Cliffbee.com: Magmatron Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Magmatron
Series: Beast Wars Neo
Allegiance: Destron
Function: Emperor of Destruction
Alternate Mode: Giganotosaurus, Elasmosaurus and Quetzalcoatlus

Note: This toy was later released in Beast Machines as a Maximal, however this release is identical to the BW Neo version, even down to the Destron Spark Crystal!



GIGANOTOSAURUS MODE
Height: 16cm Length: 21.5cm Width: 8cm

   A metallic purple bipedal dinosaur with metallic silver-green stripes on his its back. This beast has three gold claws per foot along with a fourth vestigial, gold claw on the inside of either foot. silver teeth and green eyes. There's a chunk of green kibble on the belly - part of the robot chest, and some grey kibble on the back of the legs - the soles of the robot feet. The metallic purple is nice but the kibble really breaks up this beast, which ends up forming the core of Magmatron's robot mode. For this reason alone, it's the weakest of the three beasts. Still, the sculpt is very detailed and while we have some posts and stuff visible used for the combination the overall attention to detail is great here.

   The choice of beast is perhaps a little generic - while it's meant to be a Giganotosaurus there are a lot of similar bipedal dinosaurs known in the fossil record. Okay, it's not a T-rex, but it's still broadly similar. The stance is something between the older "tailing dragging" interpretation and the newer horizontal spine stance for bipedal dinosaurs - which is dictated by the fixed neck. The smaller forearms, which have three claws each, sit on ball joints while the hips swing back and forth a little. The ankles are also hinged, but with the hips having a narrow range of motion and the neck having none, this is a pretty static beast without many poses other than those using the forearms. The upper jaw lifts up, providing for an open mouth, which springs closed once you release the jaw.

   The weakest of the three beasts since it takes on much of the burden of forming the robot. This beast becomes the chest, waist, legs and right shoulderpad, and parts split off to form the robot mode's sword as well. Considering that it's the frame of the robot mode, I'm not too unhappy with this mode, although I would have preferred a purple chest on the robot than a green belly here.



ELASMOSAURUS MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 39cm Width: 9cm

   A metallic green plesiosaur with some subtle metallic blue on the back and small yellow eyes. The plesiosaurs were aquatic reptiles with flippers rather than legs, and the Elasmosaurus was a plesiosaur with an extremely long neck. The dimensions given support that - 26cm of the length is head and neck! Anyway, it's a light ceramic green with a metallic tinge and a sculpt to match that of the Giganotosaurus, on the body and head at least. As on the land based beast, there are some visible connections - mainly hinges on the body - but there's no detracting kibble as such, making this perhaps the most visually attractive beast mode of the trio.

   The choice of beast here is welcome - this section of Magmatron remains the only plesiosaur Transformer. The other two beasts are similar to many beast modes we've seen down the years, but this one fits into Beast Wars Neo's innovative trend, and I appreciate that. I'm also impressed that the designer resisted the urge to drastically shorten the neck, even if it _is_ then doomed to become kibble. The poseability is pretty good, but then you'd expect lots of room in the neck for joints - which is exactly what we have here. There are a total of ten ball joints in the neck while the lower jaw opens and shuts, revealing tiny unpainted teeth. The front flippers are on restricted ball joints while the rear flippers can be pulled back which causes the front pair to 'flap'.

   My personal favourite of the three component beasts here, largely because of the fact that that the choice of a plesiosaur is so unique. I also like the fact that it has a very poseable neck. There's also less kibble than the Giganotosaurus. It's also unusual for Transformers to have aquatic reptilian beast modes.



QUETZALCOATLUS MODE
Height: 7cm Length: 12cm Width: 20cm

   A red pterosaur with a very Mesoamerican name - in fact all three component beasts are prehistoric reptiles from the Americas - but this one is from Mexico and the name really bears that out. It stands with the wings almost extended - it a take off or landing pose. The back, which is smooth (a membrane, basically) has some black spray while the beak and claws are painted yellow and the eyes are green. There's a ridge of reptilian skin running down the back of the neck and along the centreline of the back, along with similar sculpting on the head and claws. Unlike Swoop and Terrorsaur, this beast lacks the distinctive pteranodon crest.

   Aside from rounding out a trio of colours, this beast also rounds out a land-sea-air trilogy, which is pretty cool. The poseability is also pleasing - the lower jaw opens to reveal small teeth while the legs have ball jointed hips and hinged knees and ankles. Along with two hinges in the neck, this allows it to assume a mid-flight pose. Stretching out one wingtip will cause the other to do likewise, for a maximum wingspan of 27cm. There's a purple spark crystal underneath the left wing, the only one visible in Magmatron's individual beast modes.

   While it's the least massive of these three beasts, this pterosaur is still impressive - both the standing and flight poses are good. The sculpt is less complex since much of the beast is membranous wing, but that's not to say there isn't an attention to detail here.

TRANSFORMATION TO BEAST MODE FUSION

   I won't go through every step, since it's a fairly involved transformation which is difficult to explain in words. The Giganotosaurus essentially stays intact, with the tail attaching to the inside of the Elasmosaurus, which is now upside-down, forming the rump and hindlegs of the fused beast. The Elasmosaurus's head forms a tail not dissimilar to that of a scorpion (with the head at the tip of this tail, as on BW Quickstrike). The Quetzalcoatlus sits on top as wings, with its head folded right back underneath the wings.

   This transformation doesn't use too many dedicated joints, although there are a few connections which are specifically for this mode. Some of these connections are annoyingly tricky - the purple tail plugging in to the rump is a pain because as you try to clip one thing into place, others tend to pop out. Once you get, he is stable in this mode.



FUSED BEAST MODE
Height: 16.5cm Length: 24cm Width: 20cm

   The dimensions above ignore the tail - all 26cm of length, which can also be counted in the height depending on pose. The wings can also stretch.

   Anyway, this is a motley of a beast, and since the three components are very colours it doesn't really mesh. I wouldn't mind this so much if everything else fit in well, but there are other issues which get in the way of me enjoying Magmatron's combined beast mode. The pteranodon head sits somewhat awkwardly on the rump and there are some green panels unceremoniously sticking out underneath and behind the green section. I also don't especially like the fact that this vertebrate beast has four legs _and_ the vestigial arms of the Giganotosaurus, although that's a personal thing.

   I wouldn't say this a bad beast mode, but it's very ambitious, and suffers because it's trying to create such an unnatural fusion. The end result is an impressive but flawed beast, and while I certainly appreciate the fact that Magmatron has this feature, I prefer the distinct, separate, beast modes.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Again very complex, so I'm going to summarise and give explain where everything ends up. The Giganotosaurus's legs become Magmatron's legs while his belly becomes the chestplate and the head becomes the right shoulderpad. The Elasmosaurus becomes the back, arms and shield while the Quetzalcoatlus becomes the head, wings and decorative elements on the chest. The Elasmosaurus actually splits while some pieces detach from the Giganotosaurus and recombine to form his sabre weapon.



ROBOT MODE
Height: 22cm Width: 20cm

   A purple, green and red robot with some yellow and gold details on his torso, Magmatron has a metallic blue face with green eyes and a yellow crest. The red wings extend from either side of his head, with gold underwing membranes now visible. The chest has the legs of the Quetzalcoatlus reaching over the top and a second, false, pair of red legs reaching around from the sides. The legs and right shoulderpad are purple while the upper arms are grey and the forearms are green. The colours fuse surprisingly well, much better than in the fused beast mode since the toy is primarily designed to fuse in this mode - so the connections feel a lot more natural. Rounding things out, Magmatron has the purple spark crystal on his left wing.

   There's a lot of beast visible here - you really see that he's a triple fusion. There's a purple head on the right shoulder, a smaller green one on the left and a red one on the chest. The shield carries plesiosaur flippers while the legs look like the dinosaur legs that they are. The wings are very obviously pteranodon wings and I've already mentioned the claws on his chest. There's not hat much true kibble considering the nature of this fusion - there's a tail and that long neck on the back, but everything else has become a feature or weapon.

   The poseability here is pretty good considering how complex the layout of the toy is. The head and waist are fixed while the shoulders, hips and elbows all move on two planes. The knees and heelspurs bend, while the Giganotosaurus tail hanging off the back is a pretty useful third leg for posing. His wrists and thumbs are jointed, although placing the weapon underneath the thumbs can be frustrating.

   The neck of the Giganotosaurus opens up to form a sabre which can swap its blade for grey missiles hidden within the shield. The base/launcher sports a purple spark crystal which is only evident in this mode, while the left shoulder also sports a partly concealed purple crystal - meaning that all three component beasts have spark crystals somewhere. The shield doesn't do much aside from clipping onto the outside of the left forearm, but the flapping flipper gimmick is still available at least.

   This robot mode is tricky to form, but as with the fused beast mode it holds together quite well once everything is assembled. The head is stuck in a looking down position, which is my main gripe here. The weaponry is kinda kibbly and limited, that's that to be expected - they are integrated Beast Wars weapons, after all. The proportions are good, other than the huge wings attached to his head - they don't make very good horns or antennae!

   A good robot mode, all things considered. The fusion is very ambitious, and considering what has been attempted, the few negatives are pretty minor. The poseability is respectable and he holds together well. It's not a terribly playable robot mode, but there's enough play value in the transformation itself to overcome that hurdle.

VARIATIONS

   None as such, although he later released in the Beast Machines Dinobots line, and sold as a Maximal. For the record, neither the Quetzalcoatlus or Elasmosaurus are dinosaurs.

OVERALL

   A satisfying and complex Transformer, Magmatron's main appeal is the complex engineering of three beasts into one beast and a robot. He achieves this very well, and as a result, is a good toy. There are some problems, most notably in fused beast mode, but the robot mode is strong and the individual beasts are also pretty good - especially the Elasmosaurus. He's scant on gimmicks but with this sort of engineering, Magmatron really doesn't need them to be a memorable toy. Recommend for fans of Beast Wars Neo, and to fans of Beast Wars toys in general - 8.5/10

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