Reviews

Magic Square MS-01 Light of Freedom

The Vault Keeper

The Vault Keeper

 

A little over a week ago now I received a parcel from Kapow Toys.

I had seen the initial photo’s and early reviews, safe to say I was intrigued by what I was seeing and hearing, so I thought what the hell and placed my order.

From the outset, I have no hesitation in stating the following; were I to stop collecting right now and never buy another figure I would not lament it. Such is the level of my impress with relation to this figure. In fact I believe that was I to suffer an untimely demise, this would be the figure I’d wish to be interred with me.

A bold and lofty boast, will my review bear witness to these statements ?

 

 

Encasement and Doodads

In more recent reviews I’ve tended to skip over this section or be quite brief, after all there isn’t much really to say about a box, unless it’s Ocular Max Perfection Series (I’ll always have write a word or two about their lovely boxes).

There is nothing special here to be fair but I wanted to just mention two points; firstly it’s G1 look, big fan and delivers a nostalgia hit. And secondly the box materials, it’s a lovely cardboard, rigid and firm. It reminds of the box that ACE used for Tumbler, has an almost plastic feel to it and so far just as durable.

Light of Freedom (to which I’ll refer to as L-o-F from now on) arrives to us in robot mode in a two part / two colour clam, a black tray with a clear overlay.

On to the accessories and they’re sparse, when compared to MP-10 they are but I think it’s unfair and unwise to explore that comparison. I also think it would be unfair to judge it against the upcoming MP-44, for reasons I’ll try to explore further in the review.

So we have; Laser Blaster, Alt Helmet, Battle Damaged Windows and Abdomen Panels and Energon-Axe. Paperwork wise we have the Instructions and a Collector Card.

I usually berate needless accessories or the over abundance of them. I’d much rather they be minimal with greater emphasis given to the figure itself and logically the fewer they are then maybe, just maybe the price points will be a little better (unless it’s the wallet spanking Mall Exclusives).

Magic Square have given us, in my mind anyway, just the right amount. Maybe the Alt Helmet is a tad unnecessary but it’s inclusion is in no way a detriment.

 

 

 

 

Conveyance

I know L-o-F comes packaged in robot mode but I had him in truck mode when I started writing so figured I’d start there.

 

 

L-o-F like most G1 inspired versions of Optimus Prime, is based upon a White Freightliner WFT-8664T. It’s a good looking truck mode with hints of both the real world vehicle and the G1 toy. Side on and from the back it also looks more finished off than MP-10, sadly though, lacking in a 5th wheel to hook up a trailer. MP-10’s trailer will sit quite comfortably on there, scales really well too but will not roll out with him… unless you utilise a blob of blue-tack. The cab doors open but reveal little in the way of internal detailing, they’re just there as part of the transformation sequence.

 

 

Lots of chroming going on, from the bumpers (fenders), smoke stacks, wheel rims and fuel tanks. Minor detailing is around in the shape of rear view mirrors, cab access steps and grab rails. No front light detailing but some to the back for the rear (tail) lights and translucent blue plastic for the windscreens (more on those later). We are also treated to some rubber, rubber tyres are a must for me in any Masterpiece style / scale figure, anything less is just lazy.

 

 

*Note; the smoke stacks can be adjusted to make them longer or shorter, this feature carries over into robot mode.

Colours are good and all matches up but I’ll talk more about that in the robot mode.

 

 

Conversion

Shifting L-o-F from truck to robot is not an arduous task. The instructions are straightforward and easy to follow. In fact a good mull over them for 10 minutes or so and you’ll have it down. This being in part due to the sequence following the set template for transforming a G1 style Optimus Prime. Magic Square have deviated very little from this well trodden path and where they have it’s only to the betterment of the process.

 

 

Mechanical Person Form

This is where it happens, this is where all my boxes are getting ticked, buttons pressed and juices flowing. Straight out of the box I knew that this was “my” Optimus Prime.

 

 

L-o-F cuts a great silhouette; broad square shoulders, tapering in at the waist and then pushing back out for the lower legs with strong and full arms, big hands and a lush face sculpt. Now I know he’s not strictly 100% cartoon accurate but that’s fine by me, he’s as close as I’d like him to be. In fact he reminds me of Geoff Senior’s art from the Marvel UK Comics, his artwork was always my favourite.

 

 

The colour pallet is quite pastel, it’s not a deep red but that’s okay, neither are the blues deep but it all works together. The plastic used has a unique feel to it, one I’ve not come across before. It’s not rough but there is a certain texture to it that makes it pleasing to the touch. Minimal paint applications are used here, some of the grey highlights over red. I also cannot figure out as yet if the upper legs are painted, if so then the colour match is bang on with the other greys in play.

 

 

Articulation is good, border on great but either way an improvement over MP-10 (keep braking my comparisons promise). I’ve included some additional shots below to highlight these articulation points, they do a much better job of it than my descriptions.

 

 

This range of articulation affords some great posing choices, good centre of gravity also provides good balance. Very little die-cast but what’s there is centralised so I assume it’s this that helps with the balancing. L-o-F is mostly plastic but he does not suffer for it, it’s good quality and at no point were I given to feelings of stress or breakage. One thing I will say is, and this could be my only negative point, the reds rub and leave marks on the greys. This is more prevalent on the waist section, rubbing when twisting.

Those minor accessories can come into play now, swapping out the windows for the battle damaged ones, also swapping over the abdomen panels. The abdomen panels are best done by part transforming to get a better access when pulling off. The blaster clips well into hand and stays firm, although initially I had loose fingers from his right hand, this was soon rectified and now are nice and tight. The Energon-Axe is in two parts, axe clips in hand like the blaster with the ball part sliding over.

 

 

Opening up L-o-F’s chest reveals the now standard addition of a Matrix chamber with Matrix in-situ.

 

 

Nuts & Bolts

I am really struggling here to see or find any significant negative points. Is he perfect ?

No, but do you know what, I don’t care. I’m getting to old now to be bothered about such notions. There never will be a “perfect” figure, not one that is perfect for everyone anyway. To chase or demand perfection is futile and will only result in personal disappointment.

Magic Square have done something here quite brilliant, they have delivered a quasi cartoon accurate Masterpiece scale Optimus Prime that will, I feel, go on to stand toe to toe with MP-44. Sure L-o-F does not have a trailer or the plethora of accessories that will adorn MP-44 but so what, at under a third of the cost of MP-44 that is just fine with me. For example, I’ve had MP-10 since 2011 and in all that time I have never used or displayed him with any of his accessories. So to my mind, for me anyway, I’ve chunks of plastic sat in a box paid for that I don’t use. L-o-F is not doing this to me, I’m getting what I’m paying for, plain & simple  and straight to the point, doing what it says on the tin.

But then there is the contradiction / hypocrisy; all that I dislike in the current Takara Masterpiece aesthetic is what I’m loving here from Magic Square. Why, I’ll be buggered if I know. All I can say is that for some reason with L-o-F it just works for me, maybe it’s because that’s what they set out to do ? Takara always strike me as not really knowing where they want to be with their MP line, trying to cover too many bases and not really achieving any. I will of course be buying MP-44, I’ll review him but I really cannot say for sure if I’ll keep him.

And so, back to Light of Freedom. Should you buy ?

 

 

I’ll break with my usual line of advice which is that I leave it up to you to make your own mind up. However this time I’m flat out telling you, yes go buy him as I honestly do believe you will love him. Maybe not 100% but then again how could we, it’s a piece of plastic and not a person. Even if you just buy as a stop gap until MP-44 I do believe that even after obtaining Takara’s wallet busting figure you will still keep a place on your shelf for Magic Square’s masterpiece.

To  borrow, if I may, a line from Transformers 2007…. I am Optimus Prime.

 

 

Thanks to Kapow Toys Ltd, Magic Square MS-01 Light of Freedom is in stock as of time of writing and can be ordered by clicking here.

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