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SP Review 34: Transformers Universe - Masterpiece Skywarp

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  • SP Review 34: Transformers Universe - Masterpiece Skywarp

    Another review to please all the Transformers fans on Hongfire. This time i have a review that will be more deeper than the previous ones due to the design of the figure: Masterpiece Skywarp from Transformers Universe.

    As weird as it sounds, Hasbro released the Masterpiece Seeker mold in the United States as an exclusive of Walmart, being Starscream (MP-3 in Japan) the first one to be released as part of the "Transformers Classics" toyline, and when Universe/Classics 2.0 was unleashed on the market, they released another MP Seeker, this time was Skywarp, which was released in the asian market as the MP-6.


    The box design is the same as the one used on the Classics Masterpiece Starscream, but unlike the Classics where the gimmicks occupied the sides of the box, all the features are shown in one side and the other features an artwork which emulates the drawing style of the Dreamwave/IDW artist Marcelo Matere, and i said emulate since Marcelo didn't drew it although he worked in some of the packaging arts of the Universe toyline (Deluxe Prowl for example).

    Once you cut the tape on the package you'll have to deal with an old enemy of the Transformers collectors: Plastic Twisties, there's 8 of them and 11 rubber bands to cut, fortunately, Hasbro realized how frustrating this thing was and they used paper twisties in the recent toylines. There's also two plastic bags in this set: one on the bottom of the Display Stand, which includes the Display Arm, the Joint Parts (Megatron Gun Clip) and the Dr. Arkeville as the "pilot", and the other plastic bag contains the instructions.


    After the plastic nightmare that was the twisties, here's Masterpiece Skywarp on his robot mode, if we compare the Masterpiece Seeker mold with the MP-01 Convoy/Optimus Prime 20th Anniversary will be disappointed in many levels: One, it's smaller than the MP-01, Two it's more plastic than diecast, if you have the MP-01 you would notice how heavy this figure was due to the diecast metal parts, as for the MP Seeker, the figure only have diecast on the landing gear, airbrake piston and the square section that composes the robot mode's body. and Three, anyone who knows about the Generation 1 Seekers will notice some changes, one of them is the jet parts hanging on his hips, known as the infamous "Hip Kibble", and let me tell ya, this thing just ruins the figure because it makes it unstable, so what's gonna happen is that the figure will fall on it's back over and over and over again.

    The Hip Kibble can be removed and be attached on the legs like the G1 Seekers should be but due to the jet fuselage design doesn't help too much, and the only way to make the figure stand is spreading its legs as seen in this pic.


    Another part that some fans like and others don't is the Jet Kibble on the Shoulders, in this case the jet part that hangs on the intake is the airframe section where the M61 Gatling Vulcan cannons are installed on the jet. This will be like the Gunpod in some mechas like the Gundams (Heavy Arms from Gundam Wing could be a good example), in my opinion i like this detail because it makes the Seeker look more powerful. Speaking about the robot shoulders you'll notice two hinges on the shoulders, what are those?, well let me tell you. During the development of the MP-3, there was plans to add the Coronation gear used by Starscream in the 1986 movie, but the idea was discarded in the final release, and then used in the MP-11 "Destron New Leader" version of Starscream.

    In the G1 Cartoon episode "Fire in the Mountain", Starscream revealed hidden Missile Pods on his chest, since the MP Skywarp is a repaint of the MP Starscream, it also have the Missile Pods. I guess all the Seekers have this weapon.

    One of the gimmicks of the MP Seekers is the face changing, but unlike the japanese MP-6, the Universe version of Skywarp doesn't have an angry face, instead it has the same smirk as Starscream, but that's Hasbro's fault for being too lazy of using a different face and re-use the one of the MP-3

    The Stabilizer Mode is not mentioned in the Hasbro versions of the MP-3 based seekers, but it is mentioned in the Takara's Masterpieces, this mode consists of giving more stability to the figure by deploying the jet flaps, the rear wings and the airbrake, but in my case this mode doesn't help that much on make the figure more stable.

    Skywarp is smaller than the MP Convoy, compared with other Non-Masterpiece Transformers, this will be more like a Voyager Class figure, also this size reduction became the new scale for the later releases (Grimlock, Rodimus, MP-10 Convoy, and the upcoming MP-13 Soundwave)


    The F-15 Strike Eagle jet mode on the Masterpiece Seeker mold is the perfection of the Seeker-type transformation, one of the main, biggest problems is the fact that the robot mode is visible in a side and bottom view. The "Jet Kibble" covers perfectly the sides of the robot, and giving a more realistic look to the jet mode, the only visible parts of the robot in the side view are the feet as a bump below the engines, but its not too notorious, as for the bottom view, the robot parts like the arms might be visible, but well dissimulated as part of the jet's airframe, anybody would think the well detailed jet mode is a scale model rather than a Transformer. The paintjob is different from the japanese MP-6, while the japanese version is a glossy black color with decals, the Hasbro version has pre-applied details like the wing stripes and the Decepticon symbol, and a more G1 Skywarp color scheme than the MP-6.

    The Fighter Jet mode also have some gimmicks one of them is the Adjustable Thrust Vector on the engines, which replaces the rotating rear wings of a real F-15E, i guess what happened here is that the scale was too small to add movement to the rear wings, so they avoided the risk of a fragile articlation and they replaced it with the Thrust Vector.

    Like i said before, the Airbrake is one of the few parts of the figure that have Diecast metal, you can notice it on the piston and the hinges that move the entire section during the transformation.

    The nosecone can be opened to reveal the APG-70 Radar Dome, while Takara's MP-6 has a silver radar dome, the Hasbro version is an all black piece. Also, the nose cone is made of a purple plastic, very reminiscent to the mexican variant of G1 Skywarp released by Plasticos Iga in the 80's, i guess they painted it black to make it look more serious rather than a transforming toy look.

    The Null-Ray Cannons (Variable Caliber Machine Guns according to Takara's MP-6 manual) can be replaced with two pairs of Sidewinders, replacing the rocket launcher of the G1 Seeker toy. in the japanese version, the missiles are white, while the Hasbro version has black missiles, which combines better with Skywarp's colors.

    All Masterpiece Seekers have a "Gun Clip" ("Joint Parts" according to Takara) to attach the Megatron gun that comes included with the MP-01 mold, but since the MP-01 that i bought was used and doesn't have the weapons, i used a Lego 5-point crystal as an Energon shard.

    The F-15E might be a Two-seated aircraft, but in the MP Seeker case, it's a single seated jet due to the transformation mechanism, you might be asking "Does a Decepticon needed a pilot?", well not exactly, but they carried people sometimes, in the case of the Seekers, they carried a man called Doctor Arkeville, a mad scientist who worked with them. In some episodes of the cartoon we saw Starscream carrying the "Doc".

    Skywarp has the "Carbonite Frozen" Doc Arkeville, and i called Carbonite Frozen because the figure is all black, in the japanese MP-6 the doc was also casted in black plastic, but they painted his white coat. All MP-3 based figures have the same character as the pilot in the Takara, Hasbro and even the Third Party company iGear (PP03 Fighter Team), just renamed as "Dr. Evil".

    As the final gimmick, the figure has a display stand with a changable arm for place the figure in both jet and robot modes, this is the only part that is identical as the japanese version, colors, name, font, and even chromed Decepticon symbol. In this stand you can store the gun clip and the Sidewinders (or Null Rays), the stand looks much better when the figure is in jet mode, it makes it look like those jet models that the Airforce captains have in their rooms, a gorgeous detail for the modelism fans.


    Despite of the size reduction, the jet mode is quite big, like a Leader Class figure.

    To sum up this review, the Masterpiece Seeker mold is quite a great figure even with all the unstability problems. As for the MP Skywarp, the Hasbro version is a cheap and good alternative of the expensive MP-6 for the Masterpiece collectors. Highly recommended.
    Last edited by Sturmvogel Prime; 07-23-2012, 07:08 PM.

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  • #2
    Skywarp is currently my favorite of the Masterpieces mainly because of how well it pulls off a realistic-looking alt mode while still having a pretty good looking robot mode. It's the toy you want to show off to the curious non-enthusiast. My older brother, who has a passing interest in Transformers, was fairly impressed with this toy (which is a rare feat as most toys in my collection fail to make an impact on him).
    Currently reading: Kumodesuga Nanika?
    Watching: Naitsuma


    • #3
      So sad they changed the size for MP series. My MP4 Convoy is so much bigger than my MP8 Grimlock. Sure the MP10 Convoy is the same size as Grimlock and the newer ones, but I think MP4 is much better made than the MP10. Oh well, I guess by the time my MP13 Soundwave comes in, I'll just have to display it with Grimlock.
      Phoenix's Toy Web Page has detailed photo of my growing figures collection. Check out the Home Page link on My Profile Page if anyone is interested.