Friday, July 28, 2017

Movie Masterpiece Optimus Prime

Having picked up Movie Masterpiece Bumblebee, I figured I might as well get the big blue guy too. Movie Masterpiece Optimus Prime at least looks pretty good in robot mode, but he has a half-assed paint job.

I wanted to like his vehicle mode, but it's so finicky. Panels kept wanting to come undone and stress marks started appearing on the red panels where his legs tab into his arms. I'm aware there is a way to prevent that gap under his front windshield, but I didn't want to stress the plastic anymore. It's a pity. I love how the red on his hood has metallic flakes. Too bad the blue parts didn't get the same treatment. Aesthetically, I think the fuel tanks are a bit small and sit rather high. He rolls fairly well on three pairs of plastic tires, but I think his kneepads will rub against the ground. Unfortunately, the minuscule Autobot log on his grille will disappear in robot mode.

Transformation to robot mode is complex, but not as bad as I thought it would be. He's not quite a floppy mess in between modes; certainly not as bad as Badcube Wardog or Sunsurge. His right abdomen cover doesn't want to peg into its socket unless I position it at an extreme angle. His right kneepad doesn't peg in either. More annoyingly, his back panels don't even have tabs to keep them in place. Going back to truck mode is rather tricky. Quite a few tabs refused to stay plugged in for some reason. I want to repeat that stress marks appeared in various places from tabs pushing on their sockets. There are a also few places where the hinges and swivels are made of transparent plastic.

I think his robot mode does a wonderful job of capturing his CGI model. His face swap gimmick is very easy to use and feels far sturdier than the battle mask on Bumblebee. This is definitely preferable to having to unscrew or remove heads and having to store extra pieces somewhere. I will definitely be displaying him with his battle mask on since I just can't picture Optimus Prime with a mouth. Either face is wonderfully detailed, probably the most sculpted of any figure in my collection. He has Die-cast in his feet, shins, and abdomen, giving him quite a substantial heft. I would be careful about displaying him on rough surfaces because his front grill is the bottom of his feet.

His paint applications seem to be incomplete - the blue and red flame motif only covers the front of his biceps and thighs, leaving the sides and backs in gray plastic; his gas tanks are also only half-painted; his abdomen, shins, and feet are devoid of any paint applications despite the product shots on the box; and I can't believe I have to put an Autobot emblem on an official figure because the spot  on his chest is missing the logo. I'm glad I took up painting minis as a hobby since I think I'm confident enough to add detailing to his Die-cast parts. 

His head is on a hinge and swivel. Although he can look up but not down, doing so destroys his neck sculpt. His shoulders are on hinges and ratcheted swivels. He can raise his arms up and out just slightly past 90 degrees, seemingly being stopped only because of the kibble on his biceps. He swivels at his biceps, wrists, and thighs. His single-jointed elbows can curl past 90 degrees. His thumbs are on hinges and the rest of his fingers are single-pinned, with his pointing fingers articulating separately from the rest. His pointing fingers also have hinges at the second knuckles. Bumblebee has better designed fingers. He doesn't seem to have a waist swivel. His hips are on universals with ratchets along the frontal axis. He can neither perform a full front splits nor a full side splits because of his tire kibble and butt flap. He has double-jointed knees, with ratchets in the upper parts of the joints, which allow him to almost perform full curls. They can also bend forward. Again, I have to ask, why? His ankles are on rockers and hinges and seem pretty stable. At the least, he doesn't lean backwards like Bumblebee tends to.

His accessories include a rifle, two blades, and the Matrix of Leadership. The rifle is mostly gray plastic with some line work and a gradient to black at the barrel. It uses a Masterpiece-styled tab that works surprisingly well. The blades are mirror images of each other and slot onto his wrists behind the back of his hands. They are a mix of metallic silver paint and translucent yellow plastic, with the same Cybertronian character on each blade. All the weapons can peg onto the trailer hitch in vehicle mode. Unfortunately, you cannot store the blades separately from the rifle. Found in his chest, the Matrix of Leadership is all Die-cast, but it is rather uninspired and much smaller when compared to what comes with MP-10. The sculpt is not helped by the peg holes that inexplicably sit on both sides and destroy what could have been some beautiful line work. Like Bumblebee, his instructions comes on cheap-feeling paper. He does not come with a coin.

I have a shelf set aside for Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. Although I'm still not a big fan of this aesthetic, it's kind of growing on me, at least with the toys. Despite the rather subpar paint job, he definitely captures the look of his onscreen source material. Too bad the truck mode is a let down. Seems to be a running theme with these Movie Masterpiece figures. I’ll likely pick up Barricade and not be surprised if the vehicle mode is subpar as well. Hopefully, one of the versions of Megatron doesn't take too long to come out.

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