Hate to say it, but Winter isn't too far away. Next Monday might be Labor Day in the US, but the major holidays will be upon us before we know it. With any holiday season the big toy manufacturers pull out all the stops in preparation for getting their biggest and best products out onto the market. This year is no exception for Takara Tomy as they aim to do bigger and better things with the Transformers Masterpiece series. Typically we only see one Masterpiece released every year, but somehow we've been graced with four releases for the 2012 year. It started back in March with the release of MP-11 Starscream, then fairly shortly here we'll be seeing the release of MP-12 Sideswipe/Lambor in October. But smack in the middle of the holidays we'll see the release of MP-13 Soundwave and MP-14 Red Alert (just Alert in Japan) in December.
While Soundwave has had a few early prototype galleries and made his rounds at conventions this is our first good look at him in all his full color glory. There's been some concern about what color his eye visor would be since the most popular form is a red visor even though the original toy had a yellow one. Dark red prevails though it's still difficult to tell if there are any visible details behind the visor. Of course he retains his traditional dark blue and silver colors. The transformation itself appears to be much the same at heart as his G1 counterpart which makes sense since the cartoon version transformed the same way. Sometimes you just don't mess with what works. He'll also come with his two guns, an alternate tool hand, and a clear Energon cube to snap to his chest (two if you order from Amazon.co.jp). Laserbeak impresses as well, now featuring more articulation than the original. My favorite part is that the silver guns on his back are now part of him rather than something you snap on later. Later on there'll be a tape set released consisting of Rumble, Frenzy, Ravage, and Buzzsaw, but there haven't been any real details on that just yet.
Red Alert is looking great as well. Takara Tomy could have easily just repainted Sideswipe and called it good, but knowing people expect more from figures at these prices they went the extra step and remolded a few key spots. Red Alert's head is now more rounded on the top and features short, square "ears". His shoulders are entirely different with likely fake wheels now mounted on the outside of them made to imitate the original figure. He also has little parts that stick up over his chest in front of his face that don't appear on Sideswipe. On the original G1 figure these would have been used to keep the vehicle mode together, but this time they're only used for aesthetics. His missile launcher can now be connected to his new light bar making for one imposing looking fire department car. Other than that there's nothing left to say about him that hasn't already been said about Sideswipe.
I like the new frequency that Takara Tomy is now moving at with Masterpiece figures. They nailed a major fan favorite with Soundwave this year, I'm already looking ahead to 2013 and eagerly awaiting the announcement of MP-15!
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