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Black Friday sales are starting to go live. The Chosen Prime has some pretty good deals on general, but I feel it's my civic duty to tell you that you can get Despotron, Maketoys' version of an MP Megatron, for $69.99. He's my personal favorite option for Megatron, but even if you prefer MP-36 I'm betting you don't prefer him that much more.

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Just a few months ago, I was a Masterpiece-only collector, more out of inertia than anything. Something changed after MP-36 and MP-39.

Also, 3P now skirt ever closer to G1 look. It used to be that Masterpiece > 3P in terms of G1 likeness. Now, I can't be sure.

It's ironic that I waited for years for MP-11 (Starscream) to be re-released only for him to be obsoleted by Meteor a few months later. (YMMV)

Now I hope MMC's Ravage and MakeToys Jazz get a re-release one day.

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On 11/23/2017 at 5:12 AM, nhyone said:

Just a few months ago, I was a Masterpiece-only collector, more out of inertia than anything. Something changed after MP-36 and MP-39.

Also, 3P now skirt ever closer to G1 look. It used to be that Masterpiece > 3P in terms of G1 likeness. Now, I can't be sure.

It's ironic that I waited for years for MP-11 (Starscream) to be re-released only for him to be obsoleted by Meteor a few months later. (YMMV)

Now I hope MMC's Ravage and MakeToys Jazz get a re-release one day.

Technically everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but someone would have to REALLY hate the cartoon aesthetic or are just looking for some excuse not to have to re-buy the Seekers if they try to tell you they prefer MP-11.

Last I checked Planet Steel Express still has Jaguar. I ordered him early this month. Downbeat is still in stock at TFSource; I'm not sure about any non-US shops.

Speaking of shopping, I hope you guys like Maketoys reviews, because I bought almost the entire rest of the Re:Master line. The only one I didn't was Hellfire, because I think the chunkier style works better for Grapple and I didn't want to buy the same mold twice when I could buy Backdraft for Inferno instead.

Oh yeah, I also bought Backdraft...

EDIT: I wound up buying Open and Play's Big Spring at TCP since he was down to $60, and Klaatu at TFSource since he seems to be selling out.  Both of them will have to sit until I have enough other stuff for free shipping, though. (I suppose I could ask TCP nicely to combine Big Spring with my early Maketoys' binge, but I decided to preorder Unique Toys' Onslaught).

EDIT 2: After hitting the usual stores (BBTS, TFSource, The Chosen Prime), some of the smaller stores (Agabyss, Captured Prey), and some of the Asian stores (Action Robo, TF-Direct), I was reminded to check Lunar Toy Store.  Where I decided to jump on an $80 Citizen Stack... and then I threw Tesla in just to get free shipping.

My credit card bill is going to SUCK.

Edited by mikeszekely
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11 hours ago, kanedaestes said:

Oh wow. 



4 hours ago, nhyone said:

Just a few months ago, I was a Masterpiece-only collector, more out of inertia than anything. Something changed after MP-36 and MP-39.

Also, 3P now skirt ever closer to G1 look. It used to be that Masterpiece > 3P in terms of G1 likeness. Now, I can't be sure.

It's ironic that I waited for years for MP-11 (Starscream) to be re-released only for him to be obsoleted by Meteor a few months later. (YMMV)

Now I hope MMC's Ravage and MakeToys Jazz get a re-release one day.

Honestly, for me HasTak is still the king of MPs to the point where I only look at 3P as "Filler" regardless of if I buy them or not. The options in general are a great thing though and it really keeps things competitive. 

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For anyone wondering, I can confirm that TFSource's MP-36 lacks the barrel plug. Their shipping packaging sucks, though, and my box was far below their so called "collector's grade." Nowhere near, in fact. I think it was bad enough that it caused my Megatron's face to have a slight scuff where the plastic shell pushed down onto the figure, but I can touch that up hopefully. Wouldn't purchase from them again unless absolutely necessary.

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Good to hear about the lack of an orange plug. Sucks to hear about the packaging. I’m currently playing signature tag with UPS for my megs. 


I just got got the pre-order deal for the Maketoys headmasters and really really contemplating Meteor. But as Skullface said, 600 dollars. At least 600 dollars are invested in the the Takara masterpieces so going for Meteor and then all of those eventual seekers is asking a lot from collectors. But we shall see

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This thread has been awfully quiet.  Well, I'm about to blow it up, because not only was I still waiting for a figure I ordered a month ago to arrive from China, plus a replacement for the busted Galaxy Meteor, I went a little nuts on the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales.  The first batch arrived so tonight we'll be looking at Backdraft, which is MMC's version of Inferno via their Ocular Max Perfection Series


Backdraft is a tall drink of water, eh?  He's a little taller than Salus (who is about the same size as the official MP Ratchet), and I kind of feel like that's maybe too tall.  On scale charts I've seen, Inferno and Grapple were about the same size as Hoist, who ought to be the same size as Trailbreaker, and Trailbreaker was the same size as the vans.  That said, he's not so much taller than it bugs me.  I'm digging the proportions; for a guy whose torso was the front of a fire truck Inferno always struck me as tall and not too chunky.  In fact, I'd dare say that his proportions are better than the official MP.  Unlike the official MP, though, Backdraft is a lot closer to being a Masterpiece-style update of the G1 toy than a Masterpiece representation of the cartoon.  In some ways, I dig it.  I dig the paint that evokes the toy's stickers on his hips.  I dig the chrome on his gun hand, the nozzle on the side of his head-box, the bumper, grill, and horns on his truck body, the bumpers on his toes, and the segmented tops of his shoulders.  I dig the the black pieces on his shoulders, and the toy's molded details on his shins and feet.  He's even got little tabs on the sides of his forearms where the G1 toy did.  There are some ways that I'm not as into it, though, mostly in the way the boxy parts fit around his head with the white ear-wings.  On the cartoon, the box and wings seemed like part of his head, but on Backdraft the box is fixed and the ear-wings are on flaps at the back of the box.  My only other aesthetic gripes are where MMC didn't follow either the cartoon or the toy, namely the smoked translucent sirens (that are probably only that way because they were molded on the same sprue as his windows and MMC couldn't be bothered to paint them), and the lack of yellow paint on the ears and forehead of this default head.


Speaking of heads, in some episodes of the cartoon Inferno had a different shape to his head, and if you prefer that head MMC has you covered.  There's an alternate face, too, and the instructions seem to indicate that you can use either face with either head.  I couldn't say for sure, since I prefer the default head and face so I didn't mess with the alternate one.  You also get a rifle that's pretty toy-accurate, and some stickers if you want to give Backdraft some markings.


Backdraft's articulation is pretty good.  His head is on a hinged swivel, and he can look down a tiny bit, up until the back of his head hits the back of his head-box, and he can turn his head.  His head-box is, as I mentioned, fixed, although the wing-ears have two hinges and a swivel so you can angle them however you like.  The nozzle on the side of the head-box also swivels.  His shoulders rotate on soft ratchets.  His shoulders have a hinge inside, but the outside of his shoulders is a separate part that swivels around the inner shoulder.  The inner shoulder can move until the silver bits start to meet the torso, but the outer shoulder can move around the silver bits, giving him significantly better than 90 degrees of lateral movement.  His biceps have ratcheted swivels, and he's got double-jointed elbows that curl all the way up.  Both arms have built-in hands and hand cannons, and if you use the hands you have a wrist swivel, a thumb on a ball joint, and each finger a separate piece hinged that the base knuckle with an extra mid-knuckle pin on the index finger.  His waist swivels, and he has a forward ab crunch and the ability to arch his back.  His hips move forward 90 degrees and backward a little less than that on ratchets.  His lateral hip joints are just friction, but they're tolereanced well and he can get better than 90 degrees.  He has ratcheted thigh swivels and double-jointed friction knees that get way past 90 degrees.  Just be advised that the upper knee joint is much tighter than the lower joint.  His feet can bend down, and although is foot can't bend up his toes can, plus he's got an insane 90 degrees of ankle tilt.  Although his ladder doesn't disappear like MP Inferno's it does collapse to a small size and sit tight on his back, so it doesn't get in the way at all.

His gun works via the usual MP-style with tabs on the handle fitting into slots on the hands.  Your mileage may vary, but my copy doesn't hold his gun particularly well in either hand.


One annoyance I have with Backdraft is the middle of the lower bumper, where a license plate might sit.  It can display in robot mode, but on my copy if you use the ab crunch it tucks up inside him, but when you straighten him out it stays up inside him.  If you want it back out, you have to arch his back then get a fingernail in there and work it back down.  Oh, and I've got that issue where his crotch doesn't stay tabbed in.  Gotta see about getting in touch with my retailer or MMC to get replacement parts.

Oh, and in this zoomed-in picture you can also see that this wasn't the neatest paint work.  The lights look like they were poorly masked.  Some of the silver trim above the windshield is a little oversprayed.


On to vehicle mode... I think that looks pretty good.  Some extra chrome bits from his back and some fold out panels do a good job of hiding the fact that the top of the truck behind the cab is basically arms and the bottom is legs.  When fully collapsed the ladder looks comically short, but if you extend a segment it looks fine.  There is a gap between his feet in the back, not quite filled with the corners of his ear-wings sticking out as exhaust pipes, but who really looks at the back of their toys?  All-in-all, it could almost pass as a non-transforming toy fire truck, and that's something no one will ever say about the official MP.

It does look a little small next to Salus or the MP cars.  Indeed, it's narrower and only a little longer than the old Voyager Inferno from way back.  That's more of an observation than a complaint, though; if alt mode scale mattered guys like Defensor and Bruticus would never exist.


Backdraft's ladder can raise and extend.  I can swivel, too, althoug the faux support piston under the ladder turns with it, which doesn't always look so hot.  In some other nice touches that reinforce the illusion of this being a non-transforming fire truck toy we have rolling rubber tires, extending stabilizers, and even opening doors that reveal a steering wheel and seats inside.  (The steering wheel is on the right, which is how they do in Japan and Hong Kong, but not how they do in China.  Or Portland, where G1 Transformers took place, for that matter).  I'd say the only thing that'd really improve the alt mode are some markings.


Which, as I mentioned, Maketoys thoughtfully included.  I skipped the gold trip for around the rear fenders, but even just the "Portland Fire" and "FD" stickers really help sell the alt mode for me.  This alt mode is unquestionably better than the official MPs, looking for all the world like an actual fire truck and not a model of a badly drawn cartoon fire truck.


One more thing; it's hard to show while he's actually in alt mode, but Backdraft does have storage for his gun while in alt mode.  It plugs into the armature that runs along the length of the truck that lets his head box shift from around his head in robot mode to the rear of the truck in alt mode.

I have mixed feelings about Backdraft, and what I'm saying is probably a common refrain among people that have handled him.  He's good; he's got diecast, lots of paint, great articulation with plenty of ratchets, an alt mode that looks like a fire truck and not a folded up robot, and a robot mode that's interesting and dynamic where I find the official to be a flat, static red lump.  He's good, but he's not great.  As I've mentioned, he doesn't hold his weapon that well, the paint is downright sloppy in places, there's spots like his head that should have paint but don't, and his crotch doesn't stay tabbed in.  One other thing that I've run into that I didn't mention is that the bumper fell off of his right toes.  It was easy to pop back in, and I'll probably glue it to be sure, but still.  The overall execution is just a bit sloppy, and that's just not something you'd expect from a company like MMC.  So usually when I end one of these reviews I'll just say if I recommend a figure or not, but I'm not sure it's that simple.  I think you have to ask yourself, are you ok with the ultra-cartoony appearance of the official MP?  If you are, then by most accounts it's a better toy and probably the one you should go with.  But if you're like me and you think a cartoony red brick that doesn't even have a rear bumper is a bad fit along side other MPs with pretty realistic car modes you might find yourself unsatisfied with the official.  As much as I really do like Maketoys' Re:Master line I just don't think their Hellfire figure says "Inferno" as much as Backdraft does.  With sale prices coming in around half of what the official MP goes for I think Backdraft is ultimately a worthwhile alternative, just be ready for a figure that's a solid B instead of the A+ effort MMC delivered with Sphinx.

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Since I'm doing bigger bots lately, I decided to use all the ToyWorld bases as floor panels and go back to a cloth background.  Let me know what you guys think works better.

Anyway, yesterday we looked at one company's take on a character that turns into a Mitsubishi Fuso truck, tonight we'll look at a different company with Maketoys' Wrestle, their version of Grapple.


As I alluded to yesterday, in my head Inferno is sort of tall and thin, so the proportions Maketoys used here wouldn't have really worked for me as Inferno.  However (and I could just be remembering this wrong), my impression of Grapple was that he was like Inferno's stockier cousin, so these proportions work fine for me as Grapple.  Although Wrestle definitely looks like Grapple, he's a product of an earlier era when Maketoys wasn't so slavish to the G1 cartoon, and the result is a bit stylized.  The stabilizers on the sides of his shins are covered by panels, and the yellow thighs aren't cartoon accurate and only debatably toy-accurate.  Black kneecaps do help break up the yellow.  Sticker detail from the G1 toy has been replaced with caution stripes.  Unlike MMC, Maketoys opted for a silver paint for the front bumper and grill.  Now, I think the silver paint is fine, but where I feel that Maketoys' erred was not using the same silver for his cuffs, the things on his shoulders, and the bumpers on his toes (as well as the plating on his alt mode).  The white shoulders is sort of cartoon-accurate, I guess, and I was never really clear on what they were supposed to be in alt mode.  I could maybe forgive it on his cuffs, although the toy was either silver or chromed as near as I can tell and the cartoon was just solid yellow.  But, c'mon, the white bumper toes just look bad.  Bad enough that I might repaint them myself.


Wrestle comes with a bit more in the way of accessories that Backdraft, but they all serve the same purposes.  You've got a rifle, standard issue there.  You've got the gun-hand, which doesn't count as an accessory for Backdraft since they're built-in on him, but does count as an accessory here since it's removable.  You only get one, so you can't have him dual-wielding gun-hands like Backdraft can.  It pegs onto either wrist, as long as you leave the hand folded in.  You also get a pair of sprues, one with more faces and one with eyes for those faces.  No alternate black toy-style head, though.


The faces are molded and painted pretty much the same as the default face, just with different expressions.  If the default face is a sort of determined frown, the other faces are gritted teeth, a more neutral but still slightly frowny face, a grimmacing face, a happy smile, and the kind of teeth-baring smile you might have if you were planning to murder your family with an ax while taking care of an empty hotel.  As the the eyes, while the default face has a glossy light blue paint the ones on the sprue are a darker blue chrome, so I guess I'll swap determined frown for stoic frown.


Wrestle might be chunkier than Backdraft, and his crane might not shrink up the way Backdraft's does, but Wrestle is still pretty well articulated.  His head is on a ball joint that can look down a little, up not very well, and laterally just enough to give him a contemplative "should I ignore Optimus and and build a solar tower with the Constructicons?" look.  His shoulders rotate on ratchets, and a soft ratchet inside the torso will move his shoulder about 45 degrees laterally.  If you want more, though, just fold back the white part and use another very strong ratchet inside the shoulder and suddenly you're only 45 degrees shy of straight up.  Due to his transformation he's also got a little bit of a backwards butterfly joint.  Biceps swivel, and his double-jointed elbows only get slightly less bend than Backdraft.  His wrists swivel (he does have hands inside both arms, and his hands are MP carbot-style with a fixed thumb and all four fingers molded as one piece pinned at the base knuckle.  You might have to move his backpack or his wheels out of the way a bit, but he does have a waist swivel capable of 360 degrees of rotation.  He can't arch his back like Backdraft, but he does have an ab crunch.  His hip skirts are one molded piece, so lifing one automatically lifts the other.  His ratcheted hips can get about 45 degrees backward and a little under 90 degrees forward, and if you move the tires they ratchet laterally 90 degrees.  Unlike so many other toys with hips that ratchet laterally the spacing between the clicks is perfect.  His thighs swivel.  His knees appear to be double-jointed, however, the assumed upper joint on my copy is so stiff that I couldn't move it with the amount of force I was willing to apply before I became afraid of breakage.  The lower joint is ratcheted and gets a little less than 90 degrees by itself.  Coming to his feet, they're essentially on big ball joints.  That means he can swivel his ankles and tilt them up and down a bit.  The ball joint also provides some inward and outward ankle tilt, but an additional hinge on the the ball peg's post combines with the ball joint for some very deep ankle tilts.

Wrestle has no problems holding his gun, as it eschews the usual tabbed handles and slottled palms for Maketoys' system of a tiny channel near the thumb that slides around grooves in the back of the handle.


And here we have his crane mode, wihich is slightly longer than Backdraft.  It's a little easier to make out the robot arms than on Backdraft, but Maketoys did use a pair of rotating panels to help fill in the space between the arms and legs to make it more seamless.  The panels on the sides of his lower legs rotate away to reveal a stabilizer that's molded and painted but non-functional, along with other molded details that you might find on a crane/fire truck.  There's some caution marks on the crane boom and near the base of the crane, but in their place on the side of the truck are molded and painted details that are probably more like the panels you'd find on a fire truck.  As with the robot mode, there's enough here that's visually interesting and distinct from Backdraft while retaining the same basic vehicle.


Like Backdraft, Wrestle has rubber tires.  The cab section is mostly painted, and the paint isn't quite a match for the orangey-yellow plastic used elsewhere.  However, it' snot as bad in hand or on a shelf as it looks in pictures.  Looking at the box, it seems that the crane is supposed to move at the white part.  However, the white part is basically a giant C-clip and it lacks the tension to hold the weight of the boom, which extends about this far.  It's not the end of the world, though, as the boom connects to the orange part on a ratchet that's more than capable.  The hook at the end can swivel, but there's no cord or anything, which is fine.  Although I mentioned it already, I'll point out again how off the white bumper and tread plating looks.  Again, I'm seriously considering painting it myself.


One more thing, and that's weapon storage.  Like Backdraft, Wrestle uses the armature that runs from the cab to the back of the truck.  His rifle has a t-shaped tab on one side, and that slides into a t-shaped slot on top of the armature.  And since his gun-hand doesn't stay out in alt mode the way Backdraft's does, it pops off, then the tip pops off, and both pieces fit onto the underside near the cab.

I've already said why I don't think this mold works as well for Inferno.  Indeed, not only do I think that Backdraft has better Inferno-esque proportions, I think a lot of the stuff MMC did with the chrome parts and the panels that cover the arms in truck mode do have me thinking that Backdraft (and Girder, MMC's Grapple, I assume) looks better.  One the other hand, I do like these proportions better for Grapple, and I think that Wrestle is better as a toy; he's got a much less finnicky transformation.  So unless you really want the cartoon accuracy of the official MP Grapple, or you went with Backdraft for your Inferno and want your Grapple to look as much like Inferno as possible, I recommend Wrestle.  He's chunky, he's well-articulated, and he's fun.

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4 hours ago, Kuma Style said:

The Flame Toys Drift drops this month... it's licensed, but it's a Third Party Company. does talk about it go HERE or the other thread?

This kind of goes back to the discussion we had earlier, eh? Yes, by definition Flame Toys is technically a third party, but within the confines of the community "third party" is basically synonymous with "unofficial and unlicensed." I'm no mod or anything, so take this with a grain of salt, but I think if there weren't the unlicensed stuff there wouldn't be a 3P thread and the odd licensed 3P figure would be discussed in the regular TF thread. So I'd probably talk about Drift there. But it's not like I'm going to complain either way.

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We continue a look at my Black Friday shopping spree tonight with an oldie... but is it a goodie?  It's KFC's Citizen Stack, their version of an MP Ultra Magnus.  *Note that this is the second run, which apparently has some colors changed from the original.


So... holy cow, you guys, this thing is huge!  He dwarfs the Leader version from... was it Combiner Wars?  He dwarfs MP-10.  If I'm not mistaken, he's a good head taller than the official MP Ultra Magnus (although, according to some scale charts, a case can be made for Magnus being that much bigger).  And the figure is unmistakeably Ultra Magnus, with blues and reds that hew closer to the cartoon than the G1 toy or the Leader version.  That said, he's fairly stylized, arguably too much so for some people back in 2014 and very much so in the 2017 era of "Sunbow or bust."  I think the knee guards and the large swaths of red on his shins are a bit much, and I wish that they'd have stuck wtih blue for his feet, but I honestly don't mind it the rest of it.  As someone who had the G1 toy, I actually dig the more elaborate chest piece, as it's more evocative of the removable little jet thingy the toy had than the simplified animation model.  He's also a bit thin, especially at the waist, but I think overall Stack is much less squat and more dynamic than MP-22.  His head is... well, from a distance it's fine, although the eyes could have used some paint.  Up close, his mouth is just weird.


Stack has just one accessory (well, three if you count the removable shoulder missiles, but I'm not).  It's a rifle that's very similar to the G1 toy's, and somewhat similar to the cartoon, painted in silver.  If I'm being honest, I think this beats the dinky gun that came with MP-22.


Technically, The official transformation has Stack's arms like his right arm here.  I think the extended bit looks better and more accurate under his hand on the back of his arm than on the outside, though.  Fortunately, it's as easy as swiveling the forearm below the elbow and turning his wrist.


A cool little gimmick KFC included is the ability to flip up the blue part of his chest, revealing two little white doors.  Opening them reveals a hollow space with two pegs, so you can take the Matrix from MP-10 and put it in Stack's chest.  This might not seem as big a deal now, but remember that Stack beat MP-22 to the market by nearly a year, making him probably the first toy not based on MP-10's mold to be compatible with MP-10's Matrix.


Stack's articulation is ok.  I think most modern 3P and official MP toys have better articulation, but on the other hand I think his articulation is probably better than MP-22's.  His head is on a ball joint, and he can look nearly straight up and he can tilt his head sideway just a little, but he can't really look down.  His shoulders can rotate, and due to how they're constructed with the inner shoulder swiveling inside out the outer shoulder, he can extend his arms laterally maybe 75-80 degrees, much farther than MP-22.  He has a swivel at the bicep, ratcheted elbows that get about 90 degrees, another swivel below the elbow, and wrist swivels.  The hands aren't quite the fully-articulated hands we've come to expect from KFC.  The thumb is fixed, for starters.  His fingers are all pinned at the base (no ball-joints!), and his index finger, middle finger, and ring finger are one piece from the base knuckle to the first knuckle.  Another pin runs through the mid knuckles, but each finger is an individual part from there, while the pinky is on its own from the base all the way to the tip.  Unlike MP-22, he does have a waist swivel.  His hips ratchet forward 75-80 degrees and backward 90 degrees.  His hips can move laterally 90 degrees as well, but it's just friction.  He has a little bit of thigh swivel over the universal joints, although it's a bit limited.  If you need more there's another swivel below the knees, which themselves are ratcheted.  They can't bend too far back, maybe 45 degrees, due to the cut of the thigh parts.  Ironically, if you look closely the cut actually allows the knees to bend the wrong way slightly further than they can bend the right way.  I imagine, if you're desperate for more, you could take the thighs apart and cut a little more material out.  Stack doesn't have actual feet.  Instead, his toes and heels are separate parts with a gap in between.  Thos parts are on ball joints, so he can bend them down and get a little "ankle" tilt, but not a ton.  The shoulder missiles can rotate on their pegs, and an additional hinge lets them swing outward.  Sadly, the missiles are not removable.

In perfect world, Stack's gun has slots on the handle that fit into slots on his palms.  It's been my experience that sometimes the tab will pop back out.  Even if it does, though, the tension in his finger joints have been perfectly adequate to keep his gun in his hands.


So again, his truck mode is a little stylized but I have to admit when handling it that it brought back a lot of nostalgic feels for my long-lost G1 toy.  The transformaton is fairly intuitve and not dissimilar to the Leader version.  Interestingly, he's solid in robot mode but becomes very floppy once you start untabbing him.  But once you have everything in the right position and tab it all back together his alt mode is just as solid as his robot mode.  The tires are rubber, and the cab can turn.  My only real gripe is the guard in front over the grill, and the front license plate that says "KFC."  Cartoon-purists might also complain that it's not red, but a red bumper on an otherwise white truck never made sense to me, and it's not how the G1 toy did it anyway.


The cab isn't meant to be removable, but to get it off all you need to do is remove a screw from underneath.  Without the trailer, you can see that the cab scales very nicely with MP-10, and while it looks similar enough to look correct it's got a few touches besides the color to give it a distinct appearance.  Due to the way he transforms, though, the cab is extremely hollow, whith the back of Stacks head visible at the almost nonexistant rear of the cab.  The fuel canisters are tiny, and the rear wheels are not in line with the front wheels.  It makes the cab look kind of bad from the side or behind when it's by itself, but it's not very noticeable when it's attached.

On the flip side, I guess that hollowness means you could stuff the Minimus Ambus figure that came with the Leader-class version inside the cab...


The rear doors on the trailer do open.  As for the missiles, you can peg them on the sides (as they were in the cartoon sometimes), which will allow them to retain their ability to swivel on their pegs and hinge outward.  If you want a more toy-accurate (and cartoon-accurate to those other times) you can collapse the smokestacks on the cab and peg them on the front of the trailer.  As for his rifle, slots on the sides allow it to tuck between his arms at the top of the trailer.

Alright, let's get this out of the way right now... if you want an MP Ultra Magnus and you're looking at a regular-priced Citizen Stack and a regular-priced MP-22, you should probably go wtih MP-22.  While I think MP-22's articulation is kind of poor and I hate the butt flap, everything I've seen indicates to me that he has nice, solid joints and the typical quality plastic Takara uses, not to mention that he's undeniably more cartoon-accurate.  While no joint on Stack has been so bad it's failed me, he's definitely a bit on the looser side.  And while the plastic KFC used seems solid enough it definitely feels inferior to me.

The thing is, though, I didn't pay regular price.  I bought Citizen Stack for $79.  That's basically half what MP-22 goes for.  And for $79 I think he's a fun toy and a perfectly adequate stand-in for my collection.  At $79 I'm willing to overlook Stack's flaws in a way that I can't do for MP-22 at MP-22's prices.

And down the road?  Rumor has it that KFC/X-Transbots are considering a design for an Ultra Magnus trailer to be used with the upcoming 7-11 MP-10 or the white KO MP-10.  Again, as someone who had the G1 toy, that speaks to me in a way these integrated transformations don't.

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43 minutes ago, mikeszekely said:

So... holy cow, you guys, this thing is huge!  He dwarfs the Leader version from... was it Combiner Wars?  He dwarfs MP-10. 

Wasn't he designed to look good with the original MP-01 Prime? It makes sense he'd dwarf MP-10.

Or am I misremembering?

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Just now, JB0 said:

Wasn't he designed to look good with the original MP-01 Prime? It makes sense he'd dwarf MP-10.

Or am I misremembering?

Probably misremembering, but I can't say for sure since he came out before I really started collecting 3P stuff.  I do know that he came out in April of 2014, and that's over three years after MP-10 came out and just under a year before MP-22.  And the cab is awfully similar to MP-10 in dimensions.

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OK, true story: when I was a kid I'd saved up money from my birthday and my parents took me to Children's Palace.  This was when Season 3 was on the air, and I was fairly intent on buying Perceptor.  When I got to the store, though, they didn't have Perceptor.  Unwilling to go home empty-handed, I bought Ultra Magnus.

Flash forward 30 years and I'm buying a 3P Ultra Magnus, but to my mind $12 for shipping is $12 down the drain.  If I could hit $150 the shipping would be free.  So what do I add to hit that free shipping?  A 3P Perceptor.  You can call it karma, you can call it fate, you can call it serendipity... but the box calls it FansToys Tesla.


Yeah... I'm not finding a lot to complain about aesthetically.  I've heard some gripes about his face, but it doesn't bother me.  I think maybe that first rectangular bit on his pelvis could have been painted red, and maybe his proportions are slightly less chunky than the cartoon.  Speaking of cartoons, maybe purists would rather the chrome parts be white, or there were a little less molded details, but I'm perfectly ok with chrome and greebles myself.  Bottom line, I've looked at plenty of figures where I've said something like, "is unmistakably so-and-so, but here's a list of deviations from the toy and/or cartoon," and the worst thing I can say about Tesla is "pelvis needs more red."  No, as far as aesthetics go this is about as perfect as I think you can get.  Definitely closer to the cartoon than Titans Return Perceptor.


For those looking for less CHUG, more MP size comparisons, here he is with Prime and Wheeljack... and I think he might be too tall.  The actual animation is pretty inconsistent, so maybe it's not fair for me to suggest that he should be closer in height to Wheeljack based on a clip from "Cosmic Rust," but I think even the scale chart has him at a head taller than the carboots and just up to the bottom of Prime's windows, so maybe Tesla is a head too tall.  I guess it's not off enough to really complain too much about, though.


Tesla comes with a pair of guns, a rifle that's pretty accurate to the G1 toy, and another weapon that's supposed to be like the missile launcher that came with the toy.  And while it is pretty accurate (although the missile is non-removable), with it's pointy tip I think it actually reminds me more of that tool Ratchet uses than a weapon, and I think that suits a character like Perceptor fine.  Tesla also comes with replacement forearms and thighs, in case you thought the more vibrant blue on him isn't cartoon accurate enough.  And while the cartoon definitely was less saturated than the blue on Tesla, the replacement parts are too light and too gray for my tastes.


Now I'm pretty sure that Tesla kept his shoulder scope on his left shoulder in the cartoon.  If you really want it on the right, though, it can rotate around the other side.  Also on his back is a peg.  As near as I can figure, the peg is so you can plug a weapon onto his back, as both weapons have peg holes on the side.  The problem, though, is that the armature connecting to the scope gets in the way of the smaller gun fitting on the peg.  The larger gun can peg on, but it's a very loose fit so don't expect it to stay on.


Tesla's articulation is average.  Head is on a hinged swivel so he can look up an down an adequate amount and turn his head.  Shoulders rotate and can extend laterally about 90 degrees on friction joints.  Due to his transformation, if you untab his shoulders from his torso you can butterfly hinge them forward.  His shoulder-scope has two hinges (that are free in bot mode) so it can aim up and down.  His elbows are double-jointed friction hinges, and on my copy the upper is tight enough that I almost didn't realize it moved, while the lower joint is so loose it can barely support the rifle.  Biceps and thighs swivel, thumb is on a ball joint, and each finger is an individual part pinned at the base knuckle, while the index finger has one extra hinged knuckle.  His waist can swivel.  The front and sides of his hip skirts can hinge out of the way, but the hinges are hard to move.  His hips can go forward about 60 degrees and backward about 45 degrees on ratchets.  They go a litte under 90 degrees laterally on a joint that feels like it might be a soft ratchet but squeals too loudly for me to hear any clicking when you manipulate it.  He's got limited thigh swivels at the hip, and if you want to fake more he's got an additional swivel below the knee.  The knee itself is a soft ratchet good for 90 degrees of bend.  His foot can bend down a little, and both his toes and his heels can bend down more due to transformation if you need it, plus he's got a hinge that's good for 45 degrees of inward ankle tilt.

Both weapons have tabs on the handles that fit into slots on his palms.  The little weapon fits pretty well.  The bigger weapon is a little loose in the slot, but the tension in his fingers will hold it in place fine.


I think Perceptor got some guff back in the day, like "what kid wants a toy that turns into a microscope?"  Well, I did.  (I actually had a microscope, but it wasn't Perceptor.)  And on the microscope front... I'm not really feeling it from Tesla.  The lower legs seem to sit too far from the torso; instead of using the knee joint, I think Tesla would have been better off with a dedicate transformation hinge in the thigh.  He's got little toy-style (and not cartoon-accurate) non-functional treads on the inside of his calves, dinky (plastic) wheels intead of of the (still not cartoon-accurate) extending blue part from the toy.  He lacks some of the blockiness I think he should have.  His biceps stick up too far out of the top of his torso, which makes his forearms seem too tall.  That's not helped by having the pivot point for the scope close to his elbows instead of above his arms.  The flaps at the base of his shins don't sit flush with anything and dont really cover the joints in his feet.  The half-hearted alt mode is more frustrating due to clearance issues getting his shoulders around his head when collapsing them into his torso.  All-in-all, it gets credit for havin the basic general shape Perceptor should have in his alt mode, and I have said before that if any sacrifices should be made they should be made in alt mode, but c'mon you guys.  Hasbro did a better alt mode in a $15 Deluxe, and that's just shameful.

Credit where credit is due, though, the wheels do roll, and the knob on the scope moves the lense in and out, plus you still have one free hinge for moving the scope up and down... but again, all that's true for the Deluxe, too.


A third wheel folds out of Tesla's butt, and it too rolls, allowing for the entire microscope to roll.  The peg on his back will allow one (and only one) of his weapons to store on the back.  And... despite having wheels and faux treads, I can't really get a tank mode out of him.  It looks like FansToys was thinking about it; in microscope mode tabs on the inside of the knee area fit into slots on his thighs, but you'll notice the outside of the knee area also has a tab.  Rotating the legs around and tabbing them the other way puts the treads on the outside of the leg.  If you rotate the thighs, then, so the treads become the "bottom" and the scope and slide tray are on the "top," that'd basically be the G1 toy's tank mode, right?  But the problem is that you can't rotate the thighs that way due to how they're shaped with more blue plastic on the outside of the hip.  You can only rotate a little before you have to start bending them outward, which would leave you with a very crooked bottom, and the rotation is impeded entirely before you'd get the top low enough.  You can kind of fake it if you turn him 180 degrees at the waist, leave the lower legs oriented as they are, and rotate the hips the other way, but then the treads are on the inside and the wheel on his butt can't reach the ground.  So without a working tank mode, why even have the toy-centric faux treads at all?  And c'mon, FansToys, both KFC's Mugan Scope and the Titans Return Perceptor can do tank modes!

The negatives don't really stop with aesthetics and a lack of a functional tank mode, though.  I've accused FansToys of making good toys that seem better than they are because FT uses a ton of diecast and paint to create a premium feeling... and there's almost none of that here.  Near as I can tell only his feet are diecast, and aside from those feet all the red, all the black, and 99% of the blue is unpainted plastic.  It's not even that great of plastic; my copy has stress marks where his thighs peg into his hip skirts for microscope mode out of the box, and generally speaking the plastic feels more like the stuff KFC used on Citizen Stack than the plastic Takara or Maketoys uses.  Tesla is, despite being far larger than their Insecticons or Spindrift, significantly lighter.  And the icing on the cake is some questionable joint tolerances (too tight here, too loose there) and tabs that don't stay tabbed very well (the shoulders).

Y'know, I often hear people talk about FansToys like they're the best 3P company around.  No, not only that they're the best, like they're so far ahead of any other 3P that it's not close, or they're the only 3P that can compete with Takara.  And I wonder if any of those people have handled Tesla, who is so phoned-in that I have to point to Unique Toys' Predaking or something from TFC to find a 3P figure in my collection that's worse.  Or maybe they have, and maybe they just turn a blind eye because their Dinobots were so good, I don't know.  Now, I don't have FT's hits like the Dinobots or Sovereign, but Tesla is my 5th FT figure now and there's only so much hand-waving and "ok, that one isn't one of their better ones, but they're usually awesome!" dismissals that FT's loyalists can do before I have to conclude that maybe FT isn't all that.  In Tesla's case, it's not even close.  If you really want an MP Perceptor right now, Tesla does have the robot-mode look down, but if you can wait I'm not going to recommend him.  It's true that no one else has shown much interest in doing an MP Perceptor, but I honestly believe that if someone like Maketoys or DX9 wanted to it wouldn't be too hard to do better than Tesla.

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I am in the slightly crazy minority, but I got Citizen Stack a few years ago and felt no need to even consider Masterpiece Ultra Magnus. I truly didn't like how squat the Masterpiece seemed to be in robot mode. I got a head upgrade kit for my Stack and it makes ALL the difference in the world. I believe it was the SXS kit.


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Just now, Axelay said:

I am in the slightly crazy minority, but I got Citizen Stack a few years ago and felt no need to even consider Masterpiece Ultra Magnus. I truly didn't like how squat the Masterpiece seemed to be in robot mode. I got a head upgrade kit for my Stack and it makes ALL the difference in the world. I believe it was the SXS kit.


Ooh, yeah.  I'm on the lookout for one of those SXS heads.

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In the last year, I'd picked up Gundog, Wrestle, the Visualizers, Despotron, Downbeat, Galaxy Meteor (although I had to send him back for a replacement I still haven't received), and Meteor.  For those of you keeping score at home, that's most of Maketoys' Re:Master line.  Indeed, Maketoys is rapidly becoming my favorite 3P.  So I thought, what if I got the rest of the Re:Master line?  Well, I kind of wanted Inferno and Grapple to be different molds, and you already know I picked up MMC's backdraft, so for now at least I passed on Hellfire.  But when The Chosen Prime decides to run a sale on the rest...?

This is Cupola, Maketoys' version of Chromedome.


I had to check, but there wasn't a ton of difference between the G1 toy, the US "Rebirth" cartoon, or the Japanese Headmasters series.  Indeed, the only real difference seemed to be the head; the toy had a large blank off-white space near eye level, then a small orange gap with what might be a hint of molded nose between the off-white and the orange mouth plate.  The US G1 cartoon seemed to interpret the blank off-white space as a visor, so they drew him with a visor in Autobot blue, then drew the rest of his head kind of weird.  The Headmasters was pretty faithful to the toy head, but they decided to interpret the blank off-white space as a brow.  They swiched the gap space from orange to off-white, gave a little more definition to the nose, and added two blue eyes.  Cupola is clearly going for The Headmasters in appearance, and I think that's fine.  I don't have much in the way of strong feelings for his US animation model, but he was arguably the main character in The Headmasters.  

It's not just the head that MT nailed... Cupola is nearly a perfect representation of his Headmasters self.  The only small details I can complain about are the dark gray plastic for the elbow joint, which is a minor complaint, and the fact that his crotch is brown instead of the same red as the rest of his pelvis, a concession to his alt mode.  It's more than just the colors or the molded details, though.  Check out his proportions.  Tapered chest, narrow waist, long legs, arms just the right length... he's got exactly the kind of heroic proportions you'd expect for the star of a super robot anime.  He looks dynamic just standing up straight.


I'll confess, I don't know how big Chromedome is supposed to be in the US G1 cartoon.  In The Headmasters he was depicted to be about as tall as Rodimus Prime, who was about as tall as Optimus Prime, so Maketoys made Cupola about the same size as MP-10.  If you feel that's correct, then you're probably cool with this size.  Personally, I'd have liked him to be a little smaller, which I'll touch on again in a bit.


Cupola doesn't come with much in the way of accessories, just two rifles that are fairly G1 toy/Headmasters accurate, if a little boring.  The only color breaking up the red is a splash of blue on the the sights.  The handle can fold back into the butt to deploy a smaller tab.


I guess you could make an argument that, as a Headmaster, his head is actually an accessory.  Now, even as a kid I though it was weird to surrender your head to be turned into armor for a fleshing who then merges with you to somehow increase your abilities (US G1 cartoon) or who gets to drive your body and somehow share memories with you while your real head sits in a shed somewhere on another planet (Marvel comic), so I'm not going to tall this guy Stylor.  The Japanese continuity, where the head robot is the actual transformer and transtector body is a vehicle/super suit for the head robot makes way more sense to me. 

The transformation is basically identical to Fansproject's, with an ab crunch and hugging his knees to his chest instead of bending backward at the knees like the G1/Titans Return heads.  Also like Fansproject's, the forehead on his back scrunches down to hide his eyes so you can kind of pretend that his backpack isn't a giant face.  The sculpt and paint on the Headmaster are very good.  The only complaint here would be that his arms are off-white and gray instead of red, but (again, just like Fansproject) it's because his arms form Chromedome's ears.  As far as articulation, he's got none at the head or waist, ball-joints inside the torso so his shoulders can rotate and move laterally, hinged elbows but no bicep or wrist swivels, an ab crunch, ball-jointed hips that let him kick very far forward, spread his legs a bit, and eek out a tiny bit of thigh swivel, and knees that can bend nearly 180 degrees.  For an inch and a half tall figure that's going to be a head more often than not, that's pretty decent I'd say.


Cupola's articulation is a little lacking, though.  The neck is exactly like Fansproject's Headmasters.  The port is hinged and set into a rotating disc, so Cupola can look down, or you can plug his head in backward and rotate it 180 degrees and he can look up a bit.  His shoulders are ball joints for rotation and a little forward/backward butterfly motion, and a hinge lets him extend his arm laterally about 90 degrees.  If you raise his arms then move them laterally his shoulders will collide with his backpack, but you can transform them a bit by flipping the top forward and that will give you more clearance.  His biceps swivel, and his elbows hinge 90 degrees.  His wrists swivel, but despite his size his hands are basically MP-carbot hands with a fixed thumb and all four fingers molded as one piece with a single hinge at the base knuckle.  His waist swivels, although you might have to open the canopy on his back a bit to get the clearance to get around the wheels on his hips.

It's actually those wheels where all the trouble comes from.  He can kick backward 90 degrees on a nice clicky ratchet, but his forward motion is limited to about 45 degrees due to his fixed hip armor.  He's similarly limited to about 45 degrees laterally, also on ratchets, because the tires just can't get out of the way.  He's got a ratcheted thigh swivel, and ratcheted knees good for 90 degrees.  His feet can bend up a little, down a lot, and and he's got a little less than 45 degrees of ankle tilt.  Note that his ankles, especially his right, are pretty loose.  This is a known issue with Cupola, though, and I have replacement parts coming directly from Maketoys.

The guns fit into his hands using Maketoys' system grooves in the handle that fit into a notched channel in his palm.  He holds his guns nice and securely.


If you don't want him holding the guns, you can flip the handles up and tab them into his back for storage.  Also, you can plug them in the other way and flip the red panel on his back up to have the guns pointing forward.  His head can't be attached for that, but it's an interesting option for the transtector body while the head is doing other stuff.


When you do head on, though, you can open the red panel on his chest, just like the G1 toy and the Headmasters cartoon, to reveal his tech specs.  Unlike the G1 toy, though, the indicators don't get pushed up by the head, they're just painted on.  Technically you can open the flap and look at his specs without his head.


Cupola's alt mode is as as spot on as his robot mode.  The transformation is kind of insane, with his chest forming the hood, his abs forming the grill, his neck forming the dashboard, his shoulders forming the seats, the back of his legs forming the off-white side panels, and his hands pushing through his feet to form the back of the car.  It's a little intimidating the first time you do it, but once you figure out where everything goes it's not too bad.  Just mind all the panels that you have to fold out after exploding his torso. 

A big robot makes for a big car...


He dwarfs and MP car, and that right there is my main complaint.  To me, Chromedome is a carbot and should be carbot-sized.  Although, if we ignore the whole "binary bonding" thing of the US G1 and don't think of the head as a humanoid in a suit, but as a small Transformer who is the actual Chromedome, then I guess he could be bigger than a human.  And a small Transformer that's still bigger than a human would need a car that's bigger than a human car to drive and turn into a transtector body...


Anyway, like I said, the car is spot on.  He's a little sleeker than the G1 toy, which fits the animation.  The molded detail on the sides is also more animation-accurate than toy accurate.  The only thing that kind of looks off are the veritcal headlights; the toy had them horizontal, but the animation kind of ommitted them entirely.  Taillights might have been nice, too, but I'm not entirely sure where they'd go.  The spot that looks like it'd be obvious winds up being the tip of his toes, and it's actually angled sort of downward anyway.  Oh well, maybe they don't need taillights on Planet Master...

The tires are rubber, and they do roll nicely.


The cockpit opens up, revealing a little molded steering wheel and some lovely painted details.  Something I really like about Cupola over the G1 toy, Fansproject's Code, or the Titans Return version is that the head robot doesn't sit smack in the middle.  Instead, he sits in the driver's seat, and there's a passenger seat next to him.  Just like a real car!


And for that last bit of G1 goodness, with the handles folded up the guns can tab onto the red section just behind the roof of the car.

Cupola was Maketoys first attempt at a Masterpiece-style figure, and it kind of shows.  The transformation is a little complex, and his articulation is a bit hindered in spots.  I have to do some mental gymnastics to convince myself he's not to big (although, going by robot height with the Japanese series as the scale, then he is actually the right size).  His hands could have used a little more articulation.  I won't criticize the loose ankles, though, since MT makes replacement parts available.

Maketoys gets so much right with this figure, though.  The transformation is probably a necessity to get a robot that spot on to look like a car that spot on.  Everything between the waist and the ankles is ratcheted.  The plastic feels good, there's a little smartly-used diecast, and lots of little painted accents to break up the brown and off-white plastic.  I'm not sure I could see Takara or another 3P delivering a Masterpiece Chromedome that addresses Cupola's issues and still looking this good in both modes, and that's even if there were other companies lining up to do MP Headmasters (and the ones that are, like KFC and FansToys, have so far avoided doing the same characters).  I'm going to have to recommend this figure, you guys.  I'm not even a huge Headmasters fan, and Cupola looks awesome enough just standing there that I kind of want to buy FansToys' Lupus, a figure that I was too unimpressed with to consider before, just so they can face off against each other.

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Although Maketoys slipped some season 1 characters into the Re:Master line with Gundog and Hellfire, Cupola wouldn't be Maketoys' last foray into The Headmasters.  So far, it's this guy: Ironwill, their version of Hardhead.


I'm trying to even recall what Hardhead might have looked like in the US G1 cartoon, and aside from the simplified head I can't really think of how he might have looked.  Ironwill appears to make some concessions to the G1 toy, with yellow paint on his hips, translucent orange on his crotch, and gunmetal paint at the top of his thighs serving as callbacks to sticker details.  His head and beefy, barrel-chested proportions are definitely Headmasters, and it works pretty well for him.  While Chromedome was the capable-yet-eager prototpe for Hot Shots yet to come, Hardhead was portrayed as his stubborn and slower yet strong and dependable sidekick.  And, aside from possibly making Ironwill too burly, Maketoys nailed the aesthetic here as well as they nailed Chromedome with Cupola.


Like Cupola, Irownill comes with a pair of extremely G1-ish green rifles.  At least this time the green is broken up with another shade of green.  He also comes with an alternate lower half of a face based on the toy.  If you happend to have a Hardhead toy this will undoubtedly please you, but I didn't.  And since both the US cartoon and The Headmasters gave Hardhead a visor and a mouth I'm happier with the default face.  Technically his shoulder cannon isn't installed in the box; it has a mushroom peg at the back that slides into a slot on Ironwill's backpack.  I guess you could count that as an accessory, but to me that's just part of his body.


Speaking of faces, here's little Ironwill.  As with little Cupola, very spot-on.  Nice use of paint, crisp molding, and even light-piped eyes.  I like how, despite having a different transformation, Maketoys managed to work a lot of the leg detail from cartoon/toy Duros's shins onto little Ironwill.  Again, the only small deviation is the extra brown-gray panels on his arms due to them having his ears on them, but at least this time the underlying arm is the correct green.  Also like little Cupola, his forehead and part of the top of his head slides down over the face, leaving just a little yellow chin poking out.


Maketoys again included an opening panel to reveal painted tech specs.  And for those of you who are curious, yes, you can have Cupola and Irownill swap heads.  This really makes me eager for Maketoys to do the other Headmasters; fortunately it looks like we can expect Highbrow from them relatively soon with Brainstorm and Apeface in the works.  Oh, and on the topic of Apeface, I don't own FT's Lupus or either of KFC's Horrorcons, so I don't now if they can use the Maketoys' heads or if Ironwill and Cupola can use the FT or KFC heads.


Ironwill's articulation is a bit improved over Cupola's.  His head uses the same hinged port set into a disc that Cupola has, and that results in the same articulation.  His shoulders can rotate, this time on a pinned swivel instead of a ball joint, with a hinge that'll give him over 90 degrees of lateral movement without any of the clearance issues Cupola had.  His elbow is a single joint, so it can look a little messy from some angles, but it still gets nearly 180 degrees of bend.  His biceps and wrists can swivel, and his hands are identical to Cupola's save for the color.  His waist can swivel, and due to how the transformation locks his cockpit slightly extended off of his back his waist swivel is left unhindered.  Backwards motion on his hips are limited due to a panel that's not as much a butt flap as it is his actual butt, and like Cupola his hip armor is fixed.  You can ratchet his leg forward a little under 45 degrees with his legs straight, but if you move his hip out a bit you can get a little under 90.  On the topic of moving his hips out, without Cupola's tires getting in the way Ironwill's hips ratchet out the full 90 degrees.   He's got a thigh swivel by sliding the thigh pieces over the hip joint, but the thigh armor can catch on his pelvis a little.  You've got maybe 45 degrees with his leg straight, 90 degrees if you move his hip out a click or two, and full rotation if you extend his hip further.  Given that you usually want a more dynamic thigh swivel when you have the hips in a more dynamic pose anyway, this seems fine.  His knees are single soft ratchets that get a little past 90 degrees.  His feet can wiggle up and down just a taste, a dedicated hinge gets you about 45 degrees of ankle tilt, and due to transformation he has ankle swivels as well.  The shoulder cannon has a hinge so it can move in a 90 degree arc from straight up to straight forward, plus it can swivel left and right on the mushroom peg.

His rifles work have the same grooves that slide into the rails on his palms that other Maketoys figures are using.


I've found found that you can store one of his rifles on his back by plugging it in where it'd go in alt mode.  However, I couldn't find any way to store his other rifle.


In robot mode Ironwill doesn't really feel any bigger than Cupola, which I think is how it should be.  Yet where Cupola kind of collapses into himself Ironwill seems to find a way to expand in a transformation sequence that's slightly more intuitive but slightly less satisfying that Cupola.  The resulting tank mode is satisfyingly big and hefty, dwarfing any other tank-bot in my collection (to be fair, I think the biggest tank I have is Combiner Wars Leader Megatron).  Although not really any longer he manages to puff himself out wider enough to feel happily bigger than Cupola.  His alt mode is also very G1 with sharper yet mostly-identical sculpting on the barrel, the same molded circles on the top and sides of the rear treads, some orange translucent parts for the stickered vents on the G1 toy and some green and gunmetal paint for more stickered detail, but toned down to better suit the cartoon crowd.  Even the super narrow cockpit window is a G1 detail.


As with the G1 toy, you can plug his rifles into the alt mode.  One goes to the side of the cockpit window, and the other on top of the cockpit.  The entire cockpit can swivel a little bit, giving you a three-barreled tank.  The mushroom swivel lets the brown shoulder gun move up and down, and the hinge lets it aim outward.  A hinge that lets the handle fold it  allows the gun on top of the cockpit to aim upward, but the joint is a little loose for the weight of the barrel.  The third gun is fixed.  Maketoys split the forward treads into two, one in the upper arm and another in the forearm and all six treads are rubber and can roll over the wheels inside.


There's a seat inside the cockpit for little Ironwill to drive.  There are two little molded consoles at about hand level, but the cockpit lacks any of the painted detail that Cupola's has.  Behind the seat is a little shelf.  This shelf is for storing the spare face, which is kind of nice if you like the idea of storing all the accessories on the figure.  However, I couldn't find any way to tab or lock it in place on that shelf, so playing with the figure will cause it to start rattling around loose or or fall out.  It's easier for me to just put it back in the box.


There's one more question that's probably burning in your minds right now, and that's "Can little Ironwill ride shotgun with little Cupola in Cupola's car?"  The answer: yes!  If anything, little Ironwill looks more comfortable.  I know for some collectors MP figures are basically statues that get posed and put on a shelf, never to be touched again, but I for one definitely dig this play pattern.

So there you have it guys.  I don't know if it's because I found the transformation less satisfying or because I just don't like Hardhead as much as I like Chromedome, but between the two figures I definitely prefer Cupola.  However, Ironwill is still a great figure, with improved articulation over his Headmaster buddy and that same attention to sculpt and detail that makes him look very good in both robot and alt modes.  If you're a fan of Hardhead, Headmasters, or The Headmasters I'd easily recommend him.

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On 12/3/2017 at 10:40 PM, mikeszekely said:



If you don't want him holding the guns, you can flip the handles up and tab them into his back for storage.  Also, you can plug them in the other way and flip the red panel on his back up to have the guns pointing forward.  His head can't be attached for that, but it's an interesting option for the transtector body while the head is doing other stuff.


It's a GoBot!

As someone with a lot of fond memories of Bug Bite and ... Baron Von Joy, I think it was? ... I mean this in the nicest possible way.  I just wish the entire windshield unit could come up, that would REALLY make me smile..


7 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

While Chromedome was the capable-yet-eager prototpe for Hot Shots yet to come, Hardhead was portrayed as his stubborn and slower yet strong and dependable sidekick.


"The ranger isn't going to like this, Chromedome."

Sorry, I read that and can't stop imagining Hardhead as Booboo now.

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