Monday, 23 May 2016

Masterpiece Road Rage MP-26



Profile (Translated from the Trading Card)
MP-26 Cybertron Land and Air Combatant Road Rage
Function: Land and Air Combatant
Motto: “Red...is the colour of danger.”
Profile:
A bounty hunter from a remote quadrant who is deeply versed in the culture and customs of organic lifeforms. In appreciation of her knowledge she was appointed as assistant and bodyguard to the Cybertron ambassador for Earth. Usually cheerful yet assertive however when she’s driving the streets in vehicle mode, due to a chronic problem with her navigation protocols, she becomes narrow minded and an aggressive driver. Capable of subsonic flight and can hover for short periods whilst in flight.
STR...6; INT...7; SPD...7; END...8; RNK...5; CRG...9; FBL...8; SKL...9








Overview

In January 2015, listings for MP-25 Tracks, MP-26 Road Rage and MP-27 Ironhide were leaked on the online Chinese marketplace, Taobao. In April 2015, Figure King magazine printed a photograph of the grey prototype of Road Rage.

Figure King Magazine May 2015 edition

The photograph revealed that Road Rage was not just going to be a simple repaint of MP-25 Tracks. The upper arms, waist, upper legs and the detail above the chest have been remoulded as well as the figure receiving a new head sculpt. Road Rage also comes with a version of the gun that came with the original toy.



Road Rage MP-26 was released December 2015, and happens to be the first female Transformer released for the Masterpiece line. Road Rage doesn't come with as many accessories as Tracks, coming with the Plasma Discharger hand gun, the small Laser Ram gun that attaches to the front of the grille and Twincast in cassette player mode.



The Plasma Discharger gun can attach on the underside of the flight mode and it also has a hole in the top of the gun so you can attach it to Tracks' flight stand.



Road Rage looks great in robot mode and has a bit more available articulation in the legs due to the remoulded waist. The Plasma Discharger fits in the hand and has a clip which tabs into the hole in the hand. It is tough to attach it for the first time and makes a click sound when it's properly attached.


Upon revisiting this figure I have noticed the colour of the red plastic bleeding into the white plastic which is noticeable on the rear of the upper arms. It's a similar situation with the Unite Warriors Computicon figures and other than a slight discolouration I don't think it is affecting the structure of the plastic.


Road Rage has the same issues as Tracks with the shoulders unpegging from the chest when you move the arms but this is easily remedied by holding the chest when you move the arms. The neck joint on mine is a lot looser than Tracks and moves back and forward easily which is great for poses although I wish it wasn't as loose.


The red colour suits the Corvette mode and unlike Tracks which has a blue metal flake plastic this is a solid glossy red.


Overall Road Rage is a good figure and although this is not the best of the Masterpiece cars, it is nice to see the inclusion of more Diaclone Car Robot repaints.




Translations




■ The crimson goddess racing through both land and sky (Translated from the back of the box) 
The Corvette is a Chevrolet sports car owned by General Motors (GM). Called the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray C3, the C3 model is the third generation launched in 1968. It is a famous American car with a large V8 displacement engine and a curved body design known as the “Coke Bottle Line”. “Road Rage” is a female Cybertron Warrior who transforms into a beautifully sculpted Chevrolet Corvette C3. Cheerful and kind with a feminine nature, she understands the culture and customs of organic lifeforms. However when she drives in vehicle mode, the unstable navigational controls make her aggressive. She has the type of character whose personality completely changes when they are behind the wheel. This Masterpiece version is a unique character with new robot mode parts to create a feminine body type, something which could not be achieved with the original toy. The transformation to flight mode and the included accessories add excellent play value. Road Rage is the first female in the Masterpiece series and we hope you enjoy her charm.



■ Chevrolet Corvette Stingray C3 (Actual Car Notes) (Translated from the back of the box) 
The third generation model known as the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray C3 was introduced in 1968 and had inherited the coke bottle design of the Mako Shark II concept car. It is said to have been inspired by the aerodynamic concept of the “Area Rule” for jet fighters which could surpass the speed of sound. Its structure was inherited from the first generation Sting Ray C2, adopting a double wishbone in the front and a rigid axle and horizontal leaf springs at the rear. The engine was either a big-block or small-block Chevrolet V Type 8 Cylinder OHV and with the use of a special unit known as the LS-6, it was possible to reach 7440cc/425 horsepower. This vehicle could truly be called the embodiment of an American large displacement sports car with an abundance of torque and powerful performance. Its evolution continued up until 1972 when a series of environmental and safety regulations took the edge off. It was transitioned to a mild GT car but it remained a sleek and glamorous Chevrolet flagship car until it was discontinued in 1982. 

■ Length: 4636 mm 
■ Width: 1753 mm 
■ Height: 1214 mm 
■ Wheelbase: 2489 mm 
■ Weight: 1552kg 
■ Engine: LS-6 V Type 8 Cylinder 7440cc 
■ Maximum Output: 425 horsepower / 5600 rpm 
■ Maximum Torque: 65.7kgm / 5600 rpm




Corvette Stingray C3 Vehicle Mode (Translated from the instruction booklet)
The history of the Transformers civil war not only includes the armies of the legendary Commander Convoy and the great Megatron, but also the many heroes who served elsewhere in overlooked eras or on other planets. Road Rage is one of these unknown warriors. After her arrival on Earth, she was charged with protecting important dignitaries. She was given a new Earth mode car, a Chevrolet Corvette C3. Taken from General Motors Chevrolet brand, it is a sports coupe with graceful curves and brilliant crimson colour. Whilst Road Rage loves her car form, it has given her no end of trouble. Although there were subtle problems beforehand, they did not happen enough for her to worry about it. When she transforms into car mode, she changes from her usual cheerful disposition into a short-tempered aggressive driver. Although this did not affect her security duties, it did cause her to make a single major mistake on a public road which put her in jeopardy. The diagnosis from Ratchet and Perceptor indicates her symptoms have stemmed from her biomechanical system which cannot be cured with simple replacement parts or psychological debugging therapy. Her symptoms were triggered by her mode reconfiguration and her exposure to Earth’s traffic. “Road Rage” the word that sprung to her mind when she first activated the device and she adopted it as her name. Ironically the phrase means a “frenzied driver” in Earth’s psychological terms. Road Rage was ashamed of her disgraceful behaviour and asked permission to be removed from duty. Crosscut, the Cybertron Ambassador told her, “Anger does not always interfere with the ability to concentrate. Be conscious of it but aim in a set direction. For example, my backside.” The two laughed and the air was cleared. “Handled the right way, your anger can help us. And when it's absolutely dangerous, you can protect me with your aerial advantage.” Flight mode is another ability at Road Rage’s disposal. While hovering or travelling at subsonic flight with repulsor propulsion, her mind is strangely focused. However she feels a little uneasy as her feet and tires aren’t touching the ground; after all she is an Autobot so this can be bothersome.




Road Rage Robot Mode
(Translated from the instruction booklet)
Function: Land & Air Combatant
Motto: “Red...is the colour of danger”
Profile
Road Rage was amongst the refugees who fled the war on Seibertron, and spent much of her time amongst a diverse alien civilisation where Transformers were beyond the conflict. Taking advantage of her strong and multi functional robotic form she took underhanded jobs such as a bodyguard and bounty hunter, which are considered dangerous in an alien society, to earn her daily Energon. Through her experiences she gathered much knowledge of the culture and customs of organic lifeforms and acquired skills to interact with different alien species. On one occasion when on duty in a space colony, by chance she saved the life of a Transformer diplomat who was in grave danger and escorted him until they reached the governmental ship. Crosscut, the Cybertron Ambassador, was so impressed with Road Rage's resourcefulness and skill in the face of many adversities that he appointed her to be his advisor and bodyguard for a secret mission on Earth. She finally returned to Seibertron after tens of thousands of years and undertook rigorous training and a tech spec rating test to become a member of the Cybertron army. Now Earth has become the new battleground for the Transformers, Crosscut's mission was to form an alliance with the humans and undertake negotiations for the construction of Cybertron City which would serve as defence and energon harvesting. Meanwhile Road Rage would deal with attacks from opposing humans rather than the Destrons. Even after the alliance successfully concluded they are both still active behind the scenes in a rapidly changing environment and have accomplished small yet remarkable feats. In between guard duties she returns to her bounty hunter trade. Her current mission is to capture Flip Sides, a Cybertron Cassettebot under suspicion of espionage, and Twincast who has become a fugitive after trying to protect her.



Weapon: Plasma Discharger (Translated from the instruction booklet)
The large gun carried by Road Rage. Generates plasma shells in various states of matter, each with varying strengths and fires them as energy projectiles. Its effects range from electric shocks against humans to an ultra-high heat which can melt steel. Attaches to the underside of the flight mode firing off rounds in aerial combat as well as dropping plasma shells when undertaking airstrikes.



Weapon: Laser Ram (Translated from the instruction booklet)
Equipped with a holographic matter projector in the front of the vehicle mode. It projects free-form “Holomatter” and functions as a ram to break through obstacles or thick walls. To an extent it can form basic limbs for the vehicle mode allowing her to perform delicate operations such as crowd control.



Ally / Target: Twincast (Translated from the instruction booklet)
Cybertron Communications Broadcast was rebuilt using the technology on Planet Masters after a vicious confrontation with his nemesis, Soundwave. He leads the Cassettebots, however one of them, Flip Sides, was under suspicion of espionage. Twincast defended her, having fought alongside her for the Cybertrons for tens of thousands of years. To complicate matters, both fled the army and became fugitives. Road Rage received instructions to apprehend them so began her pursuit. If Twincast is to be captured, he is to be deprived of his transformation ability and is to be returned in his cassette deck form.



History


The early prototype of the Corvette Stingray pictured for catalogues was a mix of carved wooden block, the arms and guns of the Porsche 935 (Jazz) and the head of the Honda City Turbo (Skids). Battle Convoy's (Optimus Prime) arm stickers are also attached to the robot legs. The car prototype was sold on Yahoo auctions in Japan a few years ago.

Catalogue scan showing the Corvette prototype

Wooden Corvette prototype. Source: Yahoo Auctions


The Corvette Stingray was released in February 1984 and was the final numbered Diaclone Car Robot. Under the Diaclone brand the Corvette was only released in red in Japan, Italy and under the French Joustra Diaclone series. In the short-lived Diaclone line released in Finland, the Corvette was released in black.


Japanese Diaclone Car Robot. Source: eBay

Italian GiG Transformer. Source: eBay

Joustra Diaclone. Courtesy of Maz

The artwork on the back of the 1985 Transformer boxes also showed the red corvette although the actual toy was changed to blue, possibly because there were already a lot of red Autobot cars in the line up already. When the artwork was commissioned the toy images provided to the artist were still the original red colour. If you look closely there is no Autobot logo present and the "CS" text is visible on the car bonnet. A red Transformer Tracks was released in the MB (Milton Bradley) European 1985 line, however this was just a re-boxed Joustra Diaclone "Corvette".


The red "Tracks" from the 1985 battle scene


Milton Bradley "Red" Tracks. Courtesy of 20th Century Toy Collector


In 2002, Takara released the red Corvette Stingray as an e-Hobby store exclusive and named this new character Road Rage.




"Road Rage" made a reappearance (though apparently not intentional) in 2012 within the Botcon boxset and was a redeco of the 2010 Reveal the Shield Turbo Tracks. Still named Turbo Tracks, this version represented an evil version.

Shattered Glass Turbo Tracks (Source: Botcon.com)



After the Masterpiece version was released in 2015, we did not see another version of Road Rage released until 2021 where Hasbro released "Autobot Road Rage" in the Transformers Kingdom line. This version was a much more accurate version of Road Rage and you can tell it took a lot of inspiration from the Masterpiece version.

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