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Motormaster

Transformers Legacy
by yo go re

Hey Hasbro:

Motormaster wants to be known as "King of the Road" and will run down anyone sharing his highway.

Allegedly, this toy was released last year, some time after Wild Rider but before Breakdown (which is why neither Breakdown nor Dead End are shown in the instructions), but come on: no it wasn't. Motormaster did not come out in 2022. He still hasn't come out now. At no point in time have you ever been able to go to a store and buy Motormaster. You know the last things to actually come out? Blitzwing and Galvatron, toys nobody wants. You know how we know nobody wants them? Because they've been taking up shelf space for almost a year now. "Oh, but it was available online and--" So what? Doesn't count. If Hasbro is unable to get their toys into stores, those toys might as well not exist.

But hey, now that this is checked off the list, we can start waiting for Tarn to be released!

The (eventual) Stunticons were based on concepts that had been in the works for a while at Takara. The one that became Motormaster was always a tractor trailer, but originally the design was much more futuristic and greebly - honestly, if someone showed it to you and said it was a Siege Optimus Prime, you'd easily believe it. While the general idea of the toy was retained all the way through release, the design was toned way down, to become a much more standard, everyday vehicle. It was still a fancy, high-end cab: a K100 Aerodyne, the finest raised-roof sleeper cab 1976 had to offer. Today's version keeps the flat front and the "double-decker" look on the roof, which is more than any other recent Motormasters have even attempted.

The thing that set Motormaster apart from Optimus Prime was that his trailer was an integral part of the robot toy, rather than a separate thing that just rolled away over the horizon when he didn't need it. Today, that is sadly no longer the case, with the trailer just being a thing you don't need - Motormaster the robot is fully contained within the truck's cab. The trailer is silver with a purple stripe on the sides, but it's surprisingly short. Commercial trailers come in two main lengths: 53' dry vans and 28' pups; 53' trailers are the normal ones you see all the time on the road, with the littler pups used for shorter distances and for trucks hauling two trailers. Motormaster's trailer is compact enough to look like a pup rather than a long rail, which is super unusual for a sleeper cab to be pulling. There's a bunch of kibble on the front of the trailer, but you can pretend this is a refrigerated trailer. A jet black sleeper with purple windows hooked up to a reefer pup; totally inconspicuous thing, no one will ever peg you as a Transformer, Motormaster!

Motormaster costs $90 goddamn dollars, which is stupid. There's no way he can be worth $90, right? As a final product, no; but as you play with him, as you change him between modes, the sheer amount of engineering that went into this toy becomes apparent. The smoothness with which parts move around and recombine to form new shapes (especially when it's Combiner time)? Truly a thing to behold. This is Masterpiece-level work for a (supposed) retail release. Takio Ejima put his whole pussy into this one!

Like we said, the cab and trailer on the original 1980s Motormaster were permanently joined, because the cab formed his feet and the trailer formed his body. That's not the case here, but because the Legacy line is about trying to copy the old cartoons, nothing less would suffice; what to do? Give him faux-kibble feet that are designed to look like the truck's cab, complete with tiny wheels! It's so silly, but it works. Well, to an extent: it would work better if there weren't additional truck grilles left sitting sight above the feet, kind of messing with the illusion.

The rest of the body is big and chunky, as you'd expect from something aping the Generation 1 cartoon, but Mark Maher made sure there were still plenty of panel lines and similar details to look at without making the toy a mess. As always, his head is in a box - I admit to being momentarily surprised that he doesn't have a mustache, before I remembered that feature was only in Animated, nowhere else. It's such a good addition! Get to work, third parties.

The white arms are distracting: they should be gray, like the outlines around his chest and groin. Or at least closer to that color than white. Hasbro announced a Stunticon giftset at SDCC '23, a Hasbro Pulse exclusive that will include all four cars and Motormaster in more toy-accurate decos; that one will have better arms than this, but the dark body on this one looks better than that one's mixed. You win some, you lose some. MoMa moves at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles, and comes with a sword, but that's really more for Menasor than him.

We've still got an entire trailer to deal with, since it isn't part of his body this time. As is the style, the trailer turns into some kind of battle station - but it doesn't just unfold, it partsforms, needing to be split into several sections that are each converted and then put back together.

It's a decent design, but it's clearly an afterthought to everything else: trailer first, combiner kibble second, battle station... ninth? It's got towers and a big gun Motormaster can stand behind, but it doesn't really do anything until we review Menasor. If you want to leave it in trailer mode, it does have a stand that hinges out underneath to hold it up, but that stand is hinged and has nothing but some light friction to keep it from folding away again if the center of balance isn't just right.

To get Motormaster ready to combine with the rest of the Stunticons, put the robot's hands away, fold the wheels from his back over to his front, raise the arms, move them to the front, rotate the forearms, bend them down, open the sides of his torso to bring the arms together. Trade the Motormaster head for Menasor's, open the panels on the back of the shins, rotate the waist, turn the shins to the inside, move the lower legs up onto the thighs, raise the legs to the sides to plug into the torso, snap the knees underneath, then finish by folding the toes over and plugging them into the sides of the torso as well.

There's more we could discuss here, but we have to save something for the Menasor review.

Legacy Motormaster is a marvel of engineering... but all the behind-the-scenes work in the world can't make this toy feel like it's worth $90. Sorry, $90 plus shipping. Because nobody wanted to carry it. Maybe instead of worrying about a toy-color gift set of all five Stunticons, Hasbro should instead put some effort into getting Motormaster by himself into any store at all for the first time, for everybody who already got the other four and doesn't need doubles.

-- 09/19/23


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