Thursday, April 6, 2017

Takara Masterpiece Grapple

Masterpiece Grapple has some unexpected changes from Inferno that make him more than just a simple remold. Despite a couple of articulation issues, he is an awesome figure.

As a construction vehicle, Grapple is about on par with Inferno's firetruck mode. Mastermind Creations Girder has more chrome detail and Maketoys Wrestle has a longer crane. The orange paint is glossy. I like it much more than the flat purple of Masterpiece Shockwave. Some additional paint applications can be found on the crane and rear of the vehicle. The crane doesn't swivel, but it can raise to about 45 degrees and extend a bit. The working hydraulic is a nice detail. There is a hinge near the end that makes more sense for the claw or scoop accessory. The hook is on a hinge and has metallic paint. The support pylons on either side can slide out and extend downward. He rolls very well on six plastic tires. His rifle can store under the crane. Compared to Inferno, there are a few subtle differences in some of the panels along the sides. The crane and its articulating mechanism are obviously different.

Transformation is almost the same as Inferno. His backpack and calves form in a slightly different manner. Fortunately, the crane also folds and disappears away. Unfortunately, his front tires don't seem to peg in at a higher point on his sides. Going back to vehicle mode is simple and not at all fiddly.

Robot mode is gorgeous. Like Inferno, I love how the hidden crane gives his back a clean, kibble-free look. Unfortunately, there seems to be some dents and divots in my copy - in his ab section, his right thigh, and a couple of spots on his shins. No new paint application is revealed in robot mode. I like how his legs have some line work rather than the flat panels of Inferno and Ironhide. I'm finding that I prefer the proportions of Takara Inferno and Grapple over those of Maketoys and Mastermind Creations.

His head is on a ball joint and the entire helmet piece is on a swivel. He can look up but not down. His shoulders are on ratcheted swivels and hinges. They can raise outward and upward to 90 degrees, but they are prone to separating from his body. I don't seem to experience this with Inferno. He has single-jointed elbows and ratcheted, single-jointed knees. The elbows can curl a little more than 90 degrees while the knees curl to only 90 degrees. His thumbs are fixed and his fingers are single-pinned and articulate as one unit. He swivels at the biceps and thighs. His waist swivel is seriously impeded by his tires and his butt flap. If you don't peg in the tires and let them sit up higher but loosely and also raise the butt flap at an angle, he has a bit more range of motion. His hips are on ratcheted universals that let him do a full side splits but only a partial front splits. That butt flap gets in the way again. On my figure, the ratchets also seem to be spaced somewhat unevenly between his left and right legs. He has ankle rockers and ratcheted tilts.

His accessories include a rifle, a welding torch, his solar tower, a chrome hand cannon, a bucket, a claw, an alternate front grill, and an alternate head and three alternate face plates. His rifle is dark grey plastic. It is not identical to Inferno's rifle, but is done in the same style. There is no paint and the line work is minimal. The welding torch has some silver paint. Both use Masterpiece-styled tabs that I wish Takara would switch out for something else. The solar tower is my favorite of his accessories. The solar panels are painted and the line work adds a lot of appeal. The top part is on a swivel and is detachable. The solar panels are all on hinges. The plans for the solar tower are also included in the box as a sheet of paper. It's not large enough to spread across two figures. His chrome and plastic hand cannons are identical except for the finish. The bucket is on a swivel and hinge and is deep enough to hold the miniature people that come with some figures. The claw is also on a swivel and hinge, with articulated fingers that probably have more tension than found in those carnival claw games. The alternate grill for the vehicle has grey plastic instead of chrome. The alternate head is black instead of yellow. The alternate faces are happy, sad, and screaming. The sad and screaming faces only work with the black head. The happy and default faces only work with the yellow head. All his alternate accessories are easy to swap.

Grapple will go on my main Masterpiece shelf. The loss of some articulation in his hips and waist is rather annoying, but he does look fantastic. The simpler lines in the legs of figures starting with Ironhide can be a bit jarring when seen next to the older car bots. It's an aesthetic that is growing on me though. Slowly, but surely, Takara is giving us some awesomely cartoon accurate figures. I can't wait for more.


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