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

Name: Megatron
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Villain Supreme
"Lesser creatures are the playthings of my will.Ē

Megatron is the most feared and powerful leader in the history of Cybertron. His might is legendary, and his name is spoken only in whispers. he will stop at nothing in his drive to conquer the universe. So great is his will to power that even his own followers are little more to him than fuel for his war machine, and his enemies are less than the dust he grinds beneath his heel. He is always at the front of any Decepticon charge, soaring into the sky and vaporizing enemy positions with his antiproton pulse cannon. The mere sight of his snarling face is enough to break the spirit of many an Autobot.

For many years, fans have nursed a love-hate relationship with the prospect of a new gun-mode Megatron. On one hand, although heís appeared more in tank, car, jet, and dragon modes (to skip a few others) than gun, the original incarnation is somehow iconic of the character. On the other hand, strict American gun-toy laws enacted since the Ď84 P38 release prevent Hasbro from tailoring a realistic pistol, and many fans have raged that theyíd rather no Megatron than one with an orange cap. Here in 2006 with the launch of the Classics line, Hasbro has decided to try spinning a mix of both arguments. Does it work? Find out after these messages!

Gun Mode:
Megatronís gun form is some sort of generic futuristic blaster vaguely shaped like a SOCOM. (Gun nuts feel free to correct me; my firearm knowledge stems mostly from Metal Gear Solid.) In adult hands itís rather enormous for a pistol, and it looks as though the recoil would be murder. The styling is a neat mixture of high-tech (being very angular and sleek) and old-fashioned (featuring a revolver-type cylinder and a hammer). The scope is also a nice touch, though I feel itís less effective than the original since it operates without the stock and silencer. The scope also ďworksĒ, but the crosshairs completely blur anything you may aim for.

A giant and somewhat misshapen Decepticon emblem is molded into each side of the center of the scope. Most of the blaster is flat light gray, with a lot of black and purple helping out, gold highlights, transparent green in the cylinder, and the insidious orange on the muzzle and front end of the scope. Given the nature of the design, the orange isnít even that intrusive - I mean, itís not like thatís whatís blowing Megatronís cover.

To the contrary, the thing still rather well disguises that itís a robot. The one giveaway is the foot sticking out the front - you can tell itís symmetric to the other (which would function phenomenally as a grip if it were alone.) Itís still loads of fun to play with, and being a huge fan of interactive Transformers, I find this Megatron to be the most solid transforming gun we have ever had.

Transformation:
Pull open the cylinder halves and fold them down. Flip back the scope and extend the attached forearm. Pull up the torso, rotate it 180 degrees, and plug it into the pelvis. Fold down the left arm until the shoulder clicks into the socket, then fold up the right and do the same. Bend the right knee to free it from the trigger mount. Fold the trigger mount back while simultaneously rotating the wings down and plug the whole thing into the socket in the back. Rotate the shins forward and extend the knees. Slide up the shin guards and fold out the feet. Rotate the shoulders 180 degrees, extend the fists from the forearms (allowing the cannon to lock into place on the right forearm), and lower the arms. Fold down the chest plate, flip up the head, and return the chest plate to position.

Robot Mode:
Although itís certainly a new take, even the most casual of fans should be able to recognize that this is Megatron. The primary throwbacks are the head sculpt (faithfully nostalgic but updated with details like the black crest in the forehead) and the humongous cannon mounted on the right forearm. The latter feature is very impressive and should struggle to disappoint those who always whine that Megatron needs an arm cannon. Beyond these however, the figure could easily be anyone.

The gray that characterizes Megatron is swamped by lots of purple, black, gold, and an extraneous dose of transparent green in the wings. A different color may have made the scheme look more unified, though I find the use of secondary colors - the orange still being present on his cannon tip and left shoulder - strike a good contrast to Primeís usual primary color scheme. A somewhat less cartoony shade of purple may have been in order, but then it wouldnít look quite so Halloweeny. Whether thatís good or bad is at your discretion.

I really like how symmetrical the robot mode turns out for how asymmetrical the transformation is. Iím also impressed by the bulky stylingís use of gun elements, like the hammer on the shoulder and a row of shells in a loading belt above his right hip. There are seventeen points of articulation, most of which are ratchets. The head is on a ball-socket, which gives a good range of motion but makes him look a bit less intimidating.

Unfortunately, much of this articulation is wasted by the cannonís intrusiveness into the wingsí domain and the center of gravity. (Maybe mine was just built wrong, but one leg is slightly shorter than the other, and it has a terrible time standing.) My only other peeve is that the cannon is mounted on the back of the forearm rather than the side. This baffles me to no end - not only does it look much less cool with the fist orientation, it severely limits poseability. All the same, itís a good-looking robot mode that would work great if it had been designed slightly better.

Transformation: 8 - Keeps you busy without being too cumbersome.
Durability: 9 - The neck might get loose with age, and maybe you could snap off the wings if you REALLY tried. Otherwise, itís remarkably solid.
Fun: 10 - This is the king of all 1:1 scale Transformers. Itíll make a great home movie prop.
Price: $20-ish retail in the States. No electronics or anything, but I think itís worth it.
Summary: 8 - If you can look past a bit of silly, Hasbroís latest take on a critical character is brilliant. Some tweaking in the engineering would have earned it an extra point.

 
 
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