Repaints have always been around. Some of my favorite lines as a kid reused bodies like nobody’s business. I don’t remember caring one lick. Was it just because I was a kid? Was it because it got the job done? Was it just because I wasn’t paying for them? I imagine the latter may have had something to do with it, but I do go back to the middle point there too. If a repaint gets the job done, why does it still bother us sometimes?
We grumble that they should be cheaper; we don’t care if the repaint is amortizing the costs of the original. We grumble that something should be done to add value; we want something to differentiate it from our original purchase. We want to capture that same good feeling that came with our original purchase. Sometimes that backfires.
Repaints are nothing new in Transformers. Technically, nearly all the early stuff were repaints from other lines. And, heck, some of those guys got repaints within the new line too. That’s made it easier for Takara as they foray deeper into Masterpiece. Make a new Sideswipe and you’ve got a half dozen potential repaints of different characters to keep us hooked. The same with the Seekers. I don’t think twice about buying the repaints when they’re a new guy. Tigertrack was a lot easier to pick up than if he were just Yellow Sideswipe. I can pretend my MP Black Prime is Nemesis or Scourge. G2 Sideswipe is different enough that I dig it.
But this one, this guy, he ended up being a little more difficult purchase.
I love MP Soundwave. He’s excellent. One of the hands down best toys released in 2013. I never had him as a kid (my neighbor kid did, which to my parents meant I didn’t “need” one), but the MP is such a fantastic, modern update to the original that I don’t regret waiting all this time for him. He’s the Soundwave I always wanted. He’s the Soundwave we all deserved. I paid extra to get the import early. I also happily snagged up his cassettes as imports too. I got them earlier and I completely avoided the TRU scramble (though all five cassettes in one pack was a fantastic deal).
But Soundblaster? Well, he’s a black repaint of a dark blue Decepticon. He’s also the same character. I have not had the opportunity to watch any of the Headmasters cartoon, but after Soundwave & Blaster clash in a dual-fatal duel (say that three times fast), the pair are revived and rebuilt as repaints (re: New Toy Decos!). Sounds cool. Black repaints are fun… but MPs are pricey and I gotta start being more discerning at some point or I’m going to end up with really weird stuff. Takara, who would be more than happy to offer a second deco on Soundwave knew that I and others would likely feel that way, so they added a little incentive: Ratbat.
It really wasn’t a surprise. I think we all knew it was going to happen after the cassette 2pks were announced and Ratbat was nowhere to be found. A funny thing happened though. We weren’t discussing Ratbat being an incentive to help Soundblaster sell better. It was almost more like Soundblaster was a noose around Ratbat’s neck. (“I gotta buy what to get Ratbat?”). This wasn’t a little thing to help add value to a repaint, this was incentive on acid. I even poke fun at that in the title. This is really just a Soundblaster review with one really cool accessory, but it sure felt like I was buying a Ratbat & Black Soundwave 2pk.
I’ve seen a lot of folks accept that Ratbat won’t be joining the other cassettes in their collection. Or hoping that Hasbro will bring the popular little guy over (I hope they do!). Personally, I really love the cassettes. I’m pining for the Autobots even now. And I want all the original Decepticon tapes – Slugfest, Overkill, Squawkbox are high on my MP list. And I had to have Ratbat. No whining about the circumstances of how he was available to me. No worrying or waiting to see what Hasbro was going to do. I just couldn’t pass up the chance. To put it mildly, “they got me.” Continue to Page 2…