Click the image above to see the alt mode, or view more photos here
First/Last Comic Appearance (US) - Issue 22, November 1986 / Issue 41, June 1988
First/Last Comic Appearance (UK) - Issue 63, May 31st 1986 / Issue 289, September 29th 1990
First/Last Cartoon Appearance - Episode 56 (Season 2 #40), November 25th 1985 / Episode 94 (Season 3 #29), february 24th 1987
First Toy Appearance - 1986
Click here to see Figure Details and review
Manufacturer - FansProject
Toyline - Causality
- Added a Decepticon symbol to the chest
- Added Decepticon symbols to the trailer
Way before my Nemesis Prime obsession begun, there were 2 Decepticons who for me were the first 'black repaints'. One of which was Skywarp, and the other was Motormaster. Now strictly speaking Motormaster wasn't a repaint at all but his resemblance to Optimus prime may have paved the way for RID Scourge and all of those other cool black primes. The Stunticons in general were an anomaly, as they were all wheeled vehicles - something rare in the Decepticon ranks back then, when all of the sporty cars and trucks were the provisio of the Autobots. I remember thinking how cool Motormaster looked - rendered immediately more badass than Optimus Prime by virtue of his 'evil' colour scheme. My interest was always in whether Motormaster could defeat Optimus Prime, and this question came to be answered in the cartoon, where the slightly unhinged Decepticon engaged Optimus Prime in a game of 'chicken'. Of course, Motormaster was utterly defeated, humiliated even, as his whole alt mode collapsed like a concertina. Optimus sailed through him like he wasn't even there. This was an iconic moment for me in the cartoon. The anarchist in me wanted Motormaster to win, and there was something primally satisfying to me about that whole scene. For years, I waited to be able to recreate this classic moment with my camera, but a Motormaster was not forthcoming. Then Hasbro provided us with the awful legends-class Motorbreath, and reminded us all why third parties have a necessary place in so many of our collections. It was ultimately left to FansProject to deliver something that Hasbro either couldn't or didn't want to - a Motormaster worthy of taking on Henkei Prime.
Appearance (Robot Mode) 7/10
I will come right out and say that I'm not a fan of FansProject headsculpts - I find them to either lack definition, or be utterly uninspiring. This figure is no exception and feel rather characterless to me. His expression is very blank and if you squint he looks like he is wearing a babies bonnet. However, for me, this character was always about the alt mode, and the ability to combine into Menasor. I don't want to convey this as a rubbish standalone robot mode because it is far from that. This figure is large, and well-proportioned. The lower legs in particular really pop. His arms are slightly less successful, having a fair amount of kibble on the forearm, and looking slightly awkward at the shoulder. He can wield a choice of weapons - you can either use the trailer doors folded over and equip him with matching shotguns, or you can combine these along with other parts to form a rather impressive rifle. The paint apps he has are very well applied, his expanses of charcoal grey are punctuated by accents of purple and yellow. He is very coherent and neat, but overall slightly underwhelms me. He also has a daft mode which allows you to use every part of the trailer and basically stick it on him. Frankly, it is a mess and not worth doing, for the amount of time and frustration it imposes.
Appearance (Alternate Mode) 9/10
I am an absolute sucker for trucks with trailers so it would take a monumental screw-up from FansProject for me not to like this. I am glad to report that this is not the case, and this alt mode is very successful. The detailing on the cab section is great, with well-applied paint apps. The trailer is a little 'busy' in terms of the amount of panels which separate out, but nothing compared to the unmitigated disaster of Universe Ironhide's alt mode. The back set of wheels are smaller than the front, but this does not detract form the overall aesthetic. Scale-wise he is a fair bit smaller than Optimus Prime with the G3 trailer, and cannot be displayed alongside. However, with the judicious use of angles and perspective, you can make them look more or less the same size. Which is exactly what I did so I could finally capture the photo I wanted. The paint apps on the trailer are not the consistent line of the old toy, but then FansProject had to assure symmetry. I think that my addition of Decepticon symbols really help to make the whole thing more coherent.
The first couple of time you do this, you will be cursing to yourself, while nursing sore fingers, as you try to pry the various panels apart without incurring breakage. This figure is extremely tight and it takes a bit of manipulation to make the tabs and joints move more freely. After this, it becomes a bit easier although it must be noted that the instructions are not great. Basically, the whole back half of the trailer is removed and can be set aside, since it is not used. This is a very intelligent piece of design by FansProject, who have managed to incorporate all of the combiner kibble into this trailer section. The doors are removed to form the aforementioned guns. I usually attempt to explain most aspects of the transformation but for this figure I would have to write a small essay. So I'll leave it at this - follow the instructions, look at Youtube videos and be extremely patient. Look out particularly for the small joint which holds the torso to the waist - it is very flimsy and very stiff. Exercise extreme caution when moving it, grab the actual joint rather than attempting to swivel the piece around by holding the torso.
Unfortunately this figure sacrifices some articulation for the greater good, which is making sure that Menasor is as phenomenally badass as possible. His neck is ball-jointed, although the joint is very small. The waist has a very stiff ratchet swivel. The shoulder and hip joints offer lateral and side-to-side movement, with the hips on very strong ratchets. The shoulders have a tendency to move forward, as they have a secondary joint intended for transformation, so you may find yourself holding these in place as you move the shoulder. There is thigh swivel but bicep swivel is almost impossible, you can move the combiner pegs out of the way to allow some movement (which looks awful) but then the kibble on the back of the upper arm conspires to get in the way. The elbows are basically double-jointed, and the knees offer a good range of movement, you may just have to hold the surrounding parts in place as they have a tendency to pop out of transformation before the stiff knee joint gives way. The wrists are on a swivel and the feet are ball-jointed, however they have tabs which collide with the windscreen area and limit posing potential slightly. This figure has decent balance, however.
I'm really in two minds about this particular aspect of the figure. On the one hand, you have an extremely complex, well-engineered, impeccably painted masterpiece with incredibly strong joints in the hip and waist region, required for the stresses manipulating the combiner introduce. On the other, there are some joints and tabs which are so scary to manipulate, you never feel you are too far away from a dreaded stress mark or a break altogether. I might be unfair in my appraisal of this, as I have noticed some joints loosening up after some use. Just be extremely careful and take your time with this figure. I allowed myself 2 hours to transform this figure between all available modes.
Overall - 36/50
This is a flawed, but utterly essential figure. You obviously have to get it if you have any intention of getting yourself a Menasor, and the primary consideration of this figure is how well it performs this task. I can tell you that it performs it extremely well, but that will be covered in my Menasor review. This figure is ultimately an incredible achievement, being that the Motormaster mode was always going to be secondary to the combined mode we still have a decent base figure. Compare this to the horrible messes of Hasbro's combiner torso figures - Silverbolt and Onslaught - and this only emphasises just how good FansProject are.