Kamen's review: Alternity Megatron
Overly Dramatic Villain
Megatron the character, of course, needs no introduction. The Alternity line, though, has much less history. Seemingly a revival of the now defunct Binaltech/Alternators line, Alternity continues to seek a balance between realistic vehicle modes and highly articulated robots. However, where Binaltech had realistic alternate modes, the figures often had frustratingly complicated transformations and less than stellar robot modes. The line also made extensive use of minor remolds in order to release the same body type as a different character. While Alternity has already been making use of liberal re-paints, the line currently has two unique molds with a third already announced.
To further differentiate between Binaltech and Alternity, the latter have smaller molds, about the same size as a standard deluxe figure. Judging by the Optimus Prime figure already released, Alternity also features less complicated transformations and figures that are superior in both articulation and aesthetic appeal (check out Blackjack's review
for more details). The Megatron figure reviewed below is the second entry in the Alternity line.
Megatron transforms into a Nissian Fairlady Z. I admit I'm not a car person, so all I can really say is that it's a small, silver, sporty car. He doesn't have the same level of slink as RoTF Sideswipe, but Megatron's level of detail is much higher. Aside from the Nissian branding, he has all the relevant details molded and painted. Pop open his hood and see his engine block (plus some gaps). Use his shiny, reflective mirrors to open the doors and see a nicely detail interior. Even his belly is mostly free of robot kibble. His hands, chest, and loin cloth as well as his swords are all visible, but that's it. In a final touch, if you peer into his (rubber!) wheel's wells, you'll find tiny break pads molded in. They're not painted like Prime's, but it's still a nice detail.
My only problem with this mode are that his doors only open a very small degree, and he lacks any sort of license plate. I wouldn't have gone for any of the fandom in-jokes present in the Universe line; however, I do feel that a mock-up of a Japanese plate would have been a nice extra touch of realism. Overall, nothing to detract from what is an excellent reproduction.
I really like the motif Megatron has going here. Where Prime is more or less a generic looking robot, Megatron has a very samurai-esque look to him. His doors end up as layered shoulder armor. He has an armored loincloth, and his head already has the classic Megatron helmet. Of course, the dual swords up his cool factor considerably.
The swords are solid plastic, straight-edged with a simple but interesting hilt and guard. Both have a peg that can secure them to either hip when not in use. Sadly, Prime and Megatron do not have standard hands, which surprised me, so Prime cannot properly wield a sword himself. Otherwise, Megatron has a small knife hidden behind the car seats (which, I should mention, have a pretty awesome set of details hidden under than just knives. Cool!), now on his forearms. I would question the wisdom of bringing blades against a laser toting opponent, but since these are
Japanese I can only assume that Megatron adheres to Anime Rule #73:
Law of Universal Edge Defense- Any projectile attack, from a blast of magic to a hail of bullets, can be easily defended against by holding a suitably cool-looking sword or other bladed weapon between the attacker and defender, usually so that the edge cuts into the incoming attack(s), causing both halves to go flying harmlessly past the defender
Anyway, Megatron looks good, and his articulation is comparable to Prime. However, he has one huge advantage over his counterpart: lack of die-cast. Yep, while Prime can barely stand up due to the junk in his trunk, Megatron has much less trouble. Not perfectly though. Because of the way they transform, Megatron also has quite a bit of weight on his back; fortunately his feet are designed with useful heel-spurs and an ankle hinge which help to alleviate much of the problem. The end result is a figure that can strike many dynamic poses or just loiter about, hand on hilt.
Megatron does have on little aesthetic wrinkle. Where Prime's legs were pretty solidly put together, Megatron is quite bowlegged. There's not any weakness there, and, as I've mentioned, he can stand very well. The dissonance between his upper body and his mangled legs jars the senses. Honestly, a minor quibble.
Marks out of ten for the following:
More intuitive and less fiddly than the Alternators, but still complex. 7
Good, except that the automorph that flips his chest down screwed up after one transformation. I got it reset, but still not cool. 6
He looks really cool and turns into a realistic vehicle. An he's a samurai! 10
$54.99 at BBTS, slightly less than Prime's die-cast tokus. Still expensive, though. 4
He's neat, and I like what I've seen with both figures in the Alternity line; these are high-quality figures, and the price reflects that. If you have the money (or store credit) I recommend picking them both up. If you can only afford one, Prime has a better overall aesthetic continuity, but Megatron has far more poseability. 8