Sunday, 3 January 2016


2015 has been an amazing year for Transformers collecting, and it's without hyperbole that I can sit here and say that as of the end of the year, we've really never had it as good as we do right now. Not only have we seen some absolutely phenomenal figures released by both official and third party companies in the last twelve months, but there have also been some frankly astounding reveals of new products yet to come. The TakaraTomy Masterpiece line is now set to ramp up the release schedule like never before, and more and more 3P operators have teased us with their own take on Masterpiece-esque reveals.

Still, as exciting as all that is, now's a great time to take stock of the figures that have already been released. In a tradition followed by many Transformers collectors, I bring you my own list of favourite purchases of the last year (a top six, because, well... Sixo!) as well as highlighting some other figures such as my best retrospective purchases.

The three categories I will discuss are as follows:
- Best Retrospective Purchase (the best figure from pre-2015 that I picked up this year) & runner up
- Best 2015 Repaint (the best repainted figure released this year) & runner up
- Top Six Figures 2015 (this list will be all original moulds released this year*)

Before I begin, I should specify that this list is purely based on the figures that I have purchased in the last twelve months. As many of you will know, I only really collect TakaraTomy Masterpiece and a selection of third party accompaniments to that line, and therefore won't be including figures from other Transformers lines. It's just my personal preference. Equally, the choices I have made here are my own based on my personal likes (and dislikes, I guess!).

*The other caveat here is the release dates! I have discounted a couple of figures that arrived in the last week of December 2015 from being included in this list, purely because I haven't yet had enough time with them to fully decide on a definitive ranking. Equally, there is at least one figure that, whilst released in the last week or two of 2014, didn't arrive with me until early January of this year - I have therefore seen fit to include examples such as this here.

All that said, let's get to it!

So, we begin with the best purchases that I made in 2015 of figures from previous years.

RUNNER UP - TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-4S Sleep Mode Convoy

Talk about your personal collecting goals. Many of you will know that I have been collecting the Masterpiece line since its inception, although I still have just a couple of glaring holes along the way. Although I'm by no means a completionist, it's also fair to say that I love the line more than enough to consider picking up the various oddities and unusual releases that have been such a source of curiosity over the years. One of these was definitely MP-4S, a repainted version of MP-4 Convoy in colours reminiscent of Optimus Prime's death bed moment in the '86 Transformers movie.

Sounds bizarre, no? Well this thing's nothing short of absolutely beautiful - the kind of figure that truly warrants the title 'masterpiece'. Originally released as part of TakaraTomy's Transformers 2010 celebration series, the figure was limited to only 2010 copies and was only available domestically within Japan.

It's long been an ambition of mine to own this figure, and I wasn't at all disappointed. Even the packaging is exciting, as the figure arrived in its original shipping box! I won't say too much now, as I plan on doing a full write up soon as part of my Retrospective Reviews series (the first of which is now available here!), but suffice it to say that this represents a significant box ticked in my ongoing collecting.

#1 - TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-9B Black Rodimus

So, with all of that said about MP-4S, what on earth could top it? This year, for me, it was Black Rodimus. Just look at this thing. Wow.

I should explain that I am a massive fan of the original MP-9, which I appreciate is an opinion that not everyone agrees with. I absolutely love that figure, including both Hot Rod and Rodimus Prime modes. I had long admired MP-9B, but had often read about the frequent QC nightmares that people had experienced, particularly with the breakable knees, so I held off. After being tipped off regarding a listing at a good price, I finally decided to go with it, and I couldn't be happier. No quality concerns at all on my copy! Maybe I just got lucky, but he's absolutely perfect in every way.

And when I say perfect, I do mean it. That sleek black deco' is beyond wonderful. Every inch of this thing is just glorious, and so it's little wonder that it took the top spot here.

Now onto the best repainted figures released in 2015.

RUNNER UP - TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-11SW Skywarp / MP-11T Thundercracker

Wait, isn't that two purchases? Well, yes, it is, and technically Skywarp was actually released in 2014, although mine didn't arrive until the first week of January. However, it seemed appropriate to lump these two guys together, perhaps for obvious reasons. The fact is that they're both great renditions of the intended characters, as well as being gorgeous repaints of the MP-11 mould to boot.

To be honest, these guys might have taken the top slot if it weren't for a few annoying inconsistencies with their respective paint jobs. Like many collectors, I would have preferred them to have wing insignia that was upside down in robot mode, to better match both MP-11 Starscream and of course their cartoon appearance. Equally, Thundercracker features a few further bizarre decisions for his deco' that inch him away from even being consistent with Skywarp, which is a little frustrating. Still, never mind; they're both beautiful figures, and ones I am thrilled to have as part of my collection.

#1 - FansToys FT-04D Diaclone Scoria / FT-04G G2 Scoria

Believe it or not, I do have boundaries to my collecting. As far as third party efforts go, I don't ever usually feel the need to go beyond picking up the initial cartoon-coloured release, and very rarely stray into picking up just any old 3P repaint. Still, the FansToys Iron Dibots remain a high point of my recent collecting, and when I first saw the Diaclone and G2 versions released, it didn't take me long to realise that I had to have them!

Just glorious. I actually can't decide which I like more! The shocking green of the G2 version is really something else to behold, and so completely eye-catching, whereas the blue & silver on the Diaclone version is nothing short of stunning.

I'm very much looking forward to the equivalent versions of Sever, which should finally see release in 2016. I'm also still hopeful that FansToys will see fit to announce some variant schemes for some of the other Iron Dibots, though at the moment they seem to have no plans for further repaints of Soar and Stomp. Fingers crossed then.

So, onto the main event! What were my top six purchases from the last year...

HONOURABLE MENTION - TakaraTomy Unite Warriors UW-04 Devastator

So, not in the top six, but only because these guys didn't arrive until the very end of the year. Still, in their limited time in the Sixo household they have made quite an impact, and I think it's fair to say that the combined set is nothing short of breathtaking! Sure, there're compromises, and yes, the individual 'bots are not quite up to Masterpiece standards (though the gap is closer than you might think), but all things considered the Constructicons are a massive achievement, and one I'm very happy to have standing alongside my other figures.

#6 - X-Transbots MX-II Andras

X-Transbots have had quite a year. It wasn't that long ago that many collectors swore they would never touch an XTB product, due to the consistently poor reputation the company had when it came to quality control. However, come the year end many people are now choosing to vote for them as the most improved third party company of 2015, and for good reason.

Many people are choosing to vote for Apollyon, their take on a Masterpiece-styled Megatron, at the top of their personal bests lists, but I was more taken with Andras, an unmistakable homage to the tracker, Scourge. Just look at that design! Figures rarely come as cartoon accurate - this guy has quite genuinely jumped off the screen.

So excited was I about Andras' design, that I was praying for X-Transbots to follow through on the quality front. When I was lucky enough to get hold of a pre-release review sample back in November (you can read my original review here), I was thrilled to see that they had. This guy is the figure that everyone has been hoping for the company to make all along.

He's by no means perfect (just try transforming those feet!), but he is mightily impressive, and just enough to make it into this year's top six. One thing's for certain, it makes me enormously excited about X-Transbots upcoming homages to Cyclonus and Galvatron, too!

#5 - FansToys FT-06 Sever

I've already mentioned what a huge fan I am of the Iron Dibots from FansToys, and so it's perhaps no surprise to see Sever on this list. The third in the line, and he doesn't disappoint one bit!

Both robot and dino' modes are an absolute delight here. Almost everything looks and feels exactly as it should, and the fit and finish is top notch. He's built like an absolute rock, sturdy beyond belief (even featuring a healthy dose of the infamous 'FansToys squeak' on account of his tight joints!).

The sheer amount of chrome on his mighty dino' mode is something that photos alone cannot do justice to - it's an incredible sight to behold.

Many fans were quite disappointed with the face sculpt on Sever, and I won't lie and say that I don't think it couldn't be better, but it gets him the distance and is good enough for him to firmly take a well-deserved spot on this list.

#4 - FansToys FT-04 Soar

If I was impressed with Sever, I was positively blown away by Soar. Although again this figure was officially released in 2014, mine arrived in early January of this year, and I was instantly amazed. He's been a point of joy in my collection since.

I'll admit that I am perhaps a little biased - Swoop was indeed one of my favourite character in the original G1 cartoon, mostly because of his storyline in the episode Desertion of the Dinobots. Still, I was immensely excited about this figure since it was first revealed, and completely blown away by how accurate it is to the source material.

Fortunately, I wasn't disappointed once he arrived. The weight and heft of this figure is incredible, and everything oozes a quality, premium feel. Those chrome wings are just absolutely glorious!

The robot mode is just sublime, and is arguably the best third party likeness of an on-screen character that I currently own in my collection. It just is Swoop.

I know some fans have opined that the gold tabs on the thighs are a poor design, and perhaps I've just been very lucky with my copy, but I haven't had any QC issues with my Soar at all. Come to think of it, the same is also true of my FT-05T red version.

One thing's for certain, with figures like Soar already accounted for, the top three is really going to be something special, especially as this guy was for many months my top third party purchase of the year...

#3 - TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-22 Ultra Magnus

Wow. That's all you can say when one of your favourite all-time characters (from both cartoon and comic) is unveiled in full Masterpiece glory. This figure is truly a dream come true.

Although released at the very end of 2014, this guy arrived in my house in the first week of 2015, in what will likely remain one of the best couple of days of collecting that I will ever experience. Magnus, Skywarp and FansToys Soar all arrived within a two-day period. It was epic.

Fortunately, this big guy was more than capable of making an impression, and has been one of my favourite Masterpiece figures ever since. He's just incredible!

The transformation on Ultra Magnus is like nothing I have ever experienced. It's really intuitive and clever, and makes me very glad that the designers opted to go for the all-in-one option as opposed to the white Prime in armour routine.

Magnus' vehicle mode is fantastic. So impactful and eye-catching, with the complimentary white, blue and red deco'. Arguably the robot mode legs are a little too evident, but it's forgiveable, and not even noticeable once you load him up with Autobot cars!

The figure's robot mode is where the main excitement lies for me, however. This guy is the very definition of screen accurate. Every inch of him echoes the intended character! I know some think he's too big, but I personally really like it - it reminds me of his appearance in the final scene of the '86 movie, when he was towering over the other Autobots.

Just incredible stuff, and no doubt one of my favourite Masterpiece Transformers of all time.

#2 - Maketoys MTRM-01 Cupola

This was my first ever Maketoys purchase, and I wasn't disappointed. Far from it, actually! I was completely blown away by the initial reveal of the prototype of Cupola, and as more and more updates poured in I quickly decided that he was going to have to be part of my collection, despite being a slight extension of the boundaries that I had set for myself at the time!

I'm glad that I bent my rules, for otherwise I would have missed out, no question. Everything about Cupola just works. Oh, and he looks awesome, too!

I was always a fan of Headmasters as a lad, and loved the way that a mini-figure that transformed into the robot head could then 'pilot' the vehicle mode. So, when Maketoys announced that they would be doing a Masterpiece-esque rendition of Chromedome, I was intrigued. I also think it's a sensible avenue for them - no-one else is attempting this currently, and it appears to be quite 'safe' ground, at least for now.

The design and transformation on Cupola really has to be experienced to be believed. I remember reading lots of people's thoughts that the transformation was essentially a car that flipped into two, but in reality that couldn't be further from the truth. The actual transformation is surprising, fun, intuitive and bears repeating.

Of course there's also the fun factor that comes with the mini-Headmaster figure, something that I don't think I will ever grow tired of! Seeing him 'driving' Cupola in car mode is a nostalgia trip, and no mistake.

One thing is for certain, Cupola has made me immensely excited for the remainder of Maketoys' 'RE:Master' series, and specifically their Headmasters and now-revealed Targetmasters and Powermasters. With Iron Will (their take on Hardhead) up next, I can't wait to see what else they unveil in 2016.

Needless to say, if you're still on the fence about Cupola, don't be! He's one of very few figures that I would unreservedly recommend, and is my personal top third party figure of 2015.

So, that just leaves us with one to go... needless to say, it's a real masterpiece...

#1 - TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-25 Tracks

As shocked as I know some fans were when MP-25 was first unveiled to be Tracks, I was one of those who was personally delighted, although I have no doubt that some people will now be equally shocked to see him sitting firmly in my top spot for 2015. No, I haven't gone mad, I do think that Tracks is the best figure released this last year.

From the moment I first handled Tracks, I was simply in love with this gorgeous figure. Just look at that stunning vehicle mode. I've long been a fan of the long bonnets that are such a signature of Corvettes, and Tracks does not disappoint one bit. He's beautiful from every angle in this mode.

The paint job is astounding. The flame deco' on the bonnet is flawlessly recreated, and the sparkly paint for the finish is an inspired choice that elevates Tracks to the very best-looking of all the Autobot cars in this mode. Glorious.

Tracks is also a lot of fun. I love that he comes with a mini-Blaster accessory, and I'm also a big fan of Raoul, despite him not being articulated. I'd even add that I've come to love the way his gun can store inside the windshield, even if I perhaps would have preferred it to be tinted, in truth. Still, this remains a minor nitpick on an otherwise outstanding figure.

I always loved Tracks as a character when I was growing up, and something about his flying car mode caught my imagination. I was so pleased to see it recreated as faithfully as it has been here - it's just a thrill.

So, where to begin on Tracks' amazing robot mode. I appreciate that some don't like it, for various reasons, but personally I think it's stupendous. The proportions, the poseability, the design... all flawless.

Tracks has one of the best headsculpts I have ever seen on a Transformer. Period. It just resonates as the intended character.

This might be one of the best looking figures in my collection, and so when it came time to work out my top six, I immediately had Tracks in mind for the top spot. It's perhaps no surprise that this guy was also one of only two figures (the other being Masterpiece Bumblebee) that I chose to take on holiday with me recently over Christmas. I suspect he will remain in pride of place for some time to come.

You can read more on my thoughts on Tracks in my original review, here.

And so there you have my top six figures from 2015! I must say it was quite a tough job, and one that I debated a lot even as I was writing this article. I ultimately had to leave out so many other figures that I absolutely loved this year, which was no easy thing, but just goes to show you how good we have it at the moment, like I say.

So, we now look forward to 2016 with furious excitement. So much is about to happen in the coming twelve months that I almost have to start writing it all down! Not only is the TakaraTomy Masterpiece line about to go into full swing, but some of the upcoming third party options look to be very exciting indeed! I, for one, cannot wait. Thanks for reading, and happy new year!


  1. Replies
    1. I only received mine in the last week of December, meaning that it didn't seem right to include him on first impressions alone! However, awesome figure, no doubt, and a definite contender for 2016's list.

  2. Not a fan of Badcube's Wardog or their Insecticons? I found both of those releases to be amazing, and Wardog would probably be my personal top figure of 2015.

    1. Yes, absolutely a fan of both, and a huge Badcube fan in general (I have all of their figures so far!). Obviously with only six spots there are going to be sacrifices! However, Sunsurge is definitely on my list so far for this year, so let's see what happens over the next 8-9 months!