While the Hasbro Masterpiece line continues to fairly wheeze along like an asthmatic on life-support, TakaraTomy keeps hope alive by pumping out some great product on their side of the world. Coupled with the fact that TakaraTomy prices have stayed pretty steady while Hasbro’s decidedly has not (thanks, Toys “R” Us exclusivity) meant that I soon found myself probably needing an affordable source for the TakaraTomy releases. Then Masterpiece Wheeljack was announced; “probably” became “must find pipeline nooooooow”.
Enter Nippon-Yasan.com. While the U.S. based online stores had prices of $80 before shipping, I was able to get Wheeljack for $50 after shipping. Still not sure how it works out, but I have consistently been able to get the Masterpiece toys with shipping costs included for about 25% less than the pre-shipping price of the U.S. based online retailers. When you’re talking about $130 shipped for Star Saber rather than $180 before shipping, that’s a nice chunk of monies. Of course, that’s a nice chunk of monies that then mostly goes to picking up releases I normally otherwise would find cost-prohibitive, like Exhaust and the upcoming Road Rage. Collecting is like that sometimes…
As long as I live, I will never be over the sexy lines of the original Corvette Stingray. Transforming into a Corvette Stingray concept car is one of the things that propelled the Movie-verse Sideswipe to the top of my list of favourite Autobots from the original trilogy of movies. That being said, the Chevrolet Corvette was perfected within the C3 timeframe — the third generation of Corvette and the second generation of “Stingray” — though there are wildly differing opinions about which year had the absolute best. If you find the Autobot symbol with yellow background on step too gaudy, you can rotate the panel around to make it go away.
Being a Corvette also gave G1 Tracks the distinction of being the only American car in the line-up. The metallic flake blue plastic used is so shiny and pretty. So, what could possibly make this alt mode better? Why, give it the ability to fly, of course. The Masterpiece toy includes a flight stand to be able to display him in flying alt mode.
While the original toy has the advantage of deployed missile launchers in this mode, the Masterpiece release adds some show-accurate pop-out tailfins. Along with this third mode, Tracks also displayed the ability to deploy his “black beam” gun from his alt mode’s grille, shown in the episode “Megatron’s Master Plan, Part 1”.
To round out his accessories, we have to consider his two most prominent episodes, Make Tracks and Auto Bop. In both, he is paired with Blaster and both times they end up in New York, on adventures with a street-punk named Raoul. Or, to be more precise, as the TFWiki puts it “a break-dancing street punk carjacker with a bandana, a mullet-ponytail, a rhinestone-studded leather jacket and a heart of gold”. Yep, you read that right. He and his “crew”, imaginatively named the Bop Crew, consists of him and his two friends, Poplock and Rocksteady.
All I can say is… it was the 80’s. Auto Bop is the episode that gives us a soundblasting showdown between Blaster and Soundwave and in which Soundwave proves that in a one-on-one fight, he could pretty much take Blaster. Meanwhile, back in the year 2015, Tracks is all set to go auto-boppin’.
Granted, it’s nothing a little alcohol solution can’t scrub clean, but it is frustrating. My only other complaint is the size of his missile launchers. Granted, the G1 toy was certainly not to scale with the show, but I would have preferred they made the launchers removable rather than how small they had to make them to keep them attached. From G1 to Generations to Masterpiece, the missile launchers just get steadily smaller.
Regardless, it’s a minor complaint given how much I like everything else about him.