Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Transformers MP-24 Masterpiece Star Saber Review

masterpiece star saber review


Star Saber is of course, the star of Transformer Victory, one of the Japanese series that followed on from the Western G1 cartoon...sort of.
It featured some of the later toys that we got in the west like the Micomasters, but the Autobot leader, instead of being a Red truck, was a curiously Gundam-esque bright Red.White and Blue bot called Star Saber - who's toy did not get released in the west.

So here we are in the Back to Future 2 year of 2015. and Takara have deviated from the usual routine of keeping the Masterpiece line confined to characters from the first 3 seasons of the cartoon, and as a result of a fans vote we have got the incredible Masterpiece Star Saber.

You can probably gauge some of my opinions by the use of the word "incredible", but hit the button below to read the Masterpiece Star Saber review and see loads of pictures.

Brain of Courage

masterpiece star saber brainmaster

Right, this teeny ickle dude looks like a miniature Star Saber, and I guess technically it would be Star Saber as he is the last bit of the Russian nesting doll style bot, within a bot, within a bot.

The detail is amazing for a figure of this size, I mean he is so tiny yet still has movable arms and legs.

My eyes can barely see this guy!

Saber Jet Mode

masterpiece Saber jet mode

Saber is the smaller, but not smallest so I guess middle, form of Star Saber and transforms into a small Red and White jet. The Japanese cartoons tended to lean toward more toy accurate animation models and so this is cartoon and toy accurate

The use of colour is really nice, and whilst it is mainly Red, the others colours ease that and add plenty of variety.

Masterpiece Star Saber Cockpit

In terms of features this mode has adjustable wings and fins, plus landing gear which does roll.

The cockpit does open and there is a seat for the Brain of Courage (what a frickin name for a small robot who hides inside 2 sets of armour). Consoles and equipment are sculpted with the cockpit, and then painted in silver to complete the look.

It is this kind of level of detail which really sets the Masterpiece line apart, and helps to make Sabers jet mode a great Masterpiece toy in its own right.

I would quite like to own another one just to play about with this figure.

V Star

Masterpiece V Star

Now this is the vehicle mode that most people will be familiar with - huge space jet guy.

The V Star is essentially a flying battle platform of death, formed from the arms and legs of Star Saber, because nothing can go to waste/

It looks together with massive clunks that make you go "oooh" and "ahhh" - very satisfying. HA.

masterpiece Star Sabers V Star jet mode

Sabers jet plugs into the front of the V Star with another satisfying clunk, and you flip the wings up to make sure there is enough clearance.

It is a really cool, futuristic looking jet that does not really resemble anything else in the Transformers G1 line. I have seen a lot of people saying that means he does not fit in, but then you take a look at G1 characters like Misfire, or Triggerhappy and they were equally nonsensical space jets. Personally, I think it is the really bright primary colours that grab the eye, and as such make it look a bit more of place than it is.

I mean, no one moans about Deathsaurus - and he turns into a giant bionic chicken with animal breasts. Yes, breasts.

missile pods masterpiece star saber

This mode is quite feature packed, with the die cast lasers flipping up to reveal Yellow missile banks.

There is even more landing gear, with wheels flipping out from the front but also nicely unfolding at the rear from within the robot mode feet.
Star Saber's shield accessory, as a swappable piece to turn it into a flight stand, so you can even display it flying with chucking hundreds of pounds in Bandais direction.

I defy anyone to look at Masterpiece Star Saber in jet mode and not be impressed. Sure it does not look like a real vehicle, but who cares really?

It is frickin awesome and very creative, whilst adding a large robot sized amount of variety to any collection.

S'all that matters.

Saber Robot Mode

Masterpiece Star Saber chest

Rewinding to the Saber mini jet, it transforms into the Saber robot, which is how Star Saber mainly rolled around the base in the cartoon, nattering away to his pals.

The transformation from jet is pretty fun, with the entire jet nose being removed, and the arms folding out with a weird elbow hinge. It is cool, but super tight and I was a bit concerned that with too much force it would snap.
I am listening to the Final Fantasy 7 battle theme right now, so urge is you pull him apart excitedly.

His legs form, by being pulled down, and on mine the left leg is seriously locked in there so does require quite a bit of effort to extend.

The best thing here is the recreation of the original toys Brainmaster gimmick. You place the Brain of Courage (see:tiny robo Russian nesting doll) into Sabers chest, and then close the door. One thing to take note of is that there is actually a peg inside Saber, that fits into a peg hole on the Brains back. Make sure you plug it in before closing the door, otherwise he tends to jam.

Once in place, and the door is closed, the Brain raises up and produces a face for Saber. It is amazing, even though it is not like the original Brainmasters where the face was spring loaded in the back of the smaller robots. The face is actually in Sabers body, and incredibly Sabers head can still turn when the face is elevated.

Come on, that is some wizardry right there.

His face is even that smug, moral high ground tent pitching leader face from the show.

takara masterpiece star saber mp-24

Saber himself is a fantastic little Masterpiece bot to fiddle with, he is not even little as he is MP Car sized.

The toy is crazy poseable and even has hinged hip skirts to allow his legs to move forward with a greater degree of range.

Cool eh?

Transformers MP-24 Masterpiece Star Saber

Saber can of course stand on the V Star so you can recreate many of the scenes on the giant armoured flaying skateboard if you desire.

He comes with a smaller sword that does slot into his opening hands nice and tightly, and looks well proportioned with him. This swords hilt has a circular peg, but I cannot find anywhere that it is intended to store?
Other than his butt?

The only QC issue I have on the whole figure actually shows up in this mode sadly. The Autobot logo on his chest appears to be scratched, and I don't believe it was like that out of the box. Instead, I think it has happened during the many transformations I have put this guy through - so be careful.

Transformers MP-24 Masterpiece Star Saber gun

The nose of the jet attaches to his shoulder via very strong clips, just as it did in the show. So you gain pointy shield, and does not spoil the look.

Despite being called Saber, he does also come with a large rifle, and luckily due to his articulation you can pull off a wide array of poses with it. The gun fits much better in this mode, than the larger Star Saber figure, because there it feels a tad small.

I could quite happily just own another one of these without the larger V Star to go with it. This is a great looking, fun to play with and transform Masterpiece figure in its own right.

Star Saber Robot Mode

Transformers MP-24 Masterpiece Star Saber

Transforming this toy into Star Saber is not hard, but there are a few quirky steps that are easy to miss.

Sabers legs flip up onto his chest, and you can also rotate the vents so they look different. That is all you need to do with Saber.

The V Star, well that is a bit more involved and there is some chunky, clunky goodness to be had. You pull the legs out, and extend the arms Flip the feet up and you could be forgiven for thinking you are almost done but there is a hidden step here, whereby you need to rotate the thighs if you want to move them forwards.
Which you do. So rotate them

Then you take Saber and plonk him into the  gaping torso, with a loud 60's Batman style "thunk" taking care to press the button on the back to avoid snapping something.

Masterpiece star saber head

At this stage he will be suffering from tiny head syndrome (strangely cartoon accurate), so you then raise up the Star Saber helmet from the back on this extending arm, and slide it down over the Saber head (very snugly) exposing the face. Rotate the horns and unclasp the arm, place back in his back, fold up the back and you done - ready to behold the glory of that incredible face sculpt (yes, I am just throwing out epithets, this toy deserves it).

Hands down, the best head design of the entire Masterpiece line so far. The simplicity and cleanness of the lines is so striking, and the bright aqua Blue eyes really stand out.

The head also still rotates, looks up and down, and all that good stuff.

transformers masterpiece star saber articulation

What will strike you most about the toy is how big it is, and yeah it is massive. Not only is that him being tall, but he is incredibly blocky and chunky, which aids his aesthetic in so many ways.

It is a surprise then, that his blockiness and scale do not really hinder articulation in any meaningful way. The shoulder towers can get in the way, but there are strange extra joints above the bicep that allow the shoulders to extend out sideways.
The shoulders can also detach from the side of the torso (a feature I have not really seen mentioned) allowing him to move his arms across his chest.
This opens up way more stylish sword posing opportunities.

takara transformers victory masterpiece star saber

Star Saber also has a waist swivel, an ab crunch and opening hands though sadly the fingers are not all separately articulated. He has the one curled index finger, but a huge anime looking bot like Star Saber could really have benefited from better finger articulation.

He is such an expressive bot, despite the simplicity of the design, that it is a shame his hands cannot do a bit more. Like V for Victory signs.

The legs are well articulated but you have to remember this is a large, heavy figure whose key feature is that chunky aesthetic - so you can only go so far in terms of dynamism.

But luckily the bottom of his feet are die cast, and also appear to be combiner pegs for one Orange and Black frick off laser cannon wielding Lion - Victory Leo!

Takara would have been mad to not at least build in the option for Victory Leo at some point down the line, even if they have no plans to make him.
But they totally should so Star Saber can wear him as shoes.

Oh yeah, where was I...die cast, stability, that sort of thing. You know where what to expect, he stands well, and holds poses well.

takara masterpiece star saber shield

The nose of Sabers jet forms a hilt of the Star Saber sword, which uses a different blade to Sabers. It simply pegs into the hilt and away you go.

His sword is where you first really run into problems with the figure, or specifically its handle. It can only be held one way, so the blade faces forward as if he is going to pat people on the head to death with it.
If you turn it sideways, it is blocked by the large wrist block, and the small wings on the jet nose.
Okay, so nothing dynamic here, but he does come with a larger hilt that can be swapped in- especially designed for two handed holding.
Those Takara engineers, geniuses eh?
Well sort of, as whilst the longer hilt lends itself to glorious two handed poses, the handle is really thin so does not grip well, and has a tendency to bend and warp.

The actual hilt itself also looks comically big, even though yes I know that is toy accurate to the original, but as a Masterpiece it looks a little out of proportion.
Or a lot.

Transformers MP-24 Masterpiece Star Saber rifle

Both sword blades can be stored in Masterpiece Star Saber's back, where there are opening pods allowing them to slide in. You can recreated the cartoon scene where he grabs his blade exactly as a result of this - and even in alt mode.

He does come with the shield that I mentioned earlier was a stand. It is cool, and only featured in one episode....but nice to have.

Star Saber also can hold his rifle but it looks a but thin in his hand, and again his hand struggles to grip. This time it is because it is designed for the much smaller hands of Saber.

You can flip the peg up and store it on his back, along with the sword hilt if you so wish - and again this is cartoon accurate.
Or at least I think it is. Why not, lets just say it is.

He does have a tremendous amount of accessories, and I do wish Takara had continued their trend of giving us human characters and included a little Jean figure (his human adopted son/pet).

takara mp-24 star saber

Phew, finally the end. Masterpiece Star Saber needs a lot of pictures and words to do justice to the sheer amount of stuff that is involved with this guy.

He has a wonderful, fun transformation, every mode is excellent and feature packed and it all manages to come in a bundle that looks exactly like his animation model.

There is so much more I wanted to say, and should have covered, but you should just gaze at the pictures and ignore the words - he does himself more justice than I ever could. I did not even go into how much I adore how this toy looks in bot mode with fanboy wide eyes.

I appreciate that to a lot of folks, Star Saber is not an important character, or one they know, but he is so worth owning I have to recommend him.

For my money, this is far and away the best Masterpiece so far.

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  1. Great review, I agree wholeheartedly! Aside from Soundwave, this is the only MP that's jumped out to me. It was absolutely worth the price, and I can tell it will be on my shelves for a long time. (aside from the many times I go back and play with it)

    1. Cheers mate! It is great to have an MP that feels like a toy, but is such incredible high quality it is really worthy of being a masterpiece.

      Now, if only I could find some shelf space to slot him into...

  2. "that smug, moral high ground tent pitching leader face"

    ...ahahahahaha, I was just trying to work out a personality for him (never having seen the show) as the enablewaves from your review were getting to me, and then I read that, which was exactly what I was thinking!

    Wicked review, thanks! *goes back to look at the photos*

    1. Haha, thanks Neuta! It is definitely his personality :)