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First/Last Comic Appearance (US) - Issue 22, November 1986
First/Last Comic Appearance (UK) - Issue 63, May 31st 1986 / Issue 259, March 3rd 1990
First/Last Cartoon Appearance - Episode 57 (Season 2 #41), November 26th 1985 / Episode 84 (Season 3 #19), November 10th 1986
First Toy Appearance - 1986
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Figure Details and review
Toyline - Causality
- Added a Decepticon symbol to the chest
Manufacturer - FansProject
Menasor was the combiner with the pointy ears, and that's about when my recollection ends. He was used extremely sparingly in the cartoon and the comics, with less than a handful of appearances over all media. He was rather lost in the mix when it came to his contemporaries, being second-best to Bruticus in my estimation. He was also the shortest of the G1 combiners, save the late appearance of Piranhacon and Monstructor. That said, I suddenly became rather excited when it transpired that FansProject were going to produce a homage to him. This took me by surprise because unlike their Bruticus and Superion add-on sets, they had no base figure to augment. No, they would be doing this from scratch - the first 100% FansProject combiner. When you consider that both TFC and Maketoys beat them to this, it is rather surprising. So it intrigued me how one of the original 3rd party companies would fare against these other guys. FansProject teased about this set for what seemed like an age, waiting a looong time before the first fleeting glance of the completed combiner was spotted. One day, a rather innocuous box arrived at my house, containing a very slender box which supposedly contained Motormaster plus all of his combiner kibble. Could it really have everything in it? Of course. So, join me, finally, in finding out how well FansProject can do a combiner when they are unconstrained by Hasbro...
Appearance (Robot Mode) 9/10
Let me say first that this is a stunning figure, and then I am going to get my one criticism out of the way right now. FansProject kinda cheated with this one. Unlike the combiners churned out by Maketoys or MMC for example, none of the limbs incorporate any combiner kibble. Where Maketoys made decisions such as attaching trailers to their arm bots to at least try to integrate and keep the kibble with the relevant figure, FansProject just thought "nope" and didn't bother. I can understand their reasoning; I mean how can you store giant feet or hands without ruining the lines of sleek sports cars? Moreover, both Breakdown and Wildrider simply attach to the front of Motormaster's extended legs - they are actually not required at all. A total skinflint could simply ignore these guys and just buy the 2 arms and Motormaster would still be standing tall. Well, anyway, that's my moaning done. This is simply the best combined robot mode I have seen by some distance. It is tall - larger than both FansProject Colossus and Maketoy's Giant figures. Despite this extra height, it is extremely elegant. By no means does it look weak, but it is lithe, athletic, it looks like it could move extremely quickly whereas Devastator, Bruticus and Predaking look like lumbering battering rams in comparison. As the Central component, the combiner-mode for Motormaster is fantastic. The 'boxed in' head configuration of the original is nicely referenced without imposing the poseability restrictions which would annoy modern collectors. Then there is the headsculpt, which is a rare hit for FansProject, I normally dislike or feel apathetic towards them. This sculpt It is samurai-esque and invokes calm but with a potential for carnage. The dull red eye paint is applied expertly as is the silver of his face. Some people have complained about the arms and how they are configured but I love them. Using the knees as elbows just seems so logical to me - you benefit from 2 joints working in parallel, which can be independently moved providing extra posing options. They do not look overly thin. Dead End suffers by being quite narrow at the forearm, but you can add the collapsed rifle components to bulk this up. You can live with the narrow forearm and employ the rifle too if you like. Then there is the quite ridiculous sword which adds some extra and not really warranted 'menace' (sorry) to the figure.
Appearance (Alternate Mode) 8/10
I wouldn't like to see these coming down the road. This is where Motormaster's trailer comes in use, as the combiner kibble is on board but neatly stowed. The only exception to this is the folded up rifle, which sits across the trailer doors. It looks a bit lame if you ask me. Otherwise we have a very sleek, coherent unit. Squint and they look just like the team of old, with FansProject making some alterations and concessions. Wildrider is probably the oddity in the group, as his vehicle mode looks the most angular and futuristic. Drag Strip actually looks less futuristic, stripped of the 6-wheel Tyrell configuration of the original toy. All in all, they look great and the cars scale well with the truck. They can't really display with figures outside of their group in this mode, with the exception of a few scout class figures.
As combiners go this is rather simplistic, with Drag Strip and Motormaster requiring the most alteration. Motormaster essentially makes use of the multitude of waist joints to put what is Motormaster's chest in robot mode to the underside of the torso. This leaves Motormaster's head protuding from the stomach like something out of Total Recall. This is temporary thankfully and can be folded in once Menasor's head has been pulled from the rails it is contained on. On mine, the head takes some work to stow again - not sure if this is limited to mine. The horns on Menasor's head should be fully unfolded after deploying it. This leaves the head sitting in basically the middle of nowhere. Motormaster's arms are used to build the shoulders which keep Menasor's head firmly in place. Then after an extended period of Origami Motormaster's leg stumps are ready to receive the components of his trailer, which are transformed and clicked into place backwards and rotated after that. Both the leg-bots just require their rear panels to be lifted slightly, to allow the hexagonal slots on their chest to tab into the leg sections. Both Dead End and Drag Strip need to be altered to accommodate both the fists and the shoulder connectors - this is a far more convoluted process with Drag Strip, however. I'm not entirely happy with how Drag Strip grips the fist connector - it feels like a tenuous connection and cannot support he weight of the sword or gun. Perhaps I'm doing it wrong...
One area where this figure stands out for me is its ability to pose. It really is incredible given the sheer size, complexity and weight that so many poses can be achieved. Starting with the articulation, the head is on a ball-joint, and the waist has a quality, ratcheted swivel. The shoulders allow for controlled lateral and side-to-side movement thanks to the clever connectors, and the hips have a similar range of articulation. These joints are ratcheted and feel extremely durable. The elbows comprise of 2 sets of knee joints, allowing for radial movement of the forearm to boot. This negates the need for bicep swivel, which is not present. There is thigh swivel, as well as strong ratcheted knee joints. The fists can swivel and bend inwards and outwards, and each finger has 2 joints, as do the thumbs. The palms of the hands have tabs so that the weapons are held securely, without you having to mash the fingers together to get them to stay. The ankles are ball-jointed so there is no limitation articulation-wise. The feet are actually a marvel. FansProject made the simple addition of rubber on their underside which means that even on a smooth surface, this figure will never suffer from doing the splits involuntarily. The feet are also large, accounting for the centre of balance. You can also display this figure with one leg off the floor, such is the combined strength of the ankle ball-joint and the grip on the foot. This is really a top-rate job.
I have expressed some gripes about the individual figures, but as a combined entity this feels very solid. As I have already said the joints feel of the utmost quality, easily capable of bearing the load on them. I think FansProject have learned from criticisms leveled at them regarding the arm connectors for Bruticus. I guess only time will tell though, but so far, so good. The fact that the connectors are not part of any of the figures and that they are standardised would potentially make them easier to fix or swap out if they did fail. One person has complained that they had stress marks on the chest of their leg-bot after connecting it, but so far mine have emerged unscathed.
Overall - 43/50
This is a great combiner and in some ways, probably the most accomplished I have yet seen. It is large but not overly so, it succeeds in providing great alternate and individual robot modes without detracting from the gestalt and feels entirely robust. Hopefully FansProject have dispelled some of the QC issues which have plagued them in the past. This certainly feels like a very refined and well-implemented project. They took their time about releasing this collection of figures, but it appears that biding their time has paid off, rather than rushing them to market. Apparently the addition of the rubber for the feet was a late change, and this is an example of making sure everything was as perfect as possible before release. I am really hoping that FansProject's next move will be to take on the Protectobots, as I need them in scale with my other combiners. Hot Spot is getting mighty lonely.