|Toy Design||Shogo Hasui|
Review by Optimal III
The Transformers: Masterpiece series has been a dream come true for many fans like me since it began in 2004. But there have been hiccups along the way. Originally, there wasn't any long-term vision for the series because no one imagined it would be so successful, that the demand would be so strong. As a result, inconsistencies in scale, materials, and release schedule were all over the place for the first nine figures produced during those first 9 years. Thankfully, things have changed. TakaraTomy is now averaging closer to six figures per year and doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon, with a more uniform approach helping the process. The Autobot cars have perhaps benefited the most from this, and Bluestreak is a perfect example.
Bluestreak (AKA Streak) is an Autobot gunner. He's probably best remembered for 3 things:
1 - his alt-mode, a Datsun 280ZX T-top (also known as a Nissan Fairlady 280Z-T in Japan), which is why he resembles fellow Autobots Prowl and Smokescreen
2 - being part of the original batch of Autobots, and therefore Transformers, circa 1984
3 - and being voiced by Casey Kasem
That third factoid is cool, but it's the other ones that probably led to him getting the MP treatment. Tomy is to toy cars in Japan what Matchbox and Hot Wheels are to toy cars in the US, so their license library opened the door for Takara to actually make Transformers toys that convert into authentic replica vehicles. Notice the Nissan logo so prominent on the box. Nissan not only licensed but also supervised the design process to ensure the finished product is as close to the real thing as possible. It's the same for all the other Autobot cars that have been made so far.
As usual, the back of the surprisingly small package (seriously, these things are smaller than shoe boxes) talks about the character and shows off the goods. MP-10 (Optimus Prime/Convoy) is the "standard" around which all MP figures are scaled now, so they made sure to show how Bluestreak stacks up next to him.
Another change is the inclusion of collectible metal coins, which I think started with MP-09 (Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime). It can be kind of a crap-shoot to get one with the figure, but they're pretty neat. Each one comes in its own unique packaging or has some variation to distinguish it from the original (i.e. Sideswipe & G2 Sideswipe).
The instructions get into history even more by referencing source material from the animated series.
In alt mode, Bluestreak is fairly compact and a bit smaller than the average car model. Yet despite that and his virtually all-plastic construction, the devil's in the details. For the record, I applied stickers from Reprolabels quite some time ago. These include the plates, mirrors, tail lights, door vents, rear symbol, and door trim.
From the side, we can spy a gas cap, door handle, distinct wheels, windows, mirrors, and bumpers. None of the seams are bad, and the ones for the door actually work out. The only miss is the turn signals, which are painted over up front and missing in the back. Orange would be authentic, but it's not an egregious error.
From the front, we get a better look at the classic cone-set headlights and Z medallion, and a clear view into the interior. At a glance, it's passable, but anything more thorough will merely reveal interior robot parts and the shoulder cannons. This is smaller than an Alternators/Binaltech figure and has to pull off an accurate robot mode, so the sacrifice is also expected.
From behind, the rear wiper and exhaust are most visible.
Back up front, we have a better look at the hood vents and front wipers.
The mirrors are attached to the wheel wells here, but some people have had issues with breakage, so the Z-cars are the last MP Autobot cars to be made this way. Starting with MP-20 (Wheeljack), the mirrors come as separate pieces that have to be installed.
Compared to the G1 figure, there are a lot of similarities. The big difference is the detailing, which makes sense considering we're looking at 1984 (earlier if we're talking Diaclone) next to 2013. The only thing I wouldn't call an improvement is going from rubber to plastic tires. The MP rolls well enough, but rubber tires always make for a smoother toy rolling experience. Then again, the plastic will last longer and helps keep costs down, so I guess that's another even wash.
Next to MP-04 (my preferred MP Optimus), Bluestreak looks perfect. And obviously since MP-04 is bigger than MP-10, he's got no problem fitting inside his trailer.
For weapons, Bluestreak has a couple of options. You can flip that piece in the roof over (you have to separate the the two halves of the car) to tab in his gun. And you can attach Amazon.jp exclusive missile launchers to his rear bumper. I don't think Bluestreak needs them, so I only attached one just to give you an idea of how they look.
Overall, Bluestreak is nice in alt mode (coming from a big Z fan), but it's robot mode where he really shines. Near 6.5-inches tall, he's about the size of a Voyager-class figure, but he looks like he walked right out of the cartoon. His G1 progenitor is poor by comparison. Stickers adorn his shoulders, thighs, and midsection.
From the front and side, he's solid, but from behind, he's got some funky gaps inside his forelegs and feet, due to his legs storing there in alt mode. Fortunately, this is his one major shortcoming, and it's easy to ignore.
His transformation is a slightly more complex version of the original. I wouldn't say it really enhances his articulation, but the visual is interesting to see. His feet are flat and broad, but there are good ankle joints hidden inside, so he can do some tilting and rocking. His knees are double-jointed, his hips are on balls flanked by side skirts, and his thighs swivel just beneath the hips. Up close, you can see mechanical limbs cased in red armor. And his waist swivels.
His hands open and close, swivel at the wrists, and attach to arms with double-jointed elbows and bicep swivels just below ball-jointed shoulders. All that said, the part that catches my eye is the rib area the shoulders attach to. It doesn't move once the arms are properly situated, but it still pops to me, giving more life to the robot in disguise, hiding under the guise of a car. His head rotates and tilts at the neck, and his wings/doors can tilted as you see fit.
From behind, you get more of an electrical look with the imprints on the top windows and spine.
All of it comes together to make a dynamic Autobot who can look the part and stand fantastic next to any other toy on the shelf, paint scrapes and all.
Bluestreak's weapons in robot mode are the same as alt mode, just handled differently. His beam rifle tabs into either hand while open and his shoulders are flexible enough for him to hold it with two hands, despite his car hood chest.
It's hard to be a concealed sniper when you're 20-feet tall.
His other armament consists of 2 shoulder-mounted missile launchers, which can be arched as you see fit. If you prefer, you can also store them out of sight inside his back or beef them up with the more toy-styled launchers from Amazon. I'm about the animated look more often than not, so I enjoy Bluestreak just like this.
When Optimus tells Bluestreak to do the dirty work, he goes to do the dirty work. Also, I'm totally fine with this size disparity. I like the idea of Optimus standing large next to most other Autobots, and that's how most of them see him.
If you've been a fan of Transformers and/or the Masterpiece series, Bluestreak is another hit to add to your collection. If not, he's not a bad place to start, and his availability and fairly low price make him a low-risk chance to take. The original version (black & silver/anime-style) was released in the west as a TRU-exclusive not too long ago, so if you don't mind the stupid-big box, he's easy to find. He's also available in all-silver and silver/blue deco, so $60 - $85 is the current price range. Another $7 will buy stickers if you think he needs them. I don't like the gaps inside his feet and forelegs, and he's not a perfect 280ZX, but those are the closest things to negatives I can cite.
|Posted 25 December, 2015 - 11:27 by Optimal III|