Thursday, 10 April 2014

Takara MP-19 Smokescreen

Cows are full of milk. This milk is profitable to exploit. So we milk them.
Masterpiece Transformers are full of win. This win is profitable to exploit. And as with the humble bovine, Takara milk their MP molds with the fury of a cheated Emmerdale farmer.

MP-19 Smokescreen is the third use of the excellent, excellent Datsun body type. Previously released as the almost universally adored Prowl and Streak, this one features some significant retooling, a killer paint job and has also managed to raise eyebrows and cross arms in some quarters of the fandom.

Revisiting the toy for the purposes of this review was an opportunity to get down and dirty with the Datsun mold again.

And it is a wonderful thing. The conversion mimics the transformation in the cartoon and manages to be challenging yet intuitive. Taking Smokescreen back to car mode was the first time I had done it since Christmas Day. It was pretty damn fun, with no ‘?!’ moment, the only thing I found a bit tricky being the legs coming back together.

Paint. Paint everywhere. Lovely stuff.

The vehicle mode looks awesome. 

A licensed Nissan Fairlady 280Z-T painted up in red white and blue racing livery. The colours are beautiful and the car has a new, ground hugging bumper as well as a spoiler.

Loving nods or missed opportunity?

While the sponsorship tampos across the car are fake, they do look good. The ‘Slot Fever’ one in particular tickles me up. Smokescreen really was a bit of a dick in ‘The Gambler’ episode, throwing Prime et al to the wolves when he blew it on the slots and I admire him for wearing his addiction with pride.

Of course this sponsorship fakery has prompted understandable criticism (this is a Masterpiece figure) and a Reprolabels set is available to fix this. Personally, I’m not about to cover up the brilliant paint job with stickers just yet. I’m glad the sticker set is available though. There has been a huge call for it.

Wheels up on shoulders? Check. Jamming Launchers? Check. Disruptor Rifle? Check. Ability to divide fandom? That's a big check.

In robot mode, Smokescreen does what every Masterpiece since MP-10 has done and looks as if he has walked out of the cartoon. Ironically that’s probably his biggest flaw. 

The new front grill makes him look a bit on the chunky side, as it does in the show.

'Do I smell.. cake??'

The headsculpt is accurate but..


..the headsculpt is accurate. For some, this one has been a real problem.

My main issue is that he just seems a lot more - and I struggle with saying it cos he is one (albeit at the higher end of things) - ‘toylike’ in robot mode than his brethren. I don’t know if it's a case of his colour scheme being so much more in your face than the other two or if it's his tubby little features, but something doesn't sit quite right with me here lining them up. 

It’s a cartoon accurate Smokescreen and I’m dissing him for it..  There’s my ‘?!’ moment.

What does shine through regardless is that this is one fantastic figure to fiddle with, being highly poseable and rocking excellent build quality. Personal feelings regarding aesthetics cannot do a disservice to the shapes that Smokescreen can throw, the overall finish and the quality of the toy.

Undeniable articulation, balance and love of slots.

It's just strange how a couple of changes can alter ones perception of a figure essentially bought and loved twice before. 

Robits, eh?