Takara Masterpiece MP-39 Sunstreaker

 

Well, it took them a while but Takara finally gave us a Masterpiece Sunstreaker !

I always figured it would be a question of “when” and not “if” with regard to Takara providing us with a representation of Sideswipe’s vain & arrogant twin. However I did make an assumption that it would have been long before now, I thought they would have kept up the momentum up on the Autobot cars, for the main core characters anyway. But we were not left empty handed with a gap on the shelf …

While we were waiting we did receive two attempts from 3rd Party, with one fairing far better I’d say than the other one did.

So now he’s here in the Vault and in my grubby paws, played with, photographed and now with fingers hovering above keys …. what do we think ?

Packaging & Accessories

The set standard Takara Tomy box, quite unremarkable now. The figure itself, like all of the other MP cars, arrives to us in vehicle mode housed in the two part clam.

Instructions are very thorough, they need to be as this transformation is complex to say the least, well on the first pass anyway. Lost of nice glossy images of the figure from differing angles in both modes. Complimenting this are the usual images and 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 stylised artwork we are getting. These interpretations for me imbue the character with personality, much like the box artwork of the G1 line.

Looking at the accessories they include:

  • Flare Gun
  • Electron Pulse Gun
  • “Crying” Face
  • “Smile” Face
  • Evil Alien Robot Costume
  • Chip Chase Figure
  • Wheelchair
  • Spare Side Mirror Set
  • Collectors Coin

Vehicle Mode

The Lamborghini Countach is an iconic car, growing up in the late 70’s / early 80’s I didn’t know any lad that didn’t have a picture of one on their wall. It was a dream car, one could only hope of one day having. I did get the opportunity about 10 years ago to drive one, they look nice, let’s just leave it there shall we.

Freed from the confides of cardboard and plastic Sunstreaker immediately feels solid and quite hefty. The thick glossy paint work gives him a slick and smooth feel in hand with the chrome adding a little extra bling.

Looking a little closer and the finer detailing is missing, by this I mean minor paint applications to such as the air vents & intakes, side indicators and front beam assist lights. All the standard stuff we have seen on the other MP cars, Sideswipe in particular as he is the one to measure against in this case. It’s not a major thing when you take into account the reason, it’s the animation thing, however what contradicts this are the additional car features.

These additional features are the opening bonnet, opening doors and the pop up headlights. All these are welcome gimmicks but I feel that they would be better served had they been on the older MP cars, they would have been more in keeping with the “real world” car aesthetic of those earlier releases. And because of this, it proves inconsistent when moving from vehicle mode to robot mode.

The car itself is a good likeness to it’s inspiration and does not look that out of place sat next to Sideswipe, this will change however later on …

Takara impressed the collecting community with Inferno and I do believe they have done it again here with Sunstreaker, I am referring to the interchangeable rear end. You have the option of having the LP500s “Supercharger” look or via a flip & twist, roll out looking like a standard Countach.

This is a nice feature, however I think that maybe it was a little unnecessary, it bulks out the backpack when in robot mode but part of me suspects it may have been a pay off for Lamborghini allowing them the licence to use the mold again.

The electron pulse gun can be stored under this rear section, in supercharge mode the flare gun can be slotted into a hole and like in the cartoon, a rear firing gun folds out from under the spoiler.

There are no tabbing issues and minimal panel gaps, the ones that are there appeared after the first transformation so perhaps I may have not got everything quite aligned correctly.

Transformation

If you have Badcube Sunsurge then you’ll feel less pain when first tackling this complex, yet exquisitely engineered transformation. I would (as always) advise taking 20 minutes, a cuppa and biscuit of choice to familiarising ones self with the instructions, this will help immensely when getting to the more testing parts.

Although as comprehensive as the instructions are, they do miss out one or two important step / considerations, I placed a link on our Facebook page highlighting them here.

Other aspects to bear in mind are the tightness of the joints and the paint application, which to date I haven’t yet seen anyone not have any marks or scuffs afterwards. There are no faults as such anywhere, more I’d surmise that when designed the tolerances do not take into account the final paint application and it’s thickness.

Robot Mode

Sunstreaker has a solid robot mode that’s clean with good articulation and nice tight joints.

He cut’s a leaner silhouette than his twin, which in contrast is quite broad and bulky.

Pose-ability is fantastic, lots of articulation but rather than go into a long winded description I’ll bullet point them below and you’ll get the idea from the photo’s

  • Head is on a ball joint which is attached to a hinged panel giving it scope for more movement.
  • Shoulders hinge & swivel but also have butterfly joints allowing them to move in forwards.
  • Swivels at his biceps, wrists, waist and thighs.
  • Elbows are single jointed but allow him to almost bring his hands up to the shoulder.
  • Wrists are hinged providing extra movement, there is also an ab crunch joint.
  • Hip joints rotate with ratchets in the forward/backwards/outwards.
  • Singled joint knees allow the legs to fold almost completely back.
  • Ankles rock side wards and the feet have a slight tilt forwards/backwards.

Now detail is an issue here for me, he hasn’t got a lot truth be told. He is quite … well, bland.

This of course is firmly down to Takara’s “cartoon accuracy” way of doing things now, glaringly obvious when he’s stood next to Sideswipe. Side by side you really get a sense of the shift in direction from Takara as he looks completely out of place. They did try to numb this a little by doing MP-12+, an animation coloured Sideswipe but it doesn’t really work.

He is well proportioned even if the backpack does seem a little prominent. The way the sections fold in on themselves and form this backpack is to be applauded, maybe not as clever as Inferno’s ladder but it’s close. I will draw attention the hands, putting a pin in the wrist gives that bit of extra articulation and also the benefit of a moveable thumb, which helps immensely when holding his weapon. An issue that most MP’s seem to have. The head, well it’s not great and isn’t helped by the “derpy” looking swap out face sculpts, I’m struggling here for a positive so I’ll move on.

The quality of the paint application carries over from vehicle mode into this mode, no mismatches I can see although as mentioned, look out for those marks and scuffs from transformation (most notable on the hands).

I had no issues with tabs or panels, everything pops and snaps into place where it should and stays there.

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.

Can I also just say, I like how the front wheel fold under, I know we saw this first on MP Bumble but here it’s just done better. Another plus point is the ability to store the Electron Pulse Gun within either lower leg, nice touch. Another point 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.

Final Thoughts

I’m really torn on this one, more so I’d say than at any other time, I honestly am.

I like it, I really do. However whilst doing this review, every time I’ve handled Sunstreaker, I felt the compulsion to then pick up Sunsurge. I think where the difference lies (for me) is in the feelings; when I handle Sunstreaker I’m an adult collector but when I hold Sunsurge, I’m a kid again.

If I may I’ll bullet point some Pro’s & Con’s as I see them;

Pro’s

  • Good animation likeness
  • Solid & sturdy with tight joints
  • Paint application
  • Articulation
  • Accessories
  • Backpack (how it does it’s thing)
  • Gimmicks (doors, bonnet & headlights)
  • Rear car section flip thing

Con’s

  • Paint application (prone to marking & scuffing)
  • Face & head sculpt
  • Back pack (large size)
  • Lack of detail
  • Gimmicks (not really necessary)
  • Does not fit in with older MP’s
  • Plastic wheels
  • Rear car section flip thing

I have enjoyed my time with Badcube Sunsurge but in saying this I don’t see MP Sunstreaker as a replacement to him, I do feel that they can co-exist out there in the fandom as well as on my shelf. What you have here with these two representations, I would explain like this; If you want a cartoon accurate figure to remind you of your childhood watching the adventures of these character in the show then Takara has your back. However, if your memories are firmly planted with the toys first and foremost then I think Badcube is your choice. It has that feel of an evolution of the original toys, not scared to hide how it does what it does, letting you know that in that physique is an awesome yellow super car.

Either way go, both are good representations of the character and car, a car that an adolescents wet dreams are made of.

Thanks to Kapow Toys Ltd, Masterpiece MP-39 Sunstreaker can be Ordered by clicking here.

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