It's "masterpiece" the same way the Japanese recognize Leader-class ROTF Starscream and Bumblebee as "masterpiece", they're the ultimate they're gonna do and they cost more than $40.
It was so weird at Botcon seeing major dealers right across from Hasbro selling knock-off and fansproject items that Hasbro was frothing about last year. IMO, Hasbro needs to better address fan needs when there's a cottage industry around this stuff, until they do then I understand why these guys do this, but still, Hasbro's IP is getting really abused at this point and I was surprised to see them do absolutely nothing about it at their own convention.
After the con on Sunday, I dropped by Target and found DOTM Laserbeak (a figure they didn't have in their booth at the con, wtf?!?). He looks really bad on card and small, I was absolutely not going to buy him, but I was coming down off the botcon high, so I looked him up to see what was up, and basically the hover vehicle mode and the guns sold me the figure. The guns are dope, they're each a gatling-style gun that have flat grips at the back and 3mm handles on top (plus, since those won't work with a lot of figures, 5mm pegs underneath). They combine to be a great-looking huge gun and have a mechtech gimmick where the gatling barrel on the larger one flips around 1.5 times to become a bigger single barrel ringed with prongs. The pegs are pretty short, most of my voyagers need major adjustment to hold it from either peg, and in doing so the gun gets slightly de-transformed (merging the guns is hard, the barrel of one has to pass through 2 holes in the second and it has to be aligned perfectly or it'll stop cold with the barrel half-transformed, and can't be forced).
Laserbeak himself is a figure Hasbro clearly doesn't understand, missing several little touches in the instructions. He's a small bot and an even smaller vehicle mode (yes, he has a vehicle mode, he's a hover-vehicle like the Scorpion Gunship choppers from Avatar with a little windowed cockpit and everything, but then they put a HUGE bird face paint job on either side which isn't subtle enough, leaving one confused. The hover fans spin at the top which is nice. The guns are packaged above the fans, but it's clear they're meant to go underneath (again, like the Avatar choppers) which looks way better.
Transformation seems really easy, but Hasbro also doesn't notice things like the fans closing down on a second hinge, or the wingtips folding into the fans, or the cockpit locking the rotated hips down, or the tail locking down in alt mode (although I don't like that look, it looks better with that panel closer to the midpoint).
The final mode is a a robot condor the way only the Bayverse could do it, ugly as sin and with a ton of pointy things. Most of the bird is pretty interesting taken out of context of the character, but it's impossible to get past the buggy-eyed baby-bird robot face with its hinged mouth, that is just a huge WTF. Hasbro delivers on it though, the long crane neck and tail are jointed so it has a lot of personality potential. The wings could use a few more joints, mainly because the joints they have are blocked by the mold's transformation so you have to separate the fan halves to free them, and then they only swing except at the fan base. There's a lot of range in the wings, but it requires a lot of thought. Laserbeak can spread out quite a bit, but is still the bulk and material of the average Basic from a few years ago, and isn't really painted more than one of them - he's not hurting for paint, but they could have at least added silver below the wings to match above.
Laserbeak has 7 mechtech 5mm holes in vehicle mode and 6 in robot mode, including one above and below each fan (below for alt mode, above for robot mode, it reminds me of the ones on G1 but only in the slightest way really), one in each foot as well, and one below the cockpit. The robot heels are also 5mm pegs, so he can perch on a lot of movie and pre-movie figures.
Laserbeak is not a figure I'd actively recommend for most collectors or casual fans, but I don't think he's a bad figure, just quite unusual and not an exceptional value. I do like his weapons a lot and that's a problem, I'd recommend them in a heartbeat, but they're not worth $12 (unless they're made by iGear or Fansproject ).
I also bought Voyager Shockwave last week, kind of a mixed figure. Alt mode is a lazy mess, and the one potentially interesting part - the side doors shown on the prototype - got cheaped out to mold gaps instead. At first I didn't like this figure at all, the mechtech gimmick doesn't fold all the way back in and is difficult to lock open; the power cable to the weapon limits its range and its hinges make it MORE difficult to use instead of less the way they should; he looks like a Skeleton Warrior figure on steroids; and the sharpness of the sculpting isn't as tight as the other figures in the line. After transforming a second time and figuring out the VERY frustrating power cable to the big gun, it turns out you can leave it plugged in on both sides and transform the figure which is downright clever considering how much position-swapping there is here. The blade on his other arm can be plugged into the gun as a bayonet, and the gun itself has a 5mm peg so it can be removed and hand-held by any figure, though it can't be mounted on his left arm (the packaging shows it that way, and all the jointing on the gun and back connector to the gun make it seem like they were going to have it ambidextrous early in design and then killed it later) - at least his hands fold back from transformation so you can fake that it's his gun-hand all the way. The alt mode almost needs the mechtech gimmick side-guns folded out to justify the laziness of the whole thing, the tank's gun looks centered in packaging but is really just left off to the right which I think sucks, leaving the middle empty until you activate the mechtech. I kinda like the figure now, but it's another "I can't really recommend it" figure as a transforming toy, although it does have a lot of presence so as a character purchase I'd say it's not the worst purchase.