BadCube OTS-9 Grump

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.

BadCube OTS-3 Backland

BadCube OTS-3 Backland

Although Brawny was a little eclipsed by Huff, which arrived on the same day, it’s still a great figure. When I saw an opportunity to pick up Backland (aka Masterpiece Outback), which is sold out everywhere, I jumped at the chance.

The Box

Backland box

Continuing their two tone style, the box is brown and beige to match the figure inside.

Backland box contents

This is the original version so it does not include the spare face and TOE frisbee bomb accessory that were sold in the Quintesson Journal pack. The standard TOE Decepticon detector (which stores in the fuel can like Brawny’s pistol) and large roof-mounted cannon came with both releases.

"BadCube 2014" comes from "CUBEX 2013"

Being the original release it also has an explanation that BadCube is the new version of Cubex.

The Figure

Backland robot mode

To differentiate him from Brawny, Backland has the truck grill over his head and faux window panels on his shoulders to evoke his G1 toy and cartoon appearances. Personally, I would have preferred that the grill fold away like Brawny’s does but this way, I guess, he doesn’t need to worry about the rain.

Backland Decepticon detector

I really wish there was someplace to store the Decepticon detector in robot mode when not in use. It can’t just be left in the box since it’s the core of the fuel can in vehicle mode and the other two parts of the can fill in the robot calves. So you end up with a choice: spare part or gappy legs.

The Truck

Backland vehicle mode

I like that they gave Backland a detailed winch instead of the plain bumper on Brawny just like the G1 version had.

Backland & Brawny gas cans

The biggest issue with the vehicle mode is the gap in the gas can where the Decepticon detector is hidden which is not a problem Brawny had.

The Comparison

Backland & Brawny robot mode

Some comparison shots to really show off the differences between his mold-mate Brawny. He comes out a bit taller due to his head piece.

Backland & Brawny side view

In the side view you can see the faux windows attached to the shoulders which make getting the arms properly positioned for vehicle mode much more challenging than with Brawny.

Backland vehicle mode with Brawny

Vehicle mode complete with signature roof cannon.


Brawny, Backland & Bumblebee robot mode

(Autobot symbols sold separately)

Just like Brawny, Backland fits in well with the rest of the Masterpiece line.

Brawny, Backland & Bumblebee vehicle mode

(Autobot symbols sold separately)

The Conclusion

Backland, Brawny & Slick

(Autobot symbols sold separately)

This is the fifth BadCube MP mini-bot that I’ve purchased and leaves me with only Grump on my want list.

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

BadCube OTS-13 Piper

BadCube OTS-13 Piper

I was so impressed with BadCube’s Huff that I didn’t hesitate to order Piper, their Masterpiece Pipes.

The Box

PIper box

Continuing their two tone style, the box is blue and white to match the figure inside.

Piper box contents

No gun for Piper, just his pipes. He does however, include two options to customize his face and, in the TOE category, a Metro Gear (aka Metroplex’s transformation cog).

The Figure

Piper robot mode

The robot mode certainly looks like it stepped out of the original cartoon. One nice touch is how the side mirrors tuck away inside the cab when in robot mode.

Piper side view

One odd thing about the back of the figure is the support bar that stretches from his back to the bumper of the cab. I wish that they had designed something a little more elegant

The Truck

Piper vehicle mode

This mold really looks good in blue and the silver front bumper really stands out and is a nice nod to the G1 toy.

Piper vehicle mode side view

The biggest flaw of the vehicle mode is that the robot waist does not lock into place so it is far too easy to twist the tow bed out of alignment while handling it. Another compromise in the new leg transformation is that the hip joints are visible in vehicle mode.

Not Just a Repaint

Piper with Huff

One of the best things about BadCube is that they put a lot of work into secondary releases like this one to make sure that they are distinct from their mold-mate. As you can see, there have been some extensive changes to the robot mode to match the original including different positioning of the cab, visible wheels and his namesake arm-mounted exhaust pipes.

PIper with Huff side view
Piper and Huff vehicle mode

One drawback to the new cab positioning is that you loose out on one of the better features of Huff’s robot mode, the collapsing cab which shrinks his profile considerably.

Vehicle mode is much closer to Huff with only the new smoke stacks and lack of weapon storage to differentiate the two.

Piper and Huff weapon storage

As you can see, Piper does a much better job hiding the robot parts in this view.

Piper and Huff side view

As you can also see, Huff does a better job hiding the robot parts in the side view than Piper.

The Masterpiece

Piper, Huff & Bumblebee robot mode

(Autobot symbols sold separately)

Due to the design of the back side of the cab there isn’t a really good spot for a huge Autobot badge like you see on the G1 figure. The hinges for the smoke stack mounts and inset rear “window” only leave space for a very small symbol.

Piper, Huff & Bumblebee vehicle mode

(Autobot symbols sold separately)

The Conclusion

Huff, Piper & Slick

(Autobot symbols sold separately)

I have to admit that I’ve become something of a BadCube mini-bot fan-boy. This mold, like Huff, is just fun. A very intuitive transformation and playability that you don’t usually get with third-party Masterpieces.

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

BadCube OTS-10 Slick

BadCube OTS-10 Slick

I had very good experiences with my first two BadCube mini-bots but their Grump (aka MP Gears) is only available at after-market prices so I thought I should take a look at his mold-mate Slick (aka Masterpiece Swerve) before plunking down any cash for it.

The Box

Slick box

Continuing their two tone style, the box is red and white to match the figure inside.

Slick box comparison

As you can see in the photo above, it is also the smallest box that I’ve seen from BadCube so far.

Slick box contents

Only two accessories for Slick, a pistol like the one they include with Grump but with no wings on the sides and a TOE (aka “That One Episode” – the obligatory Masterpiece accessory that the character used once in the cartoon) screaming face suitable for use while being trampled by your evil city-bot of choice.

The Figure

Slick robot mode

Certainly no complaints about this view, it’s clearly Swerve from the original cartoon.

Slick robot mode back view

Sadly, in the official transformation, the calves are hollow like on Brawny, except that here there is no gas can to fill the gaps.

Slick and Brawny legs

Not a deal breaker but a flip out panel like on MP-12 would have been a nice touch.

Slick mode 2 and Brawny legs

Fortunately, if the gap bothers you you can borrow some steps from Grump’s transformation and fold the wheels into the calves. It’s nice to have a choice! I prefer the solid legs and plan to keep him in that mode.

Slick chest panel

Sharing a mold with Grump also gives you an access hatch on his chest with his own unique set of inner workings.

Slick chest tabs

The chest panel is also where the most difficult part of the transformation lies. The two grey posts lock into the front wheels to hold them in place in vehicle mode. Those posts have to swing out to the position of the one on the right in the photo above but tend to either swing back in or swing out to the fully extended position of the one on the left.

The Truck

Slick vehicle mode

Never quite an exact match to a real-world vehicle it always looked like a 1950’s or 1960’s pick-up with a custom cargo bed cover to me. I get the same feel from this version, which is a success in my book.

Slick weapon storage

Slick’s rifle stores at the rear of the vehicle mode as a slightly oddly shaped bumper.

The Masterpiece

Slick with Bumblebee

(Autobot symbol sold separately)

Sad but true, third-party is still the only way to go for Masterpiece mini-bots.

Slick and Bumblebee vehicle mode

(Autobot symbol sold separately)

The Conclusion

BadCube team photo

(Autobot symbols sold separately)

In hand this is a fun figure but not as fun as Huff but about the same as Brawny. The transformation is also less intuitive than either Huff or Brawny.

This is the fourth BadCube MP mini-bot that I’ve purchased but the packages crossed in the mail and #3, Piper, should be here soon.

As for Grump, I’m undecided. Do I pay a premium to complete my 1984 mini-bot set or do I hope for a reissue?

BadCube OTS-01 Huff v2

BadCube OTS-01 Huff v2

I have to be honest, I ordered BadCube’s OTS-01 Huff (aka Masterpiece Huffer) just to see if it was any good. I fully expected to like it less than their Brawny, since that was a newer design. But, in hand, I love Huff! The transformation is simpler but just as effective!

The Box

Huff box

The box is primarily two colors based on the toy inside.

Huff box contents

After writing “Like every other Masterpiece, Brawny includes a special accessory to recreate that one moment from the cartoon” in my Brawny review I have to take those words back since this Masterpiece does not have one. BadCube, if you’re reading this: next reissue, you need to include a tiny version of Lorry that fits into the cab so that we can recreate the single most brain-bending scale issue of the entire series.

The Figure

Huff robot mode

One obvious flaw with this figure is that the paint on the die-cast parts is several shades darker than the orange plastic used on the rest of the figure.

Huff side view

So, that’s where the truck goes.

Huff fully armed

The Truck

Huff vehicle mode

Much longer than the original but still clearly Huffer.

Huff weapon storage

Huff’s small pistol stores between his knees in vehicle mode, presumably to “leave room for the Holy Spirit“.

The Masterpiece

Huff Masterpiece robot mode

(Autobot symbols sold separately)

Bumblebee is finally getting some backup.

Huff Masterpiece vehicle mode

(Autobot symbols sold separately)

The Conclusion

Huff & Brawny ready for trouble

(Autobot symbols sold separately)

This is my second BadCube figure and #3 is already on the way.

UPDATE: 360 Degree Turnaround

BadCube OTS-02 Brawny v2

BadCube OTS-02 Brawny v2

I recently decided to stop waiting for official masterpiece mini-bots and start filling out the ranks with third-party equivalents. At first, I assumed that I had missed out on BadCube’s Brawny (aka Masterpiece Brawn) since the reissue was sold out everywhere. Fortunately for me, one appeared very briefly on Big Bad Toy Store while I was poking around so I grabbed it.

The Box

BadCube Brawny box

The box is a bit plain compared to some of the other third party releases but does emulate the color scheme of the figure inside which is nice.

Brawny box contents

What really matters is what’s inside the box: Since this is the second edition, it includes some bonus parts originally available only in BadCube’s Quint Journal accessory pack (on the left side of the photo) including a large cannon with roof mount, welder arm attachment and a G2-worthy rage face.

Brawny spare face

The Figure

Brawny robot mode

The robot mode is very faithful to the original cartoon with both the vehicle cabin backpack and hood sticking up behind his head.

Brawny side view

Brawny is no slouch in the weapons department with both a pistol and cannon.

Brawny fully armed

Fully armed and dangerous!

Like every other Masterpiece, Brawny includes a special accessory to recreate that one moment from the cartoon.

Brawny welder arm

Welder arm, only for use on sinking oil rigs

The Land Rover

Brawny vehicle mode

Like the original G1 toy, Brawny is a modified Land Rover with a grill borrowed from a Jeep.

Brawny - Jeep grill

Brawny’s small pistol stores inside the fuel can that mounts on the back of the vehicle mode. This is probably the only “complaint” that I have, you cannot mount the fuel can without the pistol since that is what holds it together. Due to the “hinge” detail, you need to assemble the fuel can in the correct order, starting with the top half, labeled “L” which snaps onto the post on the front of the folded pistol then the bottom “R” part onto the back post.

Brawny pistol storage

Here he is fully tricked out with all of the vehicle mode accessories.

Brawny vehicle mode tricked out

The Masterpiece

Masterpiece Mini-bots

(Autobot symbol sold separately)

Brawny fits in well with other Masterpiece-styled figures and gets me one step closer to finishing off the 1984 team.

Brawny with Bumblebee

(Autobot symbol sold separately)

The Conclusion

Brawny Superman pose

Brawny, the quicker picker-upper!

This is my first BadCube product but it won’t be my last. In fact, Huff (aka Masterpiece Huffer) is already here. After that the only one of their mini-bots that I won’t be considering is Wardog (aka Masterpiece Warpath) which just doesn’t work for me aesthetically.

UPDATE: 360 Degree Turnaround