Cliffbee.com: Megatron Toy Review

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Name: Megatron
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Commander
Alternate Mode: Walther P-38 handgun

The inset features the "Goodbye" Megatron (left) and original Japanese Megatron (right)



GUN MODE
Height: 11cm Length: 18cm Width: 3cm

   A chromed silver and grey life-sized handgun with a black handle. The barrel and trigger are grey, the chamber section is chromed silver. There's a black attachment point on top of the gun, towards the rear. The front of the handle is grey, and the bottom of the handle is silver die-cast metal. So they're pretty dull colours - but they're gun accurate - so dull is good. In fact the main thing detracting from the realistic colour scheme is the Decepticon symbols on the sides.

   As I said, it's life-sized - you can hold Megatron in your hand. He even has a hammer moulded onto the back, a hammer locking mechanism on the left side just in front of the hammer and a sight on the top just in front of the hammer. There's also a safety on the left above the trigger. Of course, none of this is active, but the detail in the mould is good.

   There's play value here, though. The trigger, which is inside a trigger guard can be pulled back and clicks. The Japanese versions (original and reissues) can fire pellets about 6 metres, there's a hole on top (above the trigger) on all versions into which these pellets can be inserted, but the internal workings are modified on the Anglophone version to fit 1984 US safety laws. It's worth mentioning that even in 1984, the sale of Megatron was illegal in New South Wales - although that was because of his similarity to an actual gun than his pellet mechanism. I should point out that Megatron is not actually on a 1:1 scale, in fact he's 80% of actual size. Still, this gun mode fits naturally into the hand - so he's still effectively life sized. Thanks to henry for this info.

   As mentioned, the detailing in this mould is great - thereís grip on the handle and hammer. The original versions have grip on the hammer lock and the right side opposite this, the reissues only on the hammer side.

   The flaws in this mode are minor - the chrome has the potential to wear, but it's pretty tough. The attachment on top of the gun stops the sight from actually functioning since it's taller than the sight. Overall, though, the detail, the chrome and the play value all make this a very good gun mode. And we're not finished yet - adding the stock gives you an extended gun mode, which I'll expand on now.

EXTENDED GUN MODE
Height: 14.5cm Length: 53cm Width: 3cm

   Formed by adding his fusion cannon to the attachment on the top of the gun, the stock to the back and a silencer over his barrel, the extended gun mode is more like a sniper's gun than a simple pistol. It's also the Megatron gun featured in the cartoon.

   The fusion cannon forms a sight - compete with a crosshairs if you look through it, the stock can actually sit against your shoulder (although it's a tad short, it still works) and the silencer adds a lot of length to the barrel. The shooting mechanism still works in this mode (in the versions that have the mechanism), thanks to a hollow silencer. The fact that this mode is half a metre long really makes Megatron look like a formidable weapon.

   The only real flaw this mode has (aside from those of the regular gun mode) is the fact that the added bits have various protrusions and holes, needed for the tripod-mounded weapon they can form for his robot mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Difficult if you don't know what you're doing. Remove the added bits (the fusion cannon can stay attached). Pull the handle's grip down to form the legs, lift the legs out and fold them forward over the trigger. Slide the die cast panels underneath the legs forward to form the feet. Flip the grey section below the hammer down (it's the robot head). Separate the rear into two halves, which fold down to either side. Lift up the middle section of the gun, fold down the barrel slightly and swing it right slightly. Rotate the middle section to form the chest, at the same time fold the barrel underneath it. Swing the arms so that they're "upright", then lift the arm-head assembly up and it'll click into his chest. Rotate the arms around, give him fusion cannon if you detached it. It's probably difficult to grasp all of that - you really need to see it to understand this rather involved transformation. For what it's worth, that's the first time I've transformed my reissue Megatron (which I only got today).

ROBOT MODE
Height: 17cm Width: 10cm (without fusion cannon)

   The quintessential bad guy of Transformers, Megatron looks the part. With all this silver and black, he looks powerful and ruthless. The chest, arms, thighs and feet are silver - the feet and thighs being die-case metal the rest chrome. His hands and the sides of his hips and legs are black, the insides of his arms and legs are red. His shins, groin and head are grey. There's some stickered detail on his waist - which is basically the section revealed underneath the gun shell as it's lifted up.

   There are some proportion problems in this mode, it must be said. The legs, being handle halves, are quite narrow. The groin isn't solid, it's formed from the top section of the handle wrapped around the trigger, but doesn't actually clip on. The trigger is in a rather phallic spot, actually, it's a good thing it's inside the groin and not just sticking out. His arms stick up past his shoulders. Still, considering that this robot mode is formed from a realistic gun mode, I'm not complaining that much.

   What I like about this mode is that they've cleverly taken the gun's shape and made a robot out of it, without huge amounts of kibble. The front of the barrel is stowed on the right side of his torso, and that's really the only part that qualifies as kibble, and it's pretty well dealt with. On his cartoon & comic version, this barrel sits on his back. It can go on his back, but it's not really designed to, looking better on the side.

   The head is the basis for the now familiar "buckethead" design, but it's not actually that shape. It's curved on the back, with a lip, and this was the basis for marvel's buckethead, which is far less curved, and continues around the sides of the head (which are actually flat on this toy). The face is unmistakably Megatron, although the forehead's a lot larger than the media versions. The original has yellow eyes, the reissues have red eyes we're familiar with in the media.

   There's a fair bit of play value here. The only real poseability is the swinging shoulders, but he has that big-ass canon on his arm, and the attachment parts which can form two different gun emplacements - and in the reissue can fire his pellets. The central piece of the stock can clip in behind the barrel, allowing Japanese Megatron to shoot pellets from his hip. The last of the two reissues has a transparent purple mace which can be attached to his hand (and is on a chain), ala the Sherman Dam scene in More Than Meets The Eye. Adding to his armoury is a big silver handgun, and in the Japanese versions, a silver sword. Not only is he mighty and powerful, he's armed to the teeth!

   Overall, while there's some proportion problems in this mode, it's a very good robot mode considering what they started with. There's a lot of attention to detail here, and his weaponry is quite impressive.

VARIATIONS

   The original US version - the "standard", if you like. The original Japanese version, which came with the sword and shooting mechanism, was a matte rather than shiny grey of the US version had. Next came the "Goodbye" Megatron, which had blue plastic instead of red, but was otherwise like the original Japanese version. The first reissue, in 2000, was essentially the Japanese version with the removal of the grip on the right side of the gun, now in a shiny grey. At the same time Takara released a limited exclusive black version with a brown handle. The TCS version came next, which came with the mace weapon. There's also the eHobby exclusive Megaplex, which is essentially Goodbye Megatron in the reissue mould (matte plastic) with all the extras - but Megaplex is _not_ the same character, rather a recolour of Megatron.

OVERALL

   A great gun mode, well engineered if complex transformation, and a good robot mode. There's some problems with this robot mode, but on balance itís a good robot mode. The weaponry (especially in the Japanese versions) is impressive. Probably the best thing about the toy is that it looks ruthless and powerful - perfect for the leader of the bad guys. He's not terribly show accurate in robot mode, largely because Marvel used poetic license to fix the proportions - but I'd recommend him anyway, since he's still identifiably Megatron, and is quite a good toy. Just don't wave it around in public - 8/10


Want more on this toy? Read Goktimus Prime's Megatron Profile

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