Ah, yes. Marlboor Wheeljack finally officially released as a Transformer! This is the first direct Diaclone reference that we have been gifted with in the Masterpiece series, and what a gift it is. From the racecar-accurate paintjob to the killer head sculpt, it seems like the Takara designers have properly paid homage to pre-Wheeljack’s Diaclone brethren, making him into a Decepticon no less! Everything on this figure just works out so nicely, and it’s such a shame that stores had to cancel their orders when the ball was dropped on the Marlboro trademark infringement issue. Thanks, Phillip Morris. So, I bit the bullet and ordered a KO version, and wow am I impressed. Oh, and I upgraded my photo studio setup, so here’s the first time using the new kit. And I’m pretty happy with the results!
As a long-time collector, the issue surrounding buying KO’s has always been a slippery slope, on which I’ve admittedly fallen time and time again. While purchasing a knockoff inevitably hurts the original manufacturer that owns the trademarks, patents and other intellectual property, let alone the hours of manpower and energon energy involved in producing such a complex piece of engineering, every once in a while the bootleggers somehow do such a damn good job in reproducing the original that it almost seems like they are just putting out over-runs stolen from the official factory. KO Exhaust is one such example of an amazing reproduction that really does make you wonder just who these plastic pirates are. The makers of this KO were AT LEAST decent (or silly) enough to stamp their own fake bootleg copyrights, so it would be easy to identify it as a fake and not the real thing. In any case, I originally just bought this guy thinking it would be a cheap toy that would break after the first transformation, but it turned out to be almost as good in quality as an official Masterpiece release. So, does that mean that Takara Tomy needs to step up their manufacturing game, or their legal game – or both?