Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Against Better Judgement

 - Dorian MacQuarrie

I would love to say my current collection is full of bots that are all 100% winners, that every toy I now own was bought with the absolute confidence that I would enjoy the experience. I can't, of course; I doubt many of us can. We all have a few toys that were impulse buys that never lived up to expectations or maybe there are those who were bought knowing full well we'd never be able to enjoy them due to one particular factor, maybe a fiddly transformation or a lacking amount of paint. 

With that in mind, I have some very mixed feelings over Masterpiece Inferno. 

Objectively it's a great toy, with amazing articulation, a fun transformation (the ladder trick is magical) and has some great heft. The paint finish is gorgeous and the head sculpts, while not in the style of early MP cars, are delightful. Subjectively however, I just don't like the way he looks. 

I'm not a fan of the cartoon focus and even with the toy-esque grill and head it's not enough to ground him in the Hasui style of the first few MP cars. The detailing is too plain, especially with regards to the legs and head "wings". The grey used for the head and hands, while pleasing, leans too far into the cartoon column of influences which also informs the lack of detailing on his alt mode and of course some very particular accessories. Visually, Masterpiece Inferno is not my jam. 

Waste of plastic

It's an odd position to be in, aware of the many high points but not on board with one key aspect, possibly the most important: aesthetics. Next to Prowl and Sideswipe he's distinctly different and needs some of the other cartoon focused MP toys around him to better blend a display together lest he stick out like a sore thumb. 


Much better

So why did I I buy Inferno knowing that I would never be happy with the style in which this toy was made? Well, I went against my better judgement, placed my faith in the reviews plus Takara's track record and took a chance, one that has thankfully paid off. 

Moving on......

I also have some very mixed feelings over Omnigonix Spinout.

Objectively it's a terrible toy with horrendous build quality, limited articulation, questionable design choices, poor paint applications, a frustrating transformation and is widely regarded as a failed product. Subjectively though.......

Oh by the Gods I love it! Spinout clearly takes more from the Generation 1 Sunstreaker toy which suits me just fine. He's taller than Sideswipe (as he should be!) and has that huge chest piece. The head sculpt is sharp with a fantastic stern expression and even with the disastrous build quality the resulting bot mode is very clean with zero unnecessary back kibble *cough* Sunsurge *cough*. I was on board for this toy as soon as initial renders were released and even when the tragic reality of the final product was revealed, I still wanted this guy ASAP. 

Spinout was the first (and probably last) offering from Omnigonix, a brand new third party company. The toy had all its flaws laid bare in reviews and even before release was a well documented train wreck but it looked amazing and was perfect for my preferred flavour of MP toys. I abandoned all of the standards I would normally hold a third party toy against and bought Spinout entirely based on looks, in spite of my better judgement. 

As odd as my position on MP Inferno, Spinout leaves me equally perplexed. It's a terrible toy that I've only transformed two or three times and not due to a difficult transformation but that it's just so fragile and so poorly made it's more like performing delicate surgery than having a puzzle you can fiddle with while watching CNN. Where Inferno ticks every box on my list other than aesthetics, Spinout flunks the test like a champ but somehow manages to get by purely on his good looks. Maybe it's fitting that a toy of Sunstreaker is of little substance and is just about good looks. 

All of our purchases should have some forethought behind them. Maybe just a quick glance at what looks good or if you expect it to have a great build quality with a fun transformation. Sometimes we weigh up multiple offerings from different companies in a bid to decide which out of the fifty three Third Party Springers to buy. When it's a mainline release from Hasbro or Takara this is an easier process to bypass. Sling some money at a deluxe and if it's not *that* good then it's not a big loss. The same cannot be said for third party and Masterpiece toys however. 

When the price tag often rings in at around three times that of a first party mainline toy, uninformed or impulse purchases shouldn't really be on the agenda, unsure if we'll even enjoy the figure or not. We shouldn't be blithely buying toys......except that we definitely do. 

My recent neuroticism over my collecting habits might be getting stale but I can't help but think we surely want to have control over what we buy. Aren't we able to make rational purchases based on a set of standards and not just "ooh shiny!" as was the case when I picked up Spinout? There were reports of broken and missing parts straight out of the box but I didn't care, I wanted this toy. I don't want to use the word "need" but it had to be part of my collection. Should we be spending £100+ on a toy that doesn't even fit a preferred set of aesthetics as was the case with MP Inferno? 

Probably not but they are toys and maybe we get to be a little irresponsible when it comes to our plastic crack. I know I like to keep things on a serious note but maybe it's healthy to splurge a little and just throw some money around.

And on that note, keep it #Refined. 

Follow Dorian on Twitter @Vigadeath

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