I mentioned this recently but sometimes it feels very strange to be collecting Masterpiece-styled Bayformers. I think that’s because that portion of the live-action movieverse feels rather done and dusted, in many regards, with the films themselves having moved focus to next year’s Rise of the Beasts and even the official MP toyline focusing heavily on the previous entry, Bumblebee in more recent times.
Yet every so often an item comes along to remind you just how much mileage remains in terms of those first five films, especially when there are still some iconic parts of the earlier tales still to be suitably replicated in MP-styled toy form. That brings us on nicely to this set, Iron Warrior’s ‘Jet Power Amor’ (sic) set, which of course recreates Optimus Prime’s quite classic powered-up super mode form from the end of Revenge of the Fallen.
To be clear about what’s actually included here – the package contains just the armour in question, which is designed to fit onto the official MPM-4 Optimus Prime figure. The fact that this idea hasn’t been done previously (or indeed since) remains surprising to me, especially as you could almost be convinced that the Optimus toy itself was designed with such an upgrade in mind.
I say that as once you start installing the armour, it’s noticeable how many random ports and plug holes exist on MPM-4 to allow for such a thing. I’d never really noticed any of it before but as soon as I started plugging bits in, I was surprised to see just how fluid and purposeful it all feels – almost like this kit was an official product and the Optimus figure was always intended to wear it.
Which I suppose is also my way of saying that Iron Warrior has really done something clever here, as honestly it all blends in seamlessly with the TakaraTomy toy to the point where you simply forget it’s a third party upgrade kit of sorts. The end result is also very striking indeed!
I’ve always loved the souped-up Optimus look, whether that’s going as far back as stuff like Powermaster Prime from 1988 or even the various attempts at such a thing seen during the Unicron Trilogy. However, I can legitimately say that stepping back to appreciate the finished product on offer here was something that took my breath away. It’s massive, it’s ambitious, it’s visually rather stunning and boy, will it make for a hell of a display piece.
The sheer size of the combined form alone is worth commenting on yet again as it’s hard to communicate just how redonkulous it all is until you see it firsthand. Optimus is not a small toy to begin with, but you’re putting a good few extra inches on him just with the feet assembly alone, and that’s not taking into account the significant added wingspan and additional height thanks to those impressive shoulder intakes.
It’s not that this kit simply relies on shock and awe though, as I was very pleased to see the detail and finesse was on point too, even under closer examination. The plastic used all feels very sturdy and there’s a quality finish to it with some exceptional painted highlights and moulded details.
There are also cool features such as the vibrant red wires attached to the intakes and a rubbery connection between the backpack and the new rifle weapon, all of which add to the look and feel and elevate this kit well above the basic requirements. I’ve been super impressed with it since taking it out of the box and that hasn’t dwindled through handling one bit.
It’s also great to witness how easily it all snaps together and adheres to MPM-4. I was slightly fearful of this process before I started, as honestly, the promo pics made it all look horrendously complicated and, well, not a lot of fun! Despite that, there was really nothing to worry about along the way – it was surprisingly easy if anything.
Granted, it did take some time – probably about 40 minutes or so in total on first go, although I wasn’t exactly rushing – so one has to wonder how convenient it will all be to repeatedly disassemble and reattach as desired. True, a lot of the pieces are now pegged together, so that will make it easier, but still. The legs probably stand out as the most complicated element, if only for how they peg together around the existing parts of MPM-4 instead of just clipping on.
The one part of it all that doesn’t sit as securely as I wish it did is the backpack. It very cleverly loops over Prime’s existing smokestacks for stability, which works well in theory, but unfortunately the rather back heavy nature of the intakes means that the whole assembly tends to shift back a bit and not sit flush against the front of the shoulder section.
You can even see in one or two of my photos that it has rotated back out of place ever-so-slightly, and whilst it’s not the biggest problem, it would have been nice to have some additional feature at the front to help secure this vital part in place.
I did also find that the new gun has a habit of falling out of the palm peg hole on occasion, and unfortunately the weight of it makes it a tricky prospect for the slightly less-than-secure shoulder joints on my MPM-4 to always hold up with confidence. The same could be said of Optimus’ legs perhaps, in that they know have to deal with a lot of extra load and so sometimes balk at the idea if you’re not careful with posing.
Really though, I don’t think these are problems inherent to the upgrade kit itself, but more the fault of the official product not being up to snuff, in this case. I love MPM-4’s design but no doubt, it’s not the sturdiest toy in my collection. If anything it reminds me a bit of upgrading MP-24 Star Saber with the third party KFC Simba to form a Victory Saber mode, as it was the TakaraTomy toy that couldn’t quite meet the requirements of the end goal in that case, too.
Still, don’t let any of that deter you, as the strengths on offer here more than outweigh any of the potential concerns, and not least because it’s just so damn pretty to look at! Whilst aesthetics are definitely this kit’s strongest suit, there is some fun functionality along the way too, and I love how imposing the whole thing feels with both the original MPM-4 gun and the new rifle being double-wielded.
You can also rotate round the intake sections and fan out the ends to recreate one of Prime’s signature attacks against Megatron during the finale of the film, which also makes for a simply awe-inspiring display option.
Alternatively, you can still equip Prime with his axe weapons from that release, making him combat-ready for whenever anyone finally brings us an attempt at a Masterpiece-styled take on The Fallen.
And then of course there’s the inevitable enjoyment that comes from lining up such a massive beast next to any number of other movieverse inspired toys. Of course it easily towers over most efforts, although it’s worth also noting that there are a fair number of very sizeable releases in this category already, so shelf space is becoming a real premium for these things now!
Anyway, I absolutely love how it looks next to TF Dream Factory’s GOD-11 take on Megatron, as I don’t think I could imagine two random toys going together quite as well as this to recreate such a memorable scene.
Rewatching that moment from the film whilst putting together this review, I was surprised to see just how quick it all is in reality and how little screentime the powered-up mode actually receives, but still it’s been fantastic to give it a bit of a going over in toy form at long last.
I had initially thought that I might be able to achieve such an effect with the oversized take on Studio Series Jetfire in my possession, but in reality this solution from Iron Warrior is by far and away the better one for the combined mode. It may not transform of course, but then I guess you could say that having both options in my collection is the best of both worlds.
It also looks suitably impressive next to stuff like the Mechanical Team Constructicons and other Revenge of the Fallen-inspired toys. Seeing this little lot coming together really makes me hopeful that more third party companies will jump on the second film bandwagon and continue to flesh out that adventure in toy form.
For now though, I’m really very happy with the result on offer from Iron Warrior. It’s been a product I’ve been looking forward to sussing out for ages now, and it hasn’t disappointed in hand. I think the resulting combined mode is so show-stopping that it’s going to remain a signature part of my collection for some time to come! In fact, I don’t really want to take it apart!
If anything, it has me genuinely considering picking up a second MPM-4, just to be able to leave this one combined, so I think that tells you all you need to know.
WHAT’S HOT? The set feels quality and looks spectacular. It’s also not hard to clip together and produces an exceptionally impressive result!
WHAT’S NOT? MPM-4’s joints aren’t quite as strong as they really need to be for the armour, and I did find that the backpack leans back a bit if you’re not careful.