Sunday, 31 May 2020

Masterpiece Shadow Panther MP-34S


Profile (Translated from the Trading Card) 
MP-34S Undercover Agent Shadow Panther (Beast Wars) 
Function: Undercover Agent 
Height: 2.3m (In Robot Mode) 
Weight: 1.5t (In Robot mode) 
Profile: 
A Destron Undercover Agent who transforms into a black leopard; in beast mode he runs the land at such speed that he can only be described as a “black bullet”. He was modelled to resemble the Cybertron warrior Cheetus; he has unfairly preyed upon many a Cybertron by utilising this appearance. His black body includes a stealth effect leaving him undetectable to radar allowing him to make surprise attacks from the shadows. Together with his abilities as a spy such as being able to infiltrate bases, this Destron Warrior is a terrifying prospect. 
STR:7.0; INT:6.0; SPD:8.0; END:9.0; RNK:4.0; CRG:8.0; FBL:7.0; SKL:7.0




MP-34S Shadow Panther was a Takara Tomy Mall exclusive in Japan, released August 2018 for 8,000 Yen. Shadow Panther is based on the Japanese exclusive figure from Takara's Beast Wars series which was released in October 1997 retailing for 1,500 Yen. The original Shadow Panther was later made available through Hasbro's online collectors shop in 2000 and it sold for $19.99.

Screenshot of HasbroCollectors.com

The original Shadow Panther was a straight repaint of Cheetus (Cheetor), coloured black to resemble a panther and is the only Destron who is a mammal with the other Destrons transforming into reptiles or insects. A black panther is either a jaguar or a leopard; Shadow Panthers original collectors card describes him as a black leopard. He isn't just a straight black recolour, the panthers face has grey accents. In robot mode he is a striking mix of black, silver and yellow colours.



MP-34S Shadow Panther is the first Destron Beast Wars figure and was an obvious release to follow MP-34 Cheetus. The front of the box shows Shadow Panther in robot mode in the same pose as the box art from the original 1997 release, albeit the guns have been reversed. The collectors card even has the original CG art rather than original artwork which is a nice throwback. Just like the original Beast Wars figure, MP-34S is a straight repaint of Cheetus, however unlike the original which looks like a generic big cat, Shadow Panther looks like a black cheetah (thanks to the accuracy or the beast modes). Although leopards and cheetahs both have spots (leopards rather have rosette markings), leopards are also smaller than cheetahs and much bulkier.



Shadow Panther is packaged in beast mode and comes with three new accessories. There are 2 new chromed "Comlink" accessories (from the episode "The Web" / "Cheetus' Crisis"), one for robot mode and one for beast mode. Finally there is the "Panther Eye" which is based on the mutant head from the original Shadow Panther. The same optional head / face accessories also come with Shadow Panther.


As mentioned in panther mode, Shadow Panther looks like a cheetah but has a striking look with the jet black colour scheme and the brush effect silver accents on the body. Compared to my MP-34 Cheetus, Shadow Panthers joints are much tighter, maybe too much. The forelegs on my Cheetus are loose and can make posing in beast mode awkward whereas this is not a problem with Shadow Panther. You can swap the beast mode heads with the three provided as well as being able to take out the eyes from each of the heads and mix them about for different expressions.


Transformation to robot mode is simple enough if a bit harder due to the stiffness of the figure, especially with how fragile it feels and you don't want to force anything. The sliding waist section with the silver crotch piece is especially tight. The shoulders on Shadow Panther have been remoulded to make them clip in much better than MP-34 Cheetus.



I was impressed with how well MP-34 Cheetus looked like his animation model and Shadow Panther is no different. Although he was not in the cartoon he is still impressive in robot mode. Just like the original D-7 Shadow Panthers colour scheme is a mixture of black, silver and yellow and certainly stands apart from MP-34.


Unfortunately when I transformed my copy back into beast mode the robot modes right arm broke off, or rather fell off. I'd heard of a few reports of the yellow plastic being brittle and shoulders breaking so I knew I had to take precautions. I started on the right arm and used a thin piece of plastic to pry open the right shoulder slowly and carefully and as it was released the arm fell off. I separated the left shoulder and there wasn't a problem.


As the arm fell off I don't think this was caused by me separating the shoulder, maybe the new clip on the shoulder caused pressure on the joint as I transformed this initially into robot mode? Please note this was the second time I'd transformed this figure. I transformed it into robot mode in 2018 and it sat on my shelf in robot mode until I took photographs of it earlier this month (May 2020). 

The broken shoulder

Although the figure is broken, luckily the updated shoulder clip holds the arm firmly in place in robot mode so you could never tell the figure was broken and it still maintains the same articulation. In beast mode as the arm plugs in, to the other arm it holds in place. If both shoulders broke it would be a different story.

Broken shoulder reattached

I would certainly urge caution when transforming this figure and looking at the broken joint it is very thin plastic. I'm hoping this is not a widespread issue but this is still a fantastic figure, it is just disappointing for me that an expensive figure could fall apart so easily.


■ The Destron Undercover Agent invades the wilderness!! (Translated from the back of the box) 
The Japanese exclusive toy, an Undercover Agent created to resemble the Cybertron Cheetus has arrived in the Masterpiece series!! Following the release of the original Cheetus, he was repainted and turned into “D-7 Shadow Panther,” and just like the original “D-7 Shadow Panther,” this is a repaint of MP-34 Cheetus along with new accessories. His beast mode is a black leopard. The black body with glowing red eyes is not only the same as the original, but you can also replicate the original box artwork depicting eyes with pupils by replacing the eyeballs. Tampograph printing has been applied to reproduce the beautiful coat of hair on the body. Transforms from a stylish and graceful beast mode into a heroic robot form, despite being a Destron!! The colouring replicates the original and with black and silver accents, this dark hero is reborn. Like Cheetus, optional faces are included. It also comes with a beast mask, a feature present in the early Beast Wars series. This is a new sculpt, Shadow Panthers special equipment called the “Panther Eye”. It was created as a detachable accessory. The Comlink used by Cheetus in the third episode of the animated series has been included as a bonus accessory!! Not only can this be used on Shadow Panther but also MP-34 Cheetus. The toy from the exciting 90’s Beast Wars is now in the state of the art Masterpiece series. 


Shadow Panther (Beast Wars) (Translated from the instruction pamphlet) 
Function: Undercover Agent 
Height: 2.3m (In Robot Mode)
Weight: 1.5t (In Robot Mode)
Profile: 
Transformers evolved into Beast Wars with the concept of robots transforming into animals, utilising ball joints for fully posable figures. Along with the charming full CG cartoon “Beast Wars: Super Lifeform Transformers”, the toys were a massive hit in Japan. With Beast Wars products flying off the shelves an original character was planned for release in Japan, this was “Shadow Panther”. Shadow Panther transforms into a jungle dwelling black panther, this Destron Undercover Agent is known for looking nearly identical to a certain well known Cybertron. However, despite the fact he looks like the heroic Cybertron Warrior Cheetus, he is cold hearted and ruthless. It is said that he likes to make surprise attacks using unfair means. He was also sold with his rival Rhinox in the “Wilderness Showdown” VS Set. Shadow Panthers special equipment is the “Panther Eye”. It is a beast mask gimmick in robot mode which in Japan, was not really advertised as a feature. In order to replicate this, the beast mask is now a separate accessory which needs attaching to the robot head. He is also equipped with the same weapons as the original. You can now enjoy this latest updated Masterpiece phantom character. Although Shadow Panther was a domestic-only character who wasn’t in the animation, later on a toy was released overseas named “Tripredacus Agent”. In the overseas comics, this character was based on “Shadow Panther”. 
STR...7.0; INT...6.0; SPD...8.0; END...9.0; RNK...4.0; CRR...8.0; FPR...7.0; SKL...7.0 


Weapon: Shadow Mist (Translated from the instruction pamphlet) 
A gun which is built into his abdomen. It sprays a poisoned mist which jams enemies sensors effectively blinding them. Incredibly effective and well suited for Shadow Panther who enjoys despicable surprise attacks. 


Weapon: Panther Shot (Translated from the instruction pamphlet) 
This is Shadow Panthers hidden laser shotgun. Not only powerful, it also has a rapid fire function; there have been many Cybertron warriors who have been overwhelmed by his barrage of shotgun fire in the dark. He quickly assumes a shooting stance when he transforms into robot mode, the gun itself transforms from his tail. 


Item: Comlink (Translated from the instruction pamphlet) 
A bracelet communication device developed by Rhinox. This was the only prototype that allowed long range communication on an Energon rich planet. Cheetus was ordered to carry out a field test but it broke in battle. The communication device owned by Shadow Panther could be a duplicate created by Tarans.


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