You may have caught my recent article outlining my thoughts on Beast Wars twenty years on and now after a TFNation haul-based development, I'm going to reassess how I'm feeling about that. But before you can shout "Revisionist sentiment!" I can tell you it all comes down to three words; Masterpiece Optimus Primal.
In my previous piece I mentioned how I was relatively unfazed by the coming of Masterpiece figures aimed, laser-like directly at me but after handling the original version of MP Primal, when met with the newer one at a good price - you bet I went for it. What we have here is the MP-38 Convoy (Beast Wars) Legendary Commander Ver. In other words; a toy accurate Masterpiece Optimus Primal. This kind of accuracy is my main concern with the wider MP line at large as I hold little desire for cartoon centric design. (But then it turns out this deco pulls double duty and is actually screen accurate to that one time Optimus appeared in the Beast Wars II anime? Go figure.) To see Masterpiece finally render that which I regard as the ultimate goal of the line - a perfect version of a toy beloved from years ago - I couldn't really say no to the boss monkey.
Of course, on the one hand suddenly gaining a stylistically totally different MP figure only exacerbates my previous issue of design dissonance. This guy sure ain't gonna fit in with the handful of car based Masterpieces I already own and by virtue of his MP status then won't really gel with most other regular TFs either. Primal exists in a strange singularity in my collection, above and beyond all his peers. But by a little touch of convention magic, right now it simply couldn't be a problem.
The fact this figure is a stone-cold stunner with incredible engineering and accessories obviously helps but the one thing that's letting me feel like I didn't just shell out for a random action figure is that it's part of a con haul. This is an effect I've always thought about expounding my feelings on and now is definitely the time. Nothing ever feels weirdly out of place or one of a kind when you come home from a convention with an armful of diverse delights. After spending a weekend picking up bots of all shapes, sizes and styles, these disparate pieces all have one thing in common that irrevocably links them to each other in your collection: they all came from the same con.
For weeks now I've had all the components of the cash crater that is my TFN haul stood around the surfaces of my home in little gangs, not yet content to release them into the wild of my wider collection. And standing at the head of the pack is MP Primal. A for-the-time-being surrogate Prime leading haulmate Autobots, Omnicons, Spychangers and Mini-cons into battle upon my coffee table. Right here, right now, Primal has his place all thanks to that sentimental force surrounding and binding him to the other figures I got within hours of him.
So what are my feelings towards Beast Wars now? I'm still very aware of that stylistic gulf but choose to wade across it at least partway because if there's one thing this figure has shown me, it's that journey is worth it. MP-38 is a true masterpiece. Perfectly realising the first Optimus I ever knew while packing in everything worthwhile from his original toy and then some. Light up eyes, a metal chain mace, pop-out cannons, different faces? Forget about it. And thanks to some factory error, I even got an extra sword!
Masterpiece Optimus Primal has well and truly dispelled any doubts I had about my continuing love for my first Transformers series. To tell you this figure feels right is simultaneously succinct and a towering understatement. While I hugely appreciate the toy stylings of this version, I didn't get my hands on an OG (here meaning Original Gorilla obvs) Primal until I was in the swing of purely vehicle based lines. I saw the monkey man on my telly screen long, long before realising the weirdery of that spring open gun arm or spiky skull mace.
So to have a figure which captures the best of both worlds, with proper wrist guns and a jetpack bumflap but also bright blue swords and a toothy mask face is simply sublime. This is the most complete representation of this design we are ever going to see. The rumoured Power of The Primes Optimal Optimus housing a gorilla that's on its way will surely be huge fun (and now an instant pick-up for me) but it will not come within dung flinging distance of the simian spectacle of this awesome ape. Simply put: no other Primal will ever be as #refined.
Follow Ben on Twitter @Waspshot23