleanliness of the design are spectacular. Every nook and cranny of this thing looks to be considered and made the most of, with every panel, every seam all lining up to maximise its aesthetic potential. I’d even dare say that with precious little kibble on the go bar the inner workings peeping through the windshield, I suspect you could legitimately fool some unsuspecting soul into believing this was a straight-up model car, instead of a robot in disguise.
The finish is also of note here too, with the painted red shining with all the majesty you’d hope for and working wonders alongside some of the smaller applications on offer. There aren’t too many obvious painted highlights on offer but they are there if you look for them, including tiny orange lights, silver accents where the design studio logo would be, the Lamborghini logo on the bonnet and so on. All in all, it really brings this chap to life.
And yes, it’s true that there’s no sign of rubber tyres here, which is something I know a lot of collectors remain disappointed by when it comes to the carbot-sized releases in the Masterpiece line (even if that’s been the case for *nine* years now!), but honestly, I didn’t think about it all that much when assessing Spinout in hand – I was having too much fun admiring everything else going on here!
Like that chrome, for starters! It’s just breathtakingly good, and again, instantly catches your eye from the moment you take the toy out of the box. Those mounted intakes are such an important part of this souped-up design and it’s only fair to say that TakaraTomy have done an incredible job with it on this toy, too.
Of course, should you prefer then the intakes can be folded away in what I still maintain is one of the single best gimmicks on any toy in my collection. I appreciate that sounds a bit OTT but honestly, seeing the rear engine flip happen in hand is just wonderful. It’s such elegant engineering that even now, it never fails to amaze me, and shows how TakaraTomy really can’t be touched when it comes to this kind of fluidity of design. It could have so easily been done with an additional add-on piece or whatever, but the integrated result is a major design flex that also works wonderfully.
In fact, it’s just incredible to see what a very different take on the alternate form it leaves you with. Everything folds away so neatly, so perfectly, that it’s almost hard to believe it even took place at all. Suddenly you have an altogether more traditional take on the classic Walter Wolf Countach, as if by magic.
I’d actually be hard-pressed to tell you which configuration I prefer, they both work so well. There’s certainly something about the sleek and clean classic look here that appeals quite a bit, but then I remember *all that chrome* and I start wanting to flip out the intakes again… ultimately the best thing about Spinout is that there’s no need to decide, especially as the gimmick to get between the two is so smooth to begin with.
I even love little touches like the way the modified lights from the super tuning configuration fold away at the rear, leaving us with the altogether more classic take on the simplified Lambo look. That back end is perfect in both instances, and as with the front it proudly wears its heritage by giving ‘Car Robots 01’ a nod on the licence plate.
The gimmickry doesn’t stop there though, as with a simply button push from underneath, you can easily deploy a set of pop-up headlights to again modify the appearance of the alt’ mode overall. As with the intakes, it’s incredible to see just what a difference it makes!
It’s another opportunity to remark on how clever TakaraTomy have been with the design of this thing. I remember getting FansToys Spoiler in hand (as one of several examples from the 3PMP world), only to find that the equivalent gimmick required the use of a tool in order to realistically get the lights to activate. What felt fiddly and frustrating there is ease-of-use personified on the official toy, and I for one appreciate it.
(NB – it should be noted for clarity in this review that the light-up effect above is a bit of digital manipulation on my part, and the toy itself doesn’t actually do that!)
There’s more though, as the front bonnet also opens up and the doors unfold in a manner all-too iconic for the Countach design. There may not be any kind of Binaltech-era interior to boast here, but still, it’s a very cool touch and a nice nod to the real-world car itself.
Should you prefer a bit more of an exaggerated touch, then you can mount either of Spinout’s guns in-between the intakes for a spot of automotive armament. The smaller weapon looks positively blinging in how it matches the chrome already on display, and is my personally preferred option of the two.
The larger rifle works well too though, and either way there’s a lot of fun to be had with imagining this lad racing into battle with guns a-blazing!
Really then, Spinout is nothing shy of marvellous in his car form. He’s stunning to look at, fun to handle, features cool gimmicks and incredible engineering, and does a remarkable job at bringing both the old toy and the real car to life. What more could you ask?
Oh well, how about what a great job he does at filling out that long-coveted spot on the Diaclone roster, eh? Yep, it may have been a long-time coming but there’s no doubt in my mind that seeing the above was more than worth the wait.
After all, these repainted takes on the Masterpiece moulds have come to be some of my favourites in a weird way, and Spinout is no exception. I’m sure some collectors will find that a little perverse, but whereas of course it’s fun to always see the more notable characters getting a nod first, I can’t help but think a lot of their Diaclone mould-mates ultimately wear the designs with a little more flair in some cases.
Besides, I’ve always found a genuine thrill from seeing known toy designs decked out in slightly more unfamiliar colour schemes, so there’s something about the above that really appeals to me, in many different ways!
It’s also worth acknowledging how thrilling it is to see TakTom putting out another Diaclone nod at this stage, especially as it’s been a while since they’ve done so, aside from the other pre-TF use for this design, Cordon. Here’s hoping that it’s a sign of more to come and we get the remaining spots on the roster ticked off before too long, eh?
Still, for as long as it might take, I’m going to enjoy every moment of it along the way, especially when examples such as Spinout will be more than enough to tide me over in the meantime!
That’s to say nothing of the stunning larger efforts, such as Delta Magnus, mind…
Anyway, what’s also interesting to see for today is Spinout lined up next to this Countach cohort, Tigertrack. Whereas the yellow lad has become a bit of a Transformers mainstay these days, largely thanks to the Masterpiece toy itself but also because of the Generation 1 repaint from 2003, Spinout’s star is only just now on the rise (again, because of today’s toy and the subsequent Generations Selects take).
However, as the alternative colours original looks for both Sideswipe and Sunstreaker, it’s fascinating to me to see them both finally represented in Masterpiece form at long last. Tigertrack remains a personal favourite of mine, although for everyone who grumbles about the direction of the Masterpiece line in more recent years, there’s little doubt when seeing these two in hand together that Spinout is the more polished product on the whole. The paint and finish on display are objectively superior, if nothing else.
Still, it remains fun to see them alongside one another, and in many ways it feels like a definite watershed moment for the burgeoning MP Diaclone line-up. They may be quite far apart in terms of design but at least they’re both here and looking rather swish, eh?
Really though, the real thrill is in seeing Spinout with the two other versions of this design, as they together complete the trio of super tuning Lambos made popular on the original G1 design from across the Diaclone to early Transformers era. It’s a real sight to behold and easily fulfils the promise of the MP-39 mould from when it was first unveiled.
It’s perhaps hard to pick a favourite of the three (Spinout) as they’re all rather special in their way (it’s Spinout), but I guess if I were forced to choose (Spinout), I might lead towards the latest version at least a little (I totally would, it’s Spinout).
Joking aside, I’m just happy that we’ve finally made it this far! I’ve been in love with MP Sunstreaker since I first got hold of him, and the idea that we might not ever see the red repaint made real would have been sad indeed.
So perhaps it is true what they say and the best things really do come to those who wait! I guess we’ll just have to find out for certain in part two, when we’ll be taking a look at transformation and beyond to robot mode.