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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Clay's review: Premium Megatron (leader)

Name: Megatron (leader toy)
Sub-series: Movie Premium figures

This is the second release of Megatron's leader toy: the first issue was much more lightly colored, and had seemingly randomly-placed blue highlights. That's all well and good, but the toy was considerably more colorful than the animation model that appeared in the movie (which was almost entirely silver). The Premium version of Megatron isn't quite accurate either (it's much darker in shade), but it is closer to Megatron's film coloration since it lacks the contrast of blue and red.

Alternate Mode:

In the movie, Megatron turned into a pointy alien space jet thing. It worked well on screen, but the design doesn't exactly lend itself to physical toys. Still, of the three Megatron toys I've bought, this is far and away the best representation of the jet mode of any of them. If the designers could have managed something more inconspicuous for the feet, I dare say that the toy would do the animation model justice. As it is though, the feet are tucked under the wings, so the jet mode is only convincing at certain angles. Still, this is better than the method employed by some of the smaller toys, which is simply to have the feet sticking out behind the jet.

The jet itself has lots of sculpted details everywhere. The wings are the only flat surfaces on the toy. In addition to the physical molding, the jet has a "rust wash" along its leading edges. The effect subtly adds to the toy; while not overt, it gives the toy weathered look. Without it, Megatron would just look like a pile of cheap plastic (which he still does, to an extent).

Still, it's the little extra details, in addition to the elimination of clashing colors, that make this Megatron look better than the previous release.

Robot Mode:

The leader toy most accurately executes Megatron's robot mode compared to the animation model, but it still has a few compromises. Megatron has two large pods on each of his forearms, and the wings only half collapse. Still, the toy imposes suitably compared to the other, smaller movie toys.

Megatron also incorporates oodles of auto-transforming bits. While converting it to the robot mode: straightening the legs makes the toes pop out; folding up the nose of the plane causes the wings to fold in; hitting the button on his chest triggers some red parts to pop up and activates the classic transformation sound from the original cartoon. The only other automatic-transforming piece is the pod on the left arm. Holding back the trigger causes the cannon to open up. However, the piece is spring-loaded, so it reverts back to the pod as soon as you let go (and it's a powerful spring at that!).

Speaking of weapons, Megatron has two: the aforementioned arm cannon, and a flail hidden in the right arm. Megatron's hand is actually on a tether. Pressing a button releases it, and then he can swing it about.

Megatron has a fair amount of articulation, but he's not as flexible as the smaller versions. Mostly, the pods get in the way of his arms, and his head cannot turn. Megatron is also somewhat back-heavy, meaning that despite having knees and hips, he can't really use them. To be fair, Megatron is a larger figure, and they tend to have problems with stability regardless.

Speaking of being back-heavy, Megatron has an insect-like abdomen hanging off his posterior. The Megatron that appeared in the film obviously did not have this, but between this and the wings, the toy has a "character" all its own. It mostly resembles its film counterpart, but the extra bits are distinct enough to the make toy interesting on its own.

I suppose my biggest critiques of the toy reside with the choices made for the compromises. The wings unfold automatically when the plane nose is moved, but it's at the expense of a neck joint. The feet retract by themselves, but at the expense of much-needed ankles. Of course, Megatron's movie design demands compromises for any toy made of it, so I suppose I would just find something else to fault if different choices were made.

I just wish that the head could turn without having to pop it off and position it carefully.

Transformation: 5. Both modes are compromises, but the Leader figure is the best representation of either of them. I had to use the instructions since Megatron's jet mode is not intuitive to figure out, though. (It was hard to tell when I was done!)
Durability: 7. All things considered (pointy parts and whatnot), Megatron is fairly sturdy.
Fun: 7. Megatron can make the cannon and the flail, which is good fun that the smaller versions can't do.
Price: 7. By weight, the money's there.
Overall: 6. The Leader Megatron is the most accurate figure to be released, and the designers did a good job of trying to implement an impossible design, but it still features lots of compromises. I would be more positive about the figure if it could at least turn its head, as Megatron spent most of his scenes leering. The Premium treatment is a welcome change, but I think I would simply have been all the more disappointed if I had bought the first version.
 
 
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