Masterpiece Prowl TRU review. I've decided to go over to the dark side of KO.

Posted by Marvin Lee 
I've had my Masterpiece Prowl for over a week and I wanted to have it for awhile before I put my thoughts together for a consumer review. The quick version. I'm now going with the KO versions. I simple think the real figures are over priced and this is with the knowledge that I used the TRU 20% and got the figure for $58.00 plus tax. Here are my reasons.

1. You shouldn't have to buy basic accessories and decals with a Masterpiece figure and the fact that I had to order the Before & After launcher and decal set for a $70.00 figure is insane. The Masterpiece line should give us the option of having the decals included as a sheet and let us decide on putting however many decals we want or what launcher we want. A lot of the KO sellers are including two extra missles launchers, collector coins etc. just so that you will buy from them.

2. The engineering. A GREAT figure that looks just like the Prowl I've always wanted BUT from an engineering stand point it is no more complicated than a lot of the Generations deluxe figures. (Sargent Kup comes to mind.)

3. Quality of materials. I knew it was all plastic going in and I was told that it was light but when I held it in my hand I kept going..."This is a $70.00 figure?" And I kept going "No" At this level materials do count and these figure should have some metal body panels in some places as long as it doesn't get in the way of being able to stand and pose. I took my Bineltech smokescreek and this MP Prowl figure and asked my 8 year old son "Which seems like it cost more?" and he was surprissued that the Bineltech cost me $20.00 less. (Although I didn't add in inflation.) When an 8 yr can see that metal means quality you have to question the all plastic direction the MP line is going.

4. Paint Quality. Prowl was my very first Transformer so he holds a special place for me in my TG heart so I didn't want to go cheap on him, especially since he has so many decals and lettering but my TRU has terrible dust particles in the hood of the figure. ON THE HOOD WHERE IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN EASY TO SPOT! I'm not a Jerky about paint having to be flawless but if this was the KO version people would be using this as an example of why NOT to buy a KO figure. It even had black smuges that I was lucky enough to rub off. You can't even make the argument that the extra price goes toward the detail of the paint because Transformers Prime's Dead End had some of the best paint I've ever seen on a figure with crisp lines and it only cost me $12.99.

5. The box. I really don't give a damn about a toys box but the TRU/ Hasbro version comes in a box that is twice the size of the Takara and KO version. This causes two problems. One: Most of us I imagine keep our boxes and larger boxes means that it takes up more room to store. Two Takara MP car boxes can fit into one Hasbro/TRU box. The second is more mental. Opening the TRU version sitting there in a big box of nothing just reminds you of all the stuff you're NOT getting with this figure. (See part 1.) I just kept having the feeling like I was suckered. I can just hear the marketing people at Hasbro/TRU going "If we want them to pay $70.00 for this we're going to have to give them a bigger box than what they are doing at Takara. "

6. Reviews of the KO's. I've seen several KO reviews on the Masterpiece figures and even under heave scrutiny I can't tell the difference. (For some of the best KO vs. TAKARA Masterpiece reviews on these figures look up Rocket Punch Army on YouTube. ) On some of the reviews the KO comes with extra stuff, or upgrades or with the case of Optimus Prime he's even a bit taller.

7. Price: Well at half the price that is the biggest driving force behind my choice to go with the KO's but the KO's seem to be really making a quality product and adding things that should have been there in the first place with Takara.

Conclusion:

I know people will argue that KO's are a cancer on the toy world but I think they are at least being more honest in their pricing. I figure all of them are made in China no matter if you go with the real or fake version so labor cost should be the same. If Takara can mass produce these figurs shouldn't they be able to compete with what has to arguably be a smaller operation and add more content? I think the MP line (At least when it comes to the cars) are charging more because they can and not just a matter of their cost. The generation they are targeting (Generation Xers) have the income so stick it to them for all its worth.

Thanks KO for stepping up your game and welcome to the free market! I'm now a fan!
This is going to go down a path that's no fun for any of us, but oh well.

I haven't seen these KOs but they're basically using Takara's design and maybe the third party missile launchers (or the Takara amazon exclusive ones)? They put in the money for the design and engineering, and also the market risk with mass producing these to see how they'll sell, which gets ripped off by the KO companies, but somehow the latter is more honest with their pricing? (How does this work anyway? Do the Chinese companies keep the molds, or do the KOs make their own?)

Maybe Hasbro is making money hand over fist by overpricing these. Maybe TRU, because they're exclusive, marks the price up even more, knowing that people will use coupons and sales and that these will still sell out. I dunno. I don't even know how much the KO costs.

My personal theory is a little bit of the above, with perhaps an eye on reverse importation. The American version of Soundwave was an insane value compared to the Takara unbundled versions (even if you just got it on ebay because they couldn't keep the dumb things in stock). For a lot of American fans, that meant that if a domestic version was almost assured to come out, that they'd wait instead of importing. What about Japanese fans? If I'm a Japanese fan and I spent a boatload of money on Soundwave and a bunch of tapes, and I saw that America was getting all of that for much much cheaper if I just wait... maybe I'll wait on the rest of these too. Well, not after Prowl comes out for the same price. The only reason I bring this up is because it became a problem with translated media, which is insanely priced in Japan compared to here, and they started taking measures to stop reverse importation (hard subs, upping the price in America to Japan levels, etc.)

As for the box argument.. I always hated the insanely large boxes the pre-car masterpieces came in (in Japan). That Grimlock one is gigantic, and I still oscillate on whether to throw the box away. But I understand why they didn't go with the takara boxes, because they need to be able to stick out on the shelf (a shelf filled to the brim with Armada Starscreams, but I digress). American packaging is basically thrown away by me anyway, so I don't care that much.

You can do whatever you want with your money... certainly the third party stuff I buy is still IP theft of some sort, so it's not like I'm standing on higher ground. But pure KOs, when the original is readily available, still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
I recently bought the TRU MP Prowl, just because I hadn't seen any of the new MP stuff in person and wanted to check him out.

While he's definitely neat, I agree with you that he feels WAY overpriced at $70. I boxed him back up and took him back to TRU.

I can't say I'm ready to board the KO train, but I'm definitely out for the MP line. I'd much rather stick with regular retail releases and the occasional IP-infringing third party toy.
Fujishig makes a good point about the original company putting in the time, research and tooling to bring a toy to market but I'm sure there use the same cad com po uterus to design the Masterpiece lines as they do their deluxe and Leader class line.

I do wonder who decides who gets the better Masterpiece product. The American Soundwave edition was a serious good deal. One point for American Hasbro. BUT I was hoping for the full Hotrod/ Roddimus Prime example which TRU never carried. We just got the Hotrod. Even though I don't like Roddimus Prime as a character in the G1 universe he was a hugely important character to simply ignore. So depending on which side of the pond you're on depends on how you are going to get screwed.

As far as the statement of Takara taking a market risk. With 30 years, and several hundred fan sites as well as strong Generations and previous Masterpiece lines I don't see any risk at all. Making Masterpiece representation of core G1 characters is just money in the bank. Which is why I doubt that there will ever be Masterpiece versions of well known but not known enough characters. Which is why the 3rd parties have filled that niche so nicely. Also I think that Takara has been smart enough to make the Generations Lederman class in scale to their Masterpiece line. The triple changer Springer and Blitzwing are perfect examples. With no metal content and all plastic why couldn't the Leader class figures I just mentioned in addition to Whirl and the Leader class Power glide NOT be considered Masterpiece versions? Why because they are selling for $24.99 ever where and NOT for $70.00. The KO versions of Masterpiece lines are going for about $35.00 Inc S&H. When you subtract the cost of shipping from China that puts these KO Masterpiece figures at the same price as our leader class figures we buy here.

The other think is that a lot of people are being right up front saying that these are KO that they are selling. I think that part is a lot more honest then passing off the fake for the real thing. I do wish that somewhere in the stamping somewhere not visible that it would have a KO stamp on it as well as a KO somewhere on the box so that people who want to pay DOUBLE for the real thing will know rhey are getting the real thing and people who just want a good looking figure for their shelf and want to save a buck or two can decide to have the KO.
Fujishig makes a good point about the original company putting in the time, research and tooling to bring a toy to market but I'm sure there use the same cad com po uterus to design the Masterpiece lines as they do their deluxe and Leader class line.

I do wonder who decides who gets the better Masterpiece product. The American Soundwave edition was a serious good deal. One point for American Hasbro. BUT I was hoping for the full Hotrod/ Roddimus Prime example which TRU never carried. We just got the Hotrod. Even though I don't like Roddimus Prime as a character in the G1 universe he was a hugely important character to simply ignore. So depending on which side of the pond you're on depends on how you are going to get screwed.

As far as the statement of Takara taking a market risk. With 30 years, and several hundred fan sites as well as strong Generations and previous Masterpiece lines I don't see any risk at all. Making Masterpiece representation of core G1 characters is just money in the bank. Which is why I doubt that there will ever be Masterpiece versions of well known but not known enough characters. Which is why the 3rd parties have filled that niche so nicely. Also I think that Takara has been smart enough to make the Generations Lederman class in scale to their Masterpiece line. The triple changer Springer and Blitzwing are perfect examples. With no metal content and all plastic why couldn't the Leader class figures I just mentioned in addition to Whirl and the Leader class Power glide NOT be considered Masterpiece versions? Why because they are selling for $24.99 ever where and NOT for $70.00. The KO versions of Masterpiece lines are going for about $35.00 Inc S&H. When you subtract the cost of shipping from China that puts these KO Masterpiece figures at the same price as our leader class figures we buy here.

The other think is that a lot of people are being right up front saying that these are KO that they are selling. I think that part is a lot more honest then passing off the fake for the real thing. I do wish that somewhere in the stamping somewhere not visible that it would have a KO stamp on it as well as a KO somewhere on the box so that people who want to pay DOUBLE for the real thing will know rhey are getting the real thing and people who just want a good looking figure for their shelf and want to save a buck or two can decide to have the KO.
I don't think I could ever consider even the better leader class generations figures as masterpiece... They just don't fit aesthetically, they're not faithful to the original cartoon and that blitzing mold is a floppy mess. The closest is probably Rhinox, which has it's own problems. I think the budget on the masterpiece line as far as build quality is a step above too.

One thing I forgot to mention as an added cost, in both design and licensing, is that the masterpiece line, at least the cars, transform faithfully into actual car models. That's one of the reasons people weren't sure we were going to get sideswipe and prowl here, because they'd have to get the license from the car companies. Maybe that's why prowl is so much? When designing it, they not only have to stay faithful to the original car, they have to please the car makers too. (So careful with panels). Yet another cost bootleggers don't have to worry about.
I'll give you the added cost of getting official licensing that Takara has to pay out that the KO people don't have to bother with but I can't believe that the Masterpiece figure would cost about the same as the KO figure but they have to pay double PER figure because of that licensing agreement. I figure the people at Datsun (Nissan) want to see one of their tired designs from back in the day being showcased. I mean the only two groups of people who would give a damn about Z cars would be G1 Transformer Gen Xers like ourselves and Z car fans and as far as Z car fans go they only really covet the original 240z and the 90's 300zx so I can't imagine licensing something they licensed 30 years ago would be an issue.

Now as far as comparing the Leader class to the Masterpiece I guess we have to determine what exactly IS a masterpiece class figure. If you consider the best example to the original G1 toy and cartoon the qualification of a masterpiece than you would be right, the Leader class couldnt be a masterpiece figure. BUT if you consider " What is the BEST EXAMPLE OF THE FIGURE THEN add in the quality of plastic, lack of metal content, complexity of transformation, and scale I can't see why a figure like Springer and Sandstorm being ANY different than the Masterpiece figures. Leader class Springer is in scale with masterpiece Hotrod, has the same amount of plastic, more complicated to transform than Prowl and I would argue has better quality plastic. I'll take your word on Blitzwing since I don't have him and I still see him on shelves to this day.

The market also speaks volumes as well. Masterpiece Soundwave was on the shelves for about 2 days and even that was at selected TRU"s before they were all sold out and MP-10 I NEVER EVER SAW ON THE SHELVES EVER but I've seen about 2 to 4 Prowls at EVERY TRU I've gone to and it's been out for at least two weeks now. I think a lot of people are like Heli88. Good figure but not $70.00 good.
It's interesting to suggest rolling mainline Transformers into a Masterpiece display. The guys that I've seen mentioned here are Voyagers ($25 pricepoint), though, not Leaders ($40 pricepoint).

The upcoming Leader Jetfire seems like he'd fit in pretty well. And, at $40, he's right in line pricewise with the KOs, despite being an official product.

There's also an upcoming Leader (tank) Megatron that might be a nice replacement for the old Masterpiece one.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/08/2014 10:11AM by Heli88.
Heli88 you're right they are Voyager class. I just had Leader class on the brain.

I just bought the missile launcher set from Before and After for MP-Prowl and Bluestreek (which is on the way.) I got both sets for under $10.00 each and as an add on with a sticker up grade they are great. As a set that actually fires a missile BIG BIG let down. I would consider this as more of a set with detachable missiles not firing missiles. I watched Peaugh review and maybe he got a better then me set even though i still wouldn't call what I say his set do as truly firing.These launchers use the same type of friction launcher that I have never been a fan of and none of mine actually fire. I had one come out about a 1/4 of an inch the rest just allowed me to "remove them" from a locked position. But considering I got both sets for $20.00 and they have the decals with free S&H they are still worth it. I still contend that this set should have been included WITH the masterpiece set.
Hello,

I finally got around to showing what I mean about what is REALLY a Masterpiece. I present to you these three pictures. One is Masterpiece Prowl ($58.99 w/TRU discount-$89.99) , One is Binaltech Hound (Painted metal $59.00) and one is the plain old Voyager class (See I remembered this time) Triple changer Springer. ($21.99 Walmart). As you can see they are all in the same height group to be considered the right scale or Masterpiece Scale. I wanted to compare these three different ways: 1 based on the quality of the metal content (Binaltech Hound) and one based on price (Voyager Springer) and the third based on qualities all three have. I also wanted to use Prowl because growing up Prowl was my first and favorite figure so if any MP figure was to prove it's merits this one would be the one.

Binaltech Hound VS. Masterpiece Prowl.

Binaltech hound in my opinion is the best out of all the Binaltech lines. He has some back kibble but it doesn't hang badly and you don't notice any from the front. I also like that they gave him the classic "Winged" door design that Prowl, Bluestreak, Smokescreen, and Jazz had. Short of not coming with any decals (None of these figures did btw) or his classic shoulder missile, radar detector thing I can't see the new MP line making a better version. The main thing is with the metal and rubber tires. I know rubber tires don't last the test of time but there is something about real rubber tires that just screams "This is a premium vehicle toy. The metal body says the same thing. "This is for collectors jr." I can't even say that after 10 years when these Binaltechs came out that the difficulty and complexity of the transformation is better. The gun is a little wimpy but I'll give it credit for it's storage gimmick. It is also licensed by Jeep. The original hound wasn't a "Jeep" but a "Mitsubishi" designed vehicle which was designed from the Jeep so Jeep just was the excepted body. I'm not smart enough to calculate the cost of inflation of 2004's Binaltech price compared to 2014's MP-Prowl but I'd be willing to bet the price would be very comparable. The difference is for that price you get a PAINTED METAL BODY.

Masterpiece Prowl VS. Triple Changer Springer.

This is where the cost of the "New" masterpiece line gets me. Springer is less than a 3rd of the price of the MP-Prowl, Has the same quality of plastic, same lever of complexity (I'd argue being a triple changer he's actually more complex.) Has two weapons, a gun that actually fires (Even though I hate friction launchers.) and a sword that transforms into rotor blades. The only complaint is that I have a problem with weapons that are color coded to the figure. It just looks cheap to me and a reminder that Hasbro didn't want to pop on the price of chroming weapons any more so they stopped. The new versions of these classic toys have inherited the sins of their father. The only thing you really seem to give up with Springer Vs. MP-Prowl is the not having movable fingers and on the MP cars that's just 4 fingers stuck together. Even the weight and sculpt detail of the two figures are about the same. Does a figure have to be based on the G1 Cartoon/Toy line to be a masterpiece figure? Can a IDW just by being a IDW style figure instantly not make it a candidate to be a MP figure? For me a Masterpiece quality figure has to look good, have a certain complexity to it, And be of a certain scale. Springer is all of these (Sandstorm too btw.) As I said before I see NO reason you can call the MP Prowl any more of a Masterpiece than the $21.99 Springer?

Do I think the MP line is going down hill ABSOLUTELY not! Do I think that the car are over priced compared to other TF lines? YES I do. The only reason I think they are charging so much is because they can to us 40's something baby boomers. i still say the KO are more honest in their pricing, if not on their inspiration.
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Optical illusion.

I mention that the MP-Prowl and the Hound were in scale. And as a robot they are or pretty close. What I find funny is just looking how I shot these pictures they look like they are in perfect scale in the first picture but when you see them one in front of the other you will see that they are not really. Hound would be the size of a Hummer H2. Other fun fact is that BOTH are suppose to be 1/24 scale if I'm correct.
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I thought Binaltechs were 1/18?

I must say that I'm quite tempted to hunt down some more Binaltechs to add to my yellow Tracks, Dead End and Swindle (Hound repaint)...probably Laserwave, Jazz, and two more Autobots.

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SilhouetteFormula.Net
No I collect 1/18 cars too. The Binaltech are 1/24 scale. A lot of Binaltech suck as a robot but when they nailed it they nailed it.
Looks like Prowl is underscale...which might be due to him being a 1970s Japanese sports car, while Hound is a modern Jeep.

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SilhouetteFormula.Net
Eh, I understand what you're saying comparing the MP toys to the Generations voyagers Springer/Sandstorm. However, there is a major qualitative difference at least between those and the Takara MP toys I own. The plastic is different, the engineering is different, and the quality of thought that went into the character representations is different. In my case, different is better in all those cases. The shitty plastic Hasbro uses for everything now is very disappointing, as is the proliferation of hollowness that is in everything. I compare these toys to the toys from the mid 2000's and there's no comparison. The best of that era beats the best of this era hands down in all qualitative ways. The MP toys are more akin to those than they are to the current crop of toys. In fact, the reason I'm going to sell off my CHUG figures is just that - the quality is much less than it was, and no longer worth collecting.

More serious than thou
Fujikuro I would say that the quality is spotty but some figures like Voyager Springer I can't tell the difference in the quality of plastic. Both seem the same weight, thickness and durability. I hate as a line they've dumbed down the transformation. I understand it's for the kids but it seems like they dumbed down the entire different lines across the board. I really noticed a drop when it came to "Prime line" Some figures like wheeljack, the Deluxe class Decepticon car drone and Motorcycle Arcee were cool but the rest were garbage imo. I guess when MP-01 came out it was such a over the top and I just think with every generation we getter better designs but we seem to lose the specialness. The one TF that my son thought was he couldn't play with was the Binaltech the rest were up for grabs. He picked up the hound and went. "Daddy I knew I couldn't play with this one because he feels expensive." from the mouth of babes... a 2004 toy shouldn't out class a 2014 toy.

Last week I got my three KO's. Prowl, Streak and Smokescreen.

Prowl was a wreck. It had chipped paint on the legs, stress marks where it was transformed wrong and forced in the packaging and I was mad about it but the guy in China gave me store credit for that one.

Bluestreak and Smokescreen were Perfect. I have a friend with the original ones and neither of us could tell the difference between the two and we even went to a few youtube videos to point out the difference and we still couldn't tell. He actually put a dab of liquid paper on the bottom of the foot so we wouldn;t get them mixed up.
I have the KO G2 Sideswipe. I'd say it's OK. Having the other two actually from Takara, I'd say I can tell where the mold is a little off with the KO. Hands don't grip the weapons well, you have to use an xacto knife to cut the little hole under the front bumper that tabs down into his abs enough to allow it to actually tab it in. Arms are a bit floppy comparatively. But it was half the price, and as it was, the character was not one I otherwise would own. I don't have any experience with the others though.

More serious than thou
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