We’re halfway through 2022 and one thing is certain: it’s an exciting time to be a Transformers Masterpiece collector.
I say that without a whiff of hyperbole as the sheer range of incoming product is simply breathtaking at present, with all manner of exciting robots soon to descend on us (although perhaps our wallets may not be so happy about it!).
Of the current slate, one of the biggest standouts is surely the previously-teased MP-57 Skyfire, a high-end representation of one of the largest non-combiner Autobots from the 1980s cartoon and a character that has gone on to become a fan-favourite in the years since.
So today, let’s take a deep dive and check out everything this hot new product has to offer!
#28: It looks to be very cartoon accurate
OK, first up is the obvious point that MP-57 is very definitely chasing the look of the character known as Skyfire from the Sunbow cartoon. That’s an important distinction given the design was meant to represent the 1985 Transformers toy known as Jetfire, which had been rather notoriously licensed by Hasbro from Japanese company Bandai, who had acquired it from the defunct Takatoku as part of their Macross line-up. The toy itself was so clearly a VF-1S Super Valkyrie with an Autobot logo slapped on it, meaning there’s little surprise the character underwent such a drastic overhaul (especially as TakaraTomy would not have wanted a competitor’s design in their shared cartoon!). That leaves this new Masterpiece figure as the closest we’ve ever seen the resulting animation model replicated in 3D form. Long story short, it’s nigh-on perfect!
Some have expressed disappointment not to see something closer to the original toy design, but as this is a TakaraTomy product, it would be strange for them to homage a figure they never actually released back in the day. Besides, such a move would inevitably lead to a lawsuit, so I don’t think we should be all that shocked!
#27: The vehicle mode is on-point too
It’s a similar story for the vehicle mode, with every inch of this thing recreating the cartoon’s unusual look for all its worth! Given that the animation model was made up for the screen, it must be said that the designers have done a bang-up job representing it here.
#26: Both modes are very kibble-free and clean
As if cartoon accuracy in both modes wasn’t enough, they’re also remarkably clean and tidy from every angle, with a precious scarcity of any kind of kibble (save for the stuff you actually want to see, like the backpack from the animation model!). This kind of screen slavishness has its detractors, but for my part, it’s hard not to be excited about what we’re seeing here.
#25: It was designed by TakaraTomy legend Kojin Ono
Image credit: gigazine.net
So, there’s plenty of praise to be given about MP-57, which is perhaps little surprise when you learn that it was overseen by legendary TakaraTomy designer Kojin Ono. If that’s a name you’ve never heard before, you will almost certainly know some of the toys that he’s had a hand in designing, especially as he brought to life a large portion of the Diaclone toys that would go on to fill out the first two to three years of the Transformers line back in the 1980s. Yep, this is the brain that brought us designs such as Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, Hound, Bluestreak, Prowl, Ironhide, Jazz, Mirage, the Seekers, the Dinobots, the Constructicons and stuff like Blitzwing and Astrotrain! He also completed designs for Metroplex and Fortress Maximus, before later working on the 2007 live-action toys and many more. What a guy!
#24: There are quite a few accessories
As is often expected with Masterpiece toys, there’s quite a bit in the box! I would say that at least some of the accessories here are enough to stand out versus any potential third-party competition, as we’ll see…
#23: It features a flight stand
Firstly, there’s a flight stand constructed from three main parts and a clip that can hold the figure in place. The design is modular and a burnt orange repaint of the similar accessory that came with the new MP-52 Seekers. That means you’ll be able to tilt and turn Skyfire’s jet mode for display.
#22: There is a GERWALK mode!
In a reveal that’s sure to delight at least a few fans, it seems that MP-57 can pull off a ‘GERWALK’ mode of sorts! That’s the limbed jet configuration made famous in Macross (where it’s known by the full name of ‘Ground Effective Reinforcement of Winged Armament with Locomotive Knee-Joint’!), which of course, the original 1985 Jetfire could achieve. However, MP-57’s attempt is a double homage, given the character did this exact movement in the G1 cartoon episode, Day of the Machines!
#21: The arms can be deployed separately in jet mode too
As if that wasn’t enough, MP-57 also features a jet mode configuration that allows the arms to be deployed, which is somewhat unbelievably a nod to the G1 Marvel comics instead of the cartoon! It happens in #11 of the US run, which is also the character’s first appearance. At this point, Jetfire (as he’s known in the comic) isn’t sentient yet. Instead, he’s being controlled by the Decepticons and is sent on a mission to capture human protagonist Buster Witwicky. He swoops down to pick him up in jet form, with appears to be a direct inspiration for what we’re seeing here. Even aside from the fun reference, this is a neat trick for the toy!
#20: There are some blast effect pieces for the thrusters
We’ve become more accustomed to seeing blast effects pieces in the Masterpiece line now, and Skyfire is no exception. He features a twin pair of orange accessories that can be neatly used in the thrusters of his jet form. Also of note is the rather natty-looking landing gear.
#19: You can mount the main weapon atop the jet mode
In a simple but fun twist, it seems you can also mount Skyfire’s primary rifle weapon atop the rear of his jet form. It might also help not to lose it, eh?
#18: There are 3 scaled mini-figures included
The big news that lots of people are talking about is the inclusion of three mini-figures meant to represent Optimus Prime, Jazz(!) and Wheeljack. Yes, you read that correctly – this is the closest we’ve come (so far, anyway!) to a Masterpiece Jazz! All three are designed to scale with Skyfire’s vehicle mode, which in the show was significantly larger than his robot form (meaning there’s no way both could scale with the rest of the toys in the Masterpiece line). They’re also superbly detailed, with nice paint and intricate moulding. Wheeljack is holding the anti-hypnotic device he creates at the end of The Ultimate Doom part 3, which he wields whilst riding in Skyfire.
#17: They look to be quite articulated
It seems incredible how articulated these tiny inclusions are, too, with several points of articulation on each appendage. I have seen at least one person grumbling that they don’t transform(!), but honestly, I think they look nothing shy of incredible, myself. In fact, I’d be up for a whole line of the little marvels!
#16: The cockpit can open
Even more impressive, there appears to be no shortage of ways for the mini-figures to interact with MP-57. Firstly, the cockpit section can open, and although we don’t yet have outright confirmation that any of the three characters included can fit inside there, we live in hope at least! Even if they can’t, it’s still fun to see.
#15: As does a canopy door underneath
There’s then a hidden compartment underneath the main body of the jet mode that can open, allowing you to position one of the mini-figures suitably in place. Again, this is a direct nod to a similar opening that features many times in the cartoon.
#14: As well as hidden doors on the top of the jet
In the red backpack section, you’ll find a similar opening hatch on top of the jet mode. One presumes this will be the same on either side at this stage.
#13: And on the sides of the legs
And finally, there’s an opening hatch on the sides of the GERWALK legs, too, meaning that you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to posing and play options here! Terrific stuff.
Be sure to check out part two!