This is it, the first component of the first-ever Takara Tomy Transformers Masterpiece Combiner, the MPG-01 Trainbot Shouki, is finally out in the wild. This particular toy is a big deal in the Transformers collectors’ world because, well, it is the first Masterpiece scale combiner. OK. Maybe it is not quite Masterpiece scale as you can see in the in-hand images when compared to some of the third-party Masterpiece-scale figures.

Transformers Masterpiece MPG-01 Shouki Review
Posability is fair. Not brilliant.

There is a transformation video, courtesy of Because Toys, that walks you through from alt mode to bot mode and to the combined mode, i.e. the upper torso of Raiden – less the head which will as a separate component with the recently announced MPG-03 Yukikaze.

Thanks to our collaboration with Because Toys on YouTube, we have a chance to “manhandled” it. And we want to have some say on this first for the Transformers franchise. We have transformed it from a Zero Shinkansen to a robot to the combined mode back and forth, and I have got to say, when it comes to transformation, Takara Tomy doesn’t disappoint, well, mostly.

Transformers Masterpiece MPG-01 Shouki Review
You can recreate the scene where the Shinkansen takes flight but the flight stand pictured here is NOT included. It does however comes with a connector for use with a stand.

The transformation is logical, smooth, and very fun to do. The materials used are of good quality and the overall build quality is OK. Though the copy we handled has a loose mushroom peg (the right arm) which was an annoyance as it keeps popping out during transformation that requires turning at the bicep. Ugh. For a toy that cost around US$150, I’d expect a flawless quality, TBH.

But that does not detract from the fact that the toy felt great in hand. We do have another gripe and it is the size. It is small as a train and a robot; It is about the size of a Masterpiece Sunstreaker and Sideswipe. Somehow, the alt mode scales up better with third-party Legend scale figures.

Transformers Masterpiece MPG-01 Shouki Review
The upper torso is also designed to be displayed on its own but the flight stand (in this case, an item from MP-52 Starscream) is NOT included.

Actually, we do have another gripe: the combined mode does not come together as solidly as we would have liked. The combined mode is essentially “folding” the entire robot into a cube-like form. In this form, it has but just a few securing points (6 to be precise – which didn’t hold up very well when “manhandled”) which makes this mode very floppy. For example, the legs, which are folded up to the back, do not secure to anything, and therefore, it is, well, floppy.

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Finally, can we just say that for this price, we should at least get a flight stand? Wait, what no? We are asking too much? Or maybe we aren’t (asking too much). I mean, 150 bucks ain’t no small amount for any toy, you know.

Transformers Masterpiece MPG-01 Shouki Review
Shouki side-by-side with KO MP-44 Optimus Prime and third-party MP-scale Astrotrain.

Anyhoo, as far as the content, you get the main transforming figure, a blaster, a chest plate for combine mode, two sections of a Shinkansen train track, and oddly, a pair of seats.

The weapon and the chest piece can be stored in both the alt mode and robot mode. Meanwhile, the seats are for the cockpit. When installed, it can fit the miniature figure that came with Masterpiece MP-22 Ultra Magnus. We tried using the Spike figure that came with MP-10 but it was force fit. Spike had to lean to the side when inside. Hilarious. Or perhaps we are not doing it right? Anyways, here is our verdict on this toy:

For:

  • Beautiful alt mode
  • Logical, smooth, and fun transformation
  • G1 accurate robot mode
  • Clever storage for weapon and combine mode chest

Against:

  • Small size
  • Could use more diecast parts, especially at joints
  • Loose mushroom peg on right arm (on this copy)
  • Pricey

I am on the fence about whether to recommend this toy or not. On one hand, it is a good representation of the G1 Shouki but on the other hand, its scale is less than desirable. I guess we will see how it works out when it eventually formed up. I don’t believe the height of the combined mode was revealed. Skip ahead for the said unboxing and transformation video.

Images: Instagram (@becausetoys)/YouTube (Because Toys).

Published by Mike

Avid tech enthusiast, gadget lover, marketing critic and most importantly, love to reason and talk.