We know how the current TakaraTomy Transformers Masterpiece line operates by now. Cartoon likeness for the Generation 1 Transformers cast is a priority for release and where possible the designers inject much enjoyed references or likeness to the original G1 toys (occasionally descended from Takara Diaclone or Micro Change Series lines). MP-21 Bumble has an Amazon exclusive toy-style battle mask, MP-17 Prowl had Amazon exclusive toy-style missile launchers. So, when Masterpiece MP-25 Tracks was revealed with a cartoon-accurate humanoid face and no plans for an exclusive toy-style battle mask replacement or add-on option, we looked to the repaint, MP-26 Road Rage. That too was released with a brand new female humanoid face and no add-on options or exclusive, so neither version of the Masterpiece Corvette Stingray paid any homage to the much loved toy face of the mould either as a Transformer or a Diaclone. With no removable section on MP-25 or MP-26 faces, we have seemingly been denied a toy homage. Now it has come to light that this, it seems, was not always the case.
In the first picture of this article you will see an unpainted factory test shot of Masterpiece Tracks with what appears to be a masked toy-centric face! All prototypes of MP-25 and MP-26 Road Rage have had humanoid faces, even the resin hardcopy grey prototypes teased at the beginning of their lives and previewed at exhibitions and in hobby magazines. There has never been any evidence to suggest that TakaraTomy planned toy style faces for these bots to the disappointment of many collectors who wanted the option. So was the plan originally to release this with a toy face? Was there to be an Amazon exclusive head that was abandoned? Maybe none of the above. There is still one significant colour of the Tracks mould to be released, however, and surely TakaraTomy won't miss the opportunity to get more out of the Chevrolet Corvette mould and manufacturer licence.
In 1984, R-Kioski booths in Finland exclusively received a black Diaclone Corvette Stingray that nowhere else in the world saw. In other countries Diaclone Tracks was red and for Transformers he was blue (mostly). It wasn't until the Million Publishing "Transformers: The Comics" Lucky Draw Black Tracks reissue prize in 2002 that we actually got this repaint in Transformers with a few cosmetic changes.
|Reissue with gold face, grey neck on left, Diaclone with blue face and white neck right|
It is not a stretch to assume that TakaraTomy will release a black Masterpiece Tracks eventually, but it has no prior character associated with it. They could go the MP-21R route and call it "Tracks - Black Body Version" or something, making it a straight up MP-25B black Tracks release. Ideally this would finally have a toy-styled battle mask face because the legacy of Black Tracks is totally toy-centric. It's one of the rarest Diaclone toys in existence with only four of these things having ever been found packaged since 1984.
Assuming we do get a Masterpiece Black Tracks, could it be that TakaraTomy are finally going to give us a toy-styled face on a Corvette Masterpiece mould and this is the prototype for that upcoming release?
The owner of the prototype who wishes to stay anonymous has said "it does have the toy style face. The faceplate/eyes/headcrest is one removable piece". A removable piece. These days, Masterpiece heads are not so easy to get into, some of them are glued, and certainly MP-25 and MP-26 don't have removable faces although the seams appear to be there, so does that actually lend more credence to the notion that a switchable battle mask face for the Tracks/Road Rage mould was an early concept that was later abandoned? Or, would a plastic test shot that comes well after the grey prototype phase of a toy's life be evidence that the battle mask concept for MP Tracks is something more recent and indicative of an upcoming release?
I suspect we'll find out soon enough.
Many thanks to the anonymous source!
All the bestMaz