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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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mongoosehuman's review of: Transmetal Megatron

Name: Megatron
Function: Predacon Commander
Subgroup: Transmetal

A quantum surge rips across the Beast Wars world altering Megatron, evil genius and leader of the Predacons, into a metal-armored T-Rex. New turbine powered V.T.O.L. (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) engines extend from his body, providing blazing atmospheric flight and the ability to "drop in" on unexpecting Maximals with his whiplash cutlass! Fused reptilian musculature enhances his power in an organic robot mode. The result, creation of a supreme tyrant!

This is the second and last time that Megatron appears as a tyrannosaurus. Subsequent models see him as a scary red dragon. Thankfully, this Megatron shows vast improvements over the previous sculpt. After growing up with my brother's G1 Grimlock, a transforming tyrannosaurus was one of my favorite toys, and I was glad to see it properly realized before the concept was abandoned.

Beast Mode:
In beast mode, Megatron's colors are more mechanical than organic. Besides the purple chrome-painted head and feet, the more subdued browns are also kind of shiny and metallic. If I were to pick metals to describe the colors, I'd say that they look like copper and bronze. His detailing is great, with lots of pipes, pistons, and gratings, as well as a few smaller bits of painted metallic silver.

Overall, Megatron is an exceptionally well-sculpted tyrannosaurus. This Megatron doesn't reflect the pot-bellied, tail-dragging, lizard-like tyrannosaurus of my early youth. He reflects the sleeker, fast-running, horizontally-balanced tyrannosaur that suddenly came in vogue once I was too old to buy dinosaur toys but not yet old enough to say I was a "collector."

The fantastic articulation of his tail enhances the overall impression of kinetics. With six (!) multidirectional joints, the tail can be posed in any number of dynamic curves. Another great thing about the tail joints is that they have some slight limits of rotation. Thus the tail can't be bent far enough to assume awkward, anatomically inaccurate positions.

In addition to the tail, there are really just five more points of articulation, but other great details of Megatron's anatomy shine through. I'm a big fan of the head, in particular. Its curves look muscular and organic, despite the chrome finish and the sculpted pipes and pistons on the neck. The eyes, with accompanying brow ridges, are clever and expressive. The mouth opens and closes naturally: not extremely wide, but enough to get a good hold of your age-nonspecific brother's finger. That's ten points for fun, right there.

And the party doesn't stop there. Transmetal Megatron has a hybrid beast-vehicle mode in which he changes from a tyrannosaurus to a FLYING tyrannosaurus. Flip up the rotors from his hip, pull down the landing gear from his feet, and he becomes a V.T.O.L. Awesome! I suppose that depending on your mindset, it's either a whole lot of demented fun or just a bit too silly. But if you're into transforming robots, chances are pretty good that you'll enjoy it.

Skeptics should be pretty forgiving of the vehicle mode because the vehicle parts don't interfere with the spectacular beast mode. When both are retracted, the landing gear is imperceptible and the rotors lend a nice decorative element to the figure.

Transformation:
To me, Megatron's transformation feels like a G1 transformation. In many Beast Wars transformations, the joints will bend or rotate from one position to another by arbitrary angles in three dimensions, with the start and end points determined only by what looks correct on the animal or robot. It's an element of design necessitated by the fact that, unlike most car parts, most animal parts don't trace out planar angles in multiples of 90 degrees. On the plus side, these fancy joints can lend a great variety of articulation to BW transformers, in both robot and animal modes.

But the world is a confusing place, and I sometimes want a bit of certainty, even if it's from my post-structuralist action figures. Megatron fills this gaping void in my life with a rock solid transformation, full of 90 and 180 degree turns, each joint rotating in planes either parallel or orthogonal to the others. Furthermore, the separate bits stop when they hit the limits of their rotations or interlock with each other. I know when I've transformed him correctly, because everything falls into place. Megatron, as animal or robot, is a brick. The downside of this a slight lack of posability in both forms. But the reliance on simple hinged joints and solidly interlocking parts make the figure resemble a G1 Dinobot, almost more so than one of his ball-and-socket Beast Wars friends.

Robot Mode:
Megatron's robot mode shows more organic details, just as his beast mode showed more mechanical details. His body gains a deep, earthy brown and is covered with scaly detailing that looks like dinosaur skin. Very nice. His remaining mechanical details, like some pipes and grating, are nicely placed. He also has "MEGATRON" printed on his left shoulder, because introducing himself is always such a nuisance.

You'll also notice that Megatron has two real hands this time. That's two more hands than the last model had, and one more than he'll have again for a while. Having two hands generally makes robots more well-proportioned, and Megatron is a great example of this. He has the best proportions of any robot I've seen from the Beast Wars line.

The transformation is so complete that the only parts that the robot retains from alternate mode are the scary dinosaur feet -- no animal head to be seen here, on the hand or otherwise. Neither is the dinosaur's body plating left dangling helplessly from the robot; it folds away neatly and inconspicuously to form some beefy shoulders.

The dinosaur's tail becomes a typically-bemusing BW weapon. Is a pincer? Is it a flail? "Whiplash cutlass"? It's still pretty neat because it's so bendy and fun to fiddle with. And if you watch the TV show, you can justify pretending that it's a laser, too.

The one real grievance I bear is a seemingly-needless lack of posability in the robot mode. Megatron's head is locked into the forward position and can't rotate at all. That seriously narrows his range of expression. Also, his legs don't have a full range of rotation at the hips; they snap into position at forty-five degree increments, so there is really just one way that you can stand him. Like the alternate mode, Megatron's robot mode is best-suited to just standing there and looking threatening. While he does do that very well, I think that a bit more articulation would make him even more fun to play with.

Transformation: 6 - It's not hard, but that's because it's been planned so well.
Durability: 7 - It would have been higher were it not for the bizarre defect of the robot's head snapping off. I think that folding down the dinosaur's head puts some stress on the robot's head. The tail on my figure also droops a bit, from me having fiddled with it so much. Otherwise, Megs is solid.
Fun: 9 - Everyone's got a weak spot for dinosaurs, and this one flies, on top of it all. A bit more posability in robot mode would have given him a ten.
Price: 9 - I got mine for $15 when it was in stores, and it was worth every dime, which were pretty scarce for me at that age.
Overall: 8.8 - This toy is a proud and worthy Megatron. It's my personal favorite out of the three BW Megatrons. He looks great in both modes, and is a lot of fun to play with.
 
 
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