Thursday, 4 August 2016

TransformMission Disorder Review

TransformMission Disorder

Newcomers TransformMission have released their first figure - a Masterpiece scaled version of Wildrider called Disorder. With a huge number of third party products hitting the market, is this one worth your hard earned cash?

Thursday, 9 June 2016

From Stars to Scrap: Extra Bits

There were quite a few pictures that didn't make it into the last article and it seems a shame to not use them so here are the rejects.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

From Stars to Scrap - Yesterday's Must Haves, Today's Ebay Auctions

When it comes to trying to put together the perfect Masterpiece G1 line up of figures there are some which are obvious stand ins until something better comes along, but others we can never imagine being replaced...until they are.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Action Toys' Spencer Talks Machine Robo, Gobots and More

In the toy industry there are very few surprises but last year Action Toys managed to completely stun collectors with their announcement that they were reviving the Machine Robo toyline. Machine Robo was the Japanese toyline that became known as Gobots in the US and it is fair to say that absolutely no one could have predicted its return or the awesome figures we've seen so far. Masterforce caught up with Spencer from Action Toys for an exclusive interview.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Prototype Combiner Wars Scattershot Gallery

The Combiner Wars Scattershot figure has been out a while now so there's not a huge need for a full review but here's some pictures of the prototype. 

Monday, 28 March 2016

Combiner Wars Generation 2 Superion Giftset Review

The 90's. An explosion of colour and noise wherever you looked. The dayglo physical intensity of the WWF. Happy hardcore. Glow Sticks. HAND SHARK!!! And in 1993 the Robots In Disguise of old met rave culture, got hammered on a great big bag of something frisky and smashed down the doors of your local toyshops, quite possibly looking for their mate Vera. This was a pie eyed comeback decked out in neon and stripes and animal print and while it tanked, it's also looked back upon with a sincere fondness like all your best worst nights out.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

More Than Meets the Eye: Has the Lost Light Lost its Way?

Tarn talks people to death. Not that different from Swerve then.

When it began, More Than Meets the Eye seemingly went un-noticed by a lot of the fandom but as time went on it started carving out an increasingly influential niche for itself. The main Generations line of figures were starting to be influenced both in releases and appearances by the unusual quirky comic but then Dark Cybertron happened and gradually many readers have this feeling they can't quite put their finger on but it feels like the series has lost its teeth.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Masterpiece MP-28 Hot Rodimus Review


Hot Rod, Hot Rodimus, Rodimus Minor and just plain Rodimus are the names of the same character from Transformers history. From hereon in, I shall be referring to the character as Hot Rodimus.

Originally a generation one character from the 1986 movie, Hot Rodimus was one of the first figures to be released that were made especially for the Transformers toy line and not borrowed or licenced from elsewhere.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Unique Toys Buzzing Review

They're not my favourites! All of your favourites!

The 1986 animated Transformers movie proved just how brazen a toy company could be when promoting new product, its first twenty minutes a masterclass in murder and mayhem focused on systematically slaughtering your favourite characters, callously thrusting their replacements down your throat while screaming alien names in your ears and affording you no time to mourn. And hey, it worked on me. In Transformers and in life.

Monday, 15 February 2016

The Darker Side of Transformers #5

This article is written to explain the legal wrangling behind the scenes and what led to the issue between Takara and Philip Morris Inc. In accordance with legal agreements, the images displayed here are for educational purposes only and pictures of the Masterpiece toy have been kept to a minimum. 


"Perhaps you had better start at the beginning"

In the 1970s car company Lancia designed the Stratos specifically for entering into rallying but after numerous successes was entered into racing where it also performed well, making the Stratos a no-brainer for inclusion in Takara's Diaclone Car Robots line.

(c) Great Racing Cars

Monday, 8 February 2016

MP-27 Masterpiece Ironhide


Ever since July 2015, when Masterpiece Ironhide was sighted at Transformers Expo Taipei, Transformers fans have been waiting patiently to see just how good a job Takara Tomy had made of one of the fandoms favourite G1 characters. With it's recent release, we all finally get to make our own minds up as to whether or not Ironhide made the transition from cartoon to Masterpiece figure in one piece.

Hot Toys Star Wars Shocktrooper Full Reveal

Originally a Japanese convention exclusive that you had to order bundled in with a PS4 and  a copy of Star Wars Battlefront, Hot Toys are now releasing the Star Wars Battlefront Shocktrooper to retailers. 

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Maketoys MTRM-03 Hellfire Review

Inferno's a dude.

As a kid, the 1986 Transformers UK annual's 'Missing In Action' story saw this image burn itself into my retinas.

This walking fire truck had my attention piqued in one image. Strong. Brave. Flame retardant. Everything I ever aspired to be back in the day.

The UK Marvel comics run found him being besties with Smokescreen, going as far as to sacrifice himself by parking his ship nose first in the middle of a warzone, buying his pal a valuable fighting chance. That's significant commitment to a friendship. Due to the elasticity of comic book continuity he gets another chance at a similar thing in G2 when, his temper ignited by Smokescreen's death, Inferno charges headlong into a suicidal revenge run taking down countless foes and bringing down a building on himself in the process.

And the G1 cartoon saw him as a deeply loyal friend to another Autobot, this time Red Alert, and really enjoying being a giant robot fireman. When some accidentally time travelling cowboys end up in the present day (oh G1!), you know what he does? He hoses them down, saying 'Let me put out their fire for good'. Now, nobody had started a fire. There was no imminent danger of a fire. But he's a giant robot fireman and dammit he'll make that line work.

This was obviously cool as all hell to me and saw me nag and nag and nag my parents to get me one buy the toy for myself.

So yes, he's a bit of a dude.

Thanks to the powers of sorcery I have another production sample from Maketoys to look at. Hellfire is the first punch thrown in the Masterpiece Inferno skirmish, as Ocular Max and X-Transbots prepare to lower their guard and start fighting back. Are we looking at a contender here? Let's find out.

(As is the case with production samples, there may well be tolerances to be tweaked etc, but I would suggest this is as close to final as we're going to get.)

Out of the box Hellfire's a chunky fella make no mistake. A chunky, hefty and gloriously red robot, he looks tough, handy in a fight and there's no mistaking this for anyone else. This we like. Obviously the red dominates but it's broken up well with gunmetal, silver, white and yellow. Aesthetically he's a hybrid of the original toy and the animation model.

The ladder is integral to his classic look so it being there is a non issue from the start. That said, this is another very clean robot mode from the Re:Master line.

Hand flips in, cannon attaches

For such a beefy 'bot, Hellfire has got the joints in his chassis to stand up and be counted. Articulation is surprisingly good and almost everything you might expect is where it needs to be, with a ball jointed as well as hinged foot and double jointed elbows being the areas that really help and are most welcome. He can't quite pull off a convincing kneeling pose but I'll take what you can achieve.


The arms can rotate up from within the cab, but there is an additional ratcheted joint within the upper shoulder. A word of warning. This is tight as hell and I recommend bracing the arm when using it. It's used mainly for transformation, makes more sense there as you need to fold back the white pauldrons for access and it only adds a couple of extra clicks in the robot form.

Packing.. heat

The finish on the figure is almost uniformly excellent. The colours are eye catchingly beautiful, the paint is applied very well and once again, Maketoys' use of diecast in the Re:Master line is well considered and beneficial. It's found in the feet, the lower legs and the crotch and adds weight to the figure as well as balance to poses. Great stuff.

Less great stuff; those 'wings' at the back of the upper torso look smart but are an utter annoyance, popping off at the merest thought of touching them. They go straight back on but I can't Professor X them back the way I get them off.

An important thing to point out is that his hip skirts are one piece. When you lift the right side, the left side lifts as well. So if you hold the left side down while swinging up the right, you're gonna break it. Maketoys issued an instructional warning on Facebook, but not everyone will see it, so please be aware. I can't for the life of me understand why they didn't just make these pieces operate independently of the other as this taints the enjoyment an otherwise wonderful robot.

Because I'm an idiot, I have no Red Alert or Smokescreen to pair the big guy with, but I do have somebody to hand who complements his (don't do it.. not another..) fiery personality just as well.


 Hellfire's robot mode fits in both visually and in scale with the official Masterpiece line. A job well done.

These two start fires, they don't put them out

A bit of noise has been made about the head. It's toy and animation accurate which fits with the overall aim of this figure, but because the original animation model used two types of head design (his shell twin Grapple being the other), it's not necessarily the one that people remember. But if you want to remain beholden to a 30 year old cartoon renowned for its animation inaccuracies, I guess you might have an argument.

He got them for Christmas

As for how the head looks? I think it's fine, with a really nice sculpt although the helmet might be a touch too big. This one has a bit of a sour look to his face which I quite like, although the final release will come with various options for you to try. They seem to range from decent to er.. terrifyingly bad. I wanna see pics, for better or worse, when you get yours.

Hellfire's transformation might initially seem borderline complex but that's largely because the instructions miss out a step or two surrounding the legs. Again, another set of 3P instructions that aren't really up to snuff. Do take care with that hip skirt and apply the same thinking in robot mode to this piece during transformation. Outside of that, this is actually a great conversion and at its heart is the original toy's design. It's an intuitive affair too, with everything having a logical place to tab or slot into. Even his hand cannon and rifle have a home within the vehicle mode.

And what a vehicle mode it is.

The kid in you has to love this big red fire engine. It's got all the details you'd expect in the ('effing huge) ladder, water hoses and metal grating at the back. Within the cab are some seats, but you're not fitting anyone in there without making a mess. Decorative purposes only.

Yes, you can define the lines where robot and vehicle blur from the sides and it's probably the biggest flaw I can find in this form, coming as it does from so closely homaging the original Inferno toy.

Rubber tires make for a smooth rolling vehicle and along with the diecast add a premium feel to the overall finish of the piece.

It was always going to be about robot mode scale over vehicle, so in fire engine form he might feel a little undersized compared to the Autobot cars. I'm no scale nut so it's not an issue regardless, but I can't see many people having that much of a problem here either.

As she said, that is 'effing huge

Maketoys have thrown down the gauntlet with Hellfire. You've got some options with your Inferno's but this one has come out first and this one has come out fighting.

He does justice to the original toy while stirring elements of the character's cartoon appearances into the mix. Fun to play with, great to pose and visually striking, he also has a very enjoyable transformation and a wonderful looking vehicle mode. That's ticking boxes left, right and centre for me. My main issue is with the hip skirt design and the very tight shoulder ratchets. Both require care when handling and the hip skirt is baffling. Aside from that, what this figure does well is done very well indeed, making Hellfire a winning addition to the Re:Master line and highly recommended.


Saturday, 30 January 2016

Maketoys MTRM-04 Iron Will Pre Release Sample Review

Bit of a mouthful that title, eh?

Thanks to some very kind souls, I have been granted an opportunity to take a sneak peak at the latest Maketoys releases. And with Cupola riding high in a lot of people's end of 2015 lists, there is a definite air of expectation surrounding their next Headmaster analogue; Iron Will.

Maketoys Iron Will

Based heavily on the 1987 Japanese Headmasters character as well as the original G1 toy, Maketoys newest effort takes Hardhead's no nonsense, karaoke loving (yes, really), Sunbow swerving animation model (Rebirth lovers, you have been jilted) and applies some platinum 2016 design flair and finish to proceedings. Straight out of the box, this is a beautifully retro looking yet modern feeling hulk of a toy.

Iron Will has a strong silhouette made from simple blocky shapes, partnered with a well considered level of surface detail allowing the clean lines of the figure plenty of room to breathe.

Maketoys Iron Will
The way that backpack forms is an absolute treat

Although you'll still find vents, pistons and tech details dotted about all over the place, these are here to spice up, not overpower the visual proceedings. Similarly the paint applications are sparse but effective and serve to enhance the clean look of the toy rather than distract from it.

Maketoys Iron Will

Like Cupola before him, Iron Will takes that unashamedly retro futuristic aesthetic the post '86 Movie universe developed, runs it through a Masterpiece inspired filter and never looks back.

Now before we move on, there is an elephant in the room. You've possibly heard of it, might be waiting for me to get to it and it needs addressing so that it may take its leave. There are two visual flaws in robot mode that come about from the figure's transformation scheme. The first is in the elbows.

Maketoys Iron Will

After you get past a certain degree of bend, a gap becomes apparent. I'll level with you; it doesn't keep me up at night as it's the sort of thing I've seen a fair few times over in Transformers. Yes, it could've been handled better. No, it doesn't end the enjoyment of the figure at all to me.

The second is at the knees and it's here where the dynamic posing available at your fingertips kind of undoes some of Iron Will's imposing cyberbeef.

Maketoys Iron Will


This is to accommodate the rolling tank treads and an inventive leg transformation but has become a sticking point for a fair few people and I can see why. The knee joint ends up looking tiny and the gap between knee and shin looks painful from certain angles. In hand, it's better than in pics. But it's there. This is not something I want to gloss over. Nor dwell on for that matter. You're going to get on with it or you're not. Relationship therapists charge £100 an hour for that kind of advice, here you get it for free.

Maketoys Iron Will
According to Hardhead's tech specs, these shoot diamond hard shards of.. diamonds?

Onto more of the good stuff. The poseability is fantastic. Pictures speak louder than words and I hope these shout, as he can rock all manner of hard ass moves and the diecast metal in his legs and heels help ground things very well indeed.

Maketoys Iron Will
The guns slot into the hands in that same secure manner that Cupola nailed first time

On that metal content, there is plenty. In addition to the heels and lower legs, you'll find cold slag in his thigh pieces and the robot torso as well. Now as much as some love it, in reality the weight of diecast can often hinder rather than help a figure, but here its judicious placement means we're definitely talking about the latter. It also lends a significant heft to Iron Will that certainly adds to his premium feel. Very well done.

Maketoys Iron Will
He was totally hoping for boobs

The chest contains a panel that flips open to reveal the (non functional) SPD STR INT readouts as expected. The whole chest area doesn't seem to want to tab in tightly on this sample copy, but I imagine this is a tolerance issue that will be remedied in the final retail release.

As the pics show, you get two choices of face with Iron Will. One homages the original toy and its artwork, the other his appearance in Headmasters.

Maketoys Iron Will

Maketoys Iron Will

Maketoys Iron Will

Maketoys Iron Will

Maketoys Iron Will
'Because I have this lovely treat for you!'

I'd like to thank Optimus Prime for demonstrating how easy a switch out it is between the two and this does feel a thoughtful inclusion *hears the grinding of teeth from Rebirth fans*. In all seriousness this is actually something that might put people off but it was clear with MTRM-01 that Maketoys were aiming to marry the G1 toy with the Toei anime and have done so again here with considerable aplomb.

Transformation is certainly less involved than with Cupola and definitely more intuitive. It's not a simple state of affairs though and I really dig the manner in which the legs transform by opening his thighs (wut?) and using sliders to condense them down into the tank treads. As this is a pre release sample I did not receive an instruction manual and got by fine without one, a first for me and big ticket 3rd Party items. A refreshingly accessible conversion and undoubtedly a repeatable one.

Maketoys Iron Will

Maketoys Iron Will

Iron Will makes for one intimidating piece of treaded artillery. This is a big bastard of a tank, layered with armour plating and decked out with three turrets because he's a professional taker of names and consummate kicker of ass. There are six functional rubber treads which roll very well on most surfaces. I like this a lot. It adds play value and a touch of class to the vehicle mode. The two handheld guns attach well but their pinned hinges are very loose on this sample copy so they flop down when aiming them upwards. Hopefully that gets tidied up for the final release.

Maketoys Iron Will

And with this being a Headmaster, of course you get a transforming head component too. Officially named Duros or Ros, unofficially this is.. oh, they don't actually name them in the Re:Master line.

Maketoys Iron Will

John Doe is a neat little guy in his own right. Sharply detailed for his size, he features light piped eyes and some fairly decent articulation. He's also less cumbersome to pose than Cupola's bonceman, feeling like a revised and refined 2.0 version of the basic design.

Maketoys Iron Will

Maketoys Iron Will

The Headmaster can be placed inside the cockpit to pilot this ground hugging, no prisoners taking, shatter blasting beast of a machine. The cockpit can rotate but its range of motion is fairly limited so it helps that the primary cannon has almost free reign of movement.

Maketoys Iron Will

I love this tank mode. Like the robot form it does a great job of rolling back the years while bringing the Headmasters hurtling forward into the Masterpiece dominated present.

Maketoys Iron Will

Iron Will is a very, very good toy. There remain the issues brought up earlier surrounding the elbows and knees but personally speaking there's too much going the right way with this one for these to be a deal breaker. This figure is visually sublime, well articulated and has a transformation that quickly becomes second nature.

Maketoys Iron Will

Now, the $1,000,000 question: Is he as good as Cupola? As great as that guy is and as much as I rate him, I will also be the first to admit that the transformation could put people off enjoying the toy. That's just not a problem here.

Maketoys Iron Will

When you have them side by side, Iron Will feels very much a companion piece to his predecessor, one that does some things better while fumbling others and it's hard to deny how good they look together.

Maketoys Iron Will

Is he as good? Probably not. That's hardly a criticism though. Catching lightning in a bottle once is hard enough and just because it didn't quite happen again does not stop Iron Will from being a damn fine addition to the Re:Master line and your current best (and it's gonna be hard to beat) option for a Hardhead by a country mile.