Kool Kollectibles content

7 Sep 2019

Transformers Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime (Convoy)

Optimus Prime is understandably one of the most revered characters in Transformers lore, and by all accounts is immensely popular in Japan. It's no surprise that Takara will always look to improving on previously released figures of Optimus Prime, known as Convoy in Japan.

The iconic MP-10 mold was released in September 2011, almost 8 years to the day. It became the benchmark in scale and quality for all subsequent MP releases, and was one of the reasons I started collecting Transformers toys again in 2012!

But things move fast in toy technology, and engineering design techniques have grown more sophisticated in dramatic ways over the past few years. Takara really stepped up their game with new molds such as MP-33 Inferno, MP-36 Megatron, and MP-39 Substreaker. These figures brought in a new era of ultra cartoon accuracy, sculpting, and paint application; complex transformations; and amazing articulation.

This new MP-44 Optimus takes all of that and presents the definitive G1 cartoon Optimus Prime. With any release like this, there's always controversy and the inevitable comparisons with past figures and new 3rd party equivalents. I'll discuss more on that below.

Click through below to see my two-part review over on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel!

Part 1: Covers accessories and truck mode, with comparison against MP-10.
Part 2: Covers transformation risky/tricky parts, knee joint articulation, and bot mode comparison against MP-10.

Hope you can check out the videos, and also read through below for more of my thoughts.

Part 1: 

Part 2:

This set comes stacked with accessories, most of which are of very high quality. The changes that Takara have made to the trailer and its related parts are a big improvement over what was included with MP-10, and add a lot of display options and playability to the set.

The new removable gun tower itself is very nicely done, with lots of options to use it with Roller, separately on its own, or integrated with the trailer. I can't recall if all of those options were depicted in the G1 cartoon, but it's great that Takara are giving thought to these options when designing their new figures.

Their love of the G1 cartoon also shows through the inclusion of specific accessories for scenes from the cartoon, such as the Starscream head/air intakes and the jet pack. These give that extra bit of nostalgia to the cartoon for those wanting that photo opportunity. I really hope the Starscream head is a teaser for a new Seeker mold that is sorely needed! The likeness is perfect to the cartoon version.


The swap out head sculpts are also great for collectors to vary up how their Optimus looks. I personally prefer the stock head sculpt from Season 2. The Season 1 head sculpt has a rounder jaw/mouth plate, and somehow doesn't seem quite like the Optimus I remember from my Saturday mornings in front of the TV.

The battle damaged sculpt is decent, and goes well with the damaged torso piece to replicate the scene from the 1986 movie. But since it's only those two pieces of battle damage, it doesn't really go all that well with the rest of the figure. Decent for a one-off photo opportunity, but I doubt they will be used much.

The axe and shooting effects are also accessories I'm not sure will be used too often. The axe is smaller than MP-10's, but is made of a decent transluscent plastic. For this one, I think the MP-10 axe is better.

The new MP-44 blaster rifle however is definitely better! It's significantly larger and suits the character so much better. It also has a storage gimmick on the back in bot mode, where it clips in like he has it slung over his shoulder. Still a pretty silly gimmick like the MP-10 folding gun in the back. I won't ever display it like that.


This time Takara packaged the figure in truck mode, unlike most other larger MPs that are shipped in bot mode. So the above photo will likely be the only one for many years showing him in truck mode in my collection! I rarely transform my figures once displayed because it takes me so long to do it!

People have complained that they think it has too many panels in truck mode, but I think it looks great. From videos I've seen, once you get it back from bot mode to truck mode and carefully align panels, it mostly clips together well. The main issues have been around the chromed fuel tanks, but most photos after a couple of transformations have looked fine.

For me, the trailer is a real surpise. It's lacking the blue stripe along the sides due to cartoon accuracy, but the rest of the trailer is painted in a beautiful gun metal grey. The longer ramp is also nice to finally get the cars rolling out better.

I love that the gun tower can be removed or integrated into the trailer base. The trailer also has metal parts to allow the minifigs to stand with the magnets in their feet. Check out my video for all the details on the internals of the trailer.


Although the truck mode is nice, the bot mode is always where it's at for me regarding the MP figures. I love the cartoon accurate aesthetic that Takara are going for, and this MP-44 takes Optimus to a whole new level.

The head sculpt, paint application, and overall sculpting is just phenomenal. The body proportions perfectly reflect his cartoon look, and the gloosy paint app simply makes the figure pop on display. Almost every surface is painted, and it gives the figure a presence on display that is of very high quality.

There are a few risk areas for paint scratches during transformation, such as the yellow parts on the crotch piece and the grey areas under the armpits. But if you follow the instructions and videos of the transformation, you'll go a long way to avoid paint scratches.


The chest and arms of MP-44 are the biggest improvements for me over MP-10. There is no longer a gorilla-like stance for this figure. The arms have a nice curved design that just makes the character look so natural and almost organic. That is in stark contrast to MP-10 and the newer 3rd party figures that still have the block look of the torso and arms.

There have been complaints about the ability to insert the matrix into the chest cavity. I'm not sure why that is, since mine inserted all the way without any issue. The position of the cavity itself is not as cartoon accurate, with it being lower in the chest. It would've looked better if it was higher like it was shown in the cartoon. Luckily I don't display him like that, so it's a non-issue for me.


Another major source of complaints is the backpack in bot mode. Once it's transformed, it's actually not as big as photos or some collectors are making it out to be! It integrates well with the figure and its overall proportions so it doesn'treally bother me at all.

My photo above shows that it's not hugely massive, and many collectors love the sound features so it's a decent design compromise. There are also comparison pics against MP-10 below that show it's only slightly larger. I've done actual measurements and it's mainly wider more than anything.

The stand out feature for MP-44 is its incredible articulation. It is by far the most poseable Optimus figure that I've seen. Some have complained that it is very "gappy" but most pics show it still looks great even in extreme dynamic poses.


An area of concern has been the knee articulation. Part 2 of my video review shows how to articulate the knee to avoid damage. When bending, you must rotate the top ratchet first which reveals a slot behind the knee. This slot allows a blue tab related to the lower ratchet to slide into when you start rotating the lower ratchet. Do the reverse when extending the knee straight.

If you don't follow the above, you risk rotating the lower ratchet without moving the blue tab, which will damage the ratchet mechanism. If you follow it, you'll be able to safely get the figure into some awesome crouching poses.

The ingenious auto folding of the front hip plate also allows great movement. The fact it automatically slides up when you rotate the leg forward is just amazing. This is the type of engineering that sets Takara ahead of the competition.


In comparing the new figure against MP-10, the differences in body proportions and paint application really become apparent. The blockiness in the arms and chest of MP-10, plus its gorilla-like length, are areas definitely improved in MP-44.

The paint application is also much brighter than the unpainted plastic of MP-10. The whites of the legs look so much nicer than the grey plastic thighs of MP-10.

The backpacks between the two are actually surprisingly close in size. The 3rd party figures have smaller back packs due to a simpler transformation design and no sound feature. It will come down to what you value more when deciding which figure you prefer. I don't display my figures facing backwards, so it's a non-issue for me.


MP-44 was obviously designed to complement MP-36 Megatron. They look incredible displayed together, and really do represent the definitive versions of their G1 characters.

If you're a G1 TF fan, I don't think you'll be disappointed with MP-44. Sure there's a higher price, but that's due to all the contents included in the box! I don't think it's a valid comparison against prices of 3rd party figures that don't have anywhere near the contents included.

For me, this is definitely worth the price. Be sure to order direct from Japanese retailers to get far better prices than USA retailers. I got mine from Nippon-Yasan for US$340 shipped to my door. With everything you get in the set, it is worth every penny!


Hot Toys MMS477 Obi-Wan Kenobi (Episode 3)

I'm not a massive Star Wars prequel fan, but after seeing how awesome the Anakin Skywalker figure turned out, I had to get this Obi-Wan to complement it. And Hot Toys have certainly done another fantastic job.

Click through below to check out my full video review over on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel!


It comes pretty well stacked with accessories, even with this standard version. I didn't feel the need to get the Deluxe set with the Luke baby and hologram set. The chopped up Battle Droid is very nicely detailed, and I'm sure a Hot Toys full figure version of that would be pretty amazing.

I havent actually taken any more photos of the figure itself yet as I've been too lazy! But overall the details on the figure are as you would expect with Hot Toys Jedi figures. The robe material is very nice, and I love the way the hood hangs over the head. It doesnt have a wire like the Anakin figure, and works better because of it.

The only thing that scares me about the figure is the hard pleather material used on the boots. Other similar figures have softer pleather, but this one is harder and feels like it might be more prone to cracking over time. I won't be overdoing the poses on this one anyway, so hopefully it's not a long term issue.


There were early complaints about the softness in the head sculpt, but I think it's on par with all the other figures that Hot Toys have released. The paint application and skin tone are the usual high standard, and the detailing in the beard is very nice too. The likeness is a perfect representation of Obi-Wan in Episode 3.

It looks amazing next to Anakin, and hopefully Hot Toys continues this great work with Qui-Gon Jinn. I'm sure they'll announce an Episode 1 Obi-Wan too, so collectors really can get the full Obi-wan evolution in Hot Toys figures!


Transformers Masterpiece MP-10G Optimus Prime Ghostbusters

The Transformers Masterpiece MP-10 mold must be one of the most repainted Optimus Prime molds ever. I've lost track of how many they have done, and almost resisted getting this Ghostbusters crossover version.

But early inhand photos swayed me to click that preorder link, so it was a bit of an impulse buy. Overall, it's a nice repaint, and I do like the little Slimer that comes with it.

Click through below to check out the full video review over on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel!


Packaging has a decent gimmick to use it as a proton pack, but I haven't even bothered undoing the plastic wraps on the backpack straps. I'll keep it like that in case I ever decide to sell this!


The repainted details look pretty nice, and I especially like the Roller addition to make it look like the ghost trap. The trailer itself is OK, but I probably would've preferred the Evangelion trailer to be honest.


In bot mode the details are also pretty nice. The head sculpt suffers the same dead eyes as the original Takara MP-10. I'm not sure why they couldn't have gone the extra mile ti paint them red like they did with the TRU MP-10 release with the blue eyes.

The addition of the proton backpack that attaches to his blaster rifle is a nice throwback to the Ghostbusters in keeping with this crossover too.


All in all, it's a nice piece for 80s fans that love both Transformers and Ghostbusters. Would've been even better if they had done this with the new MP-44 mold instead, but I'm sure they'll repaint the crap out of that mold too!


9 Aug 2019

Transformers Masterpiece MP-18+ Bluestreak

If you've followed Kool Kollectibles for a while, you'll know that I love the Transformers Masterpiece series of figures. Even when they started re-issuing molds in this "+" series, I was happy to get them as variants on the original figures.

This new MP-18+ Bluestreak is no exception, with some nice little tweaks to sweeten the package. Click through below to watch my full video review on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel. Hope you can give the video a thumbsup and subscribe to stay tuned for upcoming reviews!


The included set of accessories isn't all that extensive, but what you do get is of decent quality. I love the swap out face sculpts that really open up the options for display and poses with the figure. My favourite is definitely the smiling face that gives the character a lot of expression on display next to his stoic Autobot friends.

The blast effect pieces are good for the odd photo opportunity, but I don't think look all that great on display. There is an extra small piece that the instructions say are related to the upcoming MP-44 Optimus figure in some way, so it will be interesting how that works.


Collectors against the "+" series point out that they hate the matte style of the paint application. This new Bluestreak is perhaps the one that stands out most in that regards due to the amount of grey. But I was pleasantly surprised to see that the grey has a nice subtle metallic sheen to it, so it's not just a dull flat grey. It's very similar to the grey finish on the MP-36 Megatron and I think looks nice in hand.

If the dark grey hood was just a shade darker, it might look a tad better, but they really went with as much cartoon accuracy as they could here. The windows are blue, the wheels are grey, and I love the three or four different shades of grey on various parts of the body that give it more differentiation. The original is almost too dark in places, although the high gloss black hood looks great.


In car mode against the others, I think the original and the MP-18B version stand out as the best. Those definitely look as close to real world gorgeous Nissan Fairladies as you can get. The darker wheels, grey windscreens, and high gloss/metallic finish really work best in this car mode.

Where the MP-18+ shines, as with all other "+" figures, is in bot mode. I didn't struggle as much as with MP-20+ Wheeljack to get him into bot mode, which was great. Once in bot mode, the joints are still nice and tight, and nothing felt overly delicate. The head sculpt was a more difficult to swing past the hood during transformation due to a slightly larger head sculpt, but be careful in fitting it through and you should be OK.


In direct comparison to the original in bot mode, you will definitely see a marked difference in how much darker the original paint application looks. It's the only reason I think it would looks slightly better with a darker hood.

But similar to car mode, the various shades of grey actually give more differentiating aspects to the figure, especially around the chest. The head sculp too is far superior to the original sculpt, which was only slightly different to the MP-17 Prowl sculpt. The new sculpt really makes this figure it's own character.


As with all other "+" figures I have in the collection, I'll definitely display the new figure in bot mode with the original in its classic car mode. It really is the best of both worlds! I'm looking forward to MP-19+ early next year, and that will likely be the last Nissan mold I buy in this series.

For fans of the figures and of the cartoon, I certainly recommend these "+" figures, especially if you're going to continue collecting the series for the forseeable future. They blend in well with the latest crop of figures.


6 Aug 2019

Transformers Masterpiece MP-20+ Wheeljack

I love the Transformers Masterpiece series, especially the G1 figures. I've even got all the "+" variants for their more cartoon accurate paint application, and this MP-20+ Wheeljack is no exception.

As always, the "+" variant looks best in bot mode I think. But click through below to check out my full video review on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel and have a look for yourself! Hope you can give the video a thumbsup and subscribe too!


You get the usual contents out of the box. This time I got the figure from Big Bad Toy Store, who had to wait months apparently for Hasbro USA to release the figure. And all they did was add a completely useless black wrapper box over the usual Takara box! A completely useless time waster that adds nothing to the figure except a 5 months wait over the Japanese/HK release of the figure!


The car mode looks decent, but rather plain in comparison to the original release or the MP-23 Exhaust repaint. This is certainly cartoon accurate, but is where the "+" variants can't really shine. I do love the fact that the white is now painted white, not unpainted white plastic, which makes it a lot brighter than the original figure. The blue windscreen also gives a nice contrast to the overall aesthetic, but looks even better in bot mode.


As always, it's the bot mode where the "+" variants truly shine. In the pic below you can see how much brighter the white is compared to the original. The blue windscreen and less decals around the torso area also make the definition and proportions of the bot mode appear better. Even the lower legs are better with this clearer style in bot mode.


I love that they improved the inner areas of the lower legs, using white paint in areas where the original had black plastic. This helps to blend the leg and feet together in much more seamless way. The new immobilser is also repainted, with more of the matte painted finish compared to the metallic sheen of the previous version. The extra red panels give it that extra bit of detail too.


With the matte finish on the head sculpt, wings, and shoulder cannon, the cartoon accurate repaint is as good as we can get for this mold. It all looks fantastic, and blends in perfectly with the more MP releases and the other "+" variants. They look like the cartoon just came alive on your shelf!

I know many collectors think the MP series is taking a step back with these "+" repaints. But I don't mind them at all. I prefer my main characters to be in bot mode, and these "+" variants give me the best possible representation of the cartoon aesthetic. The original releases, with all their real world decals, look fantastic in car mode! It really is the best of both worlds, and I'm very happy to have both in my collection.

I'm definitely looking forward to finishing the Nissan Fairlady "+" variants next year with MP-19+ Smokescreen. I am totally expecting them to announce a "+" version for Tracks as well. Here's hoping they announce more new molds too after Hound!


2 Aug 2019

Kotobukiya Horror Bishoujo Michael Myers

The Horror Bishoujo series by Kotobukiya has been one of my favourite statue lines. This new addition in Michael Myers from Halloween is perhaps the first that hasn't really wowed me out of the box.

Check out the link below for my full video review over on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel. Hope you can give the video a thumbsup and subscribe too!


Here are some pics of the statue showing off the nice sculpting and paint application. I just wish the pose and head sculpt were a bit more lively. She seems rather too bored with things the way it is :D

The mask in particular is disappointing, where it's just a throw away thing on the floor. It would've been much better if she was holding the mask in the other hand.


 

Together with the others in the series, the collection certainly looks great. I hope they continue the series with more iconic characters from classic horror movies!


1 Aug 2019

ThreeA DLX Scale Bumblebee

I wasn't a huge fan of the recent Bumblebee movie, so steered away from getting figures from the movie. However, quite a few collector friends contacted me about this ThreeA DLX scale Bumblebee figure, which they said was a fantastic figure.

After seeing some pose photos and more messages from friends, I decided to take the plunge and check out what all the fuss was about. And I am so glad that I did! This is my first ThreeA figure, and it definitely won't be my last! It truly is an incredible figure!

Click through below to check out my video review over on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel. Hope you can give the video a thumbsup and subscribe too! Read on below for more of my thoughts.


The set doesn't come with a huge amount of accessories, and more swap out weapons like his sword type hand would've been nice. But what you do get is of high quality. The swap out forearm with his arm cannon is very nicely detailed. I love how you can see the fingers in their transformed position along the front barrel.

The paint app and sculpting detail on the hands are superb. I just wish they gave a few more expressive hands, or even made the fingers movable! The swap out head sculpt is also good, with the battle mask a nice alternative. One thing I did notice was that the Autobot insignia on both head sculpts was very clean, unlike the dirty wash that was on early photos. It would seem like the early batch of figures had a much dirtier wash on them, whereas more recent batches like mine are much cleaner.


Either way, the paint app on this figure is amazing! The dirt wash is realistically applied, and I would've preferred it even more dirty. I ended up using my kids' black art pencil to draw and smear on some additional weathering. It gives the figure such a realistic worn style. The yellow is a nice hue in hand, and the silver and grey areas have a nice rusted appearance too.

I went with the smaller doors on his back, which I think is more accurate to the movie. The larger doors can be used to give him more of a Bayformers look I believe. I love that the overall design of this Bumblebee is much more akin to the G1 character, rather than the overly busy design of the Bayformers version.


Where this figure really shines is the articulation and build quality. The heft on this thing is significant, and you feel it as soon as you lift it out of the box. They have used diecast in all the right places, designing it for stability in almost any pose.

The joints, while quite tight the first time you move them, never feel like they're going to break. The articulation is incredible, with subtle movement in places you only expect from larger or more expensive figures. The knees in particular are a joy to move, with pistons that move seamlessly with the rest of the leg to give incredible motion in the knee.

You do need to be careful adusting the position of certain plates and panels as they move, but it's all quite intuitive and never too delicate that you're afraid to move it.


Since it's a non-transforming figure, they're able to include all the details that you see in the movie representation. No compromises need to be made to allow the transformation, and in this figure I am glad they went with that approach.

There's just so much detail to take in on the figure. Minute details in the sculpt and paint app are apparently on the front as well as the rear. This figure looks senstational from every angle, unlike transforming figures that almost always only look good from certain angles.


I wasn't a huge fan of this recent Bumblebee movie. I loved the character designs and the throwbacks to the 80s, but the overall story was a little too cheesy for me. I wasn't even planning on getting this figure, but am I so glad I did! It's right up there with some of the best Transformers figures I have in the collection. I am definitely looking forward to getting the upcoming Optimus Prime. If they decide to make the Soundwave, Shockwave, and Seekers, I would definitely get them too! Highly recommended!


Here's the figure alongside my other TF Masterpiece Bumblebee figures. A great addition to any Transformers collection!


30 Jun 2019

Collection pics from past couple of months

I post photos of my collection every now and then on the Kool Kollectibles Facebook page, so thought I'd post up a few of those here on the website too. Hope you like them!

Always love the odd Lego set, and this new Lunar Lander is fantastic. It's a great complement to their previous Saturn V set. Love the gold coloured plates, and the stickers weren't so scary this time!

 
 



Kmart Australia has a range of $10 licenced t-shirts, and I just had to pick up the Back to the Future and Masters of the Universe prints. Using their free online click and collect service, I was in and out of my local store under 5 minutes! Great stuff!



It's a shame that Kotobukiya have only ever released two Star Wars Bishoujo statues. I don't take too many photos of the Mara Jade and Jaina Solo statues, so thought I'd give them some attention. Great looking statues. I just wish Kotobukiya had released their Stormtrooper that they teased!

 


I also don't give too much attention to a couple of their early Bishoujo statues from various movie sources. The MIB and Ghostbusters statues aren't that great compared to the new statues these days, but a nice bit of variety in the collection.

 


Also finally got another addition to the Bishoujo Horror series with Pinhead. One of their best and most detailed I think. The gang together certainly look fantastic with all their iconic and instantly recognisable outfits.





Speaking of statues, I love Street Fighter and this 1/3 scale Chun-Li by Pop Culture Shock is a beautiful addition! A few nits to pick, but overall a definite keeper for me.



Spent some time cleaning the cabinet too, and it was a good time to give a quick dusting to the Empire Strikes Back Tauntaun, Luke, and Han 1/6th scale figures from Sideshow. These three still look pretty bloody awesome displayed together! 




Lastly on the Transformers front, it's been a pretty slow year. I'm still waiting on MP-20+ Wheeljack, with MP-18+ Bluestreak hopefully not too far behind. But for now, I thought I'd catch up on some cards and coins pics for those that I missed previously.





These two will be retired to their awesome car modes when their respective "+" versions are released. Those always look better in bot mode with their more cartoon accurate paint application. These look amazing with their more detailed paint apps in car mode. Best of both worlds!

 


Hopefully we get some more Diaclone repaints soon too. Still hoping for a black Ironhide and a red Sunstreaker!