COUNTDOWN: Masterpiece MP-44S – 10 things to know!

New Transformers Masterpiece reveals are always cause for excitement, even when we know they’re about to happen!

After word dropped last week that we were about to receive a new release on the MP-44 Convoy mould, there was a fair bit of anticipation in the air. It didn’t take long for official pictures to follow, which naturally has also created a lot of commentary online!

In this case, however, there’s even more to talk about than usual, as this is hardly your straightforward Masterpiece release (as if there is such a thing anyway!).

So, what’s the deal with the new MP-44S? Let’s dive in and have a look!


#10: This is the third release of the MP-44 mould so far

The MP-44 design first landed in 2019, so it is incredible to say that this is only the third use of it thus far. That’s especially so when considering that we’ve had *fourteen* takes on the MP-10 design (thus far?), many of which were far more outlandish than the rather straightforward black and red re-dos of the newer figure. It may be due to the significantly larger price tag this time around, but it certainly feels like TakaraTomy is being more restrained with MP-44. Still, no doubt there will be more on the way in the future!

#9: It’s styled after the 1984 Optimus Prime toy

So, the crucial thing about MP-44S is that it’s a homage towards the classic 1984 Optimus Prime toy at its core. Some commentators are already debating the merits of this, given the MP-44 mould’s inherent swing towards slavish cartoon accuracy. Still, it’s important to understand that’s the intended nod at play here; thus, the new repaint has a significantly darker shade of blue on the legs, hands and head, yellow eyes, silver thighs and hips and, crucially, the iconic silver stripe cutting through the truck mode.

#8: There’s a touch of Marvel comics about it too

Though it’s certainly not the intention of the new toy, it almost has an air of Marvel Comics’ take on Optimus Prime about it, too, especially with the traditional colours paired against a set of yellow eyes. Ultimately, the character varied in appearance a fair bit throughout the series, at times sporting a blue mouth plate and silver stripe in robot mode. Still, whilst it’s far from a 1:1 representation, it’s still a fun thought.

#7: It includes optional stickers 

MP-44S also includes a set of decals which can be applied to bring its appearance that much closer to the 1984 original design, including options for the forearms, knees and feet as well as a second Autobot logo for the right shoulder (even if it looks a little mismatched). Some collectors have expressed disappointment that these touches aren’t permanent pre-applied tampos. Although I admit I had a similar initial reaction, I’m slowly coming to this approach as it does give you options. Let’s hope they’re good quality!

#6: It appears to be largely unpainted 

Another aspect of this toy’s appearance that’s worth commenting on is the finish, which, based on the photos we’ve seen so far, appears to be largely unpainted. That puts it at odds with the original MP-44 and its thick coat of red paint over much of the body, and although it does mean the repaint may not look quite as premium up close, it also makes it a much less nerve-wracking prospect to transform! MP-49 Black Convoy was similarly unpainted and boasted a significantly easier conversion process as a result. MP-44S has a similar asking price, too, so the evidence at least suggests this is what we can likely expect.

#5: It’s not as extensive an overhaul as expected

No doubt the largest share of conversation about MP-44S has been regarding its success as a vintage toy homage and the lengths the figure goes to in aping the appearance of that original figure. Expectations were understandably high following MP-36+, which overhauled the original Megatron design with extensive chrome, additional chest detailing and a newly-tooled head, and it’s only fair to say that the Autobot counterpart has stopped short of that. With no new noggin and a lack of tampos, many collectors feel a little short-changed by MP-44S. Admittedly, I was slightly underwhelmed at first, but I’m slowly coming round on the updated look, and I’m intrigued to see what the two figures will look like side-by-side.

#4: The alternate head was already included with MP-44

One thing about MP-44S that’s certainly caused plenty of confusion is the inclusion of a second head amongst the accessory, with some concluding that this must be the fabled ‘toy-styled’ head that so many of us were anticipating. Sadly, it’s simply a repainted version of a pre-existing accessory from the original MP-44 package, instead meant to represent an alternate take on the Autobot leader from early episodes of the G1 cartoon. Still, maybe it will suffice for some!

#3: This release is just the cab section

Another notable omission from this release is the MP-44 trailer, which was uber-detailed and made up a significant portion of the original release’s hefty price tag. Many will be relieved to receive just the cab section in this case, given the comparative ease on the wallet this time, although it’s arguably still a shame not to see the full Optimus Prime vehicular form decked out in all its glory, too! It’s worth noting here that the original MP-44 trailer isn’t a fitting substitute either, given its cartoon style, and the more toy-orientated MP-10 trailer won’t work with this mould. Still, at least we save some monies!

#2: The RRP is ¥33,000

Speaking of monies, we also have confirmation on how much MP-44S will cost, with the Japanese RRP clocking in at ¥33,000. In terms of straight conversion, that’s roughly about $230 or £180 at the time of writing, though, of course, it remains to be seen what individual retailers will charge once pre-orders go live. Whatever the case, it appears as though MP-44S will be significantly more affordable without the trailer and other bells and whistles, so expect this to be the first release of the mould that many collectors are interested in picking up.

#1: This is Masterpiece Optimus Prime

One final thing about this release that’s particularly noteworthy is that it portrays Optimus Prime.

Yes, I know you’re wasting for the other shoe to drop there, so I’ll save you the wait and clarify that MP-44S is specifically titled with the character’s Western name of ‘Optimus Prime’ and not the traditional Japanese alternative of ‘Convoy’, unlike previous iterations in Masterpiece. It’s not unusual for the Hasbro title to be used in Japan on occasion, but it is a novelty for this high-end line targeted at nostalgic adult collectors, at least!

So that’s our list! Are you excited about MP-44s?

TTFN

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About Sixo

Transformers collector from the UK, collecting vintage G1/G2, CR/RID, UT & Masterpiece/3P. Find me at twitter.com/SixoTF or on YouTube at youtube.com/SixoTF

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