Review by EVA_Unit_4A
The distant planet of Cybertron was the home to a race of intelligent, feeling alien robots who could change shape at will- the Transformers. For reasons no longer remembered by anyone living, a war broke out between the two factions of robots- the Autobots and the Decepticons- which eventually drained Cybertron of all its power sources, including all-important Energon. In the quest to get more Energon to sustain their fight, the Autobots created the Ark and some of them left Cybertron. But the power-hungry Decepticons were waiting for them in their great flagship, the Nemesis, and boarded the Ark to stop them. A battle between the two ships eventually brought them both crashing down onto Earth. With their leaders and greatest warriors lost, the war on Cybertron continued on to a stalemate. For over four million years, the Ark rested hidden inside a volcano located in what would eventually become Oregon, its occupants unconscious and helpless in stasis lock. Then in 1984, the volcano harboring the Ark erupted, reawakening the on-board computer system Teletraan-1. The computer, realizing that the ship and its crew were in danger, awoke the Transformers aboard the Ark, and reformatted them to change into disguises matching those of modern day Earth vehicles so that the giant robots could move among the population in secret. The surviving Decepticons, having lost their great ship millions of years earlier, also gained new disguise forms and hid themselves on Earth until they could rebuild their forces and gather enough Energon to destroy the Autobots, subvert the intrusive and annoying humans, and renew the war on Cybertron in their quest for total galactic domination.
Megatron. Omnipotent, intelligent, strong, tactician, passionate, driven… evil. Like many of Cybertron’s greatest warriors, his distant past is not well defined, but his legacy as the megalomaniacal leader of the Decepticons is deeply etched in stone, and all - be they organic or artificial- tremble with fear when his very name is mentioned. If you are unfortunate enough to be in his presence, his raspy high-pitched voice alone freezes all circulatory fluids. And if you don’t like what he says, then his giant arm-mounted fusion cannon will silence you. Only perhaps Megatron’s mirror opposite, Optimus Prime, is strong and wise enough to be able to withstand him for as long as he has. And because of this finely-matched rivalry, the Great War continued on for millions of years on Cybertron until the distant planet was drained and weakened. When the Ark left for deep space, it was Megatron and his army aboard the Decepticon flagship Nemesis which pursued it, boarded it, and shot it down over Earth. Unfortunately, through the twists and turns of the battle, the Decepticons became trapped aboard the Ark as well, and lay in stasis lock for millions of years until they were reawakened one-by-one by the fortunate Skywarp. Finding that this Earth had vast resources including Energon, Megatron set out to quietly conquer and enslave the planet until he could rebuild his forces and his power enough to return the fight to Cybertron. The only thing that can stop him is the Autobots and their grand delusions that through peace alone is all in order. Megatron, however, feels that through brutal conquest and crushing dominance can order really be achieved. To ensure that his followers and his enemies never forget this, Megatron arrogantly selected the alternate form of a weapon, to remind all that war is his both his passion and the purpose of his entire existence.
This Transformers Classics figure is a completely new toy based off of the original Megatron who appeared in the classic G1 series in 1984. The original Megatron toy itself- like almost all of the G1 toys for the first two years of the show’s run- was carried over from a Japanese line of vehicles and other recognizable objects which could change into robots, called Microman. When Takara and Hasbro put their heads together, they imported all of these Microman toys- which had no history, allegiances, or personalities of their own- and created the first two seasons of “The Transformers”; later designs being completely new and exclusive to the following seasons. (“The Transformers: The Movie” in 1986 was the transition between the Microman toys and the new designs. All characters that were killed or removed in that movie were based off of Microman toys.) In that series, he also became a hand-held weapon, specifically a Walther P38 U.N.C.L.E. Special pistol. This particular ‘model’ of gun (the 9mm Walther P38 was a real weapon made at the start of World War II by Germany) was based on the popular prop used by the heroes in the American TV series, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” (1964-68), which included accessories for an extended stock, longer-ranging barrel, larger clip capacity, sniper scope, and tripod stand- all of which the 1984 Megatron toy had. The original Japanese version of the G1 Megatron toy had tiny plastic pellets stored inside the alternate mode that could actually be spring-shot when you pulled the trigger, but this feature was removed from US releases.
By the time the Classics line was being developed, US toy regulations had changed dramatically from what they were in 1984. Thus, as of November 1988 in the United States, it would be illegal to reproduce a Megatron toy which represented a real gun like his G1 self did, as is stated here. For the Generation-2 release of “The Transformers” in 1993, this new incarnation of Megatron was the first answer to the toy gun problem. However, designing a scaled fictional weapon was not out of the question, so long as it followed certain standards. Thus while the details may look ‘futuristic’ and technical, the colors used for the Classics version of Megatron are what allow it to be distributed across the entire United States (with some states having different regulation laws when it comes to toy weapons than others). Because of these wild and vivid colors, many Transformers fans jokingly refer to Classics Megatron’s alternate form as a ‘NERF gun’, though that company has no relation whatsoever to the design and construction this toy.
Megatron’s blaster mode (back) marks the first time since 1984 where he has been a hand-held toy shaped like a gun. The sacrifices to bring Megatron into the Classics line are in coloring and the outward appearance of a generic futuristic blaster. There are perhaps only five traits that the Classics blaster shares with the G1 toy:
- the scope on top, which can be looked through
- a non-functional white hammer (used to fire off bullets in real guns) just above the grip
- the ridges in the grip to allow ease of handling
- a functional trigger
- [One of] his legs become the grip
Beyond that, it’s all about modern toy design, style, function- and to a certain extent the legalese mentioned above- which the Classics line is all about.
The long barrel of the G1 toy has been replaced with a blocky assembly, tipped off with a small orange cone. The grip is just big enough to accommodate an adult collector’s hand, though the space between the guard and trigger is a bit too tight. The aforementioned trigger is spring-loaded, and can be pulled back. While this does nothing to launch any pellets or missiles or move around any parts inside the barrel, the trigger makes a nice clicking sound. (I suppose that something is better than nothing, and this is a plain but appropriate “something”.) The scope is hollow, and has two transparent-green lenses, one with a crosshatch marking on it. The space inside, however, is quite small compared to how large the scope looks like from the outside, and you can’t see anything clearly through it. One small detail that is noteworthy: if you look at the exposed interior of the blaster mode as you are just starting to transform him, a small white lever above the trigger section shows four small pellet-like bullets molded inside. You can’t see them in blaster mode because they are covered, but you can more easily see them both when transforming him and when in robot mode, along the right side of his waist. Perhaps this was Hasbro’s only form of politically-correct retaliation and a way of sticking it to the regulations…?
All Classics figures feature a small heat-sensitive decal as a throwback to the G1 toys showing their allegiance- Autobot or Decepticon. However, Megatron is arrogant enough that he doesn’t need this, and so he proudly displays two raised purple Decepticon symbols along both sides of the scope barrel. This is the only Classics toy [so far] to not to have a decal, and to have a molded allegiance symbol [instead].
Megatron’s robot mode (back) is definitely a reinterpretation of his G1 self, but he still holds traits that are true and faithful. No longer is he narrow and rickety and highly deformed. It’s hard to say which color is the most prevalent, but white seems to be it- perhaps a throwback to his original silver; which is located on his head, upper torso/arms/legs, and was painted across the back of his wings. Black ABS appears in his fists, the fusion cannon, his lower torso, lower legs & feet, and was painted onto his upper legs. Purple- a color frequently used with other incarnations of Megatron since the G1 series- also returns (again due to some states’ regulations regarding a toy weapon) on his chest, shoulders, lower arms, lower legs, and feet. There are also several highlights of gold paint, and the orange ABS caps for both the blaster’s barrel on his shoulder and the front of the scope which are legally required for the blaster mode. Transparent neon-green ABS is used for his wings and his eyes. When light shines into the back of his head, his eyes glow neon-green as well! (They may not be their traditional red, but at least the friggin’ gimmick works for a change!) Perhaps the biggest and most-recognizable of these physical traits (literally) is the giant fusion cannon still attached directly to the bottom of his right arm, which is similarly made from the weapon’s scope. This time, however, the scope cannot be removed. His left arm is- though similar in style- asymmetrically different from the right due to how he transforms and where things go in blaster mode, save for the upper arms (the shoulders are different) and the fists. The chest has been radically redesigned, removing the widened shoulders and flat boxy upper torso in favor of a more-techy paneled look- with another molded Decepticon symbol right in the center of it. Also, never again will G1 Megatron have to suffice with a somewhat-humiliating giant gun trigger hanging out uncomfortably from his crotch- it now resides sandwiched between the back of his torso and wings. (You just know that this was a fine way for Decepticons to get away with needling their ‘great’ leader behind his back, and was a basis for many done-to-death jokes on the Autobot side of things… Poor ‘bot probably never lived it down, either.)
Poseability is good. Perhaps the biggest hamper, unfortunately, is that fusion cannon. It is so honkin’ huge that Megatron is very right side-heavy, and doesn’t stand very well at all unless you rearrange things. Even standing perfectly straight is a challenge. The wings allow for a bit of movement backwards, but that’s it, and it usually doesn’t help much unless he leans forward at the hips. However, the feet are rather long and so that helps a bit- just don’t forget to extend his heels when transforming him! Unlike most of the Classics figures, Megatron features quite a few ratcheting joints- shoulders (two of three axis), elbows, hips (both), and knees (one of two). He also has a few free-turn swivel joints in his shoulders and knees (both one-axis only). His head, too, free-turns, but it is on a ball-and-socket joint, and allows for a wide range of directions he can look in- even upwards a little bit! His right arm, which carries the fusion cannon, is kinda weird in its arrangement. Since the cannon is mounted behind his elbow, when held horizontally like his G1 predecessor, the right lower arm (and thus the fist) turn upside down. Kinda awkward that, and I’m not sure if it was overlooked or not, but I think something different could have been arranged. But, unlike the new Japan-only G1-remake MP-05 Masterpiece Megatron (again with the toy gun rules- no way in Hell are you gonna see that in a Toys-R-Us near you if you’re in the good-ole’ US of A!), the Classics Megatron cannot remove his cannon.
The Classics Megatron figure carries no additional accessories or weapons. With the exception of his head- which is on a ball-and-socket joint- no parts can be removed from him. (In other words, with this figure, once it comes off, it stays off…) Both hands, however, can accommodate other hand-held weapons used all the way from the 2004 “Transformers: Energon” line on-down.
There are a few complaints here, most of which I’ve already spoken about-
- The heavy cannon is a problem even though it is such an iconic part of the character
- While we have seen these colors before on other Megatron figures/characters, in tribute to the G1 character they are rather misplaced, and are a well-known turn-off for some fans. This is perhaps his biggest hang-up point. The orange caps are generally accepted without question since those are now standard feature on any gun-like toy, and could be considered a blast/lighting effect in a way.
- The wings actually don’t all that closely match the style of the figure, but wrap around the blaster mode appropriately. In other words, they serve one master better than they do the other.
- Even though this is just a nitpick, I still think that right arm could have been twisted around a little differently when they attached the cannon, while still allowing for the option for it to hold on to things.
- Why was the tube down the center of the scope so narrow? And it was intentionally done too!
- What’s up with that huge black unibrow???
- This last one is me being picky: because this is technically a blaster which shoots energy rather than projectiles (why would Megs here intentionally limit himself that way?), why does it need a hammer which is designed to strike the cartridge primer of a bullet?
Believe it or not, this is actually the first version of the Decepticon (and/or Predacon) leader that I have ever owned since the franchise began over 20 years ago. [What can I say? I was too young for G1/G2 (thus haven’t seen “TF:The Movie”), I got my start on “Beast Wars”, rather disliked “Beast Machines”, and never had cable/satellite to watch anything beyond, save the 2007 movie in the theater. Did I mention how useful YouTube.com can be…?] And so, to accept the Classics figure at face value is perhaps easier for me since I am not as attached to the character, though I know of him. On the other hand, while this is unquestionably a great design and contribution to the Classics line, I also found myself taxed heavily by the colors alone, perhaps because of that lack of familiarity to the character in the first place. (There’s one good reason right there why I’ve never gotten another toy of him… Purple, neon green, black, and orange only really works well together on an EVA anyways.) But, as I just said, this is still a good toy despite those reservations. So, I recommend getting him; it might not be as strong a recommendation as others have given him, but I am satisfied with what I have, and I believe you would be too. Things work the way they’re supposed to, his range of motion is very good, his transformation is very involved but fun and different from the G1 version, and anyone (even I, who have not seen the Decepticon leader on-screen) can identify him immediately without packaging or instructions as thee one-and-only Megatron. If I can do that, then those more familiar with him will appreciate this all the more.
Oh, by the way, I heard that this new Japan-only Transformation! Henkei! Transformers line is going to make some- shall I say- 'interesting' changes to the 2006 Classics line...
|Posted 6 January, 2008 - 04:18 by EVA_Unit_4A|