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View Poll Results: Worth buying?
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  #1  
Old 6th August 2017, 07:39 PM
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Magnus Magnus is offline
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Default Toy review - MPM-4 Movie Masterpiece Optimus Prime

Series Masterpiece
Sub-line - Movie Masterpiece
Size/class - N/A
New/remould/redeco - New
Wave - N/A
Released here N/A
Approximate retail price: USD109.90 (Robot Kingdom)
RRP - JPY15000 (TakaraTOMY version)
Approximate Size - 25.5cm
Allegiance - Autobot
Alt-mode Peterbilt 379
Main Features/Gimmicks Masterpiece detail and engineering; changeable face
Main Colours Red, blue, grey
Main Accessories Gun, two battle blades

The second figure from the revived Movie Masterpiece line.

This review will have a lot of comparisons to the Revenge of the Fallen leader mould.

Vehicle mode





The familiar Peterbilt 379. The red plastic has a slight metallic sparkle.
The flames are pinstriped in silver, but the pinstriping is thicker than on Buster Optimus Prime.

The headlight clusters are now made of die cast metal with clear plastic lenses.

While the overall shape is the same, there are some detail changes that set this version apart: the side-mounted fuel tanks and the sleeper cab guard are smaller, and the yellow paint gradient on the nose is curiously absent, even though it's still present on the front wheel arches.



Due to its more complex transformation, there are a lot more seams and shutlines than on the old RotF leader-class figure.







The RotF figure is actually larger in vehicle mode than this one, which is something of a surprise.



An apparently common fault is the gap between the bottom of the windscreen and the bonnet. From what I can tell, this is due to the way the swinging arms that form part of the top of the bonnet are mounted; they're angled a bit further down than they should be relative to the windscreens. This prevents the arms from lining up properly with the cab. That said, it is possible to minimise or even eliminate the gap if you transform the figure a very specific way, as EmGo has found.



Note the narrower gap below the windscreen and the now-flush nose.

There are pipes that are meant to attach to the bottom of the smokestacks, but they don't swing out far enough to line up with the smokestacks, so they can't plug in. Apparently it's possible to cut into the plastic of the storage compartment boxes so they can swing out a bit further and therefore line up.



While there's no weapon storage, both blades can attach to the gun, which in turn can attach to the trailer hitch. The hitch itself is compatible with MP-10's trailer.

I'm going to give this one to the older figure - not only is the vehicle mode cleaner, with fewer seams and shutlines, but its parts are better proportioned and it doesn't have any misaligned parts.

Transformation

Very complex. Since this figure doesn't have an electronics pack or a Mech-Alive gimmick to accommodate, the torso now has a very involved transformation.

Elements of the transformation of the lower legs and feet are lifted from the older figure, so transforming those parts will be recognisable to anyone who owns or has handled RotF leader Optimus.

Not mentioned in the instructions are steps to flare out panels on the lower legs and forearms. The effect on the legs is subtle, but moving the panels makes the lower legs a bit bigger as well as giving the ankles slightly more room to move. The effect is more pronounced on the forearms, which makes them seem bigger.

There seems to be more 'compacting' of the robot in transformation compared to the RotF mould; the truck is substantially smaller, yet the robot is only marginally smaller.

Robot mode











This is where the figure really shines.

The new transformation in the torso means that it is far more compact front-to-back, and therefore less deep than the old figure. The arms are leaner, although the red panels on the forearms flare out, and the chest seems more massive and bulky in proportion as a result. Adding to the red and blue are silver and unpainted grey plastic.

Another effect of the new torso transformation is that the red parts on the lower chest, and therefore the headlights, are not faux parts as they were on the previous figure. That is the actual front of the nose of the truck there, with the actual truck headlights.

It seems that some of the aesthetic compromises made in truck mode were for the benefit of robot mode: the lack of the yellow paint gradient on the nose means there isn't any yellow on Prime's lower chest, and the fuel tanks on his back aren't so large and so preserve the figure's silhouette when viewed from the front or side. The more involved transformation means that the remaining panels visible in robot mode are a lot smaller.





Optimus now has a head with changeable faces, a feature that debuted on Armour Knight Optimus Prime. Previously, one could only have the face plate or the unmasked face, depending on the figure.

Optimus now has superior articulation: the elbows have a deeper bend, the waist can rotate to a limited degree, and the knees have double joints. The fingers are articulated, with the thumb having a single joint and the index finger having two. The other three fingers are moulded together and have a single joint. The only loss of articulation is in the ankles: they are no longer a ball-and-socket joint, so the feet cannot rotate side-to-side anymore.







As mentioned before, the weapons consist of a single gun and two battle blades. The gun is based on one he wielded in RotF. The blades look virtually identical, but are specific to each arm.

The blades are slightly oversized and the gun seems a tad small; ideally, I would have preferred the blades be a bit smaller and the gun a bit bigger.



The combined weapons are capable of being stowed on the back, as the gun's attachment point at the trailer hitch is still accessible.

As with MPM-3, there is die cast metal visible on the robot mode: the abdomen, shins and parts of the feet are made of unpainted metal. The added weight due to the die cast metal may make the figure feel more satisfying to hold to some collectors.





Optimus now has a Matrix chamber in his upper abdomen, even though he wasn't seen to carry the Matrix of Leadership until Dark of the Moon and this figure represents Optimus as he appeared in the first two movies - could this be 'future-proofing' for a possible Dark of the Moon remould, as some have suggested?





The Matrix itself is a small metal item which is mounted in its chamber by way of two pegs which slot into two holes in the Matrix. Unfortunately, it has these slots on both sides.

The figure certainly isn't short on detail, although there are a few areas that could have used paint.

Verdict

The fact that the RotF figure holds up so well eight years later, despite having an electronics pack and a Mech-Alive gimmick, goes to show how well it was designed. It's sometimes considered a masterpiece in its own right, and rightly so. However, this new figure represents a substantial step forward in engineering from the RotF leader-class figure.

Is it good enough to replace the RotF leader figure? Possibly, but I'm certainly not doing so. Each does something better than the other.

Although it looks great as a whole, elements of the vehicle mode and transformation seem to come up short. I would have preferred slightly larger fuel tanks for the benefit of the vehicle mode, and the slightly misaligned lower exhaust pipes are a (minor) gripe that should have ideally been caught before mass production.

Whether or not your figure will have the misaligned truck nose and therefore the gap beneath the windscreen seems to be a case of 'your mileage may vary'; some examples supposedly don't have this fault. The transformation 'fix' that EmGo found goes towards correcting this fault, but if this issue is a deal-breaker, it might be worth waiting for a second production run, or to see if the upcoming TakaraTOMY version will have resolved the issue.

Flawed it may be, but I'm still certainly happy to have this figure.

Last edited by Magnus; 28th August 2017 at 10:59 PM.
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  #2  
Old 6th August 2017, 07:49 PM
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christalcase christalcase is offline
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Your review reflects my opinion perfectly! I got very frustrated when I first transformed him into vehicle mode and didn't know that he had the common misaligned panels design flaw (thought it was my transformation skills, even though I followed the instructions step by step). It really soured my experience.

Other than that, the robot mode is pretty good although I prefer the proportions of the ROTF Leader. The transformation shares some similarities to the Leader class figure so this Masterpiece didn't blow me away as much as MPM3 Bumblebee did. Overall, I think he is a tad bit pricey but is a solid rendition of the character.

A few more photos since he is nice in robot mode.











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  #3  
Old 6th August 2017, 08:44 PM
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Great write up Magnus. I'm gettin the Takara version so I have to wait until September to give it a go.
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  #4  
Old 8th August 2017, 09:22 AM
drifand drifand is offline
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I thought for a MP, this should have chrome finishes. But yes I can see people agreeing and disagreeing with this. I can see a price increase lately for masterpieces and is to a point I am thinking whether I really want to vote with my wallet for the quality I am paying.

Good review btw.
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  #5  
Old 13th August 2017, 07:24 PM
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Magnus Magnus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by christalcase View Post
Your review reflects my opinion perfectly! I got very frustrated when I first transformed him into vehicle mode and didn't know that he had the common misaligned panels design flaw (thought it was my transformation skills, even though I followed the instructions step by step). It really soured my experience.

Other than that, the robot mode is pretty good although I prefer the proportions of the ROTF Leader. The transformation shares some similarities to the Leader class figure so this Masterpiece didn't blow me away as much as MPM3 Bumblebee did. Overall, I think he is a tad bit pricey but is a solid rendition of the character.
I knew about the potentially misaligned nose going in, but since some units didn't have it, I decided to risk it anyway.

In terms of proportions, I think the RotF mould's big advantage is its bigger arms. The chest wouldn't be so big in proportion if MPM-4 had bigger arms, and MPM-4 has smaller panels on its arms as well as concealing the storage boxes on the lower legs.

Regarding the transformation, I know what you mean. The legs being so familiar means that the transformation doesn't seem to be very 'novel', but it show how 'right' the designers got RotF Optimus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trent View Post
Great write up Magnus. I'm gettin the Takara version so I have to wait until September to give it a go.
Please let us know what you think, especially if you find something different to what I've written or photographed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drifand View Post
I thought for a MP, this should have chrome finishes. But yes I can see people agreeing and disagreeing with this. I can see a price increase lately for masterpieces and is to a point I am thinking whether I really want to vote with my wallet for the quality I am paying.

Good review btw.
I'm glad it doesn't have chrome - the finish is liable to rub or flake off, especially on the grille and bumper, which forms the soles of the feet. Silver paint doesn't look quite as nice, but it's a lot more durable.

Price rises in general would be due to the ever-increasing cost of R&D, tooling, raw materials, and factory costs. I suspect that the movie masterpieces in particular are pricey due to their more intricate sculpting and tooling, a potentially higher part count, and the use of die-cast metal (the metal parts themselves have detailed shapes and details, too).
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  #6  
Old 28th August 2017, 01:08 PM
KingGrimlock KingGrimlock is offline
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Got this guy yesterday and I really like him. the transformation is involved but still enjoyable for me. However I too have the issues with the cab gap, sometimes it will stay and other times it won't, maybe a better fix will come around in the future. Robot mode is fantastic with all its detailing and looks great next to mpm3.
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  #7  
Old 28th August 2017, 09:16 PM
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GoktimusPrime GoktimusPrime is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnus View Post
RRP - N/A
Correction: RRP = 15000JPY (≈$180), or 16200JPY (≈$195) after tax.
(Source)
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  #8  
Old 28th August 2017, 10:59 PM
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Magnus Magnus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoktimusPrime View Post
Correction: RRP = 15000JPY (≈$180), or 16200JPY (≈$195) after tax.
(Source)
Thanks for the tip. With Bumblebee, I was able to use Zing's price, but obviously didn't have a local price for Optimus, so I left it blank.

For Calibur Optimus, I just did a quick search of common online stores, picked the cheapest in-stock price, and specified the retailer.

I've updated the pricing section accordingly.
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  #9  
Old 29th August 2017, 02:11 AM
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hYpNoS hYpNoS is offline
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I'd say the lack of chrome would be because of the joint venture between hasbro and takara, I reckon with time they could of had a better foot transformation that left the truck grille alone.

I'm curious to see if the Japanese version retains the stock imagery differences they keep showing it off with and any differences with the qc, if I manage to get one (due to me missing out on that one) I'll let you guys know the changes.

Could just be like bumblebee where its just small tiny things that don't matter though, anyway solid review, will keep these in mind if I cave to the hasbro international version (which is cheaper to get as a whole)
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  #10  
Old 29th September 2017, 09:29 PM
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DaptoDog DaptoDog is offline
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Opened and transformed my Takara version tonight. Damn transforming from truck to robot mode was not enjoyable. Body sprawled everywhere. Making sure everything was tabbed in properly was tedious.

Perhaps I'll appreciate the transformation more after giving it a few more attempts. Still, MPM-3 Bumblebee was so much more enjoyable and didn't feel like work.

But hey, in the end it looks great. It looks like Movie Prime.
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