January is always an exciting time for toy collectors as we take stock of what’s soon to be released in the months ahead. New year, new toys!
In that spirit, we’re focusing on the Transformers Masterpiece line and taking a gander at the gorgeous offerings soon to drop within the first half of 2023. It looks like it’s going to be an absolute whirlwind.
#7: MPG-03 Yukikaze
The initial two-team punch of Masterpiece Shouki and Getsuei has been more than enough to get a lot of collectors on board for this set of high-end Trainbots already, and the next in line looks unlikely to disappoint! Like Shouki, Yukikaze transforms into a Japanese Shinkansen ‘bullet train’, although in this case, a green and off-white 200 Series. Both modes are stunningly recreated, bringing the alternate form to life with incredible accuracy and presenting the robot as faithful to the 1987 cartoon series, The Headmasters. It’s also a landmark release in this set, as with three figures on shelves, we’ll be at the halfway point to the full Raiden combined form – something I’m sure we’re all looking forward to seeing realised!
#6: MP-48+ Dark Amber Leo Prime
So many aspects of this follow-up to 2020’s MP-48 Lio Convoy confound me. Firstly, I fully expected the initial repaint of the mould to be a take on Flash Lio Convoy from the 1988 Beast Wars II mini-movie, especially given we’ve already seen his partner, Burning Convoy, realised in Masterpiece form. Secondly, whilst a black repaint isn’t exactly unprecedented, I’m amazed they’ve opted for a non-anime route by having a black lion face with grey mane, a choice in line with the classic Black Lio Convoy toy but which was palette-swapped for the corresponding one-off cartoon appearance. Thirdly, the name choice, which signifies this isn’t meant to be ‘Copy Convoy’ at all, or even Lio Convoy for that matter – it’s ‘Leo Prime’, which may be a point of semantics but still sets this release apart from your typical Masterpiece naming traditions (if indeed there is such a thing). Evidently, a pack-in comic explains it all (it’s to do with Unicron, perhaps unsurprisingly!), but whatever the case, the toy in question looks undeniably gorgeous. Despite the horrendous paint chipping, I was a big fan of MP-48, so I’m well up for this.
#5: MP-53+B Diaburnout
Speaking of gorgeous black repaints, how about this *checks notes* fourth re-run of the Honda City design (Turbo or otherwise) in a little over a year? That might sound like a bad thing, but Diaburnout is here to prove that you absolutely cannot have too much of a good thing! Skids, Reboost and Crosscut have all been consistently excellent, and this sultry makeover modelled after a Diaclone colour scheme looks set to follow suit and then some. After all, take one gander at the intensely retro vibes of that alternate mode colour scheme, won’t you? That’s how you do a repaint. Find out everything you need to know about this toy here.
#4: MPM-10R Starscream Revenger Version
The live-action Transformers films may not be for everyone, but plenty of us still can’t get enough of seeing designs such as ‘Dorito Starscream’ recreated in such stunning detail! The original version of this toy was already well worth a look, despite some slightly loose joints here and there, so this tattooed Revenge of the Fallen-themed overhaul promises to be a tempting prospect. Ultimately, it’s the same toy with tribal-style markings, but what’s not to like?
#3: MPM-12N Nemesis Prime
Where Optimus Prime goes, Nemesis Prime must surely follow, right? There’s undoubtedly the template these days, so this black rehash of the recent MPM-12 design is surely not a surprise for anyone. That said, it’s one to look forward to, especially after the more traditional red and blue release won most collectors over once it made it in hand. True, the ‘cat ears’ aesthetic of the truck form is a definite choice, but with a fun and poseable robot mode and a gleefully click-clack transformation, this is a mould I’m more than happy to give another going over.
#2: MP-57 Skyfire
Repaints are fun, but what about new designs for the year, eh? After Yukikaze, the next to look forward to will likely be the year’s largest Masterpiece effort with MP-57 Skyfire! Modelled after the legendary flying Autobot from the early part of the 1980s cartoon, this thing looks breathtaking in every respect, bringing the classic design to life with incredible accuracy and some nifty design features to boot. Such a big-ticket item is likely to create a lot of debate on release, especially with a popular unofficial alternative already available in FansToys Phoenix. Still, fingers crossed Skyfire will win some rave reviews once he lands. Find out everything you need to know about this toy here.
#1: MPG-04 Suiken
Finally, we have the fourth effort in the burgeoning Trainbot line-up with Suiken! Transforming into a Tokaido Main Line 153 series locomotive, this guy is simply stunning with his eye-catching dark green and burnt orange colour scheme. The robot mode may be boasting a sizeable backpack, but no matter; everything about MPG-04 looks on-point to my eye, and thus far might be the crewmember I’m most excited to see finally raised. Full steam ahead!
So that’s our list! Which Masterpiece toys are you most excited about?