Knightdramon's review: Ultra Magnus
Ultra Magnus has almost always been living in the shadow of his former mould brother, Optimus Prime. Ever since their G1 days, Magnus has been a white repaint of Prime, occasionally with a different trailer. It wasn't until Dreamwave's comics that the white Prime was acknowledged as the basic body, the trailer serving as add-on armour.
RID was the first line to give Magnus a completely new mould that of a car carrier. That mould was complex and detailed but suffered from somewhat wanky proportions (legs too long attached to a seemingly minuscule torso). After that, we got a crappy Armada Overlord mould (originally called Magnus in Japan) and white Prime repaints reigned supreme ever-after. The Titanium line brought us a standalone Ultra Magnus that fared poorly, in my opinion.
So let's just say there was a lot of hype around the release of this figure. Thankfully, the figure delivers in all aspects. Read on to see why you should own this figure, sooner or later.
Ultra Magnus debuts in the animated line as a military truck of sorts. I believe it's called an assault carrier on the box but I may stand corrected. The front of the truck bears a resemblance to the more recent Universe Octane. Eight wheels are used for rolling the toy around (when transformed smoothly it rolls freely on all eight) for play purposes.
Unlike many animated figures that lack in sculpted details, Ultra Magnus does not disappoint. Bolts are sculpted on various parts, evoking a tough style military presence, along with grilled surfaces. Of special notice is the part the wheels connect to there are (non-functional) pistons nicely sculpted there.
Traditionally, UM is cast in navy blue for the rear end of the truck and a very, very light tone of baby blue for the cab section. On many promotional shots of the toy, the light blue parts appeared (or photographed) white, but that is not the case. Much like Sentinel Prime, the dark blue is a pearly tone. Silver is used for highlighting some details such as the fuel tanks and baby blue is also prominent on some small parts. Transparent blue\green-ish plastic is used for the hammer on the back and the muzzles of the cannons.
Speaking of which, Ultra Magnus features an attack mode. Flipping the front halves of the cab reveals two missile blasters, and opening up the headlights (the right one of mine was extremely tight, though) presents you with two four-barreled Gatling guns. Lastly, turning the cannons of the back around presents you with a cool gimmick pushing a lever up and forward reveals cannon muzzles from an extending part. I assume the cannons light up and give off a sound, but I took out the batteries long before giving it a go.
To sum up, Magnus has a nice, fitting and playable vehicle mode. Whilst not as good as Movie Prime, it's still entertaining and locks together very well. The carrier measures a good 23cm (9) from one end to another.
After transforming him back and forth a couple of times, I must say that the designers took the classic form of UM and tailored it pretty nicely for the stylized Animated design standards. He stands a tad shorter than 23cm (9), making him one of the tallest figures in the line so far, if not the tallest.
All colours are carried through from the vehicle mode with the addition of some red on the chest area (the elite guard symbol and the pads next to it), the waist panels and on his feet. The upper parts of the limbs are cast in black, with navy blue governing the lower parts. Black is also present on his torso, with some light blue for his "abs". His face is also painted light blue, while the helmet is navy blue.
Generally speaking, UM is relatively simple on the detail side in this mode. His actual robot parts have little detailing and rely on paint to stand out. True to that, most of his parts have additional paint tacked on (the stripes on his elbows, his thighs etc). The head sculpt is nicely done, with the top of the helmet leaning on one side. Pressing the elite guard button activates his sound effects and also moves the head, cocking the side of the helmet and opening the mouth, creating a unique WTF expression at times.
Articulation is just as I love it; ratcheted and plentiful. There's around 22 points of articulation; five on each limb and two for the head (I also counted his mouth\helmet gimmick). Almost all of them are on ratchet joints, providing balance and stability for his otherwise heavy parts.
The assault mode configuration is also present here, but besides the cannons on the back, all the other fold outs look ridiculous in this mode. The hammer can be held in either hand very securely, but the grip is placed too high somehow limiting display options on that arm. It should also be noted that besides the halves of the cab on his shoulders, Magnus has NO kibble. The entire wheel assembly folds in on his lower legs (think of it like Movie Leader Brawl's treads, only this time they made it right).
This time Hasbro has nailed it. This comes from one who's not a fan of the Animated styling on toys, but I'm contemplating whether or not to keep the forthcoming FansProject City Commander Trailer (unofficial armour for Classics Ultra Magnus) pre-order when I have this articulated and imposing figure on my shelf. Definitely recommended and by far the best Magnus produced...at least up to now.
Marks out of ten for the following:
10 It's neat how all the parts fit in and lock in vehicle mode the whole thing is steady in both modes because of multiple "locking" points.
10 Take the batteries out and you're set. Just my take, but the inner blasters of the missiles for the front of the cab might snap if you fiddle with them too much.
10 With that much thought put in to the transformation and a highly poseable robot mode, I can't give it anything less.
9 At around 40 USD retail, you might want to wait until his Roadbuster repaint is released to see if prices drop. I got mine for 47 USD before shipping and am still happy with it.
10 Highly recommended to casual collectors and fans alike; this is a much anticipated figure that lives up to all the hype generated around it.