Knightdramon's Review: Masterpiece MP-18 Streak
: Cybertron Gunner
: Autobot carbots
There's a few things that are considered "obligatory" in the TF franchise. There's going to be good versus evil. A Prime versus a Megatron. Usually. A cowardly, scheming Starscream. A kid friendly character. A Thundercrkacer and Skywarp repainted from Starscream. A grumpy medic called Ratchet. A Prowl that's usually a police car. A slightly more boring repaint of said Prowl in Streak's colours.
As you can see, a Streak repaint of Prowl is one of those things that are common in the TF mythos, though it's not at the top of the list. Harking back to G1, [Blue]Streak was a silver repaint of Prowl without the police sirens at the top. Much like Prowl, Streak did not really do much in the original G1 cartoon, being mostly relegated to background character status, with a few lines here and there. The most fond and prominent memory of him that I had was his team up with Tracks and Bumblebee as the central Autobots in "Trans-Europe Express". Which was historically his last speaking role in well, ever, since there hasn't been any other animated form of the character or any of his iterations since.
Streak's quite popular in certain parts of the fandom due to a play on his name and his actual toy origins. The character's actual name is Bluestreak, which ties in with his character trait/tendency to talk a lot. Yet in one of the first TF product leaflets Bluestreak is present in all his...blue glory, with the toy catalog picturing his toy in the Diaclone coloured blue scheme. The actual transformer toy released was all silver, with a more cartoon accurate silver and black version only coming out first in 2002 as a special Takara re-issue.
Due to trademark issues back then, Hasbro's re-issue was named Silverstreak [because...he was silver], which is the name he held onto in the early noughties, with Bluestreak kept for his Blue repaints and Takara keeping the standalone "Streak" [his original Japanese name] for the standard black/silver versions.
So naming themes aside, Streak is the second version of the second Masterpiece "real car" release. Originally due for August 2013, he was pushed back two months due to increased demand and pre-orders for both him and Prowl, which meant that the production run had to be ramped up.
The first Takara MP18 release features a black and metallic silver paint deco which is accurate to the cartoon and goes beyond just being a Prowl retool without a police bar---his headsculpt and waist piece have been remoulded to more accurately represent Streak. Without any further ado, let's have a look at this release...
Streak's release in the MP line is as a Nissan Datsun 280Z. Hot on the heels of MP Lambor, this is the second "high-tuning, posh eighties" car mould released. Prowl was the first release of this mould, but that was in a police deco with police sirens. Of interest is he fact that this version of the car [also known as the Fairlady Z] actually stopped being in production in 1983, a year before the actual TF line debuted.
Much like every other MP car so far [except Wheeljack], Streak is coated in paint in vehicle mode. Pretty much his entire chassis bar the front and rear bumpers is painted. The sides and back of the car are painted in a very pleasing dark gunmetal gray tone, with the entirety of the hood and parts of his roof painted gloss black. These are his two primary colours, but on balance I'd say that the black dominated due to how prominent it is on his elongated hood. A silver outline is painted on his clear windshield and roof lining, and the same silver is also used for the detailing of the "Z" badge on his hood. His hubcaps are painted dark gray and a combination of orange and red is used on his turning and brake lights. His windshield/roof, rear windows and front lights are clear plastic with a very slight smoke tint. The wheels, windshield wipers and bumpers are cast in black plastic, as well as his black rubbery mirrors. A red Autobot symbol adorns the hood, just over the Z logo. Overall he is very well painted, although there are a few blobs of black gloss paint over the hood.
Streak is very detailed, and his moulding works well with his colour scheme. The sculpt relies on the drawn out hood and the compact nature of the rear of the car to capture the mid-seventies super car angles. The hubcaps are well defined on an X-axis, the sides of the car have got crisp lines running to the back just before the wheel well. A non- extendable radio antena is moulded on the left side at the back, with a gas pump cover on the right. His roof has got tech details moulded on the clear plastic upper window and there are tech panel detailing on what will become his shins, now visible through the rear window. The Datsun MP car is the last MP car mould to feature moulded in [albeit rubber] mirrors--all other cars that feature mirrors after this mould have them in the form of plastic mirrors still on sprues that need to be attached. Detailing is good but not perfect---the sore spot being, in this reviewer's opinion, the taillights section. While nicely defined in the sculpt, they rely on light colour paint [orange and red] painted over black plastic, which makes it a bit thin. As they went with clear plastic for his headlights, I believe it loses points for not replicating the effect at the back.
Streak strikes a respectable 15cm from front to back, roughly 4.5 cm to his highest point and is a bit longer than 5cm at his widest point. He fits on both Prime or Magnus's trailers with no fuss and looks ok with the largest Generations deluxe cars.
Being just the second car mould in the line, he doesn't have that many gimmicks incorporated in this mode. His rifle can be plugged on his roof as an "attack mode" configuration, although you need to half-transform him to get to the point where you pop the roof bit off to have enough space to move the tab around. This tab is integrated on Prowl's lightbar. Streak also has slots moulded on the sides of his rear bumper that allow you to attach the missile launchers---only one of which was included with this release -if you got them from Amazon or from a retailer that offered them.
All in all, Streak's strength lies in his elegant simplicity in this mode. He is better painted than Sideswipe [in terms of actual quality of the paint] but he does not feature any storage for his rifle except a silly attack mode, and his other accessories that could be utilized are not readily available on this release of the character.
Streak's transformation is an odd one; there's a multitude of tabs and locks for either mode that make me happy, but the process of undoing some of them requires a bit more force than I am comfortable with, and can stress the plastic in a few cases.
Streak is very faithful to the cartoon and G1 toy look--car hood as the chest, door wings, mostly kibble free arms, and relatively kibble free legs. He does well with redistribution of car mode parts, with no bits at all restricting movement. While the transformation scheme does take some cues from his Binaltech iteration, I can't say that it perfects on them. The legs basically unhinge and unlock from themselves, swinging down [a neat semi-automorph gimmick is present, in which some detail panels hinge forward as you unfold the leg to be shin detail behind the rear window panels]. The arms unfold neatly from the hood undercarriage, the doors unlock from the rear of the car and have an extra hinge to angle upward. The messy bits come from fiddling with unlocking the rear of the car mode [his feet] and from locking and massaging all the torso bits together with the strongest tab EVER, which culminates with his roof clipping stiffly via some tiny clear plastic protrusions.
Streak is reasonably tall, standing at 16cm in height. As stated before, his bulk is redistributed really well, making him look suitably heroic despite the dark colour scheme. It's in this mode that his primary retool differences from Prowl start to show [in vehicle mode their only difference was the lightbar and the paint deco].
The colour balance shifts a little as more red is introduced for his thighs, bits of torso and helmet horns. A more charred dark gray comes to spotlight on his waist and upper arms. Painted silver is present on his waist as well and on his elbows and face. His helmet is the same gunmetal gray as his vehicle mode parts, with unpainted gray coming into play for his shoulder cannons, hands and insides of his legs. His gauntlets are black unpainted plastic, with bits of his elbow joint painted black to match them. Lastly, his eyes are painted in a tone of navy blue.
Since there's relatively few robot mode bits that weren't featured in car mode, there's not much to add for the sculpt. The front bit of his waist is new tooling from Prowl, with an oval detailing in the middle. His torso [the bit just below his car hood chest] is cast in red with a line painted silver and has intriguing details, with the highlight being that the joints his arms/shoulders end up having moulded hydraulic pistons on. His legs have got enough tech-y panel lines to make them interesting, with an unintentional two-tone stripe on the side [a side-effect of a slice of unpainted gray plastic] making for a nice effect. Similarly, his arms are interesting without being too busy, and his upper arms are arguably better than Prowl's since he doesn't have thick white paint smothering the details. The red panel that his head is on contrasts really nicely with the black hood around it and has some [unpainted] pistons. His entire headsculpt is different than Prowl's, with a more...square face and a less angular helmet with shorter, stubbier horns. By comparison, his shoulder launchers feel kind of tame and bland.
Streak is unique in that he's the only release of the mould that has cartoon-accurate shoulder guns that require no extra parts. Theoretically Prowl has them too but they are not accurate and Smokescreen's are add-ons. The cannons are adjustable in height and can extend forward until a click is heard, putting them at the correct length. His gun is the same as Prowl's; painted in silver, with the rotating handle being cast in gray like his unpainted robot mode parts. The detail is sharp and not washed away by the paint. All in all, he feels a bit light on accessories, having only the gun. The Amazon exclusive cannons can be slotted over either shoulder gun, but he needs two to complete the look. Future recolours came with both those cannons included.
Streak has got some impressive articulation, especially if you opt to use some of his transformation joints. His feet are on a weird and wonderful double swivel, which enables generous ankle/feet tilts and back and forth movement if used correctly. He also has adjustable heel spurs. He has a single knee joint of about 90 degrees, but if you opt to use the transformation hinge below that, you can do a double knee bend. His hips swivel just below the torso connection, and they are also pinned to go back and forth and to the sides [his side skirts can flip out of the way]. He has a stiff torso joint allowing for full rotation all around. His shoulders are very interesting, having a ball joint at the bottom of a long peg that ends on a swivel at the shoulder, and the entire joint they are on can be moved back and forth a little bit. His arms swivel freely just above the elbows. He has a double elbow joint although part of it is his transformation joint. His fists rotate freely and the four fingers are pinned to open and wrap around a gun. His head has the typical pinned 'can look up' joint with a nicely sculpted neck which means his head can rotate freely around.
This mould benefits from a very large footprint so he can get into some very expressive and modern comic-book based action poses with little trouble, and his lower body has the joints to support that. It's his upper body that falls a bit flat. All the joints are there, but the very wide chest kind of puts a stop to any sort of realistic-looking poses where he holds the rifle in both hands. His cannons, when deployed, block his head from certain angles. No ab crunch, second weapon and limited two-handed holding capabilities sadly rob him of many dynamic poses he could achieve. He can look very dramatic while pointing his gun, or holding his gun over his head while pointing his open fingers or fist at somebody.
There are various drawbacks with this mould that unfortunately transfer to all four of his current mould brothers. As pointed out before, some of his transformation locks rely on questionable choice of plastic [ie clear plastic tabs on his back] or are far, far too stiff. His torso locks very securely in robot mode but is a severe pain to unlock for car mode, and you are left pulling the front of his car hood away from his body, with the panels that his arms are on dangling in-between, which doesn't make for a fun experience. This problem is far worse on Smokescreen, who has a far larger but also thinner car hood. His feet joints take some getting used to putting back together for car mode, and his side windows are on a joint that moves down and tucks them behind the plastic tab used to secure his doors in car mode. That's fine, but the tolerances are way off and the clear plastic rests too hard on that piece, resulting in a chipped stress mark on all my copies. Lastly, his knee joints have become looser from no handling at all.
There are some good bits too, don't get me wrong. He can strike some good walking, running or heroic poses, he's well painted [unlike Prowl, who has too thick a coat of white paint that washes away detailing] and he has a very different headsculpt from his mould-brothers. It's just that on this occasion, you get the least bang for your buck with this one compared to any other Datsun release. As of the writing of this review this is the most cartoon-accurate release of Streak, but a "+" release like Red Alert might trump that, doing away with one of his positive points.
: 5.5. Things do flow naturally, but too much force is required on a variety of otherwise delicate parts. Nothing has broken, but I don't feel comfortable using that much force on a relatively small, all-plastic figure.
: 6. No paint has chipped on my copy and besides his knees, all his joints are strong, but I'm not keen on the stress marks on both clear plastic windows, or on the fact that [as part of the TF design] I have to swivel a clear plastic piece down on two joints, said piece having a rubber mirror attached, and tuck that away under a hood that snaps very forcefully onto his torso.
6. Not a particularly memorable character and the toy does not do much. Displays well on its own but looks better in groups.
9. He looks great in either mode. The car mode is gorgeous in the far darker palette [silver release is too bright and blue release, while cool, isn't as cool as this one]. The sharp paint, moulding and dark overtones conspire to bring a great looking car and robot to the table.
: 7. Not the best ever, but not bad. His chest limits some poses that might have otherwise been possible with his otherwise poseable arms.
5. Do note that he came out at a time where the MP line was very stindgy with what was included in the cars, but he literally comes with one weapon and that's it. His all silver repaint comes with both Amazon launchers specially painted in that colour scheme and his blue repaint comes with specially painted extra launchers as well. Prowl can carry the one gun better due to the strength of the character and Smokescreen has more accessories and is vastly retooled, so our standard Streak here has the short end of the stick.
6. Nothing to write home about. Don't get me wrong, he is not a bad mould, but I consider him the weakest release of the weakest car mould so far. He looks great and is personally my preferred colour scheme, but he's not exactly an A-lister, doesn't come with much, and can't do much with what he has. His silver and blue releases can be found for similar prices and offer more even with the inclusion of the shoulder clip-on launchers.