Cliffbee.com: Movie Megatron Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Megatron
Series: Movie Tie-Ins
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Cybertronian Jet



JET MODE
Height: 13.5cm Length: 34cm Width: 31cm

   A rather massive grey Cybertronian jet with three hulls at the front - the two on either side are slightly lower, sort of like pontoons. The curved wings stick out to either side in a manner similar to older planes (think WWII fighters), sitting above the level of all three hulls, while the trail section sides above all of this. There is some metallic blue paint, on the base of the pontoon hulls and the inner section of ether wing - which fades to grey as you head out towards his extremities. We also get some black paint on his pontoon hulls and dark grey mini-tails on his wingtips which are composed of a soft plastic. While this isn't really Megatron as we've seen the concept before, the colours are actually fairly close to those of G1 Megatron's. The colours work on this level, and the grey and metallic blue work well enough together here, even if the colour scheme is a perhaps a little too spartan.

   Megatron is the only Movie character who doesn't have an Earthen mode, yet this is the alternate mode with the most robot just visible. The robot boots are fairly obviously underneath the wings while the thighs are visible between the tail and the wings. I can deal with the thighs - so there's unusual structural support - but the boots are, well, boots. The robot head is fairly obviously visible - it's a blue lump on top of the join between central hull and wing section. There's a panel covering the fan, but it's still pretty obviously a head. I'm going to give it the benefit of the doubt and call it the bridge - there's a transparent window on the top. Yes, this is his lightpipe, but it could be a bridge, so I'm running with that.

   For all the kibble here, Megatron has some really nice aspects. The wingtips are fairly complex affairs that look quite nice and the tri-hull looks good. The side hulls are a little unstable, since they become his robot arms and this means they have joints for poseability, but on the whole the hulls work. The longer central hull, tail section and wings are quite smooth and curved while the bridge, struts and pontoon hulls have a more complex sculpt - the latter are all robot mode parts, the former stow in various places in that mode. I'm not so sure that the marked contrast between the two different sculpts works, but there's nothing awful about the sculpt. I do like the overall impression given here - Megatron is quite massive and which makes this mode impressive, despite the flaws. I also appreciate the fact that this vehicle is clearly not paralleled by Earthen vehicles (unlike some of the G1 "Cybertronian" cars). The tail section sits loose and moves around a little, while the gap between the tail and wings is quite distinct - it looks like they're meant to connect but don't.

   There's not much play value here. There's a black button between the wings, pressing it causes amber LEDs under his wings to flash nine times while he emits a slightly mangled robotic scream. I've never been much of a fan of light and sound gimmicks, and this one doesn't impress me, but doesn't really turn me off either. The batteries are stored in his tail section, and Megatron comes with batteries included - it's quite unusual for Transformers that use AA batteries to come with them installed. There are four small black wheels underneath, and Megatron rolls on these better than I would expect him to.

   There's no easy way to say it - Megatron's jet mode isn't that great. I can see what they were trying to achieve conceptually - and I really like the concept. This toy concentrates more on the robot mode, and as a result has a disappointing jet mode, but it's not a total loss. I appreciate the very alien look here, generally approve of the sculpt and like the colour scheme - which is a subtle yet likely deliberate nod to his G1 namesake. The boots underneath his wings are quite a significant flaw while the head is really obvious on top. Thankfully the head - while poorly hidden - is passable as a bridge. I like this jet mode more than I did at first, but for a flagship toy, it's disappointing.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   I'm not going to go right through it, since there's a few twists that will be hard to describe. The pontoon hulls become his arms, the fuselage folds up to become his torso while the central hull ends up on his back. The wings stay put and become rather attractive wings behind the arms, the legs basically swing down and unfold. There are spurs on his knees which make transforming the legs a little tricky - they don't get much clearance.

   There are three automorphs, which is both impressive and slightly excessive. The first automorph is in his boots - straighting his knee joints folds down the feet and heelspurs - in theory, anyway (it doesn't work that well, without being a write off). There's a little clasp on his chest, releasing it causes transparent pink winglets to rise behind his shoulders. Lastly, folding up the central hull causes his wingtips to fold away, with the outer edges of the wings themselves also folding away. The last automorph is the most impressive, whilst the clasp triggers a light and sound show (similar to that of jet mode), along with causing some chest panel rearrangement.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 25cm Width: 23cm

   A grey robot with significant blue and black detailing, dark grey (soft) claws and a black and blue face with transparent pink eyes. The lightpipe works fairly well with a lightsourse above and behind his head, while the transparent winglets behind his shoulders are also pink. The colour scheme really gains a lot of blue and black, and while the overall effect diverges from G1 Megatron more, it works well here. There are quite a few gold details and the sculpt is very good - there aren't many smooth surfaces - and most of them are plane mode surfaces.

   This is a far more visually rewarding mode compared to Megatron's jet mode. The sculpt helps, but also I like the fact that the kibble present here is dealt with better than the boots in jet mode. The tips of the pontoon hulls hang off his forearms but he manages to get away with it quite well. The folded wings form a great cape while the tail section on his rump stays out of the way visually. It's quite obvious that Hasbro really concentrated on this mode when designing this toy.

   There are two gimmicks in this mode (electronics aside), and both are stored in the hulls on his forearms. The right claw can shoot like a grappling hook, with the rope stowed inside the pontoon. The spring involved is far too weak, however, so all that the trigger does is release the claw, rather than firing it. The grappling hook _does_ still work, but the launcher is useless. The left side forms a fusion cannon. The packaging claims that the arms combine to form a fusion cannon - which is partly true, there's a connection between his wrists if you bring the arms together - but the action cannon is entirely on his left. Anyway, the claws can fold away allowing the pontoons to fold forward. There's a slider underneath the left side (for some stupid reason, it's made of white plastic - present nowhere else), sliding it back causes two small barrels to swing over and push out to the sides. The effect is really cool, but this time the spring is too strong - you have to use quite a bit of force to activate this gimmick. Even more annoying, there's no catch - the fusion cannon will only stay deployed whilst you hold the slider in place. Which gets painful quickly, since the spring provides a lot of resistance. These Goldilocks springs (there's no just right) aren't able to swap over - yes I checked - so you might just want to source a slightly weaker spring for the otherwise great fusion cannon - a pen spring would probably do - or remove the spring entirely (but then it might flop between the two extremes, without any catches in the mechanism).

   Okay, so the gimmicks fall flat, but Megatron's poseability is pretty good. The head and waist are fixed, but the shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while his elbows bend inwards and there are rotators above them. The wrists are fixed, but all three talons on his claws - which are composed of soft plastic - can open on hinges, which is really cool. The hips are able to swing out and back and forth whilst his knees are hinged. There are rotators immediately below his hips, allowing the legs to twist outwards. The feet can't really pose thanks to the automorph, but the double pointed feet and heelspurs give Megatron large footprints with a shape that resembles a star. This results in a pretty stable set of feet - and the feet themselves with flex upwards during posing (while they touch the floor, anyway).

   While the gimmicks aren't very impressive, Megatron's poseablity is nice and visually he looks great. The facial sculpt and overall detail really make this robot mode work visually - he's big, menacing and clearly bad news. The kibble is actually more than you'd expect of a toy with such a heavy emphasis on robot mode, but doesn't really impede him. As much as I like this mode, I can't help being annoyed that both gimmicks fail in ways that would have been so simply to rectify. I'm going to go cannibalise some pens so I can get the should-bee-kickass fusion cannon to work better.

   Later notes: if you take the spring out of his fusion cannon and attach it to the post on his claw's trigger, both gimmicks improve significantly. The fusion cannon will flop around somewhat, but is now able to remain deployed while the claw actually fires - and fires well. Sofaman points out that the fusion cannon can slide to the right, simulating the weapon being formed from _both_ arms, as seen in the film - an undocumented feature.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. There is a Legends sized version.

OVERALL

   A great robot mode with frustratingly inept gimmick execution and a decent if disjointed jet mode make a solid toy - but one that falls short of the level you'd want from a flagship toy. It's not that Megatron is awful - he isn't - but he doesn't compare well to Prime. If you like the movie, and intend to buy the characters, then I'd say this figure is worthwhile for the visually impressive robot mode, but he doesn't represent great value at the leader size. Recommended if you love the film (which is easy enough to do, it's a great movie), but still a flawed toy, which I couldn't recommend without the movie backing it - 6.5/10

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