Numbat's review of: Menasor
Construction / Giant Planet Leader Wannabe
Menasor knows the power of Giant Planet. He burns with jealousy of the glory of Metroplex, and is disgusted that the leader of the Giant Planet uses all of the power at his disposal only for peace. Menasor has waited centuries for the arrival of an ally like Megatron a true leader with the wisdom to know the true purpose of power. With the might of the Decepticons at his back, he hopes to overthrow Metroplex and turn the Giant Planet into what it was always meant to be a conquering war world at the centre of a Galactic Empire!
While Menasor spends most of his time building cities, and plotting to take control of Giant Planet, he also leads a second life. He earns all his upgrades money through working as a dentist to the Gods. If Primus has toothache, he's straight on the ringer to Menasor, while when Unicron chips a tooth munching on a metallic world, you know who he's gotta call. You see, Menasor is the only Transformer of sufficient size who also possesses two types of super accurate drills, and a clamp!
Sure, he ain't too pretty, and talks with an irritating high pitched forced Irish accent, but you don't care when you've got toothache!
Without doubt, 'Menasor' is one of the coolest TF names, and has only been used once before, for that legendary G1 gestalt (1986). It's nice to see the name reused, and for an original mold. (Of course, we'll be seeing Classic Legends Menasor early 2007 but he's a repaint of Legends of Cybertron Prime.) Certainly an improvement on the Galaxy Force 'Moledive' in that respect!
Anyway, for whatever reason, Menasor seems to be a little hard to get hold of (especially in the UK), and dealers will charge hefty prices (and, as an Ultra, his starting shelf price is arguably a little on the high side). Yet, we all have a strong inkling that the figure has an alternate mode based firmly in the realm of science-fiction, and a simple transformation. I will confirm for anyone that has any doubts at all that this is totally true. Why will anyone pay above the odds for this guy? Well, Menasor oozes style, has one of the best head sculpts of all time, and, while not a Robot in Disguise, he is most certainly a Man of Many Modes.
Because of this, the review will have to be split a little differently than usual.
Assault Dozer Mode:
The standard alternate mode if Menasor has one is as a futuristic mining machine, dubbed an 'Assault Dozer'. There are a number of possible configurations for this, which I think is pretty cool. But, we should get something straight before we stray too far into this review I am a fan of such 'unrealistic' alternate modes when the Transformer has no reason to be disguised. None of the robots on the Giant Planet need to hide from anyone, so their alternate modes are more functional (despite Metroplex and Quickmix obviously being a little more solidly based on real machines). Still, Menasor's functional alternate mode is not outside the realm of possibility, with two drill types attached on moveable 'arms', allowing an particular drill to be selected and positioned appropriately, thanks to their individual tread sets.
I'd say there's a definite 'at rest' configuration, involving the drill appendages being attached to the rear treads, creating a stable frame for transit. In this mode, he measures around 11 1/2 (29cm)in length a respectable size for an Ultra Class figure.
Molded detail is superb, and there are a lot of nice textures. Brushed silver has been used to excellent effect at the ends of the appendages, actually achieving a worn look (rather than just failing miserably, as is so often the case). The majority of the vehicle is molded in dark blue-green, while baby-blue picks out details (alas, with a couple of poor applications). The front dozer is a pale green, and looks superb! The rear tread 'legs' are molded in almost the exact same colour, which is rather contrasting with the rest of the machine. There are also splashes of red and black, here and there, while transparent blue picks out details, such as the 'Photonic Disrupter Drill'. The only poor choice of colour is the molded gold plastic details. Gold plastics tend to be even worse than silver for swirls, and in this case it looks more like mustard. But, hey, I can live with it.
For good fun, the blue drill turns while you push Menasor along a simple gimmick, which I like very much. However, the back of the box says this will also activate sounds it doesn't. I believe this is likely a typo, and I, for one, am grateful. Also, if you attach a Minicon (I'd suggest Heavy Load he really looks cool) to the right arm, it extends the 'Wrecker Drill' (doubling length), and flips out clamps (which double as Menasor's only manipulator in robot mode).
The drill appendages can be moved independently, and deployed for work (pictured in the Powerlinx mode photo).
Being as he is from the Giant Planet, Menasor has a little Minicon bud to help him with delicate tasks, such as making a cup of tea, or decorating birthday cakes. This fellow, Heavy Load, shall be dealt with individually at the end of the review. However, it is appropriate to mention he can combine with Menasor in his alternate mode, adding to the front dozer. The result is rather more menacing. It is also worth noting that this is one of only two Transformers my fiancιe actually likes and this is her favourite mode. As she points out, the whole affair can also look like a mustached frog. You'll either see it, or not.
It is not possible to have the drill appendages in rest mode, attached to the rear tread housing, while Heavy Load is attached, and the attachment is a little precarious and fiddly. But, the result is quite fun even if you can see the back of Menasor's head through the crack in the roof of the dozer.
Assault Pacification Mode:
Menasor's appendages can be positioned rather menacingly, giving him the appearance of a threatened spider. A common complaint I've heard cited against Menasor relates to this mode being impossible to balance, with the rear treads always lifted from the ground. This is not the case if the rear tread 'legs' are positioned correctly for the alternate mode, with the front balanced nicely by wheels under the dozer. I am personally very impressed by this perfect balance, as the arms are rather long, and can be widely positioned without treads leaving the surface.
Robot (Work) Mode:
You could argue (quite strongly) that the work mode is merely halfway between the alternate mode and the robot and you'd be right. Basically, you don't transform the legs fully, and you have it! There is a very strong feeling of Hasbro having just tacked this on even more so than Energon Scoponok's jet mode. The real problem is that the plates holding the legs do not have a solid locking mechanism, leaving them a bit wobbly. The mode does give Menasor the chicken-leg look, and he does not have a good centre of gravity. He measures 7 1/2 (19cm) tall in this mode not too menacing, but very bulky.
Robot (Battle) Mode:
As you've probably guessed, any transformation details are not really worth mentioning. You'll get it nicely without the instructions (which are double sided, and a normal size but taken up with large pictures of Menasor's many modes...).
Still, the 'Battle Mode' is really where any Transformers fan is likely to be impressed at least at first glance. This is, in my view, the only real robot mode, and looks extremely imposing (stylish two-tone boot-cut jeans look aside...).
He stands almost 9 (23cm) tall, with his waist now firmly locked allowing for excellent poseability. Of course, he looks at his best alongside Legends of Cybertron figures, for scale!
The quality of molded detail does not let up in this mode, and there is a plethora of textures and little ditties. Also, personally, I find the transparent blue chest piece reminds me of the G1 Insecticons, when taken as part of the whole. Menasor really is an otherworldly Transformer!
The dozer blade forms nifty wings on his back (which do have lovely textures, but no painted detail), and his head sculpt is extremely insect-like somehow. You see, detail wise, Menasor's head is not outwith the Transformer norm, with head crest, mouth plate, and other detailing. However, the proportions have been altered fairly dramatically, and the colour scheme has definite G2 aura. To top off the 'gold', blue-green and red, there's superb blue light piping. This not only gives an evil glow to the eyes, but also lights up the centre plume of the crest. Frankly, he gives G2 Clench a run for his money.
Adding to his greatness, this mode has 26 meaningful points of articulation (with nearly all ratcheted - essential for his size and proportions), including the wings and chest cannons! Coupled with a phenomenal centre of gravity, he truly is a great display piece in 'Battle Mode'.
As a great final touch (And one I am very much drawn to, I must say), you can store Heavy Load in a chest compartment! Of course, this works in alternate mode also but when in this mode, it reminds me very much of the Brave
Honestly, this mode is by far one of the most displayable Transformers I own and the alternate mode grows on me by the day. Still, as a Transformer, I don't think anyone should be buying him if they strongly dislike the concept of his alternate rig mode.
Planet Key Gimmick:
If you've read many of my reviews of contemporary Transformers, you'll know I am not a fan of gimmicks meaning I am likely to be rather biased. The Planet Key (Giant Planet being my favourite key design, at least) locks into Menasor's left arm, and activates a red light behind the blue drill, while making a horrendous noise. I am unlikely to be using this feature again! Still, it's impressive that the two AAA batteries do not unbalance the figure in any mode. I tip my hat to the designers.
Heavy Load (or 'Bullbull' in Galaxy Force a grand name, I think) is one cool Minicon. In dumper mode, he really adds a sense of scale to Mensor's drilling rig. Measuring 2 (5cm) long, the detail and proportions are great and the front dozer is a cool touch. He follows the same colour scheme as Menasor, but black dominates, thanks to the tipper bed. Alas, the blue windows pictured on the box are not present on the final release leaving the fellow effectively windowless. Of course, this isn't a huge problem, considering nobody has to drive him, and there's no need to have such a pretence on a uniquely Transformer occupied planet.
The robot mode (1 1/2 [3.5cm] tall) is also rather nifty, and balances surprisingly well, given the dozer on the back and gorilla arms really make him look precarious under those little lady legs. The colours are almost apposite in application to Menasor, and gold paint on a blue plastic head really shows up the 'gold' plastic. Head detailing really deserves a special mention, as it is the best I have seen on any Minicon.
Marks out of ten for the following:
6 Very simple, but great fun allowing for many possible modes, and superb functionality.
8 He feels very solid, but is rather light when compared to other Ultra figures.
X This really depends on your personal opinion on Transformers which do not have 'realistic ' alternate modes. I'd easily give him a '10', and I have heard he is very popular with children. However, if you don't like him now, you're not gonna like him any more in real life, I doubt.
3 Although he goes for anywhere in the range of £20 ($39) - £50 ($97) (although US shelf price is around $25 [£13]!), he does tend to float a little high on the spectrum more often than not. I picked mine up for £20 including postage from the good ol' US of A. Given UK Ultra shelf price is £25, I am very pleased with this but I would have paid up to £30 (and I was actively searching for him). He is not worth any more in my world.
X Once again, this comes down to personal preference, as Menasor is a rather unusual Transformer. (He does make a nice companion piece for Cybertron Dark Scorponok and, for some reason, Armada / Energon Tidal Wave(s).)You've either got to have him, or you're gonna avoid him like the plague (which is easy, as his availability seems a little thin on the ground).