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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Tetsuro's review: Ultra Magnus (G1)

Name: Ultra Magnus
Faction: Autobot
Rank: City Commander

"Consistency is Victory"

Although far more mature leader and warrior than the actual Autobot leader he worked for in the distant future of 2006 (how odd does that sound today?), Ultra Magnus was never comfortable with being a leader of more than a small squadron; indeed, The Movie showcased this by having him reluctantly accept the mantle of leadership from Optimus Prime, only to face utter defeat in the hands of Galvatron once given way too many lives to be responsible for than he could handle. And, of course, to his own misfortune, the most memorable line he ever uttered happened to be "I can't deal with that now!". When his own troops lives' were in danger, no less.

Ultra Magnus has become something of a joke in recent years for other reasons as well, mainly having become the obligatory repaint of just about every Optimus Prime toy you could conceive...well, with the few odd exceptions (Armada Overload, for example, was called Ultra Magnus in Japan, and in fact was repainted into Ultra Magnus' colors and appropriately named so for the Energon line); the 6-inch Titanium is a welcome change to this tradition, in that he is not a repaint at all, but uses a mold unique to him.

ROBOT MODE:

The transformation sequence is actually pretty close to the original toy, only with much less removing parts. Now, that original toy was actually a repaint of "Powered Convoy" from Takara's Diaclone line, which in turn was a repaint of Convoy, a toy which became Optimus Prime for Transformers...the trailer of Powered Convoy was more of a battle armor of sorts, hence using the same mold as "Prime" as it's core robot. That inner white 'bot has been done away with, as the cab merely folds down to his back on this Titanium version, revealing Magnus' familiar head.

That original toy was also the very definition of a brick, so the articulation of this Titanium is also welcome...only something has gone wrong, his knees bend the wrong way; although you can easily fix this with a little help from a screwdriver, the mold details would refer to this being more than just an accident in assembly.

More on the articulation; he spins at waist, he has ball joint neck and shoulders, cut wrists (although these are relatively useless due to his forearms) and elbows, and ball joint range of motion at hips for his legs. The ball joints on his shoulders tend to become loose over time, but a little nail polish should fix this. Speaking of shoulders, while he looks fine from ahead, a side view points out how far back his shoulders are; he has the exact opposite problem from Rodimus Prime who seemed to be slouching forward.

As far as the color scheme goes...a little too much white. The original G1 Magnus, both toy and cartoon model alike had much more red on them, particularly the torso and thighs. The matte finish of the paint job actually makes it pretty hard to tell just what parts exactly are die cast. This also means that he's much less prone to scratching and especially acquiring lint.

Despite all these details, this is a nigh-perfect representation of G1 Magnus.

VEHICLE MODE:

Remove gun, remove shoulder cannons, slide down shoulders and stick the cannons on top of them, flip out the shoulders and connect them to each other, flip up the cab, disconnect the knees and slide up his legs, rest his wrists on his ankles...and you're done, sort of. You're supposed to flip up the chest plate too but that'll just make even less of his tires to touch the ground. Ahh, the good old days of transforming a Transformers and all their wheels would actually touch the ground...what days those were. Oh yeah, remember to adjust his smokestacks accordingly, too.

But yeah, as with all the Titaniums so far, you just can't seem to get strong robot and vehicle mode at the same time, only one or the other; in this case, it's the vehicle mode that suffers in favor of the other. For one, there's nothing that'll connect his wrists to his knees (or rather, the top of the carrier to the rear of the trailer), it just sort of hangs in their...loosely. Also, the connection for his legs is very flimsy, the little pegs meant to hold them together do a lousy job at it.

Unlike Rodimus Prime, there's no way to store his gun in vehicle mode. I guess you can stick it between his arms and leave it there, but that's just me. Also, the truck cab is removable, held down by a simple peg (but don't worry, it's not going to come off on it's own); although this is obviously unintentional, and leaves the robot mode head blatantly visible.

OVERALL:

Unless you're bothered by the location of the shoulders, I'd say this is about as good a G1 Ultra Magnus as it gets (unless they improve on this one in the future), so I can recommend it as such, especially if you're tired of all the Optimus Prime repaints. Too bad the vehicle mode is pretty crappy, but that's what you can expect from Titaniums.

Oh yeah, and there's the standard Titanium stand too, with the Autobot logo and his name on it.

Transformation: 4/10 - As stated above, the transformation is almost exactly the same as the original G1 toy, so it remains as simple as that.
Durability: 7/10 - Although the paint on the die cast parts is surprisingly solid, UM loses points for those ball joint shoulders which can be very loose.
Fun: 6/10 - The vehicle mode is pretty lousy, being flimsy and his wheels barely touching the ground. The robot mode fares a little better though, being decently poseable.
Price: At the writing of this review, his price seems to have climbed from 20 to 30 US dollars...which, considering the inflation, hasn't really changed at all.
Summary: As mentioned above, Ultra Magnus is a pretty weak toy, but on 6-inch Titanium standards, I'd say he ranks only slightly below Rodimus. Besides...it's a non-repaint Ultra Magnus.

 
 
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