Cliffbee.com: Motormaster Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Motormaster
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Stunticon Leader
Alternate Mode: Semi Trailer Truck



TRUCK MODE
Height: 5.5cm Length: 15.5cm Width: 3.5cm

   A black rig with a tall boxy grey trailer, Motormaster is your standard road freight truck. The windows and hitch of the rig are "Decepticon" purple, while the tyres are black with chrome hubcaps. This chrome also extends to the headlights, grille and front bumper. The sides of the trailer have moulded fluting, which is replace along the central strips with stickers sporting purple stripes. Towards the front of these stickers are Decepticon insignias. It's a pretty uneventful sort of colour scheme, but then it's a truck. The use of purple is good and he's not garish, and I don't expect much more.

   The roof of the trailer isn't as smooth as I'd like. Near the front there's a rubsign indent (which doesn't bother me) and in front of that some connection pegs (which do bother me). Towards the back are the sockets for Menasor's shoulders, which conspire with those pegs to ruin the otherwise smooth roof. There are some seams and hinges on the sides of the trailer, but the fluting masks these features quite well.

   So there's some robot & gestalt remnants here, but there's also some good moulding. Aside from the aforementioned fluting, there are purple fuel tanks under the cabin, a lightrack on the cabin roof and door details on the back. It's no Binaltech sculpt, or even a Diaclone sculpt, but it's a pretty good level of detail for a Combiner toy.

   Motormaster's play value is his weak point in this mode. There are total of five sets of wheels - one front set, two rear rig sets and two sets at the back of the trailer. The two sets at the back of the rig are solid moulded and the second pair have rivets for hubcaps, since they're over transformation joints. The upside is that the two rear sets actually have axles - he may have four dud wheels but he'll roll straight. The rig and trailer cannot separate, nor can he hitch swivel at all. The "legs" of the trailer are permanently moulded into the stowed position, but then with a rig that wont detach, he'd never need to swing the legs down anyway.

   As with most of the Scramble City leaders, Motormaster has a base mode. And even by the mediocre standards of Scramble City toys, this base mode sucks. Basically you unfold the rear half of the trailer to form a featureless platform with a ramp at the back. It's not really big enough for the other Stunticons to fit comfortably - they will fit but will look weird in doing so. The little black car that becomes Menasor's chest fits, it has wheels especially for this configuration. Considering that there are four dedicated joints for this mode, it's a real waste of time. There is a black plastic piece on the platform which suggests an abandoned gimmick. I've no idea if it would have been a worthwhile one, but anything adding to this base would have been an improvement.

   Good colours and a good sculpt are offset by bad play value and a really pointless base mode make for a mixed bag. Motormaster is also the only Stunticon with no optional weaponry in vehicle mode. I suppose the play value was always going to be compromised - a Transformer that turns into an entire Semi Trailer is quite ambitious. Keeping that it mind, they've done a fairly good job.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Flip the rear halves of the trailer roof out to the sides to become his arms, which will also reveal his head. The front of the trailer roof now flips back to become his chest, and unlocks his legs in the process. Extend the legs, flip up the cabin to become the feet. Separate the legs and straighten out his thighs. Give him sword and gun.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14.5cm Width: 7cm

   The grey trailer constitutes about 80% of this toy, so it's not really surprising that this mode is largely grey. His chestplate, thighs and feet are black. His head is also black with a lilac face, and there's a hood around this head, since it's contained within the box of the trailer. There are some silver and yellow stickers, which save Motormaster from being too dull.

   It's in this mode that most of Motormaster's shortcomings come into play. While some are inevitable consequences of the basic principle - such as his boxiness, others could probably have been prevented. The head inside the hood doesn't work all that well, and the shoulder joints are midway on his arms (although at the right spot on his torso). Granted, the top of the arms had to be the back of the trailer, but had they not put in the base mode, he could have been engineered with a transforming head that sat above the shoulder joints. The pegs inside his chest don't line up with his shoulder joints properly, either, so you end up pushing out the side panels (again, part of the base mode) and there are random seams on either side of the hood.

   The feet are huge and boxy, since they're the halves of the rig, but this works in his favour, since it's a really interesting feature. It also anchors Motormaster to the table - he's not easy to overbalance.

   I suppose it's in keeping with the rest of his engineering that the poseability is quite limited. His shoulders rotate, but being halfway down the arms, they look best when his arms are by his sides - although he'll look weird holding his sword here. The hips and knees bend sideways - part of his transformation into Menasor's torso, and this does give him some leg poseability.

   All in all, it's a pretty disappointing robot mode. I can deal with the fact that he's destined to be boxy, and I can deal with the black and grey, since they're necessary for the truck mode. But the inclusion of the base mode really hurts his shoulders, and a toy this boxy needs better poseability.

VARIATIONS

   Released originally in 1986 and again in 1990 as a Classic, outside North America. There's no real difference between the two, save for the copyright stamp on his back.

OVERALL

   The truck mode is pretty good, considering the limitations they had to work in. Sadly, his robot mode is worse than it really should have been, thanks to the rather useless base mode. Motormaster is in my opinion the worst Stunticon and the worst of the Scramble City leaders. I recommend him only if you want Menasor or dig trucks - 3.5/10

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