With MP-15E/16E Cassettebot vs. Cassettron due out by the end of the year I wanted to spend some time with the previous Masterpiece cassettes.
The cassettes have been available as part of Takara’s Masterpiece line releases; MP-13 Soundwave with Condor, MP-15 Rumble & Jaguar, MP-16 Frenzy & Buzzsaw and MP-13B Soundblaster with Ratbat. In the US Hasbro released Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Ravage, Rumble and Frenzy with their Masterpiece Soundwave set then again with their Year of the Goat Soundwave repaint. The Transformers Collectors Club brought the Ratbat mold to the US as part of their G.I. Joe and the Transformers box set (still available as of this writing as part of their going out of business sale).
I did not pick up the original US version of Soundwave since I had already imported the Takara releases.
Let’s go through them mold by mold:
Ravage has always been my favorite cassette – the original G1 set with Rumble were the only cassettes in my collection the first time around.
Jaguar is a great mold and I love the way that they managed to integrate the rockets into the cassette.
The Year of the Goat release (and all of the “year of the…” releases as far as I’m concerned) is an odd duck. The clear and grey plastic is certainly distinctive but also quite “love it or hate it”.
I tend to think of it these as “ghost” versions.
The robot cassettes are the only ones that have external accessories with their separate wing blasters and pile drivers.
Ok, let’s just get this out in the open – I’m a “Rumble is red” guy. As I mentioned above, Rumble was one of the only two cassettes that I owned as a kid so the red toy color scheme made a stronger impression on me than the blue cartoon color scheme.
This has to be my favorite of the Masterpiece cassette molds
Like Ravage, the designers found a way to integrate the booster backpack into the cassette mode without sacrificing the look of the figure.
For collectors in the US, this is the most difficult to acquire of the Masterpiece cassette molds since it wasn’t included in the US version of Soundwave. (I’m aware of the KOs but am specifically referring to official releases here)
Like the other non-robot cassettes, Ratbat’s backpack is fully integrated into the transformation. Ratbat also holds the honor of being the only Masterpiece figure released in comic book colors.
Unofficial Bonus: Autoscout
Many years ago two versions of the one-hit-wonder Autoscout from the G1 episode A Prime Problem were released. I still include the TFC Toys version (on the left in the photos) from their Gears of War set in my Masterpiece display. I much prefer the transformation on this one over iGear’s version although iGear’s cassette mode has the better deco.
When MP-15E/16E is released we’ll have another four members of the cassette army. I’m waiting…