2016’s Top 10 Transformers

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2016 has been fucking shite, as we all know. Just this week we’ve lost the incredible Carrie Fisher. Yet that utterly devastating news isn’t even the worst of it when you consider the election of Donald Drumpf and the fucking madness that is the Brexit vote and all that has followed. And Wogan. And Daniels. Yet flying in the face of this relentless unimaginable shit storm, 2016 has somehow been an absolute cracker in one respect – Transformers.

Not only has there not been a Bay film, but we’ve also been treated to an unprecedented number of official and third party Masterpiece releases. On top of that, we’ve enjoyed the debut of one of the best mainstream Hasbro lines in recent times. Picking a Top 10 was quite the task. But nonetheless, here it is:

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REVIEW: X-Transbots MX-III Eligos

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You know all of those preconceptions you have about X-Transbots? Eligos will change absolutely none of them. If you think the company leads the field in design and you love its previous output, you’ll love Eligos. If you think XTB constantly falls short of even the minimum quality bar and that those who love it are criminally insane, Eligos will do nothing to dissuade you.

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REVIEW: Fanstoys FT-18 Lupus

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Do you reckon Fanstoys are the most divisive third party company on the market? Actually, no, thinking about it, that would be X-Transbots. But what does set Fanstoys apart is its following. I don’t think there’s a more actively loyal fanbase for a 3P company out there. But where ardent support comes, vocal opposition always follows. Such is the way with fandoms. It’s almost impossible to mention the company online without supporters and detractors pouring in. Which is all a bit tedious, really.

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REVIEW: Takara MP-33 Masterpiece Inferno

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There’s a bit in my notes here made quite early on in my time with Masterpiece Inferno that reads as follows: ‘Would leg detailing save it?’ The bit I want to draw attention to here is not necessarily the sentiment but more the fourth word – ‘save’. An hour or so into my Inferno experience and I felt that it was a figure that needed saving.

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REVIEW: Masterpiece MP-11NT Thrust

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It’s a good time to be a seeker collector (that’s the name we give to Starscream and his Decepticon jet pals). It’s not such a good time for Takara’s seekers, however. Its first conehead release (the three jets where the cone sits above the head in robot mode), Ramjet, was hit with one of the worst QC controversies we’ve had in the official line, with huge numbers of copies coming with incorrect shoulder assemblies. For a figure that cost so damn much (even by Masterpiece standards) it was a shocking error, and one that weighed heavily for anyone pre-ordering its next conehead – Thrust.

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REVIEW: Generation Toy J4zz

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The Masterpiece Autobot cars are, I’d say (and I’m always right so that’s a fact), one of the best and most consistent series Takara has produced. The Lamborghini and Nissan molds are both top-tier stuff, and even the molds that don’t reach quite those heights – Tracks, Wheeljack (arguably), Hot Rod – are all big, big winners.

But the line has always lacked something. Specifically, a Porsche-shaped something. Jazz, possibly the most popular Autobot car of them all, is STILL missing in action from Takara’s line-up. Popular myth will have you believe that it’s due to Porsche’s unwillingness to license the 935 for a “war toy”, a category which an armed robot sort of falls into. These theories are lessened somewhat by the fact that Porsche owner Volkswagen licensed out its Beetle for Bumblebee, but it’s still a compelling narrative.

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REVIEW: Unique Toys Y-04 Allen

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That fucking green, though. He’s so green. Like, really green. It’s wonderful. Not that I’m saying Transformers have to be green to be good. I mean, Devastator is green and is good. Trees are green, in part, and I really like trees. Grass is green and grass is really good. But I look over at my collection and really there’s very little green. The chest panels on Maketoys Visualizers. Ironwill. Gundog. Acid Storm. Generations Allen. There’s a real green deficit going on, and Allen’s here to plug that gap.

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REVIEW: MP-32 Convoy (Beast Wars) Optimus Primal

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I’m going to come straight out of the gate here and confess that I don’t much care for Beast Wars.

I’m not saying it’s bad. I’ve tried to watch it a couple of times but have never been able to get past how ugly it is. It’s kinda like Dora the Explorer. Dora’s not a bad show, but I could barely tolerate my little one watching it because every aspect of the visual design made my soul itch. In The Night Garden, on the other hand, is some sexy shit. Lovely trees, well kept grass, and Makka Pakka is a total dude. Nickelodeon’s Ninja Turtles? Beautiful. Adventure Time? Glorious, in every way.

Yeah, anyway…

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REVIEW: KO MP-10 Eva Optimus Prime

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One Masterpiece to rule them all. You may choose to argue that MP-10 is not the greatest masterpiece ever made because you’re young and you’re cool and you’re a hipster and an individual and rise about the ‘sheeple’. But you’re also wrong. MP-10 is, as they say down our way, ‘the bollocks’.

OK, I concede that you at least maintain the right not to adore MP-10 above all others, but I’m happy to go with the crowd on this one. He’s a magnificent figure, with two virtually perfect and kibble free modes that sport a gorgeous anime look. There are complaints to be made, such as the vehicle rear still looking a bit leggy. Some cite the figure’s ‘gorilla’ arms (which I’ll take any day over the added kibble introduced by the Shadow Fisher add-on). And some specimens might be troubled by loose ankles or smokestacks. But, really, to criticise MP-10 is prove yourself impossible to please. This is as good as it gets.

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