Mega Review: Includes all Takara and Hasbro variants
Packaging & Extras: (4/5) Takara standard , (4.5/5) Hasbro, (5/5) Takara gift-set
You can buy Optimus Prime with a trailer or you can buy some of the repaint variants without it. I’m calling the versions with the trailer “gift-sets”. Takara toys come in the traditional black matte box. The gift-sets have a picture of a standing Optimus that wraps his arm around to one of the sides of the box. It’s a pretty polished presentation although it could benefit from having one of those lids you lift up to see the toy behind a plastic window within. The Evangelion packaging features some nice artwork that puts it a notch above the rest in my book. Hasbro, per usual, takes this to the extreme and gives us a huge clear plastic box with an angled cardboard base that is a nightmare to open and difficult to store. Hasbro did release a Year of the Horse variant of Optimus that comes packaged in more traditional box that I appreciated a bit more. Here’s what you get in the box besides Optimus:
2) Matrix of Leadership (gold for standard, silver for black Optimus, already installed on gift-sets)
3) Ion Blaster (gun with spring-loaded gimmick)
4) Energy axe (Orange for most, red for Black and Eva, blue for YOTH)
5) Bio Card (Takara only)
6) Trailer that converts to Combat Deck* (silver for Optimus, clear for YOTH, gray NERV for Eva)
7) Roller** (Silver for Takara, Blue for Hasbro, Gray/green for Eva)
* Included in gift-sets only
** Not included in the YOTH gift-set
Asia reissues also included a special ‘gift’ that was not included in the box but shipped concurrently with the product. The Takara Asia reissue included a display stand. The Hasbro Asia reissue included Vector Sigma.
Charm & Collectabilty: (4/5) +1 for BAPE release
Optimus is a hit. Here’s a list of releases:
Takara MP-10 Gift-set (Japan), September 2011, 22,000YEN (stamped H2611)
Takara MP-10 Gift-set (Japan), September 2012, 22,000YEN (stamped J0312)
Hasbro MP-10 Gift-set (USA TRU exclusive), November 2012, $119.99
Takara MP-10B Black Prime, March 2013, 12,800YEN
Takara MP-10 Gift-set (Asia), September 2013, 22,000YEN (included Display Stand) (stamped G2913)
Hasbro MP-10 YOTH Gift-set (USA), March 2014, $119.99
Hasbro MP-10 Gift-set (Asia), November 2014, $159.99 (included Vector Sigma)
Takara MP-10A Bathing Ape Prime (Japan), November 2014, 18,144YEN (includes tax)
Takara MP-10 Evangelion (Japan), November 28, 2014, 25,000YEN (includes tax)
Takara MP-10 Gift-set (Japan reissue), May 2015, 22,000YEN
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (9/10)
It’s hard to argue with this interpretation of Optimus in either mode although his legs are a little questionable in truck mode. You do get spinning rubber wheels, a standard the following masterpieces would not live up to. In bot mode he looks fantastic. I’ve seen complaints that his waist is a little small but the way his hips slant into the waist looks fine by me. You don’t get the pistons of the original masterpiece toy but you do get properly sized hands, a better torso, and better thigh to calf proportions. The Autobot emblem is raised on the left shoulder on all vehicles except the 10B and 10A. The 10B has a flat shoulder with the Decepticon emblem painted on it and the 10A has the BAPE emblem painted on the flat surface. Since the 10A is actually a repaint of the 10B rather than the 10, it’s easy to decipher a 10A from a knock-off. On the knock-offs they used the base 10 for the repaint meaning you get a raised Autobot logo on that shoulder (evil clone Convoy instead of Decepticon Convoy).
MP-10 does not have the following gimmicks found on MP-1:
1) Moving mouthpiece
2) Light up matrix
3) Communication panels in arms
4) Simulated pistons in joints
5) Functioning suspension in truck mode
6) MP-1 allowed a fist to be recessed and the energon axe to then be affixed which was accurate to the cartoon, on MP-10 the axe just slides over the fist.MP-10 improves upon the following gimmicks from MP-1
1) Trailer now has a trapdoor that conceals the opening for the pod to pop through the roof
2) Stabilizers for combat deck swing out from the sides of the trailer and automatically extend to the ground without needing to be pulled down.
3) Trailer now attaches via two pegs for a more secure fit
4) Trailer now has two legs making it more stable rather than the one leg on MP-4.
5) Trailer ramp now slides out from underneath the trailer floor rather than blocking the trailer internals by folding upward.
6) Truck opens forward and has seats on either side for Spike or Eva figures
7) Transformation feels smoother and more refined
MP-10 adds the following gimmicks not seen on MP-1
1) The gun can now collapsed and be stored in the toy’s back. The gun can remain in the back in either mode and throughout transformation.
2) There’s additional components inside the trailer that fold out for seating positions for the Spike or Eva figures.
3) Roller! And roller has two neat tricks in addition to accommodating Spike or Eva characters.
A) Roller can open a hatch and then carry the ion blaster
B) Roller can spin around its back section and then attach the trailer (though the trailer is a bit heavy and makes Roller want to do a wheelie.
Durabilty & Build: (8.5/10)
There are a couple things to look out for on these otherwise very solid toys. FIrst, paint issues and scratches seem to be pretty common. I was a little sad to see my BAPE toy had the tiniest rub mark on one of his white wipers. On my Takara MP-10 there are slight scratches on the face. Both of these issues are noticeable only upon extremely close viewing but sad none-the-less. These issues are, of course, a far cry from the issues with all the painted metal on the MP-1 which all but guaranteed large chips of paint after a few transformations. Another frequent issue I came across were fingers popping off the hands. It would seem like we should finally be getting to the era when manufacturers can make reliable articulated hands but I guess we’re not quite there. I also had a problem with the smokestacks occasionally being a little loose on any of my toys and then sliding down when I wanted them to be all the way up; it would have been nice if they locked into place. There is nearly no metal in MP-10, maybe a small amount in the feet. Whereas MP-1 weighed in at about 2.5lbs MP-10 doesn’t even hit 1lb (weighed without trailer).
About the one place this toy doesn’t really live up to the term ‘masterpiece’ is in the articulation section. For the most part he has the joints you want but the range of motion is pretty limited. The elbows don’t go past 90 degrees. The hips can’t come all the way up or back and knees are also limited to about 90 degrees. MP-1 with its articulated waist skirt and extending knees appears to have a bit more hip articulation and much more knee articulation though the extreme weight of the legs makes it difficult to utilize the advantage. All these limited joints mean you won’t be able to pull off any cool kneeling poses. You also won’t get wrists so you can make him point but don’t expect any open hand poses. While the head has lots of articulation it’s not on a ball joint so you can’t cock it to the side but it does have a decent-looking neck (which MP-1 lacked) so it may be a worthwhile trade-off.
Total Score: (42-43/50)
This score lands the toy squarely in my ‘excellent’ category and is an easy recommendation. I’m not going to say there isn’t room for improvement, particularly in the articulation section, but for my money there’s no better Convoy. I do miss some of the MP-1 gimmicks but the overall fit and finish and general play-ability is leaps and bounds better here. BAPE, Black, YOTH and Eva releases may not be for everyone but they’re all no less excellent than the original MP-10 so if you find the color scheme appealing I think you should track them down (though the price of a legit MP-10A makes it hard to recommend and it seems likely EVA will follow unless there’s a general Asia release). The trailers all attach via the same mechanism so have fun mixing and matching.