Masterpiece Showcase: Part 2 – 1984 Decepticon Cassettes

Masterpiece Showcase: Part 2 – 1984 Decepticon Cassettes

One thing that I was never able to do the first time around was to “collect them all” and gather all of the figures shown in the catalogs. With the Masterpiece line however, I’m finally able to work towards that goal with modern updates of the original figures.

The evil Decepticons fool you as cassettes, but they transform to either a jaguar, condor or robots! - 19) Rumble/Ravage 20) Frenzy/Laserbeak - Decepticon Cassettes
Soundwave’s minions!

Like Soundwave, the original cassettes were from MicroChange and transformed into a 1:1 scale micro-cassettes. Sadly, I don’t think we’ll ever get a modern set of alt modes that work as well as these. The Titans Return tablets worked on a technical level but didn’t really look like real-world tablets and there was no explanation as to why you would be inserting them into something else. I suppose, to make it more relatable, you could make Soundwave into a car carrier and his minions cars but you loose that special relationship. To keep the relationship, you could make Soundwave into a Drobo enclosure and the cassettes into hard drives but it’s not very relatable to most people.

All of the 1984 Decepticons cassettes came out in 2013 shortly after Soundwave so this is another easy to complete step of my Masterpiece collection completion plan.

1984 Cassettes

19) Rumble and Ravage

Rumble and Ravage

MP-13 Rumble

Rumble (yes, he’s red) came in a two-pack with Ravage.

Rumble robot mode
Rumble cassette mode

The most poseable of the Masterpiece cassettes, the robots feature several ball joints.

Rumble poseability

To recreate his trademark special power, Rumble includes a set of pile drivers that mount on his arms.

Rumble with pile drivers

Both backpack rifles can be stored within the pile drivers when not in use.

Rumble weapon storage

There’s also an accessory that allows you to mount the pile drivers to the robot’s back, but mine is packed away somewhere.

MP-13 Jaguar

Ravage (Jaguar in Japan), like the condors, features a fully integrated transformation where the missiles fold into the cassette mode.

Jaguar
Can’t loose these missiles!
Jaguar cassette mode

Another feature of the new design is that head splits and includes a flip-out nose which is very easy to miss during transformation.

Ravage nose

20) Frenzy and Laserbeak

Frenzy and Laserbeak

MP-16 Frenzy

For some inexplicable reason, Frenzy comes with blue versions of Rumble’s pile drivers, mine never left the box.

Frenzy robot mode
Frenzy cassette mode

MP-13 Condor

Too famous to wait, Laserbeak (Condor in Japan) was released along with Soundwave.

Laserbeak condor mode
Laserbeak cassette mode

_) Enemy

Not featured in the catalog, Enemy was part (literally, it was glued to the front!) of a Transformers AM radio available in 1984. The Masterpiece version was released as part of MP-15/16E.

Enemy Robot Mode
Rumble is red and so am I!
Enemy Cassette Mode

Additional Reading

Third-Party Alternatives

As mentioned in part 1, Ocular Max has a series of larger cassettes for any of you who feel that these are too small and don’t mind that they don’t fit inside Soundwave.


Read the Entire Series

Masterpiece Collection Showcase

Masterpiece Showcase: Part 1 – 1984 Decepticon Communicator

Masterpiece Showcase: Part 1 – 1984 Decepticon Communicator

One thing that I was never able to do the first time around was to “collect them all” and gather all of the figures shown in the catalogs. With the Masterpiece line however, I’m finally able to work towards that goal with modern updates of the original figures.

Soundwave, disguised as a cassette recorder, locates and identifies Autobots, then informs other Decepticons of their whereabouts. His cassette changes to a golden condor! - 24) Soundwave/Buzzsaw - Decepticon Communicator
So cool in 1984, so unidentifiable to anyone under 30.

The original Soundwave toy was borrowed from MicroChange where tiny robots transformed into common household objects. In this case, “Cassette Man” transformed into a 1:1 scale micro-cassette recorder. Micro-cassettes were not very common in the US so it was usually presumed that he was supposed to be a full size audio cassette player.

Admittedly, the “Decepticon Communicator” category is pretty easy to complete since it consists of only two figures:

Soundwave and Buzzsaw catalog view

24) Soundwave and Buzzsaw

Unlike the original, Masterpiece Soundwave came with Condor (aka Laserbeak) while Buzzsaw was released in a two-pack with Frenzy.

MP-13 Soundwave

Despite being released in 2013, Soundwave is still an impressive figure even though it is not as pose-able as the MP-36-style Masterpiece designs.

Soundwave robot mode

The Masterpiece version is compatible with most cassettes from 1984 as well as the Masterpiece versions. In fact, he can now hold three cassette minions, besting the previous record holder, G1 SoundBlaster, which was a Japan-exclusive remold of Soundwave for 1987 that held two cassettes.

Soundwave with Ratbat in his deck
Still rocking the micro-cassette scale!
Soundwave tape deck mode

Similar to how the G1 toy could store his weapons in his “battery compartment”, Masterpiece Soundwave’s weapons store in the back of the tape deck mode.

Soundwave tape deck mode back view

MP-16 Buzzsaw

The best part about this mold is that it features a fully integrated transformation where the booster packs fold into the cassette mode.

Buzzsaw condor mode
Can’t loose these accessories!
Buzzsaw cassette mode

As a Masterpiece, Buzzsaw is much more pose-able than the original.

Buzzsaw sitting up
Now featuring “sitting up” action!
Soundwave launching Buzzsaw
Buzzsaw eject!

Third Party Alternative

Ocular Max has released a larger version of Buzzsaw called Buzzard scaled so that the alt mode is the size of a normal cassette rather than a micro-cassette. However, since for me a lot of the fun is the interaction, I haven’t really paid much attention to it.


Read the Entire Series

Masterpiece Collection Showcase

BadCube OTS-9 Grump

BadCube just reissued their version of Masterpiece Gears – the final BadCube mini-bot that I need for my 1984 Autobots!

The Box

Grump box

The traditional BadCube box comes in red and blue to mirror the figure inside. When I first saw these boxes I thought they were plain, but I have to admit that they’ve grown on me.

Grump box contents

Inside the box you get a trading card, instructions, pistol and TOE* personality card and welder.

Grump personality card

The personality card is detailed to look like a VHS tape.

Grump with personality card

The card fits very tightly into the chest, I had to use a small pair of pliers to get it back out.

The Figure

Grump robot mode

Grump has a lot of personality and looks like he just stepped out of the cartoon.

Grump smiling
Happy to help Megatron, good buddy!

Grump’s head contains both faces. The whole face folds up and everything below the eyebrow spins.

The Truck

Grump vehicle mode

Just like Slick, locking Grump’s chest piece in place for vehicle mode is challenging but, due to the quarter panels being attached to the hood, not quite as difficult.

The Mold Mate

Grump with Slick
(Autobot symbol sold separately)

Although I usually don’t display Slick with his wheels out, it does help differentiate the two versions.

Grump with Slick vehicle mode
(Autobot symbol sold separately)

Not much difference in vehicle mode besides the colors, as it should be.

The Masterpiece

Grump with Bumblebee

Beside Bumblebee, Grump’s vehicle mode doesn’t look nearly as realistic.

Grump with Bumblebee vehicle mode

The Conclusion

Grump with MP mini-bots
(Autobot symbols sold separately)

I was pretty happy with Slick and am just as happy with Grump. He looks great with the rest of the mini-bots. Now I just need my X-Transbots Boost to arrive to complete the set!


* That One Episode” – the obligatory accessory that the character used once in the cartoon.