Kool Kollectibles content

24 Nov 2023

Storm Collectibles Gatchaman Ken (Battle of the Planets)

The only figures I have from Storm Collectibles are those from their Ultra Street Fighter 2 series. But being a lover of 80s cartoons as well as Street Fighter, I couldn't resist when they announced their were doing figures from Gatchaman, also known as Battle of the Planets outside of Japan. 

It was a bit of a wait, but the final result was pretty nice! Click the link below to watch my video review over on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel.

As always, Storm have included quite a few accessories with this release. The various cape options are decent, but I would have preferred a single wired fabric cape to be honest. The paint work is nice, but the red on the inside the cape rubs off excessively onto the shoulders and arms of the figure itself.

Luckily I was able to gently rub off the red marks on the figure without damaging the white paint. But it's a major problem when you can't even pose the figure without getting marks all over it. I understand that they wanted to give collectors the ability to replicate some of the iconic poses from the cartoon, but I think it could've been achieved just as well with a wired, fabric cape.

The larger capes are also far too heavy, and ride up on the neck, which causes the cape to hang in strange ways. I think they are good for the quick photo opportunity, but the default static cape is perhaps best for display in your cabinet. It looks nice too, but hides a lot of the figure's body. Again, a fabric cape would've allowed collectors to pose the cape in their own way, in a dynamic form such as flowing in the wind, without having to go over the top with an action pose on the figure.

The head sculpts are OK, with decent lining and minimal paint bleed. The details on the helmet could've been a little sharper, but I like the way they've designed it. The visor can be removed, but it should stay on for cartoon accuracy I think. The stoic head sculpt is the one I'll be going with, although the snarling face is decent for the action poses with the larger capes.

The range of hands give all the right posing options, and the little batarang is nicely done too. It fits in the belt nicely. The belt is on a flouting crotch piece that does get caught in the hip area, so you may need a little tool to pry it back out when the hips catch them. Aside from that, the articulation and range of motion of the figure itself is the usual high quality from Storm.

I heard that some collectors thought the figure was too thin, but I think the proportions are great. It really does remind me of the cartoon style, although the head sculpt likeness could be better. If you've had other Storm figures, I think you'll be very familiar with how the body moves and all the joints.

The only other Gatchaman figures I have are the older figures from Sentinel. They never completed the team, and so I am really hoping that Storm do us collectors right by releasing the rest of the team. I believe they have teased Jun the Swan (aka Princess), but there has been no formal preorder release.

At this rate, it'll be years before they get anywhere near completing the team, which is a real shame. In the end, I am glad to have another 80s cartoon character in the collection, so I'll just keep on hoping and wishing the others will come.

23 Oct 2023

Bandai Star Wars Movie Realization Daimyo Boba Fett

Bandai continue to frustrate collectors with the ongoing repaints and retools in the Star Wars Movie Realization series. This Daimyo version of Boba Fett is no different, but I couldn't resist getting this since I'm such a sucker for repaints and trying to get every main figure in this series.

Click through below to watch my full video review over on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel.

Box and packaging are pretty much stock standard as with previous figures, so collectors know what they're going to get. Accessories are mostly rehashes from the previous figures, but at least they have the new Tuskan Raider gaffi stick and swap out gauntlet weapons.

The figure itself has a few points of difference in the armour, but obviously borrows a lot from the previous figures too. I do like the darker green paint on the armour, rather than the aqua green of the original. But in the end, it's really just another Boba figure, much like the various Mandalorian releases.

I find it difficult now to get excited about these figures, and probably won't be getting any more of the repaints. I really do wish they would at least release some new molds and characters in amongst the repaints. There were amazing prototypes displayed at past conventions, and concept art too, covering characters like Admiral Ackbar, Artoo, Gamorrean Guard, IG-88, and Yoda. It's extremely disappointing that they haven't released those from the original trilogy, but continue with Boba and Mandalorian repaints.

In the end, this might well be the last figure that I'll add to the Movie Realization series, unless Bandai really show something new.

30 Apr 2023

Tweeterhead Masters of the Universe Mer-Man Exclusive

The Masters of the Universe 1/5th scale statue series from Sideshow and now Tweeterhead has been a fantastic series for fans. They have released some mature, detailed, and beautiful interpretations of the classic characters from the old 80s cartoon show.

This new Mer-Man from Tweeterhead is no exception, and is a gorgeous addition to the series. Click through below to watch my full review on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel! It would be great if you could give the video a like, and also subscribe to stay tuned for more video content!

The packaging follows similar styled art to previous releases, with a couple of nice shots on the front and back. The contents are fairly well protected within the foam and plastic wrap packaging. With this Exclusive version via Sideshow, the statue comes with the extra trident, which looks fantastic. Both the regular version and the Exclusive come with both head sculpts.

It seems this Mer-Man will be the last Exclusive in the series from Tweeterhead. Their upcoming Trap Jaw and Skeletor only have one version that includes all swap out parts. This is OK for me, as it's definitely cheaper to buy locally in Australia without needing to order an Exclusive version from overseas.

Once setup, this Mer-Man simply looks fantastic from every angle. The sculpted detail on this one is particularly great with all the horns and spikes across the yellow/orangey armour. The shading differences in the yellow, orange, and browns really bring out the sculpted detail, and makes the armour really pop.

From early photos, I was a little concerned that the base and the snake-like scales were too greyish, as opposed to the slight purple hue from the previous Skeletor and Evil-Lyn bases. But in person, the purplish hue does come through and is noticeable. I love the shiny hue of the acid-like fluid from which he's standing from, and the join that hides part of his left foot is nicely done.

It would've been even better if they had included some more gloss on the tentacle that also comes from the fluid. The finish is a bit too matte, and some extra gloss would give it a nice slimey appearance similar to what they did with the Teela statue. But overall I think the base is fantastic.

The body itself has a great shade of green that not too cartoonish, but quite an attractive, realistic shade. There's enough black shading in all the right places to really bring out the scales and other detail in the skin sculpting too.

It all comes together really nicely with the yellowish armour, and makes for a mature interpretation of the character that suits the aesthetic of the previous releases perfectly. I like the stance too, that conveys just enough action in a static piece to be visually appealing.

It's great that the paint application and sculpting of the swap out head sculpts matches that of the body itself. One sculpt seems to be more an homage to the original 80s toy, with the ears more flared up vertically above the eyes. The other seems to be more an homage to the original 80s cartoon version, with the ears more flared horizontally out to the sides.

I prefer the latter, since the horizontally flared sculpt has the illusion of being larger and seems to be more in proportion with the body, at least to my eyes. But both sculpts have some incredible detail in the eyes, ears, mouth and teeth, so either option looks pretty awesome.

The swap out sword or trident also gives different options for display. Neither seem to be made of metal, which is fine since the sculpted detail and paint application are top notch. Both have quite sharp tips to their horns or spikes, so be careful in not chipping any of those. For me, I love the large style of the trident.

A feature that would've been incredible would have been if they had designed the sword to sit within the armour sheath on his back. But unfortunately it's sculpted into the swap out hand, and is not removable. That would've been an amazing detail that allowed both the Exclusive trident and the sword to be displayed together. That's essentially the design that Sideshow did with the original He-Man, where the Exclusive Battle Axe could be held whilst the Power Sword was placed on He-Man's back.

Setup and displayed with the other bad guys, the series of statues really does come alive. It's fantastic that Tweeterhead have taken over the series from Sideshow, yet maintained the mature aesthetic whilst adding their own beautiful touches.

Mer-Man adds a great bit of colour to the gang, and the upcoming Trap Jaw is going to add even more awesomeness to the series. I simply cannot wait for Tweeterhead to show us a coloured or painted prototype of Beastman. The digital sculpted image of that looks incredible!

Tweeterhead are also releasing a new Skeletor and He-Man it seems, which is fine for collectors who missed the original releases. I'm just glad that they're also doing some other characters too. Sorceress seems to be on their list too, and if they announce a Man-At-Arms and Tri Klops, I may well die happy that I have my favourite core cast members in this incredible series! Here's to hoping Tweeterhead all the best to keep this series going for many years to come.

25 Apr 2023

Storm Collectibles Ultra Street Fighter 2 Balrog

Storm Collectibles continues to release some pretty awesome figures across several source media, from more recent games to classic arcades, manga, and cartoons. For me, I love their Ultra Street Fighter 2 series of figures, as that's the game that I grew up playing in the 90s through high school and university.

Storm are pretty slow at releasing figures in any particular series since they seem to now be invested in so many licences. Each time an USF2 character is announced and released, it's always a great day for me. They have done another fantastic job with this new Balrog.

Click through below to watch the full review over on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel. Hope you can give the video a thumbs-up and subscribe to the channel too!

The set comes with a decent array of accessories, similar to what was included in previous USF2 figures. This time, they did include not just the swap out head sculpts, but also a complete swap out torso without the shirt.

This was actually a great way for me to become more familiar with their body design, as taking out the arms and torso revealed aspects of the internal body that I would not typically see or worry about. The joints are very tight, so I won't be swapping them much at all, and will likely just stick with his iconic torn white shirt and blue singlet style.

The topless torso has great muscle detail, and has the same functions with the butterfly joints, soft upper torso for rotation and flex, and the lower abdomen area that rotates atop a tight ball joint. Either style looks fantastic, and coupled with the awesome head sculpts, the figure simply excudes charisma and shelf presence.

The paint application is a stand out for me, with a beautiful matte finish that reallys matches the classic arcade aesthetic. There's very little shiny plastic that makes the figure look too toyish, and this looks and feels like a high end toy.

Articulation has all the great points similar to other Storm figures, and the use of softer plastic where needed makes getting into action poses quite easy. The beefy arms can come forward enough to mimic the boxer stances, and you can replicate his moves from the game very well.

The gloves have a software plastic towards the wrist area, so be careful when rotating them there where they meet the forearm in case you get any splitting or cracking. The thighs have a bit of rotation where they meet the shorts, but it's tight and minimal so it's probably best to just use the hip rotation.

I love the use of the foot toe flex to help get into more boxing action, and using the dust accessory gives some nice photo opportunities to replicate the gaming special moves. He balances well too, and does not feel like he needs a stand to remain safe on the display shelf.

I love the unique aspect of the USF2 series of characters with their loser portraits. Storm have done a great job in replicating those portrait screens from the arcade. They make for a fun photo opportunity altogether, or with other figures from Storm.

I love the figures that have been released so far, and they give an awesome burst of collection into my otherwise pretty bland collection. I smile each time I look at them, and remember the endless hours I spent playing the Street Fighter games at arcades.

The new Balrog scales well with the others, fitting in nicely between the biggest with Sagat and Zangief, and the smallest with Ken and Ryu. That pretty much matches nicely with the game from my memory.

Here's to hoping Storm announce more characters in the series soon. I think we've seen teasers for Blanka and Fei Long which would be very interesting. But I'm also still holding out hope for Chun-Li and Cammy that they've made in the Street Fighter 5 series. Having these characters in the SF2 series would be fantastic.

BigBoysToysHK Street Fighter TNC-10 Sagat

After about 4 years since their previous character, BigBoysToysHK have finally released the next Street Fighter in their TNC series with TNC-10 Sagat. It has been an exceedingly frustrating wait for so long, but fortunately the sculpting and paint application quality is as high as it was over 4 years ago.

Now I just hope they don't wait another 4 years to complete the original cast, and announce Balrog and M.Bison soon!

Click through below for the full review over on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel!

Lego Star Wars Helmets - Commander Cody and Captain Rex

Here's my review of the Lego Star Wars Clone Trooper helmets for Commander Cody and Captain Rex.

Pix Brix Street Fighter Pixel Fighters

Hope you can check out my review of these awesome little sets over on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel!

3 Mar 2023

Transformers Masterpiece MP-57 Skyfire

Hot on the heels of the MP-56 Trailbreaker release comes MP-57 Skyfire. The character didn't feature too extensively in the G1 cartoon series, but is still a fan favourite. There have been third party versions of the figure in roughly Masterpiece scale, so that of course has generated lots of discussion and comparisons.

For me, I love the cartoon aesthetic that Takara have pushed for many years now. This Skyfire has a few nitpicks for sure, but I think it looks fantastic and is a great addition to the series. Click below for my video review over on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel, and scroll on further for more pics and my written thoughts.

The set doesn't come stacked with too many accessories, and I'm sure the most anticipated ones are the mini-figures for Optimus, Wheeljack, and Jazz. I think it's pretty safe to say that every MP collector is hoping the inclusion of this tiny Jazz is a teaser to an announcement of a long-awaited G1 Jazz in the series. The mini-figures are decently painted, with a range of articulation that's not too bad for their scale. They're used mainly for displayed with Skyfire in jet mode, but since my collection is mostly in bot mode, they don't serve much purpose other than being nice to have.

The included flight stand is the same as that provided with the MP-52 series of Seekers. This time it's made from orange plastic, which I found a little strange since I thought it would look better with a red colour similar to the figure itself. I guess they chose orange to perhaps fit in with the Autobot HQ general colour scheme.

Rounding out the accessories are the rifle, swap out face plates and insignias, and the blast effects. Some people have complained that the head sculpt looks strange, but I don't quite understand what the fuss is about. I actually think the head sculpt is pretty cartoon accurate, and looks and scales well with the figure in bot mode.

Jet mode looks great to me, although there are some issues with gaps showing when viewed from the side. It's unfortunate that these gaps break up the design, because otherwise I think the overall shape is fantastic, and again looks very cartoon accurate. The tabs on mine were quite strong and held the shape together quite well. As with many Takara releases, the tolerances can be pretty tight, but once everything is placed or pegged correctly, things tend to hold securely quite well.

The initial part of the transformation to get the figure into the gerwalk mode is pretty straight forward. The leg transformation and folding of panels is not overly complex, and reminded me of aspects of the Sunstreaker and Hound leg transformations.

In gerwalk mode, the legs were meant to be angled such that the main body of the jet was more horizontal. I saw other collectors being able to achieve this, but for mine it kept toppling forward when I had the legs in those positions. I'm not sure what I was doing wrong, but the only way for me to keep the figure upright was to have the feet such that the jet body was angled upwards like the photo below.

Either way, I was never going to leave the figure displayed in my collection in that mode, so it was only a point of interest during the transformation sequence. You can also transform the arms out and peg them in securely so that it's an even more complete gerwalk mode. But for mine, I went straight to the bot mode.

The transformation to bot mode was also quite straight forward, until right near the end when the backpack is being collapsed. Just this final group of steps turned an otherwise enjoyable transformation into an exercise in frustration. It ended up taking me over an hour to figure out the backpack.

Many YouTube videos showed incorrectly collapsed backpacks, where it was not pushed up as far as it should, or as collapsed as it should. The official Takara transformation video does do it correctly (as you would it expect it to!) but it shows it to be a far easier sequence that it really turned out to be.

The difficulties for me were mainly in pushing the centre frame of the backpack upwards on the rails, and then being able to retract them. They were firmly stuck, so I had to resort to using pliers to pull them back down and re-attempt the collapsing. I was finally able to achieve the full collapsing, which raises the bottom of the backpack considerably and makes for a beautiful profile.

Others have also complained about the loose pegging of the shoulders. I found that the shoulders were a little fiddly to get pegged in, because there are very specific angles that allow the pegs to push well into their designed holes or slots. But once you line things up as intended, they do in fact peg in very well and securely. And once that's all done, I think the bot mode is sensational!

I am not sure why some collectors have said they think the proportions look off. The bot mode is where this figure excels, and I think the proportions are perfect. In comparison, I think the Fans Toys Phoenix figure looks too much like a NFL footballer, with shoulders that are too broad and flat. The tapered style of MP-57 Skyfire, and how the lines align with the hips and legs, I think look far more natural and are indeed far more cartoon accurate.

In the end, the style you prefer is subjective. I think FT Phoenix is a decent standalone interpretation of the character. But if you prefer cartoon accuracy, and consistency with the MP series of figures, then MP-57 is a no-brainer. 

The stance of the figure is decent, and balances well. One issue though is the separation between clicks of the ratchet joints. The joints for the arms are OK, but the ones for the hips are spaced too far apart. So with just one click, it goes from standing straight naturally, to almost doing some crazy split type action poses. It would've been far better with smaller spacing to get finer options in posing.

Luckily for my collection, most of the figures are in pretty static, museum-type poses, so it doesn't affect me too much. I can still get a decent natural pose that doesn't look too stiff. Regardless, I think you'll be able to find a pose where this figure looks good from any angle.

Others have also complained about the scale, with the MP being slightly shorter than FT Phoenix. But Takara has always tried to match the scale in their G1 character scale chart. They've followed this fairly accurately since the baseline was made with MP-10 Optimus. Comparing this figure with the likes of MP-44 Optimus, MP-51 Starscream, and the MP carbots, the height and overall size of MP-57 is very accurate.

I feel MP-52 Starscream deserves to be a little taller, but again he is accurate to the G1 scale chart. As you can see, Skyfire towers over Starscream, as he did in the cartoon. I think the natura lines of the MP figures just look so good, like they came to life and jumped out of the TV screen!

Skyfire looks great with the other Autobots of course. I love that Takara have now given us a range of figures that match the four or five different heights of the characters. Below you can see how small MP-45 Bumblebee really is in comparison to Skyfire. He even towers over Optimus.

The figure, despite its size, never feels like it's going to topple over, or feels to flimsy. The knee articulation is decent, but the knee cap can look strange from some angles. It can be adjusted, so make sure you do that to minimise gaps showing. The ankles have some decent rocking and tilt motion too, on pretty hard ratchets. Perhaps that was for stability, but I do prefer the friction based articulation in the other figures to get better adjustments during posing.

There is a bit of diecast in the feet and waist area I think to add some weight and stability. But overall the figure is really a mix of painted and unpainted plastic. The painted and unpainted white areas all seem to match fairly well, and I'm not overly concerned with yellowing of the plastic. All other painted areas are nicely done, with no bleeding of colours at least on my figure.

Skyfire is definitely the largest of the MPs released so far. Below you can see how he scales with the other larger figures in Ultra Magnus and Star Saber. If you know the size of those in hand, then you'll appreciate the size of Skyfire. There's no issue with Skyfire fitting within the typical Ikea Detolf cabinet, so it should be fine for most collectors.

If Takara do end up making a G1 combiner such as the Constructicons one day, it will be truly massive if they keep to the scale chart. But for these main characters, I love the scale they've used and how they consistently keep to it.

Overall, I think MP-57 Skyfire is another great addition to the series. I had no QC issues with the paint or plastic, so that was a welcome relief. Some previous releases like Hound and Starscream were troubled with many reports of bad plastic cracking, but luckily there don't seem to be too many reports of issues with Skyfire.

In the end, if you're a G1 cartoon fan, then I think you'll love this figure as much as I do. It really does look fantastic on display, and just brings the cartoon to life. There's just something hard to explain in the way it looks in hand, but I am sure those that have him will have smiles on their faces each time they handle him or look at him in their collection.

Here's to hoping there are more G1 characters announced this year in the MP series. If we get anything like Jazz, Mirage, Hoist, or Cliffjumper, I'd be really happy!

20 Feb 2023

Hot Toys MMS610 Doc Brown from Back to the Future

Ever since Hot Toys announced the Back to the Future licence, and released the Delorean as well as two versions of Marty McFly from the first movie, collectors have desperately wanted a Doc Brown from that original movie in his radiation suit.

It's taken far too long, but Hot Toys have finally released Doc in his iconic suit, with a couple of disappointing aspects to the set. Click through below to check out my full video review on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel!

The set comes well stocked with accessories. This being the Deluxe version, it also comes with the plutonium case and removable tube of plutonium. The case itself looks quite nice, but it is actually mostly made out of cardboard instead of molded plastic. So that is the first of the disappointments.

Luckily the other accessories in the core set are actually very nicely done. I love the array of tools and the tool pouch. The Delorean remote control is very detailed, but be careful of the antenna since it's quite fragile.

It takes a bit of fiddling around to get all the accessories onto the figure in a natural looking way. I went back to the source material in the carpark scene to get most of my references. I prefer to have the utility belt slanting to one side to give the illusion of weight in the tool pouch. Once everything is added to his suit, overall I think it looks fantastic.

The biggest disappointment with the set is of course the head sculpt. It is a re-used sculpt from the first Back to the Future Part 2 figure, so Hot Toys took the lazy way out. This is especially obvious when you notice the small holes near his ears that were intended for the sunglasses on the BTTF2 figure that should've been covered up for this figure.

In the end though, the overall figure is still great to have in the collection. The suit, decked out with all the accessories, does look fantastic. The suit has a lot of play to it, and may appear too baggy. But if you futz it right with the accessories, it can look very close to the movie scene. It's a nice touch that they included his tshirt and green Hawaiian shirt underneath the radiation suit to be very movie accurate.

The set also comes with the stop watch for Einstein, so if you have the 2nd release of Marty and Einstein, you can make good use of that accessory. Together with either Marty figure, Doc looks great. Now that I have the pair from the original movie as well as Part 2, I'm really looking forward to closing out the BTTF collection when the Part 3 figures release later in 2023.

6 Feb 2023

Kotobukiya Darkstalkers Bishoujo Felicia

I love the Bishoujo series, and love it when Kotobukiya release something that takes me back to the good old arcade days. This time it's with the Darkstalkers Felicia that complements the first Morrigan statue released from that arcade game.

Click the link below to watch my video review over on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel! Hope you can give the video a like, and also subscribe to stay tuned for upcoming reviews!

The statue captures the spirit of the concept art beautifully, although a bit more colour to the skin tone would've been even better. But I'm glad the skin tone is a matte finish, unlike the very plasticky finish on the Mai Shiranui statue from King of Fighters.

Of note is also the included transluscent stand that props up against the hair at the rear. Her hair is so voluminous that the weight of the plastic could make the statue lean over time. It's great that Kotobukiya have preempted this damage by including the stand to prop up the hair and prevent that leaning from happening.

As always, the paint app is beautiful from Kotobukiya. The facial details are sharp with no colour bleed, and the shades of pink in the tongue, paw pads and claws really pop against the bright white fur. Even the hair has subtle shading, with darker and lighter areas, as well as softer plastic in some of the strands.

The detailing in the fur is decent, but hard to make out with the bright white paint application. Still, when looking up close, the awesome sculpt does shine through.

Coupled with Morrigan, these two make for an iconic representation of two classic characters from the Darkstalkers game. They certainly complement each other well in the display. Kotobukiya also have released a third, with Lilith also an option if you want to collect all characters. But for me, I'll be sticking with just these two from the game. Not sure if Kotobukiya will ever revisit more characters from Street Fighter, but I'll hold out hope for that.

22 Jan 2023

Transformers Masterpiece MP-56 Trailbreaker

Any new G1 release these days in the Masterpiece series is pretty much a cause for celebration. Takara are very slow in releasing new molds now, but are slowly making their way through the orginal G1 Season 1 cast of characters. They've finally made the Trailbreaker mold, which hopefully paves the way for a Hoist retool.

Click through the link below to watch my video review over on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel. Hopefully you can give the video a like, and subscribe to the channel too! 😀

As with most G1 MPs these days, Trailbreaker comes packed with quite a few accessories for plenty of display and photo options. The typical blast effect is included, and is a nice transluscent fluoro colour that almost glows without any lighting. There's also a swap out car grille in matte grey if you really want the full cartoon accurate style. For me, I always stick with the chrome for that extra bit of bling.

The swapout antenna, hand pieces, and face plates round out the accessories to pay homage to various scenes from the cartoon episodes. I think the face plates are great, with a good likeness and metallic blue visor finish.

As with typical Takara style, the car mode is officially licenced by Toyota, and it's a fantastic representation of the Toyota Hilux from the 80s. Based on what I've googled regarding the variants, even the position of the side mirrors matches some models of the car back in the day.

The proportions look great, and the back cab looks very accurate to the 80s models too. I love the consistent use of transluscent blue plastic for all the windows. All the decals are nicely and cleanly applied, and the full gray paint finish really does give a premium look and feel to the car.

For me, the only real negative in car mode is just behind the rear wheels, where parts of the body hang down lower than they should for a more clean look. It doesn't affect how the car rolls, but does look a little unsightly at the back. In the end, it's a pretty minor point for me considering how good the rest of the car mode looks.

The radio antenna accessory attaches pretty easily to the roof of the car, if you want to recreate that scene from the cartoon. The doors and hood also open up for some pose options with the small human figures included with some of the previous MP figures.

The hinge that opens up the hood is very tight, and there is a small centre peg that is meant to sit just inside that hinge when closing. Just be careful to push down so that the peg inserts properly, otherwise you may run the risk of chipping off some paint in that area if you click the peg in afterwards. Other than that, it's nice that Takara go through the effort to include the extra sculpted detail and paint application under the hood.

The transformation sequence isn't too difficult, and I love the way in which the legs are done. The panels fold away very neatly in a similar manner to Sunstreaker and Hound. Takara engineers really do have that panel folding technique down pat to have the legs look so clean with those cartoon accurate lines.

The biggest effort during the transformation is reserved for the backpack, where it did take me some effort to get it all folded and packed away neatly. You need to ensure that the pegs are all attached correctly, especially a couple that feed into two holes just behind the neck area. But once that is done, the backpack design looks very close to its cartoon style, and actually feels very sturdy.

The only part of the bot mode that does not look nice is the side view of the torso, where the car's blue window is visible. It would've looked much better if Takara had worked out a way to fold that differently and have the other grey areas showing instead of the blue window.

The gap in the upper chest that can be seen when viewed side on, is also not great, but for me that's OK. I'm not too fussed out that, and the slope of the chest piece doesn't bother me either. Some collectors have said that the chest piece sticking out gives him a beer-belly profile, but I actually think that's cartoon accurate.

So having that protruding chest piece, as well as the angled profile of the backpack, actually gives him a very cartoon bot mode overall. You can see this in scenes where he stands on the side, and shows that Takara did have that in mind when designing the figure. I also think that the waist and thighs are proportioned nicely. I was worried that they would appear too thin, but I think are well proportioned with the rest of the figure.

Articulation wise, I think Takara has done a fantastic job like they have done with the more recent figures. The only questionable area is the joint at the shoulder that should allow the arm to more freely move out to the side. The way in which the internal workings of that joint have been molded means that moving the arm out is blocked by a very small curve in the plastic.

Pushing the joint out past that point will damage the plastic slightly, but does then increase the range of motion. It's not a joint that I would use too much in my display, so I chose not to push the joint past that point. Some collectors have done a quick modification to cut a small part of the plastic away to free that joint, but it's not worth doing for me. I would only do a modification like that if something were completely wrong or broken with the figure (eg. like MP-9B's cracking plastic knees).

The bot mode scales beautifully with the rest of the MP cast. It does provide further proof that Takara must in some way design against the original G1 cast scale chart. It's great that the MP series has  about 4 different heights of figures, all in relation to the MP-10 (and now MP-44) Optimus figure.

It makes for a beautifully nostalgic G1 Transformers display in your collection. I love this cartoon aesthetic that Takara have embarked on for the last 3 to 4 years, and I hope they continue that for many more. Now that Trailbreaker is out, there's a high liklihood of a Hoist retool to be announced. I think all MP collectors are still holding out hope for others in the Season 1 cast, including Cliffjumper, Jazz, and Mirage. It would be fantastic if any of those were to be announced this year.