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Skyquake87's Review: MP23 Exhaust

Name : Exhaust
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Industrial Espionage

Bio: Exhaust is a huge gladiatorial games fan. You could say that he's devoted to something that he fully knows will harm and kill him.

See what they've done there, with that bio? What with Exhaust sporting the famous name brand cigarette livery (name removed at trademark holders request), being called Exhaust and smoking being bad for you – y'know, fumes and stuff . How clever and witty. If you wanted to play that game, there was probably far more mileage by writing a bio that plays up to his unique function of Industrial Espionage (which also throws up some further possibilities for expanding Cyberton's economy and adds an interesting new element to the Transfomers mythos), but no. Sigh. Comedy and health and poor lifestyle choices are where its at. Also: a big Gladiatorial combat fan? Really?

In case you've missed it, there's been a huge palaver around the release of Exhaust, a retool of the Masterpiece Wheeljack toy based on an old Diaclone toy. Tobacco advertising has been a no-no on anything that might appeal or be sold to children since the 1990s, and there are now very strict legal frameworks around the promotion and advertising of tobacco products, so anything that might be seen to be in breach of these rules and regulations will soon find itself in bother. And so it came to pass. Even with modifications to the familiar chevron shape to Exhaust's livery and non-inclusion of any branding, the figure has not been made widely available with many retailers being hit with cease and desist notices from the Big Tobacco firm involved. There's a certain irony in this, as many tobacco companies are currently in the midst of ongoing legal wrangling centered around the selling of tobacco products, most notably successfully over-ruling the Australian governments' 'plain packaging' edict. All this means that getting hold of Exhaust now is going to be an expensive faff. Which is pretty much how I felt, having been initially extremely interested in having an updated version of a new old character/ toy. I managed to get one anyway, so lets have a look and see what all the fuss is about...

Robot Mode: Check this guy out, in his best suit, looking all suave and sophisticated. His head is brilliant, all slotted space visor and pointy ears and scowly looking mouth. Its amazing to think how much a simple thing like a different head can even now lend a whole different personality to a bodytype that's familiar from a more well known character. There's something more serious and sinister about Exhaust, and I like that. The livery he's done out in means he's very much areas of bold red and plain white, which isn't terribly interesting to look at, but its nice enough and the areas of black on his arms and legs help break this up. The electric blue that's used for the wings is nice, but is slightly less appealing against the red of his chest. His proportions are good, with only his massive feet being something of a distraction, but at least there's no danger of him falling over anytime soon. In terms of weapons, he comes with a neat little pistol which he grips very snugly indeed and a couple of nice little boxy cannons (non-firing) with some silver rockets. In addition, he also comes with an Immobilizer device (as seen in the cartoon), which I can see him putting to good use in his role, which he can also hold in his hands. Probably the first time I've actually thought that some of the extraneous guff that's thrown in with Masterpiece toys isn't a total waste of time.

Alternate Mode: Its often said that the 1970s were the last decade of great car design, and looking at this thing, its hard to disagree. The Lancia Stratos Turbo is packed full of character and this is a great representation of the thing. It really puts the slightly lumpy Diaclone predecessor in the shade. I love how it looks like a crudely cut wedge of sharp edges , like a block of wood that's been creatively cleaved, and then you've got this semi-circular windscreen that's totally at odds with that. It looks fantastic. I love the red hubs and the red and white livery looks great (although some fudging of the distinctive chevron design has occurred during production, to avoid further problems). The sponsor decals are sadly lacking, with some approximation for the ones that there are ('Good Flavour', anyone?) which don't do much for realism, but given all the hoo-ha surrounding this figure, I don't mind. The overall effect of a beefy growl of a rally car is undiminished and it looks fantastic. You get a couple of wing mirrors to stick onto the bonnet, but I've left these off, to save me the effort of either breaking or losing these tiny parts.

Marks Out Of Ten For The Following:

Transformation Design: A clever and fun set of innovative moves that impresses each time. There are some minor issues with tolerances around the shoulder/ wing assembly and roof /windscreen in vehicle mode, which feel a bit 'springy', but other than that, its all gold. Not too complex and not too fiddly, just a really smart and impressive bit of engineering. 9/10

Durability: Being all plastic, Exhaust is incredibly resilient. He feels tough and solid. Although fairly light, the plastics feel good and he feels like a quality product. The only minor issue is with the rear sections under the spoiler. These pop out of the rear of the vehicle mode and form the back of his hands. Because they're quite tightly packed, the paint on these panels is easily scraped as you prise these out, which is a shame. Perhaps if these bits had been cast in white plastic, we wouldn't have had this problem. 8/10

Articulation: Exhaust's articulation is what you'd expect at the higher end of the toy spectrum, all wavy arms with swivel joints all over the shop, nicely jointed legs...with ankles! His hands do trigger finger and grippy hand action and on top of that is a turny head. All you need, basically. Great stuff. 9/10

Fun: Exhaust is pretty good fun, but as with all these MP figures, he's not the same sort of fun you get from a decent Deluxe toy. As with all the MP figures, he's just too fiddly for casual playtime, which means that – as nice as they are and as much as I like them- his pack in accessories are a bit wasted, as all these things are (C'mon admit it, as much as Collectors love all these 'DVD extras', they do sit in the box unloved.). Basically, he's fun in an appreciating fine art kind of way. 7/10

Price/Value: Aaand here's the rub. Unless you're one of the lucky few whom managed to snag one of these before all the legal shenanigans kicked in, you're stuck paying silly money for this guy. 4/10

Overall: I love Exhaust, he feels different enough from the current run of familiar faces in the Masterpiece line to be worth the bother. He's a much better toy than his Diaclone homaging predecessor Tigertrack, too and makes for a neat Decepticon with a potentially interesting story to tell, despite the moronic 'nudge-nudge-wink-wink' bio some unimaginative fart gave him. The only kicker is the price and whether you'll end up with one that's got a splodge of unwanted paint slapped on his bonnet by importers trying to hoodwink Big Tobacco. Wonder if Takara will squeeze a Slicer repaint out of this mould... 7/10
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