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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
Robot Mode:
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numbat's Review: Legends G1 Megatron

Name: G1 Megatron
Function: Decepticon Leader
Subgroup: Reveal the Shield Legends Class

Megatron is an iconic name and character who’s been with us since the very beginning of Transformers—G1. However, unlike other iconic characters that share this history, such as Optimus Prime or Starscream, Megatron does not have any consistent design characteristics that crop up again and again, series after series. This is, in part, due to the fact that his original G1 character transformed into a handgun—which has not exactly been P.C.. G2 addressed this, re-imagining him as a tank—a logical progression, and the design did feature the same style of bullet head, and a similar face to the G1 original. However, since then Megatron has had a myriad alternate modes, ranging from an F-22 Raptor jet to a bizarre multi-changer including Batmobile and giant hand modes, amongst many others. The jet and tank themes have been the most used, but there have been no consistent design features that would make you associate the character with his G1 character model. Even the basic head and face design changed from one series to the next.

More recently, the Classics toy line revisited the G1 character design, and handgun alternate mode. However, the gun mode was deliberately unrealistic (quite understandably), and the figure was a shellformer, with the gun halves creating wings in the robot mode, which detracted from what was otherwise a nice homage to the G1 character model. Following this, a G2 styled Megatron toy was also released in the same line. The Universe 2.0 line (basically a reborn Classics toy line) then gave us a very spiffy G2 styled Megatron figure at Legends Class, and Animated picked up on the general iconic G1 Megatron look—even if the character did transform into a massive twin-rotor helicopter.

These figures revived some of the iconic features of the original Megatron, but none paid a truly fantastic homage to the original character.

Roll on to the Reveal the Shield line, and we have been given a series of new Legends Class figures, based upon G1 characters, including Megatron. Once again, Megatron transforms in to a handgun (fantastic for fans who grew up with G1, controversial as that may be—and quite inappropriate as a toy for young children). However, given the bizarre and complex design of the original G1 toy that gave rise to the character (which bore little more than a passing resemblance to the toy), shellformer attempt at a modern and better proportioned action figure and horrendously insanely engineered Masterpiece figure (which does at least do a pretty good job at providing an accurate alternate mode and robot mode that is extremely close to the cartoon character model), how on Earth will a Legends figure deliver anything even remotely passable?

Well, we’ll get to the how in a minute. The important thing is that, against the odds, the designers actually achieved a superb homage, with two excellent modes even at this small scale. It puts the other homage attempts largely to shame, and is undoubtedly the best Legends figure in the current line—and perhaps one of the best Legends Class figures of any line.
All thanks to an innovative transformation, and attention to detail.


Alternate Mode:

The one, the only (well, erm, one of many) and the original G1 Megatron transformed into a modified Walther P38 handgun. A controversial toy for a child—familiarising them with what could be a dangerous household item in some countries (although why a handgun would be found in a normal household in any ‘civilized’ country, I really can’t fathom...). On the other hand, it is also fantastic symbolism – the leader of the evil Decepticons transforms into a handgun. If that’s not a powerful statement against guns, I don’t know what is.

Understandably, Hasbro and Takara moved away from the handgun alternate mode, and have only revisited this very recently. This Legends Class figure marks the first return to a transformer with a relatively realistic handgun mode in a main line aimed at children since the 1980s.

Measuring 3 ” (9cm) long, with a bright orange barrel tip, there’s really no chance this could be confused with a real gun—maybe a novelty cigarette lighter at worse (although in this world, that would also instigate controversy!).

One side (right) is quite plain, and perhaps more realistic than the other side (left) reveals some of the robot mode body details. However, these details are suitably vague that they can be overlooked—although the red paint is a little distracting. More revealing are the large holes present in this mode on either side—a limitation of the scale of the figure, rather than a failing in what is actually a brilliant transformation design.

Otherwise the gun mode is suitably generic, painted metallic silver (most of the gun body), flay grey (grip sides and gun barrel) and black (grip). As already noted, the tip of the gun barrel is bright orange, in accordance with gun safety laws in the USA. While this is distracting, it is there for a very good reason, and I would not change it given this is a toy and available to young children.

The obligate rub sticker (the gimmick for the Reveal the Shield line—as it was for the original G1 line in the 1980s) is present on the left side of the gun body. Unsurprisingly, this reveals Megatron to be a Decepticon. Sadly, the rub symbols still suffer the same limitations as their 1980s predecessors—they don’t work very well in a Scottish winter.

While this is perhaps not the best gun mode available as a Transformer since the 1980s (WST Megatron and MP-05 Megatron undoubtedly deliver better alternate modes, at smaller and larger scales respectively), it is certainly the best to be released as part of a main toy line by Hasbro.

As a note to those who are interested, Legends G1 Megatron cannot be held by larger figures, such as Masterpiece Convoy, or Supreme Unicron. The Legends Class scale is just a little too large. If this is important to you, then go and find WTS Megatron, who can be held by Masterpiece Convoy and Masterpiece Megatron (both at a push), and Supreme Unicron (easily).

As a nifty bonus, though, Legends G1 Megatron is stable enough to balance on the grip, standing upright in gun mode—great for display!


Robot Mode:

Megatron’s transformation is superbly innovative, and puts both the Classics Voyager Class Megatron and MP-05 Megatron designs to shame. It’s great fun, quick, and so sensible you’ll be wondering why this hasn’t been done before. I won’t spoil it for you, but if this figure were on a larger scale (Voyager Class would be ideal!), the shortcomings, which are here imposed only by scale, could be easily resolved, giving the best G1 Megatron figure ever.

As it stands, this little Legends Class toy actually almost achieves this in its own right, shortcomings accepted. After all, MP-05, while giving a better representation, is much larger and riddled with far more flaws. Between the two, it’s tough to decide which is superior—although, MP-05 does win displayability hands down. If you can balance him...

And balance is not an issue with this wee Megatron. Standing 3 ” (8.5cm) tall, he’s a respectably sized Legends Class figure, and perfectly proportioned. He is slightly asymmetric, due to the nature of his transformation, but this is in terms of where gun details end up rather than the actual robot mode proportions themselves. His legs are bulky, and solid, matching the G1 design very nicely. The arms are perfectly serviceable—a bit rigid, but this is due to the level of articulation afforded the Legends Class scale rather than design flaw.

As a result of the ingenious transformation, the handgun barrel actually becomes Megatron’s arm-mounted fusion cannon—not a detachable gunsight! I really like this feature, as it makes so much sense, does not require detachable parts, and eliminates the need for that random back chimney, or kidney-cannon, that previous versions created in an attempt to hide away the handgun barrel. I mean, the handgun always was a fusion cannon, wasn’t it? Why not have the barrel transform in to this in robot mode, and avoid some of that pointless kibble? Superb move on the designers’ part – I can’t sing this fellow’s praises high enough!

Detail-wise, there’s plenty going on in this mould, and a lot is picked out with paint—including a toned down interpretation of Megatron’s busy abdomen, and the rub sticker on his chest. The only negative I can think of in this mode is the head sculpt—while nicely detailed with precision painted red eyes, the expression looks quite manic, and would be more at home on Galvatron. Megatron was always cold, and level headed, not a lunatic.

Minor minor minor...

Articulation-wise, Megatron fairs well for a Legends Class figure. He has ball joints at his shoulders, hips and knees, allowing for some fantastic power-poses. The open left hand and clenched right suits threatening poses with Megatron’s trademark fusion cannon. He lacks a swivel joint at the head, due to the scale and transformation, and would have benefited from elbow joints, but I understand the limitations and economics of such small ‘pocket money’ figures.

In conclusion, I really love this figure. It’s among the best Legends Class figures of all time—a match of Legends of Cybertron Starscream. If only Legends Class figures were always this good, I would become a dedicated collector again! Sadly, the other figures in this series do not match up to the quality that is Legends Class G1 Megatron...

Get out there and buy this guy!


Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 10 – The transformation design is truly ingenious and original. Perfect for Megatron. Let’s hope that it sees a larger class release!

Durability: 9 – As far as Legends Class figures go, Megatron is very sturdy. The only potential issues are that his cannon and cannon arm both have a habit of popping off during transformation if you’re not too careful. It would suck if you lost either of those pieces...

Fun: 10 – Megatron is the most fun a Legends Class figure can be! And actually stacks up well beside any class of Transformer. However, he’s best left perhaps to the older, diehard fans. I’m not sure kids will get behind an evil leader of 50 foot tall robots that turns into a handgun, and I’m not convinced adults of today will feel it is appropriate for other reasons.

Aesthetics: 10 – Megatron looks superb in either mode, and is a great figure to have on your desk to fiddle with, or pose. Equally, he stands out as a centrepiece amongst other Legends Class figures in a larger display.

Articulation: 8 – Megatron is well endowed in this department, given his size class. He’s able to strike many iconic power poses, ideal for display. However, elbows would have been handy, while I understand a swivel head is beyond the possibilities at this scale, given the transformation.

Value/Price: 7 – Legends Class figures have fluctuated in price more than any other size class in recent years. I picked up Megatron at 3.69, which I feel is reasonable in this day and age. However, he’s going at other stores for anything up to 5.99, which is not such a fair deal. Choose your supplier carefully, and you’ll get a great figure at a good price! However, I would say Megatron is worth picking up even if you have to pay a little more.

Overall: 9 – This is perhaps the best version of G1 Megatron available, in any size class. The transformation is unique and brilliant, he has a good alternate mode, and a great robot mode with decent articulation suited to power poses on your desk. Plus, he gives Legends of Cybertron Starscream a run for his money. Get out there and buy the guy!
 
 
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