Vaults of Iacon


Takara Masterpiece MP-33 Inferno

December 24th, 2016 | posted by Eddie


Still in the process of trying to catch up with my reviews, the hacking of the Vaults of Iacon website last week not helping (which also resulted in the previous review for MP-11NT Thrust being cast into oblivion). I’m finally getting round to figure two of three that arrived from Kapow Toys way back on the 6th of December, how time flies. I decided to push on with this review of Inferno and try to recover the one for Thrust at a later date, more than likely when I upload this one.

I feel it’s only fair to get this of my chest before we start. When I saw the first images of Takara’s Inferno I was less than impressed, no that’s not true, more indifferent to it I would say. I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t that keen on the “animated” look of the figure. Right I feel better now, so MP Inferno … the actual real life official one, lets see what he’s all about shall we.

Packaging & Accessories

Nothing new here style wise, same template and format but with different box dimensions this time round to incorporate the figure (in fire-truck mode) and the plethora of accessories. All this encompassed in a clam shell with a baggie including the instructions, collector card and in what appears to be quickly becoming more common, a sticker sheet. This sticker sheet has two versions of the Autobot insignia along with two sets of the “Fire Department” emblems which we have seen before on the cab doors of the G1 toy back in the day. Instructions are easy enough to follow as always and include nice glossy images of the figure from differing angles in both modes. Complimenting this are the usual tidbits of information we get from the varying scenarios the particular character found themselves in from the cartoon series, of course highlighting the included accessories. The collectors cards continue to impress, I really like the stylized artwork we are getting. These interpretations for me imbue the character with personality, much like the box artwork of the G1 line.

Going back to that abundance of accessories I mentioned, here is a brief breakdown of what we get included with Inferno. Two animation inspired fire-truck grille sections, one of which has a translucent plastic cradle attached to it so as to allow MP Alert to be placed in it to give the appearance of Inferno carrying him. This accessory does not include the theme song from The Bodyguard sadly, however you may download from iTunes at your leisure should you wish to do so. Moving on … we also have a gun, two forearm mounted communicators, a hose with “snapper” effect, animation inspired arm mounted gun, opaque water plume effect (which has some humorous applications), animation inspired helmet with two alternate face sculpts and one other alt face sculpt more in line with the G1 toy look. The figure comes with the toy influenced grille section, arm mounted gun, helmet and face plate in-situ as standard fresh from the box.

Before I move on I thought I’d mention one other accessory that we are given. Now previously Takara included a collectors coin, I would not reference these in my reviews as they were never my thing and I used to pass them onto a friend who did collect them. I’m led to believe they were quite popular, so when Inferno was announced my friend contacted me to “reserve” his coin. Fast forward some time and what did we get … a small, tiny even, die-cast Optimus Prime. I find myself again confronted with an accessory / free gift / token if you will that I believe to be wholly irrelevant, however this does not mean I will not be continuing to receive them with thanks and appreciation. They are useless enough to warrant a space on my shelf and because of this here is a picture of the little bugger.

Vehicle Mode

Chunky, blocky and devoid of detail were the first thoughts that came to mind when removing Inferno from the clam shell. Sure, there is some nice moulding on the chromed grille, the translucent amber indicators are a nice touch and I like the hoses but that’s about it really as far as complex design goes. But then, when you actually look at it, that’s when you realise the detail is actually there. Tyre tread on the plastic wheels, silver paint application the wheel hubs, vents in the wheel rims, door handle and panel lines, smoke translucent sirens on the cab roof, wiper blades and arms etc. In fact when you think about it, looking at a vehicle in real life they are pretty “bland”, manufacturers don’t tend to press detail into steel panels. I think what does it is that it’s this big sea of unbroken red, a more pasty shade of red to what Ironhide was and lacking the aforementioned “go faster stripe” to break the monotony. Also missing, which would have benefited the truck mode immensely, is the absence of any rear light clusters. But when we get around to the robot mode this omission will be more understandable. Inferno’s fire truck mode is solid and free wheels smoothly if a little loudly on those plastic wheels, the addition of the retractable stabilisers lifts the rear end ever so slightly off the ground to mimic the real thing. Now the ladder is where it gets interesting, before I get to the good part I’ll just mention that when extended it’s not straight, it wanders off a little to the side. The ladder also houses at its tip a water cannon which the water effect accessory can be attached to, and along with the extending action also has up and down movement but no base swivel to allow rotation, there is a reason for this which excuses its lack there of. I’ll cover this in the next section of the review.

Transformation

Just before I begin the transformation I thought I’d quickly mention the panels and joints, all fit together really well with no unsightly gaps or misalignments.

Not going as far as calling it genius but it’s defiantly very clever and that’s the way the ladder folds up and stores away during transformation into robot mode, top marks for that one Takara. Aside from this trick the rest of the transformation is quite straightforward and do-able with only a cursory glance over the instructions. However as always I recommend reading them thoroughly just in case as to avoid any breakages or heaven forbid, miss-transformations (especially if you post pictures on social media, the fan boys will tear you a new arse for this).

Robot Mode

Once in robot mode and Inferno stands quite tall, just a little shy of Optimus himself, which suits the character well. The blocky-ness carries over into robot mode but this is in keeping with the obvious inspiration from the cartoon series.

Articulation is great, some of the best so far in as much as when in a pose he keeps it, this is down in some part to nice tight ratchet joints. Hard to capture in a written review but there is a satisfying click and clunk to those ratchets, you know that when in place they aren’t going anywhere, and because of this some truly great poses can be achieved. While messing around I noted an “ab-crunch” of sorts, not sure if this is an intended articulation feature or just part and parcel of the transformation sequence, either way I’ll take it as it ads just a little further dynamic to him. It also helps with the waist rotation as folded up flaps to the rear hamper this in some part so when lifted slightly forward it allows clearance of these. The front crotch flaps are attached to the tops of the legs so rotate round with them as opposed to having to be moved out of the way. But I have to say before I move away from the waist area, those are some wide hips there Inferno, just saying (those hips don’t lie).

Nice sculpt on the hands, clearly defined fingers (fused with single point of articulation) with the trigger finger just slightly forward of the others, good for when holding his gun. I have an issue with the forearm panel on the left arm, it won’t stay closed so has a slight gap showing. Other blemishes come in the way of a black mark on the left hand side A pillar of the cab, however from other reviews I have seen this is not an isolated incident. Aside from these two points the rest of the paint application in robot mode is sound.

Now in robot mode we can have a little fun with those accessories, I’ll not go through a long winded write up about these, so will just showcase a few pictures including them all below.

Something of note I’d like to mention is the face swap out, I like how simple and effective it is, no fiddling around with small screws and such. However, with the concept being based off of friction to hold in place I wonder how long it will hold up under repeated usage. Another practical addition is the ability to store the forearm communicators within the left forearm, both go here as the right arm conceals the water cannon whilst utilising the hand. I’ll mention the gun “butt” storage facility, I’ll not be using it but it’s there should you wish to.

Closing Thoughts

I started this review out by saying “I feel it’s only fair to get this of my chest before we start. When I saw the first images of Takara’s Inferno I was less than impressed, no that’s not true, more indifferent to it I would say”. I have purposely refrained from comparing MP-33 to other 3rd Party options during the main body of the review and I’ll explain why. I purchased MMC PS-03 Backdraft upon it’s release as I knew there and then that I’d like it and I wasn’t wrong. I was immediately impressed with it straight out of the box whereas MP-33 has grown on me over the time owned and span of this review, for me it lacked that immediate “wow” factor.

So for me to dive straight in with the comparisons would not have done the review, figure or me any favours, we would have been starting out on the back foot.

Staying with the comparisons for a short while I’ll add this, MP-33 has a weight to it that is not much less than Backdraft, considering it has no die-cast this is reassuring and with the simplified transformation it will win some people over as opposed to the formers fiddly sequence. Whilst it’s not my favoured representation of the character I still find Inferno pleasing to the senses, I feel it should not be but it is and I do not know why. However in this case I’m not going to search for these reasons, I shall merely accept them and enjoy the figure as is.

So Takara has won me over again with a release after at first being sceptical, however Backdraft will retain his top spot on the Shelf. The main reason for this is I personally feel he fits in better with the previous official MP releases, the obvious dumbing down of the whole appearance of the figure to more reflect the cartoon suits some but not really me. As I maintain, I prefer a more G1 toy inspired look but it’s good to have choice and difference. Will I continue to buy official MP product … of course I will, I’m a TF nut !

Should you buy MP-33 Inferno ? Well only you can answer that but I hope this review has helped in some way

Thanks to Kapow Toys Ltd, figures reviewed are available online via their website.
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