As a collector I try to maintain at least some focus in what I buy, if for no other reason than to avoid bankruptcy.
But I do have a significant weakness for big ticket items. I bought an Ultimate Godzilla figure without ever having
seen the movie. (And he still stand sentry over my home entertainment center.) I own only one Lord of the Rings toy,
the Balrog figure produced by NECA. So needless to say, when a toy line that I'm actually interested in produces a
big ticket toy, they are going to get my attention. (And probably my money) So while I've more or less ignored the
Transformers Generations line, the announcement of a modern version of Metroplex last summer got my attention. And
now that the big guy is on shelves, it was only a matter of time before one found its way home with me.
Packaging - 8/10Metroplex comes in a large box. (It measures a full two feet wide.) The front has a large image depicting Metroplex in action with a number of other Autobots stand on him for a sense of scale. I like the use of the red and black grid pattern for the background as a nod to the original, Generation 1 packaging. And the fact that the logo and image of Metroplex himself are embossed so that they stick out slightly gives it a vague 3D appearance. There isn't a traditional rear panel to the box. Instead of the usual photos of the toy and its features, the back is design to serve as an alternate display panel, but this time designed to be stood upright on the shelf. This time instead of a drawn image, they used an actual photo of the toy. It's nice that they can give stores two display options, but since I prefer the image on the front of the box, I would rather have a regular back panel to show off the features of the toy. Those images are relegated to one of the side panels where they are easily overlooked. And the limited space means that there just isn't room to showcase more than a few features. And for the amount that this toy sells for, they should be showing off every bell and whistle to convince parents that it is worth the price tag.
Sculpting - 8/10The biggest selling point for Metroplex since he was announced was his size. He is huge, measuring just under 23 inches tall to the top of his head antennae and 15 inches across at the chest. He dwarfs the original Metroplex who barely reaches the new version's knees. He is even taller than Fortress Maximus from the original line, barely. But I still find it slightly dishonest to advertise him as "over 2 feet tall" by mounting his weapons on his back and measuring to the top of the weapons. Of course they did more than just make the Generation 1 toy larger. In robot mode Metroplex is quite detailed. In vehicle mode, Metroplex becomes a rolling battle station/aircraft carrier. Unfortunately they did not try to improve on the Generation 1 design and find a better use for the arms in this mode. Finally you have his city mode which is similar to the vehicle mode but the legs open up as does a gunner station in the right forearm and a heliport in the left shoulder. There is a lot going on in the city mode. But most of the space is empty, particularly the cavities in the legs. There is so much space there and in the compartment in the right side of the chest that really isn't used, it seems like quite a waste.
Paint - 7/10The actual paint work on Metroplex is fairly sparse. In fact, when I first opened the box and saw the figure I was shocked by how much plain white plastic that I saw. There is some paint work where it is absolutely required such as the heliport. But for the most part, Metroplex relies on decals for most of his decoration. The results are impressive. But it also creates a few issues. The decals are often in tight spots, making them difficult to apply. They are also time consuming. With roughly 130 individual stickers to apply, you can expect to send quite a while after you open Metroplex going cross eyed as you try not to misalign the decals. It is difficult to get some of the decals set properly as there is very limited room for them to fit, particularly for the ones that need to wrap around corners. And the instructions are not very clear where a few of the decals for the leg compartments are actually supposed to fit. The process is made infinitely more annoying when you find that they have mislabeled two of the decals. (#31 and #77 have their numbers swapped.) And a few of the spaces on the runways are not actually large enough to fit the decals that are meant to go there. But once you do get them all applied, they serve their purpose well enough. But there are still a few areas such as the forearms, waist and especially the missile banks in the left chest which are quite plain due to the lack of paint.
Articulation - 7/10Metroplex has a surprising amount of articulation for a figure of his size. But he is still far less articulated than say a Masterpiece Transformer. And his large size and lack of ankles or any means of adjusting his feet for additional support means that he can't do much more than stand straight up in robot mode.
Accessories/features - 8/10Metroplex comes with a few accessories. The best of his accessories is that he comes with an entire extra Autobot: Scamper. Scamper is about the size of a legion class (basic sized) Transformer and even comes with his own gun. As for his own weapons, Metroplex has two guns which can be mounted on his shoulders when not in use and a missile launcher that mounts behind his right shoulder. The guns are big, but not that large considering the figure that is going to wield them. And they are not very detailed. The missile launcher on the other hand is a very impressive and detailed sculpt. So it is a bit disappointing that this massive, 9 inches long cannon is all to fire a single projectile that no larger than what you would expect to get with a deluxe sized figure.
Of course Metroplex himself has a number of features built in. There are a number of weapons built into Metroplex such as the cannons that retract into his shoulders, a bank of missiles in the lower portion of the left side of his chest and gun stations on top of his left shoulder and in his right forearm. One interesting addition is a crane embedded in the deck of the runway in vehicle mode. It is a small touch, but items like that can provide a great deal of play value for a kid. Finally there is the main action feature, a set of lights for his eyes and chest and a variety of sound clips that play when the button in front of his face is pressed. The sound clips sound pretty good and there are quite a few of them. I also have to give Hasbro credit for integrating the button into the sculpt quite well. In the end, Metroplex isn't lacking features nor is there anything particularly wrong with the accessories and features included. But a figure of this size should have been an opportunity to do things that wouldn't be possible in smaller figures. But Metroplex is lacking a real show stopper beyond just his size.
On the subject of Metroplex's size. There is no doubt that he is large, huge really. But the problem with a character like Metroplex is that no matter how big of a toy they produce, it's still going to be completely out of scale with even the smallest Transformer toys. In fact, the figures from Takara's Smallest Transforming Transformers line work really well with Metroplex. But even they are two to three times too big if you go by the image of Optimus and Bubblebee on the stickers for the control room below Metroplex's head. But if like me your primary focus are the deluxe size Transformers, then a lot of the features built into Metroplex become worthless as the deluxe figures are too large to fit inside or access them. I also am a bit concerned about future figures. I would really like to see an updated version of Fortress Maximus and Scorponok. But with Metroplex being as large as he is already, I'm not sure if Hasbro can top Metroplex or will be willing to take a chance and try.
Value - 9/10The suggested retail price for Metroplex seems to be $125. Or at least that is how much Hasbro has him listed for on their website. But the actual price can vary quite a bit. I have seen him available for $100 when on sale quite often. I believe there were a few Black Friday sales that were even lower than that. But the best price seems to be from Costco if you have one in your area and have a membership. They are selling Metroplex for just $80. For that price, the big guy was too good to even think of passing up.
Happy Hunting:Metroplex is available from most of the retailers that carry Transformers. But it seems like some stores may not have the space to devote to carry the figure on shelves. Given the price difference, if you have the option of shopping at a Costco store, that is probably going to be your best bet. But if you do have trouble finding one locally, Metroplex is also listed online at a lot of store's web sites.