Cliffbee.com: Energon Ultra Magnus Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Ultra Magnus
Series: Energon
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Rocket Launching Semi Trailer
Comes with: Knock-Out, Astroscope, Payload and Skyblast

Click here for my fanfic tech spec for Ultra Magnus and his Minicons.

I'm not going to do a complete review of the Space Team repaints in this set, if you do want a review of those moulds, check the Armada version review.



TRUCK MODE
Height: 10.5cm Length: 25cm Width: 8cm

   A big blue, grey and charcoal trailer on top of a small white cab, the resemblance to G1 Ultra Magnus clearly deliberate, so this is a name reuse I don't mind. The trailer is essentially a giant ramp onto which you're meant to place Armada Jetfire, which explains the two stoppers at the back, which look somewhat strange when there's no shuttle loaded. This colour scheme is really nice. Aside from the blue, charcoal, grey and white, there's some red paint highlights, there are silver and grey patches simulating the sort of grime that heavy machinery like this truck often end up wearing. Apart from adding to the colour mix, it shows that someone put thought into this trailer’s paint job. To sum it up, this colour scheme easily beats that of Armada Overload, of which this is a repaint.

   The cab component has six small ridged wheels, the trailer has two large ridged wheels hidden underneath, near the rear. The toy rolls along quite well, despite the very low clearance of the trailer. Also, the trailer has dead hardpoints on either side, towards the rear, so you can attach two of the Space Minicons in this mode. Just in front of the hardpoints are two sockets that will fit the handle on payload, so if you attach Skyblast and Astroscope to the hardpoints, all three can attach.

   The hitch doesn't have a mechanism to click the two parts together, relying on friction to keep the truck together, but this works very well. The joint here can swivel, and it's tight enough that he'll only bend if you want him too. There's a large charcoal hitch just above the cab that swings down on top of the cab, which allows Ultra Magnus to attach - cab and all - to Big Armada Prime.

   There are guns moulded into the sides of the trailer, towards the front, and below these are larger black cannons that can swing up and out to the sides. You might notice the speaker vent on top of this front block, the gimmick this is used for can be activated in this mode, but it's really more for the robot mode. More on this later.

   By itself this truck mode isn't really all that meaningful, since Overload was really only designed as an add on for Armada Prime. But the colours are great and Magnus has four Minicons to play with, so it's a pretty good truck mode considering it's limitations.

I'm going to depart from my regular format and review Knock Out now, since he's an integral part of Magnus' robot mode


Name: Knock Out
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: White Semi Trailer Cab

TRUCK MODE
Height: 4.5cm Length: 7cm Width: 3.5cm

   Largely white, Knock Out is clearly coloured to resemble the cabin of G1 Magnus. There's also a fair bit of grey and black here, as well as a large charcoal post sticking out towards the back, which is the hitch that attaches his oversized trailer.

   This truck looks more like a fire truck than a semi cab, with three sets of side windows and a boxy shape. The windows and wheels are black, and he has three sets of tyres, one at the front and two at the rear. There's a lot of moulded detail on the front half of this cabin, and the hitch is a hardpoint, so while he attaches to a larger toy with the socket underneath the front of the truck, he can hold a Minicon himself.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold down the rear wheels to become the legs, swing the sides out and forward to become the arms, swing the arms down into position. Fold the hitch down onto his back. Swing the front panel of the truck mode down, lift out his head and fold the front panel back up.

   BTW it's possible to lift out Magnus' head, giving Knock Out an insanely large head, although it's set a long way back from the front of his chest.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 8cm Width: 7cm

   Again mainly white, Knock Out has a grey head with black face, grey shins and grey arms with black painted panelling. His hands are gunbarrels and the front of the truck is now his chest. This robot is very squat and it's obvious that this is no standard Minicon. Aside from being _huge_ for a Minicon, the proportions tell you that Knock Out's around for more than just his own reasons.

   His arms swing at the shoulders and his knees rotate, but that's all for the poseability of this limited robot mode. The knees have a habit of unclipping. This is a forgettable robot mode, although it does have a powerlinx plug on it's back.

   By the way, while Rollout is clearly a homage the G1 character of the same name, Knock Out bears no resemblance to the G1 character Rollout. This name match is clearly unintended, but I thought I'd mention it.


TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach Rollout, swing down the cab front, deploy Ultra Magnus' head and fold up the front panel again. Lift up the ramp part of the trailer, swing the two halves of the base out to the sides and clip them onto the sides of the front section. Split the ramp halves apart and rotate them 180° while swinging them up to form the robot legs. Rotate the wheels, collapse them in towards the while blocks that will become his shoulders. Swing down the arms and fold back the ramp catches to reveal the robot heads.

   You should now have a headless Ultra Magnus in front of you with a large cavity in his chest. Slide Knock Out into this cavity to form the central chest and head, and as you click him into place he'll press a button activating the sound gimmick, which is a _sweet_ recording of the G1 transformation sound! I've accepted that these batteries are going to be replaced very, very, soon. This is undoubtedly the coolest sound gimmick ever done in the Transformers line.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 21cm Width: 17cm

   Ultra Magnus is a mixture of grey, white, red, blue and charcoal, and the combination is a good one. He has the white cabin front as his central chest piece, his head is grey with a blue face and yellow eyes. There are black poles sticking out from his shoulders, a shared feature with the G1 Character. On his shoulders are moulded Autobot logos, the raised parts are painted red, and they look very cool against the white plastic of the shoulders.

   This is a very stocky robot mode, with big shoulders, a smallish head and block limbs. It's actually blockier than the already blocky G1 Magnus, and owes it's blockiness to the fact that Overload was designed as battle armour for Armada Prime. He has big boots, and missile launchers on his heels, that are concealed in truck mode - they're for the battle armour mode.

   There are six dead hardpoints in this mode - one on top of each shoulder pylon, one on each wrist and one on the side of each knee. This provides him with space not only for his trio of free Minicons but one other.

   Despite being packaged with the Requiem Blaster, Ultra Magnus cannot actually hold it in his hand. It is possible to clip it onto one of the wrist hardpoints, however. I like attaching Astroscope as a wrist missile launcher on his own. This is the only Armada mould where the main toy _needs_ the Minicon in robot mode, by the way.

   It's actually possibly to fashion a gun from Knock Out - he has twin grey barrels that fold out from his shins specifically for the gun mode, and the hitch becomes the handle. It's nice they added this functionality to Knock Out, but to wield this gun Ultra Magnus needs to lose his head, so it's kind of redundant, although Knock Out can always be wielded by someone else.

   Ultra Magnus is pretty unposeable for an Armada mould. The shoulders rotate, as do the elbows. The hips swing and the feet can rock back and forth. He has large heelspurs, which make him very stable. Much of the engineering of this toy is mould is dedicated to the battle armour mode, and it shows. Still, the transformation sound can be activated by pushing back on the cabin on his chest, and this is enough play value to keep me happy.


THE SPACE TEAM REPAINTS

   The colour swap goes like this: Black and blue have become grey, red has become beige (very similar to the grey), blue has become a duller blue and white as become black. Basically, the bright colours have become more subdued. The major paint colour used is an ochre colour, although there are yellow, lilac, silver and gold paints on the trio.

   Payload looks better as a truck than before, since the bright red robot kibble now blends in. The paint applications are more subdued, and the robot mode is about the same.

   Astroscope's colours are a lot duller than before, although overall the colour scheme is no better or worse than the Armada scheme. I like both equally.

   Skyblast looks a lot better than his Armada counterpart. Sure, rockets aren't usually black, but the black with beige works a lot better than the white rocket with red bits breaking out everywhere, since beige isn't a colour that stands out at all. The nose has a re-entry burn of sorts - there's a yellow and ochre stripe on one side. This is a little weird, and while it's not an eyesore, I'd have preferred them leaving it off. The robot mode looks a little nicer than on his Armada counterpart also, but that's just my preference, not because of any colour clash fixes or anything.

   Lastly, the Requiem Blaster itself has a far more unified colour scheme than the Armada version had, although it's now a lot duller. Interestingly, while the Armada version's colour matched Ultra Magnus' scheme, this one's colour scheme does not. But it's pretty colour neutral, so both it and the Minicons suit him fine.


VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although this set is a combination of repaints. It's a fairly limited, single wave, set, so I doubt there were multiple production runs.

OVERALL

   Ultra Magnus is Armada Overload with a much better colour scheme, advanced a pricepoint thanks to an included set of Minicons. While the colour scheme of all the toys involved are improvements, whether or not you want to buy a set of recolours depends on how much you like the moulds and new colour schemes. If you don't have Overload, I recommend Ultra Magnus, because the Transformation sound gimmick simply drips coolness, and the colour scheme is what Overload should have been. I really like that Ultra Magnus is the first toy to come with his own armada of Minicons (how ironic...), and while the main toy and Knock Out are fairly average designs, the set overall is a lot of fun - 7.5/10

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