Skyquake87's Review: Masterpiece MP-26 Road Rage
Bio: Deeply versed in the culture and customs of organic life, she was selected as Crosscut's adviser and bodyguard in appreciation of this knowledge. Normally she's a cheerful and obliging robot, but while traveling the roads, she becomes an extremely narrow-minded and violent driver owing to a chronic instability in her navigation protocols. Capable of subsonic air travel in flight mode. Equipped with twin magnabomb launchers and a plasma discharger.
Back in the early 2000s, one of the things that got me excited about collecting Transformers were the E-Hobby Exclusive redecos of original Transformers. Initially, these started off as preposterous baubles like Chrome Streak and Gold Jazz (imaging the flaking!), but quickly gave way to something a bit more interesting – the use of the Diaclone colours that these toys had before they were Transformers. The red Corvette Stingray was one such toy. The mould was coloured blue for Transformers like Tracks, but some examples of the red version were made available in European markets in 1985. The red variant also famously appears on the 1985 box art mural. Best of all, these recolours were actual proper characters too.
Road Rage is one of my favourites of these E-Hobby figures (I love the Stingray mould, for one thing) and she's a pretty neat character, despite the terrible bio which plays on her name to give her actual, er, Road Rage … (tumbleweeds drift by). I wasn't especially looking for the Masterpiece version, but a cheap eBay auction from ID Toys caught my eye. And now I own her. Hooray! And my, is she pretty.
On looks alone, Road Rage is gorgeous. She's had some new tooling to make the body look more feminine, but rather than the usual uber-nimrods toy manufacturers go for (jutting boobs, tiny waist, shapely bottom), the changes here are more subtle and appropriate. The changes made to the thighs, biceps, collar and hips, not to mention that glorious new head sculpt (based on her blink and you'll miss it Animated counterpart) fit the leanness of the mould a lot better than those on Tracks. She looks really well defined and escapes the trap of looking like a masturbatory aide, which I think is great and should be carried forward to future designs of female Transformers. Or female toys in general. On top of the excellent design work is this glorious burst of colours – red, white, and black, accented with that lovely rich deep purpley-blue for the head and wings. It really pops and puts MP Tracks in the shade, with his tedious Animation model colours (I really don't like Tracks's yellow plated Autobot insignia. It looks horrid). There really isn't too much to dislike about her in robot mode. Sure, she has that unfortunate gap behind her head and shoulders which leaves her head bobbling around on a stalk, yet this isn't so far removed from the original toy, which was also exceptionally flat at the rear and also had something of a gap behind the head (albeit a less obvious one). She gets to wield a far more impressive weapon than Tracks does too, carrying an updated version of the original toy rifle which is both excellent and emasculating. Can't say as I'm too fond of the rear mounted missile launcher, which are these two reedy looking darts on axles. They just don't look as impressive as the huge ones on the old toy. Probably do help massively with balance though, so it's no biggie. She also comes with tiny non-transforming version of Twincast which I am utterly disinterested in.
In keeping with the overall impression of the excellent robot mode, the vehicle mode also excels. Its a faithful replica of the original 1969 design and remains as awesome and ridiculous as ever. I do like this vehicle design. Its like waves on wheels and looks all sporty and sleek, like sports cars should – and indeed the Stingray should, which has morphed into a boring lump of muscle car in recent years. It is a little smaller in scale next to the other recently released MP Cars – even the Datsun Fairlady Z mould – which does rob the toy of the impact it should have in a line up, but taken on its own merits, it's pretty swish looking. Ground clearance is a bit of an issue though, with all the tucked up robo arms and wings being a bit too low to the ground for my liking. Shame Takara-Tomy couldn't have gone with some of the custom versions of the car that have larger rear wheels and the sticky-up engine block. Road Rage carries over Tracks's flame design on the bonnet, which I feel was unnecessary, unless its like some family crest or something.
Flying Car Mode:
The flying car mode is a fun addition. I always enjoyed this on the original toy and its nice to have it on the MP figure too. Its a bit of a wretch trying to get the arms properly aligned and pegged to the sides though, which is a shame. Although the missile launcher can't be deployed in this mode, I really like the cute little tail fins that pop up in this mode and you can plug the rifle in underneath too. Shame there's no stand to display this on though but I do like the small clip on gun for the font of the grill; that's a nice touch.
Marks Out Of Ten For The Following:
The transformation feels a bit over egged in places and Road Rage is very much a panel-former. Everything has to be folded and clicked and pegged into position. Whilst this isn't a bad thing in and of itself, it does make Road Rage feel like plastic origami and a lot less solid. The lower legs in particular are a puzzling juggle and seem to have been over-engineered just to justify the MP price point. There wasn't much here that needed updating from the original toy. I can only assume its a carry-over from Tracks and the need to more faithfully replicate the Sunbow Animation model for that character. The arrangement of the shoulders/rear wheels and forearms in achieving the flight mode is also a bit of a joyless fiddle-fest that makes you wonder how much you're actually bothered about the third mode. She lacks a lot of the finesse of the three other MP Carbot moulds which is a shame and I'm sure the gap behind the chest/shoulders will be a bother to many. The other thing I have found particularly annoying are her hands. She should be able to comfortably hold her rifle with no problems, but the damn thing works its way loose all the time. It stays where it needs to, but still... 6/10
Whilst there isn't anything that feels obviously fragile, The joints the wings are on and the tiny missiles look like things to watch out for. Like with many of the MP Cars, she feels very light and lacks mass, so can survive most tumbles. Just don't stamp on her, or she'll shatter like glass. As with my other MP Cars that require it, I've not bothered with the wing mirrors, for fear of breaking or losing them. 7/10
As you'd expect for a collector-orientated figure, she's got a lot going on to please persnickity fans – a good range of motion in the arms with shoulders, bicep swivels, elbows and wrists. She's got a nice waist joint and enough movement in the hips to do the splits and some wicked kicking poses without tumbling on her backside. Feet are great and lend some great stability. She's also blessed with ankle tilts and her head is free to move about all over the place. I particularly like the use of ratchets to keep her fighting fierce too. 9/10
A relative term for a collector based figure that's going to spend most of its life just standing around looking pretty than actually getting played with, but I think she might actually be my favourite out of all the MP cars released thus far. The design is flawed, but its by no means bad and she just looks lovely from top to toe in robot mode. She's a great action figure too, and that's by far her biggest plus point for me. 8/10
My auction from ID toys cost £30 including shipping. Looking around, that seems to be the going rate, which makes her the cheapest regular sized MP car by some margin. That's good going, although I would have liked a stand for her and would happily have done without the pointless Twincast. 9/10
For a minor character of limited appeal, Road Rage is incredibly impressive. The mould isn't as awful as I was expecting and she makes a way better go of it than Tracks, thanks to some deft retooling. She looks awesome in robot mode, has a cool looking alt mode and a silly flight mode thrown in for extra playtime fun. And she's not Tracks. What's not to like? 8/10