Masterpiece Seekers... Again

It wasn't too long ago that Transformers collectors had the opportunity to get a complete set of seekers, Starscream, Thundercracker and Skywarp, in the Masterpiece line. Personally I didn't get MP-03 as the colour didn't really mean Starscream to me, but MP-06 and MP-07 were just amazing and I couldn't resist. To complete my set of seekers, I managed to get a Walmart exclusive Masterpiece Starscream which had a much more accurate colour scheme.

The original masterpiece seeker mold has something of a strange history which can be researched online should you require more information on the subject. Suffice it to say that what the fans got in MP-03 was not what they were expecting after seeing design sketches for the figure.

Some people didn't like the figure due to it not really capturing the look of the character in the cartoon. The head looks small, the arms have extra alt mode kibble, the legs were thin and the tail fins were part of an assembly which ended up hanging off of the hips of the figure to simulate a samurai sword. Let's see some pictures to get a better idea of what we used to have.


Masterpiece Seekers by Pete Slater
Here we can see that the figures are recognisable as Starscream, Thundercracker and Skywarp but something feels a little wrong about them.

So Takara went back to the original design and tried to please the fans by releasing Starscream in a mold more similar to the character in the original cartoon. This was released in the masterpiece line as MP-11 and it's fair to say that most people were happy with the result. Later, Hasbro released a repaint of MP-11 as Thundercracker through the American toy company, Toys R Us.

If we take a side by side look at Thundercracker for example, you can see how much of an improvement the changes made to the robot mode.
Masterpiece Seekers by Pete Slater
So we have a more cartoon accurate robot mode and the mold fixes problems with original, not least of which is that the new version can now stand without falling over. The original mold had no ankle to speak of which meant it was prone to falling over backwards if you didn't balance it carefully.

However, in my opinion, the new mold suffered in alt mode compared to the original which had a fantastic F-15 style fighter jet look and which also had a wonderful and detail paintjob. The new mold in alt mode just doesn't hide things well enough and the colour scheme looks very bright and not to realistic.

Anyway, as of January 2015, we now have the chance to complete the seekers once again in the masterpiece line as Hasbro Asia have released the missing member of the team, Skywarp. Let's have a look at how the figure stacks up.
Masterpiece Skywarp by Pete Slater
The figure is package in robot mode and comes with a Megatron gun and a Dr. Arkeville figure to put inside of the cockpit. Immediately you realise that you don't get much for your money with this figure, but what you do get is a perfectly coloured rendition of Skywarp.
Masterpiece Skywarp by Pete Slater
The insignia on the wings is the same direction as Thundercracker but the opposite direction to Starscream. This will infuriate some people but for me, it's nothing to be concerned about.
Masterpiece Skywarp by Pete Slater
The alt mode is exactly as you would expect. Purple in most of the right places and a nice matt black finish to the rest of the jet. In my personal opinion, the paintjob is not nearly as good as the one on MP-06 which looks way more realistic and premium. But it fits in nicely with the over versions of this mold so it's not a big deal.
Masterpiece Skywarp by Pete Slater
Masterpiece Skywarp by Pete Slater
Skywarp is, like the other variations of this mold, able to wear the coronation gear that comes with Starscream or Sunstorm.
Masterpiece Skywarp by Pete Slater
So, now that I have all three seekers in both old and new molds, what do I think of them?

Well, I much prefer the older seekers as jets. They simple look so much nicer with less obvious robot parts dangling down from their undercarriage. The paintwork on the older figures is also a lot nicer. But in terms of the robot modes, the newer figures just rock. They are far more sturdy, better articulated, have less kibble and more correctly proportioned heads.

The only scenario in which this can be rationalised and make sense is if you have the three new versions in bot mode and the older three in alt mode. Win/Win :)

Finally, let's see all three of the new masterpiece seekers together.
Masterpiece Seekers by Pete Slater
Masterpiece Seekers by Pete Slater
Masterpiece Seekers by Pete Slater
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this article.