Sunday 1 October 2023

Masterpiece Trailbreaker MP-56

Profile (Translated from the Character Card)  
 MP-56 Cybertron Strategist Trailbreaker

● Function: Strategist
● Motto: “A Cybertron warrior's as good as the fuel in his tank.”
● Profile
Tactician Trailbreaker transforms into a Toyota Hilux. His unwavering reliability and upbeat demeanour never fail to uplift his friends. As a defence specialist, his remarkable force field possesses the capability to thwart any form of attack. Thanks to this extraordinary ability, Trailbreaker has consistently come to the rescue of his friends in times of peril.
STR...7; INT..6; SPD...4; END...10; RNK...7; CRG...9; FPR...3; SKL...7


In early May 2022, a solicitation for MP-5 Trailbreaker was leaked, revealing the final product, albeit in rather grainy images. However, this has become quite commonplace these days, with leaks happening days or even weeks before Takara Tomy makes an official announcement.

A few days later, stock images surfaced on the Takara Tomy Mall website. These images, though, were CGI renders. Additionally, an official video was released on the Takara Tomy Hobby YouTube channel. It's interesting to note that both Trailbreaker and Hoist had been teased by Takara Tomy developers in the May 2017 Figure King interview (link above). This does make you wonder how long these figures are in development and whether their designs change depending on the lead developer at the time.

Trailbreaker was eventually released at the end of December 2022, with a retail price of 21,780 Yen. It was also made available on Hasbro Pulse's website in North America for $152.99.

Trailbreaker comes packaged in vehicle mode and includes a modest set of accessories, such as a radar dish, a multi-head nozzle, a left fist, an effect piece, a cartoon-styled grille, and two additional faces. Notably, the MP version is charcoal grey in colour, aligning with the cartoon's accuracy, rather than the original G1 toy's black. The rear of the vehicle features an embossed "Toyota" symbol, with a smaller version on the chrome grille. While the vehicle mode doors can open, there's limited space to seat a mini figure due to the compression needed for transformation.

The bonnet can also be opened to reveal a non-removable engine. Here, you can fold in the rear view mirrors (part of the transformation) and replace the chrome grille with the cartoon version for a more accurate look. The cartoon grille may require some effort to slide in but can be managed.

Similar to the original G1 toy, the Masterpiece version has a flip-up hatch on the car roof, but instead of seating a pilot, it reveals the ports needed to attach the large Parabolic Antennae. The antennae were featured only once in the cartoon series, in the second episode.

Despite the height difference between Trailbreaker's robot and vehicle modes, the developers have done an excellent job translating this to the Masterpiece version. The transformation involves a fair amount of compression, reminiscent of Masterpiece Hound. However, overall, the transformation is relatively straightforward, with the backpack being the only somewhat fiddly aspect.

In robot mode, Trailbreaker closely resembles the cartoon model in terms of appearance and height. He stands just slightly shorter than MP-44 Convoy and is roughly the same size as Masterpiece Ironhide. Despite being primarily made of plastic, Trailbreaker feels lightweight but well-balanced in hand, making posing easy.

Trailbreaker comes with a hose attachment instead of a left fist, but this can be swapped out for the included additional fist. Additionally, there's a chromed three-headed nozzle, as seen at the beginning of the second episode, which was used as a force field generator.

The thick layer of chrome plating on this accessory can make it challenging to attach. Both this accessory and the standard hose can replace the right hand, which is also removable. Trailbreaker's two shoulder-mounted weapons are not removable and transform with the rest of the figure. I have a small hairline crack in the chrome of the right shoulder weapon where the pin joint is so this may just be the chrome paint.

Trailbreaker's alternate faces include a smiling face and a shouting face, which is standard for Masterpiece Cybertrons/Autobots. These faces are easy to swap, but it's a shame that a toy version was not included.

Overall, this is another outstanding Masterpiece release, and I'm awaiting the release of MP-58 Hoist.



■ The tough tactician has been reborn as a Masterpiece!! (Translated from the back of the box)  
In the original animated series, "Fight! Super Robot Lifeform Transformers," Trailbreaker, the tactician, is one of the original Cybertron crew members who consistently rescued his comrades by deploying his Force Field (Force Barrier). The vehicle mode he adopted on Earth is the “Toyota Hilux”, a pick-up truck synonymous with 4WD and popular around the world. While not particularly fast, he boasts a tough body and, complemented by his impenetrable Force Field generated through adept manipulation of electromagnetic waves, Trailbreaker stands as an exceptional defensive tactician. Now Trailbreaker has completely been remade into a Masterpiece. The vehicle mode faithfully reproduces the 3rd generation Toyota Hilux from the early 1980’s under the permission and supervision of Toyota Motor Corporation. Rendered in a camper-style design, it includes large tires and a tall hardtop canopy at the rear. The front grille, plated to match the real vehicle's appearance, can be swapped out with a grille that aligns with the cartoon design. The robot mode faithfully replicates the tall, slender proportions of the cartoon model, including the precise placement of the missiles and sensors. These components can be seamlessly transformed without the need for removal. The left fist can also be converted into a force field emission port. Trailbreaker, characterised by his courage, cheerfulness, and reliability, played an indispensable role for the Cybertrons upon their arrival on Earth. Be sure to add this ultimate Trailbreaker to your collection, boasting a level of perfection worthy of the Masterpiece name.

■ Toyota Hilux (Translated from the back of the box)  
The market for pick-up trucks in North America is huge and in the 1970’s, pick-up trucks were sold in greater numbers than passenger cars. To respond to this demand, Toyota released the Hino Motors made “Toyota Truck”. When the model changed, it was rebranded as the Toyota Hilux. A 4WD version with improved off road performance was introduced in 1979 as the Hilux 4WD. It proudly features a sturdy ladder frame chassis, rigid leaf suspension on both the front and rear, a transmission equipped with an auxiliary gearbox, and a well-established mechanical system. The 4WD system is a part-time setup, ensuring a comfortable driving experience not only on rugged terrain but also during high-speed cruising on paved roads by disengaging the front wheels. In North America, the widely embraced optional package name, SR5 (Sport Runabout 5-Speed), came to be synonymous with this entire model. In Japan, the engine of choice was the 18R-J, a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder gasoline engine initially designated for the short body 4WD. However, as the lineup expanded, a diesel L-type 2.2-liter engine was also introduced. In North America, the vehicle was equipped with gasoline engines extending up to the 2.4-liter 22R type. The tires were notable for their wide profile (215R15) and were housed in over-fenders. This design lent the vehicle a stable and distinctive appearance, setting it apart from its competitors and contributing to its widespread popularity. The RN36/39 type, the origin of the HILUX 4WD, remains a legendary icon among 4WD enthusiasts. 

Vehicle Mode: Toyota Hilux (Translated from the instruction pamphlet)  
Trailbreaker transforms into a 4WD Toyota Hilux, a choice that perfectly aligns with his name, which resonates with "trailblazer." Much like his counterpart, Hound, he boasts exceptional off-road driving capabilities, although he doesn't match the speed of the Cybertron supercars. In a playful moment, he once quipped, “I’m not fast but I’m tough." Trailbreaker is a frequent companion to his fellow Autobots, utilising his camper-styled vehicle mode to the fullest. For instance, during an expedition near the Destron base with Sparkplug and his son Spike, he deployed an antenna on his roof to gather valuable intelligence. This Masterpiece rendition meticulously captures the essence of both the real-world car and its animated counterpart, a feat only achievable by a Masterpiece figure. The vehicle design pays homage to the animated series with its authentic decorations, while the embossed "TOYOTA" emblem proudly graces the rear tailgate, highlighting its connection to the real-world vehicle.

Robot Mode: Trailbreaker (Translated from the instruction pamphlet)  
● Function: Tactician
● Motto: “A Cybertron warrior's as good as the fuel in his tank.”
● Profile
Trailbreaker stands as one of the early, integral members of the Cybertrons, playing a pivotal role in "Fight! Super Robot Lifeform Transformers." Trailbreaker is renowned for his extraordinary ability to generate a Force Field (also known as a Force Barrier).Through the manipulation of electromagnetic waves. This exceptional talent has proven invaluable in a myriad of situations: from quelling raging fires to deflecting enemy attacks, shielding his comrades from corrosive acid rain, and even enveloping his fellow Autobots within an expansive force field when they were catapulted into the unforgiving expanse of space during "Megatron's Plan to Rule Earth, Part 2." His expertise extended to blocking the control beams of the clone Insectrons in "The Mystery of the Insectrons." Time and again, Trailbreaker has been the linchpin that prevented catastrophe, safeguarding the very existence of the Cybertrons. Despite his role as an outstanding defence specialist, Trailbreaker is more than just a stalwart guardian; his cheerful disposition has the power to uplift the spirits of those around him. However, his Achilles' heel lies in his voracious appetite for fuel, a consequence of his Force Field's voracious energy consumption. Consuming more fuel than any other Cybertron warrior, he is acutely aware of the strain this places on their precious energy reserves. Nevertheless, Trailbreaker remains unwavering in his commitment to use his Force Field to shield his friends on the battlefield. Indeed, he epitomises the Cybertron who didn't embrace combat by choice. Above all, Commander Convoy and the Cybertron warriors recognise him as an irreplaceable ally.

Weapon: Multi Head Nozzle (Translated from the instruction pamphlet)  
A three-headed, multi-nozzle apparatus was employed to activate a formidable force field during a perilous oil rig fire. This projected barrier effectively contained and suppressed the raging flames across a substantial area. Collaborating closely with Wheeljack, they orchestrated a successful operation to douse the fire and avert disaster.

Option: Parabolic Antenna (Translated from the instruction pamphlet)  
Trailbreaker's roof boasted a substantial radar installation, a critical tool used to gather vital intelligence regarding the Destron's impending attack on the ruby crystal mine and their nefarious scheme to pilfer rocket fuel. The patient stakeout alongside his human companions yielded significant dividends in their mission to thwart the enemy's plans.

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