When I was young, I was a fan of the Transformers, both the cartoon and the toy line. Unfortunately, the toys never really measured up to the details and articulation of the cartoon series. You really had to use your imagination and pretend they looked like they did in the television show. But we made do with what we got; they were the closest thing we could get at the time.
That was then. This is now.
In 2003, Takara Tomy started making the Masterpiece line of Transformers figures. Instead of the really simple transformations of the original toyline and toys/robots that didn’t look like their cartoon counterparts, Takara Tomy’s Masterpiece line featured really complex (and fun to do) transformation instructions as well as making them look almost like their cartoon counterparts.
And the toys are just getting better and better! The last release was the Masterpiece version of Ultra Magnus and it looks fantastic!
While the new Ultra Magnus figure is beautiful, I still think they skipped a few Autobots that are more deserving of the Masterpiece treatment. I can name five off the top of my head. Which is exactly what I’m going to do right now!
When Takara Tomy made Sideswipe/Lambor, I held off getting it because I thought they were also going to release his “brother” later. I wanted to get both of them at the same time. Now, 2 to 3 odd years later, I’m still waiting.
He may seem like an odd choice since Takara Tomy released a yellow variant for Sideswipe named Tigertracks. Most toy collectors to think that is supposed to be Sunstreaker. Sorry, Takara Tomy! Not buying it. Sideswipe and Sunstreaker’s transformation sequences are radically different from each other so I can’t fake it.
Sunstreaker makes my list because of my personal bias. I really wanted a Sunstreaker toy when I was a kid. There was just something about the yellow color and the weird engine mod he had on the back that made him stand out and look different from the plain looking Sideswipe alt mode (if you can call a Lamborghini Countach “plain looking” is a totally different argument). I also like his portrayal as a rather vain and superficial character in the cartoon, which was very different from the other “heroic” Autobots.
Besides Grimlock, all of the Autobots in the current Masterpiece line are all “street legal” vehicles. Well, I think they should include one that isn’t! And Mirage definitely fits the bill!
Mirage definitely has a lot going for him. The colors scheme used really looks fantastic, even up to now. And his vehicle mode is spot on. His robot mode on the other hand… well, let’s just say it’s just begging for an update. It’s really weird that when Mirage is in his F1 car mode, he looks like a sleek and speedy thing. But, transform him in robot mode, he looks like a short and stubby slowpoke. Really, really strange.
Of course, that was because not enough time and effort was put into the designing of toys at the time (they were in it to make a quick buck after all). But with today’s level of engineering available, I don’t see why they can’t make a Mirage figure that would look great in both modes!
When compiling this list, I thought I needed to add at least one character from the 1986 animated film. And since they already have a Masterpiece Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime figure, shouldn’t Kup get the Masterpiece treatments also?
For a futuristic looking toy, Kup is rather plain looking. His vehicle form is decent looking but isn’t the prettiest looking Cybertronian pick-up truck I’ve seen. But his robot mode? Wow, that’s just weird looking! The proportions are all over the place! The grizzled war veteran definitely deserved better! Which is exactly why I would want to see a Masterpiece version of Kup.
The designer of Masterpiece Kup is they can take some liberties with both the robot and vehicle modes since they aren’t tied to a real thing! While they do have to get him to look like how he did in the cartoon, they don’t have to pay and licensing fees to get it done! And they really should make a Masterpiece Kup.
Speaking of the animated movie, there were only three of the original G1 Autobots that survived till the end of that film. One of them was Bumblebee who got his Masterpiece version recently. The other is Cliffjumper who transforms into a nondescript mini sports car, allegedly a Porshe, and wouldn’t be a fun Masterpiece figure because of the weird proportions.
And, of course, there’s Jazz; someone who really deserves to get his own Masterpiece figure.
I actually think he doesn’t look that bad in both car and robot modes. Unlike all the other Autobots on this list, Jazz managed to get away from being struck with the ugly stick. That doesn’t make him a fun toy, though as the figure (like most of the original G1 Transformers) has very, very, very little articulation. The legs totally have no joints at all so all you can do is pretend that he’s flying into action!
Of course, all of those issues can be remedied if they made a Masterpiece Jazz figure. Just sayin’.
In my opinion, this is the most glaring omission from the Autobot Masterpiece line for a plethora of reasons.
Do you see that pic above? All I have to say is WOOF! That’s a dog of a figure! I can forgive a lot when it comes to the G1 Transformer toys. But Ironhide’s toy is unforgivable! There are just so many things wrong with it!
First off, the toy is ugly! it’s painful looking at it! It doesn’t even have a real head; you had to put a sticker on a post and pretend it was Ironhide’s head. Second, the transformation totally sucks! To transform the toy, you had to split Ironhide’s van into two components: the actual “robot” mode and his mini-battle platform… which Ironhide doesn’t need to do in the cartoon!
But the most atrocious sin the G1 toy commits is the fact it doesn’t look like the cartoon version of Ironhide at all! Ziltch. Nada. The only two things they got right was that Ironhide is a van and he’s got a red tint. Then again, even the shade of red used isn’t correct so it’s actually just one thing! I do know that the toys came first before the cartoon/comics. But why is Ironhide’s design so drastically different from the toy? I don’t think I would have this huge of a problem if the cartoon/comic Ironhide looked like the extremely ugly toy.
Then again, maybe I should be glad they took a lot of liberties as the toy’s robot mode is just horrendous!
I honestly hope that, somewhere in the back rooms of Takara Tomy’s offices, there’s a team of engineers that are hard at work designing a Masterpiece Ironhide figure. If they announce it (and it looks like the cartoon), I’ll be extremely elated! And I’ve a feeling I’m not going to be the only one.
Which Autobot do you believe deserve to become part of the Masterpiece Transformers line? Let me know in the comments section below.