This was supposed to be a TF Expo Masterpiece MP-12 Lambor (Sideswipe), a Japanese show exclusive version of the very popular (and widely bootlegged) Masterpiece Sideswipe from Takara Tomy. The main difference is that this version of MP Lambor has no massive Autobot symbol painted on the chest of the robot, a chest symbol that doubles up as a hood symbol. This specimen isn't the official release though, it was bought from eBay seller 'Lena', who is known to have factory samples maybe not quite up to being released, often having defects. It's a bit of a lottery.
Like Tigertrack and Silverstreak (sort of), the lack of painted Autobot symbol references the Diaclone origin of the figures where Cybertronian factions and sentience were non-entities. This MP-12 Expo version comes with a stickersheet but unlike the official show version, it's just a Tigertrack stickersheet with two Autobot logos of varying size instead of being labelled "Lambor" as it should be.
It's quite interesting how the removal of the symbol alters the feel of the figure completely. It even feels like an unofficial product, although I'm not sure how much of that is down to the fact that it came from Lena. If there's any possibility that this is a bootleg and not just one of the specimens that didn't make it to packaging, it would render me completely cold on the item. It was even suggested that the item I had was just a 'red Tigertrack' in which case it ought to have had a Red Alert face inside the Lambor helmet. It didn't, it very much had the Lambor eyes and less mega-pout on the lips. In fact the only thing it looked 100% like was the image of the official TF Expo's face seen here. It almost appeared like he was smiling with a wider mouth.
It certainly feels official and it stands up to comparison with my regular MP-12 which is 100% authentic. It also looks utterly brilliant next to Tigertrack and G2 Lambor which also lack the Autobot symbols as standard. If you want a Masterpiece Diaclone set-up, this red Countach is essential. I'd be lying if I said the lack of a box and knowing it was not officially offered as one of the show exclusive specimens bothers me, I want an original and I'd pay appropriately for one, but they're extremely thin on the ground.
Moulding wise, he still has tremendously poor weapon grip. Look at it funny and the handgun falls off. The panel alignment is not as flush as G2 Lambor but the same as my official regular MP-12. The inability to 100% say the face looks like either the official MP-12 or official MP-14 Alert or the official MP-12T Tigertrack bothers me a little, but there's more evidence to suggest it is a proper Takara Tomy product than a KO, even though it probably wasn't ever intended for sale. It does have paint blemishes on it after all.
For £12 before shipping, and looking this good - not to mention feeling every bit the official product - I am satisfied. If I should ever find out that it is a bootleg, I'll be rid of it immediately.
All the best